• How hallucinogenic experiences can treat anxiety.
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    The Atlantic

    Dr. Ross and his team report that the vast majority of their patients have exhibited an immediate and sustained reduction in anxiety. Consistent with similar studies involving psilocybin, approximately three-fourths of the participants rate their experience with the drug as being one of the top five most significant events of their lives.

    I asked Dr. Ross how a medication taken only once can have such an enduring effect. “One way to think of it,� he replied, “is that these experiences are profoundly memorable. When something really bad happens, PTSD can occur. It activates the amygdala where emotional memories are formed. Symptoms can last for years. Dramatic negative events can create symptoms for long period of time, and it seems that way with very positive experiences too. In my own life, I think about the birth of my kids. It was a profound event that caused great changes in my life. I think these psychedelic events are similar to that.�

    I sat across the table from O.M., examining his perfectly normal neck. He smiled as he demonstrated the way he used to palpate his lymph nodes – fingers curling expertly into position behind his left ear like those of a virtuoso violinist. “Now, in medical school, I’m learning to palpate other people’s lymph nodes,� he added. “I’m the best.�

    His hands dropped easily back onto the table, resting peacefully there before him. It was hard to imagine that this man had ever been sick.

    “At the hospital they gave me Xanax for anxiety,� he said. “Xanax doesn’t get rid of your anxiety. Xanax tells you not to feel it for awhile until it stops working and you take the next pill. The beauty of psilocybin is: it’s not medication. You’re not taking it and it solves your problem. You take it and you solve your problem yourself.�

    Ironic isn’t it?

    Scientists are finally being allowed to… research. And, confirming what every native tribe on the continent has known for thousands of years:

    What the government refers to as an illegal drug is actually a pretty effective medicine that grows wild in the woods.

    While there is no way I’d ever recommend someone do this, I’ve seen a couple of clients over the years who were so desperate they finally took matters into their own hands and undertook this treatment. And, for both, it worked — just as well as it worked for thousands of years before.

    But, it’s too bad they had to break the law to do so…

    (BTW: Both were highly knowledgable people who had or were completing science degrees, could test what they were taking and knew exactly what they were doing. Do NOT try this at home…)

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  • Desperately avoiding the friend-zone?
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    Psych Central

    There Are 3 Stages in Romantic Relationships




    Most couples get the order wrong. Lots of couples just dive headlong into relating—working out their issues and differences. Others skip even that step and start right out in bed—mating.

    You might ask, “Does it matter?� And, yes, based on our research it does. Successful couples are much more likely to date for a period of several weeks before they start relating and then mating.

    Dating is casual, fun, no investment and the early scratch and sniff test.

    Relating is getting to know one another and learning if you can negotiate your differences in a way that works for both of you.

    Mating (getting physical) happens AFTER you move through the first two stages.

    But Most Couples Mess This Up and Too Quickly Go From Dating to Mating.

    Mating too soon in the process causes several problems.

    We quickly become overly invested in a person we don’t even know.

    Men lose respect for women who jump in the sack too fast—even if they ask them to.

    Women lose respect for men who jump in the sack too fast—even if they ask them to.

    We don’t allow the erotic tension to build—and we should—as a way to develop our maturity.

    I’ve seen this yet again today. There’s an ancient order to how healthy relationships form — and no amount of rationalizing, denial, political ideology, ranting against religious control or buoyant self-confidence is going to allow you to escape the costs if you try to skip steps.

    The human heart simply doesn’t work any other way.

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  • How to date a good man.
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    Good Men Project

    A good man, as the saying goes, is hard to find. Well, not really. There are millions of good men out there. Millions. Good men whose intentions are honorable. Good men whose behavior towards women is kind and respectful. Good men who appreciate love and value commitment. Good men who hew to a code of morality and decent conduct in their personal and professional lives. Good men who don’t need to be bad boys to prove themselves. And these good men are not hiding. They’re everywhere, in plain sight. The young cashier at the supermarket who asks how your day is going. The guy jogging along the bike path who smiles as you pass by. The weary commuter coming home on the late evening train with a bunch of flowers on the empty seat next to him. Some of these good men are already taken. But many are not. Many are available and looking for a good partner—a person who shares their values, appreciates their efforts, and treats them with respect. Recently, a reader wrote in to The Good Men Project and asked if we could provide her with a guide to how to court a good man.

    There’s more truth on the above linked page then most dating guide authors have in an entire book.

    Our society paints men up as evil carnivores forever preying upon women — and some do. And, it’s become justified in much of our culture for women to pretty much engage any sort of game and tactic in response.

    The result: There’s getting to be more men damaged by dating women (or having their marriages destroyed by their wives) showing up in counsellors offices then the opposite of such.

    Meanwhile, the good men of this world end up in a defensive stance that looks something like this:

    5. Emotional health. Chances are a good man has been in one or more relationships with emotionally insecure or dysfunctional partners. These people have radar that shows them all the good men in a hundred-mile radius. They seek out men who are patient and tolerant, who will put up with their crap, who won’t walk away when things get tough because they love strongly and feel responsible for their partner’s welfare and well-being. A good man who has some experience under his belt has learned to spot the warning signals and to be wary of the red flags. He doesn’t want a rescue mission. He doesn’t want be your whipping post as you work through your anger over your shitty childhood. He’ll take care of you when you’re sick, hold your hand when you’re lonely, offer his shoulder and his handkerchief when you’re flooding with tears, and pick you up when you fall to pieces, but he wants you to have your psychological act together before he gets serious with you.

    2. No games. Who’s going to call first? How long should I wait to answer his text? Should I disappear for a few days to make him want me more? Throw out every single bit of dating advice from the magazine articles. It’s worthless. A good man despises games. He’s forthright and direct. If you like him, let him know. Ask him out for coffee or a drink. It’s really that simple. If you’re dating and he calls you, he expects you to answer if you’re available or call him back promptly if you’re not. If he texts you, he’s looking for a response, not a waiting game. And if you reach out to him and he doesn’t get back to you right away, it’s because he’s busy, not because he’s ignoring you. If you press him on this or pepper him with calls and texts asking where he is or suggesting he doesn’t care about you, he will break it off, delete you from his contacts, and block you on his phone. And if you test him in a dishonest or disingenuous way or try to set a trap for him, he will immediately discern that you’re a game player. Relationships are about trust for him, and while he understands that trust is earned, he also knows that it doesn’t need to be constantly proven.

    Every woman, attached or otherwise, needs to read these ten points.

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  • Eight critical barriers to the healing of addiction
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    Society tells those struggling with addiction to, “Just quit it.�

    It sounds so logical and so simple to those uttering the words — and every addict agrees with the plan and even pulls it off for short periods of time.

    Then religion comes along side and delivers what we believe is a more compassionate message: “With the help of Christ (And a little guilt — er, accountability — from your Promise Keepers group) just quit it.”

    And, again, all of those who struggle with addiction within the walls of their faith community also agree.

    But, if you struggle with addiction, those (usually well intentioned) words represent a complete failure to even begin to grasp the problem that is addiction. It’s like telling a person to charge in and reclaim a birthright — now stored in a fortress guarded by eight separate towers — without even offering them a sword.

    Let’s look at those towers that guard your birthright:

    To begin with, the addicted person simply doesn’t know how to feel — and has lived out of touch with his or her heart for decades.

    And, even if the person could feel, they don’t trust those feelings — having been raised not to do so.

    And, even if that were not true, the person never learned to connect emotion to longings.

    And, even if longings could be identified via emotion, the person never learned to get those longings met.

    And even if that were not an issue, those longings require other people to meet them — and people let them down before and can’t be trusted.

    And, even if they could be trusted, they never learned the skills to engage others such that those needs would be met.

    And, even if the person had the skills, their current existences have not been lived connecting with others such that their lives are not exactly filled with people that they can go to anyway.

    And, for those people who are available, by this point, the addicted person feels so unworthy, guilty and shameful they believe they don’t deserve to request such from them anyway.

    While the addictive behaviour is bright, flashy and demands lots of attention, it’s nothing more then a distraction that keeps everyone involved from going to work on the real problem. Focusing on the addictive behaviour completely ignores that addicted people can switch addictions over lunch hour — and usually have several on the go anyway.

    While addiction usually needs to be suspended to get at the real problem, fixing it has little to do with stopping the acting out. The real problem has much more to do with changing dysfunctional thinking patterns and addressing negative beliefs about love and relationship.

    While those towers seem overwhelming and insurmountable, they really are not. We don’t believe in tolerable recovery – we help our clients learn the skills to create real freedom from addiction for themselves!

    Contact us and start seeing change today!

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  • For the sake of your marriage, TALK!!!
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    Huffington Post

    That distinction became very important in determining which relationships survived. At the end of five years, 43 percent of couples who had revealed the infidelity were divorced compared to 80 percent of the couples whose infidelity was kept secret.

    “The current results suggest that many revealed infidelity couples were able to sustain the gains made during treatment and preserve the integrity of the relationship,” the researchers explained. “When an infidelity is confessed as opposed to discovered, both partners may be more willing to work on restoring the marital relationship.”

    Indeed, couples who experienced infidelity but remained married had similar levels of marital stability and relationship satisfaction at the end of the five years as the couples who experienced no infidelity at all.

    “Infidelity does not have to be the end of the relationship. It is clear that couples are able to work through an infidelity, restore their relationship, and enjoy a stable and satisfying marital relationship,” the researchers wrote.

    I’ve said this for years — mostly based on gut instinct. Now, we have the research to back it:

    If you have had an affair, get into therapy — and then SPILL IT. ASAP!!!

    Not only will it at least double your chances of saving the marriage, it will likely create an excellent one.

    Or keep it hidden and pretty much ensure you kiss it all goodbye.

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  • Perhaps you’re not depressed enough?
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    Research out Thursday from a team based at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City might not suggest a cure in its purest sense, but it offers something much closer to that than previously obtained: full alleviation, at least in mouse models (which are pretty good models for this sort of thing). What the authors describe in their study is a new and very unexpected target mechanism—the mechanism by which the brain corrects depression on its own in healthy humans or, more specifically, the way it naturally responds to stress.

    The discovery points to two different ion channels in the brain—imagine wires—and group of neurons known as the ventral tegmentum (VTA), the part of the brain that handles neurological reward systems, motivation, cognition, and drug addiction. Naturally it follows that VTA dysfunction is also thought to be the locus of a number of psychiatric disorders. In depression, particularly, what’s seen is an elevation in VTA neural firing—overactivity. This is thought to be the result of an increase in incoming cation channel currents (Ih currents), which trigger the additional out-of-control firing (“dysregulation�), and a therapeutic focus has been on quieting that channel and the VTA.

    The Sinai researchers discovered something very strange about the VTA and its corresponding cation channel. If you increase the current in that channel to very high levels, higher than we would expect in a normal brain, the VTA stimulation effect switches into reverse and the opposite becomes true. The VTA quiets rather than dysregulates, and as a result, the depression bows out. Symptoms disappear. In the case of lab mice, the symptoms disappear completely, as stimuli that would normally cause depression are increased. The researchers attempted two different methods of increasing depression-causing features: using light to stimulate firing within the VTA itself and using drugs to increase current in the cation channel. The result of both was an increase in natural resistance, specifically as mediated by a third brain (and cardiac) feature, potassium ion (K+) channels.

    So, here’s one so cutting edge it’s almost still in the realm of SiFi.

    I’ve had many clients talk about their recovery from depression starting when they finally plummeted to depths they never even thought possible and finally couldn’t feel worse. The idea is certainly well recognized by others and has even become the theme of a rather curious autobiography via cartoon strips but no one has ever attempted to understand why this rather counter-intuitive phenomenon occurs.

    Well, now we know why — and it may suggest a powerful new line of treatment for at least the non-lifestyle related parts of depression.

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  • Simple exercises to improve male, “Staying power.”
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    Premature ejaculation — defined as occurring within one minute — affects many men at some point in their lives. Although different treatments exist, some men don’t respond to any of them.

    This study included 40 men, aged 19 to 46, with lifelong premature ejaculation who had tried different treatments — including creams, antidepressants and behavioral therapy — without success. They were trained to exercise their pelvic floor muscles and did this for 12 weeks.

    At the start of the study, the men’s average time to ejaculation was about 32 seconds. That improved to almost 2.5 minutes — a more than fourfold increase — by the end of the three-month pelvic exercise program.

    Only five men in the study had no significant improvement, according to the findings that were to be presented Sunday at the European Congress of Urology in Stockholm.

    This study is not even close to being an astonishing revelation — but it is very accurate.

    There is an entire industry of worthless potions, gadgets and creams which really are nothing more then shameless exploitation of the struggle and embarrassment so many men feel from this issue. Then, there is a much more well intentioned medical community handing out SSRI’s as though their side effects were a treatment. None of it is working.

    In reality, we have over 5000 years of knowledge on what the problem is and how to address it. Knowledge so effective it spawned the belief that semen could be preserved as a life force — nearly indefinitely. (No, this is NOT a good idea…) Knowledge that allowed the nobility to satisfy multiple wives and concubines (as well as experience multiple orgasms themselves) in a single evening without ejaculation.

    Finally, someone got around to studying it…

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  • Sexual frequency and duration: Country rankings.
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    This graphic really does speak for itself; though it’s still worth saying: Even in Australia (currently the best in the entire world), there are still a whole lot of REALLY unsatisfied women putting up with barely cursory sex…

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  • Cracks in the Biblical patriarchy movement
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    Daily Beast

    The scandal around Phillips is just the latest in a long line of ugly shocks to the far Christian right that threaten to destabilize and possibly capsize the community. As The Wire reported in early March, Bill Gothard, the leader of the Institute in Basic Life Principles, resigned his position in the wake of a series of accusations of alleged sexual abuse from dozens of women in the organization. IBLP, like Vision Forum Ministries, is a major clearinghouse for adherents to Biblical patriarchy, teaching members to shun contraception, embrace extreme forms of female submission, and, of course, use homeschooling to shelter young people from the outside world. Unsurprisingly, IBLP is also associated with the Duggar family, who participated in the organization’s many training seminars on embracing Biblical patriarchy and who called Gothard their “number one recommended resource� for family advice. He has exerted political influence in other ways, as well, befriending Sarah Palin and bringing her in for his International Association of Character Cities conference.

    Similarly, both Bob Jones University and Patrick Henry College—schools that were established in no small part to give these homeschooled and sheltered kids from far Christian right backgrounds a place to go to college—have been at the center of accusations of indifference and even of allegedly covering up reported sexual abuse on campus. BJU received a lot of heat when they fired an outside firm that had been brought on to investigate accusations of sexual abuse, only to rehire them when it looked like they were punishing the firm for being too thorough in exposing the problem. Patrick Henry College was the recent target of an exposé in The New Republic that explored how young women who brought sexual abuse complaints to the school were frequently drummed out of the college or made to felt that they had somehow brought the abuse on themselves.

    The “pitch� of Biblical patriarchy, as epitomized by Michelle Duggar, is that women will be coddled and worshipped in exchange for giving up their ambitions and the autonomy to practice an extreme form of female submission. The unpleasant truth is that a culture that teaches that women are put on earth for no other purpose but to serve men is not going to breed respect for women. Instead, these incidents show a world where men believe they can do whatever they want to women without repercussions. Is it any surprise that a subculture that promises absolute control over women will attract men who want to dominate and hurt women?

    19 kids and counting appears to ultimately have been a calculated gamble. A gamble that a fresh and appealing face could be put on a brand of fundamentalism so absurdist and destructive it makes the totalitarianism of Islam actually look sorta normal. A gamble that warm fuzzies and the illusion of a wonderful family could be used to sell a system of control — at least to the rest of Christendom — before reality caught up with that system.

    And, it almost worked. But, what they didn’t factor in was that PR campaigns do generate interest — from people with research skills capable of connecting one silenced victim with another and getting them all un-silenced. What they didn’t factor in is that there are so many cracks in the facade that only hiddenness has protected it from collapse for decades.

    At this point, pretty much everything but the PR campaign has been exposed as being shot full of those cracks — and it likely will not last much longer either…

    But, sadly, the damage is already done. So much of general society now thinks this fringe set of insanity defines Christianity…

    Leonard Cohen’s comment on cracks pretty much stands as prophetic here…


    The birds they sang

    at the break of day

    Start again

    I heard them say

    Don’t dwell on what

    has passed away

    or what is yet to be.

    Ah the wars they will

    be fought again

    The holy dove

    She will be caught again

    bought and sold

    and bought again

    the dove is never free.

    Ring the bells that still can ring

    Forget your perfect offering

    There is a crack in everything

    That’s how the light gets in.

    We asked for signs

    the signs were sent:

    the birth betrayed

    the marriage spent

    Yeah the widowhood

    of every government —

    signs for all to see.

    I can’t run no more

    with that lawless crowd

    while the killers in high places

    say their prayers out loud.

    But they’ve summoned, they’ve summoned up

    a thundercloud

    and they’re going to hear from me.

    Ring the bells that still can ring …

    You can add up the parts

    but you won’t have the sum

    You can strike up the march,

    there is no drum

    Every heart, every heart

    to love will come

    but like a refugee.

    Ring the bells that still can ring

    Forget your perfect offering

    There is a crack, a crack in everything

    That’s how the light gets in.

    Ring the bells that still can ring

    Forget your perfect offering

    There is a crack, a crack in everything

    That’s how the light gets in.

    That’s how the light gets in.

    That’s how the light gets in.

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  • Driving addicts to use really risky drugs.
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    Changing supply does little to change demand when it comes to drugs of abuse. Why? Because addiction is a chronic brain disease that changes the function and structure of the brain, and because people often use drugs to cope with painful emotions. Neither of these problems is cured by making drugs less available.

    People aren’t going to stop using drugs because we change the formulation. They aren’t going to quit because we create harsher drug laws. So what will work? Put simply, the same solutions that apply to other chronic illnesses: prevention, education (of patients, physicians and the public), and long-term disease management.

    Instead of criminalizing addiction, encouraging doctors to stop providing care to people who may be addicted to prescription drugs, and focusing the majority of our research and resources on new formulations, vaccines and pills to defeat people’s attempts to get high, we need to address the deeper issues at work in addiction.

    While the assertion that addiction is a disease is a rather disproven one, the rest of the assessment is well worth the read.

    Our government’s best efforts to stamp out prescription drug abuse are really little more then a striking testament to how little our political system (and even our medical system) grasps the fundamental nature of addiction.

    A very wise man once stated that, “When the range of available questions becomes limited, grasp of complex problems becomes simplistic.”

    The problem is, that system refuses to even ask the most basic of questions like, “Why do addicts use anyway?”

    Sadly, considering all we have spent, the answer would have nothing to do with availability of drugs…

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