Psychotherapy with a special "twist" can be very helpful in treating most bipolar depressives, but psychoanalysis is not called for.



An intuitive investigation was undertaken on the cause and preferred treatment of this serious disorder. It was motivated by the fact that about 10% of Western adults undergo heavy depression at some time in their lives, whereas available treatments were (and still are) only partially effective at ameliorating the symptoms. Nothing like a cure or prevention was in sight. The bipolar variety is particularly challenging since the patient oscillates erratically between a manic state, produc- tive but typically running out of control, and a incapacitating depressed state.

Both psychiatry and medicine were expanding rapidly in the early 1980s and offered many options that might be explored, but guidance was needed on which ones might be most worthwhile for eventually solving this serious mental problem.

In 1980 and 1981 Dr. Paul Grof, M.D., and this author interviewed (independently) six expert intuitives who had already established their capability in domains other than psychiatry or medicine. The consensus arising from the intuitive inquiry indicated that bipolar disorder is a complex condition with no single cause and deep roots in the psyche. It is somewhat like explaining the cause of cancer, which is ostensibly impossible until the disease is defined. It then identified several procedural aspects of research in which progress could be made.3

Few opportunities existed at the time for directly testing or applying this new information. However, 30 years later it became possible to re-examine these discoveries in the light of advances in mainstream psychiatric research on bipolar disorder, as published in professional psychiatry journals. It turned out that the expert intuitives had achieved several strikingly correct insights.

For example, it was explained that research on genetic indicators, the most hopeful approach at the time of the inquiry, would lead nowhere and would better be replaced by a study of family patterns. This is exactly what transpired over the next decade. New means for monitoring lithium and melatonin levels in the blood were recommended; these were soon developed and are now in common use. Advice was given on a revised form of psychotherapy that would allow patients access to the origin and some control over their own illness, but more specifics would be needed before this interesting approach could profitably be attempted. And others.

Many of the intuitive statements on bipolar depression remain to be verified, though none that were clearly stated can be said to be wrong. This study was first documented in a private research report, then revised and published in an article in The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology in 2010.  Read journal article. 

This successful application of intuitive inquiry suggests that the method of intuitive consensus could play an even more significant role in medical research on depression as well as for other mental disorders.

Last modified: March 27, 2017