• How to raise a victim of childhood sexual abuse
    How to raise a victim of childhood sexual abuse
    1 Comment on How to raise a victim of childhood sexual abuse

    Just for a moment, let’s completely ignore the tragic cascade of underage child abuse victims themselves acting out the same behaviours on other minor family members or peers where the perpetrator really is as much a victim as the the one being abused.

    Have you ever tried, even for just a few seconds, to step inside the mind of the most hardened adult sexual offenders and imagine what they need to see in a child to begin taking steps towards victimizing him or her? Is there a pattern? Why would they target one child and completely ignore another?

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  • Protecting children from online erotica/pornography
    Protecting children from online erotica/pornography
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    Nearly every school system in North America is beginning to debate the use of the internet in schools. Wifi has become ubiquitous, LTE connections are in nearly every student’s backpack and the hand wringing and panic over what children are surfing has reached epic levels.

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  • Why save your marriage?
    Why save your marriage?
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    “I’ve tried so hard for so many years, I don’t feel anything for him/her anymore and I really wonder if there’s anything left here. I’m just not sure my marriage is worth saving…”

    If I could get a dollar for every time I’ve heard that line, well, I’d have a LOT more dollars…

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  • Breaking through the stigma of miscarriage.
    Breaking through the stigma of miscarriage.
    Comments Off on Breaking through the stigma of miscarriage.

    As many as 75% of all pregnancies result in a miscarriage before the woman knows she is pregnant. Once the woman has tested positive on a pregnancy test, there is still a one in five chance of an early miscarriage. Later in the pregnancy, while quite uncommon, miscarriage still occurs about 1% of the time though, for some women, it may repeatedly occur.

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  • Focus: Can you master your own mind?
    Comments Off on Focus: Can you master your own mind?

    DSCN9929

    In my mind, the award for the most incorrectly labeled disorder ever goes to the generalized mayhem that is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

    Think about it: We have a disorder that we know is the result of the brain continually searching for external sources of stimulation. We further know that children suffering with such can be treated with stimulant medications and that stimulant, paradoxically, calms the child — likely by providing enough internal stimulation.

    Clearly, it’s not a deficit of attention — if anything, there’s far too much attention being paid to nearly everything at once. (Well, other then the less exciting tasks the child should be focused upon…) Even a momentary glance at an ADHD child playing video games demonstrates that their attention can be stunningly focused and that the problem is much more a question of the regulation of attention.

    Since 1955, the treatment of focus problems or Attention Deficit Disorder has been dominated by one simple strategy: Drugs. Though, in recent years, non-stimulant medications have been tried, the dominant treatment still is the same psychostimulant Ritalin (methylphenidate) or derivatives of such used in 1955.

    But, things are changing. Driven by speculation that children can learn to control impulses and that there exists more then enough stimulation within one’s own self if attended to, more and more mindfulness based training is beginning to be tried with this disorder.

    And, it may be a much more effective strategy:

    In their (rather statistics heavy) paper, the researchers simply tried teaching ADHD children Tai Chi. The result?

    These results converge to suggest that tai chi training may help improve attention in healthy young adults.

    That’s typical academic understatement. The Tai Chi actually offered quite significant improvements in a remarkably short period of time.

    While the authors do caution that:

    Further studies are needed to confirm these results and to evaluate tai chi as therapy for individuals with ADHD.

    The truth is that there already is a substantial pile of studies already saying exactly the same thing. It is becoming increasingly clear that focus, self regulation and the ability to re-regulate a dis-regulated and disorganized mind can be taught along with the ability to simply learn to shut down and reboot your brain.

    Drugs are one option, but they are NOT the only option.

    And yes, we do work with ADHD — especially in adults. Contact us!

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  • How to learn.
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    PsyBlog

    People who learn quickest show the least neural activity, a new study finds.



    The research flies in the face of the common myth that the key to learning is trying harder and thinking it through.



    Instead, quick learners in particular showed reduced brain activity in the frontal cortex, an area linked to conscious planning.



    In other words: good learners don’t overthink what they are trying to learn.



    Professor Scott Grafton, who led the study, said:



    “It’s useful to think of your brain as housing a very large toolkit.



    When you start to learn a challenging new skill, such as playing a musical instrument, your brain uses many different tools in a desperate attempt to produce anything remotely close to music.



    With time and practice, fewer tools are needed and core motor areas are able to support most of the behavior.



    What our laboratory study shows is that beyond a certain amount of practice, some of these cognitive tools might actually be getting in the way of further learning.?

    So much of the education system (and the operational norms of our society) functions from the assumption that mastery results from trying harder, and that trying harder is fundamentally motivated by reward and punishment — motivating the brain to focus.

    Yet, when we look at successful education systems, what we see are short school days, low stress on children, incredible attention to care for all aspects of the child’s well being and learning through grasp of context and purpose.

    Those children learn because they are relaxed enough to explore and the actual learning becomes more of a body memory and a familiarity rather then the result of strenuously attempting to remember.

    The same thing occurs when we look at faith communities that bring real change to the hearts and minds of people. They too are a place of quietness, safety, grace, gentleness, freedom, peace and exploration.

    And…

    The same thing is true of therapy as well.

    Shame, fear, guilt and judgment all simply can’t have any place here…

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  • I just have no idea what I am feeling…
    Comments Off on I just have no idea what I am feeling…

    Our emotions are powerful, born of countless unknowable forces and planted by childhood events we may never consciously recall. For many of us, they exist as shrouded mysterious urges we mostly focus on managing and suppressing.

    But, it doesn’t have to be that way. They are in us for a reason: to be a dashboard which displays the state of our entire being. Learning to listen to and name the read-outs on that dashboard is essential to caring for ourselves and loving other people.

    Here is a guided path towards understanding what our hearts are telling us:


    How to identify what kind of emotion you are feeling in seven easy steps.

    face-658678_640

    Tune into the prompting event that caused the emotion and consider what sort of an event it is.

    The nature of an event is a powerful clue as to the impact it may be having on you — though other factors could cause you to respond in a completely different way.

    Next, note your interpretation of the event.

    Are you seeing it as others around you are or are you looking at it through very different lenses? If different, then how and why?

    Note any physical sensations you encountered during the event.

    Did you shake, get hot, feel flushed, have trouble looking at the other person, experience a change in sexual response, feel your heart race, experience your body relaxing? Our bodies can sometimes tell us what we are feeling even before our minds can apprehend such. What do those physiological responses tell you?

    Note your body language.

    Did you find yourself clenching your fists, hugging yourself, crossing your arms, turning your body towards/away, find yourself looking down/away/glaring at the other or standing erect/slumping? What do those physical actions tell you that you were unconsciously trying to accomplish?

    Next, attend to any sort of action urge you experienced during the event.

    Did you want to run away or hide, hit the other person, explode and yell, hurt the other person, hug the other person or want to make love to/have sex with the other person? What sort of internal dynamics do those urges imply?

    Examine any action you actually took.

    Was it the same or different from #5? (If it was the same, this step is likely redundant. If it was different, then is there an ambivalence or two conflictual emotions present?)

    Now, based on previous items above, use the below chart to precisely identify the emotion name(s) you are experiencing.

    The sooner we figure out what we are feeling, the earlier into an interaction we are able to draw from the wisdom our hearts have to bring to any interchange.

    If that wisdom becomes effectively blended with our mind and our other senses, we gain the ability to choose how we engage others instead of finding ourselves driven in irrational ways.

    And, sometimes, we then gain the ability to put our responses aside for a moment, step out of ourselves and then experience what the other person is experiencing.

    That’s where compassion and empathy start and senseless wars end.

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  • Maybe clothes do make a man… sick?
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    The Good Men Project

    If clothes aren’t physically or emotionally healthy, why are we horrified when people don’t wear them? Show a man with a gun… it’s called action. Show a man with a dick… it’s called indecent.



    There’s something wrong with the way Americans have come to accept almost every aspect of the human condition except for the most natural one. We’ve accepted guns, drugs and violence, yet refuse to accept bare breasts and genitalia.



    Put a man killing and raping women in a movie and it may go on to win an Oscar. Put a naked woman on the screen, and it won’t be allowed a nomination (take “Blue is the Warmest Color? for example).



    We’ve become so desensitized to everything, but the one thing that makes us human. We’ve come to accept almost every negative aspect of human nature, yet refuse to condone the most natural state a human being can be — the nude.

    Ok, so, the above linked rant is way too much fun to ignore — it simply begged to be posted. Just read it…

    But, some of the content is actually quite scholarly and factual.

    In particular, the linked literature summary on the impact of social nudity upon children is both really well done and serious food for thought.

    (Though, I highly doubt it will do anything to quell the nearly religious fervor with which so many sectors of our society attack even the simple concept of a clothing optional beach…)

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  • Giving hugs later doesn’t help…
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    Science Daily

    “If you believe that you can shake your children or slap them across the face and then smooth things over gradually by smothering them with love, you are mistaken,” wrote lead researcher Jennifer E. Lansford on the Child and Family Blog. Lansford is a research professor at the Social Science Research Institute at Duke University. “Being very warm with a child whom you hit in this manner rarely makes things better. It can make a child more, not less, anxious.”



    The blog is a joint project of the Future of Children at Princeton University and the Applied Developmental Psychology Research Group at the University of Cambridge.



    Lansford calls it “one of many worrying findings” in the multicenter research about corporal punishment. They interviewed more than 1,000 children and their mothers, from eight different countries, asking about levels of physical punishment and also about anxiety and aggressive behavior on the part of the children.



    They found that while maternal warmth can lessen the impact of “low levels of corporal punishment” among children ages 8 to 10, both anxiety and aggression still remain — just not quite as much. It doesn’t typically diminish the negative impact of high levels of physical punishment. Lansford said countries with a more authoritarian parenting style, like Kenya and Colombia, see less effect on the children than other countries.



    “Generally, childhood anxiety actually gets worse when parents are very loving alongside using corporate punishment,” she wrote. The researchers aren’t sure why, but she said it might be “simply too confusing and unnerving for a child to be hit hard and loved warmly all in the same home.”

    There is truth here — and a rather clear example of simple ideological spin…

    The truth part of it is that the majority of the discipline tactics taught within the hallowed halls of fundamentalism are, in fact, child abuse and no amount of good intention or loving acts after, “Giving you a slap across that filthy mouth,” is going to lessen the impact of such. The hold of aggression and anxiety will remain the same and the abuse will only increase the chances of the same behavior occurring again.

    The spin?

    Note how the wording above changes from slapping kids across the face to corporal punishment. Because those are one and the same?

    Really???

    Yet, you read nearly any writing on corporal punishment and you see this exact error replicated nearly constantly.

    Two obvious facts remain:

    (1). Corporal punishment is still in huge use around the world and across North America by people who, plainly, think these researchers are idiots.

    (2). We definitively KNOW that corporal punishment is largely ineffective and, at best, a short term solution.

    People still really do trust science and can be persuaded — by scientists that they see as having no axe to grind and no willingness to warp their language to accomplish such.

    We need more then a few of them in this field or people are forever going to read, “Spare the rod,” (Which was the expensive and fragile hooked tool used to steer and rescue sheep,) as, “Spare the staff.” (The straight fighting weapon used to violently defend sheep from marauding agents.)

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  • The real reason parents refuse to vaccinate their kids…
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    Mind Hacks

    There are other psychological factors at play in the decisions taken by individual parents not to vaccinate their children. One is the rational selfishness of avoiding risk, or even the discomfort of a momentary jab, by gambling that the herd immunity of everyone else will be enough to protect your child.



    Another is our tendency to underplay rare events in our calculation about risks – ironically the very success of vaccination programmes makes the diseases they protect us against rare, meaning that most of us don’t have direct experience of the negative consequences of not vaccinating. Finally, we know that people feel differently about errors of action compared to errors of inaction, even if the consequences are the same.



    Many who seek to persuade anti-vaxxers view the issue as a simple one of scientific education. Anti-vaxxers have mistaken the basic facts, the argument goes, so they need to be corrected. This is likely to be ineffective. Anti-vaxxers may be wrong, but don’t call them irrational.



    Rather than lacking scientific facts, they lack a trust in the establishments which produce and disseminate science. If you meet an anti-vaxxer, you might have more luck persuading them by trying to explain how you think science works and why you’ve put your trust in what you’ve been told, rather than dismissing their beliefs as irrational.

    Science was always a rather agenda driven sport with very few scientists ever really able to have been considered practitioners of, “Pure Science.” It always was driven by the need for funding and the interests of those who would fund it. And, though this may offend those who hold science so dear it almost approaches a faith, no one should ever have blindly trusted the pronouncements that came from such.

    True, there were times — the Apollo missions for example — where the funding source was purely public in origin and some of that research tended to be shockingly unbiased. But, in truth, those were rare and, currently, are even more so.

    But, even up to only very recent times, the general public still placed enormous trust in the voices of science. When the scientific community spoke, people listened and they followed the recommendations of such.

    Today, not so much.

    Science, of course, is engaged in rumination that, bluntly, boils down to if it should adopt the polemic style of those the public seems to be listening to. But, that’s ignoring the real problem.

    And, it’s not that the level of corruption, massaged research findings, statistical manipulation, warped confidence intervals, shameless agendas and brazen shilling for the wealthy and powerful are any higher then they ever were or that the pronouncements of the scientific community are any less valid then they were either.

    It’s just that, in the past, so few people in the general public knew what was really going on behind the curtain. Today, all of the above is plastered all over the internet — and a new one hits nearly daily.

    Oh, the same thousands of properly peer reviewed pieces of legitimate research are still getting published and acknowledged — but the never ending streams of scandal have convinced a good part of the public that the emperor really is completely starkers anyway… (And, yes, they still believe that even if the last thing they heard happens to be true…)

    Science, of course, has many members furiously mocking faith and claiming that the internet will ultimately allow so much information about the hypocrisy of religious leaders to flow out that religion will be erased.

    And, there is lots of evidence for such.

    But, if the current Measles epidemic sweeping the USA proves nothing else, it proves that hypocrisy is hardly in short supply within the hallowed halls of science either and it’s just as good at eroding trust in institutions of science as in institutions of religion.

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