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Schedule a consultation with Dr. D.L. Edmunds

Dr. D.L.Edmunds is a proponent of humane psychiatry, a friend and advocate of psychiatric survivors, and a critic of the mental health establishment. A person of deep compassion and principle, Dr. Edmunds is a noted psychotherapist, sociologist and pastoral counselor working with both children and adults. He has posed critical questions to the psychiatric establishment and to society as a whole and has developed approaches towards helping distressed individuals that are compassionate and empowering and encourage self-determination and autonomy. He has been an advocate for social justice, informed consent, and for human rights in the mental health system. Dr. Edmunds has become deeply concerned with the medicalization of human experience and how mental health services have often become 'mechanical', not seeking to truly be caring and empathic. He has sought for care that is holistic, recognizes the mind-body-spirit connection, and which takes into account issues of social injustice and how they impact our emotional well being and often shape our possibilities and who we become. Dr. Edmunds has challenged the mental health system establishment to respect persons experince and once again a common healing ground betwen the therapist and client. His writings have often focused on the need for building of community, holistic approaches, and the role of the family as well as social and political processes that lead towards emotional distress. He has challenged stigmatizing labels and exposed the violence that is often inflicted upon individuals by those who claim to be in the role of 'helper'. He encouraged a mental health system which does not force people into treatments that they do not want, which respects their dignity, and which allows their experience to be heard and validated. Dr. Edmunds has been interviewed on local and nationally syndicated radio programs in regards to these important issues.

Dr. Edmunds has sought for reform and family rights in the child protective services and foster care systems. In February 2008, he participated in a meeting in Miami, Florida with advocates and foster care officials presenting needed reforms and means to meet our children's needs more effectively.

Dr. Edmunds' groundbreaking research demonstrated that children diagnosed as ADHD had better outcomes with a social reinforcement based discipline plan and parenting skills transfer than the use of psychostimulant drugs. In addition, Dr. Edmunds' demonstrated the efficacy of community based wraparound programs for children as an alternative to more restrictive settings. Dr. Edmunds' holistic and integrative work has become known internationally. His article,"Restoring the Soul to the Mental Health System" was published in the Aaina Journal of the Center for Mental Health Advocacy in Pune, Maharashtra, India.
He has published three books and written numerous articles addressing ethics in practice, child development, childhood trauma, drug free relational approaches, autism/developmental differences, schizophrenia and extreme states of mind, critical psychiatry issues, and spirituality/ consciousness studies. His article "State of the Soul After Death"
was published in the University of Scranton's Journal for Eastern Christian Studies. Dr. Edmunds' political commentary has been focused on social equality and civil liberty. He has been an advocate of democratic education and was a presenter at the 4th Annual Alternative Education Resource Organization conference held in June 2007 at Russell Sage College. He believes it is necessary for us to inspire an education system where children have a zeal for learning and their individual differences and learning styles are encouraged and respected.

An advocate of the autistic rights movement, Dr. Edmunds has experience helping over 80 autistic and developmentally different children. He developed a relationship based program that helps these children navigate the mainstream while encouraging autonomy, self determination, and dignity.

Through his combined study of community counseling, comparative religion, dispute resolution, political activism, and 10 years in the field, he has helped individuals explore issues of meaning and purpose in their lives and come to greater levels of resiliency and fulfillment.

Dr. Edmunds began his counseling work aiding children and adults who were victims of abuse and domestic violence. He has served as a pastoral counselor, psychological evaluator, therapist for community based agencies, assessment clinician for family court and juvenile probation; autism specialist in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania; and clinical director for a therapeutic equestrian program. He has assisted children and adults given serious psychiatric diagnoses as well as troubled adolescents, some of whom have been adjudicated delinquent. He presently serves as a psychological evaluator, a therapist for community based programs, and in private practice as a pastoral counselor and behavioral consultant in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

He was the youngest legislative aide
and registered professional lobbyist to serve in the State of Colorado in 1991. He served as an officer for Students for Peace and Justice. He later served as a campaign coordinator for Congresswoman Corrine Brown of the Third District of Florida and during that time had the opportunity to transport Martin Luther King III to an event at Bethune Cookman College in Daytona Beach, Florida. Through this and other experiences, he came to have a deep appreciation for diversity and issues of social justice. He has remained active in political change. Dr. Edmunds was a speaker in 2003 at a meeting of the Pocono Libertarian Party.
Dr. Edmunds is an ordained clergyman in the Liberal Catholic Apostolic Church, an ecumenically minded spiritual organization rooted in the esoteric tradition. He is Professor of Religion and Human Services and Dean of Faculty for St. James Theological Seminary. He is also a member of the faculty and advisory board of the European-American University.

European-American University
He received his Bachelor of Arts with major in Comparative Religion, minor in Sociology from the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida.
His Master of Arts was completed at the University of Scranton (Pennsylvania), a Jesuit University.
He completed post graduate work in Dispute Resolution through the Department of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Dr. Edmunds received a Doctorate of Education in Pastoral Community Counseling from the College of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences at Argosy University of Sarasota (Florida).
Argosy University of Sarasota is host to a collection of original works of Carl Jung. Dr. Edmunds is Board Certified in Sexual Abuse Issues from the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress/ National Crisis Management Center
and received a Doctorate of Divinity (honoris causa) from St. James Theological Seminary in 2007 for his humanitarian service. Dr. Edmunds' knowledge of comparative religion, beliefs, and studies of consciousness has not derived just from academic study, rather from the age of 13 he personally encountered and experienced various systems of belief, joining in the religious experiences of various faith communities (Christian (Eastern Orthodox, Protestant, and Roman Catholic); Buddhist; Hindu; Muslim; Baha'i, and others). From this, Dr. Edmunds has been developed greater insight into the human condition, how persons construct meaning, and a respect for religious and spiritual diversity and mutual understanding. Dr. Dennis E. Owen, former Assistant Professor of Religion at the University of Florida commented, "I have appreciated the shill with which (Dr. Edmunds) blends his personal committment to and his academic interest in religion into a respectful and insightful attentiveness." Dr. Edmunds was initially ordained in the Eastern Orthodox Christian faith
and in 1998 was elevated to the honor of Mitred Archimandrite
(equivalent to a 'monsignor' in the Catholic tradition of the West. He is presently a clergyman of the Liberal Catholic Apostolic Church
The Liberal Catholic Apostolic Church is a member of the International Council of Community Churches which is in turn a member of the World Council of Churches. Dr. Edmunds' ministry has included serving elderly residents, a home for disabled veterans, and serving as an interim pastor for a congregation of the United Church of Christ. Dr. Edmunds also has particular interest in Buddhist thought and practice and participated in the Mahayana Refuge Vow Ceremony at the Kadampa Buddhist World Peace Temple in Glen Spey, NY in February 2008.

B.A., University of Florida, 1997
M.A., University of Scranton, 1999
Ed.D., University of Sarasota, 2006

Legislative Intern to State Senator Robert W. Schaffer (1991)

Dr. Edmunds' letter of faculties as an ordained clergyman



in 2002, while completing doctoral studies dialogued with the now late Dr. Loren Mosher, M.D., founder of the Soteria Houses and former director of Schizophrenia Research for the National Institutes of Mental Health. He also had contact before his untimely death and was greatly influenced by the pioneering and humane work of Dr. Kevin McCready who established one of the first drug free, psychosocial treatment clinics. He has collaborated with Dr. Clancy D. McKenzie, M.D., a psychiatrist and neurologist who developed the theory of the two trauma mechanism and has done extensive research on schizophrenia as well as dreams and consciousness.

Dr. Edmunds' therapeutic work is integrative and creative but has some influences from existential-humanistic and transpersonal psychology; the thought of the late Dr. R.D. Laing who promoted therapeutic communities aimed at treating mentally distressed persons with dignity; Stanislav Grof and transpersonal psychology; Boszoromenyi-Nagi's contextual therapy; Jungian psychology, Adlerian child guidance concepts; Dr. Silvano Arieti, Dr. Franco Basaglia and democratic psychiatry; the educational principles of New York State Teacher of the Year and author of 'Dumbing Us Down, John Taylor Gatto, among others. Dr. Edmunds has been greatly inspired by the work of his friend and colleague, Dr. John Breeding, PhD, a psychologist and author of "The Wildest Colts Make the Best Horses" and "True Nature and Great Misunderstandings". Dr. Edmunds has been particularly influenced by the philosophical ideas of Kierkegaard, Sarte, and Camus. His political ideology has been largely influenced by the thought of Dr. Noam Chomsky.

Florida born and of Scotch/Irish and English descent, he developed a deep sense of compassion and and concern for others from an early age. As a teen he served the REACH program for developmentally different children at St. Brenden's Roman Catholic Church in Ormond Beach, Florida, was a volunteer at Peninsula Medical Center in Ormond Beach, and volunteered for the Larimer County Veterans Affairs Office while residing in Colorado. He obtained the permission in 1992 of then Mayor Nicholas Fortunato of Ormond Beach to establish a Youth Commission to promote community involvement and activism among young people.

"Our goal as mental health professionals should be selfless and once again to define our work as restoring relationships and resolving conflicts. We must return dignity and respect for individual's experience and depart from biological determinism which defines all thoughts and feelings as chemical accidents. Children in distress need a voice. I seek to do my best to insure this voice. Psychiatric drugs never teach new skills. People do. It is time we invest once again, our time, our energy, and our hearts into the lives of our children." Because something can be scientifically validated does not mean it is ethical or good. One could validate many coercive practices. We must enter the realm where we realize that mental health is highly dependent upon our response to issues of social justice. Science must be linked with a strong sense of ethics and respect for the dignity and liberty of persons. Ethics must always proceed technology. But we must ask, can science be used in all situations to describe experience and the human condition?"

Dr. Edmunds' approaches have helped to return a 'soul' to the mental health system. With a background in community counseling, dispute resolution, theology and comparative religion, and 10 years as a therapist, Dr. Edmunds has through a holistic and integrative approach, sought to integrate new ways of finding meaning and purpose for the persons he serves. He is the author of "Children Our Treasure: Meeting Our Children's Needs Outside of the Bio-Psychiatric Paradigm"-
a text developed initially from a paper presented at the 2005 Conference of the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology in Flushing, New York)
and "Experience:The Soul of Therapy", as well as numerous articles detailing humane approaches towards addressing schizophrenia, bipolar, and extreme states of mind; drug free relational approaches to ADHD; autism and developmental differences; ethics in the mental health system; issues of meaning and purpose; social justice and social commentary; and comparative religion and spirituality.
Dr. Edmunds therapeutic work has incorporated such interventions as resolving inner conflicts resulting from trauma, healing the inner psyche, understanding the needs seeking to be met through 'misbehavior', emotional coaching, family mediation and development of 'family constitutions', problem solving using shared energy, dispute resolution, non-violent communication skills, existential analysis, meditational exercises, life maps (organization/motivation/ goal planning), 'decision trees', and dream work, amongst other interventions that are individualized to the needs of the person. Dr. Edmunds' has developed approaches that seek to explore the human condition- what does it mean to be alive? What are my responsibilities to myself and others? What is my potential and what holds me back? What is one's worldview? What is underlies my thoughts and actions? His therapeutic work has been termed by some as 'true nature' therapy as it seeks to look at the inherent strengths and positive qualities of a person often masked by emotional trauma and turmoil. It seeks to help people develop a new frame of reference and to be able to develop resiliency and an attitude of overcoming and being able to construct meaning and purpose.

An advocate of mental health consumers and psychiatric survivors, Dr. Edmunds is a member of Mind Freedom International
, UNITE
and is also affiliated with the Society for Humanistic Potential

  



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