mamagaea: (James Testify)
My definition of Cultural Healing

My ideal world would be a place where someone's cultural background, race, or ethnicity made no difference in how you would relate to them. Each person would treat each other as equals, as part of the human race, as their brother or sister or both, and we would all live in harmony, healing and helping each other where we could. Unfortunately, that world does not exist. Yet. In some places it does, like on certain places on the internet. At least we altruists would like to believe it does. But even being on the internet is a culture and those cultures can clash too.

This month's National Geographic focuses on what truly happened when the Europeans came to the New World in a feature titled "America: Found and Lost". The article shows with wide eyes that the "English colonists undermined an ecosystem and changed the continent forever." I am hoping with all my heart that by National Geographic highlighting the Native people in such a way, that healing can grow and make more and more people aware of what our history truly was like.

Our cultural atrocities don't end with the American Indians, though. Ignorance has been the rule of the land for far too long and it is up to our generation, all of us living today, to come together to work towards a global cultural healing. In my mind, it would start with small acts of loving kindness each and every day. All of us are hurting. All of us are healing, from some kind of wound or another. Our wounds may come from something in our past, or something in our present. They may come from our own home or from a place a world away. Our whole world is in pain and agony. If each person can reach out to someone different from them and get to know them on a personal level, that can be a stepping stone for whole nations to understand and love each other.

Am I too optimistic? Possibly. There are days when I just want to scream and shout and gouge and maim. I want to scream about the pain I feel, about the pain others feel, about the pain the world feels as ignorant abusive energies rampage through our lives. But that doesn't help change things. It might feel good for a little while, but it doesn't solve any of my problems, or anybody else's.

Healing comes from within. As healing occurs in the microcosm, so does healing occur in the macrocosm. As above, so below. I know that American Indians aren't going to magically forgive the caucasian people for all that has been perpetrated against them. I know the blacks aren't going to forgive the whites, the whites aren't going to forgive the Muslims, the Jewish aren't going to forgive the Palestinians and vice versa. At least not anytime soon. But healing as large as this needs to start small. It can start as small as spreading the word LOVE everywhere you go. It can start as small as giving FREE HUGS out in a town square. It can start as small as loving yourself first and once you learn how to do that, you can love others more easily.

Healing can happen. Cultural rifts are not permanent. Rifts can be mended. It will take time. It will take perseverance. It will take commitment. It will take love. But it can be done. I have faith.

As I love myself, so will I be loved, and so I will love others and the world.

So Mote It Be.
mamagaea: (Venus of Willendorf)
(I am posting this to my journal so I can add it to my Memories so I don't lose it.)

Topic posted Yesterday, 8:10 PM by  libramoon
Forms of Consciousness Expansion -

Original document from Stanford University

Mindfulness: A Proposed Operational Definition

Scott R. Bishop, Ph.D., Mark Lau, Ph.D., Shauna Shapiro, Ph.D., et al

* * *

These approaches involve a rigorous program of training in meditation to cultivate the capacity to evoke and apply mindfulness to enhance emotional well-being and mental health. Mindfulness approaches are not considered relaxation or mood management techniques however, but rather a form of mental training to reduce cognitive vulnerability to reactive modes of mind that might otherwise heighten stress and emotional distress, or that may otherwise perpetuate psychopathology.[1] The cultivation and practice of mindfulness through this program of mental training is thus thought to mediate observed effects on mood and behaviour (Kabat-Zinn, 1990) but these speculations remain yet untested and thus unsubstantiated.

Although mindfulness has been described by a number of investigators (Kabat-Zinn, 1990, 1998; Shapiro & Swartz, 1999, 2000; Teasdale, 1999b; Segal et al., 2002), the field has thus far proceeded in the absence of an operational definition (Bishop, 2002). There have been no systematic efforts to establish the defining criteria of its various components or to specify implicated psychological processes, and general descriptions of mindfulness have not been entirely consistent across investigators. As long as fundamental questions concerning construct specificity and operational definitions remain unaddressed it is not possible to undertake important investigations into the mediating role and mechanisms of action of mindfulness, or to develop instruments that allow such investigations to proceed. Thus we must move toward a definition that is more precise and that specifies testable theoretical predictions for the purpose of validation and refinement.
Read more... )
mamagaea: (Default)
Some of you know him, some of you don't. I first read excerpts from his first book "Tipping Point" in Writing 122. [ profile] mind_hacks mentioned him today. I clicked through to his profile showcased in the Observer - Association for Psychological Science. This is an absolutely fascinating individual. I think I'll have to subscribe to his LJ feed. :) Enjoy.

Malcolm in the Middle

How Malcolm Gladwell connects psychology to everything

By Eric Jaffe
Observer Contributor

It takes Malcolm Gladwell exactly one sentence into the first chapter of his book, Blink, to mention a psychologist. That's not counting the three others he already mentioned in the book's introduction. In Blink, Gladwell discusses the power of first impressions, so one's attention is drawn to these early psychological references for a revealing glance into the author's own essence. "I don't really have a formal intellectual agenda," he says, "because I depend on psychologists to come up with new things for me to think about."

(Observer photo by Sari Goodfriend)

Read more... )
mamagaea: (Default)
Sean found the article for me. :) He's such a lovely man. Thank you. :)

The headline isn't exactly as it was portrayed in the Oregonian, but the content of the story is the same. And although they do concentrate more on teenage drivers, the basis of the study is so much more important than that. The discovery of the surge of synapse generation during adolescence through early adulthood has far reaching implications, especially when you think about different substances that can inhibit brain growth during that time span, and maturity levels of individuals in and of themselves. This is just the beginning of what I hope to be many more studies into the developing teenage brain.


Teens driven to distraction

Research shows why a teen brain capable of reasoning like an adult's is hijacked by emotions and impulses

By Ronald Kotulak
Tribune science reporter

March 24, 2006

By the time puberty is over in the middle to late teens, when adult height and full reproductive capacity have been achieved, the body is at its peak--the strongest, swiftest and healthiest it will ever be.

But the brain lags behind, laboring to adapt to the most complex society that has existed.

This mismatch--between a fully grown body and an immature brain that is trying to cope with emotions, sexual urges, poor judgment, thrill seeking and risk taking--is a key factor making motor vehicle accidents the No. 1 cause of death among adolescents and young adults, followed by murder and suicide.

Using powerful new imaging technology to look inside the brain, scientists are beginning to unravel the biology behind this critical period of development. They are finding that an adolescent's brain undergoes a previously unsuspected biological makeover--a massive growth of synaptic connections between brain cells.

This spectacular surge kicks off an extensive renovation of the brain that is not complete until the mid-20s. Scientists say the resulting learning curve, when teens struggle to shed childish thoughts for adult ones, is why adolescence is such a prolonged and perilous journey for so many.

It helps explain not only why teens are more prone to crash a car than at any other time of life, but why they are more likely to engage in risky sex, drug abuse or delinquency. Although teens often can think as logically as an adult, the process can be easily derailed by flaring emotions or other distractions.

"The reason that kids take chances when they drive is not because they're ignorant," said Temple University psychologist Laurence Steinberg. "It's because other things undermine their better judgment."

Read more... )
mamagaea: (Default)
As much as I would love to repost the article that is the headline article in today's Science section, IT ISN'T ONLINE ANYWHERE! Very perturbed about it and it is way too long to transcribe.

"With the help of new imaging technology, scientists find that the brain of an adolescent undergoes a previously unsuspected biological makeover."

I plan on using this article for my Health class, so after I write up my summary, I will post it. It is so fascinating. It speaks about how the brain goes through another growth spurt during puberty and the brain doesn't finish developing until the mid-20's. So mind opening and it just leaps to so many new questions.

If you can get today's Oregonian, I highly suggest it.
mamagaea: (Eric Armusik)
Transference: Are you a biological time machine?

Published in "The Source", June, 2001

Revised: October 17, 2005

By: Michael G. Conner, Psy.D

Sigmund Freud first identified the psychological process of transference and brought it into what is now modern day psychotherapy. As a therapist he noticed that people had strong feelings and fantasies about him that had no basis in reality. But Freud died before there was such a thing as "rock and roll." Transference has become a more modern concept since Freud. In fact, many people believe transference is actually something that happens in life - and not just psychotherapy.

What is Transference? During transference, people turn into a "biological time machine". A nerve is struck when someone says or does something that reminds you of your past. This creates an "emotional time warp" that transfers your emotional past and your psychological needs into the present. In less poetic terms, a transference reaction means that you are reacting to someone in terms of what you need to see, you are afraid of or what you see when you know very little about the person. This all happens without you knowing why you feel and react the way you do.

What Is Projection? Some people refer to transference as a "projection." In this case you are projecting your own feelings, emotions or motivations into another person without realizing your reaction is really more about you than it is about the other person. In a life filled with transference, your job may be "the family reunion you are avoiding and you are forced to go to each day." In other cases of projection, your girlfriend may remind you of all the irritating things your mother did when you were growing up. Love at first sight is usually a projection; especially if it ends in disaster and you could have seen it coming.

Harmful Patterns. Transference reactions are caused by unmet emotional needs, neglect, seductions and other abuses that transpired when you were a child. In some forms of psychotherapy, a therapist will intentionally create or allow transference to form. When done properly, this helps a therapist to understand and find a connection between the patient's past and how the patient misreads the present and may react ineffectively. Once you discover a transference pattern, you can choose to respond in terms of what is really happening instead of what happened 20 or 30 years ago. People who don't recognize the difference between past and present can end up in the same messed-up relationships over and over or with the same problem over and over.

Extreme Transference. In an extreme form of transference, you may conclude that someone is an awful or evil person when in fact that person's favorite food and television show reminds you of an emotionally abusive mother and a sexually abusive brother you have been trying to forget since childhood. That's an example of negative transference. A warm, supportive and kind person could remind you of what you are missing and wanting in their life. You might then idealize that person and begin to see him or her as wonderful beyond belief. The idea is that you will react to your therapist based on your experience with another person. This is usually a parent that the patient has an unresolved conflict with. In extreme cases a patient will become overly attached to their therapist or they will enter into and create conflicts without realizing how.

Transference Melt-Downs. Extreme forms of transference can turn into a full-blown obsession if it is not dealt with. Transference "meltdowns" can result in accidents, dangerous choices, nightmares, fantasies, stalking someone, psychotic reactions and sometimes violence. While it does not happen frequently in therapy, it can happen in the patient's personal life.

How Can You Tell? How do you know you are having a "transference reaction"? It's not always easy, but you probably are if you know very little about a therapist (or anyone) and you are having a powerful reaction that is not justifiable to a reasonable person. It can be difficult if the patient can rationalize their reactions. Having a strong sexual attraction to your therapist is almost always a transference reaction, unless of course your therapist is actually hitting on you and they're not supposed to do that on purpose. Intentionally seducing a vulnerable patient is sick and wrong! In fact that applies to any health-related profession or any employer-employee relationship. Becoming angry at you therapist as if they were a parent is a good sign that there is a transference reaction. Termination of treatment prematurely is another sign of transference - unless the therapist is just doing a bad job.

Counter-Transference. Therapists and other health care professionals can also have transference reactions while treating a patient. It's a two way street. Counter-transference is basically a therapist's "emotional time warp" around their patient's transference. In other words, counter-transference is a therapist's counter- reaction. That's why some therapists think they are falling in love with their patients. That's also why older guys become obsessed with younger female employees they barely know.

Ethics And The Law. A therapist, counselor and even a physician could possibly lose their license for seducing or sleeping with a patient they are treating. Trying to seduce an employee on the job may result in a successful lawsuit. You can also sue a licensed mental health professional for sleeping with you if you are their patient. And employers must follow the law. On the other hand, unlicensed therapists can do almost whatever they want and there may be nothing anyone can do about it. It's hard to sue an employer and win. Unlicensed therapists do not have a "duty" to act within a standard of practice. Employers may not know the law.

Unseen Dangers. Transference can sometimes produce a powerful love or a destructive hatred based on a complete illusion. There can be a loud and painful thud when people act on their transference reactions and the bubble finally bursts. In addition to being embarrassed, it can also backfire. Sometimes people will end up stalking, assaulting or killing someone. Please don't kill yourself or anyone because of some transference from your childhood. (good advice, snark -mg) And if you think your therapist, or an employer for that matter, is seducing you, tell your therapist, or contact a licensed therapist to talk about it.

Should I or Shouldn't I Risk Transference. Transference is really difficult to recognize, deal with and understand, but it is incredibly interesting. I tend to avoid people who are "oozing" with transference potential. Working with transference, or creating transference in therapy can make a therapist look mystical and brilliant. Cult therapies are based in part on generating positive transference to control and manipulate people. I avoid treatment approaches that artificially inflate my ego, would allow me to control anyone and make me feel powerful. But not everyone feels the way I do about transference. Some counselors and therapists love the power and think they can handle it. A therapist must face transference issues and encourage patients to deal with them as much as possible. In some cases a patient is not able to deal with transference issues and will terminate therapy. While it is regrettable and potentially a lost opportunity, it must be supported.

copyright 2002 to 2005, Michael G. Conner
mamagaea: (Eric Armusik)
from [ profile] psychologytoday

The Rumination Rut

By: Ellen McGrath
Summary: Women are more likely to ruminate obsessively.

Rumination is a style of thinking in which, like a hamster in a cage, you run in tight circles on treadmill in your brain. It means obsessing abou problems, about a loss, about any kind of a setbac or ambiguity without moving past thought into th realm of action

The trouble with rumination is at least twofold. As you ruminate, you deepen the grooves in the brain, intensifying levels of anxiety and depression. And your problems remain unsolved, and are perhaps even exacerbated by the failure to move on them.

As Dr. Susan Nolen-Hoeksema has shown, the tendency to engage in rumination exposes a huge gender difference in the handling of emotional experience. Simply put, women are predisposed to rumination, largely because they value relationships and thus devote a great deal of time and mental energy to processing the often-ambiguous content of them.

And there they get lost, obsessing about issues without taking action. Men, in general, take the opposite tack. They are given to launching themselves into action without thinking their problems through well enough. As a result, the solutions they attempt are not always directly or efficiently focused on their problems.

When it comes to thinking styles, men and women need to learn from each other.

Read more... )
mamagaea: (Default)
The Pitfalls of E-mail

By: Marina Krakovsky
Summary: Research suggests that communicating via e-mail alone can doom a relationship. [ profile] psychologytoday

We assume that the opportunity to edit ou written words means we put our best foot forward but a recent study suggests that communicating vi e-mail alone can doom a relationship

Janice Nadler, a social psychologist and Northwestern University law professor, paired Northwestern law students with those from Duke University and asked each pair to agree on the purchase of a car. Researchers instructed each team to bargain entirely through e-mail, but half the subjects were secretly told to precede the negotiation with a brief getting-to-know-you chat on the phone. The results were dramatic: Negotiators who first chatted by phone were more than four times likelier to reach an agreement than those who used only e-mail. In the study, which will appear in the Harvard Negotiation Law Review, subjects who never spoke were not only more likely to hit an impasse but they often felt resentful and angry about the negotiation.

While all sorts of online exchanges can be misunderstood, social scientists say that faceless strangers are especially likely to run into problems. "Through that initial phone call, people become real," says Susan Barnes, a professor of communication at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. Simply foregoing common pleasantries can make a message come across as rude—especially if communicators don't know each other. A rushed e-mail may give the impression that the exchange is unimportant. And, because first impressions set the tone for subsequent interaction, Barnes says, the exchange can quickly go downhill.

Nadler says the missing element in electronic communication is rapport, that in-sync state that's easier to establish in person or by phone. Facial expressions, gestures, tone of voice—all these social cues are missing in e-mail (and smiley-face "emoticons" can do only so much to replace them). But because messages travel almost instantly, people act as if they're in a face-to-face conversation, says David Falcone, a psychology professor at La Salle University in Philadelphia. Because of this illusion of proximity, we're duped into thinking we can communicate about touchy subjects, such as disagreements or criticisms, and that the tone of our writing will be perceived correctly.

Furthermore, says Nadler, just because we can send a message anytime doesn't mean someone is there to receive it. Yet people often fear a delayed reply is a potential blow-off.

And when we feel slighted, we are more apt to throw a fit via e-mail than we would by phone. "The anonymity of e-mail leads to rudeness," says Barnes, adding we may not feel accountable, especially if we've never actually spoken to the other person. Even if we mean well, the lack of second-by-second feedback, by which we constantly adjust our words in conversation, can cause us to go on blithely composing messages that will rub the recipient the wrong way. John Suler, a psychologist at New Jersey's Rider University who specializes in cyberspace behavior, believes that talking first on the phone might set expectations at an appropriate level—an effect that then carries over into the e-mail relationship.

The less we know someone, the more likely we are to engage in what therapists call transference, the tendency to project our desires or fears onto another person. Without social cues, says Falcone, these tendencies can run wild, causing us to interpret messages in ways that are "overly self-affirming and, potentially, extremely inaccurate." Suler adds that in the negotiation study, the initial phone call may have served as a "transference antidote," making the partners more real to each other.
mamagaea: (Default)
Daniel Dennett on why a scientific study of religion is necessary.

by Daniel C. Dennett • Posted March 20, 2006 12:09 AM

From the FEB/MAR 2006 issue of Seed:

Jesus, made from the elements.

Religion is such an important phenomenon that it is high time we directed all the magnificent truth-seeking tools of science on religions, to see what makes them work in the ways they do. I am not suggesting that science should try to do what religion does, but that it should study, scientifically, what religion does. Is there a good reason to oppose this? Those who are dubious about, or fearful of, the authority of science will have to search their souls. Do they acknowledge the power of science, properly conducted, to settle controversial factual questions or do they reserve judgment, waiting to see what the verdict will be? The ethos of science is that you pay a price for the authoritative confirmation of your favorite hypothesis, risking an authoritative refutation of it. Those who want to make claims about religion will have to live by the same rules: prove it or drop it. And if you set out to prove it and fail, you are obliged to tell us.

Read the rest here

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