Psychology

People lose their minds and reason when they lose any signs of structure and belonging to the world around them. It is as simple as that – excepting psychopaths who technically are not mad and usually very successful people because they do not care about others. Caring too much also drives people mad. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=578JJeLN9Kw

However, as the radical pyschiatrists Laing and Cooper observed, psychiatrists employed by the system are whores to that system. They will never blame the system for your apparent mental health problems. They will blame you, and use strong glue to label you. That label will never come off.

Robert Cook

Remember anything, almost everything.
Sexual desire and need is a powerful Pyforce, with sex workers providing for appetites of frustrated and/or lonely men. Covid 19 has been a problem, leaving a lot of women sex workers unable to work and provide for families.
It is a controversial industry, but stupid hypocritical religious moralising won’t help in a world of fractured or non Arresexistent relationships, extreme poverty and unstable populations.
It is a subject and matter for psychologists with open minds – which of course do not exist in the State sector which is all about control and the ruling elite who do as they like, as we see with the Epstein Maxwell affair. Robert Cook

The WHO says being transgender is a mental illness. But that’s about to change. Posted September 28th 2020

By Shayla LoveFeatures InternJuly 28, 2016 at 9:20 a.m. GMT+1

According to the World Health Organization, being transgender is a mental illness.

But that could soon change, as the WHO prepares a new edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), its global codebook that influences disease diagnostic manuals worldwide. The current version, ICD-10, was endorsed in 1990, and ICD-11 is due in 2018.

The proposals to declassify transgender identity as a mental disorder have been approved by each committee that has considered it so far. A study published Tuesday in the journal Lancet Psychiatry, offers up new evidence supporting the change.

A condition is designated as a mental illness when the very fact that you have it causes distress and dysfunction, said Geoffrey Reed, a professor of psychology at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, a consultant on ICD-11 and co-author of the study. The study argues that this is not the case with transgender identity.AD

In 2014, from April to August, Reed and his team interviewed 250 transgender adults who were receiving transgender-related health services at the Condesa Specialized Clinic in Mexico City. They asked them about their childhoods, when they knew they were transgender, and what kinds of reactions they had gotten from work, school or family.

Reed found that many of the people he interviewed experienced a lot of distress in their lives. Later, using mathematical modeling, he found a good way to predict who was suffering — but the most important determining factor was not being transgender, it was something else.

“We found distress and dysfunction were very powerfully predicted by the experiences of social rejection or violence that people had,” he said. “But they were not actually predicted by gender incongruence itself.”AD

This finding contradicts the basic classification of a mental illness, which is that “distress or dysfunction are essential elements of the condition,” the paper said.

Reed hopes his work shows that being transgender does not have to equate to suffering. It’s actually the external factors, Reed said, that cause the suffering: the societal stigma, the violence and the prejudices. Remove them, and all that remains is the feeling of “gender incongruence,” the label proposed in ICD-11 in a new chapter called “Conditions Related to Sexual Health,” which will be medically and biologically oriented.

This issue echoes past controversies. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the psychiatric disorder guidebook, once included homosexuality as a mental illness. In 1973, the diagnosis became “sexual orientation disturbance,” and then disappeared completely in 1987, largely because of gay rights advocates.AD

Hysteria, an affliction often attributed to women, was in the DSM until 1980. The DSM called transgender identity “sexual deviations” in 1968. In 1980 it was “psychosexual disorders,” and in 1994 it was “sexual and gender identity disorders.” The DSM-5 changed the listing of transgender to “gender dysphoria,” in 2013 (though it remains classified as a mental illness today).

There has been progress, but as long as mental illness continues to be widely stigmatized, Reed said, it’s going to affect transgender people in a negative way. In most cases in the United States, to undergo a sex reassignment surgery, a person must first get a diagnosis from a doctor. That means readily accepting a mental illness diagnosis, even though the patient may not feel they have one, to go through with that part of transitioning.

After that, “stigma associated with both transgender status and mental disorders has contributed to precarious legal status, human rights violations, and barriers to appropriate health care among transgender people,” the paper says.AD

“The fact that people have a mental disorder has sometimes been misused to say, that means that they’re not competent to make their own decisions,” Reed said. “They’re not competent to decide if they want to be a different gender, they’re not competent to decide if they want to change their identity documents, they’re not competent to have custody of their own children, they’re not competent to manage their own reproductive rights.”

So why not remove the classification altogether, as was done with homosexuality? Because one of the primary goals of the reclassification is to also improve transgender people’s access to health care. There are often insurance-coverage differences between mental and physical illness, and one of the incentives for the authors of the study would be to close that gap.

“The risk would be if we took conditions related to gender identity out of the classification altogether, it would undermine the access to health services that transgender people have,” Reed said. “They wouldn’t have a diagnostic code that conveyed eligibility.”AD

Jack Drescher, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst at New York Medical College who serves on the WHO working group, told the New York Times that inmates, such as Chelsea Manning, are able to receive hormone treatments in part because transgender identity belongs to a medical category.

Transgender activist groups have been working toward this for years, said Mauro Cabral, one of the program directors of the Global Action for Trans Equality.

Jamison Green, former president of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, said the change would be a tremendous relief to any person who is gender variant or gender nonconforming. The association has been publishing Standards of Care since 1979, guidelines for health professionals to assist transgender and gender-nonconforming people.

“If we could stop society from judging people’s gender expression as a kind of craziness if it doesn’t fit what someone else thinks their gender identity ought to be,” he said. “That’s going to be a long process, it’ll be more than just changing the diagnosis. But that would be a step in the right direction.”AD

The study also reveals how much a toll societal stigma can have on a young person. A 2012 study showed that teenagers who grew up with unsupportive families had a 57 percent suicide rate, compared to a 4 suicide rate for those who had supportive families. Some studies show that transgender people can develop post-traumatic stress disorder just from being transgender.

Because of this, for some trans activists, such as Alok Vaid-Menon, changing the language of the ICD-11 is a small battle won, but the war is still being waged for trans rights.

“For me, I don’t see it as necessarily a victory to differentiate ourselves from mental illness,” Vaid-Menon said in an interview Wednesday night. “The true victory would be to de-stigmatize diversity and difference itself.”

Even the fact that mental illness is stigmatized so much, to the point that trans people don’t want to be associated with it, is a cause for concern, Vaid-Menon said. The issue is not the labeling, but how people can damage each other through their actions.AD

“I think the bigger question that we need to ask is: Why do we stigmatize difference?” Vaid-Menon said.

Vaid-Menon is part of a trans South Asian performance art duo called Dark Matter, along with Janani Balasubramanian. This year, the New Yorker magazine said they “offer a cheeky radical-queer critique of the gay-rights movement.” They perform poems related to transgender rights and transphobia all over the country and are heavily involved in trans activism.

Even before this new study, to Vaid-Menon, it’s been painfully obvious that any distress related to being transgender comes from the outside world.

“We literally are traumatized doing really basic actions, like going outside, walking, doing our laundry, eating, where we have people say and do horrendous and horrible things to us,” Vaid-Menon said. “The only representation we see of ourselves in the media is violence and in the case of black and Latina trans women, often incredible murder. I think that it’s really really irresponsible, rude, and humiliating to say that it’s trans people’s internal fault that we are dysphoric. That makes no sense to me.”AD

Vaid-Menon is proud of the ICD-11 change, but said there are still bigger problems trans people face than a semantic definition. The real issues are violence, poverty, homelessness and housing discrimination. Reed acknowledged this in his paper, saying that “ample documentation from existing studies shows that transgender people experience high rates of harassment and violence, including sexual violence, not only from strangers but also from their own families and communities.”

“Young people who grow up in supportive environments” are not particularly distressed, Reed said. “They are receiving adequate social support, they come from families that are not treating them with stigmatization and violence, and they expect that there will be services available to them. So there’s no reason for them to be distressed. They still have the anatomical incongruence, where they experience themselves to be a different gender than what their body may be developing into. But they don’t have to have hallmarks of distress and dysfunction.”

Shayla LoveShayla Love was a features intern for The Washington Post. She left The Post in August 2016. More from The Post

Comment

The World Health ( Wealth ) Organisation is the ‘think tank’ behind calls for worldwide Covid19 Lockdown. This rambling ideological organisation masquerades as having the only solutions to Developing ( Third World ) violence,, poverty, disease and corruption.

Religious bigotry is a big problem in these areas.  To such stupid small minds, if it isn’t in the Koran aor bible, then it is evil.  One could, and one will write more about transgender in due course.  That is why Islamists and feminist transphobes get on so well.

But in this context, one should simply use the above article as a yard stick with which to judge the failing harmful WHO which obscures the real problems in corrupt Africa.

R.J Cook

Roberta Jane Cook
Image Mustafa Khan

The Psychological Origins of Procrastination – and How We Can Stop Putting Things Off Posted September 27th 2020

Don’t delay. Here’s the science behind why we procrastinate, and some tricks to overcome it. September 27th 2020

The Conversation

  • Elliot Berkman
  • Jordan Miller-Ziegler

image-20151006-7358-1xphm9t.jpg

Now or later? Photo by Jay Malone / flickr, CC BY.

“I love deadlines,” English author Douglas Adams once wrote. “I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”

We’ve all had the experience of wanting to get a project done but putting it off for later. Sometimes we wait because we just don’t care enough about the project, but other times we care a lot – and still end up doing something else. I, for one, end up cleaning my house when I have a lot of papers to grade, even though I know I need to grade them.

So why do we procrastinate? Are we built to operate this way at some times? Or is there something wrong with the way we’re approaching work?

These questions are central to my research on goal pursuit, which could offer some clues from neuroscience about why we procrastinate – and how to overcome this tendency.

To Do, Or Not To Do

It all starts with a simple choice between working now on a given project and doing anything else: working on a different project, doing something fun or doing nothing at all.

The decision to work on something is driven by how much we value accomplishing the project in that moment – what psychologists call its subjective value. And procrastination, in psychological terms, is what happens when the value of doing something else outweighs the value of working now.

This way of thinking suggests a simple trick to defeat procrastination: find a way to boost the subjective value of working now, relative to the value of other things. You could increase the value of the project, decrease the value of the distraction, or some combination of the two.

For example, instead of cleaning my house, I might try to focus on why grading is personally important to me. Or I could think about how unpleasant cleaning can actually be – especially when sharing a house with a toddler.

It’s simple advice, but adhering to this strategy can be quite difficult, mainly because there are so many forces that diminish the value of working in the present.

The Distant Deadline

People are not entirely rational in the way they value things. For example, a dollar bill is worth exactly the same today as it is a week from now, but its subjective value – roughly how good it would feel to own a dollar – depends on other factors besides its face value, such as when we receive it.

The tendency for people to devalue money and other goods based on time is called delay discounting. For example, one study showed that, on average, receiving $100 three months from now is worth the same to people as receiving $83 right now. People would rather lose $17 than wait a few months to get a larger reward.

Other factors also influence subjective value, such as how much money someone has recently gained or lost. The key point is that there is not a perfect match between objective value and subjective value.

Delay discounting is a factor in procrastination because the completion of the project happens in the future. Getting something done is a delayed reward, so its value in the present is reduced: the further away the deadline is, the less attractive it seems to work on the project right now.

Studies have repeatedly shown that the tendency to procrastinate closely follows economic models of delay discounting. Furthermore, people who characterize themselves as procrastinators show an exaggerated effect. They discount the value of getting something done ahead of time even more than other people.

One way to increase the value of completing a task is to make the finish line seem closer. For example, vividly imagining a future reward reduces delay discounting.

No Work is ‘Effortless’

Not only can completing a project be devalued because it happens in the future, but working on a project can also be unattractive due to the simple fact that work takes effort.

New research supports the idea that mental effort is intrinsically costly; for this reason, people generally choose to work on an easier task rather than a harder task. Furthermore, there are greater subjective costs for work that feels harder (though these costs can be offset by experience with the task at hand).

This leads to the interesting prediction that people would procrastinate more the harder they expect the work to be. That’s because the more effort a task requires, the more someone stands to gain by putting the same amount of effort into something else (a phenomenon economists call opportunity costs). Opportunity costs make working on something that seems hard feels like a loss.

Sure enough, a group of studies shows that people procrastinate more on unpleasant tasks. These results suggest that reducing the pain of working on a project, for example by breaking it down into more familiar and manageable pieces, would be an effective way to reduce procrastination.

Your Work, Your Identity

When we write that procrastination is a side effect of the way we value things, it frames task completion as a product of motivation, rather than ability.

In other words, you can be really good at something, whether it’s cooking a gourmet meal or writing a story, but if you don’t possess the motivation, or sense of importance, to complete the task, it’ll likely be put off.

It was for this reason that the writer Robert Hanks, in an essay for the London Review of Books, described procrastination as “a failure of appetites.”

The source of this “appetite” can be a bit tricky. But one could argue that, like our (real) appetite for food, it’s something that’s closely intertwined with our daily lives, our culture and our sense of who we are.

So how does one increase the subjective value of a project? A powerful way – one that my graduate students and I have written about in detail – is to connect the project to your self-concept. Our hypothesis is that projects seen as important to a person’s self-concept will hold more subjective value for that person.

It’s for this reason that Hanks also wrote that procrastination seems to stem from a failure to “identify sufficiently with your future self” – in other words, the self for whom the goal is most relevant.

Because people are motivated to maintain a positive self-concept, goals connected closely to one’s sense of self or identity take on much more value.

Connecting the project to more immediate sources of value, such as life goals or core values, can fill the deficit in subjective value that underlies procrastination.

Elliot Berkman is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Oregon.

Jordan Miller-Ziegler is a PhD Candidate in Psychology at the University of Oregon.The Conversation

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5 Habits That Will Help Your Brain Stay in Peak Condition

Train your brain, change your brain.

Posted September 26th 2020

Thomas OppongGettyImages-945901690.jpg

Illustration by Pedro Fernandes / Getty Images.

Nothing about our brains is set in stone. Our brains are surprisingly dynamic. It can adapt, heal, renew or rewire itself.

What you do or don’t do daily is literally changing your brain for better or worse. But it’s not too late rejuvenate, remodel, and reshape your brain to stay in peak condition.

Experiments in neuroplasticity (the brain’s ability to change in response to experience) have proven that the brain is capable of modifying itself, either by changing its structure, increasing and reducing its size or altering its biochemistry.

Can you physically change your brain at any age? The answer is: yes, within limits. You can start with these science-backed activities and habits.

1. Juggling Improves the Brain’s Grey Matter

Yes, the simple act of juggling has recently been linked with better brain function. A new study reveals that learning to juggle may cause certain areas of your brain to grow.

The study found that volunteers who participated in a juggling exercise improved white matter in two areas of their brains involved in visual and motor activity.

‘We have demonstrated that there are changes in the white matter of the brain — the bundles of nerve fibres that connect different parts of the brain — as a result of learning an entirely new skill,’ explains Dr Heidi Johansen-Berg of the Department of Clinical Neurology, University of Oxford, who led the work.

‘In fact, we find the structure of the brain is ripe for change. We’ve shown that it is possible for the brain to condition its own wiring system to operate more efficiently, ’ she added.

Four weeks after the study, the researchers found that new white matter in the jugglers’ brains had stayed put and the amount of grey matter had even increased.

The researchers chose juggling as a complex new skill for people to learn. Juggling is one of the many activities you can choose to help your brain improve its grey matter.

2. Never Go to Bed Without Learning One New Thing.

It’s a Spanish saying. It’s profound and so true.

Juggling is not the only activity you can use to build white matter.

You can learn a variety of new things that are unrelated to what you normally do. Variety is key. Meet new people, learn a new skill, learn to dance, take up drawing, design, etc. Do something every day that stretches you and makes you somewhat uncomfortable.

Norman Doidge, explains in his book, “The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science”, “Not all activities are equal in this regard. Those that involve genuine concentration — studying a musical instrument, playing board games, reading, and dancing — are associated with a lower risk for dementia. Dancing, which requires learning new moves, is both physically and mentally challenging and requires much concentration.”

Learning a new language makes the brain grow by increasing grey matter in the areas related to the use of language, according to research. The study revealed that “The right hippocampus and the left superior temporal gyrus were structurally more malleable in interpreters acquiring higher proficiency in the foreign language.”

Leaning at least one new thing not only improves your brain, but it also helps you focus by ignoring irrelevant information.

Don’t do what you’ve always done.

3. Sleeping Poorly Is Linked to Rapid Reductions in Brain Volume

Many people don’t take good sleep seriously. The bad news is that if you sleep poorly, your brain shrinks.

That was the surprising conclusion reached by Claire E. Sexton, DPhil, Andreas B. Storsve, MSc, Kristine B. Walhovd, PhD, Heidi Johansen-Berg, DPhil, and Anders M. Fjell, PhD in their study to examine the relationship between sleep quality and cortical and hippocampal volume.

The findings showed that having trouble sleeping, or not getting enough sleep is linked to rapid reductions in brain volume. The decline can affect important areas of the brain where language, touch, balance and the ability to calculate mathematically or make decisions reside.

“Studies have shown poor sleep can cause protein buildup in the brain that attacks brain cells. So we’re still trying to put the puzzle together,” says Dr Neal Maru, a neurologist and sleep specialist with Integrated Sleep Services in Alexandria, Virginia, who is not associated with the study.

Sleep repair and restore the brain. Improving your sleep habits could be an important way to improve brain health. 7–8 hours/night of good sleep is essential for stimulating new connections and brain growth.

4. Any Form of Exercise Rewires the Brain: Keep Your Body Active

You already know that physical activity is important for your better health. Exercise also helps your cerebral quality that affects memory, motor skills, and the ability to learn.

In fact, just pedalling on a stationary bike for 30 minutes can do wonders for your brain. In a study to determine whether hippocampal volume would increase with exercise in humans, the researchers discovered an increase in hippocampal size.

“Following exercise training, relative hippocampal volume increased significantly in patients (12%) and healthy subjects (16%), with no change in the nonexercise group of patients (-1%),” they revealed.

Exercise the brain in many areas. It increases your heart rate, which pumps more oxygen to the brain. It also helps release body hormones, which provide a nourishing environment for the growth of brain cells.

Indirectly, it also improves mood, sleep and reduces stress and anxiety.

In another study, Dr Scott McGinnis, a neurologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an instructor in neurology at Harvard Medical School said, “Even more exciting is the finding that engaging in a program of regular exercise of moderate intensity over six months or a year is associated with an increase in the volume of selected brain regions.”

Any form of aerobic exercise that gets your heart pumping is a great start. Apart from hitting the gym, you can also consider adding walking to your daily routine. Other moderate-intensity exercises, such as swimming, stair climbing, tennis, or dancing can also help.

5. Mindfulness Is Becoming a Global Phenomenon for a Good Reason

People have sworn by meditation for millennia. It’s now supported by rigorous scientific research, driven in part by a desire for new practices to improve our mental health.

The simple idea of being present throughout your day, being more conscious of life as it happens, and noticing any tension or preoccupations of the mind, without judging or analysing can improve your mental health. It’s highly effective in combating stress.

Studies report that meditation can “permanently rewire” your brain to raise levels of happiness. “In the past decade, research has shown that the benefits of mindfulness include: stress reduction, improved concentration, boosts to working memory, reduced rumination, less emotional reactivity, more cognitive flexibility, a higher level of relationship satisfaction, etc.” writes Christopher Bergland of Psychology Today.

Our brains are on auto-pilot most of the time. Begin to notice the world around you. Awaken your senses to the world around you.

You can upgrade our brain in many different ways. Adopting better habits will not only increase your brain’s grey matter, but it will also slow cognitive decline, speed up your memory recall and improve your mental health.

Thomas Oppong is the founder of AllTopStartups and writes on science-based answers to problems in life about creativity, productivity, and self-improvement.Thomas Oppong

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This post originally appeared on Thomas Oppong and was published December 12, 2019.

How to Speak up for Yourself

Yes, it’s possible to ask for what you want without coming across as a jerk, says social psychologist Adam Galinsky. Posted here September 25th 2020

TED Ideas

  • Adam Galinsky

Yes, it’s possible to ask for what you want without coming across as a jerk, says social psychologist Adam Galinsky.

Speaking up is hard to do. I understood the true meaning of this phrase last year, when my wife and I became new parents. After we took our child home from the hospital, we were unsure whether our baby was getting enough nutrients from breastfeeding. We wanted to call our pediatrician, but we also didn’t want to make a bad first impression or come across as crazy, neurotic parents. So we worried and waited. When we took him for a checkup the next day, the doctor said our son was pretty dehydrated and she immediately gave him formula. She also assured us that we could always contact her. But when my wife and I were worrying at home, I should’ve spoken up but I didn’t.

Of course, there are times we speak up when we shouldn’t. I learned that over 10 years ago when I let my twin brother down. He is a documentary filmmaker, and he received an offer for one of his films from a distribution company. He was excited and inclined to accept it. But as a negotiations researcher, I insisted he make a counteroffer, and I helped him craft the perfect one. And it was perfect — perfectly insulting. The company was so offended, they withdrew the offer, and my brother was left with nothing.

In my work, I’ve asked people all over the world how they handle the dilemma of speaking up: when do they feel they can assert themselves, when can they push their interests, when can they express an opinion, when can they make an ambitious ask. Through their anecdotes, I’ve seen that each of us has what’s called a range of acceptable behavior. Sometimes we may come across too strong; we push ourselves too much. That’s what happened with my brother — making a counteroffer was outside his range of acceptable behavior. When we step outside our range, we usually get punished in a variety of ways. We get dismissed, demeaned, even ostracized. Or we lose that raise, promotion or deal we were asking for.

You can start by asking yourself: “What is my range?” The key thing is, our range isn’t fixed. It’s dynamic, expanding or narrowing based on the context you’re in. However, one thing determines your range more than anything else: your power. Power comes in many forms. In negotiations, it comes in the form of alternatives. My brother had no alternatives, so he lacked power. At the same time, the distribution company had lots of alternatives, so they had power. When we have lots of power, our range is very wide and we have a lot of leeway in how to behave. But when we lack power, our range narrows and we have little leeway. The problem is, when our range narrows, it produces something called the low-power double bind: if we don’t speak up, we go unnoticed, but if we do speak up, we get punished.

In order to feel comfortable speaking up and to get what we want, we need ways to expand our range of power. In our work, my colleagues and I have found two things that really matter: 1) You feel powerful in your own eyes; 2) You feel powerful in the eyes of others. When you feel powerful, you feel confident and not fearful, and you can expand your own range. When other people see you as powerful, they grant you a wider range. So we should find and use tools that help expand our range of acceptable behavior.

The first tool — which is sometimes called “the mama bear effect” — was discovered in negotiations through an important finding. On average, at the bargaining table women make less ambitious offers and get worse outcomes than men. However, negotiation researchers Hannah Riley Bowles and Emily Amanatullah both discovered there is one situation where women receive the same outcomes as men and are just as ambitious — when they advocate for others. When they do, they expand their range in their own minds and become more assertive. Like a mama bear defending her cubs, when we advocate for others, we can discover our own voice.

Often, though, we need to be able to advocate for ourselves. In that case, one of the most important tools we have is called perspective-taking. It’s really simple — just look at the world through the eyes of another person — and it’s one of the most important tools we have to expand our range. When I take your perspective and think about what you really want, you are more likely to give me what I want.

Here’s a true story that exemplifies this approach. A man walked into a bank in Watsonville, California. He said, “Give me $2,000, or I’m blowing the whole bank up with a bomb.” The bank manager didn’t just hand him the money. Instead, she took his perspective and noticed something really important — he’d asked for a specific amount of money. She said, “Why did you ask for $2,000?” He answered, “My friend is going to be evicted unless I get him $2,000.” She replied, “Oh! You don’t want to rob the bank. You want to take out a loan. Why don’t you come back to my office, and we can have you fill out the paperwork?” Her quick perspective-taking defused a volatile situation. Taking someone’s perspective allows us to be ambitious and assertive, but still be likable.

There’s another way to be assertive and still be likable: signal your flexibility. Imagine that you work at a car dealership, and you want to sell someone a car. You’re more likely to make the sale if you give your customer two options; let’s say option A is a price of $24,000 and a five-year warranty, and option B is a $23,000 price and a three-year warranty. My research shows when you give people a choice of options, it lowers their defenses, and they’re more likely to accept your offer.

This doesn’t only work for salespeople — it can work for parents. When my niece was four, she resisted getting dressed and rejected the outfits her mother pulled out for her. But then my sister-in-law had a brilliant idea: What if she gave her daughter a choice of shirts, pants or dresses? It worked brilliantly — my niece made her choice and then got dressed quickly and without resistance.

I’ve asked people around the world “When do you feel comfortable speaking up?” The number one answer has been “when I have social support.” So it helps us to get allies on our side. One way to do that is to be a mama bear. Another way to earn strong allies, especially in high places, is to ask for advice. When we ask for input, people like us because we’re flattering them and expressing humility. What’s more, it solves another double bind. Known as the self-promotion double bind, it’s where if we don’t advertise our accomplishments, no one notices; and if we do, we’re not likable.

But when we ask for advice in reference to one of our accomplishments, we’re seen as competent in other people’s eyes — and also likable. This strategy is so powerful it works even when you see it coming. Multiple times in my life, I’ve been forewarned that a low-power person has been instructed to ask me for advice. Each time, I took their perspective, I became more invested in their cause, and I became more committed to them because they asked me for advice.

Another time we feel more confident speaking up is when we have expertise. Expertise gives us credibility. When we have high power, we already have credibility — we only need good evidence. But when we lack power, we don’t have credibility — and we need excellent evidence. We can come across as an expert by tapping into a passion. When we tap into our passion, we give ourselves the courage in our own eyes to speak up, and we get permission from others to speak up, too. Tapping into our passion works when we come across as too weak. Both men and women are frequently punished in the workplace when they shed tears. But researcher Elizabeth Baily Wolf has shown that when we’re able to frame our strong emotions as passion, the condemnation of crying disappears for both men and women.

While all of us have been assigned ranges and roles in this world, these roles and ranges are constantly expanding and evolving. So depending on the scenario, be a ferocious mama bear or a humble advice seeker. Have excellent evidence and strong allies. Be a passionate perspective taker. When you use these tools — and anyone can use them — you’ll expand your range of acceptable behavior, and you’ll always be able to speak up.


This post originally appeared on TED Ideas and was published February 17, 2017.

In times of serious stress, people might turn to exercise to blow off steam and shake off nervous energy. However, despite anecdotal evidence, the link between working out and relieving stress isn’t well understood by scientists. Researchers haven’t yet pinned down exactly how exercise modulates stress in the brain and body, despite knowing that exercise benefits mental health. September 5th 2020

Mind and Body

8.24.2020 2:00 PM

Exercise for the perfect figure. Image Appledene Photographics/RJC
Exercise may reduce depression — if your brain works in this specific way

By Emma Betuel

Mind and Body

Want to climb Everest? New study identifies factors that influence success

By Sarah Sloat

In a recent study conducted in mice, researchers became one step closer to that understanding, discovering that exercise actually strengthens the brain’s resilience to stress. Exercise helps animals cope with stress by enabling an uptick in a crucial neural protein called galanin, the study suggests. This process influences stress levels, food consumption, cognition, and mood.

Leveraging this finding, researchers were able to genetically tweak even sedentary mice’s levels of galanin, shifts that lowered their anxious response to stress.

The study’s authors explain that this study helps pin down the biological mechanisms driving exercise’s positive effects on stress. While further human experiments are needed to confirm these findings, the researchers have practical advice for people looking to get these benefits: perform regular, aerobic exercise.

“Not exercising at all and then suddenly going for a hard 10 mile run just before a stressful event isn’t as helpful as regularly jogging 3 miles several days a week over several months,” researchers David Weinshenker and Rachel Tillage, tell Inverse by email.

That’s because, based on these results, a history of increased exercise doesn’t affect the immediate physiological response (like a release of cortisol) during a stressful event, Weinshenker and Tillage explain. Instead, exercise increases behavioral resilience after stress exposure.

“This could suggest that increased exercise doesn’t impact our immediate feelings of stress, but does allow us to cope with stress in a healthier way,” the co-authors say.

These findings were released Monday in the Journal of Neuroscience.

The search for the brain mechanisms — Research shows exercise protects against the deleterious effects of stress in both mice and humans. Galanin, that pivotal brain protein that modulates stress and mood, is expressed in similar areas of both animal’s brains.

To examine how these factors interact and influence each other, the study team turned to mice.

“Mechanistic questions are difficult to answer in humans due to ethical and technical limitations, so we used mice for this purpose,” Weinshenker and Tillage say. With these overlapping properties, the team adds that the neurobiological substrates underlying galanin’s role in physical activity-related stress resilience could occur across species.

“One of the major implications from this study in that the galanin system could be a potential target for future therapies… “

The measured mice’s anxious behavior 24 hours after a foot shock test — aka the stressful event. They also analyzed their levels of galanin and examined its source.

Half the mice had regular access to an exercise wheel in their cage, while others had no running wheel. Mice steadily increased their running distance over the first week, after which they ran approximately 10-16 kilometers per day. Researchers tracked the mice’s activity for three weeks.

R. J Cook running for the University of East Anglia, Hyde Park 1972.
Image Appledene Photographic Archives

Aerobic exercise, like biking, is more likely to have a greater effect on stress resilience than non-aerobic exercise.

Those who exercised showed less anxious behavior after the stressful event compared to mice that didn’t exercise. Exercising mice also had elevated galanin levels in the locus coeruleus, a cluster of neurons in the brainstem involved in the stress response.

The amount of time the mice spent exercising in the third week correlated with the amount of galanin in the locus coeruleus, which in turn correlated with their degree of stress resilience.

Based on these findings, the team then genetically increased galanin in the locus coeruleus in sedentary mice. This gave these inactive mice exercise’s beneficial stress resilience effects, without changing their physical activity patterns.

If further human experiments confirm these findings, it could mean hijacking the galanin system could help people gain exercise’s stress resilience benefits, even if they aren’t able to work out.

“These findings build on what we know by isolating a specific biological mechanism — increased galanin in the locus coeruleus— by which exercise can influence how we respond to stress,” Weinshenker and Tillage explain. “One of the major implications from this study in that the galanin system could be a potential target for future therapies to gain the positive effects of exercise on stress resilience for people who are not able to exercise.”

Interestingly, the increased galanin didn’t influence other aspects of the mice’s behavior, suggesting galanin may be recruited only during periods of high stress, the team says.

More human data is needed to figure out exactly what type or how much exercise confers this stress-resilience effect. But based on the current evidence, the researchers say they can offer some general guidance:

  • Aerobic exercise (like walking, running, biking, swimming) probably has a greater effect on stress resilience than non-aerobic exercise (like weight lifting).
  • Exercise probably needs to be routine; completed a few times a week. Cramming in a HIIT workout or long run right before a stressful event isn’t likely to be as helpful as regularly hiking or hitting the elliptical.

Abstract: The neuropeptide galanin has been implicated in stress-related neuropsychiatric disorders in humans and rodent models. While pharmacological treatments for these disorders are ineffective for many individuals, physical activity is beneficial for stress-related symptoms. Galanin is highly expressed in the noradrenergic system, particularly the locus coeruleus (LC), which is dysregulated in stress-related disorders and activated by exercise. Galanin expression is elevated in the LC by chronic exercise, and blockade of galanin transmission attenuates exercise-induced stress resilience. However, most research on this topic has been done in rats, so it is unclear whether the relationship between exercise and galanin is species-specific. Moreover, use of intracerebroventricular galanin receptor antagonists in prior studies precluded defining a causal role for LC-derived galanin specifically. Therefore, the goals of this study were twofold.

First, we investigated whether physical activity (chronic wheel running) increases stress resilience and galanin expression in the LC of male and female mice. Next, we used transgenic mice that overexpress galanin in noradrenergic neurons (Gal OX) to determine how chronically elevated noradrenergic-derived galanin, alone, alters anxiogenic-like responses to stress. We found that three weeks of ad libitum access to a running wheel in their home cage increased galanin mRNA in the LC of mice, which was correlated with and conferred resilience to stress. The effects of exercise were phenocopied by galanin overexpression in noradrenergic neurons, and Gal OX mice were resistant to the anxiogenic effect of optogenetic LC activation. These findings support a role for chronically increased noradrenergic galanin in mediating resilience to stress.

Where Is My Mind? August 31st 2020

The rise and fall of the claustrum epitomizes the hunt for consciousness in the brain.

Nautilus

  • Marco Altamirano
  • Brian N. Mathur

16655_791427014ac440583f48f02159b233e6.png

Photo by Peshkova / Shutterstock.

In 1976, Francis Crick arrived at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, overlooking a Pacific Shangri-La with cotton candy skies and a beaming, blue-green sea. He had already won the Nobel Prize for co-discovering the double-helix structure of DNA, revealing the basis of life to be a purely physical, not a mystical, process. He hoped to do the same thing for consciousness. If matter was strange enough to explain a creature’s life code, he thought, maybe it’s strange enough to explain a creature’s mind, too.

For something that everybody walks around with everyday, consciousness wouldn’t seem to be as immense a puzzle as the origin of the universe. It’s just that difficult to imagine how subjective experience can arise from basic physical elements like atoms and molecules. It seems like there must be more to the story. Small wonder, then, that for ages people believed that consciousness was a function of the soul, far beyond the grasp of science. Consequently, consciousness became the strongest argument for vitalism, the idea that life is dependent on immaterial or non-physical forces. Crick, a lifelong defender of materialism, was absolutely determined when he arrived in California to dispel the notion from consciousness and blaze a path toward solving it.

In the last 30 years of his life, he propelled a revolution in neuroscience by molecular biology, challenging the brightest minds in the field, usually over tea, and publishing works on his “astonishing hypothesis” that consciousness arises from the brain alone. On his deathbed in 2005, Crick, together with his friend and colleague Christof Koch, published a final article, “What is the function of the claustrum?”, which reignited the search for the physical location of consciousness in the brain.1 It proposed the claustrum, a set of neurons coincidentally shaped like a hammock, as the seat of consciousness because it receives “input from almost all regions of cortex, and projects back to almost all regions of cortex,” the wrinkled surface of the brain responsible for conscious features ranging from sensation to personality. The promising idea would go on to spur probing studies on the nature of consciousness, and the beguiling role of the claustrum, that continue today.

Finding the Mind: Francis Crick brought to neuroscience an uncanny ability to determine the function of a biological system by studying its structure. He wanted to do for consciousness what he had succeeded in doing for the development of life, with DNA: to show that our inner life had a completely material basis. Photo by Marc Lieberman.


The claustrum is far from the first part of the brain to be singled out as the seat of consciousness. The first hypothesis came in the mid-17th century from René Descartes, who notoriously claimed that the “soul has its principle seat in the small gland located in the middle of the brain”—namely, the pineal gland. The problem Descartes was trying to solve was how the soul (or mind), which he viewed as entirely separate from the body, nonetheless interacts with it. It’s easy to imagine how material bodies like bowling balls and pins interact, but thoughts don’t seem material. It’s hard to imagine them taking up any space or exerting force—so how does something seemingly immaterial interact with matter? How does ingesting a martini affect our thoughts?

To solve this, Descartes borrowed the concept of “animal spirits” from the ancient Greek physician Galen. Animal spirits, Descartes believed, were psycho-physiological messengers in the blood that can record physical sensations while providing signals that the mind interprets as conscious perceptions. He nominated the pineal gland as the hub for these half-mental, half-material messenger spirits to interface and radiate throughout the body. Descartes’ hypothesis may seem extravagant, but it brought consciousness into the field of science, into the mechanism of bodies, as it were, opening the door that ultimately led to Crick.

For a moment, it seemed that the claustrum was indeed what Crick suspected: the hub of consciousness.

An alternative to the pineal gland wasn’t suggested for another 200 years. In 1835, German physiologist Johannes Müller nominated as the seat of consciousness the medulla oblongata—a part of the brainstem that regulates the flow of oxygen rich blood cells to the rest of the brain. Although it’s a kind of power source for the brain, the medulla oblongata doesn’t seem related to higher-order conscious functions from a modern perspective. (It’s now known that the medulla is responsible for involuntary functions like vomiting and sneezing, hardly defining aspects of the human experience.)

The idea that the seat of consciousness in the brain must, in some way, be a hub for neural activity across the brain was seeded in the 19th century by the English physiologist William B. Carpenter. He located consciousness in the thalamus, in the middle of the brain. Even today, the role of the thalamus in consciousness remains largely conjectural, but Carpenter’s enduring legacy was to understand that consciousness is an experiential unity—not a cacophony of unconnected perceptions—and that the neural origin of consciousness must have the capacity to produce that unity by integrating higher-order functions (like thought, emotion, and agency) with lower-order sensory faculties.

Carpenter’s work was corroborated a century later by a pioneering American-Canadian neurosurgeon named Wilder Penfield. Penfield was treating patients with severe epilepsy by lesioning areas of the brain that were generating seizures, and he realized that he could functionally map specific movements or perceptions to specific areas of the cortex, which spreads out across the entire brain surface. But his map of the cortex presented a problem of brain geography that eluded Carpenter: How could remote and seemingly disconnected sensory processing areas generate the unified experience of consciousness? The solution did not seem forthcoming.

Until Francis Crick, that is. He had an uncanny ability to envision the function of a biological system by looking at its structure. Crick searched for a neural structure capable of integrating information from distant regions of the cortex. Decades of fine-grained neuroanatomical studies directed him to one area of the brain that satisfied all his criteria: the claustrum. Bi-directionally connected with arguably every area of the cortex, the claustrum appears like the Grand Central Station of the brain. Crick’s analogy was that if the different areas of the cortex processing various sensory modalities (visual, auditory, somatosensory, and so on) were the musicians in an orchestra, the claustrum was the conductor making sure everyone hit the right notes in time. His argument was simple, elegant, and cogent. It also provided the first scientifically sound and testable hypothesis for the seat of consciousness.


In the decades since Crick set his sights on the claustrum, scientists have rushed to produce data about this mysterious region of the brain. A 2014 case study of an epileptic patient at George Washington University showed that electrical stimulation near the claustrum resulted in an immediate loss of consciousness, although the patient regained consciousness as soon as the stimulation stopped.2 And in 2017, researchers at the Allen Institute discovered that the claustrum contains neurons that reach across the entirety of the brain like a “crown of thorns,” supporting the hypothesis that it’s a massive integrator and conductor of brain-wide activity.3 For a moment, it seemed that the claustrum was indeed what Crick suspected: the hub of consciousness.

However, two studies published in 2019 suggest that the claustrum’s moment has passed. A study on five epileptic patients at Stanford University demonstrated that zapping the claustrum on both sides of the brain had no effect on their subjective experience.4 Corroborating this, a study on mice from investigators at the University of Maryland showed that deactivating the claustrum resulted in no apparent loss of consciousness.5 Based on these data, it seems that the claustrum may be yet another red herring in the hunt for the seat of consciousness.

The field now stands on the precipice of new testable theories of consciousness.

While the claustrum may not be the seat of consciousness, it could still be a kind of chauffeur for it. Primates, especially humans, can be surprisingly absent-minded: We are often barely aware of our commutes to work until we take a wrong turn and, suddenly, the sensory world grabs our attention. Navigational habits allow primates to effectively auto-pilot through a lot of tasks, until there are unpredicted changes that spur cognitive demand, igniting the claustrum. How a possible cognitive control-like function for the claustrum relates to consciousness remains a matter of debate.


In October 2019, the Society for Claustrum Research convened in Chicago where Koch, from the Allen Institute, and one of us, Brian N. Mathur, held an open, albeit unresolved, discussion on the degree to which the claustrum may conduct consciousness. At the subsequent Society for Neuroscience meeting, new preliminary data encouraged revisiting the thalamus as a possible neural correlate for consciousness. These data would appear to place the seat of consciousness in another structure, but neuroscientists now largely suspect, thanks to Carpenter and Crick, that any neural correlate of consciousness functions as a part of a broader, dynamic neural network.

For example, Bernard Baars, who developed Global Workspace theory, argues that consciousness does not arise from a single anatomical hub like a claustrum. Instead, it emerges from a complex network of functional hubs working together in a sort of neuronal “cloud computing” format.

Giulio Tonini, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, offers another interesting approach. The Italian neuroscientist’s Integrated Information Theory (IIT) posits that the neural activity of a subject is associated with certain conscious experiences, such as reading the paper or walking through a neighborhood. The hypothesis is that the more areas of the brain that are stimulated at once, the more integrated the sensory, emotional, and cognitive information and, hence, the more conscious the organism.

The claustrum may not be the seat of consciousness, but it could still be a kind of chauffeur for it.

IIT is supported, and even quantified, by a method developed by Tonini and Massimini in 2013 that yields a pertubational complexity index (PCI).8 PCI involves stimulating (that is, functionally perturbing) certain parts of cortex, which causes a response from the rest of the cortex that PCI maps and measures. In sleeping subjects, the responsive activity is restricted, but in conscious subjects the activity is significantly more widespread and complex. Tonini claims that the measurement of this activity is a measurement of consciousness itself, allowing it to possibly determine whether unresponsive patients are truly in a vegetative state or in a conscious state but unable to communicate.

IIT’s methodology is brilliant, but there is something of a conceptual sleight of hand when it identifies consciousness with neural activity. Although it’s possible to measure patterns of neural activity and correlate them with certain conscious experiences, this is not logically sufficient to claim that such measurements are consciousness itself, tout court. Conceptually, at least, claiming that active neural patterns are consciousness is tantamount to pointing to a world map plastered on a wall and saying, “This is Copenhagen.”

Nonetheless, in a determined effort to bridge the gap between neural activity and the mind, researchers using IIT are now applying machine-learning algorithms to correlate PCI data with causal fingerprints of consciousness. As a result, the field now stands on the precipice of new testable theories of consciousness. But neuroscientists must still contend with the basic questions that have bogged the science of consciousness since Descartes; namely, what exactly is consciousness, and how can we study it through the brain?

Some philosophers imagine that the brain produces consciousness like the stomach produces enzymes or the gall bladder secretes bile. (It doesn’t.) But the desire to confine consciousness to that sort of mechanistic description is kind of the problem: Although it’s easy to localize apparatuses for different parts of conscious experience, say, the smell of dinner, or the distance to the table, or the music from the radio, consciousness itself offers no such broken mirror of experience—it’s a coherent, unified experience of an entire body within an environment—the brain-gut connection, for example, is important for conscious emotions.

Perhaps it will be possible, someday, to replicate something approaching the dynamics of a conscious system in silico and produce the robots imagined in science fiction. Or, as Koch now startlingly suggests, it may be the case that the dualism between mind and matter is the obstacle for locating consciousness in the brain, and that matter already, somehow, experiences itself. Combining vitalism and materialism, the idea of panpsychism—that fundamental matter has conscious elements—is admittedly strange but, then again, so is consciousness. And, in a weird way, it confirms Crick’s suspicion that matter, by itself, is dazzling enough to explain it.

Marco Altamirano is a writer based in New Orleans and the author of Time, Technology, and Environment: An Essay on the Philosophy of Nature. Follow him on Twitter @marcosien.

Brian N. Mathur is a neuroscientist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Follow him on Twitter @BrianMathur1.

References

Where Is My Mind?

The rise and fall of the claustrum epitomizes the hunt for consciousness in the brain.

Nautilus

  • Marco Altamirano
  • Brian N. Mathur

16655_791427014ac440583f48f02159b233e6.png

Photo by Peshkova / Shutterstock.

In 1976, Francis Crick arrived at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, overlooking a Pacific Shangri-La with cotton candy skies and a beaming, blue-green sea. He had already won the Nobel Prize for co-discovering the double-helix structure of DNA, revealing the basis of life to be a purely physical, not a mystical, process. He hoped to do the same thing for consciousness. If matter was strange enough to explain a creature’s life code, he thought, maybe it’s strange enough to explain a creature’s mind, too.

For something that everybody walks around with everyday, consciousness wouldn’t seem to be as immense a puzzle as the origin of the universe. It’s just that difficult to imagine how subjective experience can arise from basic physical elements like atoms and molecules. It seems like there must be more to the story. Small wonder, then, that for ages people believed that consciousness was a function of the soul, far beyond the grasp of science. Consequently, consciousness became the strongest argument for vitalism, the idea that life is dependent on immaterial or non-physical forces. Crick, a lifelong defender of materialism, was absolutely determined when he arrived in California to dispel the notion from consciousness and blaze a path toward solving it.

In the last 30 years of his life, he propelled a revolution in neuroscience by molecular biology, challenging the brightest minds in the field, usually over tea, and publishing works on his “astonishing hypothesis” that consciousness arises from the brain alone. On his deathbed in 2005, Crick, together with his friend and colleague Christof Koch, published a final article, “What is the function of the claustrum?”, which reignited the search for the physical location of consciousness in the brain.1 It proposed the claustrum, a set of neurons coincidentally shaped like a hammock, as the seat of consciousness because it receives “input from almost all regions of cortex, and projects back to almost all regions of cortex,” the wrinkled surface of the brain responsible for conscious features ranging from sensation to personality. The promising idea would go on to spur probing studies on the nature of consciousness, and the beguiling role of the claustrum, that continue today.

Finding the Mind: Francis Crick brought to neuroscience an uncanny ability to determine the function of a biological system by studying its structure. He wanted to do for consciousness what he had succeeded in doing for the development of life, with DNA: to show that our inner life had a completely material basis. Photo by Marc Lieberman.


The claustrum is far from the first part of the brain to be singled out as the seat of consciousness. The first hypothesis came in the mid-17th century from René Descartes, who notoriously claimed that the “soul has its principle seat in the small gland located in the middle of the brain”—namely, the pineal gland. The problem Descartes was trying to solve was how the soul (or mind), which he viewed as entirely separate from the body, nonetheless interacts with it. It’s easy to imagine how material bodies like bowling balls and pins interact, but thoughts don’t seem material. It’s hard to imagine them taking up any space or exerting force—so how does something seemingly immaterial interact with matter? How does ingesting a martini affect our thoughts?

To solve this, Descartes borrowed the concept of “animal spirits” from the ancient Greek physician Galen. Animal spirits, Descartes believed, were psycho-physiological messengers in the blood that can record physical sensations while providing signals that the mind interprets as conscious perceptions. He nominated the pineal gland as the hub for these half-mental, half-material messenger spirits to interface and radiate throughout the body. Descartes’ hypothesis may seem extravagant, but it brought consciousness into the field of science, into the mechanism of bodies, as it were, opening the door that ultimately led to Crick.

For a moment, it seemed that the claustrum was indeed what Crick suspected: the hub of consciousness.

An alternative to the pineal gland wasn’t suggested for another 200 years. In 1835, German physiologist Johannes Müller nominated as the seat of consciousness the medulla oblongata—a part of the brainstem that regulates the flow of oxygen rich blood cells to the rest of the brain. Although it’s a kind of power source for the brain, the medulla oblongata doesn’t seem related to higher-order conscious functions from a modern perspective. (It’s now known that the medulla is responsible for involuntary functions like vomiting and sneezing, hardly defining aspects of the human experience.)

The idea that the seat of consciousness in the brain must, in some way, be a hub for neural activity across the brain was seeded in the 19th century by the English physiologist William B. Carpenter. He located consciousness in the thalamus, in the middle of the brain. Even today, the role of the thalamus in consciousness remains largely conjectural, but Carpenter’s enduring legacy was to understand that consciousness is an experiential unity—not a cacophony of unconnected perceptions—and that the neural origin of consciousness must have the capacity to produce that unity by integrating higher-order functions (like thought, emotion, and agency) with lower-order sensory faculties.

Carpenter’s work was corroborated a century later by a pioneering American-Canadian neurosurgeon named Wilder Penfield. Penfield was treating patients with severe epilepsy by lesioning areas of the brain that were generating seizures, and he realized that he could functionally map specific movements or perceptions to specific areas of the cortex, which spreads out across the entire brain surface. But his map of the cortex presented a problem of brain geography that eluded Carpenter: How could remote and seemingly disconnected sensory processing areas generate the unified experience of consciousness? The solution did not seem forthcoming.

Until Francis Crick, that is. He had an uncanny ability to envision the function of a biological system by looking at its structure. Crick searched for a neural structure capable of integrating information from distant regions of the cortex. Decades of fine-grained neuroanatomical studies directed him to one area of the brain that satisfied all his criteria: the claustrum. Bi-directionally connected with arguably every area of the cortex, the claustrum appears like the Grand Central Station of the brain. Crick’s analogy was that if the different areas of the cortex processing various sensory modalities (visual, auditory, somatosensory, and so on) were the musicians in an orchestra, the claustrum was the conductor making sure everyone hit the right notes in time. His argument was simple, elegant, and cogent. It also provided the first scientifically sound and testable hypothesis for the seat of consciousness.


In the decades since Crick set his sights on the claustrum, scientists have rushed to produce data about this mysterious region of the brain. A 2014 case study of an epileptic patient at George Washington University showed that electrical stimulation near the claustrum resulted in an immediate loss of consciousness, although the patient regained consciousness as soon as the stimulation stopped.2 And in 2017, researchers at the Allen Institute discovered that the claustrum contains neurons that reach across the entirety of the brain like a “crown of thorns,” supporting the hypothesis that it’s a massive integrator and conductor of brain-wide activity.3 For a moment, it seemed that the claustrum was indeed what Crick suspected: the hub of consciousness.

However, two studies published in 2019 suggest that the claustrum’s moment has passed. A study on five epileptic patients at Stanford University demonstrated that zapping the claustrum on both sides of the brain had no effect on their subjective experience.4 Corroborating this, a study on mice from investigators at the University of Maryland showed that deactivating the claustrum resulted in no apparent loss of consciousness.5 Based on these data, it seems that the claustrum may be yet another red herring in the hunt for the seat of consciousness.

The field now stands on the precipice of new testable theories of consciousness.

While the claustrum may not be the seat of consciousness, it could still be a kind of chauffeur for it. Primates, especially humans, can be surprisingly absent-minded: We are often barely aware of our commutes to work until we take a wrong turn and, suddenly, the sensory world grabs our attention. Navigational habits allow primates to effectively auto-pilot through a lot of tasks, until there are unpredicted changes that spur cognitive demand, igniting the claustrum. How a possible cognitive control-like function for the claustrum relates to consciousness remains a matter of debate.


In October 2019, the Society for Claustrum Research convened in Chicago where Koch, from the Allen Institute, and one of us, Brian N. Mathur, held an open, albeit unresolved, discussion on the degree to which the claustrum may conduct consciousness. At the subsequent Society for Neuroscience meeting, new preliminary data encouraged revisiting the thalamus as a possible neural correlate for consciousness. These data would appear to place the seat of consciousness in another structure, but neuroscientists now largely suspect, thanks to Carpenter and Crick, that any neural correlate of consciousness functions as a part of a broader, dynamic neural network.

For example, Bernard Baars, who developed Global Workspace theory, argues that consciousness does not arise from a single anatomical hub like a claustrum. Instead, it emerges from a complex network of functional hubs working together in a sort of neuronal “cloud computing” format.

Giulio Tonini, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, offers another interesting approach. The Italian neuroscientist’s Integrated Information Theory (IIT) posits that the neural activity of a subject is associated with certain conscious experiences, such as reading the paper or walking through a neighborhood. The hypothesis is that the more areas of the brain that are stimulated at once, the more integrated the sensory, emotional, and cognitive information and, hence, the more conscious the organism.

The claustrum may not be the seat of consciousness, but it could still be a kind of chauffeur for it.

IIT is supported, and even quantified, by a method developed by Tonini and Massimini in 2013 that yields a pertubational complexity index (PCI).8 PCI involves stimulating (that is, functionally perturbing) certain parts of cortex, which causes a response from the rest of the cortex that PCI maps and measures. In sleeping subjects, the responsive activity is restricted, but in conscious subjects the activity is significantly more widespread and complex. Tonini claims that the measurement of this activity is a measurement of consciousness itself, allowing it to possibly determine whether unresponsive patients are truly in a vegetative state or in a conscious state but unable to communicate.

IIT’s methodology is brilliant, but there is something of a conceptual sleight of hand when it identifies consciousness with neural activity. Although it’s possible to measure patterns of neural activity and correlate them with certain conscious experiences, this is not logically sufficient to claim that such measurements are consciousness itself, tout court. Conceptually, at least, claiming that active neural patterns are consciousness is tantamount to pointing to a world map plastered on a wall and saying, “This is Copenhagen.”

Nonetheless, in a determined effort to bridge the gap between neural activity and the mind, researchers using IIT are now applying machine-learning algorithms to correlate PCI data with causal fingerprints of consciousness. As a result, the field now stands on the precipice of new testable theories of consciousness. But neuroscientists must still contend with the basic questions that have bogged the science of consciousness since Descartes; namely, what exactly is consciousness, and how can we study it through the brain?

Some philosophers imagine that the brain produces consciousness like the stomach produces enzymes or the gall bladder secretes bile. (It doesn’t.) But the desire to confine consciousness to that sort of mechanistic description is kind of the problem: Although it’s easy to localize apparatuses for different parts of conscious experience, say, the smell of dinner, or the distance to the table, or the music from the radio, consciousness itself offers no such broken mirror of experience—it’s a coherent, unified experience of an entire body within an environment—the brain-gut connection, for example, is important for conscious emotions.

Perhaps it will be possible, someday, to replicate something approaching the dynamics of a conscious system in silico and produce the robots imagined in science fiction. Or, as Koch now startlingly suggests, it may be the case that the dualism between mind and matter is the obstacle for locating consciousness in the brain, and that matter already, somehow, experiences itself. Combining vitalism and materialism, the idea of panpsychism—that fundamental matter has conscious elements—is admittedly strange but, then again, so is consciousness. And, in a weird way, it confirms Crick’s suspicion that matter, by itself, is dazzling enough to explain it.

Marco Altamirano is a writer based in New Orleans and the author of Time, Technology, and Environment: An Essay on the Philosophy of Nature. Follow him on Twitter @marcosien.

Brian N. Mathur is a neuroscientist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Follow him on Twitter @BrianMathur1.

References

  1. Crick, F.C. & Koch, C. What is the function of the claustrum? Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 360, 1271-1279 (2005).
  2. Koubeissi, M.Z., Bartolomei, F., Beltagy, A., & Picard, F. Electrical stimulation of a small brain area reversibly disrupts consciousness. Epilepsy Behavior 37, 32-35 (2014).
  3. Reardon, S. A giant neuron found wrapped around entire mouse brain. Nature News (2017).
  4. Bickel, S. & Parvizi, J. Electrical stimulation of the human claustrum. Epilepsy Behavior 97, 296-303 (2019).
  5. White, M.G., Mu, C., Zeng, H., & Mathur, B.N. The claustrum is required for reward acquisition under high cognitive demand. bioRxiv (2018). Retrieved from DOI:10.1101/390443
  6. Remedios, R., Logothetis, N.K., & Kayser, C. Unimodal responses prevail within the multisensory claustrum. Journal of Neuroscience 20, 12902-12907 (2010).
  7. Krimmel, S.R., et al. Resting state functional connectivity and cognitive task-related activation of the human claustrum. NeuroImage 196, 59-67 (2019).
  8. Casali, A.G., et al. A theoretically based index of consciousness independent of sensory processing and behavior. Science Translational Medicine 5, 198ra105 (2013).
  1. Crick, F.C. & Koch, C. What is the function of the claustrum? Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 360, 1271-1279 (2005).
  2. Koubeissi, M.Z., Bartolomei, F., Beltagy, A., & Picard, F. Electrical stimulation of a small brain area reversibly disrupts consciousness. Epilepsy Behavior 37, 32-35 (2014).
  3. Reardon, S. A giant neuron found wrapped around entire mouse brain. Nature News (2017).
  4. Bickel, S. & Parvizi, J. Electrical stimulation of the human claustrum. Epilepsy Behavior 97, 296-303 (2019).
  5. White, M.G., Mu, C., Zeng, H., & Mathur, B.N. The claustrum is required for reward acquisition under high cognitive demand. bioRxiv (2018). Retrieved from DOI:10.1101/390443
  6. Remedios, R., Logothetis, N.K., & Kayser, C. Unimodal responses prevail within the multisensory claustrum. Journal of Neuroscience 20, 12902-12907 (2010).
  7. Krimmel, S.R., et al. Resting state functional connectivity and cognitive task-related activation of the human claustrum. NeuroImage 196, 59-67 (2019).
  8. Casali, A.G., et al. A theoretically based index of consciousness independent of sensory processing and behavior. Science Translational Medicine 5, 198ra105 (2013).

Comment on Consciousness by Roberta Jane Cook August 31st 2020

Comment This is a very erudite and well researched article, When the author raises the question how drinking a Martini influences cosnsciousness, he complicates something simple. The same could be questioned of any chemical change in the brain, natural or induced – including sexual arousal and orgasm, which appears to be connected to a person’s sense of gender and sexual purpose, though feminists dominate psychology and don”t like this veiew.

Stress affects hormones, altering and hopefully triggering the flight or fight for survival response. However, sometimes it triggers the ‘rabbit in the car headlights syndrome.. Sometimes consciousness just shuts down to accept the inevitable and oblivion – or maybe life after death.

Consciousness appears not to be absolute. Psychology is a dubious subject because it comes from a dubious dominant cultural self perpetuating rather than enlightening standpoint, hence reliance on the DSM. cultural and religious morality also massively obscures the measurement and judegement of what is acceptable consciousness, hence the psychiatric community’s arrogant definition of paranoia and delusions. I was sent by police, to spend over 12 hours in a mental hospital after 14 in a police cell. The experience affected and altered my cosnciousness accordingly and I saw some seriously disturbed highly medicatsed people walking around in circkes all night long.

We see two interersting developments in Western society. One is the quest for creating Artificial Intelligence ( A1 ). This, some fear will result in AI developing a sense of self detrmintaion and contol. Interestingly mainstream opinion never considers the logic of the God story that we might be A1 created by God, running out of control, though blaming God for alleged ‘free will’ – i.e planet destroying greed.

The second development is the obvious use of psychology, psychiatry, medication, education and other police state methods to frighten people into robotic behaviour, enhancing the oppression of official prejudices and control.

The police gave me no choice but to admit to being female. In the past, I found such an admission had unpleasant consequences,, including being patronised by officialdom who thought my issues with authorities and others was psychotic- they still think this and want to drug me.. This is because its lackeys and running dogs need too patronise and play the common woman’s protector and common man’s denigrator just to make sure neither step out of line. Their conciousness through training and personality peculiarities channels and so enforces the elite’s fear of differences and authentic challenge from below – as we see with the Covid Conspiracy..

In short, they do not like individuals. This is why on the one hand they kill Muslims en masse abroad, whislt welcoming their migration into Europe and exceptionalism on mass. The elite have the sturdy jails and new gestapo. BLM are O.K at the moment because the elite fear the white far right even more. BLM thus justifies focus with BLM support on the disgruntled white working class movemeents. They can’t imagine there ever being a black far right, as happened with Idi Amin in Uganda.

So, unfortunately, the debate about the seat of consciousness and supporting memories, is guided by ruling class prejudcies and patronage. If anything really near the truth was discovered, we would never know because first considerations would be how to milk and guide such truth for military, coorporate and elite advanatge.

We know the CIA pioneered the use of mind altering drugs, along with post hypnotic suggestions. J.D Salinger wrote one book ‘Catcher In The Rye.’ He was a CIA man, his book being linked with agents’ post hypnotoc suggestion trigger words. John Lennon’s killer had been reading that book outside the pop star’s apartment, getting up like a robot when Lennon arrived, then in a robotic trance, got up and shot him dead. Then he sat down again, waiting to be arrested.

As a young student teacher, I was told – using a corruption of Marxism- that our role in schools was consciousness raising. The same is true of the police and other key influencers. To suggest that consciouness could ever be something apart from the body is the same as saying their is no electric current without a generator.

Of course such a view is anathama in our increasingly Islamic dominated western societies, with freedom of worship nonsense, society used to suppress divide and control. So there is another reason, along with militant feminism, all defining a bigoted non scientific definition of truth. Since our consciosness is generated and altered by our changing bodies, the only way we would ever know what it is would be if we lived after death, with all memories in tact. If we did, I suspect most of us would go mad.

The subject of collective consciousnes telepathy ( something else researched by the CIA ) and channeling is another story. The moment my mother died, 12 miles away in hospital I was awoken by the most excruciating cramp, followed by a nurse phoning to tell me she had passed away, or on as some prefer to say. My mother and I were very very close, especially after my father’s death in 1962.

Roberta Jane Cook

Roberta Jane Cook Image Appledene Photographics

‘The Whiteleaf Centre’ , a mental health secure unit in Aylesbury where Roberta Jane Cook was sectioned to – by police after 14 hours in their custody, being found semi conscious and near strangled by her tee shirt in a dark dirty cold police cell- at midnight August 24th, the 12th anniversary of her mother’s death in 2008.
Image Appledene Photographics/RJC

Psychosis August 29th 2020

Psychosis

The Relationship Between Violence and Psychotic Disorders

They are both common—but occur together uncommonly.

Posted Jan 19, 2014

THE BASICS

Violence is extremely common, violent crimes occurring literally in the hundreds of thousands every year. Individuals assault each other impulsively, almost casually, even those whom they love. The causes of violence are, consequently, the subject of much attention—especially now, in the wake of a number of mass shootings. Every time someone commits a violent act so egregious that it comes to public notice, a dozen reasons are given for it and for all acts of violence. Poverty is blamed, or prejudice, or overcrowding. But the truth is that the causes of violence are innumerable.

Mental illness is commonly alleged to be a principal cause for violent behavior. For that reason many uninformed people are frightened of someone who is obviously disturbed emotionally. Yet mental illness, like most physical illness, tends to impair the individual’s ability to act, aggressively or in any other way. Only a few such conditions have a significant potential to precipitate a violent act. Among these is paranoid schizophrenia, which may affect the individual so that he comes to believe that people are persecuting him. He may then attack whomever he imagines his enemies to be. Certain drugs—for example, amphetamines—produce psychotic paranoid states which can be dangerous for the same reason. As everyone knows, alcoholic intoxication, because it lowers impulse control, causes some people to become violent; and if they are chronic alcoholics, they become violent over and over again.

Certain rare forms of epilepsy and other confusional states that sometimes occur as a complication of organic disease may cause the individual to strike out indiscriminately at whoever is nearby; but since these attacks are unpremeditated and uncoordinated, they do not often result in someone being injured. Occasionally, sexually deviant individuals become notorious by committing sadistic or murderous acts, but they too are unusual and represent the behavior of only a tiny fraction of those who arc sexually disturbed or deviant. There are in addition certain very dangerous, very strange, hysterical psychoses—such as amok—which stimulate the individual to sudden and usually short—lived bouts of murder, but these are exceedingly rare. And they occur mostly in islands of the South Pacific.


And there are still other people who are labeled with a psychiatric diagnosis, such as explosive personality, precisely because they are repeatedly violent irrationally and with little provocation. Such a term signifies nothing at all about them beyond the fact that they are indeed violent.  Certainly they are not psychotic, or mentally ill in any conventional sense. It is true, of course, that any psychotic or neurotic person can commit a violent act, but only because any person at all can commit such an act. The fact is that violence is an uncommon complication of mental illness.

Some attempts have been made to predict who will become violent, and who having once been violent, perhaps criminally violent, will become violent again. Not much success has been achieved. Psychiatrists, who are often charged legally with the responsibility for determining whether or not someone is dangerous, are often wrong, judging by subsequent events. What is not commonly appreciated is that these professionals are likely to exaggerate the danger rather than minimize it. They are more likely to hold patients indefinitely in a hospital on the sometimes arbitrary presumption of their dangerousness than they are to release homicidal persons into the community carelessly, as they are often accused of doing. article continues after advertisement

The indicators, such as they are, by which a person’s potential for violence is judged, are as follows:

  1. A previous history of violence. The more frequent and more vicious someone’s past violent acts, the more likely he is to be violent again. Often adults who have committed crimes of violence give a long history of other similar acts, dating back to their childhood. They may have had difficulty in school because of fighting. Or they may have exhibited an odd triad of symptoms: bed-wetting, fire-setting, and cruelty to animals. Probably any act of cruelty or wanton destructiveness is a sign of a defect of personality which may manifest itself at some point in the willful injury of others.
  2. Menacing behavior. Someone who threatens violence when he or she is angry, or who punches walls or breaks furniture, or who in some other way shows poor impulse control, is likely to strike out at someone when  particularly angry. Similarly, someone who nurses a grievance and constructs plans for revenge may undertake someday to consummate those plans. Threats are sometimes a prelude to an overt act. Threats can be expressed also nonverbally through the individual’s demeanor. Some people, before losing control, give warning by quarreling and shouting and by becoming agitated—in short, by appearing as if they are about to lose control.  And some people, of course, openly state their intention of committing a violent act.
  3. A pattern of engaging in activities where violent encounters are likely to occur. Certain social settings undermine the usual strictures against violence. For instance, someone in a rioting mob is capable of perpetrating a violent act even though ordinarily he is in good control of himself. Similarly, a person who frequents bars constantly or who associates with drug addicts places himself in a setting where violent behavior is tacitly encouraged because it is construed as a sign of manhood. Consequently, such a person may learn to be violent. Such learning occurs also in certain families so consumed by rage that their members repeatedly attack each other physically. Merely living with such a family is an incitement to violence.

As people become violent for different reasons, they are also violent in different ways:

One man became drunk regularly and punched his wife and children when he came home. On one occasion, his wife, presumably in a spirit of self-defense, stabbed him with a kitchen knife, precipitating the need for an emergency operation in order to save his life.

Another man, after a fight with his father, went to a park where he raped the first woman he saw. Another man, when he became angry at his wife, shot a rifle out of his window at passing cars.

A woman who had had no previous history of violent or abnormal behavior became so desperate upon delivering an illegitimate child that she killed it by throwing it into an incinerator.

A 12-year-old boy kicked his younger siblings at every opportunity and finally killed one of them with a hammer.

These examples could be multiplied endlessly. The variety of violence is extraordinary. The attendant risk to others depends on the strength and the intent of the violent impulse, the circumstances under which it arises, and the response those people who are immediately present. article continues after advertisement

Treatment
The violent person is usually violent again and again; therefore proper treatment must extend past the moment of violence itself and over a period of time. His therapist—who in this case may be almost anyone, a parole officer perhaps, or even a lawyer—must accomplish with this difficult patient the basic goals of any therapy. He must establish a trusting relationship between them in which the patient can express frustration verbally instead of by striking out. Indeed, they must be able to discuss openly not only the patient’s violence but all of his, or her, behavior.

Obviously the first principle of managing someone potentially violent is to see to it, as far as possible, that he does not in fact injure anyone, for his own sake as well as for everyone else’s. Even for a psychopath, the knowledge of having harmed another human is terrible.

Consequently, if it seems that there is a real risk of someone becoming violent, the police or other legal authorities should be involved promptly, at a time when they can prevent his actions rather than punish them. Some people, rather than call the police, play the role of victim over and over. Being so passive, perhaps masochistic, they may actually provoke attacks on themselves. No one should subject himself, or herself, to repeated physical assaults—or allow others to be subjected to them. Surprisingly, some people refuse to take the dangerousness of physical attack seriously, especially if they are not themselves the victim.

An army corporal was sent for psychiatric examination after he was found choking another soldier in the bathroom of his barracks. It was the third such assault he had committed that month, each time on a different person. Each time, the attack was interrupted fortuitously by other personnel who happened to walk into the room. The only explanation the corporal gave for these attacks was that these individuals “did not deserve to live;” and so he set out to kill them. There was no particular reason why they were undeserving of life. In fact when pressed, the corporal went so far as to admit that so far, at the age of 19, he had not yet come across anyone who in his judgment deserved to live. article continues after advertisement

His life before he entered the army was marked by one violent incident after another. When he was small, he tortured arid killed small animals, then larger animals when he was older. He committed petty larceny at an early age, then graduated to armed robber and assault with a deadly weapon. He attacked members of his own family, once with a wrench. From the time he was ten, his family refused to allow him in the house, and he lived thereafter in different foster homes and then different reformatories, one after another. Finally, when he was 18 years old, a judge who found him guilty of assault gave him the choice of serving a jail sentence or of enlisting in the army. He chose to enlist.

The psychiatrist contacted the corporal’s commanding officer and asked why the corporal, who was so obviously dangerous, had not been discharged from the service following the first of these three serious assaults. “Because he’s the best gunner I have,” replied the captain unabashedly. The fact that the United States happened to be at peace at the time made no difference. Taken aback, the psychiatrist asked the captain what it would take to convince him that the corporal was potentially homicidal. “Only if he killed someone,” the captain said. “Anyone who really wants to kill someone has no trouble doing it.”

The corporal was discharged from the service on psychiatric grounds before this provocative theory could be put to the test.

Violent behavior should never be overlooked, fCommentor it is an indicator of more violence to come. However, the present attention paid to psychiatric patients, although welcome for other reasons, is not likely to work as a way of preventing  mass shootings.  A murder can take place even when someone is being observed closely, just as suicide can. (c) Fredric Neuman Excerpted from “Caring: Home Guide for the Emotionally Disturbed.” Follow Dr. Neuman’s blog at fredricneumanmd.com/blog/ or ask advice at fredricneumanmd.com/blog/ask-dr-neuman-advice-column/

Comment from an alleged psycho – Roberta Jane Cook August 29th 2020

My readers will know much of my story. I cannot say more for legal reasons. However, I will make mention again, of how I had completed over the two years living as a woman. I should have been lined up for gender reassignment surgery in February 2018, around the time the police raided my home, arresting me on suspicion of sending letters and pictures of a ‘private and personal nature’ of my ex wife, to various senior police and council people, along with alleged pictures of my ex wife and a porn video, to ex in laws, shopping myself for working as a ‘gay escort’ for my son..

After 6.5 hours in a cold dirty cell, with only one blanket, I was interviewed. The exhibits shown to me, of which I was not allowed to keep, were a badly written typed sheet with a stranger’s name on ( Obviously from my aggrieved ex partner – dumped by me- whose English was bad and tone vengeful ), and pictures of a strange woman in lingerie, and one of me laying on afreind’s bed wearing a lacey black short evening dress. My ex partner had the photo on her system and it was her dress. There was no porn video, but it was left on the record.

Roberta reclining on a male friend’s bed in 2016, one of the pictures sent to police by her ex partner. Police did no investigation BECAUSE THEY NEEDED A CONVICTION having lost a previous case because they had no evidence.
They said Roberta sent the pictures, letters and non existent porn video, having watched her remote house and monitired internet for at least five months. they argued that the photos, letetrs and non existent porn video sented evidence that Roberta w as working for her son as a ‘gay escort’

That, of course is a hate crime because she is female and gay refers to a male homosexual. It is a hate crime that they took this seriously, and very distressing to her because she is a very vulnerable female and cannot, therefore be ‘gay’.

She was fulfilling the GIC requirement to dress and live as a woman for two years, with evidence,hence the photo. Her friend was going to take her out for the evening – confidence building. But truth was not the issue.

Image Appledene Photographics/RJC

So when I attended my last interview, I was confronted with my regular therapist, along with a senior person. – paid a dubious compliment about how elegant I looked – which made me wonder whether this prcess was all about superficial image- I was ushered into a room.

Here. modestly dressed little me, sat down with Dr Kirpal Sahota and Dr Paul Johnson. Dr Sahota began by telling me that she wanted me to attend Johnson’s regular therapy sesssions for those with mental and behavioural problems. This had come out of the blue. At the outset of my ‘treatment’ I had warned the GP and clinic about my issues with police and allegations of untested undefined mental illness etc.

Dr Sahota then said, softly and ingratiatingly, ‘I will recommend and forward you for gender reassignment surgery if you will agree to taking anti psychotic drugs.’

Now I have some post graduate background in psychology. I have been very intersted in gender, feminism and political correctnesss for many years. One of my many publsihed books, ‘Man, Maid,Woman’ is on the subject of transgender. I realise that most transsexuals believe that hormones and sex change surgery will solve all of their problems. It won’t.

I made my views very clear, incluidng why the police had taken it upon themselves to inform my GP that I am mentally ill and have been for years, refusing treatment. This begs the question why I was ever referred for sex change treatment, involving castrating feminising hormones, in the first place. This near on additional two year police led delay means my genitals are so withered, I will be lucky if there is anything left to create new female ones. Frighteningly our police have power to make mental health jdgements, with off the record or blatant instructions. NHS officials trust the British police, especially the higher ranks.

The police raid on my home and arrest in February 2018, obviously was used as ammunition to block my gender reassignment surgery. Curiously, Dr Sahota wrote a letter to my GP after my February 2018 interview, saying that I had a secure female identity but my issues with police and ex in laws were troubling me. She recommended me for powerful hormone injections and said I could progress to gender reassignment surgery.

.A few weeks later three men in suits backed up my drive. I had been working all night on the road for about fourteen hours. I had not been warned they were coming. One was a psychiatrist. Dr C R Ramsay, the others ; a medical student and a well built mental health nurse. All were from Aylesbury’s ‘Whiteleaf Centre.’ They had been sent by the GIC, in a chain that started with the police ‘et al ! ‘

There followed two more weekly home meetings of equal length both after my long tiring work shifts. On the second occasion, I defiantly had a glass of wine on my desk – becaue I knew that certain parties including the police and my GP had passed on allegations that I am a violent alcoholic – in spite of my GP regularly signing of on my HGV medical to the effect that I am not mentally ill or an alcoholic. This label is essential to the psycho schizophrenic label.

According to Ramsay, I talked too fast. He recorded this as ‘pressured speech’ and evidence of paranoia and psychosis, but ‘ not needing hospital yet’ rather advocating a ‘multi agency approach – police GP and Oxford Menatl Health Care ( sic ).

Dr Ramsay, having lied on the record that I would not agree to a second opinion -which should have been compulsory if I was as mad as Ramsay concluded, -declines any form of explanation..

I have spent much of the last two years trying to get information from my GP, the Police, Gender Identity Clinic and , above all, the police. They refuse. Ramsay Ramsay had concluded that I have a paranoid personality disorder but would not say what I was paranoid about – he patronised me as a woman,officially reporting that ‘seeing all of the agencies files ‘would upset Roberta’.

My situation with the police has deteriorated further. On Monday, after 14 hours in custody, I nearly succeeded in strangling myself in my dark cold dirty little cell , under the one permitted blanket with banging, shouting and screaming coming from the other cells on a day when the house was very full indeed..

Apparently I had gone blue and was semi conscious and sectioned to the Whiteleaf Centre at midnight last Monday, remaining there for another 12 hours before going in front of a panel of three, two doctors and a mental health specialist. They concluded that I was not mentally ill, or at least fit enough to be released. These are very dangerous times for me, . Roberta Jane Cook

Roberta Jane Cook, as dressed rather expensively – very elegantly according to Dr Sahota of the GIC- for her February 2018 interview, not many days after being raided by 7 police officers and put in a cell on suspicion of sending letters to ex in laws and senior police and public servants, shopping herself as a ‘gay escort’ – Roberta said ‘we are proud women, not gay, so wouldn’t say that.’

However, police said they had been watching her home and monitoring her from October 2017- Feb 2018 , because they had ‘evidence she wasworking from home as a protitute for her son.

This information with no evidence or sign of true investigation was put on damning records sent to the GIC and helpful in blocking her GRS, writing her off as paranoid and psychotic.

Hence the sudden GIC announcement. preceding Ramsay’s sessions by several weeks and which were which were obviously a rubber stamp from an alleged professional opinion that she needed anti psychotic drugs. Mental health diagnosis can be a self fulfilling prophecy.
Roberta saw Dr Ramsay in passing on her way out of Whiteleaf – for nearly 2 years Ramsay has refused to explain his diagnosis- last Tuesday afternoon. He didn’t want to talk . saying it was not the time or place. H
e would only say, as he walked on by, ‘I did what was best for you ‘ Image Appledene Photographics.

D S M Diagnosis Statistics Medication A Dangerous Strong Arm of Police State E

Scheduling Just 15 Minutes of “Personal Development Time” Can Change Your Life

Personal development is a journey, not a destination. August 30th 2020

Thomas OppongGettyImages-769732181.jpg

Photo from Westend61 / Getty Images.

Successful people don’t grow by accident, they grow by design.

When you schedule personal development time on purpose, you are making time to design the life you want.

You are essentially who you create yourself to be.

Once you embrace the “growth” habit, you will improve your way of life.

You will think differently.

Your approach to situations and problems in life will change.

You will question your daily choices because you will expose yourself to different models of thinking.

Your perspective and worldview will shift.

You will be able to deal with setbacks or obstacles better.

You will become your best self when you focus on YOU!

In the words of Lao Tzu, “Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.”

Know yourself and seek improvement.

When you make your personal goals as important as your professional goals, achieving balance is a natural result.

Design Yourself. Design Your Future

Your current self versus your ideal self.

How are they similar and how are they different?

A better you, won’t just happen!

In his new book, High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way Brendon Burchard said, “Often, the journey to greatness begins the moment our preferences for comfort and certainty are overruled by a greater purpose that requires challenge and contribution.”

My approach to life and living it has changed in recent times because I respect “me” time. My ‘personal development’ is important to me because it keeps me relevant.

Take time for “you” because, the better you become, the less time it takes you to achieve your goals.

There are so many ways to embrace the lifelong learning habit that can make you a better person.

I personally enjoy taking productive breaks on purpose, making time to think, taking long walks, reading books and articles, watching TED videos, and listening to podcasts.

A lot of the time when I am not writing, I am reading. It’s personally fulfilling.

I do anything to make me a better person than I was yesterday. Choose activities that inspire you, fulfill you, or help you meet a personal goal.

There are courses you can take.

Never stand still. You should constantly search for more effective approaches in life and better ways to solve the same problems.

Go back to cultivating your curiosities. Nourish your dormant talent.

It will also facilitate an understanding of yourself.

Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change said, “But until a person can say deeply and honestly, “I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,” that person cannot say, “I choose otherwise.”

Embrace intentional learning.

Even if you are just learning something new for the fun of it, it’s a good idea to do so with an end goal in mind.

Isolate the most important areas of your life for growth — the ones that will help you develop the kind of life you really want — and hone in on those.

To really make personal growth a habit and help you stick to a daily or weekly plan, try reserving certain time slots in your week for those activities.

Instead of planning to squeeze in personal development activities when you have a free moment, make them a priority.

Personal development is a journey, not a destination.

Taking time to regularly focus on you will help you start improving all the various areas of your life.

Choose two or three-time slots each week if you can, add them to your calendar, and then stick to your schedule.

In many cases, there is no other solution but to make yourself a priority.

Henry David Thoreau once said, “You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one.”

Whatever you expect out of life, you must deliberately pursue.

Make time for just 15 minutes of learning every day.

15 minutes isn’t a lot of time compared to how much time you spend “working”, and it’s short enough for you to actually commit to it even during a commute.

The time you invest in yourself is related to your success.

Next time you wonder why you have not achieved your goals, think about how much time you dedicate to your professional and life goals.

True personal development enables you to identify your lifelong goals and pursue them.

Thomas Oppong is the founder of AllTopStartups and writes on science-based answers to problems in life about creativity, productivity, and self-improvement.Thomas Oppong

More from Thomas Oppong

This post originally appeared on Thomas Oppong and was published October 7, 2017. This article is republished here with permission.

Join the newsletter and get a free ebook “Habit Stacking: Deeper Essays on Personal Growth, Productivity and Happiness

U and U.S.A August 22nd 2020

DSM-5 – Pros and ConsThe launch of DSM-III in 1980 triggered revolutionary changes in the field of psychiatry and associated sciences. The classification of mental disorders moved from partially arbitrary decisions to a reliable system. Before DSM-III, it was more likely that 2 diagnosticians resulted in different diagnoses for the very same patient than that they came to the same conclusion about the diagnostical label for the clinical problem. The introduction of a reliable clas-sification system for mental disorders moved psychiatry, clinical psychology, and several other fields from low scientific recognition to one of the top posi-tions of healthcare research.

This also resulted in tremendous improvements in our understanding and treatment options for patients with mental disor-ders.However, is DSM-5 still on this track of fostering research and treatment for mental disorders? Is science still the major purpose of DSM-5, or did it be-come the victim of economic interests and power of specific subgroups? The societal impact, but also the money that is made by DSM became tremen-dous, and this can threaten the scientific purpose. Just a small example: Au-thors are not allowed to cite DSM-5 criteria for a single disorder without pay-ing fees to the American Psychological Association (APA) press.

This means that text books and other publications are not allowed to inform their audi-ence about any DSM-5 diagnosis without paying for it. Is this the way how we want to disseminate scientific approaches? And the content of DSM-5, is it really based on the best of our knowledge? Critique has been expressed that some innovations are arbitrary and misleading [Rief and Martin, 2014].As editor of the German journal VERHALTENSTHERAPIE (Behavior Therapy), I am proud that we were able to get 2 extremely distinguished experts of the field to discuss the pros and cons of DSM-5. Prof. Dr. Ulrich Wittchen (Technische Universitaet Dresden) was member of different DSM groups during the last 20 years, and no German scientist was more involved in this process.

Prof. Dr. Allen Frances (Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC, USA) can be considered the main person who started the ‘counterrevolution’ against DSM: As chair of DSM-IV, he had the best insight into these proc-esses, and he considers DSM-5 as a misdevelopment that must be revised. He is our special guest author of this Pro-Con section, and we are extremely delighted to publish this discussion.Winfried Rief, MarburgReferenceRief W, Martin A: How to use the new DSM-5 somatic symptom disorder diagnosis in research and practice: a critical evaluation and a proposal for modifications. Ann Rew Clin Psychol 2014; DOI: 10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-032813-153745.

Verhaltenstherapie 2013;23:280–285Pro and Con · Pro und Contra281The Inclusion of Unsafe and Scientifically Unsound New Diagnoses Will Be Harmful and Could Entail Diagnostic HyperinflationThe international controversy surrounding DSM-5 has de-livered a severe blow to its credibility and has also reduced the public’s faith in the reliability and effectiveness of psychia-try. The inclusion within DSM-5 of unsafe and scientifically unsound new diagnoses will have harmful unintended conse-quences and threatens to turn our current diagnostic inflation into diagnostic hyperinflation.

I will explain how DSM-5 went so far wrong, point out its worst dangers, and offer recom-mendations for minimizing them and for preventing similar disasters in the future. Excessive AmbitionDSM-5 shot unrealistically high – early on it announced the goal of effecting a paradigm shift in psychiatric diagnosis.

Two of its premature and failed ambitions – to include biological markers and dimensional ratings – were temporary distrac-tions that looked silly but caused no permanent harm. The third – an attempt to promote preventive psychiatry by intro-ducing new diagnoses and reducing thresholds for existing ones – will have potentially disastrous and long-lasting unin-tended consequences. An effective preventive psychiatry would have to meet 3 prerequisites: accurate diagnosis, effec-tive treatment, and safety. None of the DSM-5 changes meets these standards.

All will misidentify patients and result in ex-cessive, often harmful treatments. Other medical specialities have experienced the dangers of premature preventive diag-nosis and are tightening guidelines for screening and diagnosis – just as DSM-5 made the mistake of loosening them!Disorganized MethodsThere was little central direction of the DSM-5 work groups and insufficient quality control.

As a result, the experts were given free rein to expand their pet diagnoses. Their pro-ceedings were secretive, inflexible, and not open to outside influence and correction. Literature reviews were inconsistent in their quality and used very varying standards for making changes. Deadlines were always missed, often by more than a year. Sloppy WritingDSM-5 had no one experienced in writing diagnostic crite-ria and there was little text editing to ensure accuracy and consistency.

As a result, DSM-5 is filled with egregious writ-ing mistakes and ambiguous wordings that will make many of its diagnoses inherently unreliable and inaccurate [Frances, 2013].Publishing Profits Trump Public TrustThe DSM-5 franchise has become a lucrative profit maker for the APA – vital to meet what would otherwise be a big budget deficit. From the start the workers on DSM-5 were forced to sign confidentiality agreements to protect the DSM-5 intellectual property – a decision that badly limited their interchange with the field. At the end, because of missed deadlines, DSM-5 was prematurely rushed to press in a raw and poorly edited state.

DangersIn the USA, 25% of the population already qualify for a psychiatric diagnosis in any given year; 50% will face a psychi-atric diagnosis in their lifetime. 20% of the population take psychotropic medication and 80% of the prescriptions are written by nonpsychiatrists with little training and an average of only 7 minutes to spend per patient. Drug company mar-keting has driven excessive medication use and there are now more deaths from overdose with prescription drugs than with street drugs. There have been false epidemics of Attention Deficit Disorder, Autism, and Childhood Bipolar Disorder. DSM-5 should have tightened the definitions of mental disor-ders and should have included cautions against the risks of careless diagnosis. Instead DSM-5 has introduced new disor-ders with a high prevalence (Minor Neurocognitive, Disrup-tive Mood Dysregulation, Binge Eating), has reduced the threshold of Attention Deficit Disorder, and has turned nor-mal grief into Major Depressive Disorder. In aggregate, these changes can add tens of millions of new patients who will be misidentified at the fuzzy boundary with normality. None of the DSM-5 suggestions is supported by solid scientific data; none received a careful risk/benefit analysis; all represent the experts’ enthusiasm to expand their pet areas of interest; and all are likely to result in much more harm than good. The fu-rore over DSM-5 expansion of diagnostic boundaries by de-fining milder conditions has also distracted attention from a much greater problem facing psychiatry: the inadequate treat-ment of the severely mentally ill. What to DoMy advice about DSM-5 is: don’t buy it, don’t use it, and don’t teach it. It is an unfortunate aberration that needs cor-rection. Hopefully, the International Classification of Diseas-es (ICD)-11 will learn the obvious painful lessons and will not fall into the same trap of expert arbitrariness and diagnostic exuberance.

Future RevisionsNew diagnoses can do more harm than new drugs. The method of changing the diagnostic system needs to be changed. Diagnoses should be revised only when there is compelling evidence that any change is safe and scientifically sound. I have no confidence in the APA as the future steward of the diagnostic system. Its financial conflict of interest and Contra–

Pro and Con · Pro und ContraVerhaltenstherapie 2013;23:280–285 DOI: 10.1159/000356572© 2013 S. Karger GmbH, FreiburgAccessible online at: www.karger.com/ver Fax +49 761 4 52 07 14Information@Karger.comwww.karger.comDSM-5 – Pros and ConsThe launch of DSM-III in 1980 triggered revolutionary changes in the field of psychiatry and associated sciences. The classification of mental disorders moved from partially arbitrary decisions to a reliable system. Before DSM-III, it was more likely that 2 diagnosticians resulted in different diagnoses for the very same patient than that they came to the same conclusion about the diagnostical label for the clinical problem. The introduction of a reliable clas-sification system for mental disorders moved psychiatry, clinical psychology, and several other fields from low scientific recognition to one of the top posi-tions of healthcare research.

This also resulted in tremendous improvements in our understanding and treatment options for patients with mental disor-ders.However, is DSM-5 still on this track of fostering research and treatment for mental disorders? Is science still the major purpose of DSM-5, or did it be-come the victim of economic interests and power of specific subgroups? The societal impact, but also the money that is made by DSM became tremen-dous, and this can threaten the scientific purpose. Just a small example: Au-thors are not allowed to cite DSM-5 criteria for a single disorder without pay-ing fees to the American Psychological Association (APA) press. This means that text books and other publications are not allowed to inform their audi-ence about any DSM-5 diagnosis without paying for it. Is this the way how we want to disseminate scientific approaches? And the content of DSM-5, is it really based on the best of our knowledge?

Critique has been expressed that some innovations are arbitrary and misleading [Rief and Martin, 2014].As editor of the German journal VERHALTENSTHERAPIE (Behavior Therapy), I am proud that we were able to get 2 extremely distinguished experts of the field to discuss the pros and cons of DSM-5. Prof. Dr. Ulrich Wittchen (Technische Universitaet Dresden) was member of different DSM groups during the last 20 years, and no German scientist was more involved in this process. Prof. Dr. Allen Frances (Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC, USA) can be considered the main person who started the ‘counterrevolution’ against DSM: As chair of DSM-IV, he had the best insight into these proc-esses, and he considers DSM-5 as a misdevelopment that must be revised.

He is our special guest author of this Pro-Con section, and we are extremely delighted to publish this discussion.Winfried Rief, MarburgReferenceRief W, Martin A: How to use the new DSM-5 somatic symptom disorder diagnosis in research and practice: a critical evaluation and a proposal for modifications. Ann Rew Clin Psychol 2014; DOI: 10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-032813-153745.Verhaltenstherapie 2013;23:280–285Pro and Con · Pro und Contra281The Inclusion of Unsafe and Scientifically Unsound New Diagnoses Will Be Harmful and Could Entail Diagnostic HyperinflationThe international controversy surrounding DSM-5 has de-livered a severe blow to its credibility and has also reduced the public’s faith in the reliability and effectiveness of psychia-try.

The inclusion within DSM-5 of unsafe and scientifically unsound new diagnoses will have harmful unintended conse-quences and threatens to turn our current diagnostic inflation into diagnostic hyperinflation. I will explain how DSM-5 went so far wrong, point out its worst dangers, and offer recom-mendations for minimizing them and for preventing similar disasters in the future.

Excessive AmbitionDSM-5 shot unrealistically high – early on it announced the goal of effecting a paradigm shift in psychiatric diagnosis. Two of its premature and failed ambitions – to include biological markers and dimensional ratings – were temporary distrac-tions that looked silly but caused no permanent harm. The third – an attempt to promote preventive psychiatry by intro-ducing new diagnoses and reducing thresholds for existing ones – will have potentially disastrous and long-lasting unin-tended consequences. An effective preventive psychiatry would have to meet 3 prerequisites: accurate diagnosis, effec-tive treatment, and safety. None of the DSM-5 changes meets these standards.

All will misidentify patients and result in ex-cessive, often harmful treatments. Other medical specialities have experienced the dangers of premature preventive diag-nosis and are tightening guidelines for screening and diagnosis – just as DSM-5 made the mistake of loosening them!Disorganized MethodsThere was little central direction of the DSM-5 work groups and insufficient quality control. As a result, the experts were given free rein to expand their pet diagnoses. Their pro-ceedings were secretive, inflexible, and not open to outside influence and correction. Literature reviews were inconsistent in their quality and used very varying standards for making changes. Deadlines were always missed, often by more than a year. Sloppy WritingDSM-5 had no one experienced in writing diagnostic crite-ria and there was little text editing to ensure accuracy and consistency.

As a result, DSM-5 is filled with egregious writ-ing mistakes and ambiguous wordings that will make many of its diagnoses inherently unreliable and inaccurate [Frances, 2013].Publishing Profits Trump Public TrustThe DSM-5 franchise has become a lucrative profit maker for the APA – vital to meet what would otherwise be a big budget deficit. From the start the workers on DSM-5 were forced to sign confidentiality agreements to protect the DSM-5 intellectual property – a decision that badly limited their interchange with the field.

At the end, because of missed deadlines, DSM-5 was prematurely rushed to press in a raw and poorly edited state. DangersIn the USA, 25% of the population already qualify for a psychiatric diagnosis in any given year; 50% will face a psychi-atric diagnosis in their lifetime. 20% of the population take psychotropic medication and 80% of the prescriptions are written by nonpsychiatrists with little training and an average of only 7 minutes to spend per patient. Drug company mar-keting has driven excessive medication use and there are now more deaths from overdose with prescription drugs than with street drugs. There have been false epidemics of Attention Deficit Disorder, Autism, and Childhood Bipolar Disorder. DSM-5 should have tightened the definitions of mental disor-ders and should have included cautions against the risks of careless diagnosis.

Instead DSM-5 has introduced new disor-ders with a high prevalence (Minor Neurocognitive, Disrup-tive Mood Dysregulation, Binge Eating), has reduced the threshold of Attention Deficit Disorder, and has turned nor-mal grief into Major Depressive Disorder. In aggregate, these changes can add tens of millions of new patients who will be misidentified at the fuzzy boundary with normality. None of the DSM-5 suggestions is supported by solid scientific data; none received a careful risk/benefit analysis; all represent the experts’ enthusiasm to expand their pet areas of interest; and all are likely to result in much more harm than good. The fu-rore over DSM-5 expansion of diagnostic boundaries by de-fining milder conditions has also distracted attention from a much greater problem facing psychiatry: the inadequate treat-ment of the severely mentally ill. What to DoMy advice about DSM-5 is: don’t buy it, don’t use it, and don’t teach it. It is an unfortunate aberration that needs cor-rection.

Hopefully, the International Classification of Diseas-es (ICD)-11 will learn the obvious painful lessons and will not fall into the same trap of expert arbitrariness and diagnostic exuberance.Future RevisionsNew diagnoses can do more harm than new drugs. The method of changing the diagnostic system needs to be changed. Diagnoses should be revised only when there is compelling evidence that any change is safe and scientifically sound. I have no confidence in the APA as the future steward of the diagnostic system. Its financial conflict of interest and Contra–

Confidence, The Ex Spurt’s Fakery August 15th 2020

Make up and an expsnsive suit always helps a bullshitting ex spurt Roberta Jane Cook in London 2003. Image Appledene Photographics/RJC

Does imposing the death penalty lower rates of violent crime? What economic policies will lead to broad prosperity? Which medical treatments should we allow and encourage to treat novel diseases? These questions have a few things in common. They bear important consequences for us all, and so policymakers and the public would like to know the answers – if good answers even exist. Fortunately, there are entire communities of experts who produce closely regulated scientific literatures dedicated to answering them. Unfortunately, they are also difficult questions, which require causal knowledge that’s not easy to come by.

The rise of social media means that experts willing to share their hard-won knowledge have never been more accessible to the public. So, one might think that communication between experts and decision-makers should be as good as, or better than, ever. But this is not the case. As anyone who has spent time on Twitter or watching cable news can attest, these outlets are also flooded with self-appointed ‘experts’ whose lack of actual expertise doesn’t stop them from sharing their views widely.

There is nothing new about ersatz experts, or even outright charlatans, and they aren’t limited to questions of policy. In every domain where decision-makers need the specialised knowledge of experts, those who don’t have the relevant knowledge – whether they realise it or not – will compete with actual experts for money and attention. Pundits want airtime, scholars want to draw attention to their work, and consultants want future business. Often, these experts are rightly confident in their claims. In the private market for expertise, the opposite can be more common. Daryl Morey, the general manager of the Houston Rockets basketball team, described his time as a consultant as largely about trying to feign complete certainty about uncertain things; a kind of theatre of expertise. In The Undoing Project (2016) by Michael Lewis, Morey elaborates by describing a job interview with the management consultancy McKinsey, where he was chided for admitting uncertainty. ‘I said it was because I wasn’t certain. And they said, “We’re billing clients 500 grand a year, so you have to be sure of what you are saying.”’

With genuine expertise at a premium, the presence of experts who overstate their conclusions adds noise to the information environment, making it harder for decision-makers to know what to do. The challenge is to filter the signal from the noise.

When considering important questions in challenging domains such as economic forecasting and public health crises, there are many times that experts don’t have the answers. Less often, they admit it.

Must we accept that any expert assessment could be hot air or, at best, a competent expert stretching beyond his or her competence? Or can we do better?

Use the Magic 5:1 Ratio to Improve All Your Relationships Posted August 12th 2020

All happy partnerships (both professional and romantic) follow this simple but powerful ratio.

By Jessica Stillman, Contributor, Inc.com@EntryLevelRebel

Use the Magic 5:1 Ratio to Improve All Your Relationships
Getty Images

Most people don’t need too much convincing that happy relationships are the key to a successful life. After all, when Harvard researchers followed 268 men for more than 70 years, the study’s founding director summed up its finding with a single sentence: “Happiness is love. Full stop.”

But if you feel the need for a hard-nosed business case for working on your relationships, it exists. Studies show that warm, loving relationships improve your physical health and positively influence job satisfaction and income. Good friends are the best stress buster available, according to science. And, as any professional can tell you, relationships make the business world go round. 

Which means keeping your relationships strong is as important as it can sometimes be tricky. But, as a fascinating article recently reminded me, as complicated as relationships are, keeping them going strong often boils down to remembering a single ratio. 

The magic ratio for happy relationships 

The piece comes from newsletter The Profile, and was written by newlywed Polina Marinova. Just seven days married, Marinova asked The Profile readers for their best marriage tips. Excellent advice poured in. If you’re looking to tune up your partnership, the whole long article is worth a read, but in the middle of it comes this one essential but dead simple tip: “Make sure your relationship follows the 5:1 ratio.”

This tip may have come from a Profile reader, but this isn’t some random ratio dreamed up by some self-proclaimed “love expert” on the internet. It’s actually backed by decades of research by perhaps the most respected expert in the field of marital stability, John Gottman. You may have heard of his famous ability to predict which couples would divorce with 90 percent accuracy

How he and his collaborators did this boiled down to looking at whether a pair followed the 5:1 ratio. As the Gottman Institute website explains

The difference between happy and unhappy couples is the balance between positive and negative interactions during conflict. There is a very specific ratio that makes love last. That “magic ratio” is 5 to 1. This means that for every negative interaction during conflict, a stable and happy marriage has five (or more) positive interactions. 

These interactions need not be anything big or dramatic. A simple eye roll or raised voice counts as a negative interaction. A quick joke to defuse tension, a squeeze of a partner’s hand, or listening closely when your partner vents about his or her day all constitute a positive interaction. The important thing isn’t the scale of the gesture (sorry, florists). It’s their relative frequency. 

And, according to Marinova’s reader, that’s an insight you can easily put into action in your own relationship. “Whenever she gets frustrated or tired, she pushes herself to do something thoughtful or nice for her husband,” Marinova reports.The reader insists: “That 5:1 ratio is a thing.” 

A real thing for business relationships, too 

Divorce lawyers agree that an everyday effort to monitor positive interactions compared with negative ones helps keep your romantic life from going off the rails. But this is a business site, so it’s important to note that while the 5:1 ratio was invented for couples, it’s a pretty handy standard to keep in mind for all your relationships. 

Friendships are more nourishing when both parties make sure that small kindnesses heavily outweigh slights and missed connections. And employees will almost certainly perform better for a boss who offers five warm and helpful interactions for every one gruff reply or impatient dismissal. 

Humans are complicated, and the details of maintaining healthy, positive relationships, as we all know, can get tricky. But all relationships are off to a great start if you begin by setting the 5:1 ratio as a baseline for how you interact with each other. 

2 Words That Can Help Check Your Assumptions About People August 11th 2020

Asking “so what?” can bring out your hidden beliefs and ideas, says career strategist Gail Tolstoi-Miller.

TED Ideas

  • Mary Halton

15_sowhat_4000.jpg

Illustration by  Raúl Soria.

Six seconds.

That’s how long the typical recruiter is said to spend reviewing a resume.

In order to whiz through a dashboard full of applicants, recruiters rely not only on their years in the workplace but also on something not so admirable: their unconscious biases.

We all have biases, and without them, we might not function so effectively in the world. These mental shortcuts are formed from cultural conditioning and our life experiences, and they enable us to scan a crowded street and spot a police officer if trouble strikes, or scroll through a list of health-care providers and choose one without melting down.

Problems arise when important decisions — such as employment, school acceptance, mortgage approval — are shaped by unconscious biases. “Every single day we’re making hiring mistakes because we don’t see things as they are, but as who we are,” says Gail Tolstoi-Miller, a recruiter turned career strategist based in the New York area.

Age, ethnicity, gender, disability and sexual orientation are factors known to cause people’s unconscious bias to kick in, but we can have implicit preferences and aversions in all sorts of areas.

“Every single detail of your resume, not including your skills, can be a deciding factor about whether you go in the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ pile,” says Tolstoi-Miller. “A mailing address that indicates a long commute or undesirable location could put you in the ‘no,’ an email address such as ‘crazymom666’ can put you in the ‘no.’ …. Even a reputable college such as Indiana University can be perceived as not a pedigreed school by some, and [if so] guess what? I just put Mark Cuban in the ‘no’ pile.”

And it’s not just recruiters whose work can be affected. Many of us are in positions — professional, volunteer, community, social media — where we need to evaluate and sort people.

Of course, the trickiest part about unconscious biases is that they’re unconscious. So how can we guard against the strange, hairpin turns that our subconscious minds may be making?

Tolstoi-Miller suggests we use these two words: “So what?”

Before you relegate a person to the “no” or “pass” pile, address your reasons for putting them there by asking “So what?”

So what — if you can’t quite tell what their gender is from their name, if they’re from a town in your state you’ve never heard of, if you know they’d have to take a ferry and 2 buses to get to the office, if they used a strange font on their cover letter, if they put a photo of themselves on their resume, if they’ve been out of work for six months?

“So what” is not a silver bullet. But it can be a preventive against your making the biggest mistake: missing out on a great person for an unimportant reason. You might not have the time to do this with every single candidate; you may just want to reserve it for your short lists. And of course, your “So what?” could reveal that you have a very valid reason to reject someone.

Says Tolstoi-Miller, “Asking yourself ‘so what?’ is a pause, it’s a self-check, and it helps you remove your emotional clutter … It also helps you focus on what is important by questioning the facts and judgments that you use to make decisions.”

The Art of Not Thinking August 11th 2020

Tiffany Matthé

03.08.2020 — Productivity — 5 min read

After years of feeling guilty about not wanting to do everything, I realized I don’t need motivation to get things done. Below, I describe how I use the concept of not thinking instead.


It took me five years to get in the habit of exercising. I just didn’t want to do it. I followed Youtube workouts, hopeful that the energetic trainer on the screen would help me get fitter. I swam laps in my pool. I followed my brother on 3K runs. And afterwards, I felt great! On top of the world. And then the next day came, and I remembered I had to do it all over again. I had to be sweaty, push through the pain, and breathe like I had an asthma attack.

So every morning, I woke up and inevitably started dreading my exercise. It would slink around in my thoughts, casting a dark mood until I got it done. At one point, I would dread exercising enough to stop, and a wave of relief would wash over me. This feeling of calm usually lasted a few months, and then my disappointment in my poor levels of fitness would take over. And the cycle would restart.

Everyone has things they don’t want to do. It’s not limited to exercising. It can be anything from studying everyday for the entire school year to vacuuming the floor. Unless you can avoid that activity with no guilt or regrets, you usually have to do it. You know it will help in the long run, to study to prepare for finals and to have clean floors, but even with that in mind, it can still be incredibly hard to do those activities.

I realized that the hardest part of doing things I don’t want to do is usually not the activity itself, but getting started. Once I get started, I get into a flow and rationalize that since I’m already doing it, I might as well finish.

How much motivation do we need?

I like to describe the amount of energy I need for a task I don’t want to do as an exothermic reaction. In this reaction, the reactants (me) need a minimum activation energy (motivation) for the reaction (task) to occur. After the reaction is complete, the products then settle down into a lower energy state (since no more energy is needed to do the task or worry about it).

Motivation Energy Reaction

So how can we get this minimum activation energy? Well, if we don’t want to do the activity, it is nearly impossible to gain enough motivation to do it. The good news is that we can avoid the need for such a high activation energy.

How is this possible? A simple answer: don’t try to find motivation.

When you look for motivation, you usually start by reminding yourself about the advantages of getting the task done. But your brain is a stubborn toddler. If you strongly drag it towards one direction, it will fiercely pull you to the other side. The brain thinks there’s a choice, and thus a possibility to argue. It will start pointing out all the disadvantages and instant gratification alternatives.

Since humans instinctively reach for easier things, now you have not only dredged up all the negative points about your task, but also discovered easier alternatives that require an additional amount of energy to resist. In short, you have increased the minimum activation energy required to start the task.

You will also remember this awful internal debate, and associate these negative feelings with the task itself. Naturally, this does not bode well in the long run.

On the other hand, if you don’t think about the task, you can avoid the entire process of arguing with yourself and making decisions that you will feel guilty about. Instead, just do it. Become a mindless robot and don’t think twice1.

This is, of course, easy to say and a bit more difficult to do. It’s hard to think about not thinking, because you’ll inadvertently wonder what it is you were trying to not think about, and bam, you’ve failed. Not thinking is a process, and just like any other skill you learn, it improves with time and practice. Here are a few tips.

Make the decision in advance

If you are temporally removed from the thing you don’t want to do, it’s easier to make a rational decision. By making the decision beforehand, you remove the effort needed to choose before doing your task. This reduces friction and removes one factor that could have led you to think about your task when you start it.

There are a few ways of making decisions in advance. There’s the two-minute rule, where you decide that for anything that takes less than two minutes, you do it. No thinking, no arguing, just swift action. For example, you see a pile of clothes on your bed. It takes less than two minutes to organize then in your drawer, so you do it. Here, you just avoided the trap of thinking about your clothes, feeling unmotivated to put them in order, and giving yourself the terrible alternative of doing it later.

Another method is planning out your days in advance. This does not always work, but it’s a good idea to try it out. The night before, you plan out all of your activities to the minute. And, of course, as you’re temporally distanced from these activities, you make rational decisions. Then when the morning comes, you can mindlessly follow the schedule you have made for yourself.

Do a small part first

Quickly pick a random small part of the activity you were dreading. And commit to only doing that one part. This helps you avoid overthinking by giving your brain a smaller task to easily execute2.

For example, if you need to complete a scholarship application and hate writing about yourself, tell yourself to just write bullet points of topics you might include in the application. Most of the time, after you have invested those first five minutes into the activity, you enter a flow and continue working.

After implementing these strategies, where I tell myself that I have to exercise every other day for a mere 5 minutes, I now consistently exercise for at least 15 minutes without overthinking it.

So next time you find yourself not wanting to do something, make yourself a clear rule of when to do it and do the easiest part first. That way, you can avoid making too many decisions and associating the internal turmoil that stems from that process to the activity itself.

Note, not thinking works wonderfully if your sole purpose is doing an activity you don’t want to do. However, unless you don’t have any goals to pursue, this is not the best way to go about everything in life. Make sure to take the time to reflect on the overall purpose of the activity and if it brings you closer to where you want to be. If the answer is yes, then feel free to become a mindless robot for any activities that have passed the reflection stage.

At the small risk of being sued by Nike, just do it.


  1. This applies to doing things you don’t want to do after you have had one internal debate about whether this is worthwhile to you. You can have revised thoughts every once in a while, but doing it before each task is counterproductive.
  2. It was brought to my attention that identifying the easiest part of a task might lead to thinking too much and finding ways to escape the task. That’s true. I have changed the text to just doing a small part. This removes the process of having to analyse the task and find the easiest part.

Women Who Kill

The curious case of the female killer. August 9th 2020

Written by Dr Julia Shaw,

She was probably desperate.This is the main assumption I hear when I enter into a conversation about a woman who has killed someone.When people talk about those who commit harmful acts, it seems easy to fall into the trap of being amateur psychologists. Nested within guesses and misconceptions, we can see sexism shine through as well.

Feminist criminologists have argued that we have a tendency to infantilise women in the criminal justice system.

Compared to men, we disproportionately treat female offenders as victims of circumstance, in need of help, and unable to support themselves in law-abiding ways. This may seem positive on the surface, but it can also reinforce the sexist narrative that women are passive actors in society while men are active.

Perhaps nowhere is this divide more evident than when we talk about women who kill.

The Gender Difference

When researchers study people who kill, we often study “intentional homicide” (referred to from now on in this article just as ‘homicide’), which is defined as unlawful death inflicted upon a person with the intent to cause death or serious injury – more commonly known as murder.

It is meaningful to examine whether gender plays a role in offending behaviour, and if it does to try to understand why.

There is also the tendency to split data into men and women. This is not because all researchers endorse a strict gender binary, but because these represent the two largest and easiest to measure groups.

Gender is also only one way to split the offending population, other characteristics like socio-economic status, mental health, and education are often more useful ways to talk about differences (or similarities) between offenders. Still, it is meaningful to examine whether gender plays a role in offending behaviour, and if it does to try to understand why.

When we look at homicide, the gender difference is stark.

Women in the UK constitute only 8% of homicide perpetrators.

According to a global UN report published in 2019, 10% of suspects in intentional homicide cases worldwide were women. This rate drops even further when looking at convictions, where only 6% are women.

In the UK, according to the ONS, the figure is similar. Women in the UK constitute only 8% of homicide perpetrators. These figures show a clear gender imbalance, with the vast majority of homicide being perpetrated by men.

These figures seem even more stark when we consider that the proportion of women who are victims of homicide is about four times higher than the proportion who are perpetrators. For example, in 2019 in the UK, 36% of homicide victims were female. These women were most often killed by a current or former intimate partner.

This is in line with the findings that women in the UK are four times as likely as men to have experienced sexual assault by a partner in the last year.

So far, everything fits with the assumption that women who kill are probably desperate, that some are women facing abuse who are finally fighting back. This is even more the case when we consider that research has found that compared to men, women more frequently kill intimate partners in situations where the homicide victim initiated the physical aggression.

Still, we must be careful not to homogenise women who kill. Especially as we only have very limited research on women who commit homicide. Even the ONS and UN reports only describe women in any detail when they speak of victims of homicide.

This is a problem. It renders the characteristics and risk factors of women who kill largely invisible.

On this week’s episode of Bad People, myself and my podcast co-host Sofie Hagen explore two cases where women kill – a teenage girl who stabs to death a love rival at a party in plain sight, and one of Canada’s most notorious serial killers, Karla Homolka.

These cases are interesting because they don’t offer an intuitive explanation for the killings, they seemed to be planned in advance, and the victims represented no threat to them.

Motivation

Female serial killers represent one example where we break out of the assumptions we have about women who kill. Female serial killers are typically educated, have been married, and have a caregiving role.

Why did they do it? The most common answer was financial gain.

In a US study of 64 female serial killers, every female serial killer had at least one vulnerable victim – a child, an elderly person, or someone who was very ill.

Why did they do it? For revenge or protection? No. The most common motive was financial gain.

Serial killers are themselves quite rare, but these examples remind us of the need to challenge our assumptions about why, when, and whom women kill.

Female Discount

Challenging the assumptions we have about why women commit crimes does not mean we need to treat them like men.

All genders deserve our empathy and to be seen as complex human beings, even when they do bad things.

Women are more likely than men to be primary caregivers, they often have fewer financial resources, and are often in other ways more vulnerable. These factors are important, and are correctly considered when deciding sentences.

Still, there are concerns about a “female discount”.

For example, a US study of sentencing disparities found that women were given sentences that were on average over 60% shorter. Women who were arrested were also significantly more likely to avoid charges and convictions entirely, and twice as likely to avoid incarceration if convicted. Is this infantilising woman? Is it adversely discriminating against men? Is it fair?

My argument is not to impose longer prison terms on female offenders, or to ignore the context of homicide.

Like women, men can be victims of circumstance. Like men, women can be sadists or opportunists. And all genders deserve our empathy and to be seen as complex human beings, even when they do bad things.

Dr Julia Shaw

Dr Julia Shaw is a research associate at University College London and the co-host of the Bad People podcast on BBC sounds. She is an expert on criminal psychology, and the author of two international bestsellers “Making Evil: The Science Behind Humanity’s Dark Side” and “The Memory Illusion: Remembering, Forgetting, and the Science of False Memory.

Aug 3, 2020,03:50am EDT

7 Signs Someone Will Be Successful August 6th 202o

Jodie CookContributorEntrepreneursI explore concepts in entrepreneurship, happiness and lifestyle design

Predicting someone’s future might be invaluable to them. Being able to ascertain those actions and words that will create their prosperous future or cause their downward spiral. Knowing where they are on track and knowing where they might need support.

7 signs someone will be successful
7 signs someone will be successful Unsplash

How many of the grandiose plans you hear about actually come to pass? How often does someone make themselves the success they set out to be? How often does someone intentionally set their goals and make progress towards them every day, and how often do they become distracted, or deterred, or just give up? Someone’s daily actions compound to create their entire life.

Based on interviewing, reading and observing, here’s how to tell if someone will be successful.

1.    They find their own inspiration

They don’t need pep-talks to perform or a motivational speech to deliver. They have made self-sufficiency their mission and they don’t rely on others to pick them up if they’re having a bad day. They have a strategy for switching states fast to always be at their best. They have techniques to go from low to high energy and they consistently apply them until it comes naturally. They steer away from draining topics and people and they inspire others as a by-product of their self-assurance.

2.    Their character is sound

Character predicts success more than anything else. Who you are now is who you will be in the future. Inquisitive, lazy, conscientious, flaky or determined. Sticking to your word or always making excuses. If someone lets you down, they’ll have let others down too. If they wow with their work, it won’t be their first time, or their last. Future leaders show leadership skills in their very first role. Small actions multiply over a lifetime to determine someone’s future in a big way. Recommended For You

3.    They’re consistent behind closed doors

Someone bound for success operates exactly the same whether they’re being observed or not. There’s no Jekyll & Hyde or secret personality. They’re not into trickery or sleight of hand; they do what they say, audience or not. They consistently do far more than they could get away with. They don’t aim for the bare minimum, and they don’t say “that’ll do”. Sitting back when the boss isn’t there doesn’t occur to them. Work chat tools are their allies not their secret gossip room. They know who they are and who they want to be, and their motivation is themselves, not the orders of others.

7 signs someone will be successful
7 signs someone will be successful Unsplash

4.    They don’t need following up

They don’t need chasing or following up because they make it their mission to match their actions to their words. You’ll know where you stand, no guesswork required. They’ve worked out what’s possible and they’ve stuck to their promise. They work to their own beat because it’s served them well so far. They’re solid and trustworthy and they’re a pleasure to work with. People like this are the lifeblood of businesses and without them, success would be impossible. Their reliable nature means clients say “yes” and teammates put them forward. It’s what leaders are made of.

5.    How they talk about others

Behind someone’s back they are kind and they avoid conversations of judgment. They can always see the other side and they’d rather address an issue with someone in person than talk about them to others. They focus on their own game. Successful people do not sit in groups slagging people off. It’s not in their nature, it wouldn’t occur to them, and there’s plenty more to be speaking about. Bitchiness and back-stabbing don’t lead anywhere good. A refusal to participate is an early sign of success.

6.    They take ownership

If there’s a challenge to be overcome they’ll have thought about how to do it. They don’t bring their problems to others to solve, they dig right in and get there first. They work within teams, but they don’t rely on them. They’re organised with their time, their plans, their weeks and their years; which leads to smashing through goals and doors being opened. They are determined and focused and they finish what they start. They know what’s what because they’ve sussed it all out. They seek responsibility rather than shirking it and they back themselves to deliver.

7.    They spread good vibes

They’re so sure of themselves that they can encourage others. They’re not threatened by success, they use it to inspire. They’re positive and happy and they amass a tribe. Others want to be associated with them. They see the good side, they are grateful, and they don’t throw tantrums over what they can’t control. They write positive reviews, they give the benefit of the doubt and they seek to understand rather than judge. They know that they get back what they put in, and that how they see the world is a reflection of themselves. They spread good vibes wherever they go.  

Early signs of future success are exciting to see. Early signs of future disappointment can be diverted before it’s too late. The first step is awareness, the second is action.

How much of yourself do you see explained in those descriptions? Who comes to mind for each phrase? If you match up well, the future looks good. If you don’t compare, there are changes to be made.

How to Distinguish a Psychopath From a ‘Shy-Chopath’

Psychologists are debating whether the presence of one trait – boldness – is the key to determining if someone is a psychopath, or just a garden-variety criminal.

  • John Edens
M.F Thomas is an unscrupulous high flying female – by her own admission.

What makes a criminal a psychopath?

Their grisly deeds and commanding presence attract our attention – look no further than Ted Bundy, the subject of a Netflix documentary, and cult leaders like Charles Manson.

But despite years of theorizing and research, the mental health field continues to hotly debate what are the defining features of this diagnosis. It might come as a surprise that the most widely used psychiatric diagnostic system in the U.S., the DSM-5, doesn’t include psychopathy as a formal disorder.

As a personality researcher and forensic psychologist, I’ve spent the last quarter-century studying psychopaths inside and outside of prisons. I’ve also debated what, exactly, are the defining features of psychopathy.

Most agree that psychopaths are remorseless people who lack empathy for others. But in recent years, much of this debate has centered on the relevance of one particular personality trait: boldness.

I’m in the camp that believes boldness is critical to separating out psychopaths from the more mundane law-breakers. It’s the trait that creates the veneer of normalcy, giving those who prey on others the mask to successfully blend in with the rest of society. To lack boldness, on the other hand, is to be what one might call a “shy-chopath.”

The Boldness Factor

About 10 years ago, psychologist Christopher Patrick and some of his colleagues published an extensive literature review in which they argued that psychopaths were people who expressed elevated levels of three basic traits: meanness, disinhibition and boldness.

Most experts in the mental health field generally agree that the prototypical psychopath is someone who is both mean and, at least to some extent, disinhibited – though there’s even some debate about exactly how impulsive and hot-headed the prototypical psychopath truly is.

In a psychological context, people who are mean tend to lack empathy and have little interest in close emotional relationships. They’re also happy to use and exploit others for their own personal gain.

Highly disinhibited people have very poor impulse control, are prone to boredom and have difficulty managing emotions – particularly negative ones, like frustration and hostility.

In adding boldness to the mix, Patrick and his colleagues argued that genuine psychopaths are not just mean and disinhibited, they’re also individuals who are poised, fearless, emotionally resilient and socially dominant.

The confessions of a ruthless high flying female sociopath. These people are running the show. Feminism has much appeal for female sociopaths,.

Although it had not been the focus of extensive research for the past few decades, the concept of the bold psychopath isn’t actually new. Famed psychiatrist Hervey Cleckley described it in his seminal 1941 book, “The Mask of Sanity,” in which he described numerous case examples of psychopaths who were brazen, fearless and emotionally unflappable.

Ted Bundy is an excellent example of such a person. He was far from unassuming and timid. He never appeared wracked with anxiety or emotional distress. He charmed scores of victims, confidently served as his own attorney and even proposed to his girlfriend while in court.

“It’s probably just being willing to take risk,” Bundy said, in the Netflix documentary, of what motivated his crimes. “Or perhaps not even seeing risk. Just overcome by that boldness and desire to accomplish a particular thing.”

Seeds Planted in the DSM

In the current DSM, the closest current diagnosis to psychopathy is antisocial personality disorder. Although the manual suggests that it historically has been referred to as psychopathy, the current seven diagnostic criteria for antisocial personality disorder mostly fall under the umbrella of disinhibition – qualities like “recklessness,” “impulsiveness” and, to a lesser extent, meanness, which are evident in only two criteria: “lack of remorse” and “deceitfulness.”

There’s no mention of boldness. In other words, you don’t have to be bold to have antisocial personality disorder. In fact, because you only need to meet three of the seven criteria to be diagnosed with the disorder, it means you don’t even need to be all that mean, either.

However, the most recent revision to the DSM, the fifth edition, did include a supplemental section for proposed diagnoses in need of further study.

In this supplemental section, a new specifier was offered for those who meet the diagnosis for antisocial personality disorder. If you have a bold and fearless interpersonal style that seems to serve as a mask for your otherwise mean and disinhibited personality, you might also be diagnosable as a psychopath.

Can a Psychopath be Meek?

Whether this new model, which seems to put boldness center stage in the diagnosis of psychopathy, ultimately will be adopted into subsequent iterations of the DSM system remains to be seen.

Several researchers have criticized the concept. They see meanness and disinhibition as much more important than boldness when deciding whether someone is a psychopath.

Their main issue seems to be that people who are bold – but not mean or disinhibited – actually seem to be well-adjusted and not particularly violent. In fact, compared with being overly introverted or prone to emotional distress, it seems to be an asset in everyday life.

Other researchers, myself included, tend to view those criticisms as not particularly compelling. In our view, someone who is simply disinhibited and mean – but not bold – would not be able to pull off the spectacular level of manipulation that a psychopath is capable of.

To be sure, being mean and disinhibited is a bad combination. But absent boldness, you’re probably not going to show up on the evening news for having schemed scores of investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars. The chances that you’ll successfully charm unsuspecting victim after unsuspecting victim into coming back to your apartment to sexually assault them seem pretty slim.

That being said, timid but mean people – the “shycho-paths” – almost certainly do exist, and it’s probably best to stay away from them, too.

But you’re unlikely to confuse them with the Ted Bundys and Charles Mansons of the world.

John Edens is Professor of Psychology at Texas A&M University.

Everything you need to know about the art of tantric sex Posted August 6th 2020

Marie Claire

Get ready to have the best sex EVER

Ask anyone about tantric sex and they’ll probably tell you the two following things. a) that it’s meant to be amazing and b) that they don’t actually have a clue what it involves. Sure, we’ve all heard the rumours about those steamy sessions which supposedly last for hours on end, but just how much of this is actually true? And if it is, how do we do it?

Here are the answers you’ve been waiting for…

What is tantric sex?

Believed to have originated in India over 5000 years, Tantra is a combination of spirituality and sexuality that lead to enlightenment. And while it can give you mind-blowing orgasms, this isn’t actually what it’s all about. ‘Tantra is the union of sex, heart and spirit, bringing all of these into not just our sexual experiences but into our life,’ explains sex coach Sarah Rose Bright. ‘It invites us be really conscious about who and how we are as a sexual being.’ But of course the improved sex is a part of this as together, sex and orgasm are believed to equate to the highest level of spiritual awareness.

So, how do I have tantric sex?

Tantra takes time to master, but you know what they say – practice makes perfect. Here are three simple tips for beginners from tantric experts.

1. Make eye contact

Yes, it might sound a bit cringe, but gazing into each other’s eyes is one of the easiest ways of upping the sexual ante.

Start by sitting face-to-face in your partners lap with your eyes closed. Relax your breathing and start rocking towards each other with every inhalation and back on every exhalation. Once you’ve found your rhythm, begin clenching and unclenching your pelvic floor muscles to match your breathing.

Now open your eyes and stare into your partners. Sure, you might feel a bit stupid at first but if you stick with it, it’ll help you fall in love with each other all over again. ‘It can be the most intimate thing to connect with our eyes and just be in the presence of each other and to see each other in our nakedness without feeling the need to perform,’ explains Sarah Rose Bright. ‘And when we connect with our eyes it cultivates a deeper connection and presence.’

2. Go in for a kiss

As you’re rocking, try to coordinate your breathing so that you’re inhaling as your partner exhales. Now that you’re sharing each breath, kiss each other and visualise how you are sharing all of yourself with your partner. ‘Connect your lips and have a moment in stillness, feel that first contact and the energy between you there,’ advises tantric sex teacher Alexey Kuzmin. It’ll make those kisses so much more intense.

3. Try a simple touch

As we said, tantric sex isn’t all about orgasm, it’s about exploring your sensuality through an erotic build up. Touching and teasing is key, with a focus on making every touch count.

The secret to this is the intention behind it. When you’re busy and stressed, it’s hard to focus on the moment rather than an issue at work/the chores you need to do/the birthday card you need to send. But your partner will sense if you’re distracted and your touch will feel vacant.

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So when you start a session, make a concerted effort to clear your mind. ‘Place all of your attention on the pleasure in the here and now,’ advises Sarah Rose Bright. ‘If you find your mind wondering, gently bring your attention back to your pleasure. Rather than pushing to build the arousal, enjoy the natural ebb and flow of arousal. Simply being with it allows your body’s innate wisdom to spring forth. You begin to connect to the sensations in your body in a different way, immersing yourself in the depths of your pleasure.’

If you’re still looking to spice up your sex life, then why not try give one of these best sex toys for couples a try?

Why Shrinks Have Problems

Suicide, stress, divorce — psychologists and other mental health professionals may actually be more screwed up than the rest of us.

By Robert Epstein Ph.D., Tim Bower, published July 1, 1997 – last reviewed on June 9, 2016

In 1899 Sigmund Freud got a new telephone number: 14362. He was 43 at the time, and he was profoundly disturbed by the digits in the new number. He believed they signified that he would die at age 61 (note the one and six surrounding the 43) or, at best, at age 62 (the last two digits in the number). He clung, painfully, to this bizarre belief for many years. Presumably he was forced to revise his estimate on his 63rd birthday, but he was haunted by other superstitions until the day he died—by assisted suicide, no less—at the ripe old age of 83.

That’s just for starters. Freud also had frequent blackouts. He refused to quit smoking even after 30 operations to correct the extensive damage he suffered from cancer of the jaw. He was a self-proclaimed neurotic. He suffered from a mild form of agoraphobia. And, for a time, he had a serious cocaine problem.

Neuroses? Superstitions? Substance abuse? Blackouts? And suicide? So much for the father of psychoanalysis. But are these problems typical for psychologists? How are Freud’s successors doing? Or, to put the question another way: Are shrinks really “crazy”?

I myself have been a psychologist for nearly two decades, primarily teaching and conducting research. So the truth is that I had some preconceptions about this topic before I began to investigate it. When, years ago, my mom told me that her one and only session with a psychotherapist had been disappointing because “the guy was obviously much crazier than I was,” I assumed, or at least hoped, that she was joking. Mental health professionals have access to special tools and techniques to help themselves through the perils of living, right?

Sure, Freud was peculiar, and, yes, I’d heard that Jung had had a nervous breakdown. But I’d always assumed that—rumors to the contrary notwithstanding;—mental health professionals were probably fairly healthy.

Turns out I was wrong.

Doctor, Are You Feeling Okay?

Mental health professionals are, in general, a fairly crazy lot—at least as troubled as the general population. This may sound depressing, but, as you’ll see, having crazy shrinks around is not in itself a serious problem. In fact, some experts believe that therapists who have suffered in certain ways may be the very best therapists we have.

The problem is that mental health professionals—particularly psychologists—do a poor job of monitoring their own mental health problems and those of their colleagues. In fact, the main responsibility for spotting an impaired therapist seems to fall on the patient, who presumably has his or her own problems to deal with. That’s just nuts.

Therapists struggling with marital problems, alcoholism, substance abuse, depression, and so on don’t function very well as therapists, so we can’t just ignore their distress. And ironically, with just a few exceptions, mental health professionals have access to relatively few resources when they most need assistance. The questions, then, are these: How can clients be protected—and how can troubled therapists be helped?

The Odd Treating the Idarticle continues after advertisement

Here’s a theory that’s not so crazy: Maybe people enter the mental health field because they have a history of psychological difficulties. Perhaps they’re trying to understand or overcome their own problems, which would give us a pool of therapists who are a hit unusual to begin with. That alone could account for the image of the Crazy Shrink.

Of the many prominent psychotherapists I’ve interviewed in recent months, only one admitted that he had entered the profession because of personal problems. But most felt this was a common occurrence. In fact, the idea that therapy is a haven for the psychologically wounded is as old as the profession itself. Freud himself asserted that childhood loss was the underlying cause of an adult’s desire to help others. And Freud’s daughter, Anna, herself a prominent psychoanalyst, once said, “The most sophisticated defense mechanism I ever encountered was becoming a psychotherapist.” So it’s only appropriate that John Fromson, M.D., director of a Massachusetts program for impaired physicians, describes the mental health field as one in which “the odd care for the id.” He chuckled as he said this, but, as Freud claimed, humor is often a mask for disturbing truths.

These impressions are confirmed by published research. An American Psychiatric Association study concluded that ‘”physicians with affective disorders tend to select psychiatry as a specialty.” (Curiously, the authors presented this as their belief, “for a variety of reasons,” without explanation.) In a 1993 study, James Guy, Ph.D., dean of the School of Psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary, compared the early childhood experiences of female psychotherapists to those of other professional women. The therapists reported higher rates of family dysfunction, parental alcoholism, sexual and physical abuse, and parental death or psychiatric hospitalization than did their professional counterparts. And a 1992 survey of male and female therapists found that more than two-thirds of the women and one-third of the men reported having experienced some form of sexual or physical abuse in early life. Freud seems to have been right about this one: The mental health professions attract people who have suffered.article continues after advertisement

Patients Can Really Ruin Your Day

So we’re starting out, it seems, with a pool of well-meaning but slightly damaged practitioners. Now the real fun begins.

Check out the numbers: According to studies published in 1990 and 1991, half of all therapists are at some point threatened with physical violence by their clients, and about 40 percent are actually attacked. Try to put this in context. A special, intimate relationship exists between therapist and client. So being attacked by a client is a serious emotional blow, perhaps comparable, in some cases, to being a parent attacked by one’s child. Needless to say, therapists who are assaulted get very upset. They feel more vulnerable and less competent, and sometimes the feelings of inadequacy trickle over into their personal relationships.

Let’s take this a step further. Imagine working with a depressed patient every week, without fail, for several years and then getting a call saying that your patient has killed herself. How would you feel? Alas, patient suicide is another hazard of the profession. Between 20 and 30 percent of all psychotherapists experience the suicide of at least one patient, again with often devastating psychological fallout. In a 1968 hospital study, psychiatrists reported reacting to patient suicides with feelings of “guilt and self-recrimination.” Others considered the suicide to be “a direct act of spite” or said it was like being “fired.” Whatever the reaction, the emotional toll is great.

Virtually all mental health professionals agree that the profession is inherently hazardous. It takes superhuman strength for most people just to listen to a neighbor moan about his lousy marriage for 15 minutes. Psychologists, of course, enter the profession by choice, but you can imagine the effects of listening to clients talk about a never-ending litany of serious problems — eight long hours a day, 50 weeks a year. “My parents hated me. Life isn’t worth living. I’m a failure. I’m impotent. On the way over here, I felt like driving my car into a telephone pole. I’ll never be happy. No one understands me. I don’t know who I am. I hate my job. I hate my life. I hate you.”article continues after advertisement

Just thinking about it makes you shudder.

It’s a Rough World Out There

Patients aren’t the only source of stress for psychotherapists. The world itself is pretty demanding. After all, that’s why there are patients.

A number of surveys, conducted by Guy and others, reveal some worri-some statistics about therapists’ lives and well-being. At least three out of four therapists have experienced major distress within the past three years, the principal cause being relationship problems. More than 60 percent may have suffered a clinically significant depression at some point in their lives, and nearly half admitted that in the weeks following a personal crisis they’re unable to deliver quality care. As for psychiatrists, a 1997 study by Michael Klag, M.D., found that the divorce rate for psychiatrists who graduated from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine between 1948 and 1964 was 51 percent—higher than that of the general population of that era, and substantially higher than the rate in any other branch of medicine.

These days, therapists face a major new source of stress: HMOs. Richard Kilburg, Ph.D., senior director of human resources at Johns Hopkins University and one of the profession’s leading experts on distressed psychologists, says managed care is having a devastating effect: “Therapists are chronically anxious. It’s getting harder and harder to make a living, harder to provide quality care. The paperwork requirements are enormous. You can’t have a meeting of practicing psychologists today without having these issues being raised, and the pain level is rising. A number of my colleagues have been driven out of the profession altogether.”

No wonder Richard Thoreson, Ph.D., of the University of Missouri, estimates that at any particular moment about 10 percent of psychotherapists are in significant distress.

The Final Resolution

Bruno Bettelheim. Paul Federn. Wilhelm Stekel. Victor Tausk. Lawrence Kohlberg. Perhaps you recognize one or two of the names. They’re all prominent mental health professionals who, like Freud, committed suicide.

All too often the stresses of work and everyday life lead mental health professionals down this path. According to psychologist David Lester, Ph.D., director of the Center for the Study of Suicide, mental health professionals kill themselves at an abnormally high rate. Indeed, highly publicized reports about the suicide rate of psychiatrists led the American Psychiatric Association to create a Task Force on Suicide Prevention in the late 1970s. A study initiated by that task force, published in 1980, concluded that “psychiatrists commit suicide at rates about twice those expected [of physicians]” and that “the occurrence of suicides by psychiatrists is quite constant year-to-year, indicating a relatively stable over-supply of depressed psychiatrists.” No other medical specialty yielded such a high suicide rate.

One out of every four psychologists has suicidal feelings at times, according to one survey, and as many as one in 16 may have attempted suicide. The only published data—now nearly 25 years old—on actual suicides among psychologists showed a rate of suicide for female psychologists that’s three times that of the general population, although the rate among male psychologists was not higher than expected by chance.

Further studies of suicides by psychologists have been difficult to conduct, says Lester, largely because the main professional body for psychologists, the American Psychological Association APA), hasn’t released any relevant data since about 1970. Why? “The APA doesn’t want anyone to know that there are distressed psychologists,” insists University of Iowa psychologist Peter Nathan, Ph.D., a former member of an APA committee on “troubled” psychologists.

ALCOHOL AND ADDICTION

Wait, there’s more. “Mental health professionals are probably at heightened risk for not just alcoholism but [all types of] substance abuse,” reports Nathan. It’s not surprising: Substance abuse is one of the most common—albeit destructive—ways people deal with anxiety and depression, and, as we’ve seen, mental health professionals have more than their share.

Richard Thoreson’s decades of research on alcoholism, in fact, stemmed from his own problems with the bottle. “I began drinking at a fairly early age,” he says, “and I continued during my early academic career. My life was organized around drinking. It had a very negative impact on my family. At one point I resigned as president of an organization because I was too shaky to speak before a group. I stopped drinking in 1969, at which point I was drinking the equivalent of 16 ounces of whiskey a day.”

In the 1970s, with the help of several colleagues, Thoreson founded an informal group called Psychologists Helping Psychologists, which has held open Alcoholics Anonymous meetings at the annual APA convention ever since. This unofficial, all-volunteer group has helped hundreds of psychologists over the years — with no financial support from the APA.

ADDICTED TO THERAPY

“Some therapists,” says James Guy, “expect to continue practicing longer than the life expectancies in actuarial tables.” But with advancing age, impairment is almost inevitable. Explains Guy: “Lower back pain becomes a problem. Failing eyesight and hearing make it difficult to pick up on subtle nuances. Poor bladder control can make it difficult to sit, and fatigue becomes a big factor.”

Further complicating matters is that as therapists get older, more and more of their intimacy needs and social support actually comes from their patients. “Often, most of their waking hours are spent with clients, focusing on emotionally laden material,” notes Guy. “When that’s the situation, it’s difficult for them to think about retirement. It’s even difficult for them to know when to take time off.”

Many psychotherapists become, in effect, woefully addicted to their clients, with no one offering them guidance or alternatives. In general, private, independent practices—often conducted out of the therapist’s home—put the therapist at greatest risk, no matter what his or her age. Thoreson adds that such practices have special appeal for therapists who don’t want to be seen by colleagues; the isolated practice is the ideal one for the alcoholic or drug abuser.

DO THEY USE THEIR OWN TOOLS?

If therapists really have special tools for helping people, shouldn’t they be able to use their techniques on themselves? After all, the late behavioral psychologist, B. F. Skinner, systematically applied behavioral principles to modify his own behavior, and he ridiculed Freud and the psychoanalysts for their inability to apply their “science” to themselves. University of Scranton psychologist John Norcross, Ph.D., and his colleagues have studied this issue extensively, with two major findings. First: “Therapists admit to as much distress and as many life problems as laypersons, but they also claim to cope better. They rely less on psychotropic medications and employ a wider range of self-change processes than laypersons.”

This sounds encouraging, but Norcross’s second finding makes you stop and think: “When therapists treat patients, they follow the prescriptions of their theoretical orientation. But the amazing thing is that when therapists treat themselves, they become very pragmatic.” In other words, when battling their own problems, therapists dispense with the psychobabble and fall back on everyday, commonsense techniques—chats with friends, meditation, hot baths, and so on.

But aren’t psychotherapists required to be in therapy at various points in their careers, so that they get specialized help from their colleagues? Not so. “People are shocked when they learn this isn’t true,” says Gary Schoener, Ph.D., who directs The Walk-In Counseling Center in Minneapolis, perhaps the country’s first and last free psychology clinic. “Lawyers are subjected to more psychological screens than psychologists are.”

Surveys do indicate that most therapists—between 65 and 80 percent—have had therapy at some point. However, except for psychoanalysts—the pricey, traditional Freudians you see more in movies than in reality—psychotherapists are virtually never required to undergo therapy, even as a part of their training.

Freud himself would be appalled by this. “Every analyst should periodically—at intervals of five years or so—submit himself to analysis,” he said. Unfortunately—and ironically—many psychotherapists are reluctant to seek therapy. In a survey by Guy and James Liaboe, Ph.D., for example, therapists said they were hesitant to enter therapy “because of feelings of embarrassment or humiliation, doubts concerning the efficacy of therapy, previous negative experiences with personal therapy, and feelings of superiority that hinder their ability to identify their own need for treatment.” Others are hesitant to seek therapy because of professional `complications’ — that is, they cannot find a therapist nearby whom they do not already know in another context. Or they mistakenly believe, as many patients do, that seeking therapy is a sign of failure.

“I worry,” says psychologist Karen Saakvitne, Ph.D., “about the implication that the therapists who are in therapy are the ones who are impaired. They are the ones acting in their clients’ best interest. I’m more worried about the therapists who don’t seek help.”

WOUNDED THERAPISTS

Maybe there’s an upside to all these problems among psychologists — if, say, a therapist needs to have experienced pain and suffering in order to relate to his or her clients’ pain and suffering. This “wounded healer” concept is, I believe, woven into the fabric of the mental health profession. When I served as chair of a university psychology department, I helped evaluate candidates for our marriage and family counseling program. The admission process — interview questions, essays, and so on — was structured, albeit subtly, to screen out people who hadn’t suffered enough. What’s more, I’ve heard colleagues express concern about the occasional student or trainee who, through no fault of his or her own, came from an unbroken home.

Data supporting this idea, however, are hard to find. “There’s no evidence whatsoever that you need a history of psychological problems in order to be a good therapist,” insists John Norcross. “In some studies, in the first few sessions only, [patients see] the wounded therapist as a little more empathetic, but the effect doesn’t last. Experience with pain can enhance a therapist’s sensitivity, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into good outcomes.”

“I don’t think therapists need to have had the same experiences as their clients,” adds psychologist Laurie Pearlman, Ph.D. “As long as the therapist can feel those feelings, he or she can connect with clients.”

On the other hand, in 1989 psychologists Pilar Poal, Ph.D., and John R. Weisz, Ph.D., found that therapists who faced serious problems in their own childhood are more effective at helping child clients talk about their problems, perhaps because of greater empathy. That study, however, is practically the only one that supports the wounded-healer hypothesis.

THERAPEUTIC ADVICE

So you’ve gotten into therapy because your life is falling apart — and now you have to keep one eye on your therapist just in case his or her life is falling apart, too? Basically, yes. Like it or not, you, the client, are probably carrying the major responsibility for spotting the signs of distress or impairment in your therapist, especially if you’re seeing an independent practitioner. The current president of the California Psychological Association, Steven F. Bucky, Ph.D., puts it this way: “The truth of the matter is that unless someone complains about an impaired therapist, there is no protection for the client.”

Here are some tips for protecting yourself from impaired mental health professionals, and, perhaps, in so doing, for helping them overcome their own problems. Remember, therapists are people, too.

First, it’s probably safer to bring your problems to a practitioner who works in a group setting. Independent, isolated therapists are probably at greatest risk for having undetected and untreated problems of their own. On the other hand, therapists working for managed care organizations or working under the gun of insurance companies are exposed to special constraints and stressors that may limit their ability to help you.

Second, trust your gut. “If you get the feeling that there’s a problem, you shouldn’t deny what your instincts are telling you,” says Kilburg. If, during your session, a little voice in your head begins screaming, “This guy’s eyes remind me of my college roommate’s when he was tripping on acid,” don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Indeed, any time your therapist shows clear signs of personal distress or impairment, bring your concerns to his or her attention. (Ideally, do this on the therapist’s dime, after your session is over.) If you’re uneasy about raising the issue with your therapist, talk to one of his or her colleagues about it. Or, consider finding a new therapist. If you think your therapist’s problem is serious and has the potential to do harm, report it to the appropriate professional organization or licensing body (see below). You have legitimate cause for concern if your therapist:

shows signs of excessive fatigue, such as red eyes or sleepiness.

touches you inappropriately or tries to see you socially.

smells of alcohol, or you see liquor bottles or drug paraphernalia in the office.

has trouble seeing or hearing.

talks at length about his or her own current, unresolved problems. This is known as a “boundary violation,” and it’s especially worrisome, because it’s often a prelude to a sexual advance. In fact, therapists who talk about their own unresolved problems are more likely to make sexual advances than those who actually touch their clients.

has trouble remembering what you told him or her last week.

is repeatedly late for sessions, cancels them, or misses them.

seems distant or distracted.

For help locating the appropriate organization or board, call the relevant national organization. For psychologists, call the American Psychological Association at (202) 336-5000; for psychiatrists, call the American Psychiatric Association at (202) 682-6000. If your therapist is a marriage and family counselor, try the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy at (202) 452-0109, and if your therapist is a social worker, try the National Association of Social Workers at (202) 408-8600.

Contributing editor Robert Epstein’s most recent books include Self-Help Without the Hype and Pure Fitness: Body Meets Mind.

Uh Oh, Now They Want Drugs

Here’s something that will rock you: The 150,00-member American Psychological Association is lobbying hard to get prescription privileges for psychologists. Pilot programs are already under way, and some think that many psychologists will be able to dispense drugs to their patients within five years. So much for the distinction between psychiatrists and psychologists. A more worrisome problem, though, is: Won’t prescription privileges put psychologists at greater risk for substance abuse?

The answer, unfortunately, may be yes. It’s well-known that the professions and specialties that have easy access to drugs also have the highest rates of addiction. “If psychologists get prescription privileges, I think there is going to be a dramatic increase in their abuse of drugs,” says University of Iowa psychologist Peter Nathan, Ph.D. “We don’t like to talk about this, but it’s inevitable.”

Harvard psychiatrist Malkah Notman, M.D., is also uneasy about the possibility of prescription privileges for psychologists. “Psychologists can do a lot of damage,” she says, “but not as much as a psychiatrist can do. With medication, you can get in a lot of trouble very fast. Prescribing drugs is really quite risky. Even with medical training, a lot of people get rusty.” advertisement

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How to Build a Life

‘Success Addicts’ Choose Being Special Over Being Happy

The pursuit of achievement distracts from the deeply ordinary activities and relationships that make life meaningful.Arthur C. Brooks July 30, 2020 3 more free articles this month Sign in Subscribe Now

A man leaps off a ladder toward a group of happy-face balloons
Jan Buchczik

How to Build a Life” is a biweekly column by Arthur Brooks, tackling questions of meaning and happiness.


Imagine reading a story titled “The Relentless Pursuit of Booze.” You would likely expect a depressing story about a person in a downward alcoholic spiral. Now imagine instead reading a story titled “The Relentless Pursuit of Success.” That would be an inspiring story, wouldn’t it?

Maybe—but maybe not. It might well be the story of someone whose never-ending quest for more and more success leaves them perpetually unsatisfied and incapable of happiness.

Physical dependency keeps alcoholics committed to their vice, even as it wrecks their happiness. But arguably more powerful than the physical addiction is the sense that drinking is a relationship, not an activity. As the author Caroline Knapp described alcoholism in her memoir Drinking: A Love Story, “It happened this way: I fell in love and then, because the love was ruining everything I cared about, I had to fall out.” Many alcoholics know that they would be happier if they quit, but that isn’t the point. The decision to keep drinking is to choose that intense love—twisted and lonely as it is—over the banality of mere happiness.

Though it isn’t a conventional medical addiction, for many people success has addictive properties. To a certain extent, I mean that literally—praise stimulates the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is implicated in all addictive behaviors. (This is basically how social media keeps people hooked: Users get a dopamine hit from the “likes” generated by a post, keeping them coming back again and again, hour after miserable hour.)

More Stories

But success also resembles addiction in its effect on human relationships. People sacrifice their links with others for their true love, success. They travel for business on anniversaries; they miss Little League games and recitals while working long hours. Some forgo marriage for their careers—earning the appellation of being “married to their work”—even though a good relationship is more satisfying than any job.

Read: Workism is making Americans miserable

Many scholars, such as the psychologist Barbara Killinger, have shown that people willingly sacrifice their own well-being through overwork to keep getting hits of success. I know a thing or two about this: As I once found myself confessing to a close friend, “I would prefer to be special than happy.” He asked why. “Anyone can do the things it takes to be happy—going on vacation with family, relaxing with friends … but not everyone can accomplish great things.” My friend scoffed at this, but I started asking other people in my circles and found that I wasn’t unusual. Many of them had made the success addict’s choice of specialness over happiness. They (and sometimes I) would put off ordinary delights of relaxation and time with loved ones until after this project, or that promotion, when finally it would be time to rest.

But, of course, that day never seemed to arrive.

The desire for success may be inherent to human nature. The great American psychologist William James once noted, “We are not only gregarious animals, liking to be in sight of our fellows, but we have an innate propensity to get ourselves noticed, and noticed favorably, by our kind.” And success makes us attractive to others (that is, until we ruin our marriages).

But specialness doesn’t come cheap. Apart from some reality-TV stars and other accidental celebrities, success is brutal work, and it requires sacrifices. In the 1980s, the physician Robert Goldman famously found that more than half of aspiring athletes would be willing to take a drug that would kill them in five years in exchange for winning every competition they entered today, “from the Olympic decathlon to the Mr. Universe.” Later research found that up to 14 percent of elite performers would accept a fatal cardiovascular condition in exchange for an Olympic gold medal—still a shockingly high number, in my estimation.

We can find this choice in ancient myth, as well. In Homer’s Iliad, Achilles must decide whether to fight in the Trojan War—promising certain physical death but a glorious legacy—or return to his home to live a long and happy life with his loved ones but die in obscurity. He describes his choice thusly:

That two fates bear me on to the day of death.

If I hold out here and I lay siege to Troy,

my journey home is gone, but my glory never dies.

If I voyage back to the fatherland I love,

my pride, my glory dies …

Achilles, success addict par excellence, chooses death.

Unfortunately, success is Sisyphean (to mix my Greek myths). The goal can’t be satisfied; most people never feel “successful enough.” The high only lasts a day or two, and then it’s on to the next goal. Psychologists call this the hedonic treadmill, in which satisfaction wears off almost immediately and we must run on to the next reward to avoid the feeling of falling behind. This is why so many studies show that successful people are almost invariably jealous of people who are more successful.

Read: Kids don’t need to stay “on track” to succeed

They should get off the treadmill. But quitting isn’t easy for addicts. For people hooked on substances, withdrawal can be an agonizing experience, both physically and psychologically. Anxiety and depression are very common after one quits alcoholic drinking, for example. Indeed, the novelist William Styron famously cited the cessation of his lifelong heavy drinking as part of the onset of the clinical depression he chronicled in his book Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness. Some chalk this up to loneliness in the absence of alcohol—remember, it’s a relationship.

Success addicts giving up their habit experience a kind of withdrawal as well. Research finds that depression and anxiety are common among elite athletes after their careers end; Olympic athletes, in particular, suffer from the “post-Olympic blues.” I saw this withdrawal all the time in my years as the president of a think tank in Washington, D.C. Prominent people in politics and media would step back from the limelight—sometimes of their own volition, sometimes not—and suffer mightily. They talked of virtually nothing but the old days. Many suffered from depression and anxiety.

“Unhappy is he who depends on success to be happy,” wrote Alex Dias Ribeiro, a former Formula 1 race-car driver. “For such a person, the end of a successful career is the end of the line. His destiny is to die of bitterness or to search for more success in other careers and to go on living from success to success until he falls dead. In this case, there will not be life after success.”

American culture valorizes overwork, which makes it easy to slip into a mindset that can breed success addiction. But if you’ve seen yourself in my description, don’t lose hope. There is plenty you can do to retrain yourself to chase happiness instead of success, no matter where you are in your life’s journey. Let me suggest that you consider three steps, whether you are at the peak of your career, trying to work your way up the ladder, or looking at success in the rearview mirror.

The first step is an admission that as successful as you are, were, or hope to be in your life and work, you are not going to find true happiness on the hedonic treadmill of your professional life. You’ll find it in things that are deeply ordinary: enjoying a walk or a conversation with a loved one, instead of working that extra hour, for example. This is extremely difficult for many people. It feels almost like an admission of defeat for those who have spent their lives worshipping hard work and striving to outperform others. Social comparison is a big part of how people measure worldly success, but the research is clear that it strips us of life satisfaction.

The second step is to make amends for any relationships you’ve compromised in the name of success. This is complicated, obviously. “Sorry about choosing tedious board meetings—which I don’t even remember now—over your ballet recitals” probably won’t get the job done. More effective is simply to start showing up. With relationships, actions speak louder than words, especially if your words have been fairly empty in the past.

The last step is to find the right metrics of success. In business, people often say, “You are what you measure.” If you measure yourself only by the worldly rewards of money, power, and prestige, you’ll spend your life running on the hedonic treadmill and comparing yourself to others. I suggested better metrics in the inaugural “How to Build a Life” column, among them faith, family, and friendship. I also included work—but not work for the sake of outward achievement. Rather, it should be work that serves others and gives you a sense of personal meaning.

Success in and of itself is not a bad thing, any more than wine is a bad thing. Both can bring fun and sweetness to life. But both become tyrannical when they are a substitute for—instead of a complement to—the relationships and love that should be at the center of our lives.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.Arthur C. Brooks is a contributing writer at The Atlantic, a professor of the practice of public leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School, a senior fellow at the Harvard Business School, and host of the podcast The Art of Happiness With Arthur Brooks.

Survey of Over 20,000 Lonely People Highlights the Cost of Living Alone August 4th 2020

Loneliness is taking a toll, and one country is trying to fight back.

Inverse

  • Emma Betuel

GettyImages-1214517184.jpg

Photo by Basak Gurbuz Derman / Getty Images.

Coming home to an empty house can feel like a blessing. But if blissful alone time turns into feelings of prolonged loneliness, that empty house can become a curse, according to research published in 2019 in PLOS One. For 20,500 residents in the United Kingdom, living alone is associated with steep psychological costs for one major reason.

Based off of survey data collected by the British Government, lead study author Louis Jacob, Ph.D. of the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines explains that living alone was associated with significantly higher rates of mental disorder symptoms, including neuroticism. Whether people with neurotic symptoms prefer to live alone, or if the symptoms originate because of their residential status, is unclear from this paper. Still, Jacob’s team’s analysis yielded an interesting statistic that hints at the reason this connection exists in the first place: Eighty-four percent of the symptoms could be explained by reported loneliness.

“We believe that reducing levels of loneliness in people living alone is important,” Jacob tells Inverse.

Overall, Jacob’s findings are based on a diverse sample of UK residents between 16 and 64 years old who responded to surveys conducted in 1993, 2000, and 2007. These surveys revealed that the number of people who lived alone is relatively small but has been increasing. In 1993, 8.8 percent of respondents lived alone, but by 2007, that had increased to 10.7 percent of people. People who lived alone, the authors note, were more likely to be male, older, and unemployed.

Importantly, they found significant associations between that status and the prevalence of symptoms of mental disorders (not necessarily diagnosed disorders). Across all years, they report that people who lived alone had higher chances of reporting symptoms of common mental disorders. In 1993, people who lived alone were 69 percent more likely to report symptoms. In 2000, that likelihood decreased to 63 percent, but by 2007, they were back up to 88 percent more likely to report symptoms of a mental disorder.

Jacob notes that there were other mediating factors like alcohol and substance abuse that impacted this relationship, but of all the factors that contributed to the pattern, loneliness was the most statistically powerful. Crucially, he notes that loneliness isn’t necessarily caused by living alone: Instead, he proposes that people who feel lonely tend to feel so despite having plenty of social support around them, suggesting that loneliness is a state of mind, not a residential status.

“Interestingly, despite this finding on loneliness, social support explained the living alone-[common mental disorder] relationship to a much lesser extent (i.e., 17%),” he explains. “This may mean that the self-perception of social relationships is more important than actual social ties,” he says. “You may feel lonely, although you have a substantial social support.”

The UK has already acknowledged that the country may have a loneliness problem and appointed Tracey Crouch as the official minister of loneliness in January 2018. In October 2018, the UK proposed a strategy for tackling loneliness that devotes funds to creating more community spaces, housing changes, and sports programs.

Jacob, for one, adds that the best way to intervene in a cycle of loneliness is to promote social connections that make people feel supported, a goal that is echoed in the UK’s plan too. As examples, Jacob lists certain “psychological therapies, health and social care provision, and leisure/skill development.”

In other words, living alone may contribute to loneliness, but it will take more than a roommate to cure the lonely feelings of an entire nation. Instead, the trick is to make sure that people feel connected, no matter who they are — or aren’t — living with.

Abstract: Given the high prevalence of common mental disorders (CMDs) and individuals living alone in the United Kingdom, the goal of this study using English nationally representative data was to examine the association between living alone and CMDs, and to identify potential mediating factors of this association. The data were drawn from the 1993, 2000 and 2007 National Psychiatric Morbidity Surveys. CMDs were assessed using the Clinical Interview Schedule-Revised (CIS-R), a questionnaire focusing on past week neurotic symptoms. The presence of CMDs was defined as a CIS-R total score of 12 and above. Multivariable logistic regression and mediation analyses were conducted to analyze the association between liv- ing alone and CMDs, and to identify mediators in this association. The prevalence of CMDs was higher in individuals living alone than in those not living alone in all survey years. Multi- variable analysis showed a positive association between living alone and CMDs in all survey years (1993: odds ratio [OR] = 1.69; 2000: OR = 1.63; and 2007: OR = 1.88). Overall, loneli- ness explained 84% of the living alone-CMD association. Living alone was positively associ- ated with CMDs. Interventions addressing loneliness among individuals living alone may be particularly important for the mental wellbeing of this vulnerable population.

Emma Betuel is a writer based in NYC. Previously, she covered health and biology for WBUR’s Commonhealth blog and The Borgen Project Magazine. Last year, she spent too much time reading Darwin’s notes on pea plants. She recently started questioning the nature of her reality.

Imposter Syndrome August 2nd 2020

By Sheryl Nance-Nash 28th July 2020 Self-doubt and imposter syndrome permeate the workplace, but women, especially women of colour, are particularly likely to experience it. Why is this – and how can it be changed?

Although I haven’t worked in an office in more than 20 years, I still remember the feeling I used to have at my nine-to-five magazine job. No matter how well I did, I always felt that I wasn’t good enough for the rarefied publishing world. I didn’t come from a pedigree; I just was a hard-working black woman. I felt (and sometimes literally was) unacknowledged in the hallways, and my voice was hardly heard. It wasn’t unusual that ideas I presented at meetings got a lukewarm reception, but two meetings later someone else suggested a similar thought, which was instantly deemed a must-write story.

Even though I knew I was capable of doing the work, I was riddled with doubt. It was years later that I learned there was a term for what I felt: imposter syndrome.

You may not be able to see it around you, but imposter syndrome permeates the workplace. It’s a feeling that many people can identify with: why do I feel like a fraud even though I’m eminently qualified for this job? Despite having education and training, many have never been able to break free of doubting their worthiness and step into any a higher level of success.

But although anyone can ask this question, imposter syndrome has an outsize effect on certain groups.

We’re more likely to experience imposter syndrome if we don’t see many examples of people who look like us or share our background who are clearly succeeding in our field – Emily Hu

“Women, women of colour, especially black women, as well as the LGBTQ community are most at risk,” says Brian Daniel Norton, a psychotherapist and executive coach in New York. “When you experience systemic oppression or are directly or indirectly told your whole life that you are less-than or underserving of success and you begin to achieve things in a way that goes against a long-standing narrative in the mind, imposter syndrome will occur.”

If you doubt yourself even when you’re doing all the right things, are you doomed to feel like an imposter, no matter what? And why, exactly, do we feel imposter syndrome – and what can we do when that feeling starts to boil up?

Stacked odds

Corporate culture exacerbates the problem of imposter syndrome, particularly for women.

According to Lean In, a US organisation that focuses on women in the workplace, women are less likely to be hired and promoted to manager. Its 2019 research shows that for every 100 men brought onto teams and elevated to management, only 72 women experience the same thing. Men hold 62% of manager-level positions, while women hold just 38%. And although one-third of the companies Lean In surveyed set gender representation targets for first-level manager roles, 41% of them didn’t for senior levels of management.CEOs who are women of colour are still rare. Xerox's Ursula Burns was the only black, female CEO of a Fortune 500 firm, who left the company in 2016 (Credit: Alamy)

CEOs who are women of colour are still rare. Xerox’s Ursula Burns was the only black, female CEO of a Fortune 500 firm, who left the company in 2016 (Credit: Alamy)

And despite progress in the boardroom, where diverse voices have been historically absent, women still don’t have near-equal representation. According to Catalyst data for 2019, women in the US held 26.1% of directorships, up from 20.3% in 2016. Women in the UK fared slightly better, holding 31.7% of directorships, up from 25.3%. But even in the top-rated country, France, women only hold 44.3% of directorships, up from 37.6% in 2016. Additionally, women of colour are all but non-existent on corporate boards: Catalyst reports that fewer than 5% of US corporate board seats are held by women of colour, despite being 18% of the US population. The only black woman to ever head up a Fortune 500 company as CEO was Xerox’s Ursula Burns, who left the company in 2016.

The lack of role models for marginalised communities has a major impact on making people feel like they do – or don’t – belong in these corporate environments. Without this representation, there’s no “signal of the possibility of advancement… [or] how they managed the realities of stereotype, stigma and oppression in order to advance”, says Thema Bryant-Davis, a black psychologist and professor of psychology at Pepperdine University in California.

“We’re more likely to experience imposter syndrome if we don’t see many examples of people who look like us or share our background who are clearly succeeding in our field,” adds Emily Hu, a clinical psychologist in Los Angeles. “This is especially true for black and indigenous people, for whom overall representation across almost all white-collar fields is alarmingly low.”

For years I thought Nasa only hired me because they needed women – Maureen Zappala

But lack of physical representation is just one of the factors that feeds into imposter syndrome. For instance, pervasive racist and sexist stereotypes can cause marginalised people to doubt themselves, says Bryant-Davis. She points to common messaging such as that women are not good leaders because they’re too emotional; women are not good at maths or science; black, indigenous and other people of colour are lazy, unintelligent or lack integrity.

Even the traditional focus on female beauty can make an impact on self-doubt. “If you’ve grown up with messages that you’re only valued for your looks and your body, not your skills or intelligence, you may end up getting a certain job or position and wondering whether you truly deserve it or if the hiring manager just thought you were a pretty face,” says Hu.

‘Underqualified and in over my head’

Maureen Zappala is a former propulsion engineer – a literal rocket scientist. But despite working at the US’s renowned National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) for 13 years in the 80s and 90s, and reaching a mid-level management position, Zappala was still beset with self-doubt.

“For years I thought Nasa only hired me because they needed women. I felt under-qualified and in over my head. I worked long hours to try to prove myself. I was too afraid to ask for help because I thought if I’m really as smart as they think I am, I shouldn’t need the help, and I should be able to figure this out on my own,” she says.

Even after being promoted, she constantly second-guessed her decisions. “Even though people raved about my people skills, and how I knew the facility inside out, and how I was really good at project management, I refused to objectively look at that data that said I was qualified,” says Zappala, who is now a professional speaker and author of Pushing Your Envelope: How Smart People Defeat Self-Doubt and Live with Bold Enthusiasm.

That never-ending doubt can do damage both professionally and personally.

Hearing Voices When There Is No One There July 31st 2020

People who hear voices that other people can’t hear may use unusual skills when their brains process new sounds, according to research led by Durham University and University College London (UCL).

The study, published in the academic journal Brain, found that voice-hearers could detect disguised speech-like sounds more quickly and easily than people who had never had a voice-hearing experience.

The findings suggest that voice-hearers have an enhanced tendency to detect meaningful speech patterns in ambiguous sounds.

The researchers say this insight into the brain mechanisms of voice-hearers tells us more about how these experiences occur in voice-hearers without a mental health problem, and could ultimately help scientists and clinicians find more effective ways to help people who find their voices disturbing.

The study involved people who regularly hear voices, also known as auditory verbal hallucinations, but do not have a mental health problem.

Participants listened to a set of disguised speech sounds known as sine-wave speech while they were having an MRI brain scan. Usually these sounds can only be understood once people are either told to listen out for speech, or have been trained to decode the disguised sounds.

Sine-wave speech is often described as sounding a bit like birdsong or alien-like noises. However, after training people can understand the simple sentences hidden underneath (such as “The boy ran down the path” or “The clown had a funny face”).

In the experiment, many of the voice-hearers recognised the hidden speech before being told it was there, and on average they tended to notice it earlier than other participants who had no history of hearing voices.

The brains of the voice-hearers automatically responded to sounds that contained hidden speech compared to sounds that were meaningless, in the regions of the brain linked to attention and monitoring skills.

The small-scale study was conducted with 12 voice-hearers and 17 non voice-hearers. Nine out of 12 (75 per cent) voice-hearers reported hearing the hidden speech compared to eight out of 17 (47 per cent) non voice-hearers.

Lead author Dr Ben Alderson-Day, Research Fellow from Durham University’s Hearing the Voice project, said: “These findings are a demonstration of what we can learn from people who hear voices that are not distressing or problematic.

“It suggests that the brains of people who hear voices are particularly tuned to meaning in sounds, and shows how unusual experiences might be influenced by people’s individual perceptual and cognitive processes.”

People who hear voices often have a diagnosis of a mental health condition such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. However, not all voice-hearers have a mental health problem.

Research suggests that between five and 15 per cent of the general population have had an occasional experience of hearing voices, with as many as one per cent having more complex and regular voice-hearing experiences in the absence of any need for psychiatric care.

Co-author Dr Cesar Lima from UCL’s Speech Communication Lab commented: “We did not tell the participants that the ambiguous sounds could contain speech before they were scanned, or ask them to try to understand the sounds. Nonetheless, these participants showed distinct neural responses to sounds containing disguised speech, as compared to sounds that were meaningless.

“This was interesting to us because it suggests that their brains can automatically detect meaning in sounds that people typically struggle to understand unless they are trained.”

The research is part of a collaboration between Durham University’s Hearing the Voice project, a large interdisciplinary study of voice-hearing funded by the Wellcome Trust, and UCL’s Speech Communication lab.

Durham’s Hearing the Voice project aims to develop a better understanding of the experience of hearing a voice when no one is speaking. The researchers want to increase understanding of voice-hearing by examining it from different academic perspectives, working with clinicians and other mental health professionals, and listening to people who have heard voices themselves.

In the long term, it is hoped that the research will inform mental health policy and improve therapeutic practice in cases where people find their voices distressing and clinical help is sought.

Professor Charles Fernyhough, Director of Hearing the Voice at Durham University, said: ‘This study brings the expertise of UCL’s Speech Communication lab together with Durham’s Hearing the Voice project to explore what is a frequently troubling and widely misunderstood experience.”

Professor Sophie Scott from UCL Speech Communication Lab added: “This is a really exciting demonstration of the ways that unusual experiences with voices can be linked to — and may have their basis in — everyday perceptual processes.”

The study involved researchers from Durham University, University College London, University of Porto (Portugal), University of Westminster and University of Oxford.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiCJwTanRtA


Story Source:

Materials provided by Durham University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ben Alderson-Day, César F. Lima, Samuel Evans, Saloni Krishnan, Pradheep Shanmugalingam, Charles Fernyhough, Sophie K. Scott. Distinct processing of ambiguous speech in people with non-clinical auditory verbal hallucinations. Brain, 2017; DOI: 10.1093/brain/awx206

Cite This Page:

Durham University. “People who ‘hear voices’ can detect hidden speech in unusual sounds.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 August 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/08/170821085707.htm>.

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People who hear voices that other people can’t hear may use unusual skills when their brains process new sounds, according to research led by Durham University and University College London (UCL).

The study, published in the academic journal Brain, found that voice-hearers could detect disguised speech-like sounds more quickly and easily than people who had never had a voice-hearing experience.

The findings suggest that voice-hearers have an enhanced tendency to detect meaningful speech patterns in ambiguous sounds.

The researchers say this insight into the brain mechanisms of voice-hearers tells us more about how these experiences occur in voice-hearers without a mental health problem, and could ultimately help scientists and clinicians find more effective ways to help people who find their voices disturbing.

The study involved people who regularly hear voices, also known as auditory verbal hallucinations, but do not have a mental health problem.

Participants listened to a set of disguised speech sounds known as sine-wave speech while they were having an MRI brain scan. Usually these sounds can only be understood once people are either told to listen out for speech, or have been trained to decode the disguised sounds.

Sine-wave speech is often described as sounding a bit like birdsong or alien-like noises. However, after training people can understand the simple sentences hidden underneath (such as “The boy ran down the path” or “The clown had a funny face”).

In the experiment, many of the voice-hearers recognised the hidden speech before being told it was there, and on average they tended to notice it earlier than other participants who had no history of hearing voices.

The brains of the voice-hearers automatically responded to sounds that contained hidden speech compared to sounds that were meaningless, in the regions of the brain linked to attention and monitoring skills.

The small-scale study was conducted with 12 voice-hearers and 17 non voice-hearers. Nine out of 12 (75 per cent) voice-hearers reported hearing the hidden speech compared to eight out of 17 (47 per cent) non voice-hearers.

Lead author Dr Ben Alderson-Day, Research Fellow from Durham University’s Hearing the Voice project, said: “These findings are a demonstration of what we can learn from people who hear voices that are not distressing or problematic.

“It suggests that the brains of people who hear voices are particularly tuned to meaning in sounds, and shows how unusual experiences might be influenced by people’s individual perceptual and cognitive processes.”

People who hear voices often have a diagnosis of a mental health condition such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. However, not all voice-hearers have a mental health problem.

Research suggests that between five and 15 per cent of the general population have had an occasional experience of hearing voices, with as many as one per cent having more complex and regular voice-hearing experiences in the absence of any need for psychiatric care.

Co-author Dr Cesar Lima from UCL’s Speech Communication Lab commented: “We did not tell the participants that the ambiguous sounds could contain speech before they were scanned, or ask them to try to understand the sounds. Nonetheless, these participants showed distinct neural responses to sounds containing disguised speech, as compared to sounds that were meaningless.

“This was interesting to us because it suggests that their brains can automatically detect meaning in sounds that people typically struggle to understand unless they are trained.”

The research is part of a collaboration between Durham University’s Hearing the Voice project, a large interdisciplinary study of voice-hearing funded by the Wellcome Trust, and UCL’s Speech Communication lab.

Durham’s Hearing the Voice project aims to develop a better understanding of the experience of hearing a voice when no one is speaking. The researchers want to increase understanding of voice-hearing by examining it from different academic perspectives, working with clinicians and other mental health professionals, and listening to people who have heard voices themselves.

In the long term, it is hoped that the research will inform mental health policy and improve therapeutic practice in cases where people find their voices distressing and clinical help is sought.

Professor Charles Fernyhough, Director of Hearing the Voice at Durham University, said: ‘This study brings the expertise of UCL’s Speech Communication lab together with Durham’s Hearing the Voice project to explore what is a frequently troubling and widely misunderstood experience.”

Professor Sophie Scott from UCL Speech Communication Lab added: “This is a really exciting demonstration of the ways that unusual experiences with voices can be linked to — and may have their basis in — everyday perceptual processes.”

The study involved researchers from Durham University, University College London, University of Porto (Portugal), University of Westminster and University of Oxford.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiCJwTanRtA


Story Source:

Materials provided by Durham University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ben Alderson-Day, César F. Lima, Samuel Evans, Saloni Krishnan, Pradheep Shanmugalingam, Charles Fernyhough, Sophie K. Scott. Distinct processing of ambiguous speech in people with non-clinical auditory verbal hallucinations. Brain, 2017; DOI: 10.1093/brain/awx206

Cite This Page:

Durham University. “People who ‘hear voices’ can detect hidden speech in unusual sounds.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 August 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/08/170821085707.htm>.

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People who hear voices that other people can’t hear may use unusual skills when their brains process new sounds, according to research led by Durham University and University College London (UCL).

The study, published in the academic journal Brain, found that voice-hearers could detect disguised speech-like sounds more quickly and easily than people who had never had a voice-hearing experience.

The findings suggest that voice-hearers have an enhanced tendency to detect meaningful speech patterns in ambiguous sounds.

The researchers say this insight into the brain mechanisms of voice-hearers tells us more about how these experiences occur in voice-hearers without a mental health problem, and could ultimately help scientists and clinicians find more effective ways to help people who find their voices disturbing.

The study involved people who regularly hear voices, also known as auditory verbal hallucinations, but do not have a mental health problem.

Participants listened to a set of disguised speech sounds known as sine-wave speech while they were having an MRI brain scan. Usually these sounds can only be understood once people are either told to listen out for speech, or have been trained to decode the disguised sounds.

Sine-wave speech is often described as sounding a bit like birdsong or alien-like noises. However, after training people can understand the simple sentences hidden underneath (such as “The boy ran down the path” or “The clown had a funny face”).

In the experiment, many of the voice-hearers recognised the hidden speech before being told it was there, and on average they tended to notice it earlier than other participants who had no history of hearing voices.

The brains of the voice-hearers automatically responded to sounds that contained hidden speech compared to sounds that were meaningless, in the regions of the brain linked to attention and monitoring skills.

The small-scale study was conducted with 12 voice-hearers and 17 non voice-hearers. Nine out of 12 (75 per cent) voice-hearers reported hearing the hidden speech compared to eight out of 17 (47 per cent) non voice-hearers.

Lead author Dr Ben Alderson-Day, Research Fellow from Durham University’s Hearing the Voice project, said: “These findings are a demonstration of what we can learn from people who hear voices that are not distressing or problematic.

“It suggests that the brains of people who hear voices are particularly tuned to meaning in sounds, and shows how unusual experiences might be influenced by people’s individual perceptual and cognitive processes.”

People who hear voices often have a diagnosis of a mental health condition such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. However, not all voice-hearers have a mental health problem.

Research suggests that between five and 15 per cent of the general population have had an occasional experience of hearing voices, with as many as one per cent having more complex and regular voice-hearing experiences in the absence of any need for psychiatric care.

Co-author Dr Cesar Lima from UCL’s Speech Communication Lab commented: “We did not tell the participants that the ambiguous sounds could contain speech before they were scanned, or ask them to try to understand the sounds. Nonetheless, these participants showed distinct neural responses to sounds containing disguised speech, as compared to sounds that were meaningless.

“This was interesting to us because it suggests that their brains can automatically detect meaning in sounds that people typically struggle to understand unless they are trained.”

The research is part of a collaboration between Durham University’s Hearing the Voice project, a large interdisciplinary study of voice-hearing funded by the Wellcome Trust, and UCL’s Speech Communication lab.

Durham’s Hearing the Voice project aims to develop a better understanding of the experience of hearing a voice when no one is speaking. The researchers want to increase understanding of voice-hearing by examining it from different academic perspectives, working with clinicians and other mental health professionals, and listening to people who have heard voices themselves.

In the long term, it is hoped that the research will inform mental health policy and improve therapeutic practice in cases where people find their voices distressing and clinical help is sought.

Professor Charles Fernyhough, Director of Hearing the Voice at Durham University, said: ‘This study brings the expertise of UCL’s Speech Communication lab together with Durham’s Hearing the Voice project to explore what is a frequently troubling and widely misunderstood experience.”

Professor Sophie Scott from UCL Speech Communication Lab added: “This is a really exciting demonstration of the ways that unusual experiences with voices can be linked to — and may have their basis in — everyday perceptual processes.”

The study involved researchers from Durham University, University College London, University of Porto (Portugal), University of Westminster and University of Oxford.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiCJwTanRtA


Story Source:

Materials provided by Durham University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ben Alderson-Day, César F. Lima, Samuel Evans, Saloni Krishnan, Pradheep Shanmugalingam, Charles Fernyhough, Sophie K. Scott. Distinct processing of ambiguous speech in people with non-clinical auditory verbal hallucinations. Brain, 2017; DOI: 10.1093/brain/awx206

Cite This Page:

Durham University. “People who ‘hear voices’ can detect hidden speech in unusual sounds.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 August 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/08/170821085707.htm>.

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Could Consciousness All Come Down to the Way Things Vibrate? July 31st 2020

A resonance theory of consciousness suggests that the way all matter vibrates, and the tendency for those vibrations to sync up, might be a way to answer the so-called ‘hard problem’ of consciousness.

The Conversation

  • Tam Hunt

file-20181109-74754-hj6p7i.jpg

What do synchronized vibrations add to the mind/body question? Photo by agsandrew / Shutterstock.com.

Why is my awareness here, while yours is over there? Why is the universe split in two for each of us, into a subject and an infinity of objects? How is each of us our own center of experience, receiving information about the rest of the world out there? Why are some things conscious and others apparently not? Is a rat conscious? A gnat? A bacterium?

These questions are all aspects of the ancient “mind-body problem,” which asks, essentially: What is the relationship between mind and matter? It’s resisted a generally satisfying conclusion for thousands of years.

The mind-body problem enjoyed a major rebranding over the last two decades. Now it’s generally known as the “hard problem” of consciousness, after philosopher David Chalmers coined this term in a now classic paper and further explored it in his 1996 book, “The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory.”

Chalmers thought the mind-body problem should be called “hard” in comparison to what, with tongue in cheek, he called the “easy” problems of neuroscience: How do neurons and the brain work at the physical level? Of course they’re not actually easy at all. But his point was that they’re relatively easy compared to the truly difficult problem of explaining how consciousness relates to matter.

Over the last decade, my colleague, University of California, Santa Barbara psychology professor Jonathan Schooler and I have developed what we call a “resonance theory of consciousness.” We suggest that resonance – another word for synchronized vibrations – is at the heart of not only human consciousness but also animal consciousness and of physical reality more generally. It sounds like something the hippies might have dreamed up – it’s all vibrations, man! – but stick with me. file-20181109-74769-7ov2ol.jpg

How do things in nature – like flashing fireflies – spontaneously synchronize? Photo by Suzanne Tucker /Shutterstock.com.

All About the Vibrations

All things in our universe are constantly in motion, vibrating. Even objects that appear to be stationary are in fact vibrating, oscillating, resonating, at various frequencies. Resonance is a type of motion, characterized by oscillation between two states. And ultimately all matter is just vibrations of various underlying fields. As such, at every scale, all of nature vibrates.

Something interesting happens when different vibrating things come together: They will often start, after a little while, to vibrate together at the same frequency. They “sync up,” sometimes in ways that can seem mysterious. This is described as the phenomenon of spontaneous self-organization.

Mathematician Steven Strogatz provides various examples from physics, biology, chemistry and neuroscience to illustrate “sync” – his term for resonance – in his 2003 book “Sync: How Order Emerges from Chaos in the Universe, Nature, and Daily Life,” including:

  • When fireflies of certain species come together in large gatherings, they start flashing in sync, in ways that can still seem a little mystifying.
  • Lasers are produced when photons of the same power and frequency sync up.
  • The moon’s rotation is exactly synced with its orbit around the Earth such that we always see the same face.

Examining resonance leads to potentially deep insights about the nature of consciousness and about the universe more generally. file-20181109-74751-1503r83.jpg

External electrodes can record a brain’s activity. Photo by vasara / Shutterstock.com.

Sync Inside Your Skull

Neuroscientists have identified sync in their research, too. Large-scale neuron firing occurs in human brains at measurable frequencies, with mammalian consciousness thought to be commonly associated with various kinds of neuronal sync.

For example, German neurophysiologist Pascal Fries has explored the ways in which various electrical patterns sync in the brain to produce different types of human consciousness.

Fries focuses on gamma, beta and theta waves. These labels refer to the speed of electrical oscillations in the brain, measured by electrodes placed on the outside of the skull. Groups of neurons produce these oscillations as they use electrochemical impulses to communicate with each other. It’s the speed and voltage of these signals that, when averaged, produce EEG waves that can be measured at signature cycles per second. file-20181109-116826-1hsxqnf.jpg

Each type of synchronized activity is associated with certain types of brain function. Image from artellia / Shutterstock.com.

Gamma waves are associated with large-scale coordinated activities like perception, meditation or focused consciousness; beta with maximum brain activity or arousal; and theta with relaxation or daydreaming. These three wave types work together to produce, or at least facilitate, various types of human consciousness, according to Fries. But the exact relationship between electrical brain waves and consciousness is still very much up for debate.

Fries calls his concept “communication through coherence.” For him, it’s all about neuronal synchronization. Synchronization, in terms of shared electrical oscillation rates, allows for smooth communication between neurons and groups of neurons. Without this kind of synchronized coherence, inputs arrive at random phases of the neuron excitability cycle and are ineffective, or at least much less effective, in communication.

A Resonance Theory of Consciousness

Our resonance theory builds upon the work of Fries and many others, with a broader approach that can help to explain not only human and mammalian consciousness, but also consciousness more broadly.

Based on the observed behavior of the entities that surround us, from electrons to atoms to molecules, to bacteria to mice, bats, rats, and on, we suggest that all things may be viewed as at least a little conscious. This sounds strange at first blush, but “panpsychism” – the view that all matter has some associated consciousness – is an increasingly accepted position with respect to the nature of consciousness.

The panpsychist argues that consciousness did not emerge at some point during evolution. Rather, it’s always associated with matter and vice versa – they’re two sides of the same coin. But the large majority of the mind associated with the various types of matter in our universe is extremely rudimentary. An electron or an atom, for example, enjoys just a tiny amount of consciousness. But as matter becomes more interconnected and rich, so does the mind, and vice versa, according to this way of thinking.

Biological organisms can quickly exchange information through various biophysical pathways, both electrical and electrochemical. Non-biological structures can only exchange information internally using heat/thermal pathways – much slower and far less rich in information in comparison. Living things leverage their speedier information flows into larger-scale consciousness than what would occur in similar-size things like boulders or piles of sand, for example. There’s much greater internal connection and thus far more “going on” in biological structures than in a boulder or a pile of sand.

Under our approach, boulders and piles of sand are “mere aggregates,” just collections of highly rudimentary conscious entities at the atomic or molecular level only. That’s in contrast to what happens in biological life forms where the combinations of these micro-conscious entities together create a higher level macro-conscious entity. For us, this combination process is the hallmark of biological life.

The central thesis of our approach is this: the particular linkages that allow for large-scale consciousness – like those humans and other mammals enjoy – result from a shared resonance among many smaller constituents. The speed of the resonant waves that are present is the limiting factor that determines the size of each conscious entity in each moment.

As a particular shared resonance expands to more and more constituents, the new conscious entity that results from this resonance and combination grows larger and more complex. So the shared resonance in a human brain that achieves gamma synchrony, for example, includes a far larger number of neurons and neuronal connections than is the case for beta or theta rhythms alone.

What about larger inter-organism resonance like the cloud of fireflies with their little lights flashing in sync? Researchers think their bioluminescent resonance arises due to internal biological oscillators that automatically result in each firefly syncing up with its neighbors.

Is this group of fireflies enjoying a higher level of group consciousness? Probably not, since we can explain the phenomenon without recourse to any intelligence or consciousness. But in biological structures with the right kind of information pathways and processing power, these tendencies toward self-organization can and often do produce larger-scale conscious entities.

Our resonance theory of consciousness attempts to provide a unified framework that includes neuroscience, as well as more fundamental questions of neurobiology and biophysics, and also the philosophy of mind. It gets to the heart of the differences that matter when it comes to consciousness and the evolution of physical systems.

It is all about vibrations, but it’s also about the type of vibrations and, most importantly, about shared vibrations.

Tam Hunt is an Affiliate Guest in Psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.The Conversation

More from The Conversation

How Do Women Become White Supremacists? July 28th 2020

Women have lots of secret weapons and secret thoughts, but their wrong or evil doings can always be blamed on men, So this article asks how they become far right hate filled fascists? They never ask this question of far right white men, for whom their are no excuses.
It can never be argued that women just do what comes naturally to them. The dogma is that women are the ultimate expression and embodiement of goodness, innocence, beauthy and honesty.

Psychologists know that female voices command attention better than male ones – hence they are the norm with Sat Nav. The issue of far right women is therefore quite serious. Women are supposed to adhere to the elite approved/enhanced feminist and PC group.

Feminist icon Hilary Clinton described women who did not support her presidential candidacy as ‘The Deplorables’, the reality that most men are poodles to women, and that women know what they are doing, is anathema to the ruling elite and their whores in the world of State pyschiatry and psychology. Their base line is, lose control of the women and you lose control of the men. Hence mainstream articles like this one.
Robert Cook

“People see them as nice white ladies, and they’ve weaponized that,” says Seyward Darby, the author of the upcoming ‘Sisters in Hate’

E.J Dickson

The Ku Klux Klan protests on July 8, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The KKK is protesting the planned removal of a statue of General Robert E. Lee, and calling for the protection of Southern Confederate monuments.

In the years following Trump’s election, the deadly Charlottesville rally, and shooting massacres such as the those in Christchurch, New Zealand, El Paso, Texas, and Poway, California, many people have tried to address a virtually unanswerable question: What is the process by which a relatively mild-mannered, disaffected young white man becomes a violent white supremacist?

While various factors have been postulated — a racist, patriarchal culture, combined with permissive attitudes toward toxic masculinity and radicalizing platforms like 4chan (and later 8kun) certainly all play a role — the question becomes even more complicated when you talk about white women (more than half of whom famously voted for Trump in November 2016). After all, one of the primary tenets of white nationalism is the biological inferiority of women. Why would a woman embrace such a worldview, let alone one that waxes nostalgic for the days when women were little more than well-coiffed breeding machines?

Writer Seyward Darby doesn’t have a definitive answer to this question, but as she points out, white women have long served as figureheads for far-right movements, from Phyllis Schlafly to National Socialist Women’s League leader Getrud Scholz-Klink. “If you think of it as women negotiating power and seeking power wherever they can find it and harness it and augment it, anti-feminism offers some women that,” Darby says. “Whether you’re talking about leading a movement or having a platform or simply being part of the conversation, I think anti-feminism can feel empowering to some women.”

How Social Distancing Could Lead to a Spike in White Nationalism
Military Rules Cadets’ Hand Gestures Were a Game, Not White-Power Signs

Darby is the author of Sisters in Hate, a fascinating yet highly disturbing deep dive into the toxic world of female white supremacists. Based on her 2017 piece for Harper’s, the book not only tracks the history of women in the far-right, but also follows three women who were or are currently key players in the white-nationalist movement: Corinna Olsen, a bodybuilder and former amateur porn star who became a skinhead and, later, disavowed the movement and converted to Islam; Ayla Stewart, a former vegan feminist who started a tradwife blog and became best known for her “white baby challenge” that urged white women to have as many children as possible; and Lana Lokteff, a racist Holocaust denier who hosts the alt-right channel Red Ice, which was banned from YouTube in 2019.

In the context of this cultural moment — which is calling for the uplifting of marginalized voices and the smashing of white patriarchal values — the idea of a book that profiles three neo-Nazis seems something of an ill-conceived project. But Sisters in Hatedoesn’t attempt to humanize these women or grant them any reprieve; it’s an unflinching and often stomach-turning look at their radicalization, as well as the gradual process by which their horrific views became part of the mainstream.

“While at no point I felt like it was important to humanize these people,” Darby tells Rolling Stone, “I did want to see them as multidimensional to understand how they became what they became and the forces they allowed to push them in that direction — and the ways in which that’s not that dissimilar to the mainstream.”

Rolling Stone: What got you interested in writing about female white supremacists in the first place?Seyward Darby: The origin of it all was really Trump’s election and the immediate aftermath, even before, to a certain extent, the so-called alt-right, the new name for white nationalism, was in the news. People were talking about it and were sort of bewildered by it. And I was struck by how when it was described, it was almost exclusively talked about in terms of the angry white men involved. And that’s all true. It is a bastion of toxic masculinity, and white nationalism always has been, but it struck me as probably inaccurate that women wouldn’t be a part of it. It was just a simple question of, where are the women? On top of that, the exit polls for the election showed that a lot of white women had voted for Trump, and people seemed very upset and surprised by that. I wasn’t under the illusion that every woman who voted for Trump was a white nationalist, but it seemed there was something going on with white women and white femininity that we needed to interrogate.

How did you convince your subjects to talk to you? I understood why Corinna would talk, because she was long out of the movement, but how did you convince Lana and Ayla?I decided to approach this really forthrightly. I was very honest in my initial emails to them about who I was and what I believed  — for instance, that I was not going to be convinced of their worldview. But I also tried to be frank about the fact that I genuinely wanted to understand what got them to that point. I also benefited from the fact that I started this research a month after the election, when a lot of white nationalists were buoyed by Trump taking office. Lana, for instance, told me she thought the alt-right was going to become a political party, and people were moving to D.C. People were approaching the moment in an almost celebratory way. That probably helped somewhat, because they felt they had something to be proud of. As soon as my article came out in Harper’s in 2017, right before Charlottesville, after that, Lana always continued to answer questions if I sent them, sometimes cryptically, but didn’t want to engage in any more conversation. And she criticized the piece in YouTube videos, and Ayla criticized it on her personal site. I think they, for whatever reason, thought the article would be sympathetic to them, and as soon as they realized it wasn’t, they used it as an opportunity to drag it.

How did it affect your reporting for this book that two of your main subjects backed out?I wouldn’t say they backed out exactly. They participated in the Harper’s piece, and then with the book, when I pitched it, I was pretty clear about the fact that I wasn’t sure if certain people would talk to me again or for the first time. In some ways, as a journalist, I felt I’m not getting everything I could possibly get out of this and it was sort of demoralizing to hear, “Nope, I don’t want to talk to you.” But at the same time, to me it was such a part of the story because white nationalists have always been so much about controlling their own message, controlling their own image. This was a perfect example of that, of not being interested in a narrative they couldn’t control.

On top of that, there’s been a debate in the media over how to cover this space. A lot of people think, “Don’t write about it, don’t give it oxygen, don’t give these people a platform.” I think that really misunderstands what the far right considers a platform. They have so many platforms and so many ways of reaching people on the internet, through various social networks. To not acknowledge that and not acknowledge the many ways they engage in stagecraft and propaganda is to really misunderstand how the movement functions. The other thing I will say is I got very good at digging through internet archives. Both had been digital citizens for a long time — Ayla had many blogs, Lana had various websites. I spent a lot of time combing through the internet, looking for pieces of their past lives, and I was able to speak to people who knew them in the past before they were radicalized. I felt like I was taking a lesson from historians, who dig through letters and archives to gather stories about people who are deceased. It was a similar issue of, how do I fill in the gaps?

You’re a white woman who grew up in the South. How did that play into how you approached reporting this out?I mentioned it in my initial email to a number of these women, explaining I consider myself liberal, I consider myself a feminist, but also saying I want to understand your worldview and I feel personally connected in some ways to this because of where I come from. My family has been in the South for a long time, I have ancestors who fought for the Confederacy and owned slaves. I wanted to understand the present moment in the context of the past and vice versa. I do remember Lana saying something along the lines of, “You approached me in a different way than most people do, and also you’re from the South.” She was very quick to say “it’s not because you were a woman.”

A lot of the book focuses on the misogyny of the movement and why women would join it and operate against their own interests in doing so. What’s the answer to your question, according to your reporting?It’s such a complicated subject. I’m still wrapping my mind around the fact that any woman would want to engage in anti-feminism, which is ingrained in white nationalism. That said, over time anti-feminism has often had female figureheads. Phyllis Schlafly most famously, but other people over time. I think if you think of it as women negotiating power and seeking power wherever they can find it and harness it and augment it, anti-feminism offers some women that. Whether you’re talking about leading a movement or having a platform or simply being part of the conversation, I think anti-feminism can feel empowering to some women, even though we know anti-feminism is not beneficial to women.

The other thing to think about is the ways in which anti-feminism has always been tied up with race in this country. If you look at the opposition to the ERA, a lot of white-supremacist groups were aligned with more conservative groups and religious-homemaker groups. When you think of power in the U.S., we don’t think enough in an intersectional way, but some white women saw themselves as in a hierarchy as closer to white men than anybody else. So if you think about it as negotiating power, they wanted to maintain that status, which involved almost a clarion call to white men to say, “We’re not trying to supplant you, we’re trying to keep gender relations as they are,” and that allows them to stay where they are in the power hierarchy. White nationalism as a movement, a big theme, and propaganda is about women’s intrinsic value as wives and mothers. So for women who might be seeking a sense of meaning or a degree of power they don’t have, this is a movement that says we value you in terms of how you look and who you are and what your body enables you to do, at least on its face. It’s a pro-natalist movement that encourages women to have as many babies as possible, and that can be alluring to some people.

What was the most shocking thing you witnessed in your reporting?That is such a difficult question. Something that keeps coming up, and something that other people in reading it have remarked on, is the fact that immediately after Charlottesville and Heather Heyer’s killing, the far right started to spin conspiracy theories about her death. Some were along the lines of “James Fields is a plant planted by our enemies,” but the more horrifying one to me had to do with the idea that she had actually died because she was overweight and had a heart attack. They somehow managed to graft the conspiracy-theorizing that defines this movement with the anti-feminism, body shaming, eugenicist thread of things that runs through this movement. … To go beyond saying “the person who did this wasn’t one of our guys,” to saying “this is somehow her fault. If she were a healthier woman, or a better white woman, this wouldn’t happen to her,” I found that so deeply upsetting.

Were you able to identify any humanity in your subjects or humanize them in any way given their horrific beliefs?A key goal of this project for me was to address the fact that when we talk about the hate movement, we’re very quick to “other” it and put this label of extremism on it, that it’s an outlier, almost. But the ideology had so clearly bled into the political conversation of 2016, and I was interested in finding points of familiarity, ways in which people who are in this movement are actually not so different than people in the mainstream, in terms of what they believe and the people they are in the world. There are lots of assumptions about people in this movement: that they’re all uneducated, or from the South, or really religious. There are so many ways we try to put them neatly in a box and push it to the side. So, while at no point I felt like it was important to humanize these people, I did want to see them as multidimensional to understand how they became what they became and the forces they allowed to push them in that direction, and the ways in which that’s not that dissimilar to the mainstream.

What was so disturbing to me is how you describe Ayla’s trajectory. She was a vegan and a feminist who gradually drifted into white nationalism. It reminded me of the phenomenon of cult-hopping, where some people jump from cult to cult. How common is that in white nationalism? How many of these women start out as seekers?Anyone who joins the hate movement is a seeker to some degree, and maybe there are circumstances that make them particularly primed to be recruited. They’re seeking something in that moment — maybe it’s power, maybe it’s meaning, maybe it’s money because they see a potential profit in running a subscription-based platform. That seems like a common thread among people. What they’re seeking can be really different. Corinna was seeking a sense of belonging. Ayla was seeking a creed. She had cycled through so many different religious and political beliefs, and considered herself a feminist and was a big supporter of Dennis Kucinich and was anti-death penalty and pro-immigration. Lana was primarily interested in seeking power and influence. I think she’s a person who likes the spotlight and likes attention. So that notion of seeking is common … and I think that it’s important to recognize the familiar place from which they might start, because that’s where you also start thinking about how to combat this. If you start thinking about how to prosecute someone for a hate crime or how to shut down a bigoted platform or how to pull someone out of the movement, that’s a treatment for the problem, as opposed to preventing it. If you recognize where people are coming from and the ways in which that might be familiar to the mainstream, you can start thinking about mainstream.

We’re in a cultural moment where there’s a needed emphasis on elevating the voices of BIPOC. What is the argument, then, for writing a book focusing on three female white supremacists?That’s certainly something I have grappled with, and a common criticism is, “Why are you writing this book at all?” I feel like as a country, we’ve had so much difficulty reckoning with the history of racism, and part of doing that is elevating the voices that have been forgotten or censored or subdued over time, but I think reckoning with racism means fully understanding the dimension it has taken in this country, and the people who have shaped that. If you think about the future only from the present — if you say, “From here on out, we’re gonna do better with X” — you’re not dealing with everything that’s come before, and the ways the past shapes the present. With the hate movement, especially in the post-9/11 era, people have been very wary to address it, to think of it as a national security threat, as something we really need to be dealing with. On top of that, women have been really written out of the history of hate … and they’ve really served as bridges to the mainstream because people see them as nice white ladies, and they’ve weaponized that. For me, this all comes back to the many ways in which the reckoning happens, and I’m so thrilled to see that happening now, but I also think we’re doing a disservice if we don’t look at the ugly side of things and try to understand what it is, as opposed to making assumptions about it that don’t go very far.

We have an election coming up. Do you have any insight in how this will play out in light of the reporting you’ve done?I wish I had a crystal ball, but unfortunately I’m not that witchy. I think that, as opposed to trying to look at polls or guessing how swing states will go or how white women will vote this time, I’m not one of those people who spend their lives studying it. I think two things: Heading into it, we shouldn’t underestimate the ways white supremacists, nativists, and xenophobic voices can shift the ground pretty quickly. We’re in an unprecedented moment in terms of the pandemic and how badly it’s been handled by federal and state governments. We’ll see what that means going into the election, but in 2016 we saw Clinton leading up until she wasn’t, and we shouldn’t assume the negative forces in the country couldn’t find a way to assert themselves.

There’s also the notion of backlash. The 2008 election is a good model. We had our first ever black president and the streets just erupted with joy. And in the first year Obama was in office, there was a huge uptick online of white-supremacist propaganda and recruitment. I think in some ways, the moments where there are a lot of people who take hope in the future and how far they’ve come, there will always be backlash of some kinds. Backlash feeds on things like elections. … Let’s say Trump loses. We should be thrilled about that, but we shouldn’t assume there won’t be some kind of backlash in terms of some upswell of support for hate. That could still be coming. I’m definitely not fun at dinner parties, because I’m always the pessimist in the room.

That was sort of my takeaway: My husband watches a lot of MSNBC, and there’s a very victory-lap feel to the coverage. But the book makes clear that so many of these ideas have become so mainstream that it would be foolish to discount the role these women may play in keeping Trump in power.We have these very basic assumptions about white supremacists: You use a certain type of language or believe a certain type of thing. That’s true to a point, but over time they’re canny. When they talk about how their heritage is being destroyed by tearing down Confederate statues, or any number of things that we’re seeing go mainstream in the Republican Party, they all have common roots. On the one hand, no, not everyone who is a white supremacist is necessarily using slurs, because they recognize the power they gain in seeming “normal,” and they benefit from that.

This interview has been condensed and edited. 

In This Article: extremism, nazis, sisters in hate, White Supremacist, white supremacy 

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End of the Office: The Quiet, Grinding Loneliness of Working From Home July 25th 2020

Before Covid-19, many of us thought remote working sounded blissful. Now, employees across the world long for chats by the coffee machine and the whirr of printers

The Guardian

  • Simon Usborne

GettyImages-1220606123.jpg

Many people live in flats that are entirely unsuited to working. Photo by Dan Douglas / Superveillance / Getty Images.

Dahlia Francis is sitting on a small couch at the foot of her bed, in her shared flat, on a housing estate in south London. She wears her new uniform of pyjama bottoms and a Zoom-ready plain T-shirt. Her room used to be a living room. Now the only communal space is the kitchen, where Francis’s three flatmates occupy a small dining table. They, like almost half of Britain’s workforce, are also working from home.

Francis, who is 29, is a credit controller for a charity in central London. She commuted there, by bus and tube, for a little more than a year. There were baking competitions and quizzes and a kitchenette, where gossip and tea flowed freely. Now the kettle is silent and the cubicles are empty. They are likely to remain so for the rest of the year.

For the first few weeks after her office closed in late March, Francis was too busy to consider her new circumstances. Then they hit her – and got her down. Days spent in her bedroom hunched over a laptop, centimetres from where she slept, blurred into endless weeks. She has become lonely.

Francis has worked for a tool hire firm and a betting chain, as well as for charities. The offices she remembers have taken on a different shape in her mind. “I used to think of a desk as like a kind of prison cell, where I was chained for eight hours a day,” she tells me over the phone. “It was always like serving time. But, at this point, my desk would be my saviour.”

Lockdown has not so much redrawn the workplace of millions as it has chewed it up like a broken printer. Working from home, a mode traditionally viewed with suspicion by bosses and with envy by commuting bureausceptics, has become the norm for those whose livings are tied to computer screens.

As weeks become months and offices remain closed, many are predicting their permanent decline. Buildings that for decades have defined urban geography, diurnal rhythms and the meaning of work may never hum in the same way to the sounds of keyboards and fluorescent lighting.

“I’ve spoken to about eight startups that have already got rid of their office,” says Matt Bradburn, the co-founder of London-based People Collective, which advises companies on human resources. “And we’re talking companies of 50 to 100 people.” Elsewhere, firms including Twitter and Facebook have said they will allow employees to work from home for ever.

The potential demise of commutes and the soul-sapping trappings of office life is a cause of celebration for many among the 49% of workers now toiling at home. But for people such as Francis, whose flat is unsuited to work, offices provide space to share ideas, socialise and maintain a work-life divide that has become hopelessly blurred.

According to a survey by the global financial services company Jefferies, 61% of more than 1,500 UK respondents said they would return to work immediately if they could. Facebook says half of its employees will work from home by 2030, but Mark Zuckerberg said only one in five were enthusiastic about doing so. More than half “really want to get back to the office as soon as possible”, he told the Wall Street Journal.

When Bradburn polled his network of more than 5,000 HR bosses, he asked for the biggest reasons their teams had shared for wanting to go back to the office. Seventy per cent cited social and mental health issues, including feelings of loneliness. “I think young people in particular really need that connection,” Bradburn says.

The effects of working from home have been little studied, partly because remote working was pretty rare until this spring. The proportion of the UK workforce who worked “mainly” at home went from 4% to 5% in the UK between 2015 and 2019, according to the Office for National Statistics. Permanent home working was vanishingly rare.

“It’s always been a pretty backwater topic,” says Nick Bloom, a British economics professor at Stanford University in California and an expert in home working. The last time Bloom’s phone rang so much was 2013, he says, when Marissa Mayer, then the chief executive of Yahoo, banned remote working. “Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home,” read a leaked memo to staff.

The assumption has been that remote workers slack without direct supervision. But do they? In 2010, a Chinese travel agency with 16,000 employees came to Bloom in search of evidence. Ctrip, which assumed workers would prefer being at home, was spending big money on offices in Shanghai. It wanted to know what remote work might do for the bottom line. “Their proposition was that they’d save on rent, but lose on productivity,” Bloom says.

Bloom devised a trial – the first of its kind – involving 250 members of a Ctrip call centre. Half of the group were selected at random to work from home for nine months. The other half would continue to work in the office and the productivity of both teams would be measured.

None of Ctrip’s assumptions were right. Productivity in the home group went up by 13%. Without the distractions of the office, agents were making more calls and taking fewer breaks and sick days. “They were truly stunned by the results,” Bloom says of Ctrip. Its executives calculated not only that they could save millions in rent, but also that they could make $2,000 (then about £1,300) more in profit annually per employee. GettyImages-1180592701.jpg

Since April, more than half a million people have listen to The Sound of Colleagues, which pipes simulated office noise into their homes. Photo by Maskot / Getty Images.

But the experiment also measured happiness. When Ctrip polled staff, half of the home-based group wanted to go back to the office. “Loneliness was the single biggest reason,” Bloom says. Plus, they were not in lockdown conditions: only people with a spare room took part; none had children at home or flatmates; and they still worked one day a week in the office.

Bloom is now constantly fielding calls from anxious executives. “They have said productivity has been great and they’re thinking of abandoning the office,” he says. “I’m counselling that it’s shortsighted and high-risk.” Bloom had always been supportive of remote working, if not full-time, even after the Ctrip experiment. “Now I feel like I’ve gone from being an evangelist for working from home to an evangelist for the office,” he says.

Erin Mackenzie, 23, knows what it can be like to work remotely full-time without the stresses of lockdown. Last summer, she got a junior marketing job with an online education company based in the Middle East. Mackenzie, who lives in a small house in a small town 50 miles north of New York City, thought working from home would be great.

After four months of long days alone at the tiny desk in her bedroom, Mackenzie had a panic attack. She had lost weight and become depressed. “At first, I thought it was because the job was demanding, but I realised it was more the isolation and not being able to interact with people,” she says. “I hadn’t realised I’d relied on that so heavily for my mental health.”

Mackenzie also felt suffocated by the digital monitoring, which was already becoming standard in big firms. Hers was relatively light. An agenda app would track tasks and alert faceless bosses when they were done. Response times to chats were noted. “It definitely added to me feeling like I didn’t have set hours and the anxiety of it all,” she says.

If offices were to evolve to extract as much as possible from human resources, there are concerns that firms would use technology to tighten the screws further in our homes. Interest in the software offered by Teramind, a Florida-based employee monitoring and analytics firm with more than 2,000 clients, has tripled in lockdown. When downloaded to employees’ computers, Teramind’s “agent” can measure time spent on different windows. It can play back or live-stream a view of an employee’s screen and record his or her every keystroke. It can also raise a flag if certain predetermined words are typed.

Before lockdown, 70% of Teramind’s clients were concerned about security – leaks of sensitive information, for example – while 30% saw productivity as the priority. “Now, it’s flipped,” says Eli Sutton, the firm’s head of operations. But he rejects the suggestion of Orwellian overtones. “I can say first-hand that employers have better things to do than to spy on you all day,” he says. “Teramind is an extra set of eyes to make sure distractions aren’t causing issues.”

Will Gosling, who leads Deloitte’s consulting on “human capital” in the UK, says: “We’re at the beginning of a very big ethical debate about this. We were already seeing businesses wanting to get more data on employees and the pandemic has brought it into sharp focus … but they need to support and build health and wellbeing.”

Trade unions worry that working from home will challenge privacy and rights, making it harder for employees to organise or be aware of how colleagues are being treated, particularly in the most onerous fields of white-collar work. There are questions about liability. Mental health is part of the picture. “Employers have a responsibility to ensure worker wellbeing and that doesn’t end just because people are not in the office,” says Tim Sharp, the senior policy officer for employment rights at the Trades Union Congress.

Mackenzie quit after the panic attack and got a job with an insurer. She immediately felt better, even while enduring a two-hour commute to Manhattan for her training. She now works in a smaller office a short drive from home – or, rather, she did until the pandemic. It helps that she now works for a better, kinder company. Her fiance is working at home, too. “Without him here, I probably would have crumbled,” she says.

At their best, offices are crucibles for ideas and lifelong friendships, particularly among younger workers with small homes but big social circles. The Office was not just a comic study of business park malaise – it was a love story. Working from home may boost productivity for a while, “but it’s so costly in terms of creativity and inspiration”, Bloom says. “We’re all suffering from Zoom overload and feeling worn down.”

Flick Adkins, who is 28, counts some of her colleagues as her best friends. For three months, she has been cut off from them while working from the flat she shares with five other people in north London. She works for LRWTonic, a market research company, and takes a lot of private calls. She has to sit cross-legged on her bed, stacking her laptop on part of her vinyl collection. She has settled on 20 records as the optimal height.

Adkins’s now empty office has a ping pong table and a coffee machine, where she would chat with friends before starting her day. On Fridays, she and her 20 mostly young colleagues would go out for lunch and have drinks after work.

Like Francis, Adkins feels lonely, down and unmotivated. “Having an office was symbolic of normality,” she says. “I loved just being at my desk and hearing the buzz and all the conversations … I can count on two hands the number of times I’ve said: ‘I don’t know much longer I can do this.’”

Last month, Adkins’s boss, Anna Dunn, floated with her team the idea of ditching the office for good and saving £200,000 a year in rent. “I said that the money would be distributed to them in a bonus, to some degree,” Dunn, 40, says from her kitchen. She, too, misses the office. “I thought there might be this desire to stay remote, but not one person does. They all want to go back.”

The sounds of the office have a new resonance. More than half a million people have tuned into The Sound of Colleagues, a web page and Spotify playlist of workplace sounds, including keyboards, printers, chatter and coffee machines. Red Pipe, a Swedish music and sound studio, created it in April as a joke, but its data suggests that people keep it on in the background.

Progressive employers are racing to find ways to recreate the joys and perks of office life. Google is laying on cookery classes and mindfulness sessions, as well as offering $1,000 (£780) to each employee for equipment. Lauren Whitt, Google’s wellness manager and resilience lead, says demand has grown for her team’s services, which include video counselling and therapy by text for people who lack privacy. “We’re also seeing more families having more access [to these services],” she adds.

If reports of the death of the office have been exaggerated, everyone agrees it won’t look the same. Bloom envisages a new landscape of smaller offices, with employees alternately working at home for half the week to bring down costs and make physical distancing more viable. Budgets for nice interiors will fall. “I think the office will be more suburban, more spacious and nastier-looking,” he says.

Francis would not care. When I speak to her, she has taken a week of holiday. She had anxiety before the pandemic, which partly expressed itself in a need to be busy all the time. But, after three months of sometimes 12-hour days and a deepening sense of unease, burnout has become a worrying prospect. Not that she can really escape her place of work. “I’m just sort of winging it this week and not planning too much,” she says from her bedroom couch. “I just need a bit of time to gather myself.”

Simon Usborne is a freelance feature writer and reporter based in London. He was previously a feature writer and an editor at The Independent.

Sex Reassignment Doesn’t Work. Here Is the Evidence. Posted Here July 25th 2020

Mar 9th, 2018 15 min read

COMMENTARY BY

Why can’t men just be men ? It is feminist bigotry that refuses to accept natural and cultural differences, yet they become very unpleasant when confronted by transsesualism, as acclaimed fantasy author J.K Rowlin’s rants demonstrates, along with others like old Guru and feminist icon Germaine Greer. Image Appledene Photographics/RJC

Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D. @RyanTAnd 

Senior Research Fellow in American Principles and Public Policy

Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D., researches and writes about marriage, bioethics, religious liberty and political philosophy.

To provide the best possible care, serving the patient’s medical interests requires an understanding of human wholeness and well-being. XiXinXing/Getty Images

Key Takeaways

McHugh points to the reality that because sex change is physically impossible, it frequently does not provide the long-term wholeness and happiness that people seek.

Unfortunately, many professionals now view health care—including mental health care—primarily as a means of fulfilling patients’ desires, whatever those are.

Our brains and senses are designed to bring us into contact with reality, connecting us with the outside world and with the reality of ourselves.

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Sex “reassignment” doesn’t work. It’s impossible to “reassign” someone’s sex physically, and attempting to do so doesn’t produce good outcomes psychosocially.

As I demonstrate in my book, “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment,” the medical evidence suggests that sex reassignment does not adequately address the psychosocial difficulties faced by people who identify as transgender. Even when the procedures are successful technically and cosmetically, and even in cultures that are relatively “trans-friendly,” transitioners still face poor outcomes.

Dr. Paul McHugh, the university distinguished service professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, explains:

Transgendered men do not become women, nor do transgendered women become men. All (including Bruce Jenner) become feminized men or masculinized women, counterfeits or impersonators of the sex with which they ‘identify.’ In that lies their problematic future.

When ‘the tumult and shouting dies,’ it proves not easy nor wise to live in a counterfeit sexual garb. The most thorough follow-up of sex-reassigned people—extending over 30 years and conducted in Sweden, where the culture is strongly supportive of the transgendered—documents their lifelong mental unrest. Ten to 15 years after surgical reassignment, the suicide rate of those who had undergone sex-reassignment surgery rose to 20 times that of comparable peers.

McHugh points to the reality that because sex change is physically impossible, it frequently does not provide the long-term wholeness and happiness that people seek.

Indeed, the best scientific research supports McHugh’s caution and concern.

Here’s how The Guardian summarized the results of a review of “more than 100 follow-up studies of post-operative transsexuals” by Birmingham University’s Aggressive Research Intelligence Facility:

[The Aggressive Research Intelligence Facility], which conducts reviews of health care treatments for the [National Health Service], concludes that none of the studies provides conclusive evidence that gender reassignment is beneficial for patients. It found that most research was poorly designed, which skewed the results in favor of physically changing sex. There was no evaluation of whether other treatments, such as long-term counseling, might help transsexuals, or whether their gender confusion might lessen over time.

“There is huge uncertainty over whether changing someone’s sex is a good or a bad thing,” said Chris Hyde, the director of the facility. Even if doctors are careful to perform these procedures only on “appropriate patients,” Hyde continued, “there’s still a large number of people who have the surgery but remain traumatized—often to the point of committing suicide.”

Of particular concern are the people these studies “lost track of.” As The Guardian noted, “the results of many gender reassignment studies are unsound because researchers lost track of more than half of the participants.” Indeed, “Dr. Hyde said the high drop-out rate could reflect high levels of dissatisfaction or even suicide among post-operative transsexuals.”

Hyde concluded: “The bottom line is that although it’s clear that some people do well with gender reassignment surgery, the available research does little to reassure about how many patients do badly and, if so, how badly.”

The facility conducted its review back in 2004, so perhaps things have changed in the past decade?

Not so. In 2014, a new review of the scientific literature was done by Hayes, Inc., a research and consulting firm that evaluates the safety and health outcomes of medical technologies. Hayes found that the evidence on long-term results of sex reassignment was too sparse to support meaningful conclusions and gave these studies its lowest rating for quality:

Statistically significant improvements have not been consistently demonstrated by multiple studies for most outcomes. … Evidence regarding quality of life and function in male-to-female adults was very sparse. Evidence for less comprehensive measures of well-being in adult recipients of cross-sex hormone therapy was directly applicable to [gender dysphoric] patients but was sparse and/or conflicting. The study designs do not permit conclusions of causality and studies generally had weaknesses associated with study execution as well. There are potentially long-term safety risks associated with hormone therapy but none have been proven or conclusively ruled out.

The Obama administration came to similar conclusions. In 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services revisited the question of whether sex reassignment surgery would have to be covered by Medicare plans. Despite receiving a request that its coverage be mandated, it refused, on the ground that we lack evidence that it benefits patients.

Here’s how the June 2016 “Proposed Decision Memo for Gender Dysphoria and Gender Reassignment Surgery” put it:

Based on a thorough review of the clinical evidence available at this time, there is not enough evidence to determine whether gender reassignment surgery improves health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries with gender dysphoria. There were conflicting (inconsistent) study results—of the best designed studies, some reported benefits while others reported harms. The quality and strength of evidence were low due to the mostly observational study designs with no comparison groups, potential confounding, and small sample sizes. Many studies that reported positive outcomes were exploratory type studies (case-series and case-control) with no confirmatory follow-up.

The final August 2016 memo was even more blunt. It pointed out:

Overall, the quality and strength of evidence were low due to mostly observational study designs with no comparison groups, subjective endpoints, potential confounding (a situation where the association between the intervention and outcome is influenced by another factor such as a co-intervention), small sample sizes, lack of validated assessment tools, and considerable lost to follow-up.

That “lost to follow-up,” remember, could be pointing to people who committed suicide.

And when it comes to the best studies, there is no evidence of “clinically significant changes” after sex reassignment:

The majority of studies were non-longitudinal, exploratory type studies (i.e., in a preliminary state of investigation or hypothesis generating), or did not include concurrent controls or testing prior to and after surgery. Several reported positive results but the potential issues noted above reduced strength and confidence. After careful assessment, we identified six studies that could provide useful information. Of these, the four best designed and conducted studies that assessed quality of life before and after surgery using validated (albeit non-specific) psychometric studies did not demonstrate clinically significant changes or differences in psychometric test results after [gender reassignment surgery].

In a discussion of the largest and most robust study—the study from Sweden that McHugh mentioned in the quote above—the Obama Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services pointed out the 19-times-greater likelihood for death by suicide, and a host of other poor outcomes:

The study identified increased mortality and psychiatric hospitalization compared to the matched controls. The mortality was primarily due to completed suicides (19.1-fold greater than in control Swedes), but death due to neoplasm and cardiovascular disease was increased 2 to 2.5 times as well. We note, mortality from this patient population did not become apparent until after 10 years. The risk for psychiatric hospitalization was 2.8 times greater than in controls even after adjustment for prior psychiatric disease (18 percent). The risk for attempted suicide was greater in male-to-female patients regardless of the gender of the control. Further, we cannot exclude therapeutic interventions as a cause of the observed excess morbidity and mortality. The study, however, was not constructed to assess the impact of gender reassignment surgery per se.

These results are tragic. And they directly contradict the most popular media narratives, as well as many of the snapshot studies that do not track people over time. As the Obama Centers for Medicare and Medicaid pointed out, “mortality from this patient population did not become apparent until after 10 years.”

So when the media tout studies that only track outcomes for a few years, and claim that reassignment is a stunning success, there are good grounds for skepticism.

As I explain in my book, these outcomes should be enough to stop the headlong rush into sex reassignment procedures. They should prompt us to develop better therapies for helping people who struggle with their gender identity.

And none of this even begins to address the radical, entirely experimental therapies that are being directed at the bodies of children to transition them.

Sex Change Is Physically Impossible

We’ve seen some of the evidence that sex reassignment doesn’t produce good outcomes psychosocially. And as McHugh suggested above, part of the reason why is because sex change is impossible and “it proves not easy nor wise to live in a counterfeit sexual garb.”

But what is the basis for the conclusion that sex change is impossible?

Contrary to the claims of activists, sex isn’t “assigned” at birth—and that’s why it can’t be “reassigned.” As I explain in “When Harry Became Sally,” sex is a bodily reality that can be recognized well before birth with ultrasound imaging. The sex of an organism is defined and identified by the way in which it (he or she) is organized for sexual reproduction.

This is just one manifestation of the fact that natural organization is “the defining feature of an organism,” as neuroscientist Maureen Condic and her philosopher brother Samuel Condic explain. In organisms, “the various parts … are organized to cooperatively interact for the welfare of the entity as a whole. Organisms can exist at various levels, from microscopic single cells to sperm whales weighing many tons, yet they are all characterized by the integrated function of parts for the sake of the whole.”

Male and female organisms have different parts that are functionally integrated for the sake of their whole, and for the sake of a larger whole—their sexual union and reproduction. So an organism’s sex—as male or female—is identified by its organization for sexually reproductive acts. Sex as a status—male or female—is a recognition of the organization of a body that can engage in sex as an act.

That organization isn’t just the best way to figure out which sex you are. It’s the only way to make sense of the concepts of male and female at all. What else could “maleness” or “femaleness” even refer to, if not your basic physical capacity for one of two functions in sexual reproduction?

The conceptual distinction between male and female based on reproductive organization provides the only coherent way to classify the two sexes. Apart from that, all we have are stereotypes.

This shouldn’t be controversial. Sex is understood this way across sexually reproducing species. No one finds it particularly difficult—let alone controversial—to identify male and female members of the bovine species or the canine species. Farmers and breeders rely on this easy distinction for their livelihoods. It’s only recently, and only with respect to the human species, that the very concept of sex has become controversial.

And yet, in an expert declaration to a federal district court in North Carolina concerning H.B. 2 (a state law governing access to sex-specific restrooms), Dr. Deanna Adkins stated, “From a medical perspective, the appropriate determinant of sex is gender identity.” Adkins is a professor at Duke University School of Medicine and the director of the Duke Center for Child and Adolescent Gender Care (which opened in 2015).

Adkins argues that gender identity is not only the preferred basis for determining sex, but “the only medically supported determinant of sex.” Every other method is bad science, she claims: “It is counter to medical science to use chromosomes, hormones, internal reproductive organs, external genitalia, or secondary sex characteristics to override gender identity for purposes of classifying someone as male or female.”

In her sworn declaration to the federal court, Adkins called the standard account of sex—an organism’s sexual organization—“an extremely outdated view of biological sex.”

Dr. Lawrence Mayer responded in his rebuttal declaration: “This statement is stunning. I have searched dozens of references in biology, medicine and genetics—even Wiki!—and can find no alternative scientific definition. In fact, the only references to a more fluid definition of biological sex are in the social policy literature.”

Just so. Mayer is a scholar in residence in the Department of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a professor of statistics and biostatistics at Arizona State University.

Modern science shows that our sexual organization begins with our DNA and development in the womb, and that sex differences manifest themselves in many bodily systems and organs, all the way down to the molecular level. In other words, our physical organization for one of two functions in reproduction shapes us organically, from the beginning of life, at every level of our being.

Cosmetic surgery and cross-sex hormones can’t change us into the opposite sex. They can affect appearances. They can stunt or damage some outward expressions of our reproductive organization. But they can’t transform it. They can’t turn us from one sex into the other.

“Scientifically speaking, transgender men are not biological men and transgender women are not biological women. The claims to the contrary are not supported by a scintilla of scientific evidence,” explains Mayer.

Or, as Princeton philosopher Robert P. George put it, “Changing sexes is a metaphysical impossibility because it is a biological impossibility.”

The Purpose of Medicine, Emotions, and the Mind

Behind the debates over therapies for people with gender dysphoria are two related questions: How do we define mental health and human flourishing? And what is the purpose of medicine, particularly psychiatry?

Those general questions encompass more specific ones: If a man has an internal sense that he is a woman, is that just a variety of normal human functioning, or is it a psychopathology? Should we be concerned about the disconnection between feeling and reality, or only about the emotional distress or functional difficulties it may cause?

What is the best way to help people with gender dysphoria manage their symptoms: by accepting their insistence that they are the opposite sex and supporting a surgical transition, or by encouraging them to recognize that their feelings are out of line with reality and learn how to identify with their bodies?

All of these questions require philosophical analysis and worldview judgments about what “normal human functioning” looks like and what the purpose of medicine is.

Settling the debates over the proper response to gender dysphoria requires more than scientific and medical evidence. Medical science alone cannot tell us what the purpose of medicine is.

Science cannot answer questions about meaning or purpose in a moral sense. It can tell us about the function of this or that bodily system, but it can’t tell us what to do with that knowledge. It cannot tell us how human beings ought to act. Those are philosophical questions, as I explain in “When Harry Became Sally.”

While medical science does not answer philosophical questions, every medical practitioner has a philosophical worldview, explicit or not. Some doctors may regard feelings and beliefs that are disconnected from reality as a part of normal human functioning and not a source of concern unless they cause distress. Other doctors will regard those feelings and beliefs as dysfunctional in themselves, even if the patient does not find them distressing, because they indicate a defect in mental processes.

But the assumptions made by this or that psychiatrist for purposes of diagnosis and treatment cannot settle the philosophical questions: Is it good or bad or neutral to harbor feelings and beliefs that are at odds with reality? Should we accept them as the last word, or try to understand their causes and correct them, or at least mitigate their effects?

While the current findings of medical science, as shown above, reveal poor psychosocial outcomes for people who have had sex reassignment therapies, that conclusion should not be where we stop. We must also look deeper for philosophical wisdom, starting with some basic truths about human well-being and healthy functioning.

We should begin by recognizing that sex reassignment is physically impossible. Our minds and senses function properly when they reveal reality to us and lead us to knowledge of truth. And we flourish as human beings when we embrace the truth and live in accordance with it. A person might find some emotional relief in embracing a falsehood, but doing so would not make him or her objectively better off. Living by a falsehood keeps us from flourishing fully, whether or not it also causes distress.

This philosophical view of human well-being is the foundation of a sound medical practice. Dr. Michelle Cretella, the president of the American College of Pediatricians—a group of doctors who formed their own professional guild in response to the politicization of the American Academy of Pediatrics—emphasizes that mental health care should be guided by norms grounded in reality, including the reality of the bodily self.

“The norm for human development is for one’s thoughts to align with physical reality, and for one’s gender identity to align with one’s biologic sex,” she says. For human beings to flourish, they need to feel comfortable in their own bodies, readily identify with their sex, and believe that they are who they actually are. For children especially, normal development and functioning require accepting their physical being and understanding their embodied selves as male or female.

Unfortunately, many professionals now view health care—including mental health care—primarily as a means of fulfilling patients’ desires, whatever those are. In the words of Leon Kass, a professor emeritus at the University of Chicago, today a doctor is often seen as nothing more than “a highly competent hired syringe”:

The implicit (and sometimes explicit) model of the doctor-patient relationship is one of contract: the physician—a highly competent hired syringe, as it were—sells his services on demand, restrained only by the law (though he is free to refuse his services if the patient is unwilling or unable to meet his fee). Here’s the deal: for the patient, autonomy and service; for the doctor, money, graced by the pleasure of giving the patient what he wants. If a patient wants to fix her nose or change his gender, determine the sex of unborn children, or take euphoriant drugs just for kicks, the physician can and will go to work—provided that the price is right and that the contract is explicit about what happens if the customer isn’t satisfied.

This modern vision of medicine and medical professionals gets it wrong, says Kass. Professionals ought to profess their devotion to the purposes and ideals they serve. Teachers should be devoted to learning, lawyers to justice, clergy to things divine, and physicians to “healing the sick, looking up to health and wholeness.” Healing is “the central core of medicine,” Kass writes—“to heal, to make whole, is the doctor’s primary business.”

To provide the best possible care, serving the patient’s medical interests requires an understanding of human wholeness and well-being. Mental health care must be guided by a sound concept of human flourishing. The minimal standard of care should begin with a standard of normality. Cretella explains how this standard applies to mental health:

One of the chief functions of the brain is to perceive physical reality. Thoughts that are in accordance with physical reality are normal. Thoughts that deviate from physical reality are abnormal—as well as potentially harmful to the individual or to others. This is true whether or not the individual who possesses the abnormal thoughts feels distress.

Our brains and senses are designed to bring us into contact with reality, connecting us with the outside world and with the reality of ourselves. Thoughts that disguise or distort reality are misguided—and can cause harm. In “When Harry Became Sally,” I argue that we need to do a better job of helping people who face these struggles.

This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal

More on This Issue

The U.K. Rightly Pushes Back on Gender Transitioning for Minors

Covid and Mental Health

Covid and Mental Health July 22bd 2020

Even if you don’t personally live with the same problems that many of us do, then a moment’s reflection will reveal how the current crisis of physical health will inevitably bear on mental health too. With millions infected by Covid-19 and hundreds of thousands dead around the world, no area of life has gone unaffected: businesses closed, jobs lost, friends separated, relatives grieving. And these are merely the more obvious effects. Beyond the lost lives and livelihoods there is a ubiquitous worry about getting sick, plus a pervasive sense of uncertainty, insecurity and gnawing anxiety that has seeped through the locked-down economy. In the UK, around nine million people are expected to be furloughed, many of them facing an agonisingly precarious future. Sinking incomes have already translated into around a million new claims for universal credit, a new benefit that was synonymous with delays and hardship before the sudden crisis hit it.

Meanwhile, those who are still in demand from employers have different problems, whether it’s NHS and care staff with inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE) or manual and service workers who can’t afford not to work, can’t do so from home, and must now set off with no greater protection against the virus than gratingly cheerful government advice about “staying alert” and, if possible, somehow getting there without catching the bus. No wonder that even those without any history of mental illness are starting to feel the strain.

Beyond control

“Because there’s no vaccine or known way of getting to the other side, the level of uncertainty is through the roof,” explains therapist Simon Coombs. “At the moment, we have no control. So for someone who’s never really struggled… they’ve really been dropped in at the deep end.”

Jon, an office worker from Sheffield in his late 30s, had previously supported friends and an ex-partner through various issues with their mental health. But, until the coronavirus pandemic, he had never struggled himself. “I feel quite naive now,” he says, “because I thought that looking after people who weren’t well meant I understood what it was like to feel so anxious and depressed.” He laughs. “I really didn’t.”

Finances weigh heavily on his mind. Laid off from his job because of Covid-19, Jon has relied on bits and pieces of freelance work to get by. But these are few and far between, and when he and his flatmate requested a rent reduction from their landlord, they were rejected. “I’m already living off my savings,” he says. “And trust me, there isn’t much of them.”

A persistently low mood came first, then problems with sleep. Normally a fairly regular sleeper, Jon has recently been averaging two to three hours a night, worrying about money and work and feeling so anxious “it makes me physically nauseous.” “Then the next day I feel like a zombie—I can’t do anything except lie in bed or sit on the sofa looking at my phone,” he says. “I would say, 100 per cent, that this is the lowest point of my life by far.”

“I live in a flat with no garden and I’m not really near any substantial green space, so I’m spending a lot of time on my own indoors,” he continues. He has a flatmate (who he gets on with), but her job has moved entirely to home working, so she’s busy during the day: “I don’t like to bother her,” Jon explains. Now, for the first time in his life, Jon is seriously considering seeing a therapist.

A British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy survey underlines that Jon is not alone. Ninety-eight per cent of counsellors said that coronavirus has come up in therapy with both new and regular clients. A minority reported a significant increase in clients since lockdown began, which is pretty striking given the impossibility of in-person appointments, and the need for new patients to navigate the whole process online. The picture is just as grim in surveys of patients rather than practitioners. Rethink Mental Illness found that 80 per cent of those living with severe conditions had felt their mental health worsen due to coronavirus; 28 per cent said their health was “much worse.”

Loss, debt, ongoing economic uncertainty and anxiety about personal health will all create a need for counselling after lockdown ends, as over 20 organisations representing 65,000 professionals—including the British Psychoanalytic Council, Cruse Bereavement Care and the Association of Child Psychotherapists—wrote in an open letter to Health Secretary Matt Hancock in May. But “supporting the nation through the coronavirus crisis” with the help of counselling and therapy, as the professionals urged, is not looking like a straightforward task. For one, many practitioners are self-employed themselves, and likely to be struggling to keep their own businesses afloat. And for clients, access is always limited. Though therapists charge a range of fees, the average is somewhere between £50 to £120 per hour, with low-cost options limited; even these can cost up to £20, and £10 sessions with trainee psychotherapists are few and far between. Shut out from receiving private therapy, those living in poverty are often left to endure long NHS waits alone. One 2018 survey found some patients had waited up to 13 years for support, with waits of many months common. And as demand grows, the waiting lists will now soar in parallel.

“I can barely afford rent,” Jon says. “How am I supposed to pay for therapy?”

Talk Talk

Long a taboo, mental health has suddenly been something of a buzzphrase over the last few years, with stigma-busting campaigns such as Time to Talk making headway in confronting stereotypes. Indeed, “talking” is at the heart of many campaigns: Get Britain Talking, for example, urged ITV viewers to open up.

Wider media interest is rising too—a 2018 Mind survey found coverage had rocketed by 22 per cent in a mere 12 months. There have been more news reports, more interviews where celebrities “open up” and more storylines on TV soaps. Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton have made mental health central to their platform, promoting “kindness and self-care” through their Heads Together campaign, and both William and his brother Harry have spoken publicly about their struggles after the death of their mother in a way that would have been unthinkable for the stiff-upper lip royals of past generations.

It’s hard to criticise such campaigns—it’s better to talk than stay silent. But by focusing on milder conditions and general “wellbeing,” the new interest still tends to look away from the experience of many with more severe or chronic conditions—personality disorders, schizophrenia and others. “Kindness and self-care,” whether promoted by the younger royals or not, is unlikely to much change the life of someone experiencing psychosis.

But are words replacing action? All the new positive talk has come in parallel with a long squeeze on NHS finances and outright cuts to many welfare services. You might be eager to talk about your mental health, but even if you can persuade a GP this is a good idea, it’ll often be months until you see a psychiatrist or NHS psychotherapist. Former prime minister Theresa May’s efforts to reduce the “stigma” around talking about mental health made an important point, but was it just a coincidence that she pushed that theme quite so hard after long years of austerity? “It is always wrong for people to assume that the only answer to these issues is about funding,” May said. Perhaps, but funding matters, too. All the talk about talking took responsibility away from the state and pushed it back onto individuals.

Though a lot of noise has been made about mental health spending in the last few years, much of it has been hot air. Having been savagely squeezed, the trumpeted largesse to mental health trusts has often done nothing more than make up for previous cuts, often inadequately. Shortages are rife, with a 30 per cent slump in the number of beds for mental health patients. In the past 10 years, the UK has lost 6,000 mental health nurses—nearly 11 per cent of the workforce. In 2019, the UN special rapporteur on health released a report that concluded that austerity measures in the UK had significantly contributed to poor mental health.

There have also been ongoing issues with “off-rolling” patients once they leave hospital. Secondary services—community mental health or crisis and recovery teams—have long supported people after discharge. But according to a report from Manchester Mind published in October 2019, cuts to services now routinely place this responsibility at the door of GPs who are ill-equipped to deal with serious mental illness. When people have no one to turn to who knows how to support them, it predictably leads to more intense distress—and in some cases death, whether from suicide, neglect of physical health or from accidents such as drug overdoses or alcohol abuse. All this forms the backdrop to the emerging mental strain from the pandemic, and threatens to combine with it to produce the perfect storm.

A little less conversation

No part of the NHS was prepared for coronavirus. In 2016, when an operation named Exercise Cygnus simulated an influenza pandemic in the UK, the findings were stark. There were serious gaps in resources, including a lack of ventilators, PPE and critical care beds—all problems the NHS has faced since the pandemic hit. But away from the respiratory care “frontline,” less thought was given to the preparedness of mental health services, and they were never likely to fare well. And indeed, in late April, a survey commissioned by the Royal College of Psychiatrists found that 23 per cent of psychiatrists had no access to PPE at all, and that only half of those who had wanted tests had been able to get one.

The suffering isn’t restricted to hospitals. Access to services in the community has also decreased; some staff have had to take on outside caring responsibilities or have been ill themselves, leading to shortages. And with face-to-face appointments out of the question, much now relies on patchy provision of digital or phone consultations.

“Stay at home” messages have certainly played an important role in tackling the spread of the virus, but they have also contributed to many eschewing medical services they really need. One woman I spoke to told me that she’d avoided A&E after needing a self-harm wound sutured. “In normal circumstances I definitely would have considered it serious enough to go to A&E,” she said. “But, as I’m sure lots of other people who have presented at A&E with a mental health crisis can attest, you don’t always get a great reception there when you’ve self-harmed, and I just couldn’t face it at this point. I didn’t want to feel like I was wasting their time, or like I shouldn’t be there, or like I was putting other people at risk by going to hospital.” She had her own concerns about catching the virus too, worrying she’d have a higher chance of contracting it if she went. She dealt with her cuts herself.

Sean Duggan, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation’s Mental Health Network, confirms that referrals, which typically come through GPs, have dropped off recently. “We went through a stage where there was a bit of capacity in the system, not so many people referring [to GPs],” he says. He suggests “it was a combination of people frightened to refer and deciding to stay at home to protect themselves and the NHS—they were self-caring instead.” But now, Duggan believes, mental health services need to prepare for things to change fast, with “a huge demand on all of our services.” “I worry that we’ll predict a surge in demand for mental health services [and prepare for it], but that the demand will be even more than that,” he says. “The problem is that we don’t know, and I’m worried about that.”

Many who have suffered with mental health problems in the past will now be retraumatised or triggered by isolation or worry; problems left untreated in lockdown will foment and worsen; and—meanwhile—insecurity, hardship, isolation and grief will push previously “stable” people into distress. Although it’s impossible to know how many more people are going to be affected, many conversations I’ve had suggest that there may already be a rise in the number of people seeking help who had previously had no contact with mental health services before now.

If patients were sometimes waiting years to access therapies and services before, how long will they have to wait now—and how will the services cope? An optimist might point to the hero-worship of healthcare workers, and the way that a resistant Boris Johnson eventually conceded to exempt the health and care staff from the “NHS surcharge” imposed on overseas workers applying for leave to remain. This might be taken as evidence that political self-interest, if nothing else, will finally move the government to show some generosity towards public services.

But the virus, the lockdown and the furlough scheme will plunge the government deep into the red, which will make it harder to hold out much hope that decent funding will be provided on a sustainable basis. And it’s not just money that prevents governments from supporting mental health programmes, but also a lack of understanding. Johnson has shown a questionable grasp of mental health issues: in a much-criticised Telegraph column last year, the prime minister asserted the one reliable “cure is work,” suggesting anyone struggling should be inspired by Winston Churchill’s “almost superhuman production of books, speeches and articles,” which “pitchforked off his depression.” This is offensive bluster, of course, but in the Covid-19 economy the reality is that many people will have no work. And with no certainty around who will be able to access services, or the kind of care we’ll receive when we do, many are wondering what—if anything—they can do to improve their situation.

When someone is struggling to cope, they need more than the tips for general wellbeing beloved of some campaigns. In and of themselves, they are no bad thing: it goes without saying that taking care of your health and doing things that make you calm and happy are good. If taking a bath makes you relax after a difficult day, bathe away; drink your herbal tea, talk to your friends, learn to knit, buy that mindful colouring book. But the new battalion of mental health talking heads—celebrities, politicians and princes—are likely to be shielded from hardship and inequality; it is time we heard much more from those who truly are at the sharp end.

As those of us with severe or chronic conditions can tell you, the mainstream idea of “self-care” is not going to make a difference; the same goes if you’re homeless or don’t have a job, if you experience daily racism or find yourself forced to choose between heating and eating. “Be kind to yourself” might be a nice sentiment, but it’s almost meaningless: a toothless slogan that says absolutely nothing about people’s real lives and experiences. Yes, it’s good to talk. But as we begin to discuss the sheer scale of the unanswered need, we must be fully prepared for an awkward conversation. by Emily Reynolds June 2020.

Brain Gain: A Person Can Instantly Blossom into a Savant—and No One Knows Why

Some people suddenly become accomplished artists or musicians with no previous interest or training. Is it possible innate genius lies dormant within everyone?

Scientific American

  • Darold A. Treffert

Savant syndrome comes in different forms. In congenital savant syndrome the extraordinary savant ability surfaces in early childhood. In acquired savant syndrome astonishing new abilities, typically in music, art or mathematics, appear unexpectedly in ordinary persons after a head injury, stroke or other central nervous system (CNS) incident where no such abilities or interests were present pre-incident.

But in sudden savant syndrome an ordinary person with no such prior interest or ability and no precipitating injury or other CNS incident has an unanticipated, spontaneous epiphanylike moment where the rules and intricacies of music, art or mathematics, for example, are experienced and revealed, producing almost instantaneous giftedness and ability in the affected area of skill sets. Because there is no underlying disability such as that which occurs in congenital or acquired savant syndromes, technically sudden savant syndrome would be better termed sudden genius.

The Case of K. A.

A 28-year-old gentleman from Israel, K. A., sent his description of his epiphany moment. He was in a mall where there was a piano. Whereas he could play simple popular songs from rote memory before, “suddenly at age 28 after what I can best describe as a ‘just getting it moment,’ it all seemed so simple. I suddenly was playing like a well-educated pianist.” His friends were astonished as he played and suddenly understood music in an entirely intricate way. “I suddenly realized what the major scale and minor scale were, what their chords were and where to put my fingers in order to play certain parts of the scale. I was instantly able to recognize harmonies of the scales in songs I knew as well as the ability to play melody by interval recognition.” He began to search the internet for information on music theory and to his amazement “most of what they had to teach I already knew, which baffled me as to how could I know something I had never studied.”

K. A. has a high IQ, is now an attorney and has no history of any developmental disorder. He makes part of his living now doing musical performances.

The Case of M. F.

This 43-year-old woman woke up one night in December 2016 with what she called “the urgent need to draw a multitude of triangles, which quickly evolved to a web of complex abstract designs. I stayed up into the morning with a compulsive need to draw, which continued over the next three days at an intense level.” She had no prior interest or training in art. By the third day she was working on a piece of art she named “the Mayan,” which took her two weeks to complete. Three months later she had created 15 pieces whose styles were reminiscent of artists including Frida Kahlo and Picasso. She presently spends about eight hours a day on her craft in addition to her work as a real estate agent. Incorporated into most of her pieces of art is mandalic style of which she was totally unaware prior to her sudden art ability.

The Case of S. S.

When she was in her mid-40s, S. S. began noticing changes in her perception of the physical world around her. She said when she looked at things like trees and flowers, she started to see colors, textures and shadows in ways she had never seen before. This new way of seeing things compelled her to express her “new vision” on paper. She had never painted before in her life and was not comfortable with a paintbrush, so she bought a cheap set of pastel pencils at Hobby Lobby, found a photograph of a gorilla on the cover of an old National Geographic magazine, and sat down to draw it. The result—a rich, complex pastel painting with uncanny realism—stunned her friends and family, particularly in light of the fact she had never shown an aptitude for art or even an interest for that matter, and she never took an art class growing up.

From that point forward drawing and pastel painting began to consume her every waking moment. Her “new vision” wouldn’t allow her to just sit around and marvel at the beauty of this “new” world. She felt she had to act on it—she must act on it. From the very beginning this gift of seeing things in a new way was inextricably tied to a compulsive desire to reproduce that new world on paper. It became an obsession that all but took over her life. “I found it nearly impossible to put down my pastels and do things I needed to do,” she stated, “I was spending way too much money at Hobby Lobby and art supply stores. I was almost frenzied.”

Even now, when she needs to focus on other more pressing things in her life, S. S. must put the pastels and art aside and store them away in a place where she is not tempted by them, sometimes for months at a time. She worries that “starting a new painting could completely derail her.” In the case of S. S., as with other cases of sudden genius, there is no history of autism or CNS injury.

The Uniqueness of Sudden Genius

Many people pick up a new skill or hobby, especially later in life. So what is different here?

—The skill has an abrupt onset with no prior interest in or talent for the newly acquired ability.

—There is no obvious precipitating event or CNS injury or disease.

—The new skill is automatically coupled with a detailed, epiphany-type knowledge of the underlying rules of music, art or math, for example—none of which the person has studied. They know things without ever having learned them.

—The new skill is accompanied with an obsessive-compulsive (OCD) component; there is the overpowering need to play music, draw or compute. It is as much a force as a gift, as is usually the case with both congenital and acquired savant syndromes.

—There is a fear the gift and OCD is evidence of losing one’s mind, and a tendency to hide the new ability from others rather than display it.

—I have 14 such cases now. Ten are female and four are male. Age of onset of the new skill averages 47.2 years. The new skill was art, painting or drawing in nine cases; mathematics or calendar-calculating in four; music in one.

These cases came to my attention via unsolicited e-mails by people seeking explanation or advice from internet searches. We are in the process of exploring these cases further with a detailed survey instrument.

Daniel Tammet, a prodigious savant, is author of Born on a Blue Day. The way Daniel can describe his inner world so articulately has given scientists a personal, verbal window into the brain that they never had before. In a documentary filmed at the Milwaukee Art Museum he states: “The line between profound talent and profound disability seems to be really a surprisingly thin one. Who knows there may be abilities hidden within everyone that can be tapped in some way.”

Indeed, the acquired savant particularly, and now the sudden savant, reinforce the idea that not only is the line between savant and genius a very narrow one but also underscores the possibility such savant abilities may be dormant, to one degree or another, in all of us. The challenge is to tap those special abilities without head injury or CNS incident but rather with some nonintrusive, more readily available methods.

We are working on that.

Darold A. Treffert, a psychiatrist, met his first savant in 1962 and continues research on savant syndrome at the Treffert Center in Fond du Lac, Wis. He was a consultant for the 1988 movie Rain Man and maintains a Web page with information about savant syndrome.

The views expressed are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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This post originally appeared on Scientific American and was published July 25, 2018. This article is republished here with permission.

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The Charmer July 17th 2020

Most of us have come across them at some point – the kind of people who can walk into a room full of strangers but then leave with 10 new friends, a lunch date for the next day, and the promise of an introduction to an industry insider.   

Charmers. What makes these lucky individuals so effortlessly likeable when many of us have to work so hard at it? While many would have you believe social grace or winning people over is something of an artform, there is a surprising amount of science behind it too.

The factors that determine our success with other people, and the impressions we make upon them, can start even before we meet them. Research has proven the people we meet often make judgements about us based purely on the way we look. Alexander Todorov, a professor of psychology at Princeton, has shown that people can make judgements about someone’s likeability, trustworthiness and competence after seeing their face for less than a tenth of a second.

Armed with his natural charm, James Bond has been able to get away with anything (Credit: Getty Images)

“While some things, like dominance, are highly related to morphological features, there are things like trustworthiness and even attractiveness which are highly dependent on facial expressions,” says Todorov, whose book Face Value: The Irresistible Influence of First Impressions explores this phenomenon.

Making a snap judgement on something so superficial might seem rash, but we do it all the time without even realising. And it can have serious implications. For example, it might influnce who you vote for. One study showed that facial appearance can be used to predict the outcome of elections to the US Senate. Similarly, facial characteristics associated with competence have also been successful in predicting the outcomes of elections involving Bulgarian, French, Mexican and Brazilian politicians.

The judgements we make about someone’s face can influence our financial decisions too. In one experiment, borrowers who were perceived as looking less trustworthy were less likely to get loans on a peer-to-peer lending site. Lenders were making these judgements based on appearance in spite of having information about the borrowers employment status and credit history at their fingertips.

Put on a happy face

Of course, while you may not be able to control the physical features of your face, it is possible to alter your expressions and smile. Todorov has used data-driven statistical models to build algorithms that can manipulate faces to look more or less trustworthy, allowing him to tease out the features that we trust the most.

According to his work, as a face becomes happier, it also becomes more trustworthy.

  People will perceive a smiling face as more trustworthy, warmer and sociable

“People will perceive a smiling face as more trustworthy, warmer and sociable,” explains Todorov. “One of the major inputs to these impressions is emotional expression. If you look at our models and and manipulate the faces to become more trustworthy or extroverted, you see the emotional expression emerge—the face becomes happy.”

The factors that determine our success with other people, and the impressions we make upon them, can start even before we meet them (Credit: Getty Images)

For those situations where our first impression has not been as good as we might have hoped, there is also hope – we can still win people over so they forget that initial snap judgement.

“The good news is that we can very quickly override our first impression made based on appearance,” says Todorov. “If you have the opportunity to meet someone, the moment you have good information about them, you will change the way you perceive them.” If you can impress someone, they will often forget about what they thought when they first saw us, even if it was negative.

Channel your charm

This is where charm can come in. Olivia Fox Cabane, an executive coach and author of The Charisma Myth, defines charm as likability and “how delightful it is to interact with someone.”

Contrary to popular depictions, being likeable can have its benefits in business. Entrepreneurs with better social skills are more likely to be successful and workers who are well liked are better at getting their way at work. A study by the University of Massachusetts, for example, found that internal auditors who were well liked and provided an organised argument were more likely to have managers agree with their proposals, even if manager would otherwise tend to disagree with the auditors position if they had not met them.

Suzanne de Janasz, an affiliated professor of management at Seattle University, says interpersonal skills are becoming increasingly important in the workplace as organisations have done away with older, hierarchical structures in recent years.

“It’s become more germane, more critical, to have the ability to work in teams and influence with or without an actual title,” she says.

Having a happier facial expression can make you appear more trustworthy (Credit: Social Perception Lab/Princeton University)

Best of all, it’s possible to train yourself to be charming. Jack Schafer, a psychologist and retired FBI special agent who is a likeability coach and author of The Like Switch, points to Johnny Carson as a quintessential example of someone who preferred being alone, but who learned how to be extremely sociable for the camera. The late host of The Tonight Show would go years without giving interviews and once told the LA Times that 98% of the time he went home after the show rather than choosing to socialise with the glitterati.

“Carson was an extreme introvert who trained himself to be an extrovert,” says Schafer. “As soon as the show was over he curled up and went home, but on TV he was famous for smiling and laughing and making jokes.”

Raising eyebrows

So what can the rest of us do to be more charming? Schafer says charm starts with a simple flash of the eyebrows.

The three major things we do when we approach somebody that signals we are not a threat is an eyebrow flash a slight head tilt, and a smile

“Our brains are always surveying the environment for friend or foe signals,” he says. “The three major things we do when we approach somebody that signal we are not a threat are: an eyebrow flash – a quick up and down movement of the eyebrow that lasts about a sixthof a second – a slight head tilt, and a smile.”

So now you have made your entrance – hopefully without gurning like a maniac – experts agree that the next key to likability is to make your interaction about the other person. That means not talking about yourself.

“The golden rule of friendship is if you make people feel good about themselves, they’re going to like you,” says Schafer. Cabane agrees, but says it can only work if you show a geninue interest in what they are saying.

“Imagine the other person is a character in an indie flick,” she suggests. “Those characters become more fascinating the more you learn about them. You’ll find yourself observing and showing genuine interest in their mannerisms and personality.”

Focus on the different colours in their irises. By maintaining that level of eye contact, it will give the impression of interest

If that fails, she says interest can also be faked. “Focus on the different colors in their irises,” she says. “By maintaining that level of eye contact, it will give the impression of interest.”

Schafer suggests making empathic statements that might reflect some of what the other person is feeling.

“I once saw a student in an elevator who looked pleased with himself,” he explains. “I said ‘It looks like you’re having a good day.’ He went on to tell me about how he just aced a test he had spent weeks studying for. That entire exchange made him feel good about himself.”

If you know more about the person you’re speaking with, you can be even more effective.

“Instead of direct flattery, you want to allow people to flatter themselves,” he says. “Once I find out your age I can say something like, ‘you’re in your 30s and write for the BBC? Not many people can do that so young’. Now you’re giving yourself a psychological pat on the back.”

In a networking situation – something many people dread – you may have heard something about the person you’re speaking with, allowing you to bring up specific topics that are relevant to them. “You can say, ‘I heard that this great thing happened for you, I’d love to hear the story,’” suggests de Janasz.

Find common ground

De Janasz also suggests emphasising common ground, even when your opinions diverge. Charming people are often skilled at finding common ground with the people they interact with, even when there’s not much to go on.

Psychologist and retired FBI agent Schafer points to Johnny Carson as someone who preferred being alone, but learned to be extremely sociable for the camera (Credit: Getty Images)

“When you disagree, try to really listen to the other person rather than setting up your response, which research shows smart people tend to do,” she says. “It might seem like you totally disagree but on closer examination you might agree on a few things, at least in principle.”

She adds that it’s always a good idea to keep up with current events, and industry news, since those are the things most people have in common. Schafer also advises looking for common ground contemporaneously (You’re from California? I’m from California), temporally (I’m hoping to visit California next year) or vicariously (My daughter works for a firm in Silicon Valley).

Watch their body

Another key to likeability is to mirror the body language of the other person. When people are conversing and they begin to mirror one another, it is a signal that have a good rapport, says Schafer.

“So you can use that and mirror them so you can signal to them that you have good rapport,” he says. It is also a good way to test how the conversation is going – if you change your own position and the other person copies you, it is probably going well. Anyone working in sales might want to use that moment to start their pitch.

Schafer recommends revealing details about yourself little by little – like bread crumbs – so each new piece of information acts as “curiosity hooks” to keep their interest going

If you are looking to give your relationship with your new best friend some longevity, it might also be worth using something Schafer refers to as the Hansel and Gretel technique. A common mistake that many of us make is to overwhelm new people with too much information about ourselves, which can put them off. Instead, Schafer recommends revealing details about yourself little by little – like bread crumbs – so each new piece of information acts as “curiosity hooks” to keep their interest going.

“You gradually release information about yourself to keep the relationship alive,” he explains.

A quick flash of your eyebrows can send the right signals, just remember to smile too otherwise you might look weird (Credit: Alamy)

There will be, however, situations where you will need to get someone to like you unnaturally fast. If that’s the case, Schafer, whose 20 years at the FBI included getting people to divulge secret information, has strategies for getting people to answer personal questions.

Presumptive statements like “You sound as if you’re 25 to 30”, will often lead the other person to respond with a confirmation like, “Yes, I’m 30”, or a correction, “I’m 35”. Another approach might be to use quid pro quo, where offering personal details of your own life usually results in reciprocation.

Research has found that the quicker I can get someone to answer personal questions, the quicker that relationship is going to advance

Research has found that the quicker I can get someone to answer personal questions, the quicker that relationship is going to advance,” says Schafer. “So if I’m selling something, the more quickly I develop rapport and get you to say all sorts of intimate details about your life, the faster you will treat me as a friend and the faster I can get to my sell.”

If all else fails, simply spending time near someone can make him or her like you, even in extreme circumstances. Schafer opens his book with an anecdote from the FBI about a foreign spy who was in American custody. Everyday Schafer sat in his cell quietly reading the newspaper until eventually fear gave way to curiosity and the spy wanted to start a conversation.

“So initially it was proximity and duration,” says Schafer. “And then I gradually introduced intensity, leaning toward him, increasing eye contact, et cetera.” It took months, but Schafer ultimately got what he wanted.

So next time you walk into a room filled with new faces, with a bit of effort it might be you that everybody wants to get to know.

Psychologies used to be interesting, but is now what some might call a ‘Hags Mag’ It is very much about the miseries of being a woman, the indignity, the body challenges, the discrimination, being held back, seen as just a sex object .
All the psychological problems belong to women and are caused by men. If you believe that, then this magazine is for you.

Covid 19, Growing Evidence The Virus Was Man Made & Driving People Mad July 14th 2020

Doctors may be missing signs of serious and potentially fatal brain disorders triggered by coronavirus, as they emerge in mildly affected or recovering patients, scientists have warned.

Neurologists are on Wednesday publishing details of more than 40 UK Covid-19 patients whose complications ranged from brain inflammation and delirium to nerve damage and stroke. In some cases, the neurological problem was the patient’s first and main symptom.

The cases, published in the journal Brain, revealed a rise in a life-threatening condition called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (Adem), as the first wave of infections swept through Britain. At UCL’s Institute of Neurology, Adem cases rose from one a month before the pandemic to two or three per week in April and May. One woman, who was 59, died of the complication.

Covid-19 may cause brain complications in some, say doctors

Read more

A dozen patients had inflammation of the central nervous system, 10 had brain disease with delirium or psychosis, eight had strokes and a further eight had peripheral nerve problems, mostly diagnosed as Guillain-Barré syndrome, an immune reaction that attacks the nerves and causes paralysis. It is fatal in 5% of cases.

“We’re seeing things in the way Covid-19 affects the brain that we haven’t seen before with other viruses,” said Michael Zandi, a senior author on the study and a consultant at the institute and University College London Hospitals NHS foundation trust.

“What we’ve seen with some of these Adem patients, and in other patients, is you can have severe neurology, you can be quite sick, but actually have trivial lung disease,” he added.

“Biologically, Adem has some similarities with multiple sclerosis, but it is more severe and usually happens as a one-off. Some patients are left with long-term disability, others can make a good recovery.”

The cases add to concerns over the long-term health effects of Covid-19, which have left some patients breathless and fatigued long after they have cleared the virus, and others with numbness, weakness and memory problems.

One coronavirus patient described in the paper, a 55-year-old woman with no history of psychiatric illness, began to behave oddly the day after she was discharged from hospital.

A neuroscientist explains: the need for ‘empathetic citizens’ – podcast

She repeatedly put her coat on and took it off again and began to hallucinate, reporting that she saw monkeys and lions in her house. She was readmitted to hospital and gradually improved on antipsychotic medication.

Another woman, aged 47, was admitted to hospital with a headache and numbness in her right hand a week after a cough and fever came on. She later became drowsy and unresponsive and required an emergency operation to remove part of her skull to relieve pressure on her swollen brain.

“We want clinicians around the world to be alert to these complications of coronavirus,” Zandi said. He urged physicians, GPs and healthcare workers with patients with cognitive symptoms, memory problems, fatigue, numbness, or weakness, to discuss the case with neurologists.

“The message is not to put that all down to the recovery, and the psychological aspects of recovery,” he said. “The brain does appear to be involved in this illness.”

The full range of brain disorders caused by Covid-19 may not have been picked up yet, because many patients in hospitals are too sick to examine in brain scanners or with other procedures. “What we really need now is better research to look at what’s really going on in the brain,” Zandi said.

One concern is that the virus could leave a minority of the population with subtle brain damage that only becomes apparent in years to come. This may have happened in the wake of the 1918 flu pandemic, when up to a million people appeared to develop brain disease.

“It’s a concern if some hidden epidemic could occur after Covid where you’re going to see delayed effects on the brain, because there could be subtle effects on the brain and slowly things happen over the coming years, but it’s far too early for us to judge now,” Zandi said.

“We hope, obviously, that that’s not going to happen, but when you’ve got such a big pandemic affecting such a vast proportion of the population it’s something we need to be alert to.”

David Strain, a senior clinical lecturer at the University of Exeter Medical School, said that only a small number of patients appeared to experience serious neurological complications and that more work was needed to understand their prevalence.

“This is very important as we start to prepare post-Covid-19 rehabilitation programs,” he said. “We’ve already seen that some people with Covid-19 may need a long rehabilitation period, both physical rehabilitation such as exercise, and brain rehabilitation. We need to understand more about the impact of this infection on the brain.”

Comment The State and global elite state systems have to stoke up fear of Covid. Logically we may be seeing here, people with brain issues only detcted because they have had Covid.

There is a new and growing body of research supporting the view that life experience changes DNA. Ludicrous lockdown has undoubtedly increased Britain’s alarmingly high level of mental illness.

I suspect multi culture, feminism and economic insecurity has dome a lot to change peoples DNA along the route to all sorts of mental health problems, including psychosis. Robert Cook

No Psychology Without Consciousness July 14th 2020

Ever since Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, evolution has been the grand unifying theory of biology. Yet one of our most important biological traits, consciousness, is rarely studied in the context of evolution. Theories of consciousness come from religion, from philosophy, from cognitive science, but not so much from evolutionary biology. Maybe that’s why so few theories have been able to tackle basic questions such as: What is the adaptive value of consciousness? When did it evolve and what animals have it?

The Attention Schema Theory (AST), developed over the past five years, may be able to answer those questions. The theory suggests that consciousness arises as a solution to one of the most fundamental problems facing any nervous system: Too much information constantly flows in to be fully processed. The brain evolved increasingly sophisticated mechanisms for deeply processing a few select signals at the expense of others, and in the AST, consciousness is the ultimate result of that evolutionary sequence. If the theory is right—and that has yet to be determined—then consciousness evolved gradually over the past half billion years and is present in a range of vertebrate species.

Even before the evolution of a central brain, nervous systems took advantage of a simple computing trick: competition. Neurons act like candidates in an election, each one shouting and trying to suppress its fellows. At any moment only a few neurons win that intense competition, their signals rising up above the noise and impacting the animal’s behavior. This process is called selective signal enhancement, and without it, a nervous system can do almost nothing.

We can take a good guess when selective signal enhancement first evolved by comparing different species of animal, a common method in evolutionary biology. The hydra, a small relative of jellyfish, arguably has the simplest nervous system known—a nerve net. If you poke the hydra anywhere, it gives a generalized response. It shows no evidence of selectively processing some pokes while strategically ignoring others. The split between the ancestors of hydras and other animals, according to genetic analysis, may have been as early as 700 million years ago. Selective signal enhancement probably evolved after that.

The arthropod eye, on the other hand, has one of the best-studied examples of selective signal enhancement. It sharpens the signals related to visual edges and suppresses other visual signals, generating an outline sketch of the world. Selective enhancement therefore probably evolved sometime between hydras and arthropods—between about 700 and 600 million years ago, close to the beginning of complex, multicellular life. Selective signal enhancement is so primitive that it doesn’t even require a central brain. The eye, the network of touch sensors on the body, and the auditory system can each have their own local versions of attention focusing on a few select signals.

The next evolutionary advance was a centralized controller for attention that could coordinate among all senses. In many animals, that central controller is a brain area called the tectum. (“Tectum” means “roof” in Latin, and it often covers the top of the brain.) It coordinates something called overt attention – aiming the satellite dishes of the eyes, ears, and nose toward anything important.

All vertebrates—fish, reptiles, birds, and mammals—have a tectum. Even lampreys have one, and they appeared so early in evolution that they don’t even have a lower jaw. But as far as anyone knows, the tectum is absent from all invertebrates. The fact that vertebrates have it and invertebrates don’t allows us to bracket its evolution. According to fossil and genetic evidence, vertebrates evolved around 520 million years ago. The tectum and the central control of attention probably evolved around then, during the so-called Cambrian Explosion when vertebrates were tiny wriggling creatures competing with a vast range of invertebrates in the sea.

The tectum is a beautiful piece of engineering. To control the head and the eyes efficiently, it constructs something called an internal model, a feature well known to engineers. An internal model is a simulation that keeps track of whatever is being controlled and allows for predictions and planning. The tectum’s internal model is a set of information encoded in the complex pattern of activity of the neurons. That information simulates the current state of the eyes, head, and other major body parts, making predictions about how these body parts will move next and about the consequences of their movement. For example, if you move your eyes to the right, the visual world should shift across your retinas to the left in a predictable way. The tectum compares the predicted visual signals to the actual visual input, to make sure that your movements are going as planned. These computations are extraordinarily complex and yet well worth the extra energy for the benefit to movement control. In fish and amphibians, the tectum is the pinnacle of sophistication and the largest part of the brain. A frog has a pretty good simulation of itself.

With the evolution of reptiles around 350 to 300 million years ago, a new brain structure began to emerge – the wulst. Birds inherited a wulst from their reptile ancestors. Mammals did too, but our version is usually called the cerebral cortex and has expanded enormously. It’s by far the largest structure in the human brain. Sometimes you hear people refer to the reptilian brain as the brute, automatic part that’s left over when you strip away the cortex, but this is not correct. The cortex has its origin in the reptilian wulst, and reptiles are probably smarter than we give them credit for.

The cortex is like an upgraded tectum. We still have a tectum buried under the cortex and it performs the same functions as in fish and amphibians. If you hear a sudden sound or see a movement in the corner of your eye, your tectum directs your gaze toward it quickly and accurately. The cortex also takes in sensory signals and coordinates movement, but it has a more flexible repertoire. Depending on context, you might look toward, look away, make a sound, do a dance, or simply store the sensory event in memory in case the information is useful for the future.

The most important difference between the cortex and the tectum may be the kind of attention they control. The tectum is the master of overt attention—pointing the sensory apparatus toward anything important. The cortex ups the ante with something called covert attention. You don’t need to look directly at something to covertly attend to it. Even if you’ve turned your back on an object, your cortex can still focus its processing resources on it. Scientists sometimes compare covert attention to a spotlight. (The analogy was first suggested by Francis Crick, the geneticist.) Your cortex can shift covert attention from the text in front of you to a nearby person, to the sounds in your backyard, to a thought or a memory. Covert attention is the virtual movement of deep processing from one item to another.

The cortex needs to control that virtual movement, and therefore like any efficient controller it needs an internal model. Unlike the tectum, which models concrete objects like the eyes and the head, the cortex must model something much more abstract. According to the AST, it does so by constructing an attention schema—a constantly updated set of information that describes what covert attention is doing moment-by-moment and what its consequences are.

Consider an unlikely thought experiment. If you could somehow attach an external speech mechanism to a crocodile, and the speech mechanism had access to the information in that attention schema in the crocodile’s wulst, that technology-assisted crocodile might report, “I’ve got something intangible inside me. It’s not an eyeball or a head or an arm. It exists without substance. It’s my mental possession of things. It moves around from one set of items to another. When that mysterious process in me grasps hold of something, it allows me to understand, to remember, and to respond.”

The crocodile would be wrong, of course. Covert attention isn’t intangible. It has a physical basis, but that physical basis lies in the microscopic details of neurons, synapses, and signals. The brain has no need to know those details. The attention schema is therefore strategically vague. It depicts covert attention in a physically incoherent way, as a non-physical essence. And this, according to the theory, is the origin of consciousness. We say we have consciousness because deep in the brain, something quite primitive is computing that semi-magical self-description. Alas crocodiles can’t really talk. But in this theory, they’re likely to have at least a simple form of an attention schema.

When I think about evolution, I’m reminded of Teddy Roosevelt’s famous quote, “Do what you can with what you have where you are.” Evolution is the master of that kind of opportunism. Fins become feet. Gill arches become jaws. And self-models become models of others. In the AST, the attention schema first evolved as a model of one’s own covert attention. But once the basic mechanism was in place, according to the theory, it was further adapted to model the attentional states of others, to allow for social prediction. Not only could the brain attribute consciousness to itself, it began to attribute consciousness to others.

When psychologists study social cognition, they often focus on something called theory of mind, the ability to understand the possible contents of someone else’s mind. Some of the more complex examples are limited to humans and apes. But experiments show that a dog can look at another dog and figure out, “Is he aware of me?” Crows also show an impressive theory of mind. If they hide food when another bird is watching, they’ll wait for the other bird’s absence and then hide the same piece of food again, as if able to compute that the other bird is aware of one hiding place but unaware of the other. If a basic ability to attribute awareness to others is present in mammals and in birds, then it may have an origin in their common ancestor, the reptiles. In the AST’s evolutionary story, social cognition begins to ramp up shortly after the reptilian wulst evolved. Crocodiles may not be the most socially complex creatures on earth, but they live in large communities, care for their young, and can make loyal if somewhat dangerous pets.

If AST is correct, 300 million years of reptilian, avian, and mammalian evolution have allowed the self-model and the social model to evolve in tandem, each influencing the other. We understand other people by projecting ourselves onto them. But we also understand ourselves by considering the way other people might see us. Data from my own lab suggests that the cortical networks in the human brain that allow us to attribute consciousness to others overlap extensively with the networks that construct our own sense of consciousness.

Language is perhaps the most recent big leap in the evolution of consciousness. Nobody knows when human language first evolved. Certainly we had it by 70 thousand years ago when people began to disperse around the world, since all dispersed groups have a sophisticated language. The relationship between language and consciousness is often debated, but we can be sure of at least this much: once we developed language, we could talk about consciousness and compare notes. We could say out loud, “I’m conscious of things. So is she. So is he. So is that damn river that just tried to wipe out my village.”

Maybe partly because of language and culture, humans have a hair-trigger tendency to attribute consciousness to everything around us. We attribute consciousness to characters in a story, puppets and dolls, storms, rivers, empty spaces, ghosts and gods. Justin Barrett called it the Hyperactive Agency Detection Device, or HADD. One speculation is that it’s better to be safe than sorry. If the wind rustles the grass and you misinterpret it as a lion, no harm done. But if you fail to detect an actual lion, you’re taken out of the gene pool. To me, however, the HADD goes way beyond detecting predators. It’s a consequence of our hyper-social nature. Evolution turned up the amplitude on our tendency to model others and now we’re supremely attuned to each other’s mind states. It gives us our adaptive edge. The inevitable side effect is the detection of false positives, or ghosts.

And so the evolutionary story brings us up to date, to human consciousness—something we ascribe to ourselves, to others, and to a rich spirit world of ghosts and gods in the empty spaces around us. The AST covers a lot of ground, from simple nervous systems to simulations of self and others. It provides a general framework for understanding consciousness, its many adaptive uses, and its gradual and continuing evolution.

Michael Graziano is a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Princeton University. He is the author of The Spaces Between Us: A Story of Neuroscience, Evolution, and Human Nature.

Police Care UK calls for a dedicated mental health strategy tackling trauma-related stress in UK policing. Posted July 11th 2020

Police Care UK has today called on police chiefs and the health authorities across the UK to co-develop a national strategy that tackles the serious mental health issues affecting police officers and staff, and volunteers across the UK.

This follows the publication of the University of Cambridge’s study, the job & the life , funded by Police Care UK, which shows that nearly 20% of frontline personnel in the UK are currently suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder or complex-post-traumatic stress disorder , and more re-experiencing traumatic incidents or suffering from fatigue and anxiety as a result of their job.

Police Care UK Chief Executive, Gill Scott-Moore said, “These findings show that the trauma that police officers and staff are exposed to on a daily basis is having a detrimental effect on their health. As yet, there is no comprehensive strategy to tackle the issue of mental health in policing, and that has to change.”

The report, published today, shows that there are real issues around the treatment of mental health injuries, a service-wide stigma about seeking help for mental health issues, and a lack of understanding about the effects of trauma exposure in policing.

Gill Scott-Moore added, “The service has real challenges around recognising and responding to the signs and symptoms of trauma exposure and is heavily reliant upon generic NHS provision that isn’t equipped for the specialist treatment needed. That’s why we believe that policing cannot fix this alone – it needs to be considered a major health issue by public health authorities across England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, with a unified approach to tackling it made a priority and funding for treatment needs to be made available by government”

With more than fifty employers covering policing in the UK, all of whom have a different approach, there is a postcode lottery when it comes to attitudes towards those exposed to trauma, access to treatment, and the dignity shown to people experiencing trauma related stress.

Trauma exposure is consistent across the UK, so why isn’t access to care and treatment? Given over 300,000 personnel work in policing, with more former personnel who are still living with the impact of trauma exposure, Police Care UK believes this constitutes a major health issue that is yet to be addressed.

Police Care UK therefore urges the health authorities in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland to work across policing to develop a policing mental health strategy that addresses the fundamental issues around trauma exposure, delivers consistent pathways to appropriate treatment, and tackles the stigma within the service.

Living, Lying & Dying – Brain Lock With Covid19 July 11th 2020

The UK will not join the EU Covid-19 vaccine scheme, the UK’s ambassador to the EU Sir Tim Barrow has said.

Sir Tim said if the UK joined the scheme it would have no say on decisions including on price or which manufacturers to negotiate with.

The UK would also be unable to “pursue parallel negotiations with potential vaccine suppliers”, he said in his letter to the European Commission.

The EU scheme aims to secure supplies of potential coronavirus vaccines.

The European Commission plans to enter into agreements with individual vaccine producers on behalf of the bloc’s member states as part of the multi-million pound programme.

In return for the right to buy a specified number of vaccine doses in an agreed timeframe and price, the Commission will finance a part of the vaccine producer’s upfront costs.

Reacting to earlier reports the UK will opt out of the initiative, the Wellcome Trust said countries “urgently” needed to work together “if we’re to stand any chance of delivering global equitable access to a Covid-19 vaccine”.

Comment The World Health Organisation ( WHO ) Special Envoy to Europe, David Nabaro, has declared that a vaccine is many years off and that we must learn to live with the pandemic. Herd immunity is the only option. The virus, like HIV, will be with us for a very long time.

Brain Lock – a very modern disease made worse and commonplace by lockdown con trick from the ruling elite and their lackeys.

There is a psychological condition colloquially known as ‘Brain Lock’, a key aspect of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Most British people have been slavishly compliant with ludicrous lockdown. They are in brain lock, seemingly oblivious of the consequent greater threats to their existence = and one is not just referring to whether or not they catch a cold. The main victims of the bio engineered Covid19 cold virus are the elderly and those suffering from foul crowded living conditions, religious bigotry, pre existing conditions like diabetes and obesity – conditions made no better and probably worse by lockdown.

Experts – and how the ignorant British ‘Uni’ educated population bend the knee to higly paid so called State chosen experts – outside the government box have concluded that only 5% of the population have been exposed to Covid 19, which is why 95% do not have antibodies. Thus these ‘know alls’ insist that there will be a second spike so we must continue with the two metre rule and masks. When this fiasco and deception began – there is no evidence, as Swedish data indicates, that lockdown achieves anything but massive economic/soscial damage – we were told masks could do no good. Now you can’t even use Britain’s public transport without them. Of course the masks are emblems or totems to reinforce fear.

No one must be allowed to forget the invisible menance defined by the even greater and very real invisible menace of those who run the British Police State.

That ruling elite is as arrogant as ever, not caring about stupid statues of its ancestors being thrown in the river. They would rather us forget where their family fortunes came from. Idiotic BLM activists don’t see how they are being manipulated. If they think that they re being allowed to challeng the system, they should wonder why they don’t get the same heavy handed police and propaganda reponse as Tommy robinson and his supporters.

The ruling elite act as always, with minds focused on ever growing their wealth arrogantly spreading their poison world wide – pretending to care about disease ravaging the old Third World where they put in dictators, never hesitating to bomb when required. They have no shortage of lackeys. Robert Cook

This is the right way to challenge someone’s thinking July 3rd 2020

If you want to share your perspective in a way that gets heard, and acted upon to create positive change, try these three steps.

By Dorie Clark3 minute Read

It’s natural to feel angry when someone says or writes something that we find offensive. Lashing out may feel satisfying in the moment. But if our goal is actually to change the person’s mind or get them to reconsider their approach, assailing their intentions or labeling them (an idiot, a classist, a narcissist, etc.) is often counterproductive.

Over the years, I’ve occasionally gotten emails from newsletter readers upbraiding me for various reasons. One woman, reacting to a reference to “recent business travel” shortly after the pandemic began, declared my email to be “insensitive and harmful . . . You should be ashamed of yourself. This email offends me.”

Another, angry that I cited an example of someone’s boss yelling at them as a “setback,” declared that my writing reeked of “first world, white-privilege traumas.” When people feel offended—whatever the cause—they may not always be polite.

One reader who wrote to me recently, however, was so thoughtful and deft in her critique, I was inspired to parse it and examine exactly what she did. With her permission, I’m excerpting diversity consultant Theresa Kneebone’s message to me.

It exemplifies three lessons we can all learn about how to communicate more effectively when our goal isn’t simply to express outrage, but instead to challenge someone’s thinking effectively.

Don’t assume intent

One of the fastest ways to alienate people is to insist that you know what they really meant, i.e., “You said X, which means you’re obviously Y.” But of course, we don’t have perfect windows into other people’s consciousness. Theresa’s note started not with an accusation, but with an ask for clarification. “When I got this message, I felt confused,” she wrote. She went on to say, “I felt I must have missed something and didn’t want to misread what you are trying to say.” It’s much easier to engage with someone who is asking genuine clarifying questions, rather than imputing motives to you.

Express understanding for the person’s situation

If you’re feeling offended, empathy for the person causing it is probably not your first impulse. But it’s far easier to reach someone if they feel you understand where they’re coming from, or why they felt their action was appropriate at the time. As Theresa wrote to me, “I know in these times, it is difficult to say the ‘right thing’ and that not everyone feels they want to speak out on a topic that is not their area of expertise.” That’s essentially a signaling mechanism that shows others they’re not going to be derided, but instead that you can have a true conversation.

Explain why the conversation matters

It’s easy to dismiss criticism as the carping of a few outliers with an agenda. So if you want to be heard, you need to explain why the issue actually is significant, ideally in terms they will understand and appreciate. As Theresa wrote to me, “I often coach executives that in the absence of a clear, transparent message from them, employees, colleagues and clients will create their own narrative out of the information they can glean or observe. I fear that is what is happening here.”

Note her subtle use of social proof here as well, in which she mentions that she coaches executives. She’s making it clear that she’s not just a random person with an opinion, but an expert in her field. The more credentials you can marshal (if the person is not already aware of them), the better.

When you’re the one being critiqued, it can be hard to hear, especially if the person delivering it seems outraged. “I teach a lot of diversity and inclusion classes,” Theresa says, “and in that context, when we talk about feedback, people can get very hung up on the approach as a way of qualifying how seriously they will take the feedback—’Too angry’ or ‘Too emotional’ or ‘Rude.’ I coach them not to miss the meaning because they are focused on the ‘who’ and the ‘how.’ Not everyone is able to deliver perfect feedback when feeling angry or hurt.”

She’s right, of course. Even someone angry may have a useful and valid perspective we can learn from. But—truth be told—if someone I don’t know well, and whose opinion I haven’t asked for, starts to berate me, my response isn’t to listen politely. It’s to crush them. I suspect I’m not alone.

If you actually want to share your perspective in a way that gets heard, and acted upon to create positive change, the three strategies above are some of the most effective I’ve seen.


Dorie Clark is a marketing strategy consultant who teaches at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and has been named one of the Top 50 business thinkers in the world by Thinkers50. She is the author of Entrepreneurial You, Reinventing You, and Stand Out. You can receive her free Stand Out self-assessment.

10 Facts about a Woman’s Brain

“There is no such thing as a unisex brain,” says neuropsychiatrist Dr. Louann Brizendine of the University of California in San Francisco and author of “The Female Brain.”

Despite the trumpets of women’s lib, science suggests sex differences are innate. Women, apparently, are not curvy versions of men sporting high-heeled shoes.

Here are 10 things every woman-loving man should know.

She changes every day based on her cycle

Affecting up to 80 percent of women, PMS is a familiar scapegoat. But women are affected by their cycles every day of the month. Hormone levels are constantly changing in a woman’s brain and body, changing her outlook, energy and sensitivity along with them.RECOMMENDED VIDEOS FOR YOU…

About 10 days after the onset of menstruation, right before ovulation, women often feel sassier, Brizendine told LiveScience. Unconsciously, they dress sexier as surges in estrogen and testosterone prompt them to look for sexual opportunities during this particularly fertile period.

A week later, there is a rise in progesterone, the hormone that mimics valium, making women “feel like cuddling up with a hot cup of tea and a good book,” Brizendine said. The following week, progesterone withdrawal can make women weepy and easily irritated. “We call it crying over dog commercials crying,” Brizendine said.

For most women, their mood reaches its worst 12-24 hours before their period starts. “It is not entirely an issue of free will,” Brizendine stressed.

She really is intuitive (though not magic)

Men can have the uncomfortable feeling that women are mind readers or psychics, Brizendine said. But women’s intuition is likely more biological than mystical.

Over the course of evolution, women may have been selected for their ability to keep young preverbal humans alive, which involves deducing what an infant or child needs — warmth, food, discipline &mdash without it being directly communicated. This is one explanation for why women consistently score higher than men on tests that require reading nonverbal cues. Women not only better remember the physical appearances of others but also more correctly identify the unspoken messages conveyed in facial expressions, postures and tones of voice, studies show.

This skill, however, is not limited to childrearing. Women often use it tell what bosses, husbands and even strangers are thinking and planning. [Clueless Guys Can’t Read Women]

She avoids aggression

Stressful situations are known to spur the “fight or flight” response in men, but researchers have suggested that women, after sensing a threat, instinctually try to “tend or befriend.” That is, they skirt physical responses in favor of forming strategic, even manipulative, alliances.

Women may have evolved to avoid physical aggression because of the greater dependence of children on their survival, suggests Anne Campbell of Durham University. (In ancient hunter-gatherer days, men only needed to do the deed to spread their genes, while women had to stay alive long enough to birth and raise the young.)

“It is not that females are not aggressive, it is that they are aggressive in different ways,” said evolutionary psychologist Daniel Kruger of the University of Michigan. They tend to use more indirect forms of confrontation, he told LiveScience. [The History of Human Aggression]

She responds to pain and anxiety differently

Brain-imaging studies over the last 10 years have shown that male and female brains respond differently to pain and fear. And, women’s brains may be the more sensitive of the two.

The female brain is not only more responsive to small amounts of stress but is less able to habituate to high levels of stress, said Debra Bangasser of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, describing her recent research looking at molecular changes in the brain. Bangasser’s research was conducted in rats but is considered potentially applicable to humans.

Stress sensitivity may have some benefits; it shifts one’s mental state from being narrowly focused to being more flexibly and openly aware. But if the anxiety is prolonged, it can be damaging. Such findings may help explain why women are more prone to depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other anxiety disorders, the researchers told LiveScience.

The research was published in the June 2010 issue of Molecular Psychiatry.

She hates conflict (but lack of response even more)

Women may also have evolved extra-sensitivity to interpersonal cues as a way to avoid conflict, a state that can feel intolerable to women, according to Brizendine. The flood of chemicals that takes over the female brain during a conflict — especially within an intimate relationship — is almost on the same order as a seizure, she explains.

Possibly because of their overachievement in “mind reading,” women often find blank expressions, or a lack of response, completely unbearable. A young girl will go to great lengths trying to get a response from a mime while a boy will not be nearly so determined, Brizendine said. For females in particular, a negative response may be better than no response at all.

She is easily turned off

“A women’s sex drive is much more easily upset than a guy’s,” Brizendine said.

For women to get in the mood, and especially to have an orgasm, certain areas of her brain have to shut off. And any number of things can turn them back on.

A woman may refuse a man’s advances because she is angry, feeling distrustful — or even, because her feet are chilly, studies show. Pregnancy, caring for small children and menopause can also take a toll on a woman’s sex drive (although some women experience a renewed interest in sex after The Change.)

Best advice for a turned-on dude? Plan ahead.

“For guys, foreplay is everything that happens three minutes before insertion. For women, it is everything that happens 24 hours beforehand,” Brizendine said. [Top 10 Aphrodisiacs]

She is affected by pregnant brain

Progesterone increases 30-fold in the first eight weeks of pregnancy, causing most women to become very sedated, Brizendine said. “Progesterone is a great sleeping pill.”

A woman’s brain also shrinks during pregnancy, becoming about 4-percent smaller by the time she delivers, according to a 2002 study published in the American Journal of Neuroradiology. (Don’t worry; it returns to normal size by six months after delivery.)

Whether pregnancy causes women to think differently is controversial — one recent study linked memory problems to pregnancy hormones — but some researchers have suggested the changes prepare brain circuits that guide maternal behavior.

These circuits likely continue to develop after birth. Handling a baby releases maternal hormones, even among females who have never been pregnant, found researchers at Tufts University. While measured in rats, the finding offers a chemical understanding of the bonding that can occur among foster moms and children.

The study was published in the journal Developmental Psychobiology in 2004.

She is affected by mommy brain

The physical, hormonal, emotional and social changes facing a woman directly after giving birth can be monumental. “And because everything else has changed, she needs everything else to be as predictable as possible, including the husband,” Brizendine said.

Over the course of evolution, it was rare for our maternal ancestors to be full-time mothers, said Brizendine, because there was always kin-folk around to help with child rearing. And a mother needs a lot of support, not only for her own sake but for the child’s as well. Her ability to adequately respond to her infant can impact the child’s developing nervous system and temperament, research shows.

One way Mother Nature tries to help is through breastfeeding. Nursing may help women deal with some types of stress, studies suggest. (Too much stress, however, can disrupt lactation.) One study even found that breastfeeding might be more rewarding to the female brain than cocaine. The research was published in the Journal of Neuroscience in 2005.

She goes through adolescence twice

No one wants to go through adolescence again. Its physical changes and hormonal fluctuations not only create mood swings and physical discomfort but nagging questions about self-identity as well.

Women, however, lucky girls, get to do just that. They go through a “second adolescence” called perimenopause in their 40s. It starts around age 43 and reaches its pinnacle by 47 or 48 years old. (Men’s hormones also change as they age, but not nearly as abruptly.) In addition to erratic periods and night sweats, a woman’s hormones during this transition are so crazed she can be as moody as a teenager.

The duration of perimenopause varies from two to nine years, with most women leaving it behind by age 52. [7 Ways the Mind and Body Change With Age]

She loves risk during the mature years

Once The Change has finished, and the body moves into its “advanced” stage, the female brain gets a second wind. While men start to show increased interest in relationships as they age, the mature woman becomes ready to risk conflict — especially if her nest is now empty.

She may continue to feel motivated to help others, but her focus might shift from her immediate family to local and global communities. She may also feel a strong desire to do more for herself, and her career, after decades of care-taking, explains Brizendine.

Whether she sows her newly wild oats with whirlwind travel, going back to school, or by playing the field depends on the individual, of course. But for many 50-plus women the twilight years are characterized by an increased “zest” for life and a hearty appetite for adventure.

Study Finds Sex Differences in Mental Illness Posted July 5th 2020

Men more likely to develop substance abuse, antisocial problems; women more likely to develop anxiety, depression

Related

WASHINGTON—When it comes to mental illness, the sexes are different: Women are more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety or depression, while men tend toward substance abuse or antisocial disorders, according to a new study published by the American Psychological Association.

Published online in APA’s Journal of Abnormal Psychology®, the study looked at the prevalence by gender of different types of common mental illnesses. The researchers also found that women with anxiety disorders are more likely to internalize emotions, which typically results in withdrawal, loneliness and depression. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to externalize emotions, which leads to aggressive, impulsive, coercive and noncompliant behavior, according to the study.  The researchers demonstrated that it was differences in these liabilities to internalize and to externalize that accounted for gender differences in prevalence rates of many mental disorders.

Researchers analyzed data collected in 2001 and 2002 by a National Institutes of Health survey of 43,093 U.S. residents 18 and older who were civilians and not institutionalized. Of those, 57 percent were women and 56.9 percent were white; 19.3 percent were Hispanic or Latino; 19.1 percent were African-American; 3.1 percent Asian, native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander; and 1.6 percent were American Indian or native Alaskan. The data were representative of the age, race/ethnicity and gender distributions of the U.S. population in the 2000 Census. Participants answered interview questions. The analysis examined their lifetime mental health history as well as over the prior 12 months.

The authors cited previous research that found women suffer more than men from depression, because “women ruminate more frequently than men, focusing repetitively on their negative emotions and problems rather than engaging in more active problem solving.”

The findings support gender-focused prevention and treatment efforts, the study said. “In women, treatment might focus on coping and cognitive skills to help prevent rumination from developing into clinically significant depression or anxiety,” said lead author Nicholas R. Eaton, MA, of the University of Minnesota. “In men, treatment for impulsive behaviors might focus on rewarding planned actions and shaping aggressive tendencies into non-destructive behavior.”

Past research also indicated that women report more neuroticism and more frequent stressful life events than men do before the onset of a disorder, indicating that environmental stressors may also contribute to internalizing, the report said.

Article: “An Invariant Dimensional Liability Model of Gender Differences in Mental Disorder Prevalence: Evidence from a National Sample,” Nicholas R. Eaton, MA, and Robert. F. Krueger, PhD, University of Minnesota; Katherine M. Keyes, PhD, and Deborah S. Hasin, PhD, Columbia University; Steve Balsis, PhD, Texas A&M University; Andrew E. Skodol, MD, Columbia University and University of Arizona; Kristian E. Markon, PhD, University of Iowa;  Bridget F. Grant, PhD, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism; Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Vol. 121, No. 1.

Nicholas R. Eaton can be contacted by email or at (314) 954-1270

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world’s largest association of psychologists. APA’s membership includes more than 154,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.

When Women Are More Likely to Lie

A new study reveals how gender and social pressure drive unethical decisions.

By Pamela Tom | October 24, 2016

Would you tell a lie to help someone else? A new study says women won’t lie on their own behalf, but they are willing to do so for someone else if they feel criticized or pressured by others.

In contrast, research by Professor Laura Kray of UC Berkeley and Assistant Professor Maryam Kouchaki of Northwestern University found that men are the opposite: They do not compromise their ethical standards under social pressure regardless of whether they’re advocating for themselves or anyone else.

“We found that when women act on their own behalf, they maintain higher ethical standards than men. However, women will act less ethically, such as telling a lie, when they fear being viewed as ineffective at representing another person’s interests,” says Kray. “When women negotiate on behalf of someone else, they are willing to make compromises in order to satisfy the needs of others.”

But at what cost?

Kray says there’s a tradeoff for women, who face a “Catch 22.” Men are typically less constrained by social expectations. But when women are asked to advocate for others, they face a conflict because they must either relinquish or reduce their usual moral standards, or open themselves up to possible social backlash.

The authors write, “They are damned if they lie because it goes against their communal mandate with respect to their negotiating counterpart, however they are damned if they do not lie because it goes against their communal mandate with respect to the party they are representing.”

The findings are a result of four studies, each involving from 160 to 235 participants.

In the first study, participants were assigned either self-advocacy or friend-advocacy roles and asked to consider the appropriateness of various negotiating tactics. As hypothesized, women who negotiated on behalf of someone else were less ethical than when advocating for themselves.

The second study was designed to better understand the psychological process behind unethical negotiating tactics. Participants advocating for others answered questions about how much they anticipated social backlash if they did not reduce their ethical standards to help others. For example, “How much would your friends like to socialize with you?” and “How likely would your colleagues be to go with you if you invited them out for drinks after work?” The findings were the same as in the first study. However, women were not found to completely disregard—only lower—their moral obligations regardless of whether they were advocating for themselves or others.

“This suggests that women did not see unethical tactics as more acceptable when helping others but instead, they lowered their ethical standards because they felt pressured to do so,” says Kray.

The third study focused on the anticipation of social backlash. Female participants were asked to read a description of a salary negotiation from a self-advocacy perspective; for example, as new recruits negotiating their own starting salary. They also read a description depicting an other-advocacy situation such as a friend negotiating salary on behalf of a new recruit whom she referred for the position. The ethical dilemma of each script is whether to tell the hiring manager that they (or the friend) had another job offer even though one didn’t really exist. The alternative option was to be honest with the hiring manager and tell him that they (or the friend) had no other job offers. Women were more inclined to lie when negotiating for the friend.

In the final study, the authors recruited participants to complete an actual negotiation and assigned them to be either a property seller or a buyer. In the scenario, the seller wants to sell to a buyer who would retain the property for residential use. However, buyers were instructed that their intent was to turn the property into a high-rise, commercial building against the wishes of the seller. Would those negotiating on behalf of the buyer be deceptive as a result of social pressure? Again, women who chose to be dishonest expected greater social backlash when negotiating for themselves than on behalf of others. And women who chose not to lie anticipated greater backlash when representing someone else’s interests.

Across all studies including men, the men’s ethics were not affected whether they represented themselves or another person. Also, their ethical standards were lower than women representing themselves.

The study’s results may appear disturbing to women who are trying to do the right thing, but Kray contends that when considering whether to compromise one’s usual ethics, consider the particular situation. Women may be unaware that they have this tendency to lower their moral standards when trying to help others.

“Ask yourself, ‘What are the constraints and social pressures? If I was doing this for myself or someone else, how would I act differently?” says Kray.

This article was originally published on Haas Now. Read the original article.

The hysteria accusation

Women’s pain is often medically overlooked and undertreated. But the answer is not as simple as ‘believing all women’ July 5th 2020

Pain is your body’s alarm system. It’s a sensation designed to tell you that something’s gone wrong. But being in pain, says Colin Klein, a philosopher at the Australian National University, is a bit like having your house guarded by a hyperactive terrier. Sometimes it barks at trespassers, but other times it gets upset at the postman. Sometimes it goes wild over nothing at all, and, on occasion, it would probably let in burglars if they brought snacks. Pain is correlated with tissue damage (the stuff you need protecting from), but the two don’t necessarily go together. If you’ve ever cut yourself and didn’t feel the slightest twinge until you saw blood, you’ve had tissue damage without pain. If you’ve ever felt a sting in anticipation of an injection or a dentist’s drill, you’ve had pain without tissue damage.

Part of what makes pain an effective protection mechanism also makes it inherently subjective. The International Association for the Study of Pain describes it as ‘an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience’. You wouldn’t jerk your hand back so quickly from a hot stove if pain was just a vaguely irritating tickle. Pain can protect us because we typically dislike it and find it emotionally distressing.

This affective dimension of pain – which we might also call its ‘interpretive’ or ‘psychological’ character – becomes especially complex when it intersects with gender. There’s good evidence that the modern Western medical system treats men and women’s pain quite differently. Women are more likely to have their pain dismissed or under-treated, often from a very young age. That’s especially true for women of colour, whose pain receives significantly less treatment than that of their white peers. Clinicians investigate women’s chest pain less frequently than men’s – even when women have all the classic symptoms of a heart attack, and even though heart disease is the leading cause of death in women. Women are also far more likely than men to have a physical illness misdiagnosed as a psychiatric condition, particularly depression.

One reason for these problems is that we don’t listen carefully when women talk about their lives and experiences. Women are often subject to what the philosopher Miranda Fricker at the City University of New York has called a credibility deficit: they’re treated as less reliable sources of information, precisely because stereotypes cast women as untrustworthy and irrational. As a result, society’s understanding of things such as workplace harassment, sexual violence and intimate partner violence is profoundly skewed, since we’re less likely to believe reports from the people most likely to be affected.

This credibility deficit makes women’s descriptions of their own lives a feminist issue. Feminists are more than justified in urging us to #BelieveWomen, as the Twitter hashtag puts it. Pain, though, is a particularly interesting case, because it reveals the limitations of this simple and compelling call. The demand that we recognise women’s pain is justified and necessary. But the way this demand plays out risks inadvertently reinforcing a deep-seated social bias about the hierarchy of psychological versus physical suffering – and doing so in a way that hurts women once again

There’s a Dark Side to Meditation That No One Talks About

Meditation can bring about a wide variety of thoughts and emotions—some are peaceful, others are not.

Quartz

  • Lila MacLellan

rtxw4km-e1495813256629.jpg

The calm before the panic attack.

We’ve all heard about the benefits of meditation ad nauseam. Those disciplined enough to practice regularly are rewarded with increased control over the brainwaves known as alpha rhythms, which leads to better focus and may help ease pain. In addition to calming the mind and body, meditation can also reduce the markers of stress in people with anxiety disorders. Rigorous studies have backed health claims such as these to convince therapists, physicians, and corporate gurus to embrace meditation’s potential.

What contemporary and ancient meditators have always known, however, is that while the hype may be warranted, the practice is not all peace, love, and blissful glimpses of unreality. Sitting zazen, gazing at their third eye, a person can encounter extremely unpleasant emotions and physical or mental disturbances.

Zen Buddhism has a word for the warped perceptions that can arise during meditation: makyo, which combines the Japanese words for “devil” and “objective world.” Philip Kapleau, the late American Zen master, once described confronting makyo as “a dredging and cleansing process that releases stressful experiences in deep layers of the mind.”

However, this demanding and sometimes intensely distressing side of meditation is rarely mentioned in scientific literature, says Jared Lindahl, a visiting professor of religious studies at Brown University, who has an interest in neuroscience and Buddhism. Along with Willoughby Britton, a psychologist and assistant professor of psychiatry at Brown, the two meditators have co-authored a study that documents and creates a taxonomy for the variant phenomenology of meditation. The paper, published in Plos One, is the beginning of an ongoing series of studies. “Just because something is positive and beneficial doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be aware of the broader range of possible effects it might have,” Lindahl says.

To conduct their research, the pair interviewed 60 Western Buddhist meditation practitioners who had all experienced challenging issues during their practice. They included both rookies and meditation teachers, many of whom had accumulated more than 10,000 hours of meditation experience in their lifetime. All belonged to either Theravāda, Zen, or Tibetan traditions.

The researchers identified 59 kinds of unexpected or unwanted experiences, which they classified into seven domains: cognitive, perceptual, affective (related to moods), somatic, conative (related to motivation), sense of self, and social. Among the experiences described to them were feelings of anxiety and fear, involuntary twitching, insomnia, a sense of complete detachment from one’s emotions, hypersensitivity to light or sound, distortion in time and space, nausea, hallucinations, irritability, and the re-experiencing of past traumas. The associated levels of distress and impairment ranged from “mild and transient to severe and lasting,” according to the study. Most would not imagine that these side-effects could be hiding behind the lotus-print curtains of your local meditation center.

However, the survey respondents didn’t necessarily perceive every non-euphoric event as negative. In fact, says Britton, she and Lindahl deliberately avoided the word “adverse” in their study for this reason. Instead, they chose “challenging,” which better captured the meditators’ varied interpretations of their experiences. For instance, a person who came away from a retreat feeling “very expanded and very unified with other people in the world” might have found their oneness with the universe distracting once they returned home. (That’s challenging, not tragic.)

The goal of the study was to look for patterns in the common accounts of unwanted reactions. Who runs into the unexpected hurdles? What are the unique set of factors involved? In which ways do teachers assist students who are struggling? (And do they blame inner demons for the upsets, or maybe something you ate at lunch?) The answers, which still require future research, may one day be relevant to the ways meditation is used as therapy.

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The Psychology Behind Why Some People Wear Face Masks – And Others Don’t

Confusion, embarrassment, discomfort. Psychologists tell HuffPost UK what may stop people wearing a mask.By Natasha Hinde30/06/2020 12:12pm BST | Updated 3 hours ago

Face masks are quite divisive among Brits. When you look at photos of people hitting the beach, rushing to stores or taking buses in England where masks are mandatory, there’s a split of those who wear them – and those who don’t.

A YouGov poll from June suggests more people aren’t wearing them than are. It found under a quarter (21%) of Brits wear a mask or cover when out in public. We’re less likely to wear them than many other countries, too – only those in Scandinavia and Australia are less likely to wear masks than Brits, the poll found.

It’s a topic that needs exploring, perhaps, as research suggests a lockdown on its own won’t be enough to stop a second wave of coronavirus. Researchers believe the widespread use of face masks, in addition to lockdown and social distancing, is key to keeping the reproduction rate below 1.

So why are some people happy to wear face masks, but others aren’t? We asked psychologists.

Related…

We Tested 5 Ways To Wear Makeup That Won’t Gunk Up Your Face Mask

Physical (dis)comfort

Professor Tony Cassidy, an expert in child and family health psychology at Ulster University, believes comfort – or rather, discomfort – is a key factor. Some might have a mask that fits comfortably, but, he tells HuffPost UK, “masks can be too tight or loose and they can cause sweating or even difficulty breathing”.

This means anyone who is claustrophobic or maskaphobic will be unable to tolerate masks or face coverings. “Maskaphobia [a fear of masks] is surprisingly common among children,” he adds.

Feeling self-conscious

A YouGov survey in partnership with Imperial College London, conducted in May, looked at what was putting people off wearing masks. Of those who didn’t wear one, the vast majority (76%) said it was due to concerns about feeling uncomfortable – as Prof Cassidy mentioned above.

But many people also felt self conscious (52%), silly (52%) and embarrassed (47%) about wearing a mask.

Not being able to communicate

Masks, or face covers, can also be quite intrusive – “eating an ice cream or having a drink is impeded,” says Prof Cassidy.

When our faces are half-covered by masks, we lose key non-verbal information, Professor Kathleen Pike, an expert in psychology at Columbia University, explained in a blog post on mask-wearing. We also lose other information, like raised eyebrows, and shoulder shrugs become highly ambiguous without cues from the mouth.

“The effect leaves us feeling less able to communicate and less able to understand each other,” she wrote.

Shoppers in Scotland. Some are wearing masks, others aren't.
Shoppers in Scotland. Some are wearing masks, others aren’t.

Confusion about whether they work

There’s been a lack of consistency in information about mask wearing and their benefits, and this has led to confusion, explains Prof Cassidy. The UK government didn’t recommend the use of face covers until almost two months into lockdown – and even then, it was a tentative recommendation.

Back in March, the deputy chief medical officer Jenny Harries said of masks: “For the average member of the public wandering down the street, it is really not a good idea.” Since then, the government has not only recommended their use in places where social distancing is difficult to manage, but has made wearing them mandatory on public transport and in hospitals in England.

The latest government line is that face coverings provide some “small additional protection” to others and prevent people spreading the virus if they’re asymptomatic.

A threat to freedom

Reluctance to wear a mask could be a replay of what happened in previous pandemics, suggests Professor Steven Taylor, a clinical psychologist at the University of British Columbia and author of The Psychology Of Pandemics.

“During the ‘Spanish flu’ pandemic in 1919 in San Francisco, for example, the Anti-Mask League was formed, in reaction to efforts by local government to make it mandatory to wear face masks,” he says.

The objections raised against wearing face masks were similar to those we see today, Prof Taylor says: 1) concern there isn’t strong evidence that masks are protective, and 2) that the mandatory wearing of them is perceived by some as a threat to their freedom. “In highly individualistic societies, attempts to compel people to do things can lead to pushback when people perceive their liberties to be threatened,” he explains.

This is known as psychological reactance. Some people have little reactance, while others have a lot. “The people strongly opposed to wearing face masks are also likely to oppose other threats to their freedom, such as enforced social distancing protocols,” says Prof Taylor.

Some “macho individuals” also worry about being perceived as weak if they wear masks, he adds, and believe it’s an admission of fear and vulnerability.

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Can’t Wear A Face Mask For Health Reasons? Carry This Card Instead

Racism and racial profiling

Dr Mollie Ruben, a research assistant professor at Northeastern University who is researching the psychological effects of mask wearing in the US, says some people don’t feel safe wearing masks due to racial profiling.

In the US, an Oregon county made people of colour exempt from its mandatory mask policy – citing the potential for racial profiling. However, the exemption was removed after a backlash. “The very policy meant to protect them, is now making them a target for further discrimination and harassment,” leaders said.

Prof Taylor also says people with racist attitudes may be reluctant to wear masks “because mask-wearing is perceived as being an Asian cultural practice”.

Perceived risk

Prof Taylor believes some people – younger adults, he says – perceive the risk of Covid-19 as being “overblown”.

“If people see the risk as overblown, then they are unlikely to comply with wearing face masks,” he says. “Some people underestimate the seriousness of Covid-19 because this pandemic, unlike previous pandemics is largely hidden.”

Taylor believes if political leaders lead by example, there might be a shift in public perception of wearing masks in the UK. “The behaviour of our leaders has a powerful influence on the behaviour of the populace,” he says.

“If our community leaders want to increase the use of mask wearing in the UK, US, or elsewhere, they should label mask wearing as an act of community spirit, solidarity, and patriotism. That is, you’re serving your community and your country if you do your bit to reduce infection by wearing a mask.”

Abuse can lead to suicidal thoughts – Robert Cook June 30th 2020

Covid 19 and ludicrous lockdown has affected many of us, while helping the elite and police to make even more money – matters covered on other pages.

Because I , and my eldest son, have been on the receiving end of serious criminal abuse and misconduct by the British Police and NHS, I have spent the last three months seriously considering suicide. My ex wife’s physical and menatl abuse, along woith her abuse of my late mother and youngest son. led me to feelings of utter wothlessness in March 2007, when I nearly scceeded in hanging myself. The police refused to investigate my allegations from the outset 12 years ago, labelling me as mentally ill, then taking me to court four prosecutions and nearly 30 separate hearings, to get me jailed. Four of these hearings followed me swearing at an acting CID officer who took vital documents in a bogus and malicious 7 officer raid, keeping my property for over three months. He claimed to be distressed by my messages, left because he was always unavaible. That case, which involved allegations of me being involved as a gay prostitute working for my son in a brothel at my home. Adding insult to injury, I was accused of sending incriminating material, which turned out to be faked, to senior police officers and my ex inlaws. Polce still refuse to explain this.

My ex wife’s peculiar interest in my youngest son, washing and taking him to the toiler right up until she took hin from this house, had dreadful impact on me over several years. She told me she could do as she liked and that her brother would use his high police rank to deal with me.

Because my eldest son would not go with her and my youngest vulnearble son, my ex wife locked him out of his student home and put the house he had paid for in her name, effectively stealing his £20,000 depoist money and two years of mortgage payments. She also went on to band my eldest son from seeing his brother, telling the police that my eldest son was violent like me. Because she is a woman and sister of a high ranking police officer, she was beleived, my son and I being criminalised without investigation – as West Mercia have admitted in writing.

The fall out from this caused my mother’s death. There was also the issue of spreading lies about myself and eldest son. leading to acts of physical and verbal violence and social ostracism.

With three police forces backing my in laws lies, I have been plunged into a sense of utter hopelssness, made worse by the police inisting to the NHS that I am paranoid schoziphenic and deluded.

A situation like that is unbeleivable to specialists who are poorly trained and part of the system – so I know that messages like the official one below is pretty useless for people in my situation because mental health specialists never challenge the corrupt system of which they are a part. When officials lie about us, they define us to others, sometimes provoking their vctims toward insanity and suicide. Robert Cook

Are you thinking about suicide? How to stay safe and find treatment

Hopelessness may lead you to think about suicide. Learn how to stay safe, get through a crisis and find treatment.By Mayo Clinic Staff

When life doesn’t seem worth living anymore, it may seem that the only way to find relief is through suicide. When you’re feeling this way, it may be hard to believe, but you do have other options.

Take a step back and separate your emotions from your actions for the moment.

  • Recognize that depression and hopelessness can distort your perceptions and reduce your ability to make good decisions.
  • Realize that suicidal feelings are the result of treatable problems.
  • Act as if there are other options instead of suicide, even if you may not see them right now.

It may not be easy, and you might not feel better overnight. Eventually, though, the sense of hopelessness — and thoughts of suicide — will lift.

Get immediate help

If you think you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, get help right away by taking one of these actions:

  • Call your mental health specialist.
  • Call a suicide hotline number — in the United States, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) to reach a trained counselor. Use that same number and press 1 to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.
  • Call 911 or your local emergency number.
  • Seek help from your doctor or other health care provider.
  • Reach out to a close friend or loved one.
  • Contact a minister, spiritual leader or someone else in your faith community.

Learn coping strategies

Don’t try to manage suicidal thoughts or behavior on your own. You need professional help and support to overcome the problems linked to suicidal thinking.

Your doctor or mental health provider can help you identify coping strategies tailored to your specific situation. Consider discussing these coping strategies with people who know you well, such as family members or trusted friends.

You may be advised to do things you don’t feel like doing, such as talking with friends when you’d rather stay in your bedroom all day. It will get easier to do such things as they become habits.

Make a plan for life

Create a written plan of action or a “safety plan” with your mental health provider that you can refer to when you’re considering suicide or in a crisis. Learn to spot your warning signs early, so you can put your plan into action.

Your plan is a checklist of activities and actions you promise to do, so you can stay safe when you have thoughts of suicide, such as:

  • Contact your doctor, therapist or crisis center to help you cope with suicidal thoughts
  • Call a supportive family member or friend who can help you cope with your suicidal thoughts
  • Try specific healthy and enjoyable activities when negative thoughts start to intrude
  • Review why your life is valuable and the reasons to live

Even if the immediate crisis passes with your self-care strategies, see a doctor or mental health provider. This will help you get appropriate treatment for suicidal thoughts and feelings so that you don’t have to continually operate in a crisis mode.

As a foundation for your plan, take these steps:

  • Stick with your treatment plan. Commit to taking your medication as prescribed and attending all treatment sessions and appointments.
  • Keep a list of contact names and numbers readily available. Include your doctors, therapists and crisis centers that can help you cope with suicidal thoughts. Include friends or loved ones who agree to be available as part of your safety plan.
  • Remove potential means of killing yourself. This may include ridding your home of guns, razors or other objects you may consider using to hurt or kill yourself. If possible, give your medications to someone who can safeguard them for you and help you take them as prescribed.
  • Schedule daily activities. Activities that brought you small pleasure in the past can make a difference — such as listening to music, watching a funny movie or visiting a museum. Or try something different. Because physical activity and exercise may reduce depression symptoms, consider walking, jogging, swimming, gardening or a new activity.
  • Get together with others. Establish your support network by reaching out to friends, family and people who care about you and are there when you need them. Make an effort to be social, even if you don’t feel like it, to prevent isolation.
  • Join a support group. Joining a support group can help you cope with suicidal thinking and recognize that there are many options in your life other than suicide.
  • Avoid drug and alcohol use. Rather than numb painful feelings, alcohol and drugs can increase suicidal thoughts and the likelihood of harming yourself by making you more impulsive and more likely to act on your self-destructive feelings.
  • Avoid risky websites on the Internet. Stay away from websites that may encourage suicide as a way to solve your problems.
  • Write about your thoughts and feelings. Consider writing about the things in your life that you value and appreciate, no matter how small they may seem at the time.

Look beyond thoughts of suicide

The hopelessness you feel as you consider suicide may be the side effect of a difficult situation or an illness that can be treated. This emotion can be so overpowering that it clouds your judgment and leads you to believe that taking your own life is the best, or only, option.

  • Recognize that these feelings are temporary and that with appropriate treatment you can learn how to help yourself feel better about life again. Asking others for support can help you see that you have other options and give you hope about the future.
  • Create a list of the reasons you have to live. This list can include being alive for your pet, your children, a favorite niece, or something that you enjoy doing at work or at home. It doesn’t matter what the list includes, but finding a sense of purpose in your life can make a difference.

By getting proper treatment and using effective coping strategies, you can learn to manage or eliminate suicidal thoughts and develop a more satisfying life.

Jan. 31, 2018

What Causes Transsexualism? by Lynn Conway http://www.lynnconway.com/ Copyright @ 2000-2003, Lynn Conway. All Rights Reserved. [V-4-07-03]     Many causes for transsexualism have been proposed over the years. As discussed earlier in Lynn’s TG/TS/IS information, it’s long been known from intersex data that the genes do not determine gender identity, and recent follow-ups on intersex infant surgeries show that consistency of “genitals and upbringing” does not determine gender identity.   Instead, current scientific results strongly suggest neurobiological origins for transsexualism: Something appears to happen during the in-utero development of the transsexual child’s central nervous system (CNS) so that the child is left with innate, strongly perceived cross-gender body feelings and self-perceptions. We still don’t know for sure what causes this neurological development, and more research needs to be done. But the neurobiological direction for these explorations seem clear.   However, even without any scientific evidence to back them up, many psychiatrists and psychologists over the past four decades have simply assumed that transsexualism is a “mental illness”. By DEFINING this socially unpopular condition to be a mental illness, these mental health professionals have shaped much of the medical establishment’s and society’s views of transsexuals as psychopathological “sexual deviants”.   This page is an investigative report that describes and contrasts the older “mental illness” concept of transsexualism with more recently emerging scientific evidence of neurobiological bases for innate gender identity in humans.    

 It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts –   – Sherlock Holmes [in Arthur Conan Doyle’s “A Scandal in Bohemia” (1891)]

Traditional behaviorist psychological theories of transsexualism   Behaviorist psychology was a dominent school of thought during the 1950’s-80’s, and has left a deep imprint on theories of gender and sexual behavior. Behaviorists “believe” that an infant’s mind is a blank slate upon which social factors and conditioning act to produce all aspects of personality, including gender. This belief takes the form of an axiom in their works – a basic assumption not based in evidence but upon which they derive results. Because of this belief in the infant’s “mind as a blank slate”, they have long had faith in John Money’s “genitalia and upbringing” theory of gender-identity formation.   Readers should carefully study the section on Gender Basics in Lynn’s TG/TS/TS Information pages for background on John Money’s theory, and on the recent shattering of Money’s theory when it was discovered that he had fabricated many results and concealed any counterevidence. For many decades his theory was the basis for arbitrary surgical sex reassignments of intersex infants, mostly boys with tiny or missing penises who were turned into “girls”. Many of these kids reassigned as infants required later re-reassignments as boys when their innate gender identities became clear during childhood. In most cases, the boys lives were shattered by the surgeries that had been forced upon them as infants (they lost what genital tissues they had, as well as the ability to have orgasm). Money never reported any follow-ups of these infant surgeries that revealed the horrors that had been going on.   As we’ll see, behaviorist theory has also had horrific impact on the lives of transsexual people, by classifying them as being “mentally ill”, instead of being open to the scientific possibility that they too have innate gender feelings. Denying the existance of any inborn gender identity, behaviorists (following Money’s ideas) see transsexualism as a failure of a person to properly socialize into their correct gender during childhood and adolescence, leading to “sexually deviant practices” in the adult which then brings on “mental illness” including the urge to “change sex”.   From this viewpoint, transsexualism is viewed as psychopathological. It is even listed as a mental illness in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, under the term “Gender Identity Disorder” (GID). This listing stigmatizes transsexualism as a mental illness, just as psychiatrists stigmatized “homosexuality” and “nymphomania” in the past (of course being gay is now seen as a natural variation in sexual-partner orientation, and being a sensual woman is now a sought-after-norm by many women).   In the absence of definitive scientific explanations for transsexualism, which await a deeper understanding of developmental biology, certain dogmatic psychologists and pyschiatrists have seized the opportunity to spout and publish unscientific behaviorist “theories” without much challenge from the public, the medical establishment or the scientific establishment. They have long defended their theories in the same manner as John Money defended his: by maintaining dominant positions in their peer networks, attacking the “credentials” of any challengers, and attempting to suppress any counter-evidence put forward by others.   Unfortunately, this sort of behavior can be effective in one’s advancement in niche fields such as sexology and gender studies, fields that attract few serious scientists and that are not subjected to close outside scrutiny by serious scholars. So powerful is the impact of a domineering “leader” like a John Money in a niche fields such as sexology that many wanna-be’s imitate his “dominance wins” style of behavior. When aggregated, such behaviors lead to the degeneration of such fields into non-scientific cliques of “experts” who rant about nonsense-theories not based in evidence, with each expert doing “whatever it takes” to get their pet theory accepted. Unfortunately, this “he who dominates wins” methodology is the only “scientific tradition” underlying many behaviorist psychiatrists’ theories in the realm of gender studies.   Believing transsexualism to be a mental illness, behaviorist psychiatrists often try to treat transsexual people by “conditioning” and/or “aversion therapy”. Many transsexuals, especially young transsexuals taken to psychiatrists by their parents, have undergone years of costly psychiatric counseling to “cure their transsexualism”. There have no reports of permanent cures. After inevitably failing to cure a transsexual, and considering her to be “permanently mentally ill”, these psychiatrists may sometimes approve her for SRS. Of course the years of useless therapy cost thousands of dollars and waste valuable gender-corrected living-time that can never be recovered.     The “two-type” behaviorist theory of transsexualism   In the late 80’s, certain behaviorists proposed a very specific “two-type” theory of transsexualism that has since “caught on” in psychiatric circles as “explaining the cause of transsexual mental illness”. Two types of sexual urges were “intuited” and then described by behaviorists to explain MtF transsexualism: (i) extreme “effeminate homosexuality”, and, more recently, (ii) obsessive “autogynephilic autosexuality”. These so-called “deviant adult practices” are thought of as gradually “conditioning the transsexual” to want to “change into a woman”. The theorists proclaim that these are the only causes of transsexualism, and all MtF transsexual people are of either one type or the other. This theory was developed and elaborated BEFORE the collapse of John Money’s theory of gender was discredited, and it promotors are scrambling now to salvage it.   The main promoters of this “two-type theory” are Ray Blanchard, Ph.D., a clinical sexologist at the notorious Gender Identity Clinic of Ontario’s Clarke Institute of Psychiatry who originated the idea, and his chief protege, J. Michael Bailey, Ph.D., a psychologist at Northwestern University.   Only by reading Bailey in the original can you get some idea of how totally bogus and methodologically flawed this so-called “scientific work” is. For example, Bailey’s website contains a paper entitled “Women Who Were Once Boys” that simply asserts as fact, without any basis, that there are “two categories of transsexuals: homosexual and autogynephilic”, and he then uses various anecdotal evidence from “interviews” to show how TS people fit into this categorization.   Bailey’s paper even goes on to include a simple twelve question “test” on how to tell the two types apart! However, it concludes with the warning: “Keep in mind that people don’t always tell the truth. This interview could be invalid if the transsexual is actually autogynephilic but is either (a) worried that you will think badly of her or deny her a sex change if you know the truth, or (b) obsessed with being a “real” woman.” Apparantly Bailey easily disregards any answers that don’t agree with his theory by simply characterizing the responder as a “lier”!   For more insight into the shallow, speculative, pseudo-scientific theorizing of people like J. Michael Bailey, see the quote of Bailey attached below regarding “stereotypes of gay people that are real”. Unfortunately, the writings and lecturings of “sexologists” like Blanchard and Bailey are taken fairly seriously in psychiatric counseling circles, where few people have the courage or the wits to challenge the ideas of these aggressive theory-promoters who publish widely in obscure sexological journals.   Let’s now consider each of these “two types” ideas in turn, and learn how the sexologists/psychologists/psychiatrists went wrong in their speculations.   There have always been some gay males who are very effeminate. Some of these men will occasionally dress in drag. But such males do not want to become women – they love being men, and love other men – and they are simply signalling their homosexuality using methods that are traditional in the gay community. Such a gay male is never “conditioned by his sexual activity” to want to become a woman. The sexologists’ error is to not differentiate between the effeminate homosexual male and the young transsexual girl whose cross-gender feelings developed long before puberty. The sexologists thus mistakingly jump to the conclusion that effeminate homosexuality is equivalent to transsexualism, and, conversely, that addiction to “homosexual behavior” must have been what caused the transsexualism of those young TS girls who incorrectly appear to be effeminate homosexuals to the psychiatrists.   In this theorizing, the sexologists and psychiatrists are victims of another of their errors, namely their notion that transsexualism is extremely rare. By assuming that transsexualism occurs in only 1:30,000 males, and then only looking for and sampling “transsexuals” in the gay male bar scene (where only a tiny fraction of TS girls hang out), they “confirm” their theory that most young TS girls come from among young “effeminate gay males” who have become addicted to receptive sex. After all, they find more than enough TS girls in that scene to cover the 1:30,000 prevalence number. What they do not perceive is that the young effeminate males and the young TS girls themselves know that they are two totally different kinds of people, even though they may hang out in some of the same bars. By overfocussing on the gay bar scene as a source for “transsexual research subjects”, the psychiatrists miss seeing the vastly larger number of TS girls who have no contact with that scene, who’ve had no “homosexual conditioning”, and who are strong counter-examples to their “theory”.   By insisting on the validity of the theory that “young transsexuals cause their transsexualism by addiction to homosexual practices”, the sexologists and psychiatrists never seemed to notice the important group of “strong counter-examples” to this theory – namely that a moderate percentage (perhaps as much as 20% to 30%) of all young TS girls are actually “lesbian” in their female gendering and prefer other girls as love-partners. Worse yet, the psychiatrists years ago made the existance of these young girls “invisible” by never writing letters of support for SRS for any TS girl who was known to be “lesbian”! In other words, since these girls didn’t fit their theory of transsexualism, they were denied SRS because “they weren’t transsexual” according to the psychiatrists. As a result, even to this day, many young TS girls who are lesbian try to avoid their gender counselors about their sexual preference for girls, fearing that this preference will hurt their chances for approval for SRS.   Therefore, we see that two errors in “theory”, namely (i) that transsexualism is extremely rare and (ii) that transsexualism is caused by conditioning to receptive homosexual sex, are compounded and mutually support each others’ apparant validity. This compound error is only recognized if one realizes that MtF transsexualism is about two orders of magnitude more common than previously recognized and that it mostly occurs in young boys who are not or were not immersed in the gay male bar scene.   Then, in recent years, a new phenomenon has appeared that has also caught the psychiatrists’ attention: A number of intensely transvestic males have become aware, later in life, that the physical transformations made possible by transsexual medical and surgical technology might revitalize and enhance their solitary sexual pleasures. These are male-gendered persons who desire to live in, and enjoy sexually playing with themselves in, the body of a woman. These individuals may even seek SRS, even though they are male gendered and in many cases have no particular desire to socially transition. The appearance of this phenomenon is simply a byproduct of the availability of gender modification technology – an application of that technology for something different than it was originally designed for (correction of transsexualism).   Such men are now called “autogynephiles”, although in public they usually call themselves “transsexuals” in order to present a more socially recognized and socially accepted explanation for their physical gender modifications. The recent tragic death of Ernest Hemingway’s son Gregory publicly revealed him to likely be an autogynephile, and revealed insights into the autogynephilic gender trajectory. Gregory had a long history of intense addiction to transvestism, and had apparently undergone SRS at sometime during his life. However, according to news reports Gregory only occasionally dressed as a woman in public, and he was referred to by the Hemingway family as Gregory (rather than Gloria or Vanessa, which were names Gregory sometimes used when dressed as a female).   In such cases, the psychiatrists’ model of sexually conditioned behavior appears to offer an explanation for the behavior, because these people often self-describe their condition to counselors as being males who want to heighten their transvestic pleasures. However, such intensely transvestic autogynephilic males retain their male gender feelings even after being transformed physically into females. Therefore, they are on a completely different gender-identity trajectory from that of transsexuals. The psychiatrists’ mistake is to that they confuse autogynephilia with being equivalent to late-transitioning transsexualism.   The existance of these two visible and identifiable groups of males (effeminate “homosexual” transsexuals and autogynephiles) who “appear to be transsexual”, and whose “transsexualism” appears to fit the behaviorist’s model that “sexual disorders are caused by conditioning”, has led many psychiatrists and psychologists to the generalization that ALL transsexualism is explained by just these TWO particular types of male sexual pleasure-seeking activity.   Although there is no scientific basis for these behaviorist ideas, many male psychiatrists just can’t imagine anything except powerful male sexual urges gone awry that could cause an apparantly normal male to want to become a woman. Such psychiatrists thus try to stall-off transsexual surgeries as long as possible, even for decades in some cases, until it is obvious that a patient’s “homosexual urges” or “autogynephilic urges” cannot be further contained. Operating under an incorrect model of transsexualism they can do irrevocable harm by long-delaying the gender transitions of many actual transsexuals who come under their guidance.   [By the way, these same male psychiatrists never question why an FtM transsexual would want to be a man, nor do they generate theories that FtM people want to be men because of “powerful female sexual urges gone awry”. To them it seems obvious that any woman might want to be a man, and thus it is only the MtF transsexual who is considered to be “mentally ill”. There is also present in their thinking a quaintly Victorian notion that only males have strong sexual drives, that only males masturbate and have orgasms, and that women are inherently passive sexually.]   This situation has been worsened by additional over-promotion of the “theory of autogynephilia as the main cause of transsexualism” by an AG person who happens to run a very visible and oft-accessed TS women’s support site. This person, openly identifying as an autogynephile, projects their own experience and condition on most other transsexual women (except those who were very early transitioners and who admit having early “homosexual” activity). When doing this projection and when theorizing that most transsexual women are actually autogynephiles, this person mimics the well-known macho-dominant style of John Money – doing anything possible to promote their “theory” and to defame as “liers” those who “deny being autogynephiles”.   Amazingly, the promoters of the autogynephilia theory of late-transitioners don’t seem to notice that many late transitioners do not just spend their lives alone engaging in solo-sex after transition as their theory would suggest. Instead, many late transitioners go on to form wonderful loving relationships – some with women and some with men – relationships in which they are fully sexual love-partners. Sadly, the widespread promotion of the non-scientific “autogynephilia theory” has caused a lot of angst among transsexual women who correctly perceive this as yet another trigger for public stigmatization and humiliation.   Unfortunately, many decades of such speculative, non-evidence-based theorizing about the causes of transsexualism have greatly muddied the waters of thinking about this condition. To this day, the mental-illness model of the condition permeates the general medical profession and negatively impacts public stereotypes of transsexual people. All of this “theorizing” is without any scientific foundation whatsoever, being little more than the “intuitions” of the most dominant thought leaders among sexologists, starting with John Money.   Maybe we should raise the question “what causes people to become sexologists”, apply the same “intuitive” methods to answer that question, and then see how sexologists react to our resulting theories!     Applying some common sense to question these behaviorist “theories”   Now let’s apply some common sense here. The deep sense of being incorrectly gendered begins in childhood for intense transsexuals, long before sexual feelings develop. After puberty, many young pre-op TS girls are attracted to boys just like any other girl would be. TS girls who are feminine and attractive may find boyfriends and make love with them while pre-op, just as any other girl would do. But these are not boy-to-boy homosexual relationships. These young transsexuals are thought of as girls by their boyfriends (just as Lynn was at ages 19-22), and their boyfriends are heterosexual, not homosexual. For psychiatrists to say that the “homosexual” sexual experiences of pre-op TS girls’ CAUSES their transsexualism is an incredible reversal of cause and effect. Instead it is their innate feelings of being female that cause them to seek the love of boys, and then in some cases to have sex with boys (always as “the girl”) in order to find affirmation of their femaleness.   Also, many older MtF transsexuals if long untreated become obsessed with the idea of becoming women. Is that so surprising? Older pre-op transsexuals without partners may also be autosexual. But aren’t most humans without partners autosexual? Masturbation itself is not a solely a “male” activity nor is it a sign of “autogynephilia”, as these psychiatrists seem to suggest. Many women enjoy their bodies very much, and many women masturbate for sexual pleasure and orgasmic release. Autosexuality on the part of pre-op (and postop) transsexuals of any age is just a natural part of their human nature, whether male or female, instead of being a “male sexual fetish”. (It seems likely now that the old time male behaviorist psychologists didn’t even know that many women masturbate and can have orgasms!).   To say that “thinking about being a woman while engaging in autosexual activity” CAUSES transsexualism is clearly another reversal of cause and effect. My goodness, do you think that a preop MtF transsexual would have masturbation fantasies in which she is a man? Common sense says she will have sexual fantasies in which she is a woman, because that is her inner identity. Therefore, to say that ALL late-transitioning transsexuals are autogynephilic is similarly a reversal of cause and effect.   Unfortunately, most male psychiatrists and psychologists, never themselves having experienced the intense gender-identity-alienation, cannot get the idea out of their heads that “sexual urges must be the cause” (their own male sexual urges being the strongest urges they themselves have ever felt).   In summary: Common sense tells us that the sexual practices of pre-op transsexuals, as they struggle during their difficult life trajectories to cope with bodies that are mis-gendered, can be far more easily explained and understood as being a natural BYPRODUCT of, rather than the CAUSE of, their transsexualism. Thus the old “mental illness” theories of transsexualism are based on a classic error in science: They have confused, reversed and conflated CAUSE and EFFECT.   A lot of damage is done by the old mental illness theories. When psychiatric authority figures subtly brainwash a transsexual patient into believing that she is causing her own transsexualism by engaging in “homosexuality” or “autogynephilic masturbation”, and then attempt to delay her transition for years or decades, she can lose all chances of ever later assimilating into society as a woman. Even if she transitions, she may actually think of herself as a deviant male rather than as a woman, and may be stuck with that self-image forever. This is especially true in cases where her psychiatrists insist that she buy into and parrot their theories, forcing her to admit that she is a “mentally-ill man” as a condition for signing letters of consent for her SRS.   When a counselor uses the terms homosexual transsexual and autogynephilic transsexual to classify their clients, it’s a sure tip-off they believe that ALL transsexuals are mentally ill sexual deviants who have caused their own transsexualism. Lynn advises transsexuals to avoid counselors who label transsexuals in these judgmental behaviorist categories. Transsexuals are also advised to avoid TG/TS support groups whose members identify primarily as autogynephilic, because they will not fit-in well and will not learn useful skills for assimilation as women in such groups. [On the other hand, older highly transvestic males who desire transsexual physical modifications should seek out such support groups; they should also seek counselors whose practice primarily involves autogynephiles, and who will refer such males for transsexual surgery, including SRS.]   For further discussion regarding the psychological and psychiatric profession’s unscientific conception of transsexualism as a mental illness, see Gender as Illness: Issues of Psychiatric Classification by Katherine K. Wilson of the Gender Identity Clinic of Colorado (GIC). GIC has also developed a new webpage resource for the Reform of Gender Disorders in the DSM-IV-TR, located at http://gidreform.org/.   Also consider recent research by psychiatrists in Norway that has found that TS patients selected for sex reassignment showed a relatively low level of psychopathology both before and after treatment. This new research also casts doubt on the old view that transsexualism is a “severe mental disorder”.   For a further indictment of the professionalism, scientific credibility, factual accuracy and veracity of the APA and the DSM-IV regarding transsexualism, see Lynn’s discussion of the question “How frequently does transsexualism occur?“.
Recent neurological theories of transsexualism   Except for the behaviorists (who unfortunately are still dominant among “sexologists” and “gender theorists”), most schools of psychological thought have ruled out causes related to upbringing, social interactions and sexual practices as leading to transsexualism. As in other fundamental areas of personality, most scientific researchers now believe that the formation of gender identity most likely occurs at an innate neurobiological level. Serious scientific research on the formation of gender identity is now focused on understanding the processes of CNS neurological integration of the fetus during pregnancy.   Recent research indicates that MtF transsexualism may result from a female differentiation in a genetic male of the BSTc portion of the hypothalamus, during interactions between the developing brain and fetal sex hormones; this brain region is essential to sexual feelings and behavior. The first such research was reported in 1995: See NATURE, 378: 60-70, 1995 (this paper is also web accessible at http://www.symposion.com/ijt/ijtc0106.htm ). Significant extensions of this earlier work have just been reported, in May 2000 (see following abstract and link to the full paper) :  

The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, May 2000, p. 2034-2041
Copyright 2000, The Endocrine Society Vol. 85, No. 5 Male-to-Female Transsexuals Have Female Neuron Numbers in a Limbic Nucleus Frank P. M. Kruijver, Jiang-Ning Zhou, Chris W. Pool, Michel A. Hofman,
Louis J. G. Gooren, and Dick F. Swaab   Graduate School Neurosciences Amsterdam (F.P.M.K., J.-N.Z., C.W.P., M.A.H., D.F.S.), Netherlands Institute for Brain Research, 1105 AZ Amsterdam ZO, The Netherlands; Department of Endocrinology (L.J.G.G.),
Free University Hospital, 1007 MB Amsterdam, The Netherlands; and Anhui Geriatric Institute (J.-N.Z.), The First Affiliated Hospital of Anhui Medical University, Hefei, Anhui, 230032 China   Address all correspondence and requests for reprints to: Frank P. M. Kruijver, M.D., or Prof. Dick F. Swaab, M.D., Ph.D., Graduate School Neurosciences Amsterdam, Netherlands Institute for Brain Research, Meibergdreef 33, 1105 AZ Amsterdam ZO, The Netherlands. E-mail: F.Kruijver@nih.knaw.nl.   Abstract Transsexuals experience themselves as being of the opposite sex, despite having the biological characteristics of one sex. A crucial question resulting from a previous brain study in male-to-female transsexuals was whether the reported difference according to gender identity in the central part of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BSTc) was based on a neuronal difference in the BSTc itself or just a reflection of a difference in vasoactive intestinal polypeptide innervation from the amygdala, which was used as a marker. Therefore, we determined in 42 subjects the number of somatostatin-expressing neurons in the BSTc in relation to sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and past or present hormonal status. Regardless of sexual orientation, men had almost twice as many somatostatin neurons as women (P < 0.006). The number of neurons in the BSTc of male-to-female transsexuals was similar to that of the females (P =3D 0.83). In contrast, the neuron number of a female-to-male transsexual was found to be in the male range. Hormone treatment or sex hormone level variations in adulthood did not seem to have influenced BSTc neuron numbers. The present findings of somatostatin neuronal sex differences in the BSTc and its sex reversal in the transsexual brain clearly support the paradigm that in transsexuals sexual differentiation of the brain and genitals may go into opposite directions and point to a neurobiological basis of gender identity disorder.

    Support for this brain-differentiation and CNS imprinting theory of gender identity also comes from the recently reported research studies on intersex boys who had been surgically changed into girls and raised as girls, yet who grew up insisting on being boys (see the important earlier section on the intersexed). These follow-up studies demonstrate that having female genitals and being raised as girls did not make these brain-sexed boys into girls. They somehow deeply knew that they were boys, in spite of all the external evidence that they were girls – in other words, they presented just as if they were FtM transsexual boys.   The we an see how the old behaviorist “genitals plus upbringing” psychological theory has caused tremendous pain and suffering, especially amongst (i) intersexed children who’ve undergone unwanted genital surgery and incorrect gender reassignment during their upbringing, and (ii) transsexual children who’ve undergone extended psychiatric “treatment” such as shock therapy, aversion therapy and behaviorist conditioning therapy in futile efforts to “reverse” their transsexualism, and who’ve been forced to grow up in the wrong gender in spite of their pleas and suffering. In the case of transsexual children there is also the added social stigmatization of being declared “mentally ill” by the psychiatric profession.   Emerging scientific understanding of gender identity and the accumulating empirical evidence of successful gender transitions can help society and the medical community avoid such terrible treatments and misclassifications in the future, and better help these innocent children to find their best paths in life in each individual case. If anyone doubts that those who undergo gender transition can go on to lead full and happy lives, all they need do is study the empirical evidence at Lynn’s “TS Women’s Successes” and “Successful TransMen” pages.     What if there is no cause? Could gender transition just be a “lifestyle choice”?   Is gender transition a “choice” or “fate”? This question very often arises in conversations about transsexualism. The notion that transition is a lifestyle “choice” is rather prevalent in our society, and can be just as stigmatizing as the idea that it is due to a mental illness. But why do people jump to the conclusion that it is a choice? Perhaps it is because of the apparent suddenness of the onset of many transsexual transitions.   Transsexual women often appear to be completely normal males before announcing they are going to “change sex”. The apparent suddenness of these transitions, and the rapid and dramatic physical changes that follow, fuels speculation among family, friends and co-workers that these “decisions” are very irrational ones. People often interpret unexpected transitions as “mental breakdowns”, or as sudden “choices” to do something totally weird and prurient and probably for “sexual reasons”. (These interpretations are furthered by the occasional cases of autogynephilic males who go through hormone therapy and SRS specifically for sexual reasons, and who remain rather visibly transgendered and do not “vibe” as women afterwards).   What most people cannot comprehend is the extreme gender distress these transsexuals have endured during their entire lives. Forced by extreme family and societal pressures to keep their distress a secret from everyone else and never show any signs of cross-gender feelings, they simply suffer horrifically in silence, never revealing what is wrong inside. When the gender angst becomes totally overwhelming, and transsexual people seek counseling and discover options for gender-transition, the floodgates open in their minds: Transition then becomes an intensely sought-after goal, and to others may appear to have arisen out of the blue, as if it were a sudden “choice”. However, gender transition is NOT a choice. Instead it is destiny for those who are intensely transsexual.     Why is there so much fixation on “causes” anyway?Do we really need to know the cause in order to treat the condition?   Why is there so much fixation on “causes” anyway? The answer is simple: Transsexualism has been such a socially unpopular condition in the past that the issue of “what causes it” has always raised in discussions about what to do about it.   In the past many behaviorist psychologists and psychiatrists have inherently blamed transsexuals for causing their own “sexually deviant mental illness”, giving those psychiatrists a claim to responsibility for “treatment and cure of transsexual people” and giving society a rationale for discrimination, marginalization and ghettoization of transsexual people.   However, as we’ve seen, transsexualism is most likely a neurological condition of as yet unknown origin and not a “mental illness”. There are many other intense neurological conditions such a pain, depression and bipolar disorders for which we do not know the underlying causes but suspect biological causes. We know that these other conditions are real because we see people in distress, and we treat those people medically and with compassion to relieve their suffering.   Why should it be any different with transsexualism? We now know how to relieve the suffering of transsexual people, having many options for practical counseling, social transition and hormonal/surgical gender reassignment. Why not accept those treatments as valid, since they truly relieve suffering and enhance the quality of life, even if we aren’t sure what causes the underlying condition. And why stigmatize people just because they have sought medical treatment for this condition.   Fortunately there are a rapidly growing number of compassionate non-behaviorist gender counselors who provide practical help for transitioning transsexual people. These counselors follow a model of “informed consent” for their clients, presenting options for treatments and counseling clients on pragmatic, effective ways of resolving their gender issues.   Most present-day, self-reliant transsexual people who are planning and managing their own transitions seek the advice and counsel of the modern-day pragmatic gender-counselors, and they avoid traditional psychiatrists like the plague. Modern medical treatments can resolve the transsexual condition, even in the absence of scientific understanding of the detailed biological mechanisms that determine one’s innate gender identity.     Return to Lynn’s TG/TS/IS information page


Appendix:   The following quote of J. Michael Bailey will help readers calibrate the incredibly naive and non-scientific level of thinking common among so-called “sexological researchers” when they speculate about and characterize their “research subjects”. Any intelligent reader will sense the arrogance, shallowness and lack of perceptiveness in Bailey’s thinking, his lack of sound evidence upon which to base conclusions, and his total conflation of causes and effects. Ask yourself if YOU’D like to be on the receiving end of “scientific thinking” like this? Need I say more?  

Source: http://after-words.org/grim/mtarchives/2002/08/index.shtml   From an Interview on Stereotypes of Homosexuals. With J. Michael Bailey, Department of Psychology, Northwestern University   Q: What stereotypes have turned out to have some truth to them?   A: One big thing is occupational and recreational interests. In fact, hairdressers, professional dancers, actors and designers tend to be gay men, at least at much higher rates than their population rate, which is somewhere between 1 and 4 percent. And women who are in the armed services, or professional athletes (two of the three best all-time women’s tennis players are lesbian), are disproportionately lesbian.
Children who are sex-atypical do tend to become homosexual. Especially males. Boys who want to be girls become men who want men. Most very masculine girls probably become heterosexual women, but their rate of homosexuality is probably still higher than would be expected given the population rate of female homosexuality, which is probably less than 1 percent.   Recently, we have shown that on average, gay men and lesbians are very different on average from straight people in the way they walk and speak. There is such a thing, evidently, as a gay voice. And lesbians tend to look different than straight women — in particular, they have shorter hairstyles.
On the other hand, some stereotypes about homosexual people are due to the fact that they are in certain other ways psychologically like straight people of their own sex. For example, gay men have lots of sex partners compared with straight men. This is because they have a male-typical level of interest in casual sex, but because they are seeking other men with the same interest, they can have as many partners as they want. Straight men are constrained by the desires of women. I think that there is nothing intrinsically “gay” about having hundreds of sex partners. Lots of straight guys would if they could. But they can’t, because they can’t find female partners who’ll have anonymous sex with them.

Women have an at least equal propensity for evil and violence, they are also more vulnerable to mental illness. What they may lack in physical strength, they make up with weapons, deviousness and lies. May 22nd 2020

Women are always presumed innocent in the Anglo American world, or at least as the puppets of evil men.
The myths of female selfless benevolence is stronger than ever, masking the truth ofmany crimes.
Such sweet and painted faces.
Men need to stop fanatsisisng and romanticising women, only then will we have a chance of true equality under the law, and justice.

For Mental Health Awareness Week 2020, Stylist looks back on some of our most powerful essays on mental health, to offer support and solidarity during this week and beyond.

During the coronavirus pandemic, we’re talking about our mental health more and more.

Mental health charities have warned that anxiety and stress are on the rise in the UK, while psychiatrists have suggested there could be a “tsunami” of mental illness following lockdown.

And here’s a sobering statistic to consider: even before the coronavirus crisis, more than half (51%) of young women aged 18-30 in the UK said they were currently worried about their mental health. This figure was a sharp rise from 2016, when 38% of young women said they were worried about their mental health. The data, compiled by the Young Women’s Trust last year, shows a concerning trend for fears around issues such as anxiety, depression and OCD.

mental health support uk
Mental Health Awareness Week 2020: remember, you are not alone.

Stylist is proud to publish the following beautiful and moving essays from women detailing how they manage their mental health. While mental health is a big issue, estimated to affect one in four people in the UK every year, each person will have a unique experience with it – as these women’s words so eloquently prove.

Read on to find out how some of our most powerful writers faced challenges from dealing with anxiety and depression to battling insomnia and even their own genetics.

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Freelance journalist Millie Milliken talks about her experience with Body Dysmorphic Disorder for the first time, and offers an insight into life with the condition.

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What it’s really like living with OCD: “I’m obsessed with the harm I could cause”

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“The intrusive thoughts in my head range from starting fires, to causing car accidents, murder and other possibilities I find hard to write, even now,” says freelance journalist, Lucy Donoughue.

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“The surprisingly simple way I learned to live with my anxiety”

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“I can’t banish my anxiety, but I can control it. I can tame it,” writes journalist Kate Townshend.

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“How it feels to inherit a mental illness”

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From a young age, author Amy Molloy knew mental illness was rife in her family – especially among the women. Yet, by spending her life studying optimistic coping mechanisms, she believes she has finally broken the cycle. Here, she shares what she has learnt on her journey to happiness.

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“How I use video games to curb my anxiety”

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Videogames get a bad rap in the media, but countless studies have shown they’re actually really good for our mental health. Here, Stylist’s digital editor-at-large Kayleigh Dray explains how she uses videogames to regain a sense of control whenever she finds herself crippled by anxiety.

Read the essay 

If you, or someone you know, is struggling with mental health issues, you can find support and resources on mental health charity Mind’s website or see the NHS’ list of mental health helplines here

This article was originally published in 18 May 2018 but has been updated throughout

Images: Getty, Maaike Nienhuis Jose Fontano, Min An, Holly Mandarich, Joshua Rawson Harris, Ev, MMPR, Pawel Kadysz

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Sarah Biddlecombe

Sarah Biddlecombe is an award-winning journalist and Digital Commissioning Editor at Stylist. Follow her on Twitter

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Sex Change Hormonal Treatments Alter Brain Chemistry Posted March 6th 2020

The Female Brain is different. Even mother’s hormone levels in the womb have major influence on foetal development, which can overide seconday sexual characteristics –
Polly Sexual’s Image by Appledene Photographics.

Reports new study in Biological Psychiatry Share this:                  
Philadelphia, PA, October 8, 2015

Hormonal treatments administered as part of the procedures for sex reassignment have well-known and well-documented effects on the secondary sexual characteristics of the adult body, shifting a recipient’s physical appearance to that of the opposite sex. 

New research published in the current issue of Biological Psychiatry indicates that these hormonal treatments also alter brain chemistry.

Researchers at the Medical University of Vienna, led by senior authors Dr. Siegfried Kasper and Dr. Rupert Lanzenberger, show that administration of the male hormone testosterone in female-to-male transsexuals raises brain levels of SERT, the protein that transports the chemical messenger serotonin into nerve cells.

In contrast, male-to-female transsexuals who received a testosterone blocker and the female hormone estrogen showed decreased levels of this protein in the brain.

SERT plays an important role in the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders, as many common antidepressants, such as Prozac, block its activity by inhibiting serotonin reuptake. In addition, some genetics studies have suggested that higher levels of serotonin transporter may increase resilience to stress and reduce risk for stress and mood disorders.

Because women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression as men, these changes in the levels of SERT are consistent with the increased risk for mood and anxiety disorders in females relative to males.

Lanzenberger added, “These results may explain why testosterone improves symptoms in some forms of depression. Our study also increases our knowledge on the role of sex hormones in sex differences of mood disorders.”

Overall, these findings suggest that when people switch from female to male, their biology changes in a way that is consistent with a reduced risk for mood and anxiety disorders, whereas the reverse happens when males switch to females.

“This study is the first to show changes in brain chemistry associated with the hormonal treatments administered in the sex change process,” said Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry. “It provides new insight into the ways that the hormonal differences between men and women influence mood and the risk for mood disorders.”

The article is “High-Dose Testosterone Treatment Increases Serotonin Transporter Binding in Transgender People” by Georg S. Kranz, Wolfgang Wadsak, Ulrike Kaufmann, Markus Savli, Pia Baldinger, Gregor Gryglewski, Daniela Haeusler, Marie Spies, Markus Mitterhauser, Siegfried Kasper, and Rupert Lanzenberger (doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2014.09.010). The article appears in Biological Psychiatry, Volume 78, Issue 8 (October 15, 2015), published by Elsevier.

Notes for editors
Full text of the article is available to credentialed journalists upon request; contact Rhiannon Bugno at +1 214 648 0880 or Biol.Psych@utsouthwestern.edu. Journalists wishing to interview the authors may contact Dr. Rupert Lanzenberger at +43 (1) 40400 35760 or rupert.lanzenberger@meduniwien.ac.at.

The authors’ affiliations, and disclosures of financial and conflicts of interests are available in the article.

John H. Krystal, M.D., is Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine, Chief of Psychiatry at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and a research psychiatrist at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System. His disclosures of financial and conflicts of interests are available here.

About Biological Psychiatry
Biological Psychiatry is the official journal of the Society of Biological Psychiatry, whose purpose is to promote excellence in scientific research and education in fields that investigate the nature, causes, mechanisms and treatments of disorders of thought, emotion, or behavior. In accord with this mission, this peer-reviewed, rapid-publication, international journal publishes both basic and clinical contributions from all disciplines and research areas relevant to the pathophysiology and treatment of major psychiatric disorders.

The journal publishes novel results of original research which represent an important new lead or significant impact on the field, particularly those addressing genetic and environmental risk factors, neural circuitry and neurochemistry, and important new therapeutic approaches. Reviews and commentaries that focus on topics of current research and interest are also encouraged.

Biological Psychiatry is one of the most selective and highly cited journals in the field of psychiatric neuroscience. It is ranked 6th out of 140 Psychiatry titles and 10th out of 252 Neurosciences titles in the Journal Citations Reports® published by Thomson Reuters. The 2014 Impact Factor score for Biological Psychiatry is 10.255.

About Elsevier
Elsevier is a global information analytics business that helps scientists and clinicians to find new answers, reshape human knowledge, and tackle the most urgent human crises. For 140 years, we have partnered with the research world to curate and verify scientific knowledge. Today, we’re committed to bringing that rigor to a new generation of platforms. Elsevier provides digital solutions and tools in the areas of strategic research management, R&D performance, clinical decision support, and professional education; including ScienceDirect, Scopus, SciVal, ClinicalKey and Sherpath. Elsevier publishes over 2,500 digitized journals, including The Lancet and Cell, 39,000 e-book titles and many iconic reference works, including Gray’s Anatomy. Elsevier is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. www.elsevier.com

Media Contact
Rhiannon Bugno, Editorial Office
+1 214 648 0880
Biol.Psych@utsouthwestern.edu

Can Women be as Violent as Men? Posted February 20th 2020

As a rule of thumb, men are responsible for over 90 percent of serious violent crimes, such as assaults, homicides, and violent robberies. Why is there such a large gender gap and is it likely to persist?

One might imagine that lower violent crime rates for women reflects a generally lower level of aggression. Yet, marriage researchers observe the opposite pattern. Women are more likely to pick fights with their husbands, they are quicker to escalate verbal aggression, and are as likely to use physical aggression as men (1).

Despite these counter-intuitive findings, men are much more likely to be convicted of domestic-violence-related charges. One obvious reason for this is that men are generally larger and stronger, and may have more experience with physical aggression, such as that commonly associated with contact sports.

Despite these counter-intuitive findings, men are much more likely to be convicted of domestic-violence-related charges. One obvious reason for this is that men are generally larger and stronger, and may have more experience with physical aggression, such as that commonly associated with contact sports.

Another intriguing difference between men and women in the context of domestic disputes is that men generally become more physiologically aroused in terms of increased blood pressure (2).

If the body is revved up for action, damaging aggression is more likely. Moreover, when it occurs, the aggression is more likely to be extreme, uncontrolled, or “disinhibited,” words that are sometimes used to describe the orgy of violence in unusually grisly crimes of violence.

In the vast majority of such crimes, the perpetrators are men.

Modern women are behaving much more like men when it comes to risk-taking and aggression. One sign of this phenomenon is greater participation in contact sports and dangerous competitions such as horse racing or car racing. According to Anthropologist Elizabeth Cashdan (5), in societies where women compete more amongst each other whether in occupations, or over spouses, their levels of stress hormones and testosterone increase.

In the modern world, there are far more women driving on the roads and they drive more aggressively and dangerously than ever before. As a result, their accident rates have risen from very low levels and young women are almost as dangerous on the roads as young men whose aggression and recklessness make driving much more dangerous for everyone else. Small wonder then that women are showing up in previously all-male crimes such as violent bank robbery.

As women have begun to take leadership positions in large corporations, they have also acted as leaders in criminal enterprises. One of the most successful Latin American drug kingpins was a Colombian woman, Griselda Bianco, known as La Madrina, who ran an extensive U.S. operation from Miami. She is not the only woman to rise to the top in organized crime.

That there are female equivalents of Pablo Escobar is intriguing from the perspective of gender differences in violence. Yet, there have always been female sociopaths, just fewer of them than males. Such figures certainly challenge gender stereotypes.

Yet, most evolutionary psychologists would predict that even amongst the restricted population of violent criminals, females will continue to be less extremely violent. The reason is that women remain generally less violent and more risk-averse than men. This risk aversion is tied to an evolutionary past in which women did most of the childcare and avoided violence as a way of staying alive to protect their children.

That theory has already failed in respect to vanishing gender differences in traffic accidents. We should not be too shocked if more women also take up bank robbery, and other violent crimes, as their “job.”

Notes

1. Arriaga, X. B., and Oskamp, S., Eds. (1999). Violence in intimate relationships. London: Sage.

2. Gottman, J. M., and Levenson, R. W. (1988). The social psychophysiology of marriage. In P. Moller and M. A. Fitzpatrick, Eds., Perspectives on marital interaction. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.

3. Barber, N. (2002). The science of romance. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus.

4. Barber, N. (2009). Countries with fewer males have more violent crime: Marriage markets and mating aggression. Aggressive Behavior, 35, 49-56.

5. Cashdan, E. (2008). Waist-to-hip ratios across cultures: Trade-offs between androgen- and estrogen-dependent traits. Current Anthropology, 49, 1099-1107.

About the Author

Nigel Barber, Ph.D., is an evolutionary psychologist as well as the author of Why Parents Matter and The Science of Romance, among other books. In Print:The Myth of Culture: Why We Need a Genuine Natural Science of Societies

Can Two People Have the Same Dream?

If two people can share the same dream, then dreams transcend individual minds.

Posted Jun 19, 2016

Can two or more people share the same dream? As far as I know, there have been no scientific investigations of this question. But there are literally thousands of well-documented accounts.

The best-documented cases involve therapist-client shared dreams. In these, there is a professionally trained therapist who verifies the claim that the dream happened to both the therapist and the client around the same time. The next-best documented cases involve people in close relationships like parent/children, spouses, or lovers. Consistent with the effect of emotional closeness on shared dreams, we also have plenty of well-documented cases of twins sharing the same dream. The least well-documented cases involve complete strangers sharing the same dream. (We only have anecdotal reports of strangers experiencing the same dream because the strangers happened to run into one another and recognize each another from the dream!)

I have written about the shared dreams of twins in this blog and cited sources on twins in that post. For sources on shared dreams between therapists and clients, see Anthony Shafton’s 1995 book Dream Reader. For sources on complete strangers sharing dreams, see Frank Seafield’s Dream Curiosities. You can also find forums on shared dreams all over the web. We have to conclude that people everywhere do occasionally experience the same dream as another individual.

What are we to make of this fact? First, all we have are anecdotal reports. People believe they experienced the same dream, but we have to remain skeptical until controlled scientific investigations are conducted. In addition, the two people involved never agree about every detail about the shared dream. Nevertheless, I have learned to respect anecdotal reports in the world of dream research because these reports are usually reliable. There is no incentive for people to lie about the experience.

There are some commonalities among the reports that increase confidence in their reliability. For example, most often the two people involved know each other and are emotionally close. Obviously, you are more likely to hear about unusual experiences involving two people if they see each other on a regular basis. In addition, the way in which the two people typically discover that they shared a dream is that one person begins sharing the dream without knowing that the other person had the same one until the other person jumps in and finishes it.

People often report that nothing unusual happened before the shared dream. They report that they did not talk about dreams with the other person before the event, so there is no indication of biasing or priming effects. The fact that the two people involved often do not agree about every detail in the dream actually increases my confidence that the reports are honest accounts. It seems inevitable that individual differences, ranging from mood to IQ to memory differences, prevent people from recalling every detail of a dream—so reports of a shared dream should vary accordingly. The small amount of variance concerning details in reports of shared dreams therefore makes sense. Interestingly, the timing of the event can vary as well. Sometimes the shared dream occurs at the same time for both people. In other cases, it does not. What is remarkable is that so much of the shared dream, sometimes including small details, are recalled as strikingly similar or even identical by the two people involved, regardless of the timing of their experiences. article continues after advertisement

So let us provisionally accept the fact of shared dreams: Two persons can have the same dream. What does this imply for the science of dreams? If we assume that brains produce dreams, we have to assume that the two brains involved were in the appropriate brain states to produce identical content in two people. This may mean that the two people must have been in identical brain states, and that these identical states produced the same cognitive content.

Yet this option seems almost impossible to me given the huge plasticity and variability in brain physiologies across individuals. Even the brains of twins are vastly dissimilar. So attributing shared dreams to coincidentally identical brain states seems a stretch. But other alternative explanations are equally unappealing: For example, two people having the same dream seems to suggest that dreams are not mere products of the sleeping brain. Instead, they arise outside of us and then “happen” to us. They are in some sense independent of the minds that record and express them. Dreams are perhaps products of the interpersonal cultural world and float in the cultural morphospace waiting to alight on an individual consciousness.

But if that were the case, why is it that the cultural memes manifest as shared dreams and not some identical cognitive content in waking life? Perhaps shared dreams are like abstract Platonic forms that are bigger than individual brains, so they are able manifest in several brains attuned to the form.

None of these possibilities seem appealing or plausible to me.

In short, we have no good explanations for shared dreams. Perhaps that is why science has not yet investigated these events. Science has no place to put them within its current worldview—but this is all the more reason to investigate them. Paradigm-challenging phenomena are the most important data for science because they force revolutionary changes.

How Psychology Deals With The Concept Of “Toxic Masculinity” Posted January 15th 2020

There’s been a lot of discussion in the media over the last couple years about the topic of “toxic masculinity.” Some commentators seem to blame it for all the world’s problems, while others feel the term itself is an attack on all men, no matter what their backgrounds. It is difficult to find a measured view of what toxic masculinity is, detached from personal opinions and judgments. If you look at Twitter conversations on the subject, you will find anger and rhetoric, often along political lines.

But toxic masculinity is an important concept in the field of psychology. Understanding it in such a way that it is helpful rather than harmful, is necessary in order to address the actual problems.

What is “Toxic Masculinity”?

As soon as we use the term “toxic masculinity,” we hit a point of contention. Are we saying that masculinity is toxic, or are we saying that there is a kind of masculinity that is toxic? For the purposes of healing, it is crucial that we maintain the latter approach. In a psychological sense, a person or group of people are never the problem. Rather, it is a behavior or set of behaviors that is problematic.

Masculinity Definition

Masculinity itself is not easily defined. When we get down to the biological basics, men and women are not all that different. Aside from the obvious physical differences, our brains are almost exactly the same. Most of the differences we perceive between the genders stem from social and cultural constructs of how we expect men and women to behave.

So masculinity can be defined as a set of traits or even a culture we consider masculine. There is, of course, nothing wrong with being a man or associating with masculine traits, which is why it is so important to separate masculinity itself from the concept of toxicity.

Toxicity Definition

In the context of toxic masculinity, toxicity refers to behaviors, feelings, and thoughts which have a negative impact on the individual and those around them. Toxicity therefore refers to when traits considered masculine are exaggerated to a point at which they become harmful, as well as traits which if expressed at all will harm others.

For example, a man can be proud of his physical strength and even consider it an aspect of his masculinity. However, if he uses it to abuse, exert control over or denigrate others, it has become toxic. At their worst, toxic traits can lead to rape, murder, and other forms of violence. Similarly, if his self-worth is bound up in how physically strong he is, it has become toxic to himself.

When considering toxic masculinity, psychologists are therefore concerned about two separate but related themes: the harm it causes to woman and the harm it causes to men.

Many women speak to their therapists about the effect of toxic masculinity on their own lives. It comes through in their relationships with bosses, romantic partners, or family members. It comes through in their near-constant, realistic fear of rape. It also comes through in how they see themselves. Since the toxicity does not refer to masculinity itself, one does not need masculine traits in order to exhibit its effects. A lot of women have implicitly bought into toxic conceptions.

Its expression in men is markedly different. Many men speak to their therapists about how difficult it is to be vulnerable without feeling like they’re not real men. But most men don’t speak to therapists, or anyone, about this at all. The toxic idea that men should never show signs of weakness, should never cry, and should never ask for help, is literally killing men.

Toxic Masculinity

The statistics consistently show that more women are depressed than men. However, twice as many men commit suicide. The disparity between the numbers mostly comes down to the simple fact that men are far less likely to admit to themselves or others that they are struggling.

It is in this and other ways that toxic masculinity harms men to such a degree as to be fatal.

Not All Masculinity Is Toxic (Not Even Most)

It is therefore imperative to note that masculinity in and of itself is not toxic. Many experts emphasize that there are many masculinities. There are many traits and even cultures that men and women consider masculine which are not toxic. Most of these “masculinities” are healthy and are to the detriment of neither men nor women.

Toxic Culture vs Toxic Masculinity

There are those who would rather we didn’t refer to it as toxic masculinity at all. They point out that it is not masculinity, or even one of many masculinities, that is toxic. Rather, it is a toxic culture of masculinity. Author Mark Greene explains the difference as such:

“Culture is a construct, formed and shaped by all of us. It represents not us as individuals, but a collective agreement on how we should behave.”

Calling it a culture makes the clear distinction that this is not something inherent in men or masculinity itself.

Hegemonic Masculinity

In gender studies, there is a concept known as hegemonic masculinity. This refers to a culture that legitimizes men’s dominance in society and justifies the subordination of women. It is a significant part of what most people think of when they hear or say the term toxic masculinity. It can be an implicitly held viewpoint, or a philosophy to which an individual knowingly subscribes.

What Can We Do About It?

Toxic masculinity, or the toxic culture of masculinity, is deeply rooted in most societies across the world. It is perceptible in gender norms, career expectations, work environments, and even the way we educate children. With this perspective, the concept may seem too overwhelming to counter.

However, a culture exists among individuals, and by making the choice to change your own ideas and behaviors, you make an immediate difference, regardless of your sex or gender.

From a psychological standpoint, therapy is the perfect space to carve out your individual sense of self. Therapy can therefore help you challenge your own beliefs about masculinity, particularly in how they manifest in your life. Women can learn how to see themselves without the lens of the culture. Men can learn to let go of the expectations which are holding them back.

We need a nuanced understanding of toxic masculinity in order to deal with its effects on both men and women. You can begin by challenging the way you think of masculinity, as it relates to yourself and others. November 5, 2018 / 0 Comments / by Joshua Marcus About The Author Joshua Marcus

Joshua Marcus is a South African freelance writer in the mental health niche and founder of TheEmpathyHub.com. Having both studied psychology and battled his own depression, he is passionate about spreading awareness of mental illness and its treatment. He is currently traveling through South-East Asia with his husband, Kyle.←Previous post Next post→

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How to Tell If You’re Experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder Posted December 18th 2019

So how can you know if you’re experiencing SAD? Even if you’re not in the 18 to 30 age group, have never been diagnosed with depression and don’t live in a northern part of the world, it could still be something you’re experiencing. 

“Some common signs of SAD include a lack of motivation, decreased desire to participate in the activities you once enjoyed, increased irritability, trouble concentrating or sleeping,” says Benton.  

“The symptoms of SAD are the same as depression,” Richardson agrees. “The only difference is that the symptoms present more during the fall and winter months. If you begin to feel down or depressed, not interested in things you normally like to do, or find that your energy is overall low, you may have SAD — and should speak with a healthcare professional.”

How to Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder

Does the above sound like your experience of the colder months of the year? If so, you should know that you don’t have to suffer like this every time the temperature drops and the days begin to shorten — there are ways to combat SAD. 

 “Try adjusting your daily schedule to optimise the amount of time you spend in the sun, whether it’s taking a walk during your lunch break or adjusting your exercise schedule to work out in the morning instead of the evening,” suggests Benton. When daylight savings time occurs, there’s a change to your circadian rhythm which can increase symptoms of SAD, she explains. “To counteract the change, it’s important to become strict with your sleep schedule and set specific times to go to bed and wake up every day.”

Another factor that contributes to SAD is a lack of activity, says Benton. “It can be extremely easy to fall into a sedentary lifestyle during the winter and the holidays, so try to avoid sitting for long periods of time and aim to do something active every day. Additionally, many people find the use of a light therapy lamp, a lamp that emulates natural sunlight, very helpful.”

Richardson agrees that light therapy is a big part of combating SAD symptoms. 

“Light therapy, also called phototherapy, can be used to counteract the lack of sunlight during the winter months and give a boost to your circadian rhythm. Try phototherapy by going for a walk outside in the daylight for 30 minutes. If that is a little too cold for you, you can also try a light box that you can place on your desk and get some synthetic sunshine before the start of your day.”

He also suggests approaching SAD with the same seriousness you’d approach non-seasonal depression — by trying out counseling and/or speaking to a medical professional to discuss possible medication. 

“If you find that your mood is taking a turn for the worse, try counseling. A therapist can help you identify the exacerbating factors worsening your mood and help guide you through the winter months,” Richardson says. However, he notes, the best way to treat SAD is to prevent it from happening. “Bupropion, also known as Wellbutrin, is a type of antidepressant that has been found to prevent SAD when started in the fall,” he says. 

That doesn’t mean it’s too late for you if the snow has already begun falling, though. 

“If you are in the midst of the winter and think you have developed a case of SAD, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Prozac, Zoloft, or Lexapro, are your first-line treatment options to help get you back on your feet,” Richardson says. “These medications are fairly safe, but talk with your doctor to discuss if these medications are right for you.”

A State Serving Psychiatrists View from the U.S follows this article Posted December 14th 2019 “Bad mistakes made by some psychiatrists and registrars inthe NHS” https://www.careopinion.org.uk/15824

About: North East London NHS Foundation Trust

On more than one occasion, I have been unfortunate enough to go to a psychiatric hospital because of having to cope with too much stress. On more than one occasion, I was not listened to by the doctor, who unfortunately listened to my father who I hadn’t seen for about 2 years previously and tried to keep away from him as much as possible. Unfortunately again the doctors didn’t know that my father has been a violent and abusive alcoholic and rather than listen to me, they took the opinion of my father. I then received the wrong medical treatment, which was very painful for me. After getting a solicitor involved (luckily the hospital had an advocacy department) and after a lot of unnecessary trauma to myself, I finally got another doctor to listen to me, I was then, after about three weeks, put on the correct medicine.

This has happened before to me. The same thing happened about 10 years previously. Due to having a nervous breakdown, mainly because of having lived in fear for years with a violent and abusive alcoholic father, I ended up in a serious condition when I was thrown out of the home by the alcoholic father. I couldn’t cope with the whole trauma of not having any money and being homeless, I eventually ended up in a psychiatric hospital – once again the alcoholic father was doing all the talking to the doctors there and I was not given the right treatment. The doctors never listened to me, and if only they had known what kind of man my father was, I don’t believe I would have got such bad treatment. Unfortunately, once dosed up on the wrong type of medication, I could not communicate with any staff about what had happened to me. I was in a practically comatose state much of the time, and lost the ability to talk and think properly. This is did not help my health or mental health and has had detrimental effects on my life to this day.

Another time quite recently, I went to an out-patient meeting with my boyfriend, the consultant psychiatrist was not available so I had to see his house-officer. I must admit I was a bit depressed, but this has proved now to be an under-active thyroid problem which I didn’t know at that time, but anyway this registrar would not listen to me and kept asking my boyfriend questions about me, which my boyfriend couldn’t really answer. The registrar was asking him personal questions about me like ‘does she do this or does she do that’ as if I was invisible. The fact is, I had only known my boyfriend a few months and really he couldn’t answer these questions. It was totally disgusting that I was being ignored by this doctor, as if I was invisible. What right had this doctor to ask someone else about me, when I was sitting right opposite him and could answer the questions myself?

I did complain to the consultant about this registrars manner, but it probably won’t make any difference. In my experience, all doctors need to be trained in how to care for their patients properly and to listen to the patient with respect, and not listen to people in the family who have a personality problem themselves and are dysfunctional people anyway, that have brought about another relative to have a nervous breakdown because of their dysfunctional and aggressive behaviour. I tried to get an injunction against my father interfering in my life because of the way things always go wrong when he is around but I couldn’t get one, and consequently doctors would rather listen to parents or anyone in the family that doesn’t like another member of the family, than the patient themselves. Not all family’s are o.k., a lot are dysfunctional, and probably most of the people that end up in a psychiatric hospital got there because something went wrong within their family. Then the worst thing happens, because other family members get it all wrong and the person that has had the breakdown doesn’t get listened to. And once drugged up on the wrong drug (due to the wrong information being given to the doctors) the patient is unable to communicate with the staff to explain anything at all. I have written a book about the awful treatment I have had via the psychiatric services over the last two decades called ‘To Hell and Back’ published by Chipmunka Publishers, it is in paperback and an e-book on the World Wide Web, so that people everywhere can see how stupid certain doctors are and what a waste of time giving someone the wrong drug treatment is, by waste of time I mean a waste of many years of living the life someone was given, because doctors didn’t give the proper treatment in the first place to the patient.

I hope you can read a copy of my book, this might help mental health services help individual like me to have a voice. Thanks.

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Psychiatry, Mental Illness, and the State

Psychiatry, Mental Illness, and the State Posted here December 14th 2019

Donald Devine

By Donald Devine September 25, 2014

Finally, we have a definitive discussion of the discipline of psychiatry, from an insider committed to the profession but who does not shy away from its profound difficulties. In Our Necessary Shadow: The Nature and Meaning of Psychiatry, Dr. Tom Burns reveals all even while insisting that at bottom “psychiatry is a major force for good.” Psychiatry is inherently controversial since it claims to know the psyche; but this touches, as he puts it, what “is most human in us,” our being, our “soul” which we cannot be neutral about. Psychiatry is a “hybrid” of “guided empathy” and detached cure—and the profession has swung wildly between them for years.

There is no unifying theory—“no –ology in psychiatry,” Burns concedes—only approaches that work for individual patients who are encouraged to take responsibility for themselves. Psychiatry itself is a medical discipline, one of the mind. It can prescribe medicines in the form of brain-altering chemicals, and recommend and sometimes perform surgery. It even has legal authority to decide when compulsory treatment is required. Psychiatrists normally utilize psychoanalysis (and psychological therapy generally) but these are also practiced by non-medical psychologists. Both treat mental diseases, normally classified as psychoses or neuroses. The former—schizophrenia, manic depression (bipolar disorder), paranoia—are more severe and were once labeled madness—with patients demonstrating very disturbed behavior and loss of contact with reality. The term neuroses is now somewhat unfashionable due to its over-diagnoses of normal depression but is different from manic depression in that the patient acknowledges a problem.

Mental illness has been with us since ancient times, treated by shamans, witch doctors, priests, fakes, hypnotists, and con men, many with wild theories and exaggerated promises of a cure. Medieval society basically left matters to families and some religious groups. It was not until what Michel Foucault called the “great confinement,” under the rationalizing influence of the 16th century Divine Right monarchies, that officials sought to control madmen considered dangerous to society by incarcerating them in small units. The more enlightened thinking of the 19th century produced warehousing asylums, the physician-mesmerizer Franz Mesmer, and the first professor of psychiatry in 1864, but with little measurable improvement. Burns concedes that “multiple personality” was invented by psychotherapists through the power of suggestion, and “recovered memory” (brainwashing) was routinely induced by doctors and social workers.

He observes that the field has “lurched widely,” being broadly biological, then almost exclusively psychoanalytic, then back to unapologetically biological today. At the beginning, ineffective surgery, limited drug success and treatment abuses tainted psychiatry. Sigmund Freud brought some respectability to the discipline but through psychoanalysis rather than medical psychiatry. Very different approaches to psychoanalysis were undertaken, by Freud himself, over time, and then by the other pioneers such as Alfred Adler and C.G. Jung. All had their proponents and achieved great popularity especially among intellectuals. Yet, by the close of the 20th century, the fact that each began with different theories, utilized dissimilar treatments, and garnered equally poor results led to today’s emphasis on psychiatry and biology rather than psychoanalysis. Burns, while generally supportive of the new emphasis, insists psychotherapy is not an “add-on” but essential to the field since all mental illness ultimately is social rather than simply biological.

Medicated treatment—its four main types being antidepressants, antipsychotics, sedatives, and mood stabilizers—increasingly dominates the field. The first breakthrough was using malaria to cure late-stage syphilis in the late 1880s, then insulin for drug addicts during withdrawal and for schizophrenia, then treating psychosis with electric shock, and finally going beyond to brain surgery. Burns recognizes the abuses at each stage but even defends lobotomies and electrically induced epileptic fits by recounting the relief they give to very disturbed individuals, not to mention their families. He is fair to critics of the whole endeavor like Foucault, Erving Goffman, and the libertarian Thomas Szasz, but concludes they have no answers to the fact that mental illness is real and causes great harm.

Our author is a surgeon and argues for psychiatry’s firmer grounding in biology. He tries to distinguish between “illness” and “disorder,” psychoses and neuroses, biology and mind, psychiatry and psychoanalysis so as to devise some comprehensive orienting theme for his discipline. But he finally concludes that one can make legal but not medical distinctions, since medically each is useful in different circumstances. While questioning the concept of recovered memory, for example, he still finds some legitimacy in the idea of dissociation. There are psychological differences between psychosis and neurosis but he is reluctant to call the former scientific/medical and the latter merely requiring counseling. Chemical treatment and surgery may seem more scientific but after both are exhausted, social problems must be resolved for full recovery. So the lines sometimes blur, and in service of that point he notes that sympathetic counseling used by Quaker and religious nuns inspired early psychoanalysis. Also that treating folks patiently and decently is still the secret of success today.

Medicalizing all of life’s ordinary difficulties is our tendency today, and this concerns the author. Why not, he rhetorically asks, Prozac all the time for everyone? It would calm us all down; but at what cost to our humanity? Indeed he asks whether “psychiatry itself” isn’t “making us sicker?” He notes that in the United States, 10 percent of 10-year-old-boys are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, which “surely cannot make sense,” and which in many cases is merely used to stop boys from being boys. He questions whether even alcoholism is a medical rather than a social disorder in most cases (although psychoanalysis can be helpful).

The fact that the psychiatric profession itself has expanded the number of mental illnesses from 106 in 1952 to 297 in 1994–an almost 300 percent increase—undermines its own claim to be a scientific discipline. “Of course,” he says “this does not mean that there are really hundreds more disorders” or that psychiatrists end up even using all of these categories.

Psychoanalysis is especially liable to abuse. Two-thirds of patients are women despite that mental illness, generally, seems roughly equal between the sexes. Even with increasing public criticism of over-diagnosis, demand for psychoanalysis remains high, especially if third parties or government bear the cost. People like a shoulder for comfort. Yet the “extreme dependency” of the patient in such settings and the profession’s skepticism of customary moral taboos makes such sessions open to abuse. A few therapists even justify close sexual relationships with patients. Beyond that, ill patients are often not able to make decisions and these must be turned over to families. Mothers tend to stick with the patient but many family members simply want the situation solved no matter the nature of the treatment or the risk to the patient.

Government is inevitably involved in such situations. “Compulsory community treatment” orders for a year or two are the current favorite but are expensive and have the obvious Catch 22, says Burns, that whether the patient improves or not, additional treatment is offered as the solution.

In the end, he writes, psychology is simply the “practical response to the reality of mental illness.” The fact of limited success is balanced against the real anguish of patients, parents, relatives, and friends. The mind is so complex there are no cut and dried solutions—but society still demands them. Psychological evaluations are required by legislators and judges to help them keep order and make distinctions between “mad and bad.” It is governmental officials and society more than psychiatrists who insist on medical support for compulsion. Even though Burns’ own study of compulsory treatment orders in Britain found “absolutely no effect” on recovery, he finds that compulsion is “inevitable” since few will accept Szasz’s solution of treating the mentally ill the same as ordinary criminals. Neuropsychology and gene research promise refinement of diagnosis in the future but Burns confesses to being “unaware of any philosophical breakthrough in understanding the mystery of consciousness and identity.”

Refinement certainly does not characterize how the totalitarians addressed this issue. Between 1939 and 1945, 200,000 people were diagnosed as incurably mentally ill and ordered medically euthanized by the Nazi Committee for the Scientific Treatment of Severe, Genetically Determined Illnesses. The Soviet Union routinely classified political dissidents as mentally ill, certified by the appropriate psychiatric physicians. Burns adds that it was not only the bad guys:

The systematic extermination of the mentally ill was a terrible consequence of more long-standing eugenic ideas which had been gaining strength in Europe, the UK and the USA for decades. “Social Darwinism,” and a moral panic that the unfit were “breeding” faster than the educated and able, had become a preoccupation at the turn of the 20th Century. It is never far from the surface, even now.

Forward-thinking Sweden sterilized over 60,000. The “enhanced interrogation” undertaken by the U.S. government after the attacks of September 11, 2001 was supervised by psychiatric physicians.

Reflecting on the Nazi abuses, Burns asks: “How could such a terrible thing happen and why was there no effective opposition from psychiatry? For there was none.” The only opposition was from some families and the church. After all, it was “scientific.” Even in the United States, the American poet Ezra Pound was confined to Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, D.C. as “unbalanced” but mainly for being an open fascist sympathizer. Burns notes the “witch hunts” claiming child abuse from “recovered memory” children in the United States during the 1980s and 1990s. He is concerned about the “current dangers” of “commercial and social pressures.” Still, he expresses himself “relatively hopeful that psychiatry is unlikely to be such an obviously unwitting tool of state oppression again. We have learned our lesson and the profession is now more open and international.”

Two “errors” of early psychiatry highlighted by Burns suggest the difficulties that remain, and the profession’s enduring temptation to bend to public or elite opinion. Until 1973, homosexuality was listed by psychiatry as a mental illness. Today, it is considered normal and those who oppose it are labeled homophobic. Discrimination against homosexuals today is often punished by legal authorities and homophobia has even been recognized by professionals as a contributing factor to mental illness. Some states forbid psychiatric treatment to “reverse” homosexuality. It took the profession 40 years to turn homosexuality from a serious disorder to now requiring government to protect it.

Burns is also disturbed by early psychiatry’s treating women as mentally different from men, somewhat as inferior beings. But while noting many more women demand psychotherapy, he is careful not to blame either them or therapists. “Who is influencing whom can be debated,” he writes. He is ambivalent as to whether there actually is a mental difference between the sexes. One suspects that there would be no more opposition to the currently “correct” decision from the American Psychiatric Association today than there was back in the early 20th century.

The author’s warning that eugenics and Social Darwinism are “never far from the surface, even now” cannot be ignored. He makes very clear that psychiatry has no single view of human nature. There is no theory. It is empirical, relative to a given situation. So what is to keep it within limits? Ewen Cameron earned the presidency of the American and the international psychiatric associations claiming that the brain was simply a computer. He worked for the CIA and the Canadian government in the 1950s to change usually unwilling patients’ minds by applying electroshock twice a day (versus the norm of three times a week) to break all “incorrect” brain pathways and create “correct” patterns. The project was carried on by Canada’s McGill University into the 1960s, with no opposition from government, the academy, or the profession.

The fundamental problem is that Burns’ more traditional view that mind and brain are not the same is a minority opinion in government, in the academy, and in psychiatry. For Darwin there was no “mind,” only the evolved animal brain. Burns has done a great service in highlighting the dilemma that it is not really easier now to cure mental illness, to distinguish “mad” from “bad,” or to limit compulsion. Compulsion and not-fully-informed patients are inherent in the discipline—indeed have produced its most important advances. While he is right to defend psychiatry’s positive achievements, it is questionable whether a field of endeavor that has no theory to guide it has learned or ever can learn its lesson.

Donald Devine is senior scholar at the Fund for American Studies, the author of America’s Way Back: Reconciling Freedom, Tradition and Constitution, and was Ronald Reagan’s director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management during his first term. This article originally appeared at The Liberty Law Forum. Photo Shutterstock Alfred AdlerC.G. JungDr. Tom BurnsMichel FoucaultNazisProzacSigmund FreudThomas Szasz

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One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Keasey- a summary posted December 11th 2019

Chief Bromden, the half-Indian narrator of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, has been a patient in an Oregon psychiatric hospital for ten years. His paranoia is evident from the first lines of the book, and he suffers from hallucinations and delusions. Bromden’s worldview is dominated by his fear of what he calls the Combine, a huge conglomeration that controls society and forces people into conformity. Bromden pretends to be deaf and dumb and tries to go unnoticed, even though he is six feet seven inches tall.

The mental patients, all male, are divided into Acutes, who can be cured, and Chronics, who cannot be cured. They are ruled by Nurse Ratched, a former army nurse who runs the ward with harsh, mechanical precision. During daily Group Meetings, she encourages the Acutes to attack each other in their most vulnerable places, shaming them into submission. If a patient rebels, he is sent to receive electroshock treatments and sometimes a lobotomy, even though both practices have fallen out of favor with the medical community.

When Randle McMurphy arrives as a transfer from the Pendleton Work Farm, Bromden senses that something is different about him. McMurphy swaggers into the ward and introduces himself as a gambling man with a zest for women and cards. After McMurphy experiences his first Group Meeting, he tells the patients that Nurse Ratched is a ball-cutter. The other patients tell him that there is no defying her, because in their eyes she is an all-powerful force. McMurphy makes a bet that he can make Ratched lose her temper within a week.

At first, the confrontations between Ratched and McMurphy provide entertainment for the other patients. McMurphy’s insubordination, however, soon stimulates the rest of them into rebellion. The success of his bet hinges on a failed vote to change the television schedule to show the World Series, which is on during the time allotted for cleaning chores. McMurphy stages a protest by sitting in front of the blank television instead of doing his work, and one by one the other patients join him. Nurse Ratched loses control and screams at them. Bromden observes that an outsider would think all of them were crazy, including the nurse.

In Part II, McMurphy, flush with victory, taunts Nurse Ratched and the staff with abandon. Everyone expects him to get sent to the Disturbed ward, but Nurse Ratched keeps him in the regular ward, thinking the patients will soon see that he is just as cowardly as everyone else. McMurphy eventually learns that involuntarily committed patients are stuck in the hospital until the staff decides they are cured. When McMurphy realizes that he is at Nurse Ratched’s mercy, he begins to submit to her authority. By this time, however, he has unintentionally become the leader for the other patients, and they are confused when he stops standing up for them. Cheswick, dismayed when McMurphy fails to join him in a stand against Nurse Ratched, drowns in the pool in a possible suicide.

Cheswick’s death signals to McMurphy that he has unwittingly taken on the responsibility of rehabilitating the other patients. He also witnesses the harsh reality of electroshock therapy and becomes genuinely frightened by the power wielded by the staff. The weight of his obligation to the other patients and his fear for his own life begins to wear down his strength and his sanity. Nevertheless, in Part III, McMurphy arranges a fishing trip for himself and ten other patients. He shows them how to defuse the hostility of the outside world and enables them to feel powerful and masculine as they catch large fish without his help. He also arranges for Billy Bibbit to lose his virginity later in the novel, by making a date between Billy and Candy Starr, a prostitute from Portland.

Back on the ward in Part IV, McMurphy reignites the rebellion by getting into a fistfight with the aides to defend George Sorenson. Bromden joins in, and they are both sent to the Disturbed ward for electroshock therapy. McMurphy acts as if the shock treatments do not affect him, and his heroic reputation grows. Nurse Ratched brings him back to the ward so the other patients can see his weakened state. The patients urge McMurphy to escape, but he has arranged Billy’s date for that night, and he refuses to let Billy down. McMurphy bribes Mr. Turkle, the night aide, to sneak Candy into the hospital, and they have a party on the ward. Billy has sex with Candy while McMurphy and the other patients smoke marijuana and drink. Harding tries to get McMurphy to escape with Candy and Sandy to Mexico, but McMurphy is too wasted and falls asleep.

The aides discover the mess the next morning, setting off a series of violent events. When Nurse Ratched finds Billy with Candy, she threatens to tell Billy’s mother. Billy becomes hysterical and commits suicide by cutting his throat. McMurphy attacks Ratched, ripping open the front of her dress and attempting to strangle her. In retaliation, she has him lobotomized, and he returns to the ward as a vegetable. However, Ratched has lost her tyrannical power over the ward. The patients transfer to other wards or check themselves out of the hospital. Bromden suffocates McMurphy in his bed, enabling him to die with some dignity rather than live as a symbol of Ratched’s power. Bromden, having recovered the immense strength that he had believed lost during his time in the mental ward, escapes from the hospital by breaking through a window.

Sourece www.sparknotes.com

Editorial Comment No one in their right mind should evert talk to a psychologist or psychiatrist. they will always declare you as suffering from some sort of mental illness/syndrome. Robert Cook

June 27, 2016

10 Things That Could Get You Sent To An Insane Asylum Posted December 11th 2019

Elizabeth Yetter

50 Comments

Insane asylums were big business back in the early 1900s, and nearly anyone could be declared “insane” and sent to an asylum. In a newspaper report from 1903, an asylum physician admits:

A person to be tried in Kentucky for lunacy is often hauled before a jury of as ignorant, illiterate, indiscriminating men as you could find in a month’s journey. The officers go out and just pick up anybody. Who would want his sanity passed on by the rakings and scrapings of creation?

Brutal words but apparently truthful. Getting placed in an asylum 100 years ago was as easy as dressing in the “wrong” clothes or speeding in your car.

10 Speeding

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Are you nuts for speeding? Back in 1922, you might have had your head checked if caught speeding in Detroit, although some judges would have just thrown you in jail. A headline in one newspaper read: “Sanity Test for Detroit Auto Speeders.”

If any speeder failed the examination given by the court psychiatrist, he or she would be sent to an asylum for “treatment.” Just what exactly that treatment was is left to the imagination. These same speeders would also lose their driver’s license and would not be allowed to apply for a new one.

One judge stated:

I believe this new method will stop thousands of accidents each year. [The] Police Commissioner . . . has told me that under my plan of sending speeders to jail, and notwithstanding the fact that there are many thousands more automobiles on the streets this year than last year, there were 3,301 less accidents and that reckless driving has been cut down to 50 percent from 80 percent. If this is the result under my jail sentence plan, what will it be under the mental test plan?

9 Too Much Studying

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Can you study your way into an insane asylum? While you might have felt like you were going nuts when studying for final exams, I bet you never knew that some minds can break under the strain. This was especially true of female minds back in 1915.

The Day Book, a newspaper out of Chicago, reported that two sisters had been sent to an asylum under orders from a county judge. Apparently, the poor dears were hard at work studying the doctrines of Christian Science and their “minds broke down.”

Christian Science was founded in 1879. It was started by Mary Baker Eddy when she and 15 followers founded the Church of Christ. It is a religion that is still practiced today and is widely known for its controversial faith healing. Christian Scientists favor prayer and homeopathy over modern medicine and are often the subject of news reports when a child is being denied necessary medical care.

8 Reading In The Morning

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Come on, ladies. Not only should you avoid studying because it will drive you insane but getting caught reading a book is also proof that there is something wrong with you.

The following snippet sounds like something from out of a dictatorship where everyone’s moves must be controlled. Sadly, this report came out of Chicago in 1915: “Alice Ostwald . . . found on corner at 5:00 AM reading novel. Sent to insane asylum.”

This could have easily been any avid book reader. When a book is just that good, there will be no sleeping until the last page is read. Why was she at a street corner, though? Probably for the light. Street lamps were probably the only light some people had at night, especially if they were poor.

It could have been that she was catching up on some reading before going to work in one of the many factories in Chicago during those times. Regardless of the reason, it seems rather extreme to send someone away simply for reading a book in the morning.

7 Having A Drunken Father

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In 1913, The Day Book published an unsettling report titled: “Shall We Build More Asylums Or Stop Breeding Epileptic, Idiotic, And Insane Children?” In the article, the reporter investigated the root cause of the increase of “insane” children and the need to build more institutions.

He found that poverty and a drunken father was the cause of “idiotic” children. He presented the common case of a poor wife and mother who is brought into the juvenile court with her six children. She has no money for food or rent, and her husband is a drunk. She wants to leave her husband but can’t because she needs the few dollars he sometimes provides his family each month.

The judge is then faced with a tough decision. According to the article:

Two roads lie open before the judge, who hates to take either of them. He can order the mother to kiss her children goodbye forever and put them into an asylum. Or he can reprimand the drunken father, order him to support his family, and send the wife and mother back to live with him.

In other words, while there was no actual proof that any of these children were “insane,” they could still be sent to an asylum for circumstances beyond their control.

6 Being Poor

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Old newspapers are filled with accounts of poor people being sent to insane asylums. This often happened to women who had to rely on a husband’s income if they wanted to survive.

In 1913, there was an account of a woman who had worked as a stenographer. At 45 years old, she came to a “critical period in her life, she was unable to work.” She took the time off that she needed but eventually ran out of money.

She turned to a group called United Charities for help, and they immediately had her judged insane and sent to an asylum. She was held there as a prisoner for five years. At age 50, she was released and went on to sue the “county for false imprisonment.”

In another tragic story from 1921, an African-American woman was found wandering the streets in her bare feet, carrying her five-month-old baby in her arms. Both the mother and the infant were placed in an insane asylum simply because the woman’s sister had also been placed in one before this incident.

One can only assume that the woman was without funds or the help she needed to raise a small child. Instead of getting her real help, she was sent away, out of sight and mind.

5 Dressing Like A Man

5-woman-dressed-like-man

Photo credit: Underwood & Underwood

Right now, people have their panties in a bunch over transgendered people using the “wrong” bathrooms. Back in the early 1900s, however, transgendered people would have been placed in insane asylums.

Proof of this exists in the little tidbit news lines found in newspapers 100 years ago. One morsel found in a 1916 paper read, “Mrs. Emma Miller . . . sent to insane asylum. Put on pants and worked as man.”

While there is no proof that she was transgendered, it is interesting that people at the time were offended by a woman who would dare dress like a man, let alone work like one. Sadly enough, in those times, women could not earn enough money to survive on their own as women. They had to marry to survive.

The woman in the above snippet was obviously married, but she may have been widowed or may have simply needed to contribute more income to the family to survive. None of these details were given in the article. All the people cared about was that she dressed and worked like a man. How crazy is that?

4 Epilepsy

4b-epileptic-patient-asylum

Photo credit: Wellcome Images

Epilepsy used to be (and sometimes still is) blamed on demonic possession. But over 100 years ago, people who exhibited signs of epilepsy were often sent away to the insane asylum if a family member didn’t feel like taking the person into their full-time care.

In 1895, Mrs. Mary Brown was judged as having an unsound mind and was sent to an asylum. The reason given was that “she is subject to epilepsy and was seriously burned last spring by falling in the fire during an attack.”

Assuming that she was not a widow, one has to wonder if it was the husband who pushed for the insanity judgment so that he wouldn’t have to take care of his wife, which often happened in those times. Since epilepsy cannot be cured, many victims of the disease were probably left in asylums and forgotten over time.

3 Having Sex With A Jerk

3-relationship-with-jerk

Photo credit: Dante Gabriel Rossetti

In 1896, a report came out about a young woman who had a thing for old men. She had apparently gotten in trouble for her desire for older men in the past, but that didn’t stop her. She eventually met a “well-known old man” and claimed that they had sex. She wanted him to make the situation right and marry her.

The man refused and “charged her with insanity.” The young woman was examined, and “the commissioners concluded that she was crazy and ordered her sent to the asylum.” Some time later, it was discovered that she was pregnant.

The asylum could no longer keep the young woman because the asylum was not a safe place for a pregnant woman, not to mention that “someone” obviously had had sex with her as she had claimed. The young woman was returned to the county, and no further details were given about what happened to her.

2 Not Being Able To Work Long Hours

2b-iww-workers

Photo via Wikimedia

In 1915, workers were trying to get the eight-hour workday passed so that they weren’t forced to work 10 or more hours a day, six days a week. Employers were against the eight-hour day because it would mean that they would have to hire more people to work around the clock. This would translate into less money in the owners’ pockets.

One lawyer for the Associated Employer’s Association felt that “workers who could not work the number of hours required by the employers should be examined by a physician and, if not able to do the work, should be sent to the state asylum to be taken care of.”

With people being sent to insane asylums for the lamest reasons, this threat to check people’s mental states was probably enough to scare quite a few workers into silence.

1 Annoying The Wrong Person

1-annoying-woman_74989619_SMALL

In the early 1900s, you had to be careful whom you annoyed. Take, for instance, Mrs. Helen Pike. She was sent to an insane asylum for annoying a streetcar magnate in 1917. No reason was given as to why she was annoying the man or how he found her annoying. She was simply taken before the courts and sent to an asylum.

Of course, that is not as bad as annoying the president of the United States. In 1916, Richard Cullen was sent to an asylum, possibly for life, because the youth “made persistent efforts yesterday to reach President Wilson while [the] chief executive was on [an] automobile tour of [the] city.”

The young man was declared insane and became an “inmate of [the] Marshalsea, Allegheny County institution for [the] insane.” Nowhere did the article state that he was somehow threatening the president. He was simply trying to get his attention.

Elizabeth spends most of her time surrounded by dusty, smelly, old books in a room she refers to as her personal nirvana. She’s been writing about strange “stuff” since 1997 and enjoys traveling to historical sights. Source Listverse

‘Under-reported’ use of anti-psychotic drugs

dementia

17 October 2012

The scale of the challenge to reduce the use of anti-psychotic drugs by people with dementia may be under-estimated, according to researchers from Aston University and the University of East Anglia, working with NHS Kent and Medway. 

There is a key public health challenge to reduce the prescribing of anti-psychotic drugs to people with dementia as they are thought to be associated with up to 1,800 deaths a year.

Ian Maidment, corresponding author and a Senior Lecturer in Clinical Pharmacy from Aston University has worked in medication management in dementia for 20 years states:The true scale of anti-psychotic usage in dementia may be under-estimated. Usage may be up to 46% greater than official figures suggest.’

The researchers compared the results of the government’s National Dementia and Anti-Psychotic Prescribing Audit with research, led by Anne Child, an experienced senior clinical pharmacist for NHS Kent and Medway cluster of primary care trusts (PCTs). They found that 15.3% of people with dementia received an anti-psychotic, compared to the national audit, which found 10.5%. However, only 48.9 per cent of GP practices across the country participated in the national audit compared with 98.3 per cent of practices in Medway which took part in the detailed local study.

The Medway project, carried out from January to December 2011, and analysed by researchers from Aston University and the University of East Anglia, identified that

·People with dementia living in care homes were nearly 3.5 times more likely to receive a low-dose anti-psychotic than people living at home (25.5 per cent compared to 7.3 per cent)

·  It was possible to reduce or withdraw low-dose anti-psychotics for more than 60 per cent of patients with dementia (43 out of 70) whose medication was initiated by their GP.

 ·  Clinical trials need to be commissioned as a matter of urgency to confirm the effectiveness of pharmacist medication reviews.

The paper, which appears in the BioMed Central’s open access journal BMC Psychiatry, also sets out the detailed process undertaken before and during withdrawal of anti-psychotics from patients.

Anne Child, primary author, who is now Head of Pharmaceutical Care at Avante Care and Support said: ‘We have demonstrated that a multi-disciplinary approach to dementia care, involving a pharmacy-led medication review, GPs, and care homes, can produce a positive outcome for patients, in one region of the country. More work is now needed.’

Dr Chris Fox, co-author, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School said: ‘Another issue with the national audit is it fails to report the usage of the drug lorazepam, which is sometimes used instead of anti-psychotics. It is potentially equally dangerous. Until we capture the true level of usage of all these drugs we cannot truly understand the issue.’

Ian Maidment added: ‘Whilst the national audit is an important first step, it presents a partial picture. If we rely on it, exclusively we are doing a disservice to people with dementia, their carers and their families.’

-ends

For further media information contact Alex Earnshaw  Aston University Communications on 0121 204 4549

For further details or to interview Doctor Chris Fox please contact Lisa Horton UEA Press Office on 0160 359 2764

Article available on http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1471-244X-12-155.pdf

Psychiatry & Psychotherapy Podcast

June 18, 2018

The History and Use of Antipsychotics

psychiatry podcast, psychotherapy podcast

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In my last post, Dr. Cummings and I talked about what psychopharmacology is, how medicine works in our body, and what factors affect medicine absorption rates.

In the latest podcast, Dr. Cummings and I talked about antipsychotics, the particular branch of psychopharmacology that deals with medicines that treat psychotic experiences and other mental disorders, such as:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Severe depression
  • Severe anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Psychosis exhibiting hallucinations and delusions

The history of first generation antipsychotics

The use of antipsychotics as medication began in 1933 in France. The research around developing antihistamines evolved into the introduction of promethazine. This drug produced sedative side effects, so doctors started prescribing it before surgeries as a calming agent.

Eventually, a doctor studied the derivatives of promethazine, altered it, and developed chlorpromazine. It was mostly used as a pre-surgery anti-anxiety pill, until psychiatrists took note of the calming effect of the drug and began prescribing it to their patients.

Prior to chlorpromazine, the options for treating psychotic patients were electroconvulsive therapy, hydrotherapy, and putting patients in an insulin coma. None of those are antipsychotic in nature.

When two psychiatrists, Dr. Delay and Dr. Deniker, gave 38 psychotic patients a test round of chlorpromazine, they noticed the patients were calmer, and also less psychotic—they had less delusional thinking, fewer hallucinations, and fewer psychomotor-agitation symptoms. Deniker and Delay began giving talks on the benefits of the drug, and in 1955, chlorpromazine became available in the United States. Chlorpromazine is still used today as a treatment for different mental illnesses and mood disorders.

Once the government saw the positive effects of chlorpromazine, it began to shut down mental health facilities. There was no longer as large of a need to house psychotic patients, and they saw an opportunity to cut costs. However, they did not create adequate sources in the community for ongoing care. California alone is estimated to have 40-60% of homeless people that have a mental disorder.

Once chlorpromazine became a success, pharmaceutical companies rushed to create their own version of an antipsychotic drug. Because chlorpromazine was the grandfather of the first generation of antipsychotic drugs, the rest of that generation can be categorized by their ability to merely block dopamine D2 receptors in the brain.

In repeated studies, dopamine antagonism is responsible for 92% of their effectiveness. It also led to the thought that people were psychotic because they had too much dopamine. Since then we have found that their are much more complex psychopharmacological dynamics going on in psychosis.   

Second generation antipsychotics

The next set of antipsychotics that came on the market were clozapineolanzapine, risperidone, and other related drugs. Those medications had less effects on motor movement than the first generation drugs.

Clozapine is a poor antagonist of dopamine- blocking 30-40% of dopamine receptors but also promotes the activation of glutamate through activation of NMDA receptor, which increases activity in the frontal lobe (which helps with schizophrenia’s negative symptoms).  

Clozapine had more system-wide changes than just dopamine suppression, and it had more positive response from patients. It was more effective—40-60% of people who won’t respond to a first generation antipsychotic, do respond to clozapine.

However, in Finland in 1975, 6 people taking clozapine died due to agranulocytosis (lowered white blood cell count, leading to a severe lack of immunity). A lowered neutrophil count (called agranulocytosis) can show potential problems with fighting off normal bacteria we live with all the time.  When patients are on clozapine, initially they need weekly blood checks for this reason.

Despite the risks, clozapine can be an incredible drug—I have one patient who was schizophrenic and homeless, and she is now back in school and recently graduated with a perfect GPA! People who had been dysfunctional for decades, who are given clozapine, can become extremely high functioning.  Key to success here was her willingness to work with me, despite having to try different things before something worked. 

A trial run on a antipsychotic should be done at a minimum of 6 weeks, and blood tests must be conducted to make sure that the concentration of the medicine is at good therapeutic-dose levels. Dosage alone is sometimes not enough because we all metabolise drugs so differently.  I have uploaded recommended levels in my resource page.

Third generation antipsychotics

What is deemed the third generation of antipsychotics, aripiprazole and brexpiprazole are partial dopamine receptor agonists.  They keep dopamine at a max of 25% in the brain which due to the high affinity to the receptor it does not vary much based on dose.  

The good thing about this generation of drugs is that they don’t lower blood pressure, cause insulin resistance, and are not sedating in nature.

It works for some people, it doesn’t for others. But when it does work, it works really well.

Side effects of psychiatric medicines

Akathisia is the inability to stay still, characterized by a feeling of inner busyness. It is a miserable side effect, exhausting to the patient.

If someone is experiencing this, they should immediately call their psychiatrist or go to an emergency room.

One of Dr. Cumming’s patients described it as “ants running up and down the bones of his legs.” It usually involves an anxious feeling, and a desire to move the lower extremities of the legs. Akathisia can be caused by any drug that lowers dopamine (including SSRIs).

This syndrome is so complex because it involves several compounds, including dopamine, norepinephrine, acetylcholine, and serotonin inputs. Options for treatment include: choosing a lower dosage, picking another dopamine antagonist that is less strong (quetiapine or clozaril), or prescribing a drug like amantadine, propranolol, mirtazapine or clonazepam (more nuance in the podcast on this).

It is a harmful disorder, and one to watch out for in patients. If a patient is sent home from the hospital experiencing these symptoms, but is not properly vetted for akathisia, a doctor could be subject to serious legal repercussions.

The questions to test a patient for akathisia are:

  • Is the person moving? Can they not sit still?
  • What is their internal sense of restlessness and anxiety?
  • How much are they distressed by these feelings?

Acute dystonia involves muscle spasms and it affects movement, causing the posture to twist abnormally. It can be painful for patients to experience. This occurs because of too little dopamine in the basal ganglia part of the brain.

Parkinsonism involves muscle stiffness and slower movements. It’s usually uncomfortable, but not a miserable side effect. This also occurs because of too little dopamine in the basal ganglia part of the brain.

The future of antipsychotics

With each generation of new medicines, we’ve gotten closer to being able to help people stabilize their psychosis. We haven’t been able to achieve complete wellness.

Dr. Cummings says he has hope that with further advances in the medical field, we will be able to identify who is at risk. There is hopeful data that we may be able to one day prevent the development of schizophrenia.


History of Antipsychotics (notes by Arvy Tj Wuysang).

  • 1933, France
    • Initiative to develop antihistamine as treatment began
    1. 1947
      • Promethazine
        • Produced sedation and calmness in animal models
        • Not highly effective in humans, but found to provide calmness in preoperative settings
    2. 1950
      • Discovery of Promethazine Derivatives, especially Chlorpromazine
        • Initially tried in a surgical military hospital in France by Dr. Henri Laborit (1914-1995)
        • Successful in making people calm and indifferent to impending surgery
        • The medication was tried it in a volunteer
          • The individual reported favorable effects, until he stood up and promptly fainted
          • Determined as not safe in pre-operative setting because it was too effective as alpha-adrenergic antagonist in lowering blood pressure
    3. 1952
      • Dr. Pierre Deniker (1917-1998), psychiatrist, with Dr. Jean Delay (1907-1987), his superintendent in Sainte-Anne’s Hospital in Paris, led the Chlorpromazine introduction as a psychopharmacologic agent
        • They were interested in the calming effect of the drug
        • Tried the drug in psychotic agitated patients
          • Treatment options in those days were limited to:
            • Electroconvulsive Therapy
            • Hydrotherapy
            • Insulin coma
          • None of which were antipsychotic in nature
        • Tried it in 38 patients, made patients calmer, and less psychotic!
          • Especially effective for positive psychotic symptoms like hallucinations, delusional thinking, psychomotor agitation
        • Findings were impressive enough that Deniker began giving talks about the drug, including a conference in Montreal, that led to its introduction in North America
    4. 1955
      • Chlorpromazine was approved for usage as antipsychotic in the US
      • Subsequently used worldwide
      • Led to the deinstitutionalization of a lot of psychotic patients
        • Created a problem of lack of follow up of psychotic patients
          • I.e. California has around 357,000 homeless individuals, estimated 40-60% suffer from mental disorder with schizophrenia spectrum highly represented in that percentage
          • State spends about $200,000 per year per person to care for people committed to state hospitals. Funds committed to patients that are discharged from state hospitals are very minimal.
      • Led to development of a whole host of antipsychotic agents
    5. 1960s
      • There was an explosion in the invention of antipsychotic drugs
      • US FDA took a stance, did not allow approval of antipsychotic drugs that are not clearly better than chlorpromazine or haloperidol
      • 1st generation antipsychotics all work by blocking Dopamine D2 receptors in the brain, counts for 92-23% of variance in mechanism
      • Led to the simplistic dopamine hypothesis of psychosis
    6. 1958
      • 2nd generation antipsychotic discovered by Eichenberger and Schmutz from the Swiss pharmaceutical company Wander AG, Clozapine
      • Created because 2 other -antadine antipsychotics have been successful, Loxitane (Loxapine) and Perlapine
      • Clozapine was initially thought of as a failure because it did not produce dystonia in white lab mice, as expected in 1st generation antipsychotics where it blocks dopamine effects in the brain
      • Clozapine found to be a poor antagonist to dopamine, only blocks 30-40% of dopamine receptors. Although, it promotes release of glutamate, by binding to an allosteric site for glycine in the NMDA receptor, which in turn increases activity in the frontal lobe and suppresses dopamine release in the mesolimbic system.
      • A number of small studies in the 1960s found that patients that don’t respond to 1st generation antipsychotics responded well to Clozapine treatment by showing better response of both positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia.
    7. 1970s
      • 1972, Clozapine usage was introduced in Austria
      • 1974, Clozapine usage was introduced in Germany
      • 40-60% of people that did not respond well to 1st generation antipsychotics, responded well to Clozapine
      • 1975, 5 people in Finland died after Clozapine treatment due to agranulocytosis
        • Clozapine found to trigger formation of antibodies targeting bone marrow cells that make neutrophils and essentially shut down a person’s immune system
        • Must monitor Absolute Neutrophil Count closely when prescribing Clozapine
          • Monitor weekly for 6 months, then every 2 weeks for another 6 months, and monthly for another year (in the USA)
          • Risk for agranulocytosis decreases with time: peaks at 4 months of exposure at about 1.3%, .38% after 1 year of exposure, .06% after 2 years of exposure
    8. Clozapine usage in the US today
      • Siskind, D., McCartney, L., Goldschlager, R., & Kisely, S. (2016). Clozapine v. first-and second-generation antipsychotics in treatment-refractory schizophrenia: systematic review and meta-analysis. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 209(5), 385-392.
      • 15-20% of patients in California State Hospitals are on Clozapine, 53% in New York State
      • Response rates to drugs other than Clozapine is pretty miserable in State Hospitals
      • Olanzapine response rate even at high plasma concentrations is only 9%, compared to 40-60% for Clozapine. Every other antipsychotics’ response rate is between 0-5% for the severely psychotic, mentally ill patients.
      • If patients meet Kane criteria (after John M. Kane)—treatment failure after two clearly adequate trials of antipsychotic treatment with minimum of 6 weeks duration with therapeutic plasma concentration—odds that they will respond to anything other than Clozapine is fairly low.
      • Common mistake that clinicians make is to go by dosage as a measure of whether a person is receiving adequate medication
        • Dosages only weakly correlates with plasma concentration since the metabolism of antipsychotic drugs is so variable
        • Measuring plasma concentration to reach therapeutic levels is crucial in antipsychotic drugs administration, especially in patients who are seemingly refractory to treatment, to ensure adequate treatment
      • Akathisia as side effect of antipsychotics
        • Very rarely happens with Clozapine use
        • Akathisia is a very miserable side effect of antipsychotics, described as “ants crawling up and down the bone of your legs” by a particular patient
        • Characterized both by internal sense of anxiety and a near irresistible urge to move
        • Barnes Akathisia Rating Scale, most commonly used to measure akathisia symptoms. Based on three main factors:
          • Objective movement
          • Internal sense of restlessness and anxiety
          • How much are they distressed by these feelings
        • Akathisia is a concerning and common reason for malpractice
        • Underlying pathophysiology of akathisia is distinct compared to other extrapyramidal symptoms, involves not only dopamine and acetylcholine. It also involves norepinephrine and serotonin inputs to basal ganglia, makes it a difficult syndrome to treat successfully.
        • Treatment options for akathisia:
        • Akathisia may present as side effect in SSRIs and antiemetics (compazine)
  • Expected or Therapeutic plasma concentration ranges for antipsychotics and mood stabilizers
  • Aripiprazole (Abilify)
    • 3rd generation antipsychotics, partial dopamine agonist
    • Has high affinity for dopamine receptors, higher than 1st and 2nd generation antipsychotics. If Aripiprazole is present at therapeutic concentrations, 1st and 2nd generation will have very little interaction with dopamine receptors.
    • Keeps dopamine signaling at about 25% of dopamine’s maximum signal transduction, tends to produce all or nothing response in terms of treating psychotics. Not much ability to vary where dopamine is blocked because of it’s high affinity.
    • Side effect profile is very favorable. Largely metabolically neutral, tend not to cause weight gain, glucose intolerance, and lipid abnormalities. Low affinity for alpha receptors or histamine receptors, is not very sedating and does not lower blood pressure.
    • Use outside of schizophrenia
      • I.e. risperidone and olanzapine also exhibit utility as mood stabilizer and antidepressant.
      • 3rd generation antipsychotics also tend to improve mood, driven by quality of the molecules and in part by the desire of pharmaceutical companies to broaden their market
      • Use in dissociative state, such as Borderline Personality Disorder
        • Antipsychotics can help bring patients out of dissociative state in short period of time
        • Borderline patients was found to have a significant limbic dysfunction, hence antipsychotics may be helpful
  • Future of Schizophrenia Spectrum Treatment
    • There is great need to identify individuals at risk for the disease and treat them with lower dose of antipsychotics. Hopeful data is currently present in support of this approach to lower the incidence and prevalence of schizophrenia.

Tagged: antipsychotics, psychopharmacology, history, schizophrenia, podcasts, podcast, psychiatry podcast for medical students, psychiatry podcast for residents, schizophrenia podcast, trauma podcast

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‘Suicide is Painless it brings on many changes.’ Posted November 12th 2019

Author Robert Cook standing, his freind Michael is on the sledge, pretending we were arctic explorers during ‘the great freeze’. This was the great winter of 1962/3. The location is Winslow, a small rural community where good neighbours were abundant, in a class divided town. Most of us were pretty way down in the heirachy, but we knew our place. Money was short but there was more to life, it was called living. Appledene Images

Back in my student days at the University of East Anglia, I had to deliver a seminar paper on Emile Durkheim’s study of ‘Suicide’ and to what extent had he followed his own ‘Rules of Sociological Method’ to deliver it.. Off the top of my head the French sociologist concluded, from his studies, that people committed suicide for reasons that could be cateogorised.

For example, altruistic suicide was committed for the benefit of the group. Captain Oates walking out into the Antarctic night, suffering from serious frostbite, saying he ‘might be some time’ was intended to unburden Scott’s struggling team of ill fated explorers. In our ‘grab what you can’ society that sort of suicide seems increasingly unlikely.

More commonly he concluded that a large number of people committed suicide because they were not integrated into any social group. Transexuals are a high suicide risk because they originate mainly from lower social class groups. Those groups tend to have rigid deferential moral systems and are likely to ostracise those who breach them.

Religion is another profound source of what many use for a moral code. In the Judaic/Christian/Islamic world suicide is a sin leading to eternal damnation. Up until the 1960s in Britain it was a police matter if the person failed in their efforts to die.

Even now the system avoids the truth by labelling suicides as linked to mental health problems, so if the person survives they will end up inside a mental hospital drugged up until such times as they are fit for ‘care in the community’ which is code for life on the street.

There is no room for a Durkheim in modern sociology. This would be science of society is now a mouthpiece for feminism and fake liberalism. It is not interested in struggling to expose key social dynamics. I was involved lecturing and examining sociology students work in the 1980s. I saw the subject hi jacked by the politically correct.

Durkeheim’s most interesting concept, for me, was anomie. For Durkhein, a functionalist sociologist from the nineteenth century, norms held societies together. Norms was short for social normals. A society needed to achieve normative integration to survive. Individuals who did not fit in with the norms was described as anomic. Durkheim concluded that anomie could lead to anomic suicide.

Modern sociology is based on fake Marxism, with women of the world portrayed as the underclass- lumpenproletariat. Women are told what they can be which is ‘anything they want to be. Men are told what they are. This bigotry infests politics and corrupts justice. It also distracts people from the truth or any effort to find it. It is based on the divide and rule tactics that built the British Empire – an ideology that grew to rule the world.

The problem is that, to borrow a phrase from Marx’s Communist Manifesto. ‘the workers of the world’ regardless of gender feel the strain, struggle to survive and fear for their children’s futures. They are not supposed to understand the patronising mumbo jumbo of politicans, psychiatrists and all the rest of the patronising global elite.

So the brainwashing has a flaw. Many people riot, others go mad while more and more commit suicide. Globalisation was only ever meant to help a global elite exploit a global labour force so that they get ever richer. Global media is meant to make money, not show poor people what is going on, the confusion is enough to frighten them.

Mass migration has the tendency to cause anomie as more and more people live like battery hens or on the street. For many intelligent people suicide is the best way to peace. Still the system cannot admit how it is actually indirecly killing these people. Meally mouthed politicians, religious bigotry and hypocrisy will not stem this tide.The film Mad Max was ahead of its time. Robert Cook

Postscript

Britain has one of the lowest numbers of hospital beds in Europe for young people struggling with serious mental health problems, EU-funded research has found.

It is lagging far behind the level of provision in many much poorer countries in eastern Europe, such as Latvia, Estonia and Slovakia, according to a study of care for troubled under-18s across the EU.

Britain has 9.4 specialist inpatient beds per 100,000 young people for those who are suffering from conditions such as anxiety, depression, psychosis, self-harm and suicidal thoughts. That places it 18th in a league table of the 28 EU countries, researchers say.

Germany has the most, at 64 beds per 100,000 young people, and Sweden has the least, at just 1.2 beds. Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have 39.5, 31.5 and 21 beds per 100,000 under-18s.

Editorial Comment The real questions are 1) Why do so many young people have mental health problems- honestly? 2) Why does anyone think more hospital beds are the answer? 3) Why are so many people of all ages prescribed anti psychotic drugs and how does this help the probelms which the syetm seems reluctant to research and define without prejudice? Denial is a favourite concept and label used by psychiatrits and psychologists who are lackeys to the system.

That system is very corrupt and seriously into denial. That system is sick and might consider the aphorism ‘healer, heal thyself.’ That is putting it politlely I think it more apposite to quote from rebel psychiatrist and discile of R D Laing, psychiatrists and psychologists are whores offering their state sponsor and client anything they want, all things etc.

Robert Cook

The rate of suicides in the United States is growing – what can we do? Posted November 12th 2019

Though the absolute number of suicides worldwide is still increasing, the global rate has dropped by 32.7% over the last three decades.
Though the absolute number of suicides worldwide is still increasing, the global rate has dropped by 32.7% over the last three decades. Image: Sasha Freemind/Unsplash

15 May 2019

  1. Christine Moutier Chief medical officer, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
  2. Patrick J. Kennedy Founder, The Kennedy Forum

Predictions for 2030: What if we get things right? Read the series Most Popular Watch this 3D printer make a boat in world record speed, at record size Kristin Houser · Futurism 06 Nov 2019Alibaba hits $23 billion sales in 9 hours for Singles’ Day shoppingJosh Horwitz · Reuters 11 Nov 2019How millennials’ relationship with their phones is changing the economyCarola Jain · Quartz 11 Nov 2019 More on the agenda Forum in focus Toilet transformation: Changing waste management across India Read more about this project Explore context

Mental Health Explore the latest strategic trends, research and analysis

We are living in a time of urgency: suicide is a global, leading cause of death with a staggering loss of 800,000 lives each year.

Suicide cuts across high- and low-income countries, with lower and middle-income countries bearing the largest burden (80% of all suicides) but with it continuing to be a serious problem in high-income countries as well.

In recent years, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations have adopted actions plans focused on mental health and suicide prevention, and have set goals to reduce the rate of suicide by varying degrees: 10% by 2020 in the case of WHO, and 33% by 2030 in the case of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Presently, 40 countries have enacted national strategies to prevent suicide, several of which are proving effective, with reductions in suicide rates in many countries such as China, Denmark, England, Switzerland, the Philippines and South Korea. Though the absolute number of suicides globally continues to increase, a recent study accounting for population growth, found the global rate of suicide has dropped by 32.7% over the past 27 years.

In the US, even as attitudes evolve regarding mental health and suicide prevention, the national rate of suicide has risen 33% over the past two decades with a societal price tag of $70 billion annually. Overall mortality, particularly in the middle years, is increasing as a result of the so-called “deaths of despair” due to suicide, alcohol, opioids, and liver disease. Although 94% of American adults believe mental health is equally as important as physical health, most do not know how to identify changes in mental health that signal serious risk, nor what to do in response.

Image: National Institute of Mental Health

Suicide was declared a public-health crisis in the US as long ago as 1999 by the Surgeon General. Many factors are involved, including human experiences of isolation, struggle, loss and unmet expectations; low mental-health literacy; and a separate and unequal system of care with limited treatment access for those with mental health and substance use disorders.

Although the suicide prevention field is still fairly young, a growing body of suicide prevention research indicates there is reason for hope – and that suicide can indeed be prevented on a general population basis. But to stem the rising tide of what is currently the 10th leading cause of death in the US, the science behind suicide prevention must grow in order to translate into effective solutions we can put into practice and bring to scale in communities throughout the country.

Fighting suicide at local and national level

Firstly, it is critical that we invest in suicide prevention science at a level commensurate with its mortality toll (see figure below).

Suicide is complex, but like most health-related leading causes of death, it has multiple risk factors we know converge to increase mortality. These include: genetic loading, neurophysiological functions in the brain, environmental factors both distant and current, social determinants, biological variants of the stress response on cognition, issues like impulsivity and aggression, and access to lethal means. Fortunately, just as the field of oncology has and continues to answer key questions related to cancer – its causes, prevention and treatment – suicide prevention scientists have reached consensus on scientifically based, population-level solutions in response to these risk factors.

These solutions have been replicated and are quite clear. They include public education on mental health and suicide, community approaches such as addressing access to lethal means during periods of risk, and clinical interventions that effectively target suicide risk.

Implementation of these strategies through local community-based initiatives are at a nascent stage, and a focused national effort through health systems, educational and workplace settings has yet to launch. We must therefore educate policymakers on the specific, effective strategies we know have demonstrated reductions in mortality and increased access to care. On a fundamental level, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (Federal Parity Law), which requires insurers to cover treatment for mental health and substance use disorders no more restrictively than treatment for illnesses of the body, such as diabetes and cancer, must be fully enforced to make sure people can get the help they need.

Image: National Institute of Mental Health

This and other efforts will light a path forward for federal and state policy solutions, in accordance with the growing public demand related to mental health and suicide prevention.

Greater understanding and awareness of mental health and suicide prevention throughout communities are proven to reduce the rates of suicide in those communities. Imagine a society in which a common, basic understanding of neuroplasticity and epigenetics are fact not fiction, and serve to inform a more compassionate, trauma-informed approach to K-12 education and workplace wellness. Prevention for psychiatric illness can start early, suicide prevention can be built into every school and pediatric clinic, and children and adults can be taught strategies that protect and enhance cortical brain development.

Similarly, envision a society in which:

• Front-line citizens (e.g., first responders, teachers, health professionals, legal/financial advisors, probation/corrections officers, addiction counselors) are trained in basic mental health first aid and suicide prevention

• We move beyond the shame sometimes associated with psychological distress, suicide attempts and suicide loss

• Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is embraced as the gold standard of care for Opioid Use Disorder and is readily available in states across the nation

Biomarkers for suicide and predictive analytics are further refined and scaled to a national level, giving every patient in primary care the benefit of mental health screening and suicide preventive interventions, as they do for other leading causes of death (cardiovascular, cancer, infectious)

Health systems have become suicide-safer systems of care

There is reason for hope. New recommended care standards were recently released for better detection and clinical care that reduces suicide risk. At the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, research funding, community education and support for those who have attempted and/or lost loved ones to suicide serve as catalysts for cultural transformation. In addition, suicide rate reduction is being demonstrated through initiatives like AFSP’s Project 2025, which has the bold goal of reducing the annual rate of suicide in the US by 20% by the year 2025, using a dynamic systems-model approach to determine evidence-informed actions to take to achieve that goal.

The seeds of change are glimmering around the globe, and a hopeful foundation is being built upon an expanding awareness of this public health issue. New resources like WHO’s toolkit for engaging communities in suicide prevention are being launched. Stigma-reducing education like Mental Health First Aid is being taught around the world, from India to Ireland. In the US, the nation’s readiness for effective pro-mental health and suicide prevention strategies is growing like never before, and the scientific field of suicide has matured enough to provide answers on what we as a nation, and in communities throughout the country, can do to lower the rate of suicide throughout the country. We don’t have time to waste. We must all work together with partners of many types across sectors – health systems, business, labor, agriculture, law enforcement, media, education and policy – to mount an effective suicide prevention plan that is necessary to stem this rising tide.

Suicide prevention is a complex challenge, but we remain resolute. Let’s speed the scale-up of effective solutions and work together to reduce the suicide rate across nations, and further spread the sense of hope necessary to save lives.

5 ways communities can prevent suicides

• Host educational trainings such as Mental Health First Aid and Talk Saves Lives™ for frontline citizens and healthcare professionals.

• Invite local AFSP chapter to provide suicide prevention education and education on lethal means, especially among communities with higher gun ownership.

• Provide local media with guidance on safe reporting strategies, and hold them accountable for promoting messages of hope, help-seeking and resilience.

• Integrate mental health care and suicide prevention practices into primary care, and bring Safety Planning and SafeSide Primary Care Training to local health systems.

• Spread awareness of local mental health providers that specialize in treatment modalities that reduce suicide risk (especially in high risk individuals): cognitive behavioral therapy for suicidal people (CBT-SP), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) for adults and adolescents with elevated suicide risk, attachment-based family therapy (ABFT), and collaborative assessment and management of suicidality (CAMS).

Why are so many men losing their sex drive? Men are now more likely to refuse sex than women – and doctors blame everything from the recession to toxins Posted November 7th 2019

By Clare Goldwin for the Daily Mail

Published: 23:43, 3 April 2013 | Updated: 23:43, 3 April 2013

158 View comments

Throughout their married life, Paul and Susan Bearley had always enjoyed a fulfilling physical relationship.

Even after 35 years and three children together, they were still making love several times a week. So when Paul, a PE teacher, suddenly lost interest in having sex, Susan feared he was having an affair.
‘If I made an advance, Paul would say things like “I’m not in the mood”,’ says Susan, now 57, from Sutton Coldfield in the West Midlands. ‘I’d think: “Is there something wrong with me? Is he going off with somebody else?”

‘We’d always said if we met someone else we’d be upfront. I was preparing myself for him telling me he’d met another woman.’

It was only when Susan, a site manager for a school, found Paul, now 59, in their bedroom in floods of tears that she realised something altogether different was going on.

Throughout their married life, Paul and Susan Bearley had always enjoyed a fulfilling physical relationship

Throughout their married life, Paul and Susan Bearley had always enjoyed a fulfilling physical relationship

‘By this point, the symptoms had been going on for a few months,’ she says. ‘He said he couldn’t understand what was wrong with him. Not only had he lost his sex drive, but he was exhausted all the time, had put on a lot of weight and was suffering from extreme mood swings.’

Susan forced her husband to see his GP, who ordered a blood test to check Paul’s testosterone levels.

Paul says: ‘My testosterone levels were almost non-existent, which the doctors think was a result of a bad bout of flu I’d had that had knocked out my ability to produce it.

He was prescribed three-monthly testosterone injections, which he now has to have for life.

It was after the second jab that Paul noticed his sex drive returning and his other symptoms disappearing. ‘It was an amazing feeling when my libido came back,’ he says.

Now, four years after his problems began, Susan says she and Paul make love up to five times a week.

'It's definitely difficult for a man to admit he is having problems in the bedroom'

‘It’s definitely difficult for a man to admit he is having problems in the bedroom’

She adds: ‘For months it felt like I’d lost my husband, but six months after starting the injections he was a new man. It was like having the Paul I first met back again.’

Paul adds: ‘It’s definitely difficult for a man to admit he is having problems in the bedroom. I’m so glad it could be sorted – those months were the worst period of our marriage.’

Paul might have felt alone, but he’s certainly not. There’s evidence that more and more men are suffering from a low libido.

The common perception is that men constantly think about sex and are always ready to make love. But a recent survey for online pharmacy ukmedix.com found 62 per cent of men turn down sex more frequently than their female partner, with a third admitting they had lost their sex drive.

Another poll revealed one in four men is no longer having sexual intercourse at all – and the figure rises to 42 per cent for men over 55 – while a quarter said they had been affected by erectile dysfunction at some point in their lives. Dr David Edwards, a GP specialising in sexual issues, says the impact of low libido on a man and his relationship can be devastating.

He says: ‘Sexual problems are the most common cause of men crying in my surgery. I saw a man recently and his low libido had destroyed his previous relationship. He’d suffered with it for 12 years, and only came to me because his current partner said she would leave unless he sought help.’
Lucy Bowden and Stuart Brown certainly know how a low libido can push a couple to the edge.

After seven months living together, they’d begun having blazing rows about trivial things such as who’d failed to buy teabags.

Both knew the real problem was much more sensitive – Stuart had virtually stopped wanting to make love. They got to the point where Lucy was reluctant even to give Stuart a cuddle in case she faced yet another rejection.

Not tonight

A sexless marriage is defined as one where a couple have sex fewer than ten times per year

‘When we first got together, our sex drives were fairly equal,’ says Lucy, a 36-year-old corporate fundraiser who has been with Stuart, 40, for two years.

‘Then, suddenly, everything changed. We went from having sex several times a week to once every two or three weeks, then less.

‘As much as you try not to, you can’t help thinking “he’s fallen out of love with me”. When sex did happen, I felt under pressure to make it brilliant. If it wasn’t happening, I’d feel even worse. It became stressful, instead of a pleasure.’

Like most men, Stuart found it acutely embarrassing to admit that his sex drive was waning.

He says: ‘Lucy would try to initiate love-making and I’d make an excuse and say I didn’t feel like it, or that I was too tired. I’m an engineer in the building trade, and there are lots of guys who boast about what they’ve done and how often. I didn’t even feel like having sex, and that made me feel low, that it was me being “weird”.

‘But after a few months it got to the point where I had to tell Lucy that it wasn’t a problem with her but with me, and thankfully she was very supportive.’

'When we first got together, our sex drives were fairly equal,' says Lucy, who has been with Stuart for 2 years

‘When we first got together, our sex drives were fairly equal,’ says Lucy, who has been with Stuart for 2 years

low libido can have psychological or physical causes, and sometimes a combination of the two.

Illnesses such as diabetes (50 per cent of men with Type 2 diabetes are testosterone deficient), a pituitary tumour called an adenoma, Klinefelter’s (a genetic syndrome affecting one in 500 men) and chronic conditions such as renal problems and cystic fibrosis can all affect testosterone levels.

Some medications also dampen libido, such as anti-depressants and beta blockers, which are used to treat anxiety and high blood pressure. As Paul discovered, it can also be a result of illnesses such as flu or glandular fever.

But the way we now live is also playing a part. Rising obesity levels are pushing up the number of men affected by low libido.

Dr Edwards explains: ‘If you have a big fat belly the testosterone gets bound to the fat, and that will lower levels of it.’ Testosterone levels also decline naturally over the years – sometimes called the andropause or ‘manopause’. Some doctors feel this is happening at an earlier age.

Dr Malcolm Carruthers, founder of the Centre for Men’s Health, has been treating men with libido problems for 25 years.

'After a few months it got to the point where I had to tell Lucy that it wasn't a problem with her but with me'

‘After a few months it got to the point where I had to tell Lucy that it wasn’t a problem with her but with me’

He says: ‘I do believe testosterone deficiency is becoming more common and happening younger.
‘It used to be mostly men in their 50s, but it’s now men in their 40s, or even 30s. Large studies done in America show that every decade there’s a decrease in testosterone levels by as much as ten per cent. I believe the same is happening in this country.’

He adds that rising oestrogen levels in the environment – caused by hormones from the contraceptive pill finding their way into the water supply and food chain – may have a counter-effect to testosterone.

Research has also shown a link between exposure in the womb to gender bending chemicals such as bisphenol A and phthalates, (found in some food packaging and other plastics), and lowered testosterone levels. Dr Carruthers also believes the pressures of the dire economic climate are having a detrimental effect on men’s libidos.

‘Stress can cause a decrease in testosterone production, and an increase in stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenalin, which causes resistance to testosterone.’

A quarter of people surveyed for Good Housekeeping magazine last year said they were making love less often than they were 12 months earlier, with men blaming their lack of libido on money worries.

Financial stress and lowered libido are things Neil Shah, 38, from West London, knows all about. Ten years ago he was the MD of a failing recruitment company employing 30 people. ‘For about a year I was struggling to keep the company going and I was under immense stress,’ he explains.

‘I wasn’t sleeping or eating, and I completely lost my libido. I’d recently got married, and though my wife and I had always had a good physical relationship, that side of things just disappeared.

‘My lack of libido contributed to us splitting up, and though we did get back together again, we eventually divorced.’

After Neil, now single, was forced to put his company into liquidation, he went travelling to try to recover from his broken marriage and failed business.

The break helped him realise the impact that stress had had on him, and inspired him to set up the Stress Management Society, a not-for-profit organisation offering support for those affected.

He says he’s noticed increasing numbers of men complaining that impaired libido is one of the problems they are facing in these tough economic times.

Financial stress and lowered libido are things Neil Shah, 38, from West London, knows all about

Financial stress and lowered libido are things Neil Shah, 38, from West London, knows all about

He says: ‘There’s a clear link between stress and low libido. When a person is under severe stress they go into survival mode. Oxygen is diverted to the heart and lungs, and away from the sexual organs. Reproduction is the last thing the body wants to engage in.’

He adds that lack of sleep also contributes to libido problems – a fact confirmed by a University of Chicago study which revealed that men who sleep for fewer than five hours a night for periods of more than a week have the testosterone levels of someone 15 years older.

So what can be done about a low libido?

Dr Edwards says wives and partners are vital in turning the situation around because without their support, men are unlikely to seek professional help.

‘Only a third of men with erectile problems come forward for help. To admit that your sex drive is waning isn’t a macho thing to do, so women have a vital role in getting their partners to seek help.’
Dr Edwards adds that low libido should always be investigated, and testosterone levels checked, to rule out any underlying medical condition. However, because some men have a higher natural resistance to testosterone than others, diagnosis can be more complex than a simple blood test, and consequently many men go undiagnosed, he says.

‘I believe only one per cent of men who could benefit from testosterone treatment are getting it at the moment. The way to diagnose it is by listening to the patient, their history and symptoms. If symptoms disappear when you give a course of testosterone treatment, that’s the answer as far as I’m concerned.’

While men such as Paul need testosterone replacement treatment (whether it’s quarterly injections or a gel rubbed into the skin), others, like Neil, resolve their problems by making lifestyle changes.

Stuart turned to a herbal remedy to help him. When he and Lucy, who live in Brighton, talked the issue over, he realised his waning desire was probably down to recurring bouts of depression triggered by the death of his father 11 years ago.

His GP recommended antidepressants but, knowing they can impair sex drive, he decided five months ago to try KarmaMood, a supplement based on St John’s Wort, a herbal extract believed to lift mood. ‘St John’s Wort has helped with both the depression and my libido,’ he says.

It seems low libido is a problem affecting an increasing number of couples for myriad reasons, but one thing is clear; if a couple can talk about it together, there is hope that it’s a problem they can solve. Why have sex with women like this.

‘Because I’m not wallowing in my own self-pity, I’m more upbeat and more up for sex. We’re having more of it, and I initiate it more often.’

Lucy says: ‘If you want a relationship to work, you have to work at it together and support your partner. I’m so glad I did.’

Edirorial Comment: It is of course worth noting that any issue within a heterosexual relationship is automatically the fault of the male partner. Why admit to needing anything when many women will refuse to offer any meaningful form of psychological support or help to their male partner?

Being a good partner should not require the male to perform sexually whenever the woman demands it. Sex is something that in times of stress or illness will often become a low priority rather than an immediate one. The rising need for viagra for men says it all. Why would chemical aids be so necessary if the feminist narrative of never ending harassment was true?

An unhappy male – whatever the reasons – will be treated with drugs to increase his waning libido to satisfy his female partner’s demands for physical intimacy. However were the two positions to be reversed that type of constant pressure on a woman to perform sexually would be classified as male controlling and abusive behaviour. It would not be treated as a medical condition but rather a crime requiring urgent police intervention.

There remains the popular social myth that ‘men’ will have sex with any women that cross their path. Not every man has an enormous sex drive or is so fragile mentally that they require constant sex to validate their egos.

Why tell the truth when it may well lead to ridicule and separation anyway? I suspect that many less than happy modern men are afraid to tell the truth about their declining libido to their female partners because relationships are now far from being equal in the new age of women – a clear matriarchy.

Charles Close

8 Reasons Why Men Lose Interest That Have Nothing To Do With You Posted November 7th 2019

By Taylor DuVall, August 19th 2016

A quick Google search about why men lose interest comes up with one common answer: it’s your fault, ladies. Some articles blame women for gaining weight, talking too much, or caring too deeply about women’s equality (How dare women eat, talk, and want to be treated like human beings! The horror of it all!)

Reality check: most of the time when guys lose interest in you – most of the time it has nothing to do with what you did right or wrong. You actually don’t have, and arguably shouldn’t have, the power to manipulate somebody else’s interest in you.

Sure, it’s always important to do a self-check and see if you were bringing any real issues to the table. Things like: codependency, a lack of honesty, still being in love with an ex, or too many expectations. But these are reasons for more serious relationship problems, not simply his lack of interest.

The reason why men lose interest often has way more to do with him and his own life than it has to do with how loudly you talked, how early you had sex, or how many times you called.

Here are 8 common reasons why men lose interest. (And none of them, ladies, have anything to do with you.)

1. He is dealing with his own demons.

Society still projects men as these tough superman characters who can’t be bothered with emotional problems. That is a load of crap. All people have demons, hang-ups, and painful experiences from their past that will still affect them in the present.

Though he may not feel comfortable telling you this is what he is doing, men may lose interest in having a relationship when they realize they have a whole bunch of baggage to deal with first.

I know, ladies, many of us think: “but I could help him!” Not every inner-battle can be helped. If you are in a long-term committed relationship or a marriage, he may be grateful working through it all with you. But often, these things cannot and should not be untangled with someone else around– and that’s definitely not your fault.

2. Something in his life has changed.

When a man loses interest in you, something has often changed. But that probably doesn’t mean you did. Think about how many times in your own life a new opportunity, plan, or idea has come forward all of a sudden. This can happen to your guy too.

Maybe he’s decided he wants to travel for a while. Maybe he has a new job opportunity that will either take him away or take up too much time. These life events happen and they don’t always work with someone else in tow.

This will have nothing to do with you. We are all on our own life paths and sometimes our paths join together beautifully, and sometimes there’s a fork in the road. You cannot predict these life changes each time you meet someone new. He probably didn’t either.

3. He has changed his mind.

Sometimes something in his life changes, but sometimes he is the one who changes. It is possible to want one thing and then realize it’s not all you hoped for. All the things he wanted when he met you could be different now. He simply changed his mind.

He could have thought marriage and family life would be ideal. But as he gets closer to tying the knot, he realizes that’s not the actually case. He could have thought he wanted a relationship to look a certain way, but it turns out he actually prefers something else entirely.

You will have to get out from the trap of thinking if you behaved differently, he wouldn’t have changed his mind. Remember, we are not in charge of other people’s thoughts and actions. We are really only witnesses to them.

4. He is not ready to commit to a relationship.

So many women feel it is their seductive powers that cause men to full under a spell of lifelong commitment. Then it means if he doesn’t commit, women take it personally, “What did I do wrong? It must be me.”

If a guy isn’t ready to commit, he’s not going to commit to anyone. Commitment is a personal choice that we cannot (and should not) force or make for another person. If he isn’t committing to you, that’s his 100% choice. And it’s not always for selfish reasons. He may simply be aware of the goals and experiences he wants to gain first– or he knows deep down that you want different things.

Maybe he thought he was ready, but actually wasn’t. Maybe he was stringing you along. Maybe he was honest about not wanting commitment, but you thought you could change him (you can’t, by the way). In fact, you are not the problem. Most of the time, he isn’t even the problem. He is just not ready.

5. He likes the chase more than the woman.

It is true that some men are bigger fans of the chase than any woman they are chasing after. If the act of pursuit is what turns him on, there is nothing you can do (or nothing you shouldn’t be doing) that can change that.

When a man loses interest because he has “won the prize” of having you, you cannot convince yourself that you did something wrong like having sex too quickly or introducing him to your family before the right time.

He wanted a chase. He wanted to win. He didn’t necessarily want a particular woman. In a sad way, you are interchangeable to a guy like this. That stings, but it should assure you that you had nothing to do with is lack of interest. Find a man who is more interested in you and the relationship itself.

6. He is in love with somebody else.

When a man falls in love with another woman, what do we often say? “His wife must not be having enough sex. His girlfriend must be too demanding. She’s so clingy, no wonder he strayed.” We blame the cheated woman.

If he is in love with another woman, that does not mean you are inadequate, ugly, uncaring, or unsexy. It means he fell in love with another person. He did. It’s his responsibility. Whether you’ve been dating a few months or married for decades, your man falling in love with someone else is not a reflection of your flaws. It is a sign of something going on within his own heart and mind.

He could also have lost interest because he is still in love with someone from his past. You are not responsible for using your magic powers to break that bond of love. That is something he will have to deal with on his own.

7. He is an asshole.

“Asshole” is definitely an option. This is the guy who isn’t interested the second you gain two pounds, the guy who can never be found when you need something. He’s the guy who only wants to be served, or the guy who simply was never interested to begin with.

These are assholes and they lose interest for all sorts of shallow, sexist, and lame reasons all the time. They are the ones who will blame everything on you and have a whole string of women who they “lost interest in.”

Assholes will probably tell you it is your entire fault, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. There is no pleasing an asshole. So let your bruises heal up and find a man who cares about more than himself.

8. He may have no reason at all.

Sometimes something just does not feel right. He may look at you and know everything is wonderful. He’s attracted to you. He loves the light you bring into his life. Everything is perfect on paper. But he is just missing a certain spark.

Chances are, he probably cannot even communicate or understand why he’s lost interest or why something doesn’t feel right. That’s the crazy thing about love: it’s unpredictable.

There may not be a reason why a man loses interest in your relationship. It may just happen for him. Sure, when he doesn’t offer you a reason, it may feel like a much harder thing to get over. But realize his being unsure is still a valid emotion.

No matter the reason, when a man you’re interested loses interest in you, feelings will be bruised. Hearts will be broken. But it’s important to remember that there are many reasons why men lose interest that have nothing to do with you. It’s on him.

Sometimes the clichéd line, “It’s not you; it’s me” – is entirely true. It’s not you. It’s him. And no matter what he says, don’t own his lack of interest and turn it into something bad about you. 

Sex Post Freud Part Two Posted November 15th 2019

This is the age of Girls on Top, male’s collapsing libido, viagra and rampant rapists. Girls are being encouraged to report historical anc urrent abuse- and to find themselves with confidence.
Passionate Pigeons These birds are rather old fashioned. Female pigeons need liberating from this rough necking. RJC

Sigmund Freud was born in Moravia, part of the Austrain Empire in 1856, the year of the Crimean War. He died in September 1939, just before the start of World War Two. Much had changed during that period. Others had taken on board his ideas of psychoanalysis and two world wars had impacted on ideas of sexual freedom, and religion- particularly in relation to women.

The 1960s were ostensibly the years of sexual revolution. They were, but not with the peace and love outcome so popularly advertised at the time. This was the age of bra burning, equal pay and female rights without responsibilty campaigns. Social Class inqualities remained untouched.

So Freud was stood on his head. Everything was the man’s fault. history has been rewritten. Working class men are portrayed as inherently rapists and racists. Curiously those two R words differ in only one third letter, P and C. PC is for political correctness and police constable, key elements in our modern society.

So came Germaine Greer and the likes of post feminist Emma Watson with ‘Me Too.’ Suddenly all men had been and were sex offenders. Every woman who made an allegation was automatically telling the truth.

On the one hand all men were in need of sex therapy and viagra, on the other hand they were lurking in the pubs, clubs, alleyways and workplace to take advantage of all the shy retiring highly intelligent ravishing beauties across our nation and the western world.

It is no wonder that record numbers of young men are losing their libido, opting for sex change or committing suicide. Woman can make rape and assault allegations as many years after the event as they like. Target driven corrupt police will then name the accused calling for more women to come forward with allegations.

With enough allegations on record, the unscrupulous and corrupt Crown Prosecution Service ( CPS ) will present this to a gullible jury certain of getting a conviction.

According to material I read on Aylesbury Police station wall, a woman has the right to say no to sex at any time during the act. If the man does not stop he can be accused of rape at any time, regardless of years or evidence after the event. I think modern laws are a bit of a passion killer. Robert Cook

Sex Post Freud Part One Posted November 5th 2019

Ladies Hemlines have got shorter in the name of female liberation. Now we have a new and heinous crime called ‘upskirting.’ This is all about the elite distracting the masses from the messy truth of sex. As long as people don’t understand sex they can be controlled. Mental illness and crime figures go up, but who cares? They understand sex and how to use it for the society that gives the elite real freedom and real substantive pleasure.

Sexual freedom is like the property owning democracy. It is a little box to put you in. You think you own it, especially if you are female. If you are female you can kick your man out of the box and get another man in to pay the mortgage. You won’t know the truth; that only the elite own stuff and that includes you. Property owning is a myth for most, enslavery in fact. Sex is a drug, an opium for self delusion like all other drugs.

Sigmund Freud tried to break people free of the sex box, though analysis was for the wealthy and not stigmatised. The lunatic asylum was for anyone else at the turn of the 19th century and little has changed beyond the euphemism of ‘care in the community’ because the elite do not care- a lot of them still go to private shrinks.

Freud’s ideas shocked the self righteous good people of his home city all so religious Vienna. That was because he stated the obvious, that the sexual libido was the driving force of human behaviour. For centuries the myth of a God created in human image, was the offical truth, excuse for wars and reason for life.

Our elites are reviving that nonsense in the name of diversity and tolerance. Ironically these people are the most intolerant which is why they pass laws to prevent criticism. It is why the British elite won’t let the masses actually leave police state Europe.

Cameron’s idea was to get a mass vote of confidence in his ‘once in a lifetime’ vote. His experts in mass psychology told him he would because they assumed they knew how stupid and afraid the voters are.

That was by the way. Back to my theme of sex. The real reason for life is sexual reproduction. It is a primary drive, informing the development of the human psyche.

Freud outraged polite society by arguing that humans were sexually aware by age four and that posh women liked sex. Frustrating the sex drive, denying it even was behind the mental problems of the upper class females who came to him for the fashionable and new psychoanalysis. Upper class men coped by seducing or forcing the underclass of women, especially servants and prostitutes, into the animal sex they craved but could not admit to.

In those day posh women were dressed up in lashings and layers of fancy clothing, bustling about, absurdly long hair, faces disguised by make up, natural odours masked by perfume. To suggest that there was anything sexual under the clothing, let alone a secret place of appetite was outrageous to the fake Christians.

The clothes were worn to protect women’s virtue, hiding the truth of sex. Not surprisingly the clothes themselves became a fetish for frustrated repressed men, hence the popularity of naughty books called bodice rippers.

Two World Wars put the masses in the front line. Butchery and bloodshed revealed what people were made of and how young they could die. Naturally, sexual appetites increased to make up for lost population. Life was not about girls being sugar and spice and all things nice, or boys being made of slugs and snails and puppy dogs tails.

So a new and better world was promised to the survivors of World War Two and their offspring. I grew up in the 1950s and know what real austerity was like. Today austerity is about overpaid incompetent public servants complaining that their pay rises are too low- that is another story.

So by the mid 1960s in Britain the fake sexual liberation began- along with a whole new range of mental health problems. The 1960s were ‘swinging’ the media told us. The more worrying undertones from a minority of pop groups like ‘The Kinks’ were not what mattered to love struck young females in their ever shorter skirts, on the pill and calling for abortion on demand. This was the age of free love. On the face of it Freud had been accepted at last.

Robert Cook with his best friend in the by then single parent family’s front room. This was the Swinging Sixties. His late father loved music, making his own radiogramme, which is seen in the background.
The little picture frame was made by Robert and shows a picture of his dad and the dog, ‘Prince.’ The elite have always looked down on the underclass. They have an army of bureucrats to keep the population down, and to distract them. Sexual hypocrisy is a major part of their mind and skill set. RJC

TO BE CONTINUED ON TO THE AGE OF MALE SEX OFFNDERS, ME TOO AND AN EXPLOSION OF SEX OFFENCES.

Tavistock Institute: Building Absolute Mind Control for the New World Order Posted October 30th 2019

RobertsCourt.com

Eugenics is highly active in America as an unconscious political power source, but has been made invisible to your rational mind. This intellectual blindness has been programmed. The only way to understand eugenics as a sophisticated “crowd control” device is to view the big picture. The big picture tells us that powerful Mind Control is all around us and even runs through us. This is no passive development. Like usury, eugenics is a major “crowd control” and Mind Control device employed by the elite against the non-elite which has been deliberately made invisible via your own belief system. It’s top-down programming has been manipulated secretly. By “depatterning” our minds, beginning in childhood, Tavistock and their Tory American allies serve a broader agenda of psychological warfare against the democratic mind.

“We are your overlords.”—Led Zeppelin

To weaken the moral fiber of the nation and to demoralize workers in the labor class by creating mass unemployment, demoralization can be advanced as a science. It can even be made utterly irresistible, sexy and hip. As jobs dwindle due to the post industrial zero growth policies introduced by the Club of Rome, the report envisages demoralized and discouraged workers resorting to alcohol and drugs, simultaneously seeking more and more top-down government. Top-down reversals of individual-rights-based social contracts, like the U.S. Constitution, require the destruction of parental authority then replacing the parent with programmed bureaucrats. Through crisis, this can produce a cascading effect toward mass programming, effectively reversing the Constitution.

Psychology a Girl Thing

The new December edition of Psychologies Magazine

Looking at this month’s Psychologies I come to the conclusion that it is just another feminist driven insidious publication. Regardless of gender, it is absurd to expect everyone to enjoy their work. In Britain and so many other countries, most jobs are hard, boring, with long hours and short on pay.

But hang on a minute, this magazine is aimed at the kind of women who complain that they only get a million pounds a year from the low order BBC propogandist TV licence payers while their eqially elite pampered patronising male counterparts get two million. Or maybe they are lawyers working for the CPS, out to get convictions regardless of how much defence evidence the police are witholding. Some people enjoy that sort of thing.

This is my well thumbed copy of M F Thomas’s ‘Confessions of a Sociopath, an interesting and revealing insight into the mind of a very successful U.S female sociopath- sociopath is a high functioning psychopath.
On the back cover of the book is a quote from here, saying : ‘I like people. I like to touch them. To mould them and to ruin them.

Men, especially daughter loving fathers, need to understand that women are not all part of an innocent vulnerable blob. Most average women may lack the muscle power of an average man, but there is more to wielding power than muscle and women have the law on their side, using clothes. looks and sexual power. I heard women talking on BBC Radio Four about the dangers of research into growing babies outside the womb. ‘Not a good’ idea said one educated lady. ‘We would lose our power if that happened.’

The Right to Die October 17th 2019

The very idea of personality disorder as decided by state authorities suggests that there is a prescription for a personality order- on other words, social engineering to make people fit through drugs and/or hospital conditioning. The key questions are who decides this, how and why?

A 23 year Belgique Girl wants assisted suicide becaue mental health problems have made her life unbearable. RJC
A typical out of touch patronising, possibly God loving, Physician opposes euthanasia for mental illness. His response is ‘give the girl more powerful medication’ In other words, life as a zombie.

This poor girl has been looking for help for the last two years. Ordinary impressionable men and women of the Western world are being driven mad by elite propoganda, and very nasty doctors, about diversity and non binary is good nonsense. For most people nature is binary.

Normal Women want husbands and children without being policed by morons in blue uniforms, feminists, and so called health experts- Psychiatrists are whores as R,D Laing said they were. They prop up our hypocritical excuse for a society / democacy.. These dreadful patronising people are medicalisisng peoples’ unhappiness.

As for the God squad, they should keep their bigotry to themselves. I and many others, claim the right not to worship this 3000 year old political bull-hit. Society has driven this girl mad, labelled her, making her life even more intolerable. God doesn’t care what happens to this girl, nor does society. So she should get what she wants, not life in ‘the cuckoos nest’. Robert Cook

Fitting Up The Misfits October 18th 2019

The article above about the 23 year old girl who wants to die, was first published on our editorial page. Paranoid Persoanality Disorder appears to be a catch all dignosis for any one who does not fit into our allegedly diverse, police and feminist dominated culture.

It is a subject very close to my heart because of my long standing disagreement with my ex wife and her family regarding my youngest son Edward, who I have not seen for nearly 12 years. These people, mindful of a family member who spent his entire adult life in a mental hospital, where he died, decided that my son was in some way retarded.

The family, who I will not name at the moment for legal reasons are much more powerful than myself. Apart from my eldest son, I have no family and grew up in extreme poverty. Class is the key factor in life chances, not gender or ethnicity.

My son son Edward had enormous problems with being bullied at school. This was a misery I knew from my own school days and witnessed as a teacher. Reluctantly my ex wife allowed me to teach Edward at home for two years before forcing him to go to private school where he was bullied. He developed OCD. I got outside help which my wife cancelled, insisting I was the one with the problem. She ordered me to see an analyst at £40 an hour in 2006.

Previously Edward wrote me pleading letters to be let off school and prepared a contract for each of his parents to sign, saying we would help him kill himself if he had to go back to school. I have the copy my ex wife signed. I did not sign it. I was very alarmed, verbally abused by my wife and hit several times.I nearly succeeded in hanging myself in March 2007 because my life was intolerable. My oldest son’s life was also being harmed.

My ex wife, who admitted to police that she hit me on at least four occasions that she could remember, ridiculed and over rode my protests with her family’s support. The police did nothing about it.

Edward spent the last three years of his life at my home, laying on his bed in his underpants with a playstation, cling wrapped sandwiches, wipes and a bottle to pee in. In 2003, six years before our divorce, I was told by my ex wife that Icould not have any contact with either of my sons unless she was present. If I dd not obey then I would lose my family.

She was still taking Edward, then aged 20, to the toilet and washing him up until the day she left -taking him with her, telling his older brother and me that we could never see him again.

The noises coming from the bathroom while she was washing him were most alarming. The police told me that this would only have been of interest them if it had been me taking a 20 year old daughter to the bathroom. I have been threatened with prosecution and prison for raising this issue with them.

My ex wife’s brother – whose wife is also a police officer backing her husband’s allegations against me – was ( and may still be ) a senior police officer. Edward was sent to his remote rural home after my wife and I split up.

My ex brother in law damingly lied that my oldest son and I were stalking and threatening his family on the weekend of October 4th/5th 2008. Without any investigation, by my ex brother in law’s police force or my locla one in which he served as a Divisional Commnder. I know what the motives were.

My ex brother in law’s home was 158 miles away and we were 15 miles north of Liverpool with a friend at the time he alleged we were stalking and threatening violence to his family, including his children.

Thi senior police officer also lied that a police sergeant ( it is [possible the sergeant and his partner lied to curry favour ) found us nearby. The ex brother in law’s family also lied and the police have lied ever since that my son and I were threatening them with violence. I was arrested after confronting the police with evidence in support of my allegations in 2015.

The force in question put a PNC Criminal Marker on my car on October 9th 2008 and created soft intelligence records that ruined mine and my eldest son’s career and lives= leading to violence from locals. To this day the police will not explain the marker because they know it was illegal involving high level abuse of power , conspiracy and misconduct in public office..

PNC Criminal Markers are given for sex, violence, drugs and arms suspects. My car was chased, sometimes dangerously, and searched many times, hence I was desparate to find out why. I found out in May 2009, but not from the police forces in question. Suspects with PNC markers are liable to being shot by police.

There is much more to this saga and I am taking a great risk to my freedom by telling this much, as I have been in court and locked in cold cells for 12 hours at a time, my house ransacked, police lying to my lawyers , the CPS and threatening me with a long prison sentence too many times because of it. It has been truly terrifying and harmful to my health.

Malicious allegations of domestic violence, never explained to me or investigated, were made during six hearings in 2016- but my ex wife had never mentioned them during the divorce- because she would have to be faced with the evidence and my challenge.

After two failed prosecutions, the police have made several attempts to have me sectioned, with the local GPs, Dr Rodger Dickson’s support. British representative democracy is wonderful as long as you know who it is designed to represent.

Robert Cook October 18th 2019

In all my 31 years of married life, only three times did we holiday anywhere but Cornwall. In 2006, when this picture was taken, Edward was driven down there in the back of our six berth motor home, ensconced and sanitised like an invalid.

We had rented a bungalow at £1000 a week for two weeks. Of course my in laws were in the area. They had moved up country but were always back when we were in town.

lIt took a great deal of argument to get my wife’s agreement to get Edward out of the
bungalow to fly this plane around the Penwith Peninsula. I took the photo and Edward was elated having proved he could do something so skillful.

But he was soon taken back to his bedroom, only coming out to continue washing the skin off his hands. I have little time for psycholgists and psychiatrists their labels and pills. I came across R D Laing during post graduate psychology at London University . Edward is pictured left. Image RJC

How is paranoid personality disorder diagnosed?

If a person has symptoms, the doctor will begin an evaluation by performing a complete medical history and physical examination. Although there are no laboratory tests to specifically diagnose personality disorders, the doctor might use various diagnostic tests to rule out physical illness as the cause of the symptoms. For example, difficulty hearing or long-lasting substance abuse may be confused with PPD.

If the doctor finds no physical reason for the symptoms, he or she might refer the person to a psychiatrist or psychologist, health care professionals who are specially trained to diagnose and treat mental illnesses. PPD is different from psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia, paranoid type or delusional disorder, persecutory type, in that the person with PPD lacks the perceptual distortions (for example, hearing voices) or bizarre delusional thinking (for example, being followed everywhere by the FBI). Psychiatrists and psychologists use specially designed interview and assessment tools to evaluate a person for a personality disorder. Source clevelandclinic.org

Editorial Comment

The crucial question, apart from being able to drive a coach and horses through this pseudo mental illnes ( designed to miss the reality of the ‘patient’s life and current circumstances ) is who in the medical profession has enough arrogance to think they can diagnose this condition, let alone define it?. A related question is, who asked for the diagnosis and why?

When I was growing up in Winslow of the 1950s, there was a mental hospital containing lots of old women who had been incarcerated there in the 1920s because they offended hypocritical God fearing society by having babies out of wedlock- some obviously raped by powerful employers in the country houses where they worked as skivvies. On such case is mentioned in ‘The Book of Winslow’ by Robert Cook ( 1989 )

Robert Cook

Psychopaths are not always obvious, they can function amongst us without being noticed, rising to positions of power with dangerous consequences. I highly recommend this book.
Some have suggested that Tony Blair fits the bill and should face justice for the sort of war crimes and lies that Julian Assange faces a lifetime in jail for exposing, along with Chelsea Manning.
I last saw Blair at the London Coliseum, after seeing ‘La Boheme’. More than his ‘tiny hand ‘ looked frozen! . Miserable looking pair him and Cherie. Robert Cook
About the book ‘Talking with Psychopaths.’
There is no life without fear and no fear without life. Ant Middleton is inspirational.

The Psychology of Hate Posted September 24th 2019

Recently, several members of a group calling itself “Respect the Flag” were sentenced to prison for terrorizing guests at the birthday party of an 8-year-old African-American girl in Georgia. Pointing a shotgun, they yelled racial slurs and death threats at guests, including children. 

It wasn’t an isolated incident. According to a recent study, there are at least 917 organized hate groups in the United States. The study, based on data collected by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and presented in their annual census of hate groups, looked at the presence of hate groups on Twitter. SPLC found that the number of likes and comments on hate group accounts grew by 900 percent in the last two years.  

Why do we hate? The reasons are complex, but following are some of the factors that may play a role in helping us understand hate and, hopefully, work toward change.

Fear of “The Other”

According to A.J. Marsden, assistant professor of psychology and human services at Beacon College in Leesburg, Florida, one reason we hate is because we fear things that are different from us.

Behavioral researcher Patrick Wanis, cites the in-group out-group theory, which posits that when we feel threatened by perceived outsiders, we instinctively turn toward our in-group—those with whom we identify—as a survival mechanism. Wanis explains, “Hatred is driven by two key emotions of love and aggression: One love for the in-group—the group that is favored; and two, aggression for the out-group—the group that has been deemed as being different, dangerous, and a threat to the in-group.”

Fear of Ourselves

According to Washington, D.C., clinical psychologist Dana Harron, the things people hate about others are the things that they fear within themselves. She suggests thinking about the targeted group or person as a movie screen onto which we project unwanted parts of the self. The idea is, “I’m not terrible; you are.”

This phenomenon is known as projection, a term coined by Freud to describe our tendency to reject what we don’t like about ourselves. Psychologist Brad Reedy further describes projection as our need to be good, which causes us to project “badness” outward and attack it:

     “We developed this method to survive, for any ‘badness’ in us put us at risk for being rejected and alone. So we repressed the things that we thought were bad (what others told us or suggested to us that was unlovable and morally reprehensible) — and we employ hate and judgment towards others. We think that is how one rids oneself of undesirable traits, but this method only perpetuates repression which leads to many mental health issues.

Lack of Self-compassion

The antidote to hate is compassion — for others as well as ourselves. Self-compassion means that we accept the whole self. “If we find part of ourselves unacceptable, we tend to attack others in order to defend against the threat,” says Reedy. “If we are okay with ourselves, we see others’ behaviors as ‘about them’ and can respond with compassion. If I kept hate in my heart for [another], I would have to hate myself as well. It is only when we learn to hold ourselves with compassion that we may be able to demonstrate it toward others.”article continues after advertisement

It fills a void

Psychologist Bernard Golden, author of Overcoming Destructive Anger: Strategies That Work, believes that when hate involves participation in a group, it may help foster a sense of connection and camaraderie that fills a void in one’s identity. He describes hatred of individuals or groups as a way of distracting oneself from the more challenging and anxiety-provoking task of creating one’s own identity:

     “Acts of hate are attempts to distract oneself from feelings such as helplessness, powerlessness, injustice, inadequacy and shame. Hate is grounded in some sense of perceived threat. It is an attitude that can give rise to hostility and aggression toward individuals or groups. Like much of anger, it is a reaction to and distraction from some form of inner pain. The individual consumed by hate may believe that the only way to regain some sense of power over his or her pain is to preemptively strike out at others. In this context, each moment of hate is a temporary reprieve from inner suffering.”

Societal and Cultural Factors

The answer to why we hate, according to Silvia Dutchevici, LCSW, president and founder of the Critical Therapy Center, lies not only in our psychological makeup or family history, but also in our cultural and political history. “We live in a war culture that promotes violence, in which competition is a way of life,” she says. “We fear connecting because it requires us to reveal something about ourselves. We are taught to hate the enemy — meaning anyone different than us — which leaves little room for vulnerability and an exploration of hate through empathic discourse and understanding. In our current society, one is more ready to fight than to resolve conflict. Peace is seldom the option.”article continues after advertisement

What Can We Do?

Hatred has to be learned, Golden says: “We are all born with the capacity for aggression as well as compassion. Which tendencies we embrace requires mindful choice by individuals, families, communities and our culture in general. The key to overcoming hate is education: at home, in schools, and in the community.”

According to Dutchevici, facing the fear of being vulnerable and utterly human is what allows us to connect, to feel, and ultimately, to love. She suggests creating “cracks in the system.” These cracks can be as simple as connecting to your neighbor, talking with a friend, starting a protest, or even going to therapy and connecting with an ‘Other.’ It is through these acts that one can understand hate and love.”

In other words, compassion towards others is the true context that heals.

The SPLC encourages anyone who witnesses a hate crime — including hateful harassment or intimidation — to first report the incident to local authorities, then go to SPLC’s #ReportHate intake page to continue the effort to track hate in the country.

Psych Central Professional

Home » Pro » The Exhausted Woman » The Difference Between Male and Female Narcissists

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The Exhausted
  Woman
with Christine Hammond, MS, LMHC

Editorial Comment Hate used to be a word popular with soap opera script writers, schoolkids and girls dumping their boyfriends. The famous German philopsopher Goethe said and wrote : ‘You have to be a good hater.’ International English athlete Dick Taylor said : ‘You have to hate to win races.’ When I went before an RAF commission board at RAF Biggin Hill back in the early 1970s, I was asked if I could kill.

A female officer, obviously the board’s psychiatrist was annoyed by my hesitation, cutting in with the comment : ‘Well that’s what it is all about in the end.’ I see her point. How can you kill without emotion, without hate, without believing that the enemy is the bad person and worthy of hate?

A great deal of killing has been orchestrated by the bullies who beccame the ruling elite over the centuries. After Rome went Christian and the barely civilised world spilt between Christian and Islam versions of worship and corrupt rule, each side proclaimed they were right. Love was for God and hate for the enemy.

During the so called ‘Great War’ which was all about greed and empire, millions of young men were slaughtered by their betters while propoganda whipped up hate on both sides. British guns were blessed and returning soldiers in 1918, many crippled or traumatised, were thrown on the scrap heap.

The rich rode out the depression until there was an excuse for more war, hate and patriotic hysteria. The post war hippy period was a flash in the pan, the Western World led by Britain and icons like Germaine Greer morphed into feminism and the apparently endless world of hating men, making them pay and putting them in their place.

Hate has been a useful word enabling us to understand extreme emotions and explore causes. Now it is a label and a crime to control the fall out from a new social order- created, by the ruling elite who have no idea of life at the bottom- called DIVERSITY.

The word fan is short for fanatic. The multi billion pound world of sport relies on fans who are known to get drunk and violent, replacing a sense of lost tribalism and belief with football favours etc. Society’s rulers, including feminists, are very concerned. When they look for causes of hate crimes they are not looking at basic human nature.

They are looking at their new world order design to better design and control the individuals and groups that do not fit the kind of diversity they want. Drugs or prison are their ultimate resort if education and psychotherapy do not fit. Robert Cook September 24th 2019

The Difference Between Male and Female Narcissists Posted September 2019

By Christine Hammond, MS, LMHC
Last updated: 27 Jun 2019~ 2 min read

narcissists male female

Too often, narcissism is portrayed as an overly aggressive male disorder. It is not. Females can be narcissistic as well although it might look a bit different from males. Meryl Streep in her role as Miranda Priestly in “The Devil Wears Prada” did an excellent job portraying a narcissistic female boss. Michelle Pfieffer did as well in playing a narcissistic mother in “White Oleander.”

There are several areas that the difference in sexes can be seen. But because this is a disorder, there will be a crossover of similarities. Yet, all of this is consistent with the DSM-V definition of narcissism.

Appearance. Narcissists, in general, believe themselves to be attractive and are usually well groomed to attract attention. While males combine their attractiveness with charm to accomplish a goal, females use it to gain superiority. Most females tend to be obsessed with their appearance sometimes resulting in numerous plastic surgeries.

Seduction. Both male and females narcissists are generally gifted in the art of seduction, but how they seduce is different. Males use their charm to entice a mate. Females use their bodies to allure a mate. This can sometimes be seen in provocative clothing. This is different from a Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD). HPD’s continually wear inappropriately revealing clothing whereas a narcissist does it selectively for a specific person or to accomplish a goal.

Confidence. Narcissists cover their deep-rooted insecurity with a belief that they are “special.” Males tend to be self-confident, gaining their assurance from within. Females gain their poise from comparing their superiority over others. They feel good about themselves when others are beneath their own standards of excellence.

Money. The love of money is strong for narcissists as they believe money gives them power, control, success, status, and dominance over others. Males are preoccupied with obtaining money at all cost, including stealing it from family members. Females enjoy excessively spending money. Both do their behaviors without any shame or remorse for their actions.

Fidelity. If a narcissist fails to get the attention they believe they deserve, they will seek it from outside a committed relationship. While both can be unfaithful, males tend to be serial adulterers. Females act more like black widow spiders, idealizing their mate to attract and them emasculating them. For the spouse or partner, the more they give, the more the narcissist wants. It becomes insatiable.

Children. Narcissists like to raise baby narcissists. Often they pick a favorite child and focus all of their efforts and attention on that child. The other children are left feeling inadequate, unworthy, and insecure. Males generally view children as a nuisance, frequently complaining that they, not the children, should have all the attention of their spouse or partner.  Females view children as an extension of themselves, even when the child is an adult. Everything the child accomplishes is a reflection of their superior parenting.

Competition. Nothing proves supremacy quite like competition for narcissists. They love an opportunity to excel over others at work and at home. While the competitiveness is frequently praised in a job, it is not amongst family. Males treat other males as rivals. This can be seen in brother/brother and parent/child relationships. Females battle with other females for dominance. This is seen in sister/sister and parent/child relationships.

This is not a complete list of differences, rather it is meant to bring awareness as to the many ways narcissism can be portrayed.

Christine Hammond, MS, LMHC

Christine is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor by the State of Florida with over fifteen years of experience in counseling, teaching and ministry.

She works primarily with exhausted women and their families in conflict situations to ensure peaceful resolutions at home and in the workplace. She has blogs, articles, and newsletters designed to assist in meeting your needs.

As author of the award winning book, The Exhausted Woman’s Handbook, Christine is a guest speaker at churches, women’s organizations, and corporations.

You can connect with her at her website Grow with Christine at www.growwithchristine.com.

12 Traits Of A Female Narcissist Posted September 23rd 2019

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Just as it is among men, narcissism, a dysfunctional behavior is also common among women.

The following traits provided by experts, victims and survivors of emotional abuse and those who had at a time encountered female narcissists; all give detailed explanation to narcissism among women.19 Traits Of A Female Narcissist

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Watch video or continue reading 11 Traits of A Female Narcissist Watch this video on YouTube.

  • A female narcissist is good at marketing herself. Being the most charming person in the room, you can’t take that away from her; as she craves for attention.
  • A narcissist female lacks common courtesy. She’s convinced that the reason for her existence is to make the world complete, thus, sees no reason to reciprocate empathy to others.
  • When in a relationship, a female narcissist disengages, use neglect and abandonment to punish her partner.
  • Female narcissist lacks the ability to process shame i.e. has difficulty apologizing when found guilty.
  • She is unpredictable in her moods. Due to pride and other traits, a narcissist won’t open up to you what she actually wants.
VIDEO: 5 Successful People With INTJ Personality
  • Study shows female narcissists will apologized profusely if backed into a corner i.e capable to regret wrong doings just for short-term, it won’t be long when she returns to narcissistic patterns.

Read: Glaring Difference Between Being a Narcissist and Having High Self-esteem

  • She belittles your accomplishments, hopes and dreams.
  • A female narcissist is prone to envy. She seeks opportunity to undermine others, though pretends she’s contented with what she’s got.
  • She focuses her attention on makeup, and more likely to have plastic surgery.
  • She is unreasonably jealous.
  • A female narcissist seeks favorable treatment. She believes that she deserve to have every good thing the world has.
  • Narcissist enjoys being photographed. She places much priority in getting her best portrait on social media sites.

Read: How Social Media Makes Us Narcissistic [Infographic]

  • She believes she’s intellectually superior to peers.
Further readings:
Paul Wink: The Three Types of Narcissism in Women. Institute of Personality Assessment and Research. University of Carlifornia at Berkeley.

J Res Pers: Behavioral Manifestations of Narcissism in Everyday Life. 2010 Aug 1; 44(4): 478–484. doi: 10.1016/j.jrp.2010.06.001

Philipson, I. (1985), Gender and narcissism, Psychology of Women Quarterley, Vol. 9, pp. 213-228.

Rhodewalt, F., Tragakis, M.W. and Finnerty, J. (2001), Narcissism and self-handicapping, Linking self-aggrandizement to behavior, Department of Psychology, University of Utah.

written by Moses Chukwu Published: August 6, 2016 in Personality

7 Signs A Woman Is A Total Narcissist Posted September 23rd 2019

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signs she's a narcissist

Elizabeth Ayers-CallahanBlogger Self November 22, 2017

Yes, women can be narcissists, too!

Close your eyes and imagine a narcissist. Try to picture what you think a narcissist looks like in your mind. It looks like a man, right? While, yes, there are many men in the world with the narcissistic personality disorder, too often, we associate the qualities of narcissism only with men.

We think of unrelenting ego and a smug sense of self-satisfaction and, for whatever reason, we identify those as male qualities. It’s one of the most common stereotypes about narcissism.

But here’s the thing — narcissism knows no gender boundaries. Women can be narcissists too.

Are men more likely to be narcissists than women? There is some research to back that up. However, that doesn’t mean that women are immune from narcissism.

We all know women who make everything all about THEM, women who flaunt themselves, women who are vain or self-absorbed. Women who definitely fit the classic definition of narcissism, which is “excessive or erotic interest in oneself and one’s physical appearance.”


RELATED: How To Leave A Narcissist

There are many, many female narcissists in the world and, if you want to maintain healthy relationships with the people in your life, you need to stay away from them. Here are 7 signs she’s a narcissist.

1. Every conversation revolves around her.

via GIPHY

While it’s fine to talk about yourself occasionally in social settings, a true narcissist will almost exclusively talk about herself OR will constantly be attempting to steer the conversation back to her. Ask yourself, “When was the last time she asked a question about ME?” If the answer is NEVER, that’s a pretty clear sign that she’s very full of herself.

2. She’s constantly canceling plans with you.

Conflicts happen, but one of the big signs she’s a narcissist is when she pathologically refuses to commit to prior engagements. She doesn’t care about the impact on others.

She never even thinks about your ruined evening or your disappointment. All she wants is the freedom to do whatever she wants, whenever she wants, no matter how it impacts the people around her.

3. She goes crazy when you tell her “No.”

via GIPHY

This is one of the easiest ways to detect a narcissist. When they ask you do to something, just say “No.” It doesn’t even have to be a hard “No.” You can just delay your response or say, “I’ll get back to you.”

Narcissists HATE those kinds of responses. They don’t like other people exerting influence on their self-centered spheres of existence. If you know a woman who loses her mind when you respond in the negative, she definitely has some narcissistic qualities.

4. She flirts with people she doesn’t like.

Flirting is a fun thing for adults to do, but narcissists use flirting as a tool to get what they want. This is particularly apparent if you know a woman who is constantly trying to use her charm or sexuality on people she’s not romantically interested in.


RELATED: 3 Mind Games ALL Narcissistic Men Play In Relationships

Narcissists think they’re the hottest things on Earth, and that inflated sense of self-image makes them believe that no one could EVER resist them. Thus, they flirt as a form of manipulation because they can’t imagine any man or woman wouldn’t be totally seduced by their feminine wiles.

5. She doesn’t speak highly of the people in her life.

via GIPHY

Narcissists see themselves standing on the top of the social pyramid — with everyone else firmly beneath their feet. This attitude can become apparent if you listen to how they talk about others.

Does the woman in your life always refer to other people as “idiots”? Does she call her friends “sluts” or “morons”? Does she always question other people’s intelligence, but never questions her own?

That’s classic narcissist behavior. We all have the occasion to rip on our friends from time to time, but if you know a woman who is always doing that and never showing any signs of empathy or self-deprecation, she’s probably a narcissist.

6. She never accepts blame.

If she’s running late, does she ever apologize or was it always the fault of traffic/your directions/someone else? Narcissists have a real problem with culpability — they don’t like admitting that they’re ever at fault for a mistake or a problem.

Their worldview doesn’t support a reality where they could be wrong, so they always deflect blame and argue that someone else (or a factor beyond anyone’s control) caused the problem. You will rarely, if ever, hear a narcissist say “My bad.”

7. Her phone is full of selfies.

via GIPHY

Is it all selfies? There’s nothing wrong with selfies, but if you know a woman who seems to exclusively take selfies, paying all her attention to framing herself perfectly and never thinking to grab a shot of her family, friends, or the world around her, that’s a big narcissist red flag.

Women are just as capable as being narcissists as men are. If you have a woman in your life who never seems to exhibit any empathy and who always wants to make things about HER, she probably has narcissist tendencies and you should consider keeping your distance.

Friendships and relationships are all about give and take, which is something a true narcissist will never, ever understand.


RELATED: 7 Traits That Make You A Prime Target For A Narcissist

Elizabeth Ayers-Callahan is a mom, wife and regular blogger for YourTango. She is obsessed with The Kardashians and basically every season and series of The Real Houswives, though she will only sometimes admit it. 

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Causes of PTSD- NHS Source September 23rd 2019

Contents

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop after a very stressful, frightening or distressing event, or after a prolonged traumatic experience.

Types of events that can lead to PTSD include:

  • serious accidents
  • physical or sexual assault
  • abuse, including childhood or domestic abuse
  • exposure to traumatic events at work, including remote exposure
  • serious health problems, such as being admitted to intensive care
  • childbirth experiences, such as losing a baby
  • war and conflict
  • torture

PTSD is not usually related to situations that are simply upsetting, such as divorce, job loss or failing exams.

PTSD develops in about 1 in 3 people who experience severe trauma.

It’s not fully understood why some people develop the condition while others do not.

But certain factors appear to make some people more likely to develop PTSD.

Who’s at risk

If you have had depression or anxiety in the past, or you do not receive much support from family or friends, you’re more susceptible to developing PTSD after a traumatic event.

There may also be a genetic factor involved in PTSD. For example, having a parent with a mental health problem is thought to increase your chances of developing the condition.

Why does it develop?

Although it’s not clear exactly why people develop PTSD, a number of possible reasons have been suggested.

Survival mechanism

One suggestion is that the symptoms of PTSD are the result of an instinctive mechanism intended to help you survive further traumatic experiences.

For example, the flashbacks many people with PTSD experience may force you to think about the event in detail so you’re better prepared if it happens again.

The feeling of being “on edge” (hyperarousal) may develop to help you react quickly in another crisis.

But while these responses may be intended to help you survive, they’re actually very unhelpful in reality because you cannot process and move on from the traumatic experience.

High adrenaline levels

Studies have shown that people with PTSD have abnormal levels of stress hormones.

Normally, when in danger, the body produces stress hormones like adrenaline to trigger a reaction in the body.

This reaction, often known as the “fight or flight” reaction, helps to deaden the senses and dull pain.

People with PTSD have been found to continue to produce high amounts of fight or flight hormones even when there’s no danger.

It’s thought this may be responsible for the numbed emotions and hyperarousal experienced by some people with PTSD.

Changes in the brain

In people with PTSD, parts of the brain involved in emotional processing appear different in brain scans.

One part of the brain responsible for memory and emotions is known as the hippocampus.

In people with PTSD, the hippocampus appears smaller in size.

It’s thought that changes in this part of the brain may be related to fear and anxiety, memory problems and flashbacks.

The malfunctioning hippocampus may prevent flashbacks and nightmares being properly processed, so the anxiety they generate does not reduce over time.

Treatment of PTSD results in proper processing of the memories so, over time, the flashbacks and nightmares gradually disappear.

Page last reviewed: 27 September 2018
Next review due: 27 September 2021

Women and Mental Health Posted September 23rd 2019

WOMEN

Women are more likely to have been treated for a mental health problem than men (29% compared to 17%).This could be because, when asked, women are more likely to report symptoms of common mental health problems. (Better Or Worse: A Longitudinal Study Of The Mental Health Of Adults In Great Britain, National Statistics, 2003)
Depression is more common in women than men. 1 in 4 women will require treatment for depression at some time, compared to 1 in 10 men. The reasons for this are unclear, but are thought to be due to both social and biological factors. It has also been suggested that depression in men may have been under diagnosed because they present to their GP with different symptoms, for example a range of physical, stress related symptoms.  (National Institute For Clinical Excellence, 2003)
Women are twice as likely to experience anxiety as men. Of people with phobias or OCD, about 60% are female.  (The Office for National Statistics Psychiatric Morbidity report, 2001)

MEN

Men are more likely than women to have an alcohol or drug problem. 67% of British people who consume alcohol at ‘hazardous’ levels, and 80% of those dependent on alcohol are male. Almost three quarters of people dependent on cannabis and 69% of those dependent on other illegal drugs are male. (The Office for National Statistics Psychiatric Morbidity report, 2001)

Differences in the extent of mental health problems

Mental health problems affect women and men equally, but some are more common among women. Abuse is often a factor in women’s mental health problems. Treatments need to be sensitive to and reflect gender differences.
Various social factors put women at greater risk of poor mental health than men. However women’s readiness to talk about their feelings and their strong social networks can help protect their mental health.

Women as guardians of family health

It is essential that women look after their mental health although busy lifestyles often make this difficult. Traditionally women have tended to take on the responsibility of looking after the health of members of their family as well as themselves. For instance women may shop for their family and choose what they eat or manage what their family do when they feel unwell. This role makes it particularly important that women understand how the choices we all make in everyday life can affect our mental health.

Women as carers

Carers can be women whether they care for their children, partner, parents, other relatives or friends. Women carers are more likely to suffer from anxiety or depression in the general population. just over half of people who care for a person with a mental health problem are women and the average age of carers is 50 – 64 years.

Social support

Women’s friendships with other women help protect their mental health, providing a source of support, particularly in hard times or at times of loss or change. Mentally healthy women generally talk about their feelings more than men and more often have stronger social networks of friends and family. Good social support can play a part in preventing mental ill health and can help people recover from mental health problems.

Women’s mental health

About 25% of people who die by suicide are women. Again, women’s greater emotional literacy and readiness to talk to others about their feelings and seek help may protect them from suicidal feelings. Being a mother also makes women less likely to take their own life.
Women are particularly exposed to some of the factors that increase the risk of poor mental health because of the role and status that they typically have in society. The traditional roles for women from some ethnic groups living in the UK can increase their exposure to these risks.

The social factors particularly affecting women’s mental health include:

  • more women than men are the main carer for their children and they may care for other dependent relatives too  intensive caring can affect emotional health, physical health, social activities and finances
  • women often juggle multiple roles  they may be mothers, partners and carers as well as doing paid work and running a household
  • women are over represented in low income, low status jobs  often part-time  and are more likely to live in poverty than men
  • poverty, working mainly in the home on housework and concerns about personal safety can make women particularly isolated
  • physical and sexual abuse of girls and women can have a long-term impact on their mental health, especially if no support has been received around past abuses.
  • Mental health problems affecting more women than men
Some women find it hard to talk about difficult feelings and ‘internalise’ them, which can lead to problems such as depression and eating disorders. They may express their emotional pain through self-harm, whereas men are more likely to ‘act out’ repressed feelings, and to use violence against others.

Depression

More women than men experience depression. One in four women will require treatment for depression at some time, compared with one in 10 men. The reasons for this are unclear, but are thought to include social factors such as poverty and isolation and biological factors such as the hormonal changes experienced by women. However, some researchers dispute the relatively low depression rate for men.
Post natal depression is believed to affect between eight and 15% of women after they have given birth.
Women’s increased life expectancy means they are more likely than men to outlive their partner and move into residential care. This means they are more at risk of depression associated with psycho-social factors. Older people are often faced with more difficult life events and daily stresses than younger people and this may explain why they have a slightly increased risk of depression. Losses whether bereavement or losses associated with growing old such as loss of independence because of physical illness or disability  can trigger depression.
Estimates suggest that 20% of older people living at home have symptoms of depression, rising to 40% for older people living in care homes. The majority of people affected are women. Those over the age of 85 are at particular risk.

Anxiety

Women are twice as likely to experience anxiety disorders as men. About 60% of the people with phobias or obsessive compulsive disorder are women. Phobias affect about 22 in 1,000 women in the UK, compared with 13 in 1,000 men.

Dementia

Two thirds of people with dementia are women. Risk of dementia increases with age, and women have a higher life expectancy than men.

Eating disorders

Eating disorders are more common in women than men, with young women most likely to develop one. 1.9% of women and 0.2% of men experience anorexia in any year. Between 0.5% and 1% of young women experience bulimia at any one time.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Worldwide, more women are affected by PTSD than men, largely because women are exposed to more sexual violence. The risk of developing PTSD after any traumatic event is 20.4% for women and 8.1% for men.

Paranoid personality disorder Posted September 22nd 2019

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to navigationJump to search Not to be confused with paranoid schizophrenia.

Paranoid personality disorder
SpecialtyPsychiatry, clinical psychology
Personality disorders
Cluster A (odd)
Paranoid Schizoid Schizotypal
Cluster B (dramatic)
Antisocial Borderline Histrionic Narcissistic
Cluster C (anxious)
Avoidant Dependent Obsessive–compulsive
Not specified
Depressive Haltlose Passive–aggressive Sadistic Self-defeating Psychopathic
vte

Paranoid personality disorder (PPD) is a mental illness characterized by paranoid delusions, and a pervasive, long-standing suspiciousness and generalized mistrust of others. People with this personality disorder may be hypersensitive, easily insulted, and habitually relate to the world by vigilant scanning of the environment for clues or suggestions that may validate their fears or biases. They are eager observers. They think they are in danger and look for signs and threats of that danger, potentially not appreciating other evidence.[1]

They tend to be guarded and suspicious and have quite constricted emotional lives. Their reduced capacity for meaningful emotional involvement and the general pattern of isolated withdrawal often lend a quality of schizoid isolation to their life experience.[2][verification needed] People with PPD may have a tendency to bear grudges, suspiciousness, tendency to interpret others’ actions as hostile, persistent tendency to self-reference, or a tenacious sense of personal right.[3] Patients with this disorder can also have significant comorbidity with other personality disorders (such as schizotypal, schizoid, narcissistic, avoidant and borderline)

Contents

Causes

A genetic contribution to paranoid traits and a possible genetic link between this personality disorder and schizophrenia exist. A large long-term Norwegian twin study found paranoid personality disorder to be modestly heritable and to share a portion of its genetic and environmental risk factors with the other cluster A personality disorders, schizoid and schizotypal.[4]

Psychosocial theories implicate projection of negative internal feelings and parental modeling.[5] Cognitive theorists believe the disorder to be a result of an underlying belief that other people are unfriendly in combination with a lack in self-awareness.[6]

Diagnosis

ICD-10

The World Health Organization‘s ICD-10 lists paranoid personality disorder under (F60.0). It is a requirement of ICD-10 that a diagnosis of any specific personality disorder also satisfies a set of general personality disorder criteria. It is also pointed out that for different cultures it may be necessary to develop specific sets of criteria with regard to social norms, rules and other obligations.[7]

PPD is characterized by at least three of the following symptoms:

  1. excessive sensitivity to setbacks and rebuffs;
  2. tendency to bear grudges persistently (i.e. refusal to forgive insults and injuries or slights);
  3. suspiciousness and a pervasive tendency to distort experience by misconstruing the neutral or friendly actions of others as hostile or contemptuous;
  4. a combative and tenacious sense of self-righteousness out of keeping with the actual situation;
  5. recurrent suspicions, without justification, regarding sexual fidelity of spouse or sexual partner;
  6. tendency to experience excessive self-aggrandizing, manifest in a persistent self-referential attitude;
  7. preoccupation with unsubstantiated “conspiratorial” explanations of events both immediate to the patient and in the world at large.

Includes: expansive paranoid, fanatic, querulant and sensitive paranoid personality disorder.

Excludes: delusional disorder and schizophrenia.

DSM-5

The American Psychiatric Association‘s DSM-5 has similar criteria for paranoid personality disorder. They require in general the presence of lasting distrust and suspicion of others, interpreting their motives as malevolent, from an early adult age, occurring in a range of situations. Four of seven specific issues must be present, which include different types of suspicions or doubt (such as of being exploited, or that remarks have a subtle threatening meaning), in some cases regarding others in general or specifically friends or partners, and in some cases referring to a response of holding grudges or reacting angrily.[8]

PPD is characterized by a pervasive distrust and suspiciousness of others such that their motives are interpreted as malevolent, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts. To qualify for a diagnosis, the patient must meet at least four out of the following criteria:[8]

  1. Suspects, without sufficient basis, that others are exploiting, harming, or deceiving them.
  2. Is preoccupied with unjustified doubts about the loyalty or trustworthiness of friends or associates.
  3. Is reluctant to confide in others because of unwarranted fear that the information will be used maliciously against them.
  4. Reads hidden demeaning or threatening meanings into benign remarks or events.
  5. Persistently bears grudges (i.e., is unforgiving of insults, injuries, or slights).
  6. Perceives attacks on their character or reputation that are not apparent to others and is quick to react angrily or to counterattack.
  7. Has recurrent suspicions, without justification, regarding fidelity of spouse or sexual partner.

The DSM-5 lists paranoid personality disorder essentially unchanged from the DSM-IV-TR[9] version and lists associated features that describe it in a more quotidian way. These features include suspiciousness, intimacy avoidance, hostility and unusual beliefs/experiences.

Other

Various researchers and clinicians may propose varieties and subsets or dimensions of personality related to the official diagnoses. Psychologist Theodore Millon has proposed five subtypes of paranoid personality:[10]

Subtype Features
Obdurate paranoid (including compulsive features) Self-assertive, unyielding, stubborn, steely, implacable, unrelenting, dyspeptic, peevish, and cranky stance; legalistic and self-righteous; discharges previously restrained hostility; renounces self-other conflict.
Fanatic paranoid (including narcissistic features) Grandiose delusions are irrational and flimsy; pretentious, expensive supercilious contempt and arrogance toward others; lost pride reestablished with extravagant claims and fantasies.
Querulous paranoid (including negativistic features) Contentious, caviling, fractious, argumentative, faultfinding, unaccommodating, resentful, choleric, jealous, peevish, sullen, endless wrangles, whiny, waspish, snappish.
Insular paranoid (including avoidant features) Reclusive, self-sequestered, hermitical; self-protectively secluded from omnipresent threats and destructive forces; hypervigilant and defensive against imagined dangers.
Malignant paranoid (including sadistic features) Belligerent, cantankerous, intimidating, vengeful, callous, and tyrannical; hostility vented primarily in fantasy; projects own venomous outlook onto others; persecutory delusions.

Differential diagnosis

Paranoid personality disorder can involve, in response to stress, very brief psychotic episodes (lasting minutes to hours). The paranoid may also be at greater than average risk of experiencing major depressive disorder, agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder or alcohol and substance-related disorders. Criteria for other personality disorder diagnoses are commonly also met, such as:[11] schizoid, schizotypal, narcissistic, avoidant, borderline and negativistic personality disorder.

Treatment

Because of reduced levels of trust, there can be challenges in treating PPD. However, psychotherapy, antidepressants, antipsychotics and anti-anxiety medications can play a role when a person is receptive to intervention.[12]

Epidemiology

PPD occurs in about 0.5–2.5% of the general population.[5][11] It is seen in 2–10% of psychiatric outpatients. It is more common in males.[11]

History

See also: History of paranoia

Paranoid personality disorder is listed in DSM-V and was included in all previous versions of the DSM. One of the earliest descriptions of the paranoid personality comes from the French psychiatrist Valentin Magnan who described a “fragile personality” that showed idiosyncratic thinking, hypochondriasis, undue sensitivity, referential thinking and suspiciousness.[13]

Closely related to this description is Emil Kraepelin’s description from 1905 of a pseudo-querulous personality who is “always on the alert to find grievance, but without delusions”, vain, self-absorbed, sensitive, irritable, litigious, obstinate, and living at strife with the world. In 1921, he renamed the condition paranoid personality and described these people as distrustful, feeling unjustly treated and feeling subjected to hostility, interference and oppression. He also observed a contradiction in these personalities: on the one hand, they stubbornly hold on to their unusual ideas, on the other hand, they often accept every piece of gossip as the truth.[13] Kraepelin also noted that paranoid personalities were often present in people who later developed paranoid psychosis. Subsequent writers also considered traits like suspiciousness and hostility to predispose people to developing delusional illnesses, particularly “late paraphrenias” of old age.[14]

Following Kraepelin, Eugen Bleuler described “contentious psychopathy” or “paranoid constitution” as displaying the characteristic triad of suspiciousness, grandiosity and feelings of persecution. He also emphasized that these people’s false assumptions do not attain the form of real delusion.[13]

Ernst Kretschmer emphasized the sensitive inner core of the paranoia-prone personality: they feel shy and inadequate but at the same time they have an attitude of entitlement. They attribute their failures to the machinations of others but secretly to their own inadequacy. They experience constant tension between feelings of self-importance and experiencing the environment as unappreciative and humiliating.[13]

Karl Jaspers, a German phenomenologist, described “self-insecure” personalities who resemble the paranoid personality. According to Jaspers, such people experience inner humiliation, brought about by outside experiences and their interpretations of them. They have an urge to get external confirmation to their self-deprecation and that makes them see insults in the behavior of other people. They suffer from every slight because they seek the real reason for them in themselves. This kind of insecurity leads to overcompensation: compulsive formality, strict social observances and exaggerated displays of assurance.[13]

In 1950, Kurt Schneider described the “fanatic psychopaths” and divided them into two categories: the combative type that is very insistent about his false notions and actively quarrelsome, and the eccentric type that is passive, secretive, vulnerable to esoteric sects but nonetheless suspicious about others.[13]

The descriptions of Leonhard and Sheperd from the sixties describe paranoid people as overvaluing their abilities and attributing their failure to the ill-will of others; they also mention that their interpersonal relations are disturbed and they are in constant conflict with others.[13]

In 1975, Polatin described the paranoid personality as rigid, suspicious, watchful, self-centered and selfish, inwardly hypersensitive but emotionally undemonstrative. However, when there is a difference of opinion, the underlying mistrust, authoritarianism and rage burst through.[13]

In the 1980s, paranoid personality disorder received little attention, and when it did receive it, the focus was on its potential relationship to paranoid schizophrenia. The most significant contribution of this decade comes from Theodore Millon who divided the features of paranoid personality disorder to four categories:[13]

1) behavioral characteristics of vigilance, abrasive irritability and counterattack,

2) complaints indicating oversensitivity, social isolation and mistrust,

3) the dynamics of denying personal insecurities, attributing these to others and self-inflation through grandiose fantasies

4) coping style of detesting dependence and hostile distancing of oneself from others.

See also

References

Waldinger, Robert J. (1 August 1997). Psychiatry for Medical Students. American Psychiatric. ISBN978-0-88048-789-4. Meissner & Kuper, 2008 MacManus, Deirdre; Fahy, Tom (August 2008). “Personality disorders”. Medicine. 36 (8): 436–441. doi:10.1016/j.mpmed.2008.06.001. Kendler KS, Czajkowski N, Tambs K, et al. (2006). “Dimensional representations of DSM-IV cluster A personality disorders in a population-based sample of Norwegian twins: a multivariate study”. Psychological Medicine. 36 (11): 1583–91. doi:10.1017/S0033291706008609. PMID16893481. Personality Disorders at eMedicineAaron T. Beck, Arthur Freeman (1990). Cognitive Therapy of Personality Disorders (1st ed.). The Guilford Press. ISBN9780898624342. OCLC906420553. The Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders (ICD-10) by WHO: “Diagnostic guidelinesArchived 2014-03-23 at the Wayback Machine, p.158 “Schizoid Personality Disorder (pp. 652–655)”. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (2013). ISBN978-0-89042-555-8. American Psychiatric Association (2000). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association. Millon, Théodore; Grossman, Seth (6 August 2004). Personality disorders in modern life. Wiley. ISBN978-0-471-23734-1. “Internet Mental Health — paranoid personality disorder”. Archived from the original on 2013-01-31. Retrieved 2004-06-01. “”Paranoid Personality Disorder” at Cleveland Clinic”. Archived from the original on 2012-03-04. Retrieved 2008-02-13. Salman Akhtar (1990). [https://books.google.de/books?id=bU0eAAAAQBAJ&pg=PA149#v=onepage&q&f=false Paranoid Personality Disorder: A Synthesis of Developmental, Dynamic, and Descriptive Features] Archived 2018-04-01 at the Wayback Machine. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 44, 5–25.

  1. Bernstein, D. P., Useda, D., Siever, L. J. (1995). Paranoid Personality Disorder. In: J. W. Livesley (Ed.). The DSM-IV Personality Disorders. (pp. 45-57). New York: Guilford.

External links

ClassificationDICD10: F60.0ICD9-CM: 301.0MeSH: D010260
External resourcesMedlinePlus: 000938

Johns Hopkins Psychiatrist: Transgender is ‘Mental Disorder;’ Sex Change ‘Biologically Impossible’ Posted September 13th 2019

By Michael W. Chapman | June 2, 2015 | 1:34 PM EDT

Dr. Paul R. McHugh. (Photo:

Johns Hopkins Medicine)

(CNSNews.com) —  Dr. Paul R. McHugh, the former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital and its current Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry, said that transgenderism is a “mental disorder” that merits treatment, that sex change is “biologically impossible,” and that people who promote sexual reassignment surgery are collaborating with and promoting a mental disorder.

Dr. McHugh, the author of six books and at least 125 peer-reviewed medical articles, made his remarks in a recent commentary in the Wall Street Journal, where he explained that transgender surgery is not the solution for people who suffer a “disorder of ‘assumption’” – the notion that their maleness or femaleness is different than what nature assigned to them biologically.

He also reported on a new study showing that the suicide rate among transgendered people who had reassignment surgery is 20 times higher than the suicide rate among non-transgender people. Dr. McHugh further noted studies from Vanderbilt University and London’s Portman Clinic of children who had expressed transgender feelings but for whom, over time, 70%-80% “spontaneously lost those feelings.”

While the Obama administration, Hollywood, and major media such as Time magazine promote transgenderism as normal, said Dr. McHugh, these “policy makers and the media are doing no favors either to the public or the transgendered by treating their confusions as a right in need of defending rather than as a mental disorder that deserves understanding, treatment and prevention.”

Time magazine, June 9, 2014,

America’s Next Civil Rights Frontier. (Photo: AP)

“This intensely felt sense of being transgendered constitutes a mental disorder in two respects. The first is that the idea of sex misalignment is simply mistaken – it does not correspond with physical reality. The second is that it can lead to grim psychological outcomes.”

The transgendered person’s disorder, said Dr. McHugh, is in the person’s “assumption” that they are different than the physical reality of their body, their maleness or femaleness, as assigned by nature. It is a disorder similar to a “dangerously thin” person suffering anorexia who looks in the mirror and thinks they are “overweight,” said McHugh.

This assumption, that one’s gender is only in the mind regardless of anatomical reality, has led some transgendered people to push for social acceptance and affirmation of their own subjective “personal truth,” said Dr. McHugh. As a result, some states – California, New Jersey, and Massachusetts – have passed laws barring psychiatrists, “even with parental permission, from striving to restore natural gender feelings to a transgender minor,” he said.

The pro-transgender advocates do not want to know, said McHugh, that studies show between 70% and 80% of children who express transgender feelings “spontaneously lose those feelings” over time. Also, for those who had sexual reassignment surgery, most said they were “satisfied” with the operation “but their subsequent psycho-social adjustments were no better than those who didn’t have the surgery.”

“And so at Hopkins we stopped doing sex-reassignment surgery, since producing a ‘satisfied’ but still troubled patient seemed an inadequate reason for surgically amputating normal organs,” said Dr. McHugh.

The former Johns Hopkins chief of psychiatry also warned against enabling or encouraging certain subgroups of the transgendered, such as young people “susceptible to suggestion from ‘everything is normal’ sex education,” and the schools’ “diversity counselors” who, like “cult leaders,” may “encourage these young people to distance themselves from their families and offer advice on rebutting arguments against having transgender surgery.”

Dr. McHugh also reported that there are “misguided doctors” who, working with very young children who seem to imitate the opposite sex, will administer “puberty-delaying hormones to render later sex-change surgeries less onerous – even though the drugs stunt the children’s growth and risk causing sterility.”

Such action comes “close to child abuse,” said Dr. McHugh, given that close to 80% of those kids will “abandon their confusion and grow naturally into adult life if untreated ….”

“’Sex change’ is biologically impossible,” said McHugh. “People who undergo sex-reassignment surgery do not change from men to women or vice versa. Rather, they become feminized men or masculinized women. Claiming that this is civil-rights matter and encouraging surgical intervention is in reality to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder.”

CNSNews Reader,

The liberal media are terrified of the truth, especially when it leads to uncomfortable questions about their own leftist worldview.

CNS News covers the stories that the liberal media are afraid to touch. It drives the national debate through real, honest journalism — not by misrepresenting or ignoring the facts.

CNSNews relies on the support of our loyal readers to keep providing the news and commentary that matter to the American people, not just stories that prop up the liberal agenda.

Editorial Comment I am not sure the liberal media are terrified of the truth. The best they ever do is twist truth. Their worst is burying it with lies. There are so many factors driving people, especially men, mad that it would be hard to separate cause from effect when it comes to sex change or the more correctly named gender reassignment.

Psychiatry More Dangerous to Individuals than Psychology- September 2019

The antipsychiatry movement: Who and why

Current Psychiatry. 2011 December;10(12):4-53 By Henry A. Nasrallah, MDAuthor and Disclosure Information

Although irritating, antipsychiatry helps keep us honest and rigorous about what we do PDF Download

Psychiatry is the only medical specialty with a longtime nemesis; it’s called “antipsychiatry,” and it has been active for almost 2 centuries. Although psychiatry has evolved into a major scientific and medical discipline, the century-old primitive stage of psychiatric treatments instigated an antagonism toward psychiatry that persists to the present day.

A recent flurry of books critical of psychiatry is evidence of how the antipsychiatry movement is being propagated by journalists and critics whose views of psychiatry are unflattering despite the abundance of scientific advances that are gradually elucidating the causes and treatments of serious mental disorders.

What are the “wrongdoings” of psychiatry that generate the long-standing protests and assaults? The original “sin” of psychiatry appears to be locking up and “abusing” mentally ill patients in asylums, which 2 centuries ago was considered a humane advance to save seriously disabled patients from homelessness, persecution, neglect, victimization, or imprisonment. The deteriorating conditions of “lunatic” asylums in the 19th and 20th centuries were blamed on psychiatry, not the poor funding of such institutions in an era of almost complete ignorance about the medical basis of mental illness. Other perceived misdeeds of psychiatry include:

  • Medicalizing madness (contradicting the archaic notion that psychosis is a type of behavior, not an illness)
  • Drastic measures to control severe mental illness in the pre-pharmacotherapy era, including excessive use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), performing lobotomies, or resecting various body parts
  • Use of physical and/or chemical restraints for violent or actively suicidal patients
  • Serious or intolerable side effects of some antipsychotic medications
  • Labeling slaves’ healthy desire to escape from their masters in the 19th century as an illness (“drapetomania”)
  • Regarding psychoanalysis as unscientific and even harmful
  • Labeling homosexuality as a mental disorder until American Psychiatric Association members voted it out of DSM-II in 1973
  • The arbitrariness of psychiatric diagnoses based on committee-consensus criteria rather than valid and objective scientific evidence and the lack of biomarkers (this is a legitimate complaint but many physiological tests are being developed)
  • Psychoactive drugs allegedly are used to control children (antipsychiatry tends to minimize the existence of serious mental illness among children, although childhood physical diseases are readily accepted)
  • Psychiatry is a pseudoscience that pathologizes normal variations of human behaviors, thoughts, or emotions
  • Psychiatrists are complicit with drug companies and employ drugs of dubious efficacy (eg, antidepressants) or safety (eg, antipsychotics).

Most of the above reasons are exaggerations or attributed to psychiatry during an era of primitive understanding of psychiatric brain disorders. Harmful interventions such as frontal lobotomy—for which its neurosurgeon inventor received the 1949 Nobel Prize in Medicine—were a product of a desperate time when no effective and safe treatments were available. Although regarded as an effective treatment for mood disorders, ECT certainly was abused many decades ago when it was used (without anesthesia) in patients who were unlikely to benefit from it.

David Cooper1 coined the term “antipsychiatry” in 1967. Years before him, Michel Foucault propagated a paradigm shift that regarded delusions not as madness or illness, but as a behavioral variant or an “anomaly of judgment.”2 That antimedicalization movement was supported by the First Church of Christ, Scientist, the legal system, and even the then-new specialty of neurology, plus social workers and “reformers” who criticized mental hospitals for failing to conduct scientific investigations.3

Formerly institutionalized patients such as Clifford Beers4 demanded improvements in shabby state hospital conditions more than a century ago and generated antipsychiatry sentiments in other formerly institutionalized persons. Such antipathy was exacerbated by bizarre psychiatrists such as Henry Cotton at Trenton State Hospital in New Jersey, who advocated that removing various body parts (killing or disfiguring patients) improved mental health.5

Other ardent antipsychiatrists included French playwright and former asylum patient Antonin Artaud in the 1920s and psychoanalysts Jacques Lacan and Erich Fromm, who authored antipsychiatry writings from a “secular-humanistic” viewpoint. ECT use in the 1930s and frontal leucotomy in the 1940s understandably intensified fear toward psychiatric therapies. When antipsychotic medications were discovered in the 1950s (eventually helping to shut down most asylums), these medications’ neurologic side effects (dystonia, akathisia, parkinsonism, and tardive dyskinesia) prompted another outcry by antipsychiatry groups, although there was no better alternative to control psychosis.

In the 1950s, a right-wing antipsychiatry movement regarded psychiatry as “subversive, left-wing, anti-American, and communist” because it deprived individuals of their rights. Psychologist Hans Eysenck rejected psychiatric medical approaches in favor of errors in learning as a cause of mental illness (as if learning is not a neurobiologic event).

The 1960s witnessed a surge of antipsychiatry activities by various groups, including prominent psychiatrists such as R.D. Laing, Theodore Lidz, and Silvano Arieti, all of whom argued that psychosis is “understandable” as a method of coping with a “sick society” or due to “schizophrenogenic parents” who inflict damage on their offspring. Thomas Szasz is a prominent psychiatrist who proclaimed mental illness is a myth.6 I recall shuddering when he spoke at the University of Rochester during my residency, declaring schizophrenia a myth when I had admitted 3 patients with severe, disabling psychosis earlier that day. I summoned the chutzpah to tell him that in my experience haloperidol surely reduced the symptoms of the so-called “myth”! Szasz collaborated with the Church of Scientology to form the Citizens Commission on Human Rights. Interestingly, Christian Scientists and some fundamental Protestants3 agreed with Szasz’s contention that insanity is a moral, not a medical, issue.

Editorial Comment It is noteworthy that psychiatrists find criticism ‘ irritating ‘ rather than worrying. R D Laing called psychologists whores, as in all things to the State who pays them to avoid reality and keep on ‘fuc–ng things up. We have never had so many overtly mad people, and as in the old U.S.S.R, it is a great way for discrediting dissidents. Elites are like that and the masses easily fooled or misled.

[PDF] One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest by Ken Kesey Book Free Download (325 pages)

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Free download or read online One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest pdf (ePUB) book. The first edition of this novel was published in 1962, and was written by Ken Kesey. The book was published in multiple languages including English language, consists of 325 pages and is available in Mass Market Paperback format. The main characters of this young adult, high school story are Chief Bromden, Randle Patrick McMurphy. The book has been awarded with , and many others.530725 Reviews

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One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest PDF Details

Author: Ken Kesey
Original Title: One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest
Book Format: Mass Market Paperback
Number Of Pages: 325 pages
First Published in: 1962
Latest Edition: February 1st 1963
ISBN Number: 9780451163967
Language: English
Main Characters: Chief Bromden, Randle Patrick McMurphy, Nurse Ratched, William “Billy” Bibbit, Charles Cheswick
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  3. William Ballard – March 02, 2018 It’s always fun to read Ken Kesey books

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Why do we want comfort? Belle Smith Posted September 8th 2019

We all need comfort.

Humans may seek comfort in times of distress because they are left with a feeling of loneliness. They are in need of affection. They need to know that there is somebody there that cares about them and someone that can tell them that everything is going to be okay.

I’ve mentioned that in times of distress, people may feel lonely, I know this because I often feel this way. It can be hard for some people to think positively all the time and have a healthy state of mind. It comes easy for some people, but others really struggle with their mental health.

Please, if you know that somebody feels down or not too good mentally, ask them if they are alright. Don’t just leave them on their own, I know what this feels like. You can never know what they are going through inside their minds. They need some reassurance that everything is going to be alright. It will give them some insight that you care about them.

Take care x

What don’t narcissists want you to know? Carol VeeAnswered Jun 21, 2018 Posted September 8th 2019

That they love headgames. That they are master head fuc*ers and cunning manipulators. That they have dark secrets like porn addiction or other addictions or an attraction to children. I am 6 months out from discarding mine.

I wasnt mean when I told him I was done, but when he hoovered me and told me he still thot about me and cared for me and still wanted to be friends, I made sure to tell him that there was NO chance because I did not and would never trust him because of his lies and porn addiction. He has hoovered me since with phone call hang ups but I hadnt heard anything RECENTLY until yesterday when he called me and I never answer so he left a long voicemail where he was having a conversation with probably a woman…. what he doesnt know is that it was all garbled and I couldnt understand anything… I know he did this because I was behind his car the other day at a stop light and completely ignored him like he doesnt exist for me (which he doesnt)… I thot I might get a hoover after that and I did….I know the phone hang ups are a way to see if I will call him back…… NO WAY EVER. If I did I am sure he would either not answer or say I DIDNT MEAN TO CALL U IT WAS A MISTAKE… I truly believe he sits around and tries to find ways to manipulate and use me….WONT HAPPEN, EVER….78.4k views · View Upvoters · View Sharers
RecommendedAllView 90 other answers to this question

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Carol Vee

Carol Vee

95.8k content views13.6k this month More Answers from Carol VeeWhy do empaths stay with narcissists after they’ve seen all the red flags?309 Views

“A generation of sociopaths”  

Nick Hubble   September 5th 2018


Ever wanted to know what your children and grandchildren’s generation think of you?   Well, here goes…   One of the first ‘suggested’ searches when I started to type in ‘The baby boomers…’ into Google was, simply…   “The baby boomers ruined everything.”   So, I clicked the search.   Here are the first page of results:  

  As you can see, the headlines don’t make for pretty reading.   Unfortunately, these kinds of views aren’t unique.   Hell, a book was released a couple of years ago about the boomers.   Do you know what it was called?   “A generation of Sociopaths”.   These views are ridiculous. Childish at best.   But millions of people around the UK believe, in their hearts, that they’re true.   Like it or not, if you’re reading this there’s a high chance you’re one of “The people who stole the world”.   Even if you’re actually not.

What is paranoid personality disorder? Posted August 28th 2019

Paranoid personality disorder (PPD) is a type of eccentric personality disorder. An eccentric personality disorder means that the person’s behavior may seem odd or unusual to others. An individual with paranoid personality behavior is very suspicious of other people. They mistrust the motives of others and believe that others want to harm them. Additional hallmarks of this condition include being reluctant to confide in others, bearing grudges, and finding demeaning or threatening subtext in even the most innocent of comments or events. A person with PPD can be quick to feel anger and feel hostile toward others.

PPD usually appears in early adulthood. According to the Cleveland Clinic, PPD appears to be more common in men than women.

Treatment for PPD can be challenging, because people with PPD have intense suspicion and mistrust of others. A mental health professional must establish trust with the patient. This trust enables the patient to confide in the professional and believe that they have a disorder.

Read more: Personality disorder »

What are the causes of paranoid personality disorder?

The cause of paranoid personality disorder is unknown. However, researchers believe that a combination of biological and environmental factors can lead to paranoid personality disorder.

The disorder is present more often in families with a history of schizophrenia and delusional disorders. Early childhood trauma may be a contributing factor.

What are the symptoms of paranoid personality disorder?

Often, people with paranoid personality disorder don’t believe that their behavior is abnormal. It may seem completely rational to a person with PPD to be suspicious of others. However, those around them may believe this distrust is unwarranted and offensive. The person with PPD may behave in a hostile or stubborn manner. They may be sarcastic, which often elicits a hostile response from others, which may seem to confirm their original suspicions.

Someone with PPD may have other conditions that can feed into their PPD. For example, depression and anxiety can affect a person’s mood. Mood changes can make someone with PPD more likely to feel paranoid and isolated.

Other symptoms include:

  • believing that others have hidden motives or are out to harm them
  • doubting the loyalty of others
  • being hypersensitive to criticism
  • having trouble working with others
  • being quick to become angry and hostile
  • becoming detached or socially isolated
  • being argumentative and defensive
  • having trouble seeing their own problems
  • having trouble relaxing

Some symptoms of PPD can be similar to symptoms of other disorders. Schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder are two disorders with symptoms similar to PPD. It can be difficult to clearly diagnose these disorders.

How is paranoid personality disorder diagnosed?

Your primary care provider will ask you about your symptoms and history. They’ll also do a physical evaluation to look for any other medical conditions you may have. Your primary care provider may send you to a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health professional for further testing.

The mental health professional will perform a comprehensive assessment. They may ask about your childhood, school, work, and relationships. They may also ask you how you would respond to an imagined situation. This is to gauge how you might react to certain situations. The mental health professional will then make a diagnosis and form a treatment plan.

Read more: Types of mental health professionals »

How is paranoid personality disorder treated?

Treatment for PPD can be very successful. However, most individuals with this condition have trouble accepting treatment. Someone with PPD doesn’t see their symptoms as unwarranted. If an individual is willing to accept treatment, talk therapy or psychotherapy are helpful. These methods will:

  • help the individual learn how to cope with the disorder
  • learn how to communicate with others in social situations
  • help reduce feelings of paranoia

Medications can also be helpful, especially if the person with PPD has other related conditions such as depression or anxiety disorder. Medications may include:

Combining medication with talk therapy or psychotherapy can be very successful.

What is the long-term outlook?

The outlook depends on whether the individual is willing to accept treatment. Individuals who accept treatment can hold down a job and maintain healthy relationships. However, they must continue treatment throughout their lifetime, because there’s no cure for PPD. Symptoms of PPD will continue, but can be managed with care and support.

People with PPD who resist treatment may lead less functional lives. PPD may interfere with their ability to hold down a job or have positive social interactions.

Keep reading: What do you want to know about mental health? »

3 sourcescollapsedHealthline has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on

Editorial Comment Perhaps the most crucial line in this piece is where it says the causes are unknown. The basic differnece between pyschiatry and psychology is that the former is a specialism for quaified doctors in medicine and the latter argue that odd behaviour is an outcome of trauma.

These days there is a view in medicine that trauma and other significant events can change a persons DNA, so diagnosis moves back into the realms of medicine. Whatever, the whole business is based on guesswork.

So we have the latest nonsense that the rising number of anxiety cases is caused by women being exposed to stressful situations during pregnancy. With no reference to sources, this pacifying propoganda was all over BBC Radio 4 last week. Robert Cook September 8th 2019

How do narcissists apologize?Margherita Veronese, Expert in personality disorders Answered Aug 17

A pathological narcissist never apologizes.

Often the narcissist’s victim develops new belief systems or fantasies. These fantasies in some ways help the victim to deal with the emotional pain that comes with the break up in the short-term. But in the long term, they keep you as the victim locked up in the negative cycle of narcissistic abuse even after the narcissist has left.

The first of this fantasy is that the narcissist will admit to his mistakes and acknowledge the pain that he has caused you. The reason this is a fantasy is that if this were true, then the person in question will not be a narcissist.

Another destructive belief after the narcissist has left is that your suffering will break the narcissist and will make him realize what he has done to you. Again, remember that one of the hallmark features of narcissism is their lack of empathy, and if this belief could be a reality, then the person you are dealing with is not a narcissist. If your suffering could break him, if you could activate some semblance of empathy, humanity, or remorse, then the person in question does not have NPD. Although this can give you a level of comfort, in the longer term it is going to put you in more pain because it is divergent from reality. So, you can think of these beliefs as some form of magical thinking.

The pathological untreated narcissist is like a biological machine driven by a blind impulse. He has grown up without developing a personality; instead of a person, multiple psychic functions work only if they receive emotional energy from the outside. This is why the narcissist regards others as an extension of himself. Without the relationship with the victim, his psyche disintegrates. He creates a web of tormented relationships and intrigues that he needs to survive, causing emotional reactions on his victims.

If the narcissist apologizes he is lying and is manipulating you.

Surely trauma bonding is another great issue for you. Trauma bonding is one of the reasons people continue to stay in abusive relationships. It is being loyal to a person who is destructive, abusive, and exploitative. It is a subconscious survival strategy and a way of coping with prolonged, severe, and repetitive abuse. It is quite similar to Stockholm’s Syndrome where a hostage bonds with their captor during captivity.

Narcissists, psychopaths, borderline narcissists or whatever spectrum the abuser falls in all go through cycles of abusing and that confuses the victim even further. This is often why it is difficult for victims to leave abusive relationships even if they know that they are in a toxic relationship. The narcissist will reward your good behavior. Therefore, if you are obedient and compliant, he will idealize you. He might tell you how amazing you are and how much he treasures you in his life. He might even randomly do things that he does not usually do. For instance, he might buy a gift or do chores which he never does. Therefore, you may end up feeling a sense of relief, hope, and temporary happiness. Then suddenly, he tells you that you are worthless, stupid, and can’t get anything right, and he makes you feel betrayed and neglected. This way, he fosters an emotional dependency and wants to control your emotional state.

If you correctly process your experience, understanding that you are dealing with a very strong pathological personality and evaluating your mistakes (due to inexperience) you can finally get out of it.

To do this, dialogue with a therapist is necessary. You can start by developing your experience, informing yourself about the dynamics of the narcissistic relationship by reading books, but surely the advice of a professional is required.

The narcissist cannot change, but his victim can change. I recommend this new book that explains the narcissistic way of thinking and strategies to deal with a real narcissist but most of all it helps the victims of narcissists change themselves, their mindset and lifestyle, to get rid of these toxic relationships.

Amazon.com: Narcissist Partner Abuse: Change Yourself to Stop Being a Victim eBook: Caroline Foster: Kindle Store

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