Tag Archives: psychoanalysis

Russell on thinking and societal changes…

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The great majority of men and women, in ordinary times, pass through life without ever contemplating or criticising, as a whole, either their own conditions or those of the world at large.  They find themselves born into a certain place in society, and they accept what each day brings forth, without any effort of thought beyond what the immediate present requires…they seek the satisfaction of the needs of the moment, without much forethought, and without considering that by sufficient effort the whole condition of their lives could be changed…It is only a few rare and exceptional men who have that kind of love toward mankind at large that makes them unable to endure patiently the general mass of evil and suffering, regardless of any relation it may have to their own lives. These few, driven by sympathetic pain, will seek, first in thought and then in action, for some way of escape, some new system of society by which life may become richer, more full of joy and less full of preventable evils than it is at present (p. viii).  

Bertrand Russell

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Anxiety and Stress

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An article I wrote today for a local newspaper…

Stress and Anxiety – Why do I feel this way all the time?

             I feel so nervous at work and at home every day. I can’t seem to get it under control.  My boss might ask me to do something that I don’t know how to do, or my kids may get into trouble at school. These feelings are always there and I don’t know why…

            Many of us feel stress and anxiety during the day – yet we cope with it in different ways, and while we don’t always understand why we feel it, it is usually manageable.  However, an alarming number of Americans experience anxiety, frequently due to stress. Nearly 40 million people, or about 18% of Americans each year experience nervousness, uncertainty, fears, and restlessness. For these people, the feelings are not a normal reaction to stress, but instead may feel like panic, and it affects their daily life at work, at school, and at home.

            Feelings of anxiety may be felt most in the social situation, or plague us when we have to participate in a classroom experience or answer the teacher’s question. Often, it is not clear why we have the feelings – the anxiety may come up in a meeting, all of a sudden, with little warning. Anxiety, and the stress that we experience, is perhaps the most common of mental difficulties that people experience – and there are several different kinds or types of anxiety disorders.  In addition, anxiety can also be part of, or exist alongside, other disorders – such as depression, physical illness (headaches, stomach problems), sleeping difficulties – and may also trigger behaviors like substance or alcohol abuse. 

            Symptoms include:

  • Constant worrying
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Nausea, sweating, rapid heartbeat
  • Concentration or focusing problems
  • Feeling easily startled or fearful
  • Avoiding social situations

Both adults and children may also exhibit other symptoms, such as striving for approval, needing constant reassurance about performance, lacking confidence, and needing to be perfectionistic.  

The stress that we feel in our work, at our home, or in the school situation can interfere with our daily activities to the point that we feel unable to function normally.  It is at this time that one needs to seek out some help,  and get some assistance in understanding why we are experiencing the difficulty, and how to find different or better ways of coping. 

Anxiety disorders are classified into 5 different types or areas, each of which has different symptoms, coping mechanisms, and treatment recommendations.  You may experience frequent panic attacks (Panic Disorder), or fear dirt and germs, and needing to wash their hands incessantly (Obsessive-compulsive Disorder). Alternatively, you may not want to go outside of your home or go to the school function because you’re frightened of the social situation (Social Anxiety or Phobia). Individuals with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder have experienced trauma – often repeatedly, and need a safe environment to recall the events and reduce their fears.  (As I pointed out in a previous article, PTSD is common in soldiers, women and children that have experienced domestic violence, rape or sexual assault victims). 

The causes of anxiety disorders are complex, and there is no research that shows just one factor being involved. Rather, the causes may be environmental (domestic violence or reactions to disaster), genetic in nature, or due to psychological and developmental factors.  Most individuals that experience post-traumatic stress disorder have experienced some trauma in their life, and interestingly, genetics may play a role in whether someone then develops PTSD, or some other disorder as a way of coping with the trauma. 

Treatments are many, and are varied – depending on how the anxiety, or the reaction to stress is experienced. Different types of treatment are called for depending on the specifics of your difficulties.  Medications may be helpful, and may be recommended by your physician or mental health provider. However, an important point is that medication alone will not solve the difficulty – and psychotherapy, or a ‘talking therapy’ will be necessary.  Certain types of therapy are currently being researched (cognitive behavioral) for some of the anxiety disorders.  Many of the psychotherapies will include learning about relaxation approaches, such as breathing exercises or making changes in your lifestyle.  The therapeutic relationship with your mental health provider is of utmost importance, as this relationship will be the key to helping you cope differently with the stress and the anxiety.  

 Please email me with questions or comments.

  Rudy Oldeschulte, M.A., J.D. is a Del Rio psychotherapist, specializing in individual psychotherapy and parent guidance.  He has served on the faculty of the University of Arizona College of Medicine and taught at the British Association of Psychotherapists. Post- graduate training and education was done in London and at the University of Michigan.

Email address is: roldeschulte@gmail.com and his website is: http://www.rudyoldeschulte.com

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 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

 

Thoughts and experiences…

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“You know these things as thoughts, but your thoughts are not your experiences, they are an echo and after-effect of your experiences: as when your room trembles when a carriage goes past. I however am sitting in the carriage, and often I am the carriage itself. In a man who thinks like this, the dichotomy between thinking and feeling, intellect and passion, has really disappeared. He feels his thoughts. He can fall in love with an idea. An idea can make him ill.”

Friedrich Nietzsche Image

Interview with Carl Jung

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For psychologists and psychology students some historical names are learnt at once. If you say “who” when somebody mention them, a look of surprise will manifest itself in the interviewer. Two of these famous names are Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. But even if many psychologist know about them, not everyone have read or delved into their theories. For that reason, I thought it would be interesting to see an interview with Carl Jung himself. He is old in the interview, but very clear in his opinions and memories. It’s fascinating to watch one of the “fathers” of psychology alive. Many are still inspired from his thoughts and views, even if many of them have been integrated into more sophisticated theoretical models.

Complex Relations – Correspondence 1904-1938: Sigmund Freud and Anna Freud

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“These letters are as much snapshots of extraordinary historical and cultural times as they are revelations of the heart – of meeting and reading Rilke; the ups and (many) downs of the economy, war and fragile peace, all in the face of the hideous politics of central Europe”

“Their letters, postcards and occasional telegrams to one another, spanning a 34-year period, have been assembled in this remarkable book, just translated from the German. In that same teenage letter mentioned above, Anna expressed her fears that Sigmund’s then travelling companion and colleague, Sándor Ferenczi, was not looking after him.”

See the entire review: 

http://www.literaryreview.co.uk/pick_12_13.php

Being good enough….

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“If you can’t tolerate making the slightest mistake, if you constantly focus on negatives and strive to eliminate each and every one of them—or if you set your goals so high that you almost never feel capable of reaching them—then you’re afflicted with the self-defeating malady of perfectionism. And an additional problem caused by such a dysfunctional mode of functioning involves a strong tendency to procrastinate. For you’ll hesitate tackling anything you fear you won’t be able to do perfectly. Endlessly obsessing about doing things just right, your neurotically distorted perspective leads you to lose sight of critical matters regarding such things as timing, appropriateness, and efficiency.”  

See link: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolution-the-self/201310/how-do-you-know-whats-good-enough

You may also look at Winnicott’s ideas about ‘good enough mothering’.  Though Winnicott is discussing quite different issues here, it nonetheless has some interesting associations for the development of children…and the fostering of relationships. 

Social Media and Self-doubt…

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The following article highlights one of the difficulties encountered by many social media consumers…

“Social media-induced angst is happening with increasing frequency. Just as businesses and brands use social media to interact with their target audience and monitor consumer interest, people are using social media to gauge how their friends and acquaintances feel about them. “Likes” may be interpreted as approvals. Not “liking,” not following, or otherwise not engaging might translate into snubs. Since social media etiquette is largely undefined, and there are few universally-understood and followed “rules of engagement,” such interpretation is highly subjective and, in many instances, leans towards the worst-case scenario.”

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/our-gender-ourselves/201310/your-social-life-is-not-your-social-media

 

The benefits of psychoanalysis endure…

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“Other therapies target specific symptoms,” Shedler says, “whereas psychodynamic therapy focuses on the whole person. Yet it alleviates symptoms just as effectively. It aims to accomplish much more because most of the time, emotional suffering is not an encapsulated ‘disorder’ but is woven into the fabric of the person’s life.”  See link below

http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201006/therapy-watch-total-treatment