Thursday, November 14, 2019

Is the current impeachment process a culmination of centuries of American genocide and racism?

On 11/14/19 I sent this letter to my colleagues regarding the impeachment process we are currently witnessing.

Dear Collegues

I have been thinking about the current morality play being performed in Washington for the entertainment of the masses from many perspectives.

The spectacle and drama is great for the media outlets who get to monetize, the public fascination with the gladitorial combat taking place in the Capitol similar to the spectacle depicted in Hunger Games.

The prime character of Donald Trump who is depicted both as a bully and as a victim triangles would be rescuers and allies into the conflicted drama with people cast as perpetrators of violence who are victimizers. We are seeing domestic violence depicted on a macro scale in our national family.

If we were to call the police in, to provide structure and constraint on the parties engaged to prevent further violence and destruction and insure safety, from where would they come?

In a democracy, based on the idea of self governance, this structure and constraint supposedly comes from the people so governed to regulate themselves because there is no "deus ex machina" who will come from external places to save us. We must save ourselves or perish.

Are Americans up to the task?

What role, if any, do we as psychotherapists have to play, in ameliorating these dysfunctional dynamics in our national family?

First, according to Bowen theory of emotional systems, the therapist must have a highly developed sense of a differentiated self. The therapist must be a nonanxiouis presence in the face of emtional arousal. We can't help anyone else if we are not okay ourselves.

Second, according to Bowen Theory we attempt to detriangle the triangles. How do we help the Triumpian enablers quell their anxiety? Anxious people often attack to defend themselves. This is an emotional process not a rational one. You cannot convince, rationally, hurting people that they are not hurting. The Repbulican defenders/enablers of Trumpism are hurting and fighting to protect their egos. Will further attack help them or only make them more desperate and venemous? As therapists we, more than anyone, know the answer to this.

Third, working to change the form of the current government does not get to the root of the problem which lays in deep seated anxiety over social change which gave rise to Trumpism to begin with. Knowing that the current problems are the result of a multi-generational transmission process which began with the American Indian genocide and the enslavement of Africans, we, in the current generation, must come to acknowledge and make amends for the racism, mysogeney upon which our nation was founded and which still fuels at an unconscious level so much of our current politics.

Fourth, as Ruby Sales, the public theologian says, "Ask first, where does it hurt." and then go from there.

Americans are hurting right now because of the reflection of ourselves we are seeing in our elected officials whom we put into office. Rather than blame them, we need to examine and understand what it is that we have done to ourselves.

In the end, I have faith that we will be okay. All it takes is a few good people to light the way. There are many good people among us we can count on.

Fred Rogers said that his mother told him that if he found himself in a crisis look for the helpers. Who are the helpers you ask? Find a mirror, look into it, and enjoy the image.

David G. Markham, LCSWR
Brockport, NY

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Talking circles contribute to interpersonal connection and understanding.

Yesterday, 10/26/19, I went to the From Conflict to Collaboration workshop at St. John Fisher college in Rochester, NY, sponsored by PiRI, Partners In Restorative Initiatives. The keynote speaker was Dr. Lauren Abramson whose talk was entitled "Biology and Restorative Practices." On the handout which Dr. Abramson provided was the video below about "Daily Rap Dialogue Circles."

Talking circles is one of the fundamental restorative practices which are implemented in all kinds of settings for all kinds of situations. "Talking circles" is a respectful way to structure talking and listening experiences. Talking circles enable participants to communicate with one another in respectful and heart felt ways which foster interpersonal connection and understanding.

This video depicts how talking circles can be implemented in school settings. In Baltimore schools they are called "Daily Rap" dialogue circles.

Daily Rap dialogue circles in schools with students of all ages and with staff from on Vimeo.

Monday, October 21, 2019

What do peer kinship care navigator's do?

Editor's note:

I see many child caregivers who are grandparents and aunts and uncles who have raised children belonging to their adult children and siblings. This is very common especially because of the substance misuse of the parents.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

If your project doesn't have a deadline make one up

From Harvard Business Review Tip of the Day on 10/02/19
If Your Project Doesn’t Have a Deadline, Make One Up
It’s easy to prioritize projects that have deadlines — you know exactly when they’re due. But how do you motivate yourself when a project doesn’t have a deadline? Try making one up. Pick a date that you want the work done by, or set aside a certain amount of time for it each day or week. You can also create accountability by enlisting positive peer pressure. Tell a colleague what your deadline is (even if you picked it), and send them updates regularly. For additional motivation, incentivize yourself. For example, you might decide that after spending a morning on the project, you’ll treat yourself to lunch. Or you could let yourself work from your favorite coffee shop — as long as you finish the project’s next step. If those incentives aren’t powerful enough, try penalties. Decide that if you don’t complete the task as planned, you won’t be able to listen to your favorite podcast or watch your favorite TV show tonight.
This tip is adapted from How to Motivate Yourself When You Don’t Have a Deadline,” by Elizabeth Grace Saunders