Episode 24: Through the Lens of Youth

Chris Wells & Emma Nicholson with guest Lance Johnson

Release date: December 20, 2022

**Content warning**: Please be aware that this episode contains sensitive topics such as depression, disturbing mental imagery, and suicidal ideation.

In episode 24, Chris and Emma were joined by Lance Johnson, a college student from Colorado who studies Dabrowski’s theory. Chris and Lance first met in 2019, and they’ve spent many hours together talking about the theory over the past few years.

We discussed the downsides of strong imaginational overexcitability, such as disturbing or intrusive mental imagery and its impact. Lance shared his experiences of depression and mood swings, which led him to wonder if he had bipolar disorder. We also talked about the blessings of a strong imagination, such as using it for mental rehearsal and planning projects.

He discussed what he has learned thanks to studying the theory, such as intentionally engaging in autopsychotherapy and self-education. The theory of positive disintegration gave him hope and direction in his development. We talked about the journey of authenticity and the struggles inherent in that process of peeling back layers, digging deeper, and facing oneself courageously.

Lance talked about what it’s like to grow up in a rural area and realize that he was gay and how he has navigated that aspect of his identity and the feelings of otherness he’s experienced at times. He shared advice for other young people who resonate with his story, such as finding true peers and meaningful connections and accepting one’s differences.