MAST (Mutual Aid Self/Social Therapy) is an open-source and evolving set of cognitive techniques aimed at promoting better emotional health for individuals in a non-hierarchical or non-pathologizing model. MAST draws heavily upon the techniques found in Rational Emotive Therapy, Existential Psychology, Cognitive Behavioral Techniques, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and related systems. In addition to these, we have recently employed Narrative, Social Constructivist Theory and Symbolic Techniques into the process. The program is intended to teach techniques of thinking and addressing problems that can allow individuals to make positive changes in their emotional lives. Though MAST is at its core self-therapy, it relies on the power of small groups (triads or teams) of peers to support the individual as they gain confidence in their ability to use MAST tools. Participants in MAST alternate between counselor and consoled so that they gain a better understanding of each aspect of the program. The constant fluidity between roles ultimately not only creates healthier participants but also creates people who can support others outside the program: in our radical communities, and elsewhere. MAST rejects the traditional hierarchical roles in the mental health system creating a more immersive and experimental understanding of the techniques. It also rejects the proprietary and professionalism of support in modern therapy by encouraging participants to add to MAST theory and practice.
MAST neither is traditional psychotherapy nor is it group therapy. MAST uses the principle of mutual aid and a growing open source collection of techniques to help overcome emotional difficulties in people’s lives. MAST is not a substitute for, nor does it seek to undermine, traditional psychotherapy and psychiatry. It’s intended to provide a sensible, experimental and effective self-therapy based on a more radical ethics. MAST was started by mental health professionals but seeks to create an effective and supportive practice to improve our mental lives together with other people sharing their desire for a radical change in society.
The current draft of the MAST Book can be found here.