Tuesday, October 4, 2016
Thursday, September 22, 2016
For more click here.
Saturday, September 17, 2016
Friday, September 16, 2016
Thursday, September 15, 2016
Monday, August 15, 2016
Monday, July 25, 2016
Sunday, July 24, 2016
Fears of abandonment is the basis for many of the symptoms that make it possible for mental health professionals to diagnose a person with a personality disorder. A personality disorder is described as repetitive patterns of behavior that are dysfunctional and maladaptive so as to decrease the life satisfaction and fulfillment of the person with the disorder and the people that person has relationships with.
Fears of abandonment can take over a person's life and tell her/him that the world is a unstable place where people wind up leaving you alone to fend for yourself physically, emotionally, socially, mentally, and even spiritually. The fears of abandonment have convinced the person that without connection, acceptance, and belonging with the special other, the person will die.
Fears of abandonment will convince people that they shouldn't fall in love and become attached because they will be devastated if they lose the relationship.
Fears of abandonment can create jealousy and paranoia when the person experiences the loss of their partner's attention and/or loyalty whether real or imagined.
Fears of abandonment can become stronger and more insistent when there is a physical and/or emotional separation from the person the sufferer is attached to.
Fears of abandonment make a person believe that no one will ever be committed to them and loyal and they are doomed to a life of loneliness and insecurity.
Fears of abandonment can be so tricky and devilish as to make the person accuse others of not being loyal and faithful, thereby pushing and driving them away, and bringing about the very situation of abandonment and rejection they feared. This is called a "self fulfilling prophecy" when the very thing the person feared is brought about by his/her own self sabotage.
How can one manage FAB to decrease and maybe even eliminate its influence on one's life?
To be continued
Saturday, July 23, 2016
Friday, July 22, 2016
How do these feelings of instability work for you?
Do you worry a lot that people you care about will leave you or die?
Does it seem that people come and go a lot in your life?
Do you find yourself getting anxious when people are late or tell you they have to go?
Do you find yourself not trusting people and not believing what they say?
Do you find yourself clinging and demanding more togetherness than the other person feels comfortable with and thereby pushing him/her away and your worst fear comes to pass?
Is this fear of abandonment a "viscous cycle" that seems to happen over again and again in your relationships and makes you miserable a lot of the time?
The desire for connection, acceptance, and belonging is normal. The way that people sometimes manage this desire and handle it may not be and cause problems.
What are some constructive ways of managing this desire for connection and acceptance and some destructive ways?
To be continued
Thursday, July 21, 2016
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
I have told my clients for years that naming the problem helps. I say to them, "If you can't name it, you can't manage it. So naming the problems is 90% of strategy of minimizing and eliminating it." Research bears this assertion out.
This activity in Narrative Therapy is called "externalizing the problem." The narrative therapy slogan is "The person is not the problem. The problem is the problem. So what's the problem."
Finding a name for the problem takes some creative effort sometimes, but once it's named, it is much easier to deal with it successfully.
Dr. Freud, the father of psychoanalysis said, "You can either talk it out or act it out. It is always better to talk it out." This study of labeling or naming the problem is further evidence that talk therapy works.
For more on this research click here.
Monday, July 18, 2016
The first neural pathway has to do with the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system more commonly known as the "fight/fright/flight" response when we are threatened and/or stressed.
Banks asks us to consider our relationships with the 5 people we spend the most time with or spend the most time thinking about and on a scale of 1 - 5 with 1 being none, 5 being always and 3 being half the time, rate how we experience these relationships one at a time with these questions:
I trust this person with my feelings: This person trusts me with his/her feelings; I feel safe being in conflict with this person; This person treats me with respect; In this relationship, I feel calm; I can count on this person to help me out in an emergency; In this relationship it's safe to acknowledge differences.
In Bowen theory, the concept of anxiety is very important. People have different set points of anxiety with some being very high strung and others very laid back. On a scale of 1 - 10 how anxious are you most of the time? What would help you lower your usual level of anxiety and tension? There are many ways of doing this from chemicals, whether medications or other drugs licit and illicit, and behaviors such as relaxation and meditation and "chilling out."
In your relating to other people to what extent are you a non anxious presence? It is providing a non-anxious presence which Edwin Friedman, one of Murray Bowen's students, believed to be the most important therapeutic contribution of a psychotherapist. The question is how does a person achieve a low level of anxiety so that he/she can be a non anxious presence with other people?
To be continued
Sunday, July 17, 2016
Saturday, July 16, 2016
Friday, July 15, 2016
President Obama provides wisdom and solace to a nation in mourning after the Dallas police killings.
Thursday, July 14, 2016
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
"What about God's grace?" said Martha.
"That too," said Fred. "That's the spiritual part. In a Course In Miracles it is called a 'miracle' which is simply a shift in perception from the world of the ego to the world of godliness, the Tao."
"Well, Jennifer is doing better," said Martha.
"Could it be the medication?" asked Fred.
" It may help a little with her anxiety so that she can focus more on other steps to manage things better," said Martha
"What does she say is the thing that has helped her the most," asked Fred.
"That I believed in her and that things would get better. It was my faith in the process which she claims has made the difference for her," said Martha.
"And where do you get such faith?" asked Fred.
"From my grandmother," said Martha. "I know it is expected that I say from my graduate studies, my internship, my experience, my supervision, what I've learned from my other patients, and these things are helpful, but the most important thing is what I've learned from my grandmother."
"What do you mean?" asked Fred.
"When things would be tough, she would say, 'don't fret about it. Things will be all right in the end, and if they're not all right, it's just that we're not at the end yet. I used to think she was crazy, but she was the one with faith in the basic goodness of life and I learned to be faithful from her."
If you are looking for God, look for God within loving relationships.
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Monday, July 11, 2016
She describes what she calls the "Solider Mindset" and the "Scout Mindset."
The "Soldier Mindset" operates with what she describes as "motivated reasoning" which selectively perceives facts and ideas that increase the person's chance of winning and rewards their need to be right.
The "Scout Mindset" rather than needing to be right, is interested in the accurate picture of reality even when it is unpleasant or inconvenient.
The contributing factors to "scout mindset" are not intellectual and cognitive as much as emotional. People with "scout mindset" tend to be more grounded (secure), more curious, and more open. These traits of goundedness, openness, and curiosity predict good judgment.
Ms. Galef states that whether one engages in more of a "soldier" or a "scout" mindset is based on what a person yearns for. Is the person more invested in defending his/her beliefs or seeing the world as clearly as possible?
The ability to consider and reflect on how people process their thoughts and beliefs is what is called "meta cognition". "Meta cognition" simply means thinking about thinking. Meta cognition is what Piaget, the psychologist who mapped out cognitive development, calls "formal operations." Formal operations, or meta cognition, is considered to be a sign of maturity and wisdom.
People who engage in meta cognition tend to be more mentally healthy than people who have not grown to this stage of maturity.
<iframe src="https://embed-ssl.ted.com/talks/julia_galef_why_you_think_you_re_right_even_if_you_re_wrong.html" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe>
Sunday, July 10, 2016
Calming ourselves down when we are anxious and depressed has to do with the part of our nervous system called the smart vagus. This is the part of our brain which an override our sympatheic nervous system or the fight/flight response. The ability to manage our emotional responses well to the interactions with others is referred to by neuroscientists as "good vagal tone." In therapy I make a distinction about being "reactive" and being "responsive." "Reactive" is when the sympathetic nervous system has been triggered with a fight/flight response. "Responsive" is when we can back off, take emotional distance, get things into perspective, calm down, and then decide how to deal with things in a purposeful and deliberate way.
How does one develop good vagal tone? The suggestion in this short video is to imagine what is called "the pin" or the factor which might be motivating the annoying/hurtful person's behavior. In every day words, we shouldn't take what we perceive as annoying or attacking behavior by others "personally." The annoying or attacking behavior of others may be motivated by factors which have nothing to do with us. So we need not fight or flight we can simply observe or perhaps even try to soothe the other who is having a bad day.
Saturday, July 9, 2016
Friday, July 8, 2016
Thursday, July 7, 2016
Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Tuesday, July 5, 2016
Monday, July 4, 2016
Improving race relations involves overcoming our fears of "the other" and learning more about "the other" with an attitude of curiosity and respect.
He describes the "assaulted sense of self" in which black parents described their children in terms of what they are not such as "not a bad kid," "not in a gang,", "doesn't wear baggy pants," instead of in terms of what they are as white parents do.
Hardy says that black kids are aware of race at age three while white kids may not become aware of race until they are 20 or 33. This early awareness annoys white people who ask black people, "Why to do you always bring up race?" It's because it has been a conscious issue for black people much longer in their lives than for white people and, as Hardy, says, black people bring up race because white people don't.
Hardy points out that with the brutalization of the black body by police, black people experience devaluation when they see Michael Brown's body left in the street in Ferguson for over 4 hours indicating a lack of dignity and respect not only for Michael Brown's corpse but for his family and community.
I have, over the course of my career, been to plenty of workshops and classes on cultural diversity with the intention of enhancing the cultural competence of service providers. A lot of these efforts such as "sensitivity training" and "raising people's consciousnesses" has been well intended but also ineffective.
The most important thing I have learned over the years is what is called the Platinum rule as distinguished from the Golden rule. The Golden rule is "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," while the Platinum rule is "Do unto others as they would have you do unto them." In order to practice the Platinum rule, the person must know the other person's values, beliefs, practices, and preferences. This requires curiosity and courage to put oneself into unfamiliar culture and relationships. Many people are too frightened to extend themselves outside their comfort zones and so the major challenge in improving race relations is overcoming our fears of "the other."
Sunday, July 3, 2016
Saturday, July 2, 2016
Friday, July 1, 2016
How do TRAP laws negatively impact women's, and children's, and family's mental health? The Supreme Court did nullify the latest of Texas' TRAP laws.
Thursday, June 30, 2016
Sometimes I share, in therapy, the idea with the client that it can be helpful to make a distinction between pain and suffering. Some people have difficult pain but they do not suffer because they have found ways to cope with the pain. Other people have little pain but suffer a great deal because of their fears and resistance.
Studies have found, interestingly, that two of the best ways to cope with pain is acceptance and distraction. The more a person fights the pain and resists it, the more tense and anxious the person becomes and the worse the pain gets. Sometimes it is best to accept the pain, go with the flow, and relax as best you can. "It is what it is" as the Buddhists say.
Distraction also can help when the person can put their mind on something more interesting, engaging, and enjoyable. This takes some deliberate and purposeful intention and focusing. Practicing this distraction by refocusing is what I call "mind control." It is a skill which a person can get better at the more he/she practices. It is like a muscle that gets stronger with exercise.
I have found that relaxation techniques can also be very helpful using isometric exercises where the person deliberately tenses and relaxes the various muscle groups in the body.
For more information click here for an brief article entitled "Pain: The Two Best Psychological Techniques For Coping." on Psyblog.
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Only Prozac, Fluoxetine, seem to provide benefits greater than risks in adolescents with depression.
You can access the journal article abstract by clicking here.
There are many studies which show the benefits of psychotherapy however.
Monday, June 27, 2016
I am developing a training on Narrative Therapy for Mental Health and Substance Abuse professionals. If you would like more information about this training, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
And for the past century, our policymakers have responded to the challenge of managing public drug use in a manner that is, alas, riddled with contradictions: We have enforced strict bans on some intoxicants (cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana) and allowed the legal sale of other addictive substances (nicotine, alcohol, caffeine). Some legal substances are quite dangerous to public health; some illegal ones appear safe by comparison. Along the way, the United States has spent more than a trillion dollars enforcing anti-drug laws, and has imprisoned millions of people.
As former Executive Director of GCASA, the Genesee Council On Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, I am proud of the fact that we won the Drug Free Communities coalition of the year in 2006 out of 711 coalitions in the United States. I have continued to follow the prevention research and noticed today a study reported by Science Daily entitled, "Understanding Risk Factors Involved In The Initiation of Adolescent Alcohol Abuse" which was based on information provided by the Research Society On Alcoholism.
The article highlights the findings that adolescent alcohol abusers tend to be male from higher socioeconomic groups, have poorer executive functioning, and who have begun dating at earlier ages under 14.
For more information click here.