Monday, July 18, 2016

Can you provide a non anxious presence to others?

Amy Banks writes in her book, Wired To Connect, "A new field of scientific study, one I call relational neuroscience, has shown us that there is hardwiring throughout our brains and bodies designed to help us engage in satisfying emotional connection with others." p.3 Dr. Banks then goes on to describe four neural pathways which she describes as the smart vagus nerve, the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, the mirroring system, and the dopamine reward system.

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

Saturday, July 16, 2016

The eight dimensions of wellness

What are the 8 dimensions of wellness? On a scale of 0 - 10 with 10 being 100% and 0 being nothing at all how would you rate your wellness on each of these 8 dimensions? A perfect score when everything is perfect in your life would be an 80. A score of less than 40 or a 5 on any dimension indicates that there is work to be done to improve the quality of your wellness.

Friday, July 15, 2016

President Obama provides wisdom and solace to a nation in mourning after the Dallas police killings.

President Obama's eulogy for the five Dallas police officers killed is well worth watching and seems good for the mental health of the nation. I recommend it to you.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Mixing Pot and Tobacco Increases Dependence Risk

From MedlinePlus on 07/06/16:

TUESDAY, July 5, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- People who mix marijuana with tobacco are at greater risk for dependency and less motivated to find support to quit these drugs, researchers report.
One billion people around the globe use tobacco and 182 million people smoke pot, making these two of the world's most popular drugs, according to the World Health Organization and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
For more click here.
When I have been asked by clients to help them quit pot and they also smoke cigarettes, i strongly suggest that they quit smoking tobacco also and help them figure out a way to do that that will work best for them. If the client is willing to make a tobacco quit attempt, they usually are more successful at also quitting pot.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Is faith the basis for good mental health?

"It's all about the bio-psycho-social-spiritual model," said Fred. "The functioning of human beings is not simple. It's not like there is a silver bullet or a magic key. It's more complicated and nuanced than that."

"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

Good overview of current research on Borderline Personality Disorder

Published on Jun 15, 2016 The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation June Meet the Scientist Webinar featured Dr. Sarah Kathryn Fineberg, Instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at Yale University. She presented on "Social Learning in Borderline Personality Disorder."