Saturday, August 17, 2019

Bullying increases suicide risk 3 times in 12 - 15 year olds

From Science Daily on 08/15/19
A new study in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry(JAACAP), published by Elsevier, reports that bullying victimization may increase the risk of suicide attempts among young adolescents by approximately three-times worldwide.
"Globally, approximately 67,000 adolescents die of suicide each year and identifying modifiable risk factors for adolescent suicide is a public health priority," said lead author Ai Koyanagi, MD, and Research Professor at Parc Sanitari Sant Joan de Deu, Barcelona, Spain.
The findings are based on nationally representative data collected through the World Health Organization's (WHO) Global School-based Student Health Survey, which is a school-based survey conducted in multiple countries across the globe.
The study included 134,229 school-going adolescents aged between 12 and 15 years from 48 countries across five WHO regions, including Africa, the Americas, the Eastern Mediterranean, South-East Asia, and the Western Pacific. The sample was comprised of nine high-income-, 33 middle-income-, and 6 low-income-countries.

For more click here.

Editor's note:

I see a lot of middle school kids who are bullied usually in school. There are many aspects to these situations but the two that are biggest are first, that is the shame attached to other people watching the bullying and sometimes egging it on and joining in with excited shouts and derrogatory laughing and cat calls, and the second, is helping the victim stick up for himself and get out of the victim role. There are many ways to do this and the victim usually needs coaching and support.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Do you play the victim? Want to give this game up?

Editor's note:

Sometimes people are victims and need understanding, consolation, and compensation for the harm that has been done to them. This is NOT what Dr. Marks is talking about in this video. What she is referring to is a habitual pattern of dysfunctional behavior which is manifested in the complaint, "Why do these things always happen to me?"

A statement like "Why do these things always happen to me?" indicates a familiar rut, a familiar pattern of behavior, a "thing which the person seems to repeatedly do." This is the major schema of what is called a "personality disorder."

"Playing the victim" is an maladaptive attempt to get one's needs met. This method or strategy is usually below the person's level of conscious awareness. Becoming aware that one has a tendency to play the victim is the first step in escaping and changing this long term schema or way of behaving in one's interactions with other people.

As I like to say, "If you can't name it, you can't change it. But once you can name it and are aware of it, you can imagine other ways you might manage your emotions and the circumstances you find yourself in. Dr. Marks suggests five possibilities. Maybe you can imagine five more.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Longest married couple in America

In 2015 the longest married couple in America were 99 years old and had been married 81 years.


In 2018 a couple had been married 83 years.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

What difference does locus of control make?

What the difference between saying to someone:

"Wow, you sure got lucky on that one!"


"You did a good job positioning yourself so you were in the right place and the right time."

Friday, July 12, 2019

Trump has them coming for you. Who wll be next?


From The Week, 07/12/19
Raids targeting undocumented immigrants loom
Federal agents are gearing up for raids targeting undocumented families set to begin Sunday, The New York Times reported Thursday, citing two current and one former homeland security officials. The details of the project still were not fixed. The raids reportedly have President Trump's support, but have been delayed partly due to resistance from some immigration officials. Democratic lawmakers and activists criticized the plan and reminded immigrants of their legal rights. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) issued a statement providing information about a state-supported immigrant legal defense group, while Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) tweeted that "you do not have to open your door" to law enforcement or ICE agents "unless there is a signed judicial warrant." [The New York Times, CNN]

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Thursday, June 20, 2019

President Trump's behavior is not okay in New York State

Donald J. Trump make think it is okay for celebrity, rich males to grope women's genitals and kiss them uninvited but lawmakers in New York State don't think it is okay.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Fatherhood has changed over the last century

As an old guy at 73 who became a father for the first time at age 20 and then went on to have 8 more children, 9 total, yes, with the same woman, very unusual in this day and age, I will acknowledge, I have seen drastic changes in the role of fatherhood in our society from the time of my grandfather who was born in 1894 and my father born in 1918, and my time born in 1945, and my youngest son's time born in 1980.

The role of fatherhood significantly changed when Roe vs. Wade was decided in 1973 and abortion became legal in United States and motherhood and fatherhood became optional when a pregnancy occurred. The current curtailment of abortion in Repulbican States has sigfiicant impact on women who have the right of abortion or are losing it, but the "rights" of fathers, if there is such a thing, is rarely recognized and acknowledged. Fathers, when they have impregnated a woman, have no rights unless the child is born and then they are frequently contested.

Fathers have been rendered impotent by the state when it comes to whether a pregnancy will be carried to term or aborted and with that decision comes a great deal of angst and what Freud might have called "castration anxiety". This social event of whether to carry a pregnancy to term or to abort leaves most men marginalized and disenfranchised by the legal system because they have no rights and thus many men take what the attachment theorists an "avoidant" or an "anxious" stance. It is rare for a man in this situation to feel secure.

In this day and age, unlike my grandfather's, father's, and mine, a man is not even required for impregnation. Women are quite self sufficient in regards to whether she wants to become a mother or not, and men who donate semen to a sperm bank may not even know the extistence of children they have sired.

It is a new world, we are living in, in this day and age, a world in which fatherhood has become a luxury and a privilege if a mother will allow it and wants it, but men have been rendered ancillary and no longer primary when it comes to the role of fatherhood.

Parenting, of course, is another topic. There is a distinction between being a father and being a parent. I don't know if fathers are doing more parenting now than they have in the past. I suspect, if studied, we might find that the type of parenting males do in our current culture is quite different than the parenting of my father and grandfather. I changed diapers, burped, bathed, feed, supervized, and played with my children something that neither my father or grandfather ever did, nor would have thought of doing, because it was "women's work."

Fathers who also parent deserve repect and honor for the roles they play in nurturing the suceeding generation. Grandfathering is important too and many of my clients report that while their own fathers were M.I.A. their grandfather not only took an interest but were there for them.

In my practice, parenting for fathers is a constant theme, usually surfaced as we discuss the genesis of their symptoms of depression, anxiety, anger, fear, and demoralization. It is interesting how the focus on "social issues" in our politics largely ignores the role of fathers as parents unless it involves father bashing as portrayed in our media like TV shows and movies where fathers are portrayed as imcompetent morons like Homer Simpson, Family Guy, Archie Bunker. It is interesting how fathers are so easily made the butt of jokes, satire, and sarcasm.

In this enviornment, men struggle to understand what it means to be a man in our current culture, and fatherhood and parenting are fraught with ambivalent and ambigous messages. When it comes to fatherhood and parenting, men need to be empowered by clearer defintions of the role they can and should play. There is a lot of work for us psychotherapists and family therapists to do.

Best wishes to all the men who are not only fathers but parents,

Friday, June 14, 2019

Irrational societal fears can paralyze parents and cripple their children.

From Dr. Peter Gray's article on Psychology Today on 06/14/19

Children are designed, by nature, to spend hours per day playing with other children, independently of adults.  

In such play they practice all sorts of physical and mental skills; discover and pursue their passions; and learn how to create their own activities, solve their own problems, get along with peers, and control their emotions and impulses.  

Depriving children of independent play inflicts serious harm on them.  

For documentation of such harm, see: The Decline of Play and Rise in Children’s Mental DisordersAs Children’s Freedom Has Declined, So Has Their CreativityDeclining Student Resilience: A Serious Problem for Colleges; and How We Deprive Children of the Physical Activity They Need.

For more click here.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Psychotherapeutic humanities, Book, An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Book Review

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

An American Marriage is a novel about a young black couple who get married who are from different social classes. The wife, Celestial, comes from a wealthy upper class family while Roy comes from a working class family. They both are college educated but coming from different backgrounds seem to have different values, beliefs, and preferences.

Roy gets arrested and is falsely accused of rape and sentenced to twelve years in prison after the first year of his marriage to Celestial.

Celestial stops visiting Roy after about three years saying that she can’t live like she is, as a single woman, while Roy, her husband, is incarcerated. Celestial has taken up with Andre her childhood friend who also was Roy’s best friend and is the person who introduced Roy and Celestial to begin with. Roy is released after five years when his case is overturned on appeal. Roy’s homecoming to find that Celestial and Andre are planning to marry when Celestial sues Roy for divorce brings the plot, the love triangle between Celestial, Roy, and Andre, to a climax.

The ambivalence each character experiences about these love relationships creates the creative tension that gives this novel its appeal.

The subplot deals with the injustice of the criminal justice system as it pertains to prosecuting and incarcerating black men and the damage this does to families and the communities beyond the injustice done to the alleged offender.

Tayari Jones is a good writer but the story is a bit like a soap opera. The moral of the story is a muddle. Whether Roy and Celestial would have made a go of their marriage had Roy not been incarcerated is hard to tell. It may have dissolved anyway, but after a year of marriage the bond was not strong enough to weather the enforced physical separation.

Celestial and Roy had talked about having children but had put it off. Had they had children one would wonder if this would have made a difference.

Why the novel is entitled “An American Marriage” is not clear. What makes the marriage between Celestial and Roy “American” is never addressed. The dynamics of the plot involve an African-American couple, but would be similar if the couple were white, or Hispanic, or Asian.

Reading “An American Marriage” reminds me Stewart O’Nan’s novel, “The Good Wife” which has a similar plot except the wife is pregnant when her husband is incarcerated and she stands by him and raises their child for 28 years.

An American Marriage gets a 6.5 on the MBH 10 point scale.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Psychotherapeutic humanities - "You Choose" by Linda McCullough Moore

Chapter three
Where do divorces come from?

Linda McCullough Moore writes in her story, "You Choose" in her book of short stories, An Episode of Grace, on pages 1-2,

I turn the wipers to fast swish and purse my lips and hunch my shoulders, as though these nods to ritual and posture might give me better traction.

“Where did this weather come from?” I say.

“Heaven,” Adam says. “God. Same place as every weather.”

Adam is six and the only member of our family who is unfailingly religious.

McCullough Moore, Linda. An Episode of Grace . Thornapple Books.pp.1-2


Is Adam’s comment about the weather coming from God because he is “unfailingly religious” or because he is still innocent and hasn’t been corrupted yet by the socialization and conditioning of society?

Linda McCullough Moore always seem to inject a spiritual consciousness in her writing which makes it full of grace. The title of this book of Moore’s short stories is entitled, “An Episode Of Grace” and here, in this first story, as the family gets stuck in a snowstorm on their way to meeting with the children’s father so that he, and their mother, driving the car, can share with them the news about the death of their marriage, their intention to divorce, and breaking up the these two young boys family as they have known it, we read about a moment of grace which the mother calls "religous.".

The mother’s question, “Where does this weather come from?” is more than just a question about the weather. It is a question about the purpose of their journey, the purpose of their intended mission, the purpose of life.

Dr. Freud taught us about the unconscious mind and that what we think we are doing consciously often has little to do with what our deeply held  unconscious  thoughts and feelings are.

Our will and God’s will are often two different things. The joke pointing to this truth is “If you want to hear God laugh, tell God your plans.”

The mother’s question, “Where does this weather come from?” can be said in many ways such as merely a comment on the fact of the matter, or a sigh of victimization, and perhaps with a laugh at the absurdity of the situation with their trip being disrupted in an uncontrollable way.

Adam, at the age of six, still thinks about situations with a concrete innocence that still believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. Adam reminds me of the little about a young boy in Sunday School drawing a picture. The Sunday School teacher asks him, “What are you drawing?”

The little boy says, “I am drawing a picture of God.”

The teacher says, kindly, “Well, nobody knows what God looks like.”

The little boy says, “You will when I am done.”

The mother chalks up Adam’s comment to religiosity. It might be better understood in terms of his stage of cognitive, social, and emotional development. Adam is still innocent and thinks that the weather comes from God. When he is told about his parents’ divorce, where will he think that comes from?

To be continued.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Psychotherapeutic humanities - "The Maid's Story" by Adam O'Fallon Price

The story in the June, 2019 issue of Harper's Magazine is "The Maid's Story" by Adam O'Fallon Price.

The story is about a hotel maid, Hannah Kohl, who is afflicted with kleptomania and steals small items from the hotel guests' rooms. Hannah steals a ruby brooch, a piece of cheap costume jewelry, from Annette Gerson who was staying for a few days on vacation with her husband and two children.
Hannah is terrified of her thefts being discovered and being fired from her job.

When Mrs. Gerson catches Hannah stealing her brooch, Mrs. Gerson enters into a scheme to blackmail Hannah into coming to her home and staying over night by offering medical care for her son, 8, suffering from polio.

As the story progresses Mrs. Gerson sexually molests Hannah and then manipulates the situation so that Hannah is fired from her job and has little choice but to move to Manhatten and become a live in nanny for Mrs. Gerson's children.

In this age of #MeToo, this is a story of sexual exploitation outside of the usual male/perpetrator - female/victim motiff. In this story a female becomes a perpetrator in a lesbian assault. What makes the story work is the class difference of a rich women preying on a poor one.

While sexual abuse makes the news and public outrage is fanned, class differences which often make the exploitation possible are overlooked. What appears to be sexual exploitation could not occur if class differences were not part of the situation.

As is so often the case from a psychotherapeutic perspective, the sex is the minor part of the offense in which domination, exploitation, and abuse of power is the root evil. Domination and subjugation robs the person of his/her right to self determination and agency.

This is how the story ends.Hannah Kohl is called into her supervisor's office and fired. She is told there is a message for her at the hotel desk to call Mrs. Gerson.

"How horrible," the woman's voice boomed in response to the news of her termination.

"Yes, I was reported."

"How horrible," she repeated. "Well, perhaps this is kismet. Mr. Gerson and I have just been discussing the need for a live-in nanny. I have so much to do, and only so much time-" she went on, but the maid was only half-listening, aware of herself as a guest watching might have aware of her: a slight woman in a sweater and long skirt and cheap brown shoes, shoulders shaking, bent over the desk in a posture of utter submission.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Psychotherapeutic humanities - overview

Medical humanities

Psychotherapeutic humanities
There are many activities that are involved in training psychotherapists. The main activities are academic learning about various aspects of human functioning: biologically, psychologically, sociologically, spiritually. The disciplines of study are varied and many.

Aside from the academic learning comes the practice, through internships, and later through clinical supervision, which consists of discussing one’s work with a more experienced psychotherapist. Learning for a psychotherapist is ongoing and lifelong.

One of the activities that may provide the most learning is the study of the psychotherapeutic humanities, a branch of the medical humanities,  which are the arts such as novels, films, plays, art, and music. The humanities have much to teach physicians, nurses, the psychotherapist, and other human service workers about human nature and life.

On Markham’s Behavioral Health we describe works of art which are helpful in our understanding of human nature and our lives. It is this understanding that contributes to the maturity and wisdom of the psychotherapist.

Over the next few weeks, material from Linda McCullough Moore’s book of short stories, An Episode of Grace will be discussed. It would be informative and enjoyable if people were to read the book and join in the discussions by commenting on the articles posted.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Psychotherapeutic humanities - Do we own our children or lease them?

Linda McCullough Moore writes in her story, "You Choose" in her book of short stories, An Episode of Grace,

My windshield is all but whited out before it occurs to me it’s snowing. I’m getting to be so slow on the uptake. It takes a snowplow broadsiding me for snow to capture my attention. 

“Wow,” Jonah sings out from the backseat as the car in front of us attempts to brake and skids into the empty passing lane. 

“Awesome. That rules.” 

Jonah is eleven and things either “rule” or they “suck.” 

I can’t decide which word I dislike more.

McCullough Moore, Linda. An Episode of Grace . Thornapple Books. Kindle Edition.

Reading this passage, I smile. Jonah is eleven which puts him in sixth grade, the first year of middle school. The power of the peer group starts to exert itself and kids pick up the slang words of their generation. This makes them part of the in-group and fosters a sense of belonging in a group outside of the family of origin.

Slang sets its speakers a part. Slang is a sign of membership and separates the child from his/her parents and family. The narrator, Jonah's mother, doesn't say what she doesn't like about the words that Jonah is using. We can speculate that they are not the same slang words she used in her middle school years and so they seem foreign to her and therefore objectionable.

Jonah's use of his generation's slang is an apron string being cut, a pulling away from a mother-son bond and attachment and could it be that mother feels somewhat jealous, competitive, left out, and sad?

It is hard for some parents to watch their children grow up and leave them which ultimately they must if they are to develop a healthy self sufficiency and autonomy. As one person put it, Our children are not our possessions. We don't own them. They have only been leased to us temporarily by God.

This is a second article on "You Choose" by Linda McCullough Moore.

To be continued

Book - The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to Be a Better Husband

Wondering how to handle a marital relationship when one of the partners has Asperger Syndrome?

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Psychotherapeutic humanities - When to tell the children about the impending divorce?

Linda McCullough Moore's book of short stories, An Episode Of Grace, begins with the story entitled, "You choose," which begins with this paragraph:

"I’m driving on Route 91, going ten miles over the limit, on the way to my divorce, or, at least, to its announcement. My husband Jake and I decided we would tell the kids tonight. We’ve waited way too long. Our marriage died of natural causes years ago. We are planning that our children will be shocked beyond surprise, but we both know better. Any hesitation that we have about telling them isn’t fear of their surprise; it’s knowing that once we say the words, out loud, to them, it will be official, carved in stone, irreversible. But, of course, that’s what we want."

The childrens' names are Jonah who is 11 and Adam who is 6.

Of all the questions I get asked as a couple counselor and a family therapist by people going through a divorce are when and how to tell the kids?

My stock answer is "Don't tell them anything until you know specifically what the plan is unless they ask."

Kids being narcissistic in a healthy way first ask when told their parents are separating is "What's going to happen to me?" Parents need to have the answer to provide the child with whatever sense of security and predictability they are able.

The narrator in this story has her plan in place and has coordinated the telling the children with her husband and is on her way. But as she travels to the meeting with the children she gets stuck in a snow storm and as the various events unfold her ambivalence was divorcing her husband grows in poignant ways.

The ambivalence partners usually feel about a break-up with the concomitant anger, sadness, fear, hope, sense of failure and regret, are things the therapist witnesses and, hopefully, clarifies with the client(s) into some sort of coherent story that makes sense to themselves primarily and then to others affected.

The key question, often overlooked, in the emotional turmoil is, "What is the purpose of this relationship?" The genuine answers to this question usually lie at an unconscious level that the individual is not aware of and doesn't understand.

The understandings of one's motivations, choices, and responsibilities are key to growth towards greater maturity so that the individual does not jump from the proverbial frying pan into the fire and engage in what Dr. Freud called the "repetition compulsion" to merely re-enact the same scenario over again.

The narrator of the story recognizes that telling the children about the impending divorce is a milestone in the process which she determines as a point of no return. It is an action which will make the rupture permanent and complete. The finality and the closure seems to heighten her apprehension about the decision to divorce rather than mollify it and liberate her.

You choose is a great story and much can be learned as we puruse our study of the psychotherapeutic humanities.

This is the first article on "You Choose" by Linda McCullough Moore.

To be continued

How media spreads false information.

Editor's note:

False information is toxic in the societal consciousness. False information distorts community norms and atittudes contributing to societal dysfunction. The computer meme is "garbage in, garbage out."

Just as we are aware of the idea of "caveat emptor", let the buyer beware, in our economic interactions, we should be aware of media distortions and strive to be "media literate" so we can develop immunity to toxic misinformation.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Self regulation lessons with Cookie Monster

Holding anti-immigration extremists accountable in Arivaca, Arizona

There is increasing evidence that Trumpism, hating the other, has brought out the worst in American democracy.

There is growing evidence that hate speech and hate crimes are on the rise.

Local citizens, however,  have organized and resisted and held white supremicists and vigilante groups accountable.

One such example is Arivaca, Arizona. You can read about it in the May/June, 2019 issue of Mother Jones in an article entitled, "Not In My Backyard: How One Arizona Desert Town United To Fight Off Anti-Immigration Extremists" by Eric Reidy.

For more click here.

Editor's comment - Many of my clients are demoralized and depressed by the immoral and unethical behavior of their leaders and fellow citizens. It is not mentally healthy to see oneself as a victim.

There are many things that individuals, small groups, and communities can do to resist the immoral and unethical policies and behavior of Trumpism which is defined as the scapegoating of the other.

When bullying and scapegoating is occuring it is very important for the audience, whom the bullies are playing to, to call it out and refuse to support it.

Megan Davern, a bartender at La Gitana in Arivaca, Arizona did just that. Her witness is prophetic and should be emulated to create a world with more justice, equity, and compassion. Every person has inherent worth and dignity and deserves respect. Megan is a brave and courageous woman as are her fellow citizens who took action to limit the activities of the anti-immigrant vigilantes.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

How the media spreads false information

Editor's note:

False information is toxic in the societal consciousness. False information distorts community norms and atittudes contributing to societal dysfunction. The computer meme is "garbage in, garbage out."

Just as we are aware of the idea of "caveat emptor", let the buyer beware, in our economic interactions, we should be aware of media distortions and strive to be "media literate" so we can develop immunity to toxic misinformation.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Articles worth reading - Most Of What We Think of As “Love” is Bullshit

As a marriage counselor, I hear people say all the time that they love somebody or somebody told them that they loved them and when I ask "How do you define love?" most people seem irritated, annoyed, put on the spot, and defensive.

What is "love" and what isn't "love." This is an important question that haunts us our whole lives. "Most Of What We Think Of As "Love" is Bullshit" is an important article which gives a lot of ideas for thought and reflection.

Access it by clicking here.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Gambling is a state sponsored addiction especially with state run lotteries

Gambling addiction is a big deal to the person suffering from it and the person's family and community.

Gambling addicition is a government sponsored and encouraged addiction. All but six states run lotteries (Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada, Utah).

About 95% of problem gamblers play state sponsored lotteries.

10 - 15% of people buy 80% of lottery tickets.

Lotteries brought in $17.7 billion in 2015.

For more click here.

To learn where to get help with a gambling problem click here.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Dependence on AI - Be careful!

How does the U.S. economy stack up compared to other countries over history?

The optimal functioning of Democracy depends on educated, well informed citizens. Most Americans are woefully ignorant or they could not have elected as incompetent a chief executive as Donald J. Trump in 2016. One of the goals of this blog is to provide information so that people are better informed of the world around them and can make better decisions about things that affect their own and the mutual welfare of humanity.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Peer psychotherapist support meeting feedback

Supervision Feedback Sheet

Please place a hashmark on the line which most closely measures your degree of satisfaction with the indicator. The far left is 0% and the far right is 100%. The middle of the line would be 50%. Complete this feedback sheet as soon as you are able after the meeting. Bring it for discussion at the next subsequent meeting.

Date of the meeting_________________________________

1. I had an opportunity to talk about what I wanted to talk about.

0                                                                                                                                                   10  

2. I felt understood.

0                                                                                                                                                   10

3. I was able to clarify my thoughts and feelings about the topics under discussion.

0                                                                                                                                                   10

4. As a result of the discussion I gained in confidence in my own functioning.

0                                                                                                                                                  10

5. As a result of the discussion I gained in confidence in my purpose in working with the cases and situations reviewed.

0                                                                                                                                                   10

6. I was able to generate and/or obtain new ideas about how to proceed.

0                                                                                                                                                   10

7. As the meeting unfolded I felt I could trust the process and be more self disclosing.

0                                                                                                                                                   10

8. The things discussed were relevant and useful.

0                                                                                                                                                   10

9. A couple of things I got out of the meeting are:



10. A couple of things I would change in future meetings to improve the experience are:



11. Please prioritize the benefits below from 1 = most important to 3 = lesser importance.

            ____ Personal and professional support for my work.

            _____ It helped me know better what to do or not to do in my work to facilitate better outcomes.

            _____ It helped me grow in my professional knowledge and skills.

            _____ Other -

12. The time and effort to reflect and provide feedback on this supervisory process is worth it.

0                                                                                                                                                   10

13. I would like the feedback process to continue to be part of our meetings.

0                                                                                                                                                   10

14. Some questions I would like added to this feedback sheet are:

15. Questions which can be deleted from this feedback sheet are: (list numbers)


Nora McInerny - Grief: Moving on or moving forward?

For a video commentary click here.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Almost half of Generation Z are people of racial and ethnic minority groups in U.S.

Stat: 48%—Almost half the members of Generation Z—age 22 or younger—are racial or ethnic minorities.

 Story: Step aside, Millennials. There’s a new, younger group out there: Generation Z, which includes anyone born after 1996.

To learn more about this generation, we sat down with Kim Parker, director of social trends research at the Pew Research Center. Listen in to hear about Gen Z’s social, cultural, and political inclinations, and what this might mean for the future.

For more click here.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Jurors in capital trials suffer PTSD and other mental health problems

Prophetic women and men is a regular feature of the UU A Way Of Life ministries blog which appears on Sundays.

On 06/24/1994 Lindy Lou Isonhood. as a member of a jury in Mississippi, voted to put a man to death. She has regretted her decision and now become a death penalty abolitionist. Her story is disturbing and inspiring.


For a brief commentary about this article click here.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

On average 6 people die every day in the U.S. from Alcohol overdoses

In the United States, six people die each day from periods of extreme binge drinking that lead to alcohol overdose, also known as alcohol poisoning. When taking into account all alcohol-related causes of death (e.g., liver disease, motor vehicle crashes), there were 88,424 alcohol-attributable deaths per year on average from 2006 to 2010. 

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Social indicators - U.S. has low life expectancy compared to other first world countries and continues to drop

Most Americans think that the United States is exceptional. On most social indicators, however, the U.S.  has relatively low rankings for first world countries. One such social indicator is life expectancy and the United States comes no where close to the top ten countries.

There are many reasons for the U.S. low rankings in life expectancy as compared to these other countries. The several that come first to mind are our terrible health care system, our gun policy, our drug problems, infant child mortality, systemic racism, wealth inequality, and our diverse population.

The life expectancy in the U.S. has actually dropped in the last few years.

In 2015, the United States ranked at 31 in the world on life expectancy.

How are our elected officials dealing with issue? When is the last time you heard a campaigning politician raise life expectancy has a policy issue the nation, state, and local municipality has to work on?

Duing the argument over the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), then House Speaker, John Boehner, said that the U.S. had the best health care system in the world. Maybe this is true if you have the ealth and health care benefits afforded to a member of congress, but the same health care resources available to a congressperson is available to the the average American.

The Republican party led by the Republican Senate leader Mich McConnell and former Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan have fought against improving our health care system of the last several years being financed by the health care and pharmaceutical industries. While there have been improvements with the ACA making health care available for more Americans many Red states rejected medicaid expansion which would improve health care services to their citizens. Univeral health care is still a vision for the future which is a right in most first world countries which have much higher levels of life expectancy.

Of course, there are other factors which contribute to the low life expectancy in the United States which are better thought of as being pulbic health problems than health care problems with behavioral health issues being significant especially when it comes to substance abuse, suicide, and homicide.

United Health Care was sued and lost on its policy of denying behavioral health care to its subscribers. Access to behavioral health care is still difficult because of stigma and health provider barriers to access.

For a video commentary click here.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Physical, emotional, and verbal abuse in families

Editor's note:

This is a sad and accurate story of abusive patterns of behavior that develop in some families. This video and story comes from the UK. Here in the US, the narrator and older female sibling can and perhaps should call Child Protective Services who will investigate. In New York State where I live these reports can be made anonymously.

The father, the perpetrator of abuse, does not need punishment but mental health help or perhaps a combination of services from the mental health system and the criminal justice system. In many jurisdictions domestic violence laws first utilized by the police in a complaint driven process, hold people who engage in abuse accountable for their behaviors. It has been my experience that restorative justice approaches work better than adversaril punitive ones.

For the number in New York State is and further information click here.

Child Protective Services are available in all states in the United States, and provinces in Canada. I suspect CPS is available in all first world countries.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

How internet "echo chambers" lead to faster radicalization on Marketplace Tech

The audio clip lasts about 6 minutes. Molly Wood is the moderator of Marketplace Tech. Fathali Moghaddam is a professor psychology at Georgetown University. 

Molly Wood: What are the things that move people, ultimately, to violence?

Fathali Moghaddam: It's a slow process sometimes, but it can also be rapid. The key issues are that individuals feel that they are being mistreated, that there is injustice in the world. Particularly nowadays, through the internet, an echo chamber has developed and isolation takes place, so this group radicalizes. The radicalization takes place in relation to other groups. It's what I call mutual radicalization. Gradually they get to a stage where one or two of them are ready for actual violent behavior.

Wood: It sounds like what you're saying is that, not only is the internet particularly ripe for this type of behavior, but that, in fact, as online communities become radicalized, they radicalize each other. They up the ante.

Moghaddam: Absolutely. This is becoming the norm. We see this in politics. We see it in extremist ideology. There is a relationship between these radicalizing movements and the internet. This is taking place in the wider context of globalization.

Editor notes:
People are easily propagandized because of what historically we have called "peer pressure." People want to fit in and belong to something larger than themselves. The norms of the group which influence compliance and obedience can be for positive social good or negative social good.

Perhaps the dangerious step up the ladder of radicalization is when the sense of social justice becomes self righteously personal. The sense of grievance rises to high levels which compels attack on those perceived as being the perpetrators of the injustice. In these situaions, violence and terrorisism seems not only justified but holy to an insane ego. Most of the U.S. public engaged in this behavior when they supported the Afghani and Iraq war back in 2001. The indiscriminate bombing characterized as "shock and awe" by the media was based on the delusional belief that the Iraqis had WMD.

There was one dissenting vote in the congress on the resolution to engage in this delusional behavior. That was Congress woman Barbara Lee. She was the one healthy person in the whole congress and history will remember her brave and courageous behavior in taking a principled stand against trememdous propaganda and social pressure.

The ego likes to play the game of "one or the other." Americans are quick to project their guilt onto people they perceive as different from themselves. The antidote for this radicalization of populations is to provide personal experience of a positive nature with the person perceived as "different" and a reduction in fear with methods other than self righteous attack

For more click here.