This archived forum used to be called 'Peatarian' (in reference to Ray Peat).

Physiology before emotional state?

Where does (if at all) talking therapy come into healing? I vaguley remember one quote by Peat,.. it doesn't matter what the therapy is, its the action of going to therapy that helps (?)...

...but is it right in saying that once the cells/orgasm/body are working as they should that there would be no need to talk about stuff? or, like a chicken and egg scenario, would talking about stuff create a better functioning physiology.

I read about a healthy successful women who started painting her house and within weeks ended up in a New York mental hospital with schizophrenia. Turned out it was the paint fumes.

Can all mental health issues be corrected by thyroid, lowering serotonin, balancing oestrogen, removing mercury in teeth etc. ? I think most crimes must be committed by people with either low blood sugar or hypothyriod.

If you grew up into a stressful environment (like arguing parents etc) and were wired up with negative thinking patterns, your thoughts would always be on the side of stressful. Can therapy be akin to uploading new software?

'Are there undiagnosed cases of hypo-thyroidism in mental institutions? One hopes not, but possibly there might be. In 1949, a study in Britain indicated that such cases were frequent there and that many, once their thyroid deficiency was recognized and treated, could go home.' -Broda Barnes, MD, PhD

Also, is anyone familiar with Family Constellations?
asked Mar 29, 2015 by Greg says
edited Mar 30, 2015 by Greg says
I would say even more important than manipulating your physiology through diet and exercise is the quality of your social network when talking about mental health. Our primate mind seems to shift into a fight and flight mode without regular positive face-to-face interaction, which includes emotional and sexual intimacy. Alex's blog post is right on about this.

4 Answers

Psychotherapy of any stripe is a joke. Therapists kill themselves and divorce at way above average rates. So the people trying to "help" are clearly sick, or at least losers not worth paying attention to. The clinical data I've seen indicates therapy really doesn't work.

Go on a vision quest. Quit your job, sell all your shit, buy a good sleeping bag and a touring bicycle or motorcycle. Pick a direction. Channel Saint Francis or Crazy Horse for some months.

The religious traditions had these things figured out way better than 20th and 19th century quacks. Spiritual retreat, pilgrimage, and prayer are the solutions. Do atheistic remixes if you'd prefer. I've long regarded "therapy" as a twisted perversion of the sacrament of confession. Instead of confessing your sins and failures to serve God, you mewl to some con artist loser about feelings and memories.

You ain't gonna "resolve" anything by contemplating your childhood and past and your "feelings". The only thing to do is violently execute a new plan. Maybe taking it easy somewhere for half a year is a valid plan. Maybe working really hard for 70 hours a week and succeeding at building something is a plan. Whatever.

I also think Peat's disdain for physical fitness culture really fails on this front because the data on exercise is very good. Getting in great shape is solid advice for any angsty or depressed person.
answered Mar 29, 2015 by 4a552f55cbb9
I think you can do all the talk therapy in the world, read all the self help books and do daily meditation, but if the body is not getting enough of the right nutrients, you will still suffer from mental illness.  I think all mental illness can be treated if the thyroid is operating properly.  If you are running on adrenaline, you definitely will have mental issues.  I think you can overcome any sort of predisposition you may have to mental illness, despite what your family history may suggest.
answered Mar 29, 2015 by Ray Peat is a God
"People who have had terrible childhood experiences (sexual abuse, physical abuse, personal tragedies etc) for whatever reason have altered thyroid metabolism. They are more complex to treat. They are different from everyone else biochemically and pharmacologically. The blame for most of their residual difficulties is not with their brains and minds but with their chemistry. I believe also other areas of their biochemistry are not normal. I don't think this has been generally recognized yet." - Dr. David Derry
for myself, there is bad health which leads to "mental issues" and then there is just thought patterns which lead to "mental issues".  It's not either/or, but a crazy blend.  i have actually never considered therapy, but i think it would be useful if there is a sort of reconstruction and challenging of ingrained coping mechanisms.  i refused this line of thinking my whole life thinking that one has to come to freedom through spiritual practice alone.  But i believe seeing the truth of your situation on every level sets you free.

i had my very own first encounter with psychotherapy recently in reading a paper by a therapist that discussed my particular struggle and it has been very eye-opening to see the systematic/concrete way in which this professional discusses things which i had only previously known in a scattered/vague context.  It gives a kind of map to seeing a way out with a systematic course of action, not just the stereotype of talking about your feelings and past.  But i also say all of that believing that psychotherapy is not going to change anyone in and of itself or offer the freedom and peace that we all desire.  That is only something that comes through Christ ultimately - by pure mercy.  I'm seeing that spiritual Truth can set one free, but the truth which a psychotherapist helps reveal, or one's own inspired ability to sift through and reconstruct the thought patterns that came on as a product of their upbringing and life IS JUST AS MUCH a part of being set free.

likewise, learning the truth of your physiology/nutrition/balancing work is a truth that sets one free, but never independent of the other variables in one's life.
answered Mar 31, 2015 by Nicholas
edited Mar 31, 2015 by Nicholas
I think MDMA assisted psychotherapy has a lot more promise than some type of talk therapy or dietary change alone.

My sister was introduced to an underground MDMA psychotherapist through a friend and it has dramatically changed her life. Ever since she was molested as a child around 10 years old she developed chronically depressive, anxious thoughts that no amount of talk therapy or other interventions were able to make a lot of progress on re-wiring. It definitely helped to a degree just to have someone neutral to talk to, but overall didn't cause any major changes even after 10 years.

In just a week or two after doing a session with this MDMA therapist and processing the experience she feels and acts in away she hasn't since before her childhood trauma. She has this kind of fresh explorative drive about her life, but not in a reckless naive way. And it has persisted over the last few months. It seems to be a lasting change or at least an opportunity to break free from old patterns and experiment with new ones without so much psychological resistance.

She had been doing yoga and eating a "health food store" type diet (whole grains, olive oil, organic fruits, vegetable, and some dairy/meat) for about 10 years as well. Which seems to keep her in great health, but probably a little hypothyroid. So despite this the MDMA assisted therapy really seems to have done something deep and lasting to her in a positive way.

It was just one session (which lasted all afternoon) with the type of doses used in the MAPS studies (I think around 80-150mg). Purity is extremely important if your intention is therapy. A large portion of the experience consisted of her releasing all the anger regarding her molestation, but the rest of it was experiencing deep love for herself and life.

I have also heard of Family Constellations. From what I hear that can be helpful for processing and releasing things from early childhood, but it seems like a lot of work and time over something that may not do anything that will last. Based on my sister's experience I would look into MDMA assisted psychotherapy if you can find a reputable one.

I also agree with 4a that moderate weight lifting is a powerful type of mental health booster. Increasing testosterone and DHT have potent effects on the mind for making you more present and future oriented in a confident way, while making the past seem like nothing to worry about.
answered Mar 29, 2015 by Brian
What country was this (MDMA therapy) in Brian?
> moderate weight lifting

See, I think the moderate part is wrong. The value from strength training comes from high intensity. It should be painfully difficult, and done infrequently. Endurance and speed training should be similar. Rather infrequent but done with the highest possible intensity.
A major US city.

An Ayahuasca or Wachuma ceremony/retreat led by a Peruvian shaman might be another thing to look into. Preferrably Wachuma since it is more gentle. A lot of major cities around the world have this available (don't go to Peru, it's getting a little sketchy over there). That might be a little easier to find. They aren't an automatic cure for negative thought patterns, but I think they can be very helpful for giving you a window of opportunity for exploring a more "big picture" view of yourself.
By moderate I meant giving at least a day break or keeping the session not much over 30 minutes. I definitely agree the session itself should be near your limits for optimal DHT production.

Another very beneficial effect of intense activity is that the increased muscle synthesis uses up the inflammatory amino acids. I would consider just upping your weight lifting or exercise routine first before trying anything else drastic. See if the extra DHT production makes you feel more ideal.