There's nothing like a good book on tape, especially when your mobility is limited! To make your own selection, just enter "free audio books" in the search box on You Tuhe.
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
Professor Irving Singer, in a free online MIT course entitled, Philosophy of Love in the Western world, states that romanti doc love as we know it today was practically unheard of in Western culture until it became popularized by wandering French troubadours eight hundred years ago, and further amplified by the invention of the printing press, which publicized the great works of romantic literature such as Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and Antony and Cleopatra ("Hark! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the East, and Juliet is the Sun!" or,"Shall I abide in this dull world which in thy absence, is no better than a stye?)
With this model held up for all to see, the prevailing expectations of what it feels like to be "in love" evolved in an ever more extreme direction. For many years, one way to write a new hit song was to describe the experience of being in love in more glowing terms than the songs which were popular at the moment. The reviewer of the 1955 movie, Love is a Many Splendored Thing, writing in The Independent on February 8, 2010, stated: "Remember the lyric: 'Once, on a high and windy hill, two lovers kissed, and the world stood still. . . .' It still makes my knees weak." Today, as products of a culture which glorifies romantic love, we tend to view human experience through these cultural lenses, and choose bits from history which confirm these stereotypes.
The effect of suggestion and imitation in producing such a high degree of organismic involvement became dramatically evident shortly after World War II, wh oren the young crooner Frank Sinatra caused legions of teen-age "bobby-soxers" to swoon when he hit his high notes. It is therefore possible to conclude that the experience of "falling in love" as we know it today, and all that goes with it, is also an effect of social modeling and the power of suggestion.
Suggestion has the power to teach behavior as well as to shape it. In 1933, after moviegoing had reached its height, Herbert Blumer found that many people said that they first learned how to kiss by watching motion pictures. Even today, many people probably still pick up a few pointers about how and when to approach a partner for that all-important first kiss from motion pictures and from television.
Remember the modeling effect of romantic love portrayed in Romeo and Juliet, and Antony and Cleopatra? Today, searchable data bases of Internet pornography contain literally millions of submissions, and almost anyone in the world can upload their own contributions to them. The entries are frequently ranked in terms of popularity, so that those which are viewed most often rise to the top. Some of these data bases require no fees, passwords, or proof of age, and are supported entirely by advertising.
Will today's teen-agers and young adults learn sexual behavior by watching pornography, in much the same manner that people of earlier generations learned how to kiss by watching motion pictures? Will traditional notions of romantic love be modified to allow a much more permissive model of sexual experimentation? While the exact nature of such chnges is difficult to predict, it is clear that the most popular depictions of pornagraphy, with millions, and sometimes tens of millions of reported views, I
the same influences of suggestion, modeling, and imitation that caused women to faint in Victorian times when a man kissed them, or teen-agers to swoon when Frank Sinatra his golden tones after World Wat Ii, can be expected to have a similar effect on the way that sexual behavior is both l perceived and experienced.
Saturday, April 18, 2020
Toxic, or personality-disordered people, can wreck your life when they are bosses, friends, or family members, As clients,they can cause you to doubt yourself because of their abrasive nature and the fact that they are often resistant to treatment.
If you search on Facebook or the Internet for "toxic people," you're going to get all kiinds of lists, but the following descriptions of personality disorders is based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association. They have been compiled by some of the best minds in the field of mental health, drawing upon years of clinical observation and literally hundreds of research studies to find patterns which “clump together” in present-day culture. Of course, actual diagnosis and treatment should only be undertaken by a mental health professional, and many people can have the traits of one or more personality disorders without qualifying for a full diagnosis -- but, there is an old saying, "If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck -- it's a duck!" If you know someone who appears to fit one or more of these descriptions, it might be worth your while to examine the reasons why you maintain a relationship with such a toxic person, with professional help if necessary
Borderline Personality Disorder.
To understand the person who qualifies for a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder, think back to some of the stormiest days of your adolescence, or the adolescence of someone you know well. With an incompletely developed sense of self, borderlines have no firm idea of who they are and where they are going. Their lives are often erratic, with frequent job changes and alterations in long term goals, and intense and unstable friendships and romantic involvements.
Because of their poorly developed sense of self, borderlines often have difficulty with so-called “boundary issues,” or the ability to distinguish between what is appropriate and what is inappropriate in a given situation. Some borderlines, in fact, may find it difficult to even talk to a person of the opposite sex for very long without acting as if they are falling in love with them. As would be expected, the romantic lives of borderlines tend to be especially tumultuous. The manipulative abilities of people with borderline personality disorder often enable them to deceive those who do not understand the inner storms which produce such behavior, which frequently causes their sudden bouts of passion to be mistaken for genuine love.
Borderlines often engage in “splitting,” with either extremely positive or extremely negative feelings towards others, sometimes suddenly reversing from extreme friendliness to extreme rejection and vice-versa. This changeability frequently leads them to engage in behavior that is highly manipulative. This splitting may also be the reason why the interpersonal relationships of borderlines are often centered around real of imagined fears of abandonment. (One book on borderline personality disorder is entitled, I Hate You - Don’t Leave Me!) These tendencies to engage in splitting may also explain why borderlines also seem to have a strong ability to divide those around them into separate camps of friends and enemies.
Borderlines usually have very low self-esteem, and suicidal gestures, genuine attempts,and successful suicides are not uncommon. Many borderlines have a history of cutting themselves, or other forms of self-injurious behavior as a result of low self-esteem.
The following video ex[lains how to spot the nine traits of a borderline personality disorder.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
The ancient Greeks used to tell the story of Narcissus -- a lad who was so good-looking that he fell in love with his own reflection in a pool of water, and spent so much time gazing at it that he eventually fell into the pool and drowned. People who are given a diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder are often perceived as being selfish or conceited. They may often spend a great deal of time telling you how great they are, or boasting of their achievements or accomplishments.
Some people think of a person with a narcissistic personality disorder as having a superiority complex to cover up for an inferiority complex. When you get to know such people well, it soon becomes apparent that the reason they spend so much time “tooting their own horn” is that deep down inside, they really feel afraid, inadequate, and unlovable.
Narcissists do not always act selfishly in the short term. They are often highly motivated to pursue long-term goals in order to prove their worth both to themselves and others. For this reason, narcissists often tend to gravitate to positions of leadership in business, government, education -- and yes, even churches.
Narcissists often cause a great deal of suffering, particularly when they happen to be employers, family members, or romantic partners. Yet there are ways of dealing with them. (Since no two personalities are exactly identical, however, you cannot stereotype them and treat them all exactly the same way.)
Histrionic Personality Disorder.
People who have been diagnosed with histrionic personality disorder may often be compared to an adult version of the “spoiled child” who will do anything to remain the center of attention. If histrionics are able to “show off” and remain the center of attention by doing a good job, they often accomplish a great deal. But if they feel that they are being ignored, or that the attention which they crave so deeply is denied them, they may become angry and disruptive in order to get it back again -- even if it’s unfavorable attention this time! ("I don't care what you say about me," one publicity-hungry histrionic is reported to have said to a reporter for a scandal magazine. "Just be sure you spell my name right.!")
Antisocial Personality Disorder.
People with a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder did not incorporate our society’s standards of right and wrong into their personalities as well as the rest of us have. They begin getting into trouble with the authorities by the time they are adolescents, and don’t grow out of it. As you might suppose, this pattern is much more common in men than in women.
Since personality disorders are so difficult to change, many such people keep going back and forth to jail from their teen years until middle age, when they seem to mellow out of their own accord. They make up the bulk of most prison populations, and often have a history of substance abuse or substance dependency. However, people with antisocial personality traits (I like to call them stealth anti socials) may be encountered almost anywhere, even at the highest levels of many organizations; and they may not be found out until their behavior gets them into trouble. (The discovery and apprehension of stealth anti socials in high-profile positions is the basis of many of the news stories we read about every day.)
Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder.
People who have been diagnosed with an obsessive-compulsive personality disorder may be popularly known as a “nit-picker” or “neat freak.” They may become so involved with orderliness, perfectionism, and control that efficiency suffers as a result. This culture tends to place a high value on preoccupation with detail in certain jobs. With proper training, people who have milder forms of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder may become excellent law clerks, college registrars, bank auditors, or personal physicians -- in which case, it may not be a personality disorder any more, unless it interferes with their functioning off the job!
Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is closely related to another disorder with a similar name, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD for short, which is similar in nature but more limited in scope. Obsessive-compulsive disorder refers to a pattern of continually recurring thoughts (obsessions), or behaviors which one is compelled to continually repeat, such as checking a door several times in a row to be sure that it is locked.
Avoidant Personality Disorder.
People who carry a diagnosis of avoidant personality disorder have had such unpleasant social interactions in the past that with the possible exception of one or two close relatives or special friends, they have come to fear all human contact. Avoidants are frequently not merely shy about most social situations, they are genuinely phobic about them. Their avoidance is often centered around a core belief that if people really got to know them, it would immediately become obvious how incompetent and worthless they really are, and the immediate result would be scorn, rejection, and loss of employment. People with an avoidant personality disorder often tend to gravitate to solitary occupations -- researchers, librarians, or forest rangers, for example; and they may be attracted by certain monastic orders. (Of course, not everyone in these types of occupations could be diagnosed with an avoidant personality disorder!)
Dependent Personality Disorder.
A central theme in the life of people who have been diagnosed with a dependent personality disorder is a need to be looked after and taken care of, often accompanied by excessive fears of real or imagined abandonment. Ironically, some people who qualify for a diagnosis of DPD may behave in exactly opposite fashion. Those with milder forms of this disorder may attempt to satisfy their underlying dependency needs by becoming so efficient and thorough that they make themselves indispensable. Others, whose disorder is more severe, become highly dependent on instructions from above, and are reluctant to show any initiative in carrying out their responsibilities for fear that they will have made the wrong decision.
Paranoid Personality Disorder.
People who have been diagnosed with paranoid personality disorder tend to see the activities of other people as ill-intentioned -- even when the opposite is true. Compliments may be seen as attempts to gain undue influence through flattery, and offers of help may be seen as evidence that the person to whom the help is offered is viewed as incompetent. The resulting suspiciousness and hostility may tend to bring about the negative attitudes and behaviors which the person with a paranoid personality disorder believes were always there. (The saying goes, “Just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you!”)
Schizoid Personality Disorder.
The person who has been diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder is an extreme loner or a “cold fish” who just isn’t interested in being around people. Such people are often found in the most solitary jobs which others might tend to shy away from. Because of their extreme lack of social skills, they should not be expected to change simply by inviting them to parties or by introducing them to a wide circle of people.
Schizotypal Personality Disorder.
People who have been diagnosed with schizotypal personality disorder typically have bizarre notions of cause and effect, and may practice unusual rituals of their own devising, either to make things happen or to prevent them from happening, similar to those who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Their everyday speech patterns and favorite topics of conversation are usually regarded by those around them as being somewhat bizarre, although not totally “crazy” in the popular sense of the term. They may also take a keen interest in cults and in the paranormal. Although certainly not everyone who is interested in such topics has a schizotypal personality disorder, the true schizotypal still tends to stand out because of bizarre thought patterns.
Passive-Aggressive Personality Disorder.
Although the American Psychiatric Association no longer officially lists this as a separate personality disorder, people with passive aggressive tendencies try to disrupt things by sabotaging the success of their employers, their family, or their friends without appearing do so deliberately, because they feel that their own needs for recognition, status, or achievement are not being met, or that other people are more successful than they are. Passive aggressive people may risk an occasional confrontation if it helps them to get their frustrations out, but they can usually gauge their actions carefully enough to avoid losing their jobs or their families.
If they are not frankly and firmly confronted about their behavior, their passive-aggressive patterns may become worse over time as they continue to follow their own “hidden agendas” and they feel that their actions are being accepted or condoned. They may single out for special treatment vulnerable individuals or groups who will not or cannot “fight back,” and their behavior may degenerate into outright bullying. Then, when the inevitable day of reckoning does arrive, the consequences may be much more serious -- both for the victims and for the organization -- than if the problem had been immediately and forcefully dealt with.
Limitations of a Personality Disorder Diagnosis.
In order to qualify for any of the foregoing diagnoses of personality disorder, the disorder must be seen to cause people significant distress in their social, intellectual, or occupational functioning, regardless of whether or not they are aware of this fact. Temperamental but highly successful movie stars, for example, whose demanding and self-centered behavior would interfere with their adjustment in another setting, would probably not qualify for a diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder as long as they can "get away with it." Similarly, people who live alone in a remote location miles from the nearest neighbor would not qualify for a diagnosis of avoidant personality disorder as long as they are able to function well their current situation, regardless of how intensely they may dislike having social contact with their fellow human beings.
It's easy to see how more than one personality disorder, or the traits of several, can work together in the same individual. Most of us are familiar with, or have heard stories about, the narcissistic borderline who sleeps her way into an executive position and then proceeds to systematically eliminate all those who are familiar with how she got to where she is, while tyrannizing over the ones who have been hired as their replacements. We are also not surprised to learn about a narcissistic antisocial convict (sometimes referred to as a psychopath), who immediately commits another crime upon his release from prison, which entitles him to several more years of "three hots and a cot," plus free medical and dental care. Many of us have also witnessed instances of a passive-aggressive histrionic, who regularly disrupts public meetings with their oft-repeated tales of woe, to the extent that it becomes next to impossible to get any business done.
People with personality disorders are not likely to seek professional assistance, because they are frequently inclined to blame their troubles on everyone but themselves. When they do seek help, it is usually because they are forced to do so (often in conjunction with an assault or a suicide attempt, or because a family member insists on it). They tend to remain as long as they are "hurting," or as long as they are forced to stay. When they are no longer hurting and are in a position to stop, they discontinue treatment.
Instead of seeing the personality-disordered individual directly,a therapist is much more likely to see a family member, romantic partner, or employee who presents with anxiety or depression as a result of their interaction with someone who has a personality disorder (whom they may refer to as a "toxic person" or an "energy vampire").
A final word of caution: as stated previously, an actual diagnosis of a personality disorder should only be made by an appropriately trained mental health professional. One of the easiest and most powerful ways to insult people is to let them know that you suspect them of having a personality disorder! While avoiding making such a diagnosis yourself unless you are properly trained to do so, and not communicating your suspicions to the individuals concerned, knowing how to recognize the major symptoms of a personality disorder will place you in a much better position to deal with such people on a daily basis, and to seek professional assistance in order to better cope with them if you need to do so.
Of course, I am: not talking about people with just any mental illness. I am talking about the comparatively few people with a personality disorder, which is the subject of this post.
I often say to my clients that' the one who comes to therapy is frequently not really the one who needs it, and they agree. Family systems theorists refer to these clients as the "identified patient" who is usually the healthiest one in a sick family But in the majority of cases, they are unable to leave, and they come to learn coping skills.
We'd love to get personality disordered peoplle into therapy, but most of the time they just won't go. (In fact, many of my colleagues now agree that we've got one in the Whte House!)
Cavaiola, A. C., & Lavender, N. J. (2000). Toxic co-workers: How to deal with dysfunctional people on the job. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.
American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual, DSM-V. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.
Thursday, April 16, 2020
|The Human Capacity for Achievement has Scarcely Been Tapped.|
Just before the end of the academic year, a student who was about to take her final examinations consulted me for relief from the anxiety which had been interfering with her ability to prepare for them.
I asked her to think of a time in her life when she was happily and productively engaged in working toward a much-desired goal. When she was able to visualize this clearly, I asked her to re-capture that mood, concentrate on it, and bring it back into the present, even if she had to do so repeatedly, using a variety of situations from her past, until the new pattern was successfully established. She later reported that this method had successfully helped her to "lose the blues" while srudying.
When regularly incorporàted into the practice of multiversal meditation, the following suggestions have been shown to be effective, drawing in the future rather than the past: "Whenever you have a goal that you can deeply believe in with all your heart, you will be able to visualize the rewards of a future goal that you deeply believe in so clearly that you can believe it will happen, expect it to happen, and feel it happening, as you act, think, and feel as if it were impossible to fail!"
Sunday, April 12, 2020
Thursday, April 9, 2020
The central theme of the book, "The Secret," is that we can create our own reality by using "the law of attraction." If we send forth positive thoughts, then we attract positive events to us; and if we send forth negative thoughts, then we attract negative events.
Whatever an individual's thoughts can attract, a group's thoughts should be able to attract also. If we really do create our own reality by sending forth positive or negative thoughts, then this effect should be apparent not only in individuals, but also in groups, in historical trends, and in society as a whole --but it isn't!
I have listed below some comments which my friend Roy Hunter reports as being made to individuals who are suffering from cancer and other maladies which should also operate according to "the law of attraction," and I have taken the liberty of constructing a reply to them.
- What did you do to attract cancer in the first place? What about all those people who get cancer because they are living in an area where there is a high level of carcinogens in the environment?
- You have a disease consciousness. The Black Death killed between 75 and 200 million people, between 1348 and 1350. What could all those people have been thinking that caused such a plague to so suddenly descend upon them?
- You must have a karmic debt to pay off. If you have read The Diary of Anne Frank, you will have a good idea of the kind of person she was. Now consider the fate of Ann and others like her as they lay covered with lice and dying of hypothermia in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. What did they do to bring this upon themselves?
- Why can’t you create enough faith to be healed? Age is a wasting disease. And the survival rate for this particular disease is zero. Has anybody crated enough faith to get out of that one?
- Don’t you know smoking will kill you? With 99% of the same genes as our closest simian cousins, the chimpanzees, and over a century of experimental research to back them up, most psychologists agree that short-term pleasure is often more important than long-term consequences in determining our behavior, particularly when it comes to matters of addiction.
- Fat people are out of control. An African journalist recently stated that her greatest surprise in coming to the United States was to discover that in America, thin people are rich and fat people are poor, since in her own country the reverse is true. If this is the case, how can weight be a function of one's personal discipline rather than one's culture?
- You have a poverty consciousness. The CIA World Factbook lists the United States as twelfth in per capita income, behind such nations as Norway and Hong Kong, yet most Americans are inclined to think of themselves as the richest nation in the world. If we create our own reality, why are we not in first place?
- "Get out of the victim trap!" Try telling the survivors of Stalinist tyranny who were imprisoned in Siberia that they shouldn't have been thinking so negatively about their situation that it caused them to end up there.
- Why did you create this problem? The CIA World Factbook lists the United States as fifteehth from the top in infant mortality compared with other nations. Explain to the parents of the babies who died because they were not given better medical care what they or their children did to create this problem.
- What is God punishing you for? If God is keeping quiet about His reasons, then what is the point of punishment?
- If “The Secret” is not working for you, then you must be doing something wrong. Maybe so! On a recent radio interview show featuring a leading theoretical physicist who was commenting upon the latest discoveries in his field, a questioner asked him about the "law of attraction." He forcefully criticized this belief for misleading people, and assured the caller that the universe simply does not work that way. Perhaps, he suggested, what people who subscribe to this doctrine are "doing wrong" is believing in "The Law of Attraction" in the first place!
If individuals are able to claim instances of success by this method, it is most likely because they have injected a dimension of will into their belief, as expressed in Schopenhauer's "The World as Will and Idea," or in Claude Bristol's "The Magic of Believing," as preseented below in full audiiobook form.
Can we really command the Universe, as Schopenhauer and Bristol are saying, or are we just believing in our goal so intensely that it gives us the confidence to act, think and feel as it were impossible to fail, which enables us to proceed against all odds until the goal is achieved? The Greek philosopher Seneca said that luck is the intersection of preparation and opportunity, which favors the latter interpretation. All I can say is that I have used this book since my adolescence as a guide for challenges great and small; and despite my rigorous training as an experimental psychologist, I remain firmly convinced that if you can believe in a goal deeply enough, you can believe it. And if you can believe it, you can make it happen! Here's a link which was sent to me by my friend Lisa Brown that may explain how.
Saturday, April 4, 2020
Nelson Mandela said that it was this poem, more than anything else, that kept him going during the darkest days of his imprisonment in South africa. Imagine what it can do for the rest of us!
Thursday, April 2, 2020
If it Works, It's Real
The easiest way to explain hypnosis is to tell the story of how it developed in its modern form. Until relatively recently, in Western culture the experience of trance was interpreted as due to demonic influences or, occasionally, the mark of holiness or sainthood, as it was in the case of Saint Teresa.
|Saint Teresa was a prone to spontaneous states of rapture |
When the demand for his services had reached its height, Mesmer proceeded to "magnetize" a large elm tree on the estate of his patron, the Marquis de Puységur, a few miles outside of the city of Paris; and great crowds would often gather to stand under the tree, either to derive the benefits if its healing power for themselves or simply to observe the dramatic results which were apparently produced in others.
Events were to take yet another turn when a retarded peasant lad of twenty-three named Victor Emmanuel was brought to stand under the now-famous elm tree, in the hope that the "magnetic rays" which were supposedly emanating from the tree might also be of some benefit to him. As many developmentally challenged people are apt to do when they are placed in a situation in which they are not quite certain what is expected of them, Victor, though he remained standing, promptly utilized the occasion to avail himself of a quick nap. Other patients standing under the tree, seeing Victor asleep on his feet, apparently perceived this event as merely another result of the strange mesmeric rays emanating from the tree; for they promptly began to feel drowsy and to "fall asleep" themselves, thereby initiating a change in the form of suggestion-induced trance experience which heralded the death of mesmerism and the birth of traditional forms of hypnosis.
|Hypnosis immediately became an object of fascination.|
Today, we no longer need to rely upon the model of trance behavior which was accidentally provided to us by a sleeping mentally challenged individual over two hundred years ago. Hyperempiric inductions are based on suggestions of mind expansion, enhanced awareness, and increased responsiveness and sensitivity, in contrast to traditional hypnotic inductions based on expressed or implied suggestions of lethargy, drowsiness, and sleep. (Gibbons, 1976). Hyperempiric inductions, or "alert hypnosis," have been found to be just as effective as traditional hypnotic inductions in facilitating subsequent responsiveness to suggestion (Bányai, & Hilgard, 1976; Gibbons, 1976, 1979: Gibbons & Lynn, 2010). But I didn't have to wait for another historical accident to come along to change our expectations of the manner in which a person is supposed to experience a trance. I simply made it up!
After people have accepted the suggestion that their mental processes are beginning to function differently, which is what a trance induction really is, we can create in their personal experience almost anything we care to imagine, simply by suggesting it. What kind of experiences, then, should do them the most good? If you can literally suggest anything that you want to, why not tell people in hypnosis that this is the most wonderful thing that has happened to them, and suggest that they are experiencing the fulfillment of their existence as they. dissolve into the infinite love of the Multiverse itself? You can, using multiversal meditation -- and it works, with predictable changes in thinking, feeling, and behavior!
Bányai, E. I., & Hilgard, E. R. (1976). A comparison of active-alert hypnotic induction with traditional relaxation induction. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 85, 218-224.
Gibbons, D. E. (1979). Applied hypnosis and hyperempiria. New York: Plenum Press.
Gibbons, D. E. (1976).. Hyperempiria, a new “altered state of consciousnes” induced by suggestion. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 39, 47-53.
Gibbons, D. E., & Lynn, S. J. (2010). Hypnotic inductions: A primer. in S. J. Lynn, J. W. Rhue, & I. Kirsch (Eds.) Handbook of clinical hypnosis, 2nd ed. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, pp. 267-29