Category Archives: Science

Study: Your Generosity Creates More Generosity and Empathy in Others

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This is a reblog from reflectd

Human beings are social beings. The tendency to behave, talk and walk like others is what we call conformity, which has been documented in various studies.

It is believed that sociality is a product of evolution, meaning that we have had better chances of survival in groups than we have had on our own.

We may react strongly to social exclusion because we are social beings. Indeed, research has shown that the brain reacts to social exclusion and physical pain in very similar ways.

This means that conformity is a driving force. Have you ever wondered why some people follow other people who don’t stop for a red traffic light? They behave like the group, possibly by instinct.

We know that conformity can result in both prosocial and antisocial behaviors. But does conformity only happen at the behavioral level? It seems not.

A study by Nook and colleagues (2016) finds that when people behave generously, other people begin to behave more generously and feel more empathy as well.

In the study, people who observed generous charity donations donated more than those who observed stingy donations.

Moreover, the prosocial behavior generalized across behaviors and situations. The people who observed generous donations wrote more supportive notes to others at a later time point.

The sound of brains singing in tune

Mass suggestion: A way to save the world? 

 

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The Therapeutic Alliance: The Essential Ingredient for Psychotherapy

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umbrellas

 I am currently writing on the ‘therapeutic alliance’ – its relation to mindfulness, psychotherapy, understanding, and ‘being listened to…’   What follows is an interesting article that I came across that may interest some of you…

Excerpt:

Have you ever tried to change the way you do something? It could be anything — the way you hold your tennis racket, blow into a flute, meditate — you name it. If so, think about that experience. No matter how motivated you were to change, and no matter how much you knew that it would help your serve, musicality, or sense of inner peace, it can be difficult and scary to change even the smallest thing. In order to change, you have to give up your old way of doing something first and then try the new way. That means that for a while you’re in a free fall — you no longer have your old habit to rely on and you don’t yet have the new one.

The anxiety of trying to change something as complex and entrenched as how you relate to people close to you or manage stress takes the feeling to a whole new level. Yet, that’s just what you do when you enter psychotherapy. Just as you had to put yourself into the hand of your teachers and coaches, in therapy you need to gradually do just that with your therapist to help you through what can be a harrowing adventure. The foundation for therapy is called the therapeutic alliance (1, 2). When it’s there, you know that your therapist is there to help you, no matter how hard the going gets.

The therapeutic alliance might be the most important part of beginning a psychotherapy. In fact, many studies indicate that the therapeutic alliance is the best predictor of treatment outcome (3-5).

See entire article:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deborah-l-cabaniss-md/therapeutic-alliance_b_1554007.html

 

A mad world A diagnosis of mental illness is more common than ever – did psychiatrists create the problem, or just recognise it?

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Unfortunate Events

When a psychiatrist meets people at a party and reveals what he or she does for a living, two responses are typical. People either say, ‘I’d better be careful what I say around you,’ and then clam up, or they say, ‘I could talk to you for hours,’ and then launch into a litany of complaints and diagnostic questions, usually about one or another family member, in-law, co-worker, or other acquaintance. It seems that people are quick to acknowledge the ubiquity of those who might benefit from a psychiatrist’s attention, while expressing a deep reluctance ever to seek it out themselves…

…While a continuous view of mental illness probably reflects underlying reality, it inevitably results in grey areas where ‘caseness’ (whether someone does or does not have a mental disorder) must be decided based on judgment calls made by experienced clinicians. In psychiatry, those calls usually depend on whether a patient’s complaints are associated with significant distress or impaired functioning. Unlike medical disorders where morbidity is often determined by physical limitations or the threat of impending death, the distress and disruption of social functioning associated with mental illness can be fairly subjective. Even those on the softer, less severe end of the mental illness spectrum can experience considerable suffering and impairment. For example, someone with mild depression might not be on the verge of suicide, but could really be struggling with work due to anxiety and poor concentration. Many people might experience sub-clinical conditions that fall short of the threshold for a mental disorder, but still might benefit from intervention.

See link for interesting article on psychiatry…and bits about the importance of psychotherapeutic intervention…

http://aeon.co/magazine/being-human/have-psychiatrists-lost-perspective-on-mental-illness/

Milton H Erickson

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On the bus yesterday, I listened to an audiobook about a man I found very interesting. I would love to reproduce everything I heard, but this will be some facts that I found especially interesting

I had the nickname in grade school and high school, “Dictionary,” because I spent so much time reading the dictionary. One noon, just after the noon dismissal bell rang, I was in my usual chair reading the dictionary in the back of the room. Suddenly a blinding, dazzling flash of light occurred because I just learned how to use the dictionary. Up to that moment in looking up a word, I started at the first page and went through every column, page after page until I reached the word. In that blinding flash of light I realized that you use the alphabet as an ordered system for looking up a word…I don’t know why it took me so long. Did my unconscious purposely withhold that knowledge because of the immense amount of education I got from reading the dictionary?

Milton H. Erickson – Wikipedia

His story is impressive, and even more so when one considers his background: He was color blind, deaf and dyslexic. He learned hypnosis, and worked as a psychiatrist first. He married, got 5 children with his wife (he had three from previous relationships). He founded the American Society of Hypnosis. He died in 1980, and his ashes were strewn over a mountain top that many of his clients reached.

I had polio, and I was totally paralyzed, and the inflammation was so great that I had a sensory paralysis too. I could move my eyes and my hearing was undisturbed. I got very lonesome lying in bed, unable to move anything except my eyeballs. I was quarantined on the farm with seven sisters, one brother, two parents, and a practical nurse. And how could I entertain myself? I started watching people and my environment. I soon learned that my sisters could say “no” when they meant “yes.” And they could say “yes” and mean “no” at the same time. They could offer another sister an apple and hold it back. And I began studying nonverbal language and body language.
I had a baby sister who had begun to learn to creep. I would have to learn to stand up and walk. And you can imagine the intensity with which I watched as my baby sister grew from creeping to learning how to stand up.
– My Voice Will Go With You

He was recognized for his hypnotherapy, were he integrated his extensive knowledge collected from experience and intelligence. An example of his insights: “One day a horse wandered into his home place. He let the horse take him where he wanted, and he stopped where he came from. When the farmer asked how he knew where the horse came from, he said: I didn`t, the horse did”. By relying on the force of the unconscious, he could help both people and animals

Milton Erickson was an interesting therapist and scientist: With creativity he tailored therapy to each client so that it fitted perfectly. He was the perfect ”mirror” for others, so much that he actually could “talk” exactly like the client in front of him. He strongly believed in the unconscious, and in letting people find their own insights. He could tell little anecdotes that were completely right for the client. An example was an alcoholic that lived in a family where everyone drank (even his own wife) and drunk for several years. He was considered a hopeless case. Milton gave him a task: He should go to a park and sit down to watch a cactus for several minutes. Erickson told him this cactus could live without water ericksonfor three years. 5 years later his sister called Erickson and told him both he and his wife had stopped drinking. He also used Reframing, mirroring and the paradox intervention. And example of the first, is when he sent a rootless client to Flagstaff so that she created new positive associated to a place that just seemed negative before. An example of the second is when he met a patient that tore things apart. She tore and threw everything she saw: Clothes, curtains, wallpaper. Generally, she was acting out. Erickson stood beside her and did the same thing, he tore up pieces of the wallpapers and threw things here and there. He exclaimed: “This was fun! Let`s go somewhere else and do more of it”. They came to a hospital, where he ripped the clothes off a nurse.

After this event, the girl became an angel, not knowing that the nurse in on the whole thing. An example of the paradox intervention was telling a woman who had severe problems with her weight. Erickson told her to try a new method where she first would gain a certain weight before she started with dieting. When she no longer had to restrain herself, she suddenly lost the weight she needed.

BUCHis theories have been developed further after he died, and one of the results is NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming ). I actually know very little about NLP, but I have thought several times that I`ll have to check into it, since I`m very interested in theories integrating what we know about our brain, with psychology.

  1.  Milton H. Erickson | History of Hypnosis

    Milton H. Erickson (1901-1980) graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1

    Milton Erickson, Founder of Conversational Hypnosis | Business NLP

  2. Ericksonian Hypnosis: Breaking Habits with Tasks — NLP 

    PICTURES:  http://www.pinterest.com/pin/391391023837204618/
     http://ww2.odu.edu/~eneukrug/therapists/Erickson.html

The Voices In My Head

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To all appearances, Eleanor Longden was just like every other student, heading to college full of promise and without a care in the world. That was until the voices in her head started talking. Initially innocuous, these internal narrators became increasingly antagonistic and dictatorial, turning her life into a living nightmare. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, hospitalized, drugged, Longden was discarded by a system that didn’t know how to help her. Longden tells the moving tale of her years-long journey back to mental health, and makes the case that it was through learning to listen to her voices that she was able to survive.

Eleanor Longden overcame her diagnosis of schizophrenia to earn a master’s in psychology and demonstrate that the voices in her head were “a sane reaction to insane circumstances.

 

Stress and Memory From a Neuroscience Perspective

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Stress and Memory From a Neuroscience Perspective

 

 

 

 

 

 

“From a neuroscience perspective, amnesia in the absence of brain damage can be partially explained in biochemical terms. Stress causes a chemical reaction that affects regions of the brain responsible for memory. With repeated overwhelming stress, neurotransmitters and stress hormones are released in the brain in such excess quantity that they can adversely affect portions of the brain responsible for emotional memories as well as other kinds of memory.” p. 33, The Wandering Mind: Understanding Dissociation from Daydreaming to Disorders by John A Biever, M.D. and Maryann Karinch.

i'm not out to convince you or draw upon your mind*Image Credits (all work used with permission through CC license)–
“i’m not out to convince you or draw upon your mind” by Andrea Joseph
“Standing at the Gates of Hell” by Shane Gorski

Psychotic Episode (I Have No Ego)

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Psychotic Episode (I Have No Ego)

I have no ego. . . my psychotic episode.

The schizophrenic experiences a stunning barrage of continuous, horrifying symptoms: auditory hallucinations, delusions, ideas of reference, paranoia, etc. The “indescribable severe torture” is unrelenting and can go on except during sometimes restless sleep, at whichtime the symptoms are even active when one becomes conscious at all. This experience is so overwhelming it is beyond the imagination. It cannot be conceived of intellectually. By its very nature it in fact necessitates the concept of religion in order to relate to it at all. This continuous experience of psychotic symptoms can be viewed as “spiritual exercises in perfection”. The effect on the schizophrenic is similar to that of monks when practicing their rituals in monasteries. When these spirited exercises become a lifestyle for the schizophrenic (lasting 8-10 years) with no real evidence given to the schizophrenic that he will ever recover, a fascinating thing happens to the psyche of that schizophrenic—he loses the perspective of “ego”. Ego consists of all his identifying factors in the world: his age, sex, race, religious affiliation or lack thereof, education level, social class, political affiliations, nationality, etc. He begins to see his environment with the eyes of a newborn, without the bias or prejudices, preconditions of his particular circumstances. It can be seen as a sort of continuous baptism by fire, a kind of purification, enabling him to see reality for what it is in actuality, rather than being viewed through the preconceptions of his individual mental, emotional, and behavioural repertoire instilled in him from birth. The schizophrenic in this condition is able in his interior to walk around in someone else’s moccasins with perfection. This can be seen as loving your neighbour as you love yourself, perfectly. I do not believe it is a condition that can be acquired by a “normal” individual by any method, because the horror of the symptoms of schizophrenia are unduplicable by man. (Religious persons would call this condition repentance for all one’s sins, e.g. “perfect repentance”.) ~Source

Recommended readings on the absence of ego in the SchizoAffective (schizophrenic) mind:

*Image Credit (used with permission through CC license):
“walking on the razor’s edge in the underground train world : manhattan (2007)” by torbakhopper

 

 

 

 

 

Quantum Consciousness

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Consciousness could occur at the fundamental level of spacetime geometry when the brain stops being perfused. It doesn’t dissipate but remains together by entanglement. So an individual’s personality, consciousness, memory, soul if you will, could be entangled in a quantum sense and persist as fluctuations in the time scale of the universe. ~Dr. Stuart Hameroff

 

[A]sk the question is consciousness a continuum or is it a sequence of discrete events? I think there’s a lot of evidence that consciousness is a sequence of discrete events. It appears continuous but just like if we see a movie or a video it appears continuous but it’s actually a sequence of discrete frames. I think consciousness is also a sequence of discrete frames. ~Dr. Stuart Hameroff

What do you think? And how do you think this effects psychology, psychiatry/psychotherapy and mental health?

 

The Spirit Of Chaos

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The Spirit Of Chaos

“Take one of those individual threads in the fiber that seems to be so chaotic and go into the constitution of that, and again you will find fantastic order, you’ll find the most gorgeous designs of molecules.” ~Alan Watts, The Web of Life

Why is it that we think we must depend upon our brains to lead us through life?

CosmicFace_by_Exper_flickrIt is not the brain that experiences (the brain is more like a recording apparatus) but our minds, our consciousness experiences and perceives and conceives our environment (environment here does not necessarily exclude an urban or suburban environment). Since our minds experience, by what process do we undertake this experimental existence? Intuition. We feel, we sense what surrounds us, because we ARE our environment.

Multiplier_by_Exper_flickrIntuition is that part of us, as conscious beings, that processes those constant changes within our environment, which can be aware of those incalculable factors. What’s more can interpret, assess, and comprehend those factors, like a kind of calculation (albeit, one that does not involve counting). Intuition can do this faster than the mind can think, and even more rapid than logic can compute. Why then should we depend upon the brain and its logic? Why should we use it, rather than or as substitute for intuition? Logic is limited, therefore, finite. More, it is flawed, because it can only compute either/or, it cannot perceive a dynamo of information (i.e., factors and variables) simultaneously, all extending from separate directions, chaotic stillness. Logic, that is to say linear systems, regulates an environment, and in that regulation transforms that environment into a static environment, the reduction of infinity to the finite. Our intuition, on the other hand, embraces chaos and randomness without fear of punishment or failure, because our intuition knows that in chaos there is order. The brain and its logic attempts to order chaos. So, we as intuitive beings choose life and health, imagination, our wild nature, exploration, and experience to be more alive, to evolve. For this, we as intuitive beings are uncontrollable, incorrigible, impossible to regulate, and non-linear. If intuition is the spirit of chaos, then life be the canvas.

SoulWise_by_Exper_flickrThrough an intuitive, fully open, wide-eyed, sensual and honest experience of existence, it is possible to transcend hopelessness, pessimism, disbelief, etc. by living in the moment and accepting things as they come. To really enjoy living and look at life as an adventure, we open our hearts, minds, bodies, and spirits to our natural intuitive state of being. In this way, we can enjoy every moment of discovery in the world…and we can become like children on a playground. Now, this does not imply that we possess knowledge, intelligence or wisdom to be absolutely sure about anything, however, it does mean that we are free to change our minds quite often, because the more things we experience, the more our perception changes, and the more we grow and evolve as human beings.

persistenceofcatabolizingsublimations_by_JoelEvelynFrancois_flickrWe are not meant to be miserable beings…we are meant to be vibrant, fully open, playful, sensual, universal beings. We are more than we can become, because each of us is a fractal of light…and we are all connected.

“Light, here, means awareness  to be aware of life, of experience as it is at this moment, without any judgement or ideas about it. In other words, you have to see and feel what you are experiencing as it is. And not as it is named. This very simple “opening of the eyes” brings about the most extraordinary transformation of understanding and living, and shows that many of our most baffling problems are pure illusion.” ~Alan Watts

Thebigbang_by_CarlJones_flickr*Image Credits (all work used with permission through CC license)–
“temple of peace” by AlicePopkorn
“Cosmic Face”, “Multiplier”,&  “Soul-Wise” by Exper Giovanni Rubaltelli
“persistence of catabolizing sublimations . .” by Joel, Evelyn, Francois, . .
“The big bang” by Carl Jones

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