Psychedelic Therapy Advocate Recalls Coming Of Age In The 1960s

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Free-spirited therapist Ilene English takes readers on a colorful journey into the life of a grade-A hippie with her appropriately titled memoir, Hippie Chick: Coming of Age in the ’60s. From her early experiences with therapy and her relationships with addicts, to her own attraction to psychedelics, English has led a life that gave her deeper understanding of her role as a stained-glass artist, mother, and later, a California state-licensed marriage and family therapist (MFT).

Originally from New Jersey, Ilene English was still a teen when she embarked on carefree path that had her bouncing between California, Hawaii and Oregon. Throughout her different addresses, she experienced devastating deaths in her family as well as deaths of romantic relationships. Yet while her life has been punctuated by a series of losses, each privation served as a kind of catalyst for a new chapter in her life, and those chapters have come together in this earnest, pure memoir. “This book was a spiritual exploration for me, and in the process of writing it, I was transformed by the experience,” English said in a Q+A.

English moved to San Francisco after her big sister gave her a one-way plane ticket as a high school graduation gift. English then moved in with three guys in 1963, shortly before she had a legal procedure referred to as a “therapeutic abortion,” which required her to convince three psychiatrists that she would commit suicide if she had the child.

Through the process of living, learning, and writing, English comes to see that her cavalier attitude towards relationships with men underscored deeper issues of feeling less-than. While on the surface, the 1960s seemed like a free-love free-for-all, bolstered by the introduction of the birth control pill, it was actually somewhat counter to what she wanted and needed as …

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Author: Tanja M. Laden / High Times

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