Monday, January 9, 2023

Managing one’s own death anxieties to support others.

This book presents a point of view based on my observations of those who have come to me for help. But because the observer always influences what is observed, served, I turn in Chapter Six to an examination of the observer and offer a memoir of my personal experiences with death and my attitudes about mortality. I, too, grapple with mortality and, as a professional who has been working with death anxiety for my entire career and as a man for whom death looms closer and closer, I want to be candid and clear about my experience with death anxiety.

Irvin D. Yalom. Staring at the Sun (Kindle Locations 104-106). Kindle Edition. 

Beyond the symptoms, difficulties in functioning, interpersonal conflicts lurks the fundamental question of mortality. For the psychotherapist, countertransference arises in working with clients who struggle with the existential question of their own mortality and death. All psychotherapists encounter these questions which usually get framed as management of grief and trauma. And yet little attention is paid to how therapists manage their fear of their own death.

At times like this, one does not need a psychotherapist as much as a philosopher.

Monday, January 2, 2023

Why did you kill these people? Because nobody stopped me. The Good Nurse - The movie

 Do police detectives sometimes do good work and save lives by getting to the bottom of criminal activity in spite of obstacles and deliberate attempts to cover up wrong doing? Yes.

Are there good people who struggle with personal hardships to do the right thing? Yes.

There are many lessons that viewers of The Good Nurse, a movie on Netflix, can take away from this movie based on real life events where a nurse killed as many as 400 patients in 9 or more hospitals.

Rather than investigate Charles Cullen's murderous behavior, hospital after hospital, minimizing their risk exposure to liability for their employee's engagement in activities that led to patient's deaths while under their care, these hospitals just quietly terminated nurse Cullen's employment and he moving on to continue the activity in another hospital.

At the end of the movie when nurse Cullen is asked why he killed these patients he simply says, "because nobody stopped me."

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Reactive or responsive?


The idea of being responsive and not reactive is a common topic in my counseling sessions.

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Sad or mad about climate change?

Last year The Lancet, one of the oldest and most-respected general medical journals, published a study of ten thousand young people, ages sixteen to twenty-five, in ten countries, that revealed that the majority of the respondents experienced climate anxiety as a regular part of their lives. The study concluded: “Distress about climate change is associated with young people perceiving that they have no future, that humanity is doomed, and that governments are failing to respond adequately, and with feelings of betrayal and abandonment by governments and adults. Climate change and government inaction are chronic stressors that could have considerable, long-lasting, and incremental negative implications for the mental health of children and young people.”

WHEN I ASKED HADLEY if thinking about the climate crisis left her feeling sad, she said no.

“The sadness doesn’t come through as much anymore as the anger does. I can’t mope. Or, I mean, I try not to mope. The main emotion I feel is anger at the people who did this. There are people who could fix this, people with money and power, people who could start to solve this, and they’re not. And that is what makes me mad.”

For more click here.

For even more click here.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Dogs or cats?

 A 55 year old male client last week asked me if I would write a letter to the apartment manager of the complex he is moving into declaring that his cat is a "support animal". He said he has had this cat for 4 years.

I have always thought of cats being more of a female thing and dogs more of a male thing, but I am not sure I am right. And then I wondered what is the most frequent support animal: a dog or cat and why. I have no idea and for a mental health professional supposedly having some expertise in "support animals" you might think that I would know.

At any rate here is what I have found out so far.

In my family of origin and family of intention we always had both a dog and cat and sometimes, fish, hamsters, rabbits. No amphibians or reptiles and least for not more than a few days. Turtles though. We sometimes had turtles but then the salmonella thing put us off of them.

Dogs or cats.png

There is no information about the sex of the owner.

I did write the letter for him.

Saturday, December 10, 2022

"Gaslighting" is the word of the year.

 "Gaslighting" is the word of the year for 2022 according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

Gaslighting is when you question the veracity of other people's statements and they twist things around and have you believing that you're the one who is mistaken or crazy. It is a way of disqualifying and dismissing a search for truth and meaning.

Gaslighting as become a prominent strategy in politics in the last 10 years and in the cable news shows. On the internet it used to be called "flaming" when one person attempts to discredit another with ad hominem attacks.

For more click here.