• How NOT to heal when your relationship ends…
    Comments Off on How NOT to heal when your relationship ends…

    The Atlantic

    In a study published recently in Archives of Sexual Behavior, researchers at the University of Missouri had 170 heterosexual undergrads who had gone through a breakup in the past year keep online diaries over the course of a semester. They submitted weekly “distress reports” and “self-esteem and sex reports.”



    The study gathers some canonical definitions of “rebound sex” from Yahoo Answers (“Rebound sex is when you’ve just gotten out of a relationship—typically a serious one, and you have sex with another person to either stick it to the one who dumped you or try to quiet your emotional hurt… or both!”) and of “revenge sex” from the website Lemondrop (“random, meaning- less hook-up just to make the ex jealous”).



    Over the course of the semester, the researchers found that—lo and behold—people were using sex to cope with their anger and distress, or to get back at their ex. Those who did were also more likely to keep having sex with new partners over time, “suggesting that they may be slower to recover from the breakup,” the study reads.

    Our society has long had a little nugget of folk wisdom for those struggling with the end of a relationship or marriage: Just, “get back in the saddle again.”

    In other words, go to a bar, pick someone up and get laid — you’ll feel better in the morning.

    Ummmm, no!!!

    Even if we ignore the whole using the sexuality of someone else like a pain killer thing, it also seems it just doesn’t work.

    And, it’s likely to trigger off an ongoing pattern of making yourself numb we normally refer to as, “Sex and love addiction.”

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  • An addiction, or a disease?
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    Huffington Post

    Psychiatrist Sally Satel and psychologist Scott O. Lilienfeld also make a similar argument in their excellent book Brainwashed, The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience. Chapter three is called Addiction and the Brain-Disease Fallacy. The impact of choice is clearly demonstrated in their recounting of heroin and opium use in Vietnam in 1970. It was estimated that nearly half of enlisted troops in Vietnam had tried opium or heroin and that between 10 and 25 per cent were addicted.



    Afraid that returning addicts would join the addicted in US inner cities, compulsory drug testing was introduced and no one was permitted to return until they had passed the test. Those who failed were put into a detox program. Almost all who went through the program passed the test and returned home and only 5% of those relapsed after 10 months. Just 12% relapsed briefly after three years.



    By the mid 1990s, Satel and Lilienfeld argue, the lesson of Vietnam had been lost and the concept of “once an addict, always an addict” was a truism along with the concept that addiction is a chronic brain disease. That, the authors argue is “fundamentally bad science”. They go on to say that “the disruptions in neural mechanisms associated with addiction do constrain a person’s capacity for choice, but they do not destroy it.”



    And, they say, quitting is the rule not the exception. One study they cite done in the early 1980s with 19000 people found that of those who had become drug dependent by age 24, half later had no drug related symptoms. By age 37, 75 per cent reported no drug problems. Another study involving 43,000 people between 1990 and 1992 and again between 2001 and 2003 found that 77 and 86 per cent who had initially been addicted reported no problems during the year before the survey.



    Their conclusion is that:



    The brain-disease narrative misappropriates language better used to describe such conditions as multiple sclerosis or schizophrenia – afflictions of the brain that are neither brought on by the sufferer nor modifiable by the desire to be well. It offers false hope that an addict’s condition is completely amenable to medical cure (much as pneumonia is to antibiotics).

    Ok, just for the record, this guy is not a therapist and DEFINITELY should never become one. He’s also firmly on the side of, “Just pull yourself up by your own boot-straps,” and appears to have a huge axe to grind…

    That being said, he’s still got a point.

    The addiction-as-a-disease model has been disproven over and over again — though that hardly stops the proponents of such from continuing to pound that drum. It’s one of the most difficult of mental hang-ups we are faced with when we embark on the task of truly setting people free from the addictive bondages that have dominated their lives. It serves to substantiate the, “Once an addict, always an addict,” story and, worst of all, it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

    If addiction is a brain disease, then you can expect to spend the rest of your life hunted by it — but history repeatedly and clearly says that simply isn’t the fate any addict has to accept.

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  • Fixing the real problem with our society: Men.
    1 Comment on Fixing the real problem with our society: Men.

    Joe Ehrmann has been an educator, author, activist, pastor and coach for more than 25 years. He was a college All-American athlete who played professional football for 13 years. Among numerous awards, Joe has been named “The Most Important Coach in America” for his work to transform the culture of sports.

    This is simply brilliant. This guy packs more truth into 20min then a lot of other thinkers in this area ever utter in their lives.

    Watch it!!!

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  • Truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?
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    PsychCentral

    Cheaters who confessed just part of their wrongdoing were also judged more harshly by others than cheaters who didn’t confess at all, according to five experiments involving 4,167 people from all over the United States.



    The research is published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.



    “Confessing to only part of one’s transgressions is attractive to a lot of people because they expect the confession to be more believable and guilt-relieving than not confessing,” said lead author Eyal Pe’er, Ph.D.



    But our findings show just the opposite is true.”



    Confessing to some bad behavior was more common than making a full confession among those who cheated as much as possible in the study.



    But only telling part of the truth, as opposed to not confessing at all, was more likely to lead to increased feelings of guilt, shame and anxiety, the research found.



    In other words, it’s best to commit to an all-or-nothing approach when it comes to confessing, said Pe’er, who conducted the research with Alessandro Acquisti, Ph.D., of Carnegie Mellon University, and Shaul Shalvi, Ph.D., from Ben-Gurion University in Israel.

    So many times I’ve seen the following scenario:

    Husband or wife gets caught engaged in an infidelity, trapped in online erotica or even feeding some dark rage with pornography and then tells a bit of the truth.

    The spouse is, predictably, devastated, but then starts to risk trusting.

    Then, the next part of the story comes out and the spouse again is devastated but, though it takes longer, starts to risk trusting again.

    And again, and again — and then the spouse is no longer willing to risk trusting anything, furiously angry and out for revenge.

    By the time the full story comes out, the husband or wife is finally feeling better and starting to seriously look at the possibility of really doing some serious addressing and healing of the problem — and the marriage is over.

    The sad part is, usually his or her spouse started with a complete willingness to forgive…

    The overpowering weight of shame is usually so great that few listen but, for those who do, the truth really does set people free.

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  • What really kills marriages?
    1 Comment on What really kills marriages?

    LiveBoldAndBloom

    Relationship problems and conflicts arise for so many reasons, from finances to child-rearing. And often disagreements can boil over into full-blown, foot-stomping, voice-raising, door-slamming battles.



    With time, perspective, and calm communication, most of these relationship conflicts can be resolved and the relationship repaired. Sometimes these conflicts can result in the strengthening of the relationship, as hurt feelings are aired, conflicts are unknotted, and the couple learns better relationship skills in the process.



    However, there is one relationship problem that can be very difficult to overcome. In fact, it can spell the end of the relationship if it isn’t acknowledged and addressed early and promptly.



    What is this insidious problem?



    It’s apathy.



    When one or the other partner stops caring, goes belly-up, and no longer invests energy in resolving conflict or in even fighting for the future of the relationship, then it’s often a signal the end is near. Apathy shows up as unconcern, indifference, lack of interest, lack of physicality, and lack of emotion.



    Apathy doesn’t just appear in a marriage randomly or in one big explosion. It creeps into a marriage or relationship like a snake on its belly, poisoning the joy and connection in the relationship. Apathy is subtle, and sometimes even the apathetic partner doesn’t realize what’s happening until they wake up one day and realize they have no more to give in the relationship.

    So many times I get people in my office worried that their issues with anxiety, the stories of their past, the shame of the present, the truth about what they are actually feeling or the guilt that has haunted their lives is going to destroy their marriage.

    It’s not.

    Why? Frankly, if you are worried X, Y and Z could destroy your marriage, chances are, your marriage is on safe ground because that worry proves you are engaged in the marriage — and it proves you care.

    When is your marriage really at risk?

    When you, along with Clark Gable (in Gone with the Wind) reach the place of, “Frankly my dear Scarlet, I don’t give a damn.”

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  • And, this is your brain on love…
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    Mental Floss

    People say love is like an addiction. According to some neuroscientists, they’re right! Romantic love can release so many happy-go-lucky neurotransmitters into your bloodstream that the effects can outdo some drugs. Here’s what happens in your brain when you stick with that special someone.



    IN THE BEGINNING….



    When you have butterflies in your stomach from meeting someone new, dopamine levels surge. All that dopamine gives you an extra thrill when you see your newly beloved, creating an intense craving to be around them. A neurotrophin called nerve growth factor accompanies all this euphoria and increases your emotional dependency. Lastly, serotonin levels drop, which cranks up the dial for desire. This chemical cocktail is why lovestruck couples can be so infatuated with each other. Studies show that the chemical concentrations brewing inside the brains of newly minted lovebirds are similar to those who suffer from OCD.

    AS THE RELATIONSHIP SOLIDIFIES…



    As the relationship wears on, lovebirds become less obsessive. The bonding phase begins. The raphe nuclei start producing more serotonin, while, within a year, nerve growth factor levels usually return to normal. Things may feel less exciting, but the rise in serotonin helps produce a trusting, less needy attachment that primes couples for a long-term relationship. Oxytocin—the hormone that floods your brain during an orgasm—helps curb obsession even more and helps make things more stable. (Oxytocin, by the way, is the same hormone that makes maternal bonds so strong.)

    Significant parts of North American society seem to take the attitude that sexuality is mostly how you attract a partner — then, it’s what newlyweds do for a while until real life begins. After that, it’s just a boring duty that no-one is really that into…

    In less cynical parts of our world, sex is still used as a chip in a power game, viewed as a payment given once everything else is in order and given last priority by simple virtue of exhaustion.

    Then, couples wonder where the bonding went, why nothing seems to eliminate obsession or erase distrust and why they just can’t seem to get to the loyal, protective and faithful permanence of relationship they both long for.

    Thankfully, people are finally starting to listen to researchers who have the courage to tell the truth about marriage. People who can admit that marriage is first and foremost a sexual pair-bond — and sexuality is as or more essential then every other kind of intimacy.

    Admittedly, in a society where so many have been sexually abused, it’s not a popular message. But, leaving children unprotected from abuse by allowing marriages to disintegrate — ya, that’s definitely worse…

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  • Proof of intelligent life in Colorado?
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    Denver Post

    As if getting married wasn’t complicated enough, a proposed ballot initiative would require mandatory pre-wedding education before couples could say “I do.”



    Lumped onto the hours spent debating centerpieces, picking a photographer, finding the perfect dress and corralling future in-laws, the proposed Colorado Marriage Education Act calls for 10 hours of pre-wedding marriage education.



    If either the bride- or groom-to-be is marrying for the second time, the requirement kicks up to a minimum of 20 hours. It goes up to 30 hours for a third- time’s-the-charm.



    A re-marrying widow would be held to the same standard as a first-timer. The law would not apply to civil unions.

    You know, as much as this is crazy and will never pass, it’s possibly the most intelligent initiative I’ve seen in years. We demand hours of education to have a babysitting license — yet zero education to be the parents of the children in charge of creating a stable marriage and loving home for the child.

    And, a fourteen yr old can easily learn all of the skills required for a successful marriage, if someone would just start teaching them…

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  • So, what if Avatar wasn’t science fiction?
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    Kurzweil

    Orch OR was harshly criticized from its inception, as the brain was considered too “warm, wet, and noisy” for seemingly delicate quantum processes. However, evidence has now shown warm quantum coherence in plant photosynthesis, bird brain navigation, our sense of smell, and brain microtubules.



    The recent discovery of warm-temperature quantum vibrations in microtubules inside brain neurons by the research group led by Anirban Bandyopadhyay, PhD, at the National Institute of Material Sciences in Tsukuba, Japan (and now at MIT), corroborates the pair’s theory and suggests that EEG rhythms also derive from deeper level microtubule vibrations.



    In addition, work from the laboratory of Roderick G. Eckenhoff, MD, at the University of Pennsylvania, suggests that anesthesia, which selectively erases consciousness while sparing non-conscious brain activities, acts via microtubules in brain neurons.



    “The origin of consciousness reflects our place in the universe, the nature of our existence. Did consciousness evolve from complex computations among brain neurons, as most scientists assert? Or has consciousness, in some sense, been here all along, as spiritual approaches maintain?” ask Hameroff and Penrose in the current review.



    “This opens a potential Pandora’s Box, but our theory accommodates both these views, suggesting consciousness derives from quantum vibrations in microtubules (protein polymers inside brain neurons), which govern neuronal and synaptic function, and also connect brain processes to self-organizing processes in the fine scale, ‘proto-conscious’ quantum structure of reality.”



    After 20 years of skeptical criticism, “the evidence now clearly supports Orch OR,” continue Hameroff and Penrose. “Our new paper updates the evidence, clarifies Orch OR quantum bits, or “qubits,” as helical pathways in microtubule lattices, rebuts critics, and reviews 20 testable predictions of Orch OR published in 1998 — of these, six are confirmed and none refuted.”

    It’s cute to watch scientists dance around things…

    So many millions of pronouncements flooded with self righteous certainty and dripping with contempt filled self assuredness that you are nothing more then a ugly bag of mostly water. That your consciousness is a freak of some hormones flowing through a biological machine and your spirituality nothing more then an evolved defence mechanism to keep you from prematurely killing off a meat sack which appeared by random chance and will die without purpose.

    Then, quantum physics pokes it’s head in and scientists start saying weird things like, “….has consciousness, in some sense, been here all along, as spiritual approaches maintain?”

    Obviously, no one wants to come out and say it but, perhaps we just discovered the radio frequency of a spirit?

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  • Would you like to be smarter?
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    PsyBlog

    …Young adults rats were either allowed to have sex only once in a two-week period, or every day (Leuner et al., 2010).



    What they found was that sex was stressful–the rats had elevated levels of stress hormones–but sex also promoted brain cell growth.



    The rats that had been having sex for two weeks displayed neurogenesis: the process by which neurons are generated from stem cells in the brain.



    The neurogenesis was found in part of the hippocampus, a structure that is thought to contribute to memory formation and other important cognitive functions.



    The more sexually active rats also displayed less anxiety.



    Middle aged rats



    All very well for the younger rat, you might say, but what about the poor, downtrodden middle-aged rat?



    He’s losing his looks, his fur and…well…he’s a rat.



    When the same research group carried out a similar experiment on older rats, they reached the same conclusions (Glasper & Gould, 2013).



    If older rats continued to have sex, neurogenesis in the hippocampus was enhanced.



    So there’s hope for the older rats amongst us as well.



    The effect did not, however, persist after the rats stopped having sex: they had to keep at it.

    You know, some posts just stand by themselves — well, that is, if you’re a rat…

    😉

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  • What happens when your heart cries out for attention?
    Comments Off on What happens when your heart cries out for attention?

    Psych Central

    Stuck thoughts… the brick walls that form a prison around your mind. The harder you try to get rid of them, the more powerful they become.



    I’ve been wrestling with stuck thoughts ever since I was in fourth grade. The content or nature of the obsessions have morphed into many different animals over the course of 30-plus years, but their intensity and frequency remains unchanged.



    Here are some strategies I use when they make a surprise visit, techniques that help me free myself from their hold.

    Here’s the Coles notes edition — but read the whole article.

    1. Don’t talk back.

    2. Know it will pass.

    3. Focus on now.

    4. Tune into the senses.

    5. Do something else.

    6. Change your obsession.

    7. Blame the chemistry.

    8. Picture it.

    9. Admit powerlessness.

    They are very good suggestions — once you are in those thoughts. But, notice what is missing.

    One of the critical pieces these sorts of programs almost always ignore is WHY those thoughts are there to begin with. Those thoughts don’t just materialize out of thin air. They are, to quote Jung, “An avoidance of legitimate suffering.”

    In other words, these sorts of thoughts are, at their core, an addictive behaviour based on real emotions that are really being misshandled and, if properly handled, can cease to be the engine driving those obsessive thoughts.

    But, there’s where we have to depart from psychological bandaids, come to peace with our own hearts, start to feel/grieve and learn to listen and then respond to our own heart needs in an effective manner.

    Sadly, bandaids are much more popular…

    Read more
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