I came to be a Toronto psychotherapist in a rather round-about way. I grew up on a farm in Minnesota. I was christened Gary Lee and took the name Adam when, in 1958, I entered St. John's Abbey in Minnesota and became a Benedictine Monk. After ordination to the Catholic priesthood in 1964, I came to Toronto to do graduate work in philosophy. There I became part of a unique therapeutic community that was just taking shape in 1965. Initiated by the innovative Welsh psychotherapist, Lea Hindley Smith, this unusual experiment, called Therafields, developed a psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapy training program. After experiencing the therapeutic process for myself, I received training as a psychotherapist and began what has become a practice of more than thirty years.
Eventually chafing at the psychoanalytic bit, I broadened my view of what is and is not possible for the human psyche, pursuing a study of the unusual, the anomalous, and the paranormal. This resulted in referrals from colleagues who were baffled or even frightened by the symptoms they encountered in some of their clients.
Another outcome of this interest was the revivification of my academic career, since I was convinced that the only way to intelligently learn about anomalous experiences was to study the research already done. So I augmented my clinical work with the examination of the classical writings in psychical research, hypnotism, and dissociative phenomena. Out of this scholarly work and my clinical experience were born three books. The first was Multiple Man: Explorations in Possession and Multiple Personality (Toronto: Collins, 1985; Somerville House (Canada) and St. Martin's Press (U.S.A.), 1997). This work combines material from my clinical work with dissociative states and my research into the history of the phenomena. There followed Animal Magnetism, Early Hypnotism and Psychical Research, from 1766 to 1925: An Annotated Bibliography (White Plains, Ne w York: Kraus International, 1988). This tome, dealing with some 2000 titles in three languages, became the background research for my next book, From Mesmer to Freud: Magnetic Sleep and the Roots of Psychological Healing (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993) tracing the rise of what I termed the "alternate consciousness paradigm," a framework of thought that became an essential ingredient in all modern psychotherapies of the unconscious mind.