Tag Archives: Therapy

Parental Authority – Dynamics and Interaction



 “Benevolent authority is put into action as consistent and continuous dialogues with our children where we actively listen to and clarify what we hear, reflect back our understanding of what we hear and respond respectfully in our roles as leaders and teachers.  This way, our respect and love for our children as separate people comes across loud and clear.  Collectively, these interpersonal skills form a diplomatic initiative that opens negotiations to obtain our children’s cooperation through motivational strategies designed to get them on board with our vision for raising them.” 

“My parenting philosophy, borrowed from many sources is based on teaching children to feel entitled to ask for and negotiate their needs, to learn that the satisfaction of their needs may require patience, perseverance and  resourcefulness over time.  When we fail to care adequately for ourselves it can be unbearably painful to listen to our children ask for the sky and then, unrealistic that we praise them for doing so.  We all know how to shame and guilt our children into silence but, this is a victory we and they pay for down the road.  It’s difficult to take children to places we have never been before.  So, make it a priority to learn to care for your needs so that you will find the intestinal fortitude to cope constructively with their resistance to unpopular but, important decisions that you know from experience are in their best interests.”  

See the link: 


Hawaiian Meditation Techniques to Get Your Energy Back



“Meditation is part of many ancient traditions, and the benefits—a greater sense of peace, less anxiety, clear thinking—are well-known. While dramatic new findings such as the Yale study point to therapeutic benefits, meditation is also extremely useful in everyday life to boost energy.”  See link below…

This short article highlights, to my mind, one of the greatest benefits of regular meditation…that is, the restorative quality of its practice for our mental health….



A Headshrinker’s Guide to the Galaxy




“In his work on therapeutic change in psychoanalysis, Neville Symington puts forward the idea that a shift from the old routine to a new way of being requires what he calls an act of freedom.  This kind of freedom means having a mind of one’s own, acting in faith in oneself and one’s good objects, and taking a chance.”  See link below…


Power of Animal Therapy


I believe in animal therapy.

I know how much a dog can brighten the worst day in my own life.

And this is an amazing story my friend told me about a man she knew who was a donkey owner:

This man took his pet miniature donkey to a nursing home regularly. He trusted the donkey because he knew it would never bite anyone with its calm temperament.

One day the donkey ran away from the man while he was at the nursing home. He was mortified; the donkey had never done anything like this before. He was frantically searching the building for the donkey.

And then he found the donkey down corridors and through a door into a room with an elderly man. The man was in tears, and the donkey owner thought the donkey had bitten him. But the donkey had its head resting on the elderly man’s lap and the man was just sobbing.

The man told the donkey owner that he’d been a donkey handler while overseas during a war. The man felt lonely and isolated in the nursing home ever since the war, but this donkey came to him and simply rested its head on the man’s lap and stayed there as if to comfort the man.

The man was given what he needed. He missed being with donkeys. He was comforted, and the donkey made him not feel alone anymore.

The donkey owner was gobsmacked. The donkey set off straight to this man’s room with such purpose and ran through corridors and different areas of the building to get to him.

I think it’s amazing. Animals amaze me. I know dogs can be very in tune with people’s feelings and know when people are sad.

I love animals so much, and this story just makes them love them more!

CG Jung and the ‘Leap of Faith’ Into Individuation


The Red Book has been described as Jung’s creative response to the threat of madness, yet it has also been seen as a deliberate exercise in self-analysis. I believe it’s likely both. When creating The Red Book, Jung knew he was on the verge of madness, and he also knew his analytical skills and expertise as a psychiatrist were his best chance at alleviating suffering, if not creating the conditions for transformation.

In many regards, The Red Book reads like a healing journey — a phrase often used to describe the reclaiming of self after a history of abuse — which is a transformative period that happens for many people committed to overcoming early life trauma. On the way to an authentic self there is first the need to step away from the person one became to survive abuse. Those confronted with this journey often experience a period of ‘going crazy’ on their way to establishing an authentic sense of self.

As The Red Book shows, individuation is a blessed curse. It opens the way to becoming one’s authentic self, and yet also the risk of alienation from the ‘tribe’. Childhood trauma survivors often know this conundrum intimately. Transformation requires a significant reorienting away from the beliefs, feelings, fantasies, and body states that made possible living in traumatizing conditions. Invariably, there is a part of the self that has gone unacknowledged or rejected, and aches to be reclaimed.

In The Red Book Jung found a process for continually rediscovering authenticity. As he often remarked, individuation is an ongoing journey and not an endpoint reached. Jung also intimated the need for what I called in an earlier post leaps of faith: turning away from the larger world’s expectations and towards one’s inner world of wisdom with acceptance and curiosity.

This quote from The Red Book inspires the impulse to creatively go forth into all that you are:

“Woe betide those who live by way of examples! Life is not with them. If you live according to an example, you thus live the life of that example, but who should live your own life if not yourself? So live yourselves.

“The signposts have fallen, unblazed trails lie before us. Do not be greedy to gobble up the fruits of foreign fields. Do you not know that you yourselves are the fertile acre which bears everything that avails you?”

Jung knew such a ‘leap of faith’ is not easy. He also wrote:

“To live oneself means: to be one’s own task. Never say that it is a pleasure to live oneself. It will be no joy but a long suffering since you must become your own creator.”

But he gives helpful advice for the journey, particularly how to live if the world feels contrary to whom you are becoming. Then you must learn to be your own guide:

“To certain things of the world I must say: you should not be thus, but you should be different. Yet first I look carefully at their nature, otherwise I cannot change it. I proceed in the same way with certain thoughts. You change those things of the world that, not being useful in themselves, endanger your welfare. Proceed likewise with your thoughts. Nothing is complete, and much is in dispute. The way of life is transformation, not exclusion. Well-being is a better judge than the law.”

Reprinted in full with permission by the original author Laura K. Kerr, Ph.D, who moderates the blog, Trauma’s Labyrinth: Finding Ways Out Of Trauma. Laura K. Kerr is a mental health scholar, blogger and trauma-focused psychotherapist. [Her] focus is on healing, with special attention to trauma, modernity, and mental health systems of care.

Trauma Recovery Done Right: 8 Keys to Safe Trauma Recovery


Trauma Psych

TraumaRecoveryReview8 Keys to Safe Trauma Recovery: Take-Charge Strategies to Empower Your Healing.
Babette Rothschild. 2010. W.W. Norton, New York.  174 pages.

Living with persisting trauma memories is tough. Involuntarily triggered by events, or people, or places, or thoughts, or feelings . . . well, anything can be a trigger, actually . . . these intrusive, searing memories will turn one’s life inside out. Recovery from traumatic experience is tough as well, and achieving a sense of safety is essential to successful recovery. Rothschild’s brief, personable, and accessible book directly targets safe, successful recovery in a way that compels and convinces the reader. If trauma memories impact your life or that of someone you know or treat in a healthcare setting, you need this book. Because of the importance of this material, and because I want this to be a bit more than a mere review, I will be discussing this book in a two-part post…

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How Buddhist Rituals Helped My OCD


Our society likes to portray obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) as a cute quirk, a goofy, if irritating, eccentricity. It is not. For the person undergoing OCD experience, it is a form of mental terrorism.

This terrorism takes the form of what psychologists call ‘intrusive thoughts’ — unwanted, painful thoughts or images that invade one’s consciousness, triggering profound fear and anxiety. This is the ‘obsessive’ part of OCD, and it can arise in even the most mundane circumstances. Sitting here typing, for example, I sometimes feel modest pain in my fingers, and my mind kicks into gear: You’re typing too much and causing permanent damage to your hands. Feel those little irritations at the second knuckle of your left ring finger? Those are the harbingers of arthritis. This is how it starts.

read the rest of the article by Matt Bieber here at Aeon.

“The Red Book”: A Primer For Healing Madness In A Mad World


“Naturally I compensated my inner insecurity by an outward show of security, or — to put it better — the defect compensated itself without the intervention of my will. That is, I found myself being guilty and at the same time wishing to be innocent. Somewhere deep in the background I always knew that I was two persons. One was the son of my parents who went to school and was less intelligent, attentive, hard-working, decent, and clean than many other boys. The other was grown up — old, in fact — skeptical, mistrustful, remote from the world of men, but close to nature, the earth, the sun, the moon, the weather, all living creatures, and above all close to the night, to dreams, and to whatever “God” worked directly in him.” (p. 44, The Red Book by Carl Jung)

“On the contrary, it is played out in every individual. In my life No. 2 has been of prime importance, and I have always tried to make room for anything that wanted to come from within. He is a typical figure, but he is perceived only by the very few. Most people’s conscious understanding is not sufficient to realize that he is also what they are.” (p. 45, The Red Book by Carl Jung)

Laura K. Kerr, Ph.D. wrote an incredible blog post about The Red Book by Carl Jung, read the rest of the article. . . on her blog, Trauma’s Labyrinth.

Why Some People Actually Enjoy Having Schizophrenia

Why Some People Actually Enjoy Having Schizophrenia

by Mhs411 of Mental Health Specialist 411

Schizophrenia , literally meaning:  a psychotic disorder characterized by loss of contact with the environment, by noticeable deterioration in the level of functioning in everyday life, and by disintegration of personality expressed as disorder of feeling, thought (as delusions), perception (as hallucinations), and behavior —called also dementia praecox – m-w.comcan be brought on by many factors.

Schizophrenia has a strong hereditary component. Individuals with a first-degree relative (parent or sibling) who has schizophrenia have a 10 percent chance of developing the disorder, as opposed to the 1 percent chance of the general population.

But schizophrenia is only influenced by genetics, not determined by it. While schizophrenia runs in families, about 60% of schizophrenic patients have no family members with the disorder. Furthermore, individuals who are genetically predisposed to schizophrenia don’t always develop the disease, which shows that biology is not destiny.

Twin and adoption studies suggest that inherited genes make a person vulnerable to schizophrenia and then environmental factors act on this vulnerability to trigger the disorder.

As for the environmental factors involved, more and more research is pointing to stress, either during pregnancy or at a later stage of development. High levels of stress are believed to trigger schizophrenia by increasing the body’s production of the hormone cortisol.

Research points to several stress-inducing environmental factors that may be involved in schizophrenia, including:

  • Prenatal exposure to a viral infection
  • Low oxygen levels during birth (from prolonged labor or premature birth)
  • Exposure to a virus during infancy
  • Early parental loss or separation
  • Physical or sexual abuse in childhood

In many cases of Schizophrenia where voices are heard, the afflicted individual often finds comfort in the company of their voices, they have conversations, debates, and can often become friends on many levels. This is why affected patients often stop taking the medications which they are prescribed because they either severely subdue the voices or negate them altogether. Why would someone take a pill that forbids them from being in contact with their best friend(s), companion(s), etc?

Truth be told, the voices that most Schizophrenics hear do not tell them to hurt themselves, or others, but rather maintain a running commentary on “their” perception of the patients world at large, sometimes even discussing things on a blow-by-blow basis.

So why not enjoy being Schizophrenic? Constant companionship, never bored, never alone. Sounds like a great around the clock party! Right? Well sure, unless you have a type of Schizophrenia with voices that DO tell you to hurt either yourself, others, of both? Then, not such a party.

I remember one treatment center at which I was doing a segment of my practicum. I was assigned a woman mid 50′s who was diagnosed with Schizophrenia Paranoid Type. She was my first Schizophrenic patient, and aside from what the text books had taught me, I had no idea what to expect in a “real world” scenario.

The woman, whom we shall call Linda, was certain, beyond any doubt whatsoever that I was her son, and that we had performed in innumerable stage shows together, and began reminiscing about each show, one by one, covering our 30 year stage career together. Truly, it was fascinating, and even though she was of no harm to herself or to others, because she was so far removed from reality, she was court ordered to spend the rest of her life in a psychiatric facility. Still, she was quite happy and enjoyed spending time with her voices! Therefore, in summation, I suppose it depends on many factors as to whether an individual can enjoy having Schizophrenia, or see it as a never-ending nightmare pushing them towards anger, resentment, and potentially even revenge on a moment to moment basis.

Photo:  http://sciencenewstoyou.blogspot.co.il

From the therapy session: Nr 1


This world is full of people who dedicate their lives to helping others. It is admirable, and even more so when they share their stories with us. We need the seeds of hope to grow, and inspirational posts like these is the water that let us reach the sun.


About the Author

My name is Eli and I’m a license social worker in clinical practice at a OMH facility in NY. I graduated with a Masters in Social Work in 2011. And I recently joined a psychoanalytic institute for further education and training.




The voice broke the calm in the waiting-room. Sam looked up at the woman who had spoken. Her hair was long and blond and she wore a purple business suit with heels. Standing up, he met her at the doorway. She smiled as she stretched out her hand for him to shake and said, “My name’s Nicole and I’m going to be your therapist”. Sam shook her hand and smiled nervously.

Following her down the hall, he entered her office. Inside were two comfy pink chairs. A sign on the wall promoted relaxation and a round coffee table sat in the corner.

“Pick one” Nicole said still smiling, this time looking a bit nervous herself. Some of Sam’s unease settled at their shared nervousness.

“I’ll take this one” Sam said as he sat down. He held the arms of the chair as he sat down, trying not to fall back into the cushion. He didn’t want to get too comfortable, after all, he didn’t know if he could trust her. It was hard to tell after only three minutes.

“I’ll take the other couch. I don’t like sitting on the office chair. It creates this illusion that I am the expert with all the answers and you’re the patient. In reality all the answers are within you. The only thing I can do is help you explore them.”

He liked this concept and her words made him feel calm. She seemed genuine.
She moved the chair over to Sam’s and leaned back, crossing her legs. “So tell me, what brings you here? Tell me a little about yourself?”

Sam sat silently. He wasn’t sure if this was just an opening remark and then she would bombard him with questions or if she was sincerely interested in his background and difficulties. After a few seconds of silence Sam began, “Okay, it was six years ago when I lost it”. Sam paused. He looked up to see Nicole’s reaction. She was sitting straight with her hands on her knees. She looked sincere and attentive, waiting for Sam to continue. “I thought I was being poisoned” Sam paused again. He needed to see her facial expression. Does she think I’m crazy? Her concern seemed true which pleased Sam.

He took a deep breath and wanted to continue talking but a flash back interrupted his train of thought. He remembered what he felt when he thought everyone was going to annihilate and ostracize him. Forgetting where he was, he began reliving the fear. The old debate returned to his mind. Which was worse, death or being exiled? Moments later he concluded that annihilation would be worse. Living in loneliness is worse than death.

He sat there quietly, caught in his thoughts. Nicole didn’t want to interrupt him. But after five minutes of silence, she gave in. “That must have been so scary.”

Sam whipped his head back to her. He felt like he was suddenly being woken in the middle of a dream. His breath was shallow. Where was he? He felt himself reentering his own body. Taking a deep breath he oriented himself and composed his thoughts “Yeah, it was or is, scary.”
Sighing, he continued. “You see, my parents and wife are very religious.” Scrunching his face together, he could feel the pain behind his words, “and that’s what triggered it. I have been living a faithless life, pretending to be religious. Everything I did was make believe. I felt like I a heretic. Then I felt like I just couldn’t go on the way I was going. The world just felt unreal. I thought is this the only way to live? Was there a way out of the ghetto? Then there were times that I would hope that I could somehow force belief into me and rid myself of this atheistic gene. ”

Sam took a breath and Nicole took the opportunity to reflect. “So it sounds like you didn’t feel authentic. You were just going along with your parent’s dreams trying to fulfill their dreams and trying to forget about your own needs.”

“Yeah. I was so scared to share my feelings with my wife. I feared she would just leave me.”

“So you had nobody to share your true feelings with.”

“Exactly! I had so many existential questions and I felt religion was just stifling me. It was so predictable. But if I would voice my feelings, everybody would think I’d lost it. The questions were pressing me until I couldn’t handle it. I became paranoid and believed I was being poisoned. But really I was being poisoned emotionally.”

Looking at the clock, Nicole stood up, and stretched out her hand. “Our time is up. I think we should begin next week here.”

She shook Sam’s hand good bye, and opened the door to the hallway. “I hope to see you next week on Friday at Ten o’clock.”

“Great. Thanks so much!”

As Sam left, he thought this was the first time he’d honestly voiced his true feelings and they were heard.