• We’ve moved!
    We’ve moved!
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    Nine months after starting on the project of finding a new (And so much nicer) home for my (Cal’s) external office, we finally did it!

    Yes, we finally escaped from the cramped box that was the medical clinic – which had been our home since I commenced registration with the College of Alberta Psychologists… (Far longer then it was ever supposed to be…)

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  • Are you finally done with antidepressants?
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    Science Daily

    Ending Antidepressant dependancy with mindfullness meditation

    The study aimed to establish whether MBCT is superior to maintenance antidepressant treatment in terms of preventing relapse of depression. Although the findings show that MBCT isn’t any more effective than maintenance antidepressant treatment in preventing relapse of depression, the results, combined with those of previous trials, suggest that MCBT may offer similar protection against depressive relapse or recurrence for people who have experienced multiple episodes of depression, with no significant difference in cost.

    Over 2 years, relapse rates in both groups were similar (44% in the MBCT group vs 47% in the maintenance antidepressant medication group). Although five adverse events were reported, including two deaths, across both groups, they were not judged to be attributable to the interventions or the trial.

    According to study co-author Professor Sarah Byford, from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London, UK, “As a group intervention, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy was relatively low cost compared to therapies provided on an individual basis and, in terms of the cost of all health and social care services used by participants during the study, we found no significant difference between the two treatments.”

    According to Professor Kuyken, “Whilst this study doesn’t show that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy works any better than maintenance antidepressant medication in reducing the rate of relapse in depression, we believe these results suggest a new choice for the millions of people with recurrent depression on repeat prescriptions.”

    In so many ways, the above linked is not news — psychology has known for years that drugs are not the only or necessarily even the best treatment for depression. It’s no surprise that yet another study has found that therapy is as good or even slightly better then the drug route.

    But, in another way, this is most news worthy.

    Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is a grand sounding name for something that is both incredibly simple and drastically limited when considered against all of the other tools we have for non-drug related treatment of depression.

    MBCT is simply teaching a person to be aware/accepting of thoughts and feelings, to remain detached from them and not react to them — perhaps choosing to change a reaction into a reflection.

    Yes, that’s it…

    It doesn’t involve skills at processing pain, addressing emotions, learning about the self, finding general health, coping with trauma, addressing stories from a family of origin, dealing with triggers, coping with lies about God or even getting basic needs met in relationship. (Or about 20 more areas needing to be addressed in the treatment of depression…)

    And, that one, simple, incredibly limited technique still worked as good or possibly even slightly better then drugs.

    It’s almost redundant to even say it but, yes, therapy is a remarkably effective cure for depression!!!

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  • Here’s how you spot the next suicide bomber
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    Even if blowing oneself up were instantaneous and the individual didn’t feel physical pain, adds Caouette, there is still great psychological duress. ‘This is not mentioned in our paper, but suicide bombers usually go through a long preparation to make them ready to become suicide bombers.’ They have to say goodbye to or cut off contact with their families, who might not approve of their actions. ‘In the end,’ she said, ‘martyrdom can take many forms of self-sacrifice, whether feeling pain or losing one’s life.’

    The Self-Sacrifice scale creates an unprecendented psychological test of the degree to which individuals are willing to give up ‘their wealth, their important personal relationships, and then their life’ for something they value more highly. As the researchers point out, such traits can have intensely pro-social outcomes as well as destructive ones. Contrary to the idea that martyrs don’t value their life and are depressed, the study found that these individuals were usually constructive and motivated. Still, they were simply willing to sacrifice their closest relationships for something that mattered more – their cause.

    So much of our society (and the spy services which mirror our deepest fears) is focused on maintaining a set of fantasies. Those fantasies are stories we tell ourselves to help us maintain our carefully constructed illusions of safety.

    Illusions like the idea that all terrorists are crazy and all soldiers are virtuous. Fictions like suicide bombers have no other options and are manipulated by others (or poverty) while the marines are volunteers motivated by love of God, country and apple pie. We just blindly accept the idea that terrorism is a random and confusing phenomenon that requires extraordinary measures to control.

    Because of this, we buy into lies like the idea that it’s impossible to profile a terrorist, impossible to spot who will perform a radical act and, thus, we need to spy on everyone. (So, let’s all let our governments pass crazy national spying laws — C-51/Patriot Act — that violate every right or freedom anyone ever fought and died to give our societies.)

    Sadly, the above linked not only demonstrates that the reverse is true, it even provides a testing tool for such.

    Turns out that most of America’s Marines are poor people with no other options and petty criminals who are compelled by the legal system to put their bodies on the front line.

    And, suicide bombers are constructive, highly motivated relationally connected people from families are not at all good with them ending up dead who are incredibly ideological, who have undergone intense voluntary training, who are rationally willing to sacrifice themselves and driven by an altruistic passion for a cause and the need to belong with others motivated by the same.

    You know, exactly what we would like to believe about our military men…

    This is really not a mystery and, it’s so well understood, we can even replicate studies of such with hot sauce… Those understandings make it trivial for operatives on the ground to spot potential threats — if we actually had people on the ground instead of behind desks reading everyone’s emails.

    We appear perfectly capable of profiling, testing for and identifying people who would make great military or police officers right from grade school without putting an entire population under invasive surveillance.

    Exactly why should we buy the idea that we need to put an entire population under such to find the tiny handful of people who fit under the heading of the term, “Terrorist?”

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  • Maybe faith is not so dead…
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    National Post

    You don’t need to be a churchgoer to pray. That’s one of the findings of a sweeping new poll on faith from the Angus Reid Institute, conducted in partnership with Dr. Reginald Bibby of the University of Lethbridge. The recent survey of 3,041 Canadians showed that even as our affiliation with organized religion continues to decline we still believe — just in our own, often deeply personal, ways. Here’s a snapshot of how faith shapes our behaviour and our views of one another today.

    The infographic (Top link) pretty much speaks for itself. At least 76% of the population of Canada are people of some kind of at least minimal faith.

    Canadians may have abandoned the institutional church in droves — but 97% of those who are still there or have departed still believe in God, 87% pray, 99% identify with a religion, 79% feel strengthened by their faith, 94% believe in Heaven and 90% believe in angels.

    That’s HARDLY the so called, “Developing Pagan Nation,” we have heard so much about.

    If anything, this should be a stark wake up call for institutional religion. Every denominational group in the country just lost their right to worry about people leaving the faith — and need to start figuring out why they are leaving THEM!!!

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  • Why people in positions don’t seek help.
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    The revelation adds to questions about how much Lufthansa and its insurers will pay in damages for the passengers who died.

    It also underlines questions about how thoroughly the aviation industry and government regulators screen pilots for psychological problems.

    It’s pretty much the same story all over again.

    Someone in a position of power goes off and kills others due to a common-cold level mental illness such as depression that remained untreated.

    Everyone gets their tails in a knot.

    Immediately, the talking heads start to discuss how carefully that profession is screened for psychological problems, suggest expanding such to other areas and begin to drizzle on about liability.

    Aviation officials come back with the facts about the already brutal controls in place that essentially strip the careers out from under the people who report any sort of mental illness:

    “It really would depend on what the psychiatrist or psychologist that he saw wrote, and what his symptoms were,” Silberman said. “The minute he declares he is depressed, he is grounded. And if he goes on medication, he’s definitely grounded.”

    After treatment, “If you were doing better after the depressive episode and the (doctor’s) note was favorable, then the FAA would likely clear you,” he said. Admitting suicidal thoughts would probably mean a longer period of being grounded, and the pilot’s case would probably wind up in the hands of the FAA’s chief psychiatrist in Washington, he said.

    Silberman said that over time pilots become more willing to discuss their mental state with their doctors, and there are employee-assistance programs to help them. Still, pilots often hide their medical problems.

    And the whole conversation gradually fades away…

    Because, it fundamentally misses the point.

    When the aviation industry and government regulators spend money to screen pilots for psychological problems they are looking to avoid liability. To be able to say that they did their due diligence.

    That would make perfect sense — if we didn’t already know they were only testing for the ability to fool the test…

    I’ve sat in a class where a prof, by show of hands, successfully diagnosed every person in the class with at least one mental illness in under 90 min — and then unceremoniously left claiming he had no idea what he was doing there as, “All of you are crazy.” (Thus definitively making his point…)

    You could do that with any profession — if they would not lose said profession as a consequence of telling the truth…

    One PsychCentral author, commenting on an insane plan to even extend psychological assessment to the Bar, put it this way:

    And who should decide which mental illnesses should be included in the questions? As a dual-diagnosed recovered alcoholic who spent a decade of her 30+ years in journalism covering courts – from murder trials to divorces – the biggest mental illness I saw affecting the ability of lawyers was alcoholism.

    As I see it, if you’re going to allow licensing boards to ask questions about mental illness, you better include alcoholism. Do you really want a pilot or surgeon with a nasty hangover flying your plane or cutting into you? And wouldn’t you want someone who had the common sense to get treatment rather than someone who is in denial about their mental illness?

    Do you really think they are going to respond truthfully anyway?

    Maybe for certain professions the applicant should be required to give permission to a physician to reveal debilitating conditions to the licensing or regulatory authority. That makes more sense to me than asking about a mental illness that the applicant is either in denial about or will certainly lie about.

    No, they are most certainly NOT going to tell the truth and they never have.

    Ramping up the testing to searches of pilots medical records for the same psychological problems won’t fix it either. Doing so only adds one more person to the list of people to lie to — the one that the pilot LEAST needs to be lying to.

    Because, the real problem is liability-based butt covering by corporations who would rather spend a tiny little bit of money on testing (that threatens pilots into silence and lets the airline get cheap insurance) then to claw the big money out of their shareholder’s dividend checks that would be required to provide decent benefits for those pilots so they can tell the truth, keep on feeding their families, retain their dignity, get real help for the problems they ALL have and no longer suffer in silence.

    But, it’s cheaper to have their insurance pay the 300 million dollar bill this suicide will cost then it is to actually protect people…

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  • New site launched!
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    Henze and Associates: Counselling and Care


    More then just counselling! Proven transformation and healing, for a seeking Christian community.

    Setting hearts free to really live the fully human lives of grace and freedom Christ promises us all.

    In an atmosphere completely free of shame or judgment, we simply provide the highest standard of professional care for all who seek our help.

    At long last, Google finally forced all of us slackers to update to a mobile friendly site.

    File servers and content management services not yet updated but the main site is live!

    Drop by, have a look and play crash test dummy for all of the bugs we have not yet caught!


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  • Stop blaming the geek toys!!!
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    In recognition of World Sleep Day and with the help of research firm KJT Group, Philips conducted a survey titled “Sleep: A Global Perspective” to help gain insight into the main sleep disturbances affecting people worldwide. They found that worrisome thoughts about work and economic or financial issues are the top two stressors keeping people awake at night. Speaking with almost 8,000 people across 10 countries, the research team gathered information regarding participants’ sleep times, wake times, daily routines, sleeping environments and perceptions of their work-life balance to determine the greatest obstacles in the way of developing healthier sleep habits.

    This one pretty much speaks for itself.

    It’s probably not your iPad keeping you up — it’s hidden income inequality and an increasingly rigged system where workers are being bent to the breaking point.

    Thankfully, people are starting to notice it and, at least, post snarky videos about such but a real fix is a long way off…

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  • Are the powerful more likely to cheat?
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    Research has previously shown that upper-class individuals are more likely to behave unethically than lower-class people. But, says David Dubois, lead researcher of a new paper in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, it’s not that simple: both groups behave unethically in different contexts.

    Dubois’ research group found that people with higher socioeconomic status (SES) were more likely to behave unethically when the behavior benefitted themselves, while lower-SES people were more likely to be unethical to benefit other individuals. “Many people think of unethical behaviour in terms of selfish behavior—violating moral standards to give yourself an advantage,” explains Jared Piazza, who was not involved with the research. “But the researchers here draw a distinction between violating a moral standard like ‘it’s wrong to steal’ to benefit others, and violating a moral standard to benefit yourself.”

    This distinction is important, says Dubois. Previous research has only tested unethical behavior that is selfish—it turns out that when unselfish unethical behavior is tested too, lower-SES individuals are just as likely to be unethical.

    After researchers found that wealthy and powerful people are much more likely to defraud then those in poverty, it was only a matter of time before the backlash had to come. (After all, our prisons are mostly filled with colored poor-people — they have to be the real cheaters… Right?)

    But, how to do that? The evidence was rather overwhelming this was not the case…

    Look carefully at the top linked article. This is a study in how you use statistics to say whatever you want.

    First, you redefine the definition: Cheating no longer is selfishly taking advantage of another for personal gain. Now it’s been redefined as doing anything unethical — even just to help another person.

    Then, you conveniently ignore the reality that helping another person is actually a step forward in selfLESSness and providing the gain of helping someone in need is artificially inducing (or openly baiting) a person into justifying a behavior (Where there is obviously no justification for selfishness…)

    It’s a shameless rigging of the test to get the answer you want. You have then essentially created a situation to tempt an inherently good person to violate their own conscience out of a desire to help another — while leaving the test for the wealthy and powerful exactly as it was.

    All that is then required is to keep a straight face while attempting to pass this off as credible research and you have your proof that rich and powerful people are just as honest as the next guy…

    But, what we really have here is really a clear reflection of what those with money and power would most like to ignore about the way our world works:

    Crimes committed by the poor mostly are about survival, feeding children and coping with an obviously rigged system that those trapped in such see no way out of. Fixing such is mostly about creating a good and decent society and, around the world, the more equitable and just a society is, the lower the rates of this sort of crime. It’s a byproduct of treating mental health issues, providing education, creating a fair employment environment and providing functional social services. (Inventing new and ever more draconian punishments accomplishes nothing…)

    Well, that, and the really uncomfortable reality that the entire concept of a safe, productive and non-criminal middle class was a direct result of legislatively controlling some of the cheating of the wealthy and powerful combined with moderating the rest of it through aggressive taxation.

    Trying to pretend that wealth and power are anything but corrupting forces that need to be very carefully controlled is hardly a step towards that good and decent society…

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  • Perhaps we should ask a mentally healthy sniper instead?
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    Imagine the cultural shift that needs to take place for screenwriters to write, studios to greenlight, and A-list Hollywood actors to portray an American hero who says something like this in a blockbuster movie:

    “You feel like there is this debt that you build for every life that you take,? Garett tells me. “You feel like you owe the world something because you left it without this other person that could have done something amazing. I think about all of these soldiers coming out of the U.S. military and helping them get jobs and education and hearing about what they aspire to do and be in the world. And I wonder about all of the Iraqis, Syrians and others that we killed in that country and what they aspired to be.?

    Garett wonders about the mothers of those we killed in Iraq. What aspirations were dashed when an occupying force killed their children, for whom they invested so much of their lives?

    He did not keep track of his kills and he hates that I ask him for a number.

    “I wasn’t keeping track and oftentimes there was no confirmation. I feel it didn’t make me a better soldier and certainly doesn’t make me more of a man. If Chris Kyle got 160 confirmed kills, I joke and say that I missed 160 times. I wish that was true. We are talking about human beings and I hate quantifying that. Each life is so precious. We destroy that every time. One was too many, the truth is unspeakable.?

    Garett came home and began speaking out. He still does, in fact.

    There’s something stunningly repugnant about a society that would even think to elevate a sociopathic killer like Chris Kyle to anything but a locked ward somewhere — but the damage is done.

    At the very least though, this guy also needs to be heard.

    It’s how a mentally healthy person responds to war…

    Though, sadly, that probably makes him, “Un-American,” in the eyes of most…

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