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Welcome to the introductory page for Mindweather 101:  Working Creatively with Intense Thoughts & Emotion.  Before you sign-up or start, let’s provide some more details so you can know whether this is a class for you.

Overview.  Mental and emotional distress are now at an all-time high. From intense sorrow and anxiety, to problems with attention, eating, and more, it seems that just about every family has been affected by these challenges to some degree at one time or another. That’s why research on mental health has exploded over recent decades – with literally tens of thousands of studies being conducted.

What exactly do all those findings mean for those facing these problems? It’s hard to say, since not even a full-time researcher seems to be able to keep up with it all. One of our goals in this class is to translate some of the exciting themes from this research literature in a way that influences the broader conversation about mental health. At the same time, we hope to clarify key issues and questions still being explored (and debated) by researchers – so YOU can decide what you think. We believe the latest scientific discoveries should be more accessible to all of us. Through video lessons, questions and online material, we aim to foster a bigger conversation about mental and emotional challenges so we can all start moving toward greater health and wholeness.

Class Background. Up ahead a little, we’ll be diving into the mechanics and actual outline of the class. First, however, we wanted to say something about the broader lay of the land: What were our motivations in making this class? Are mental and emotional problems really becoming more common? And what exactly should we be talking about as a society when it comes to responding to these painful challenges?

Click the video below to hear more detail on these as a backdrop for the course:

If you have other questions about the class, keep reading! We’re always happy to answer other questions via e-mail or through our weekly office hours.

Objectives – Our target audience is anyone interested in learning more about severe emotional problems, including: (a) those facing these problems and (b) family members and other loved ones. Medical doctors and therapists have also found the class helpful in better equipping them with creative approaches to working with difficult thoughts and emotion.

To be clear, this course does not aim or aspire in any way to function as “treatment” or “therapy” for a particular mental or physical problem. In other words, we do not clinically assess individual situations, diagnose conditions, or offer direct, prescriptive advice (on what “you should do”). Instead, like any course, this class offers broad information in hopes of supporting students in their own unique journey toward wellness. Rather than dictating how anyone should think, our goal is to help individuals explore for themselves different ways of thinking about key issues – and what diverging views might mean for mental health recovery.

With that being said, let’s now move into a second Class Introduction video, where we dive right into the nitty-gritty of the class structure, including what it will be like and why you can chew gum and keep your cell phone on the whole time. We’ll also give some advice for how to get the most out of this class.

Before diving into the class, we need you to make sure you understand this is a class, and only a class…that we are not aiming to replace or interfere with other important treatment or therapy services. Please click here to check out our official class waiver. It’s in lawyer language, because it has to be…but we’ve tried to make it as clear as possible. Let us know if you have any questions.

If you want to learn something ahead of time about the 35 people you’ll be hearing from throughout these lessons, click here for some brief bios of those 35 people you’ll be hearing from. They include 15 mental health researchers, 6 medical doctors, 2 cognitive neuroscientists and many more who have personally faced serious mental and emotional problems.

Hopefully we answered most of your logistical questions. Anything you’re still wondering about in terms of how this is all going to work? If so, feel free to contact Jacob, All of Life co-founder and one of the instructors, at

We REALLY want to support you so this is a good experience.  So here’s a couple of other things:

  • You can download the full written transcript of this course by clicking here – (see Mindweather 101 written transcript) [Individual transcripts for single lessons are also available for download on each lesson page].
  • We just launched a Mindweather 101 discussion forum where we can interact as class members – posting questions, thoughts and experiences.
  • Jacob Hess also holds a regular face-to-face “office hours” online via video platform (Google-hangouts or Zoom) on Wednesdays around the lunch hour – 11 PST/2 EST (to sign up, e-mail Jacob at
  • You’re always welcome to contact Jacob directly – or reach out to our All of Life coaches, who are trained and certified to provide support and guidance in our classes. If you’d like to communicate more directly about what you’re learning in the class, send us a note at

Good luck and please let us know how it goes for you. We’re excited to find out!

© 2016 All of Life

Part 1Making Sense of the Problem
Lesson 1The brain's role in mental distress: One view
Lesson 2What we believe about the brain matters: Part one
Lesson 3The brain's role in mental distress: Another view
Lesson 4What we believe about the brain matters: Part two
Lesson 5Just being there: Insights for family and friends
Lesson 6Different ways of thinking about recovery
Part 2Responding to the Problem
Lesson 7One way of responding to mental distress
Lesson 8Can making it go away, make it worse?
Lesson 9Another way of responding to mental distress.
Lesson 10Surrounded with gentle acceptance: More for family and friends
Lesson 11Can a gentle approach make a difference for mental and emotional pain?
Part 3Working with Difficult Thoughts
Lesson 12One way of thinking about thinking
Lesson 13Re-thinking thinking
Part 4Broadening the Conversation
Lesson 14Exploring the full range of contributors to mental/emotional distress
Lesson 15Considering the full range of options
Lesson 16Class Conclusion