Tag Archives: inspiration

Metaphors in psychotherapy

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Metaphors in psychotherapy

Good Friday to everyone! Are you ready for the weekend? IMAG0458

I have had a good day at work, with interesting meetings and memorable conversations. I have also had some time to read a bit, and came across two interesting metaphors. In addition, a doctor I work together with, also pulled a metaphor up his sleeve, and when I came down to my office, I had to write them all down. Then I got the idea? Wouldn`t it be great with a book full of metaphors (it probably exists already, but an update is always welcome) ? And then I started to wonder:

Do you have metaphors fitting for life in general and for psychotherapy?

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Life is like a camera

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Breaking news: Live from a mental institution

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Breaking news: Live from a mental institution

sickAn anchor woman holds her microphone steady as she reports live from ‘We have the power’ , an old mental institution where the walls should have been painted decades ago. Her voice intermingle with twenty other reporters looking seriously into the camera, pointing occasionally to the building behind them. The anchor woman turns her voice dramatically down when she arrives at the conclusion.

“Sources tell us that in this mental institution, often just keep patients long enough to give them medication before they send them back. They sometimes don’t arrive at the right diagnose, and it is rumored that they don’t take enough time with traumatized victims or that they even consciously decide not to talk about what they have experienced. Only 30% report that they felt better or had hope for the future after being released, and surveys show that staggering 20 % of the patients will be readmitted after not receiving the help they wanted”

Her face is now full of rage. Her mother killed herself after being hospitalized in a mental health clinic. When she had read through her mother’s journal she saw how many pills she was on, barbiturates strong enough to knock out a mammoth. When she tried to find therapy notes where her mother could process her traumatic past, she only found short conversations where the doctors wanted to know if she slept well, eat what she should or if she felt a bit better after taking another pill. She shouldn’t even be reporting, but she manages to do her job, t is important for her to get it all out there.

Another reporter talks with the direction, who promises that they will do everything to make this right. They will look into their routines and see what they can do to make sure this will never happen again.

The news report goes viral. Oprah dedicate her next show to the cause, and Internet users on Twitter have started protest demonstrations, venturing into the street with their fists pumping in the air as they chant: ‘Stop this, stop this, stop this’. They bring posters where with personal accounts: ‘My mother only got three days in the institution, when her depression intensified they said they have done everything they could so she was not prioritized. Take mental health seriously!” Some write messages to the government. ‘We want that our tax payers money go to mental health care for the 450 billions who needs better treatment” or “Why only research on drugs?”.  The protesters don’t make to much of a fuss. They don’t shout out obscenities, but they gather in every city, staying put and showing their support. They have started a peaceul war.

Why don’t we see this in the real world? Where is the public outcry over the state of unsatisfactory mental health care? When someone breaks a leg, we demand full treatment until the injury is fully treated. We never take off the bandage after three weeks instead of six, telling our patient that they can come back if the leg breaks again as it will because it simply was not healed. We protest when the plumber does a bad job, demanding to sue them if they don’t come back and fix it. When politicians have done something wrong, news papers write about it for days, as they do when an actress have broken down and been sent to rehab. But where are the headlines after it thousands of citizens have been ignored by the health care system? Where are the depth interviews with families who’ve seen their loved ones break down after unsuccessful treatment?

In my future news scenario, the media would focus on mental health daily. They would write nuanced articles on every subject relating to how we suffer and what our options are when we do. There would be demonstrations to so that we get what we need.

We would all be small Ghandies, damanding justice. We wouldn’t close our eyes, we would engage and try to change things. The media would not ignore us.

In my future utopia, the mental institution ‘We have the power’ would change their ways. They would give the power back to their patients, not giving up before they had tailor made the treatment that was right for them. They would listen to them and find their resources.

They would use money on educating their employees, giving their patient the very best care. We do it with cancer patients, we even do it at Starbucks to make sure that the customers are a hundred percent satisfied with their coffees. I dream about a world where surveys about how satisfied their patient are with their treatment. Why shouldn’t we give mental health all of our attention? When almost a fourth of us have psychological issues, stigma should be lifted by never ignoring our troubled minds.

We should not be afraid to speak up.

More:

Demonstations

Mental health research in India

 Stigma | Mental Health Commission of Canada

Readmission Rates for Mental Health Patients – NBRHC

Strategies for reducing stigma toward persons with mental illness 

Creative coculus

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Creative coculus

This post is a comment from a Norwegian man, who has suffered from severe depressions through life. He is also intellectually gifted, but describes it in no such terms himself. For him, depression has been the flip coin of his gift, and I think is important to realize that no matter what abilities or Resources we have, mental illness can still have a devastating effect on us all.

The following excerpt, focus on “coculus” thoughts on creativity.

cuculus canorus
cuculus.koko@gmail.com

Creative people are like me..

This is not said lightly; it is an insight that hurts a great deal. In a way, I see the world not as it is, but as it can or should be. And I have for 30 years thought that everybody did this. Discovering that this is not so; have left me floating on a thin ice-sheet far out in an exsistential, deeply depressed sea with no land in sight.

Anyway. There are massive problems with the words used to describe creative people, and creativity: the connotations, the percieved social and cultural acceptability for “being a little off”.

“Creative” in the worst sense of the word conjures up images of slightly loopy ladies with flowing, purple togas and buckets of paint in primary colours. Or worse still: the image of my primary school “drawing teachers”. I shudder to think: how my creativity survived the lashings of those ignorant dimwits. It boggles the mind. It was a brutal fight, I can tell you that much.

To splash a little colour around is not not creative in itself. The way I see it, and much research agrees, is that creativity is essentialy to take two seemingly unconnected things and combine it in new ways. Very very often nothing happens. But sometimes there is a little magic insight … An article in the Time magazine called The hidden secrets of the creative mind points out that creativity is a numbers game. Creative people fail more. Because they try more (Therefore, creative people can easily feel like failures. Massive egos are not the norm).

I wish to stress that creativity is something equally needed in art, litterature and – and this is extremely important: science. This seems to be left out quite often, unfortunately. In science and arts you will find many of the same abilities. Or, if you like, similar eccentrics. I think Einstein said something like “If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it”.

At the risk of overstepping my role as commentator, I will here bring a buch of quotes by various artists, architects, scientists and other nosey, curious creators.

creativity: 1+1=3

Creativity is:

Any mental occurence simultaneously associated with two habitually incompatible contexts.

Arthur Koestler

That moment of insight becomes the creative act as a joining of two previously incompatible ideas.

Lyall Watson
The association of two, or more, apparently alien elements on a plane alien to both is the most potent ignition of poetry.

Comte de Lautrémont

Perceiving analogies and other relations between aparently incongruous ideas or forming unexpected, striking or ludicrous combinations of them.

Rem Koolhaas

Invention or discovery takes place by combining ideas.

Jacques Hadamard

The unlike is joined together, and from differences results the most beautiful harmony.

Heraclitus
 

The how of creativity is in most respects a complete mystery, but someone worded it thus:
how such connections spring to mind are guesswork but they seem to favour those who have a promiscuous curiosity and chronic attraction to problems.

Yeah. Promiscuous curiosity and chronic attraction to problems. That is me.

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Perspectives…

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Boys carrying spaghetti in a macaroni factory in Naples, Italy. 1929

Psychological and philosophical point of view, brought to you in plain language…

http://www.raptitude.com/2010/10/9-mind-bending-epiphanies-that-turned-my-world-upside-down

 

The sound of roars

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First, the lyrics:

[Verse 1]
I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath
Scared to rock the boat and make a mess
So I sat quietly, agreed politely
I guess that I forgot I had a choice
I let you push me past the breaking point
I stood for nothing, so I fell for everything

[Pre-Chorus]
You held me down, but I got up
Already brushing off the dust
You hear my voice, your hear that sound
Like thunder, gonna shake your ground
You held me down, but I got up
Get ready cause I’ve had enough
I see it all, I see it now

image

Roar by Katy Perry

[Chorus]
I got the eye of the tiger, the fighter, dancing through the fire
Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me ROAR
Louder, louder than a lion
Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me ROAR

Now I’m floating like a butterfly
Stinging like a bee I earned my stripes
I went from zero, to my own hero

You held me down, but I got up
Already brushing off the dust
You hear my voice, your hear that sound
Like thunder, gonna shake your ground
You held me down, but I got up
Get ready ’cause I’ve had enough
I see it all, I see it now

[Chorus]

Source:http://www.directlyrics.com
Posted October 6, 2013

And then the song:

What did you think? I`d love feedback on what YOU discovered, as I might learn something from my readers as well.

More information:

The Daily Post

I have written some posts on dissociation, and even if people might feel this song has nothing to do with it, it still highlights one fact about dissociation: Dissociation means […]

Abundance

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I`ve thought for a long time that I must write about an audiobook I listened to a while ago. It made me optimistic and happy, and when I stumbled upon a news article on the future we face, I thought about it again. I`ve also read a lot of “inferno” which focus on the same thing: What happens when we become so many humans, that it threatens us all? Abundance takes this challenge, but without scaring us so much that we feel helpless. Quite the opposite; After reading it I thought there is hope, we just have to put our best minds together and work for the future we want.

Abundance helps us understand that we are not entering a “post-scarcity” world, but rather an abundance world. Scarcities and competitions will persist at the leading edge of civilization, and the winners will profit more than everyone else. But at the same time, our accelerating technologies are creating vast new abundance in living standards, and so much capability to take care of our environment, that the scarcities of today will be distant memories just a few generations from now. As long as we rise to the challenges.

Peter Diamandis, Founder and Chairman of the X PRIZE Foundation, Co-Founder and Chairman of Singularity University, and pioneer of the personal spaceflight industry, is eminently qualified to write this book. He is both a visionary and an accomplished entrepreneur, with a passion for new horizons, and a deep ethical interest in global development. His practical, results-oriented perspective permeates the book, and frankly, it jumps right into the reader’s psyche long before the end. His co-author, Steven Kotler, is a writer of vast experience, and it shows.

Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think by Peter H. Diamandis  and Steven Kotler.

http://www.aftenposten.no/meninger/kronikker/Vi-blir-altfor-mange-mennesker-7491329.html

Follow us:

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Want to join our new project: Kindness every weekThe task is easy: Try to do one random act of kindness, every week. If you have five minutes to spare, you can do something nice and contribute to a better world.

So, Are you ready for a challenge?

Would you be able to do one kind act to a stranger, every week?

In June 2014 I will randomly choose the winner of a gift card of 100 Euros and other small gifts. I will post what these gifts will be, and people can vote for their favorites.

The rules for participation are simple:

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1. It can be every type of kind act, like smiling, giving a gift to someone, writing a nice note or giving a compliment. Only your imagination stops you
2. Write a list of your kind acts (you can post them here, also)
3. The person with most “acts” will have a higher chance of winning. Creativity matters, too.
4. Have fun 🙂 
Tag yourself and write what you have done to help others. More kind acts mean more points and chances to win. You can also email your kind acts to forfreepsychology@gmail.com or write a
I will use my own free time to get the money and small surprise gifts, just because I have the money and time. Why not?
Participants so far:
participating.

Psychology on Twitter:

Free psychology

Free psychology

@Freepsychology

Therapists and others sharing information and personal #stories related to#psychology .

Want to be a guest blogger?

 

The Special Gift of Ispiration

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Inspiration

Inspiration

What or who inspires you? To start, this is what I mean when I ask that question.
For now, let us work with the definition of inspiration as the a particularly wonderful flow of energy that comes about and moves through us when we are in tune with a level of our selves that is above and beyond our ‘normal’, ‘everyday’ selves. It is the energy that we ignite when we are tuned into our higher selves.

I hope that each and every one of us can relate to a time in our own lives when we experienced this ‘higher level’ of energy; a flow of a force or drive that, for a lack of other ways to describe it, put goose bumps on our insides and gives us a tingly type of feeling from the inside out.

When I am inspired, I function on a different plane or level that I am not always able to replicate or unfortunately hold onto for very extended periods of time. It is a wonderful feeling, exhilarating and exciting and sort of like a bubbling inside, that keeps me writing faster, moving faster, thinking faster and most significantly, bursting with creativity.

Some of the things that tend to inspire me most are:
• Music – I even have certain songs or tunes or artists that inspire me most at specific times
• Writing – There are times when I start out without feeling inspired, but as I continue writing, I begin to become inspired by the actual experience of creating
• Accomplishing Something Challenging – Whenever I try something I think might be difficult for me or new and achieve it successfully
• Personal Stories – Learning about obstacles and personal victories of others

INSPIRE

INSPIRE

I want to post some of the most inspiring stories that I find about people who are doing things in their lives that inspire other people – that accomplish things or face challenges that can help others want to do more and be more in their own lives too.

And, I can’t think of a better time to do it than toward the beginning of the time when many of us may have already stared the reality of our own humanity in the face because we’re almost two weeks into the 2014 and most likely, have already experienced some type of feelings of not being ‘good enough’ or having failed at our attempt to achieve a goal.

It seems to me that people who provide inspiration to others achieve something quite amazing because it is like providing a sense of immortality to their accomplishment. In essence, what they have done is breath new life and energy into another person so they now can do something else that inspires someone else. They have fulfilled an extremely wonderful calling, by sharing more than their accomplishments, they also share the energy and the ‘spiritual’ component that exists only through the inspiration they stirred.

Planting A Garden Photo by Samantha Appleton

Planting A Garden
Photo by Samantha Appleton

It is like planting a garden full of new potential and possibility for what might be. It is hopeful, joyful and a gift beyond words!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Judy is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. Judy’s professional experience in the mental health field along with her love of writing, provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. Her fresh voice and down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life are easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!

The examined life

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My New Year has been punctuated by some wonderful reads.  My most recent literary exploration has taken me to  The Examined Life, written by the estimable Stephen Grosz.

Above from Amazon

It is as compelling as it is powerful. This books provides a truly wonderful insight into the human condition, which is all the more illuminated by Grosz’s accounts of the human experience through those he has a privilege to care for in analysis. And this care, this bond between analyst and patient, shines forth from each and every page.

As I finished the book and flopped back onto my comfy sofa, my mind whirring as it started to mentally walk through each of the cases Grosz shared, and as I pondered what it would be like to to be a psychoanalyst from Grosz’s description of the work, I picked up my pen and started to write.

This is what I wrote:

“It seems to me like psychoanalysis helps (in a similar way to CBT – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) each patient to develop a form of self-awareness of their situation and, thus, empowers them to actualise some kind of catharsis (a means of processing or providing relief from strong or repressed emotions) through this knowledge.

From the many accounts Grosz gives, it looks like this catharsis is predominantly achieved through Grosz’s patients wanting to know they were not alone. They wanted someone to listen to them, and therefore demonstrate that they were worth being listened to. They are valuable and worthy of time and consideration.

For others, providing an explanation for their actions, providing them with words to account for their experience brings clarity from confusion, and again, enables them to clear the mental haze and see the road ahead, and the various routes open to them to embark upon.

This kind of piercing insight, analysis, is invaluable.

Much like slipping into a hot bath, it strips us of our shivering fears, isolation and anxieties and soothes our very beings as we are enveloped with with caring, careful clarity – a way of making sense of our dis-order, which too, is why interpreting dreams is such a powerful catharsis. However, whilst understanding the mechanisms behind each dream by placing the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together brings relief, all this really grants us is what we already knew. For Grosz, it was the fear of losing his son. I admit, there is great beauty in ordering and understanding our dreams, but as Grosz himself allows by sharing the sad case of one AIDS patient who acted upon Grosz’s insights by going on holiday (where he died from dysentery, rather than receiving the medication he needed), Grosz’s attempts to help this patient understand his situation, could not change the situation itself. It leads me to think something more is needed…

As Grosz notes the incident of an eminent American psychoanalyst (Ap) questioning him as to why he bothered helping another AIDS patient (Anthony) who could “expect to live for two years and hope to live for four” (p.199), the Ap asks, “Why are you wasting your time on this patient? He’s going to die. Why not help someone who’s got a future?” (p.201)

It strikes me that if what Grosz writes elsewhere in the book is true, namely that

The future is not some place we are going to, but an idea in our mind now. It is something we’re creating, that in turn creates us. The future is a fantasy that shapes our present” (p.157)

then, Anthony’s future is his present.

Grosz describes how this penetrating question felt cruel to him. After all, what was clear to them both was that analysis had helped Anthony to overcome his anxiety and depression (p.203). The reason, I wonder, Grosz found this challenge cruel was because his engagements with Anthony were meaningful. Not only was there purpose to the analysis, but it was yielding personal results in Anthony, even if these personal results did not change the ultimate outcome of his imminent death.

As I read on, I could not help but smile with joy when Grosz informs his audience that Anthony, twenty two years later, is in good health. It feels like an overwhelming victory. Not only was there evident contemporaneous meaning to Grosz’s meetings with Anthony, but, there is now ongoing life, too.

As joyful as this is, it does not really make up for “death’s finality” (p.210), which will ultimately visit Anthony. Perhaps I have oversimplified things, but it leads me to think something more is needed…”

The Examined Life by Stephen Grosz really is one of those rare penetrating reads, which will not only help you to understand others, but quite dramatically, yourself. I thoroughly recommend it!

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