Today's "YABBA DABBA DO" Quote

“I think she has pretty thoroughly — and probably irretrievably — proven that she is not up to the job of being president of the United States.”
David Frum (former speechwriter for President Bush who is now a conservative columnist)

Today's Quote

"A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures."
Daniel Webster


Check out this piece on, called, "THE SEXY PURITAN," and then see my post on the RIGID CHARACTER STRUCTURE from a couple of days ago.

Today's "YABBA DABBA DO" Quote

"It's very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia... as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where... where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is... from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to... to our state."
Sarah Palin


Bill Maher said on his show Friday night that the American people finally found someone dumber than them in Sarah Palin. Now, that sounds harsh, and someone recently criticized me for using the word "stupid" in reference to certain people, but what is it to be called when someone is intelligent enough to become the governor of a state in the U.S., yet still believes that the Flintstones are a documentary?
You see, I don't use the word stupid to demean people of low intellectual functioning; to me, stupid is when someone of normal or high intellectual functioning has such a huge and distorted ego, so much primitive pride, that they take preposterous positions or do ludicrous things or spout dogma and don't care one bit about the consequences.

This unbelievable news item was in the Los Angeles Times today:

Anchorage, Alaska - "Soon after Sarah Palin was elected mayor of the foothill town of Wasilla, Alaska, she startled a local music teacher by insisting in casual conversation that men and dinosaurs coexisted on an Earth created 6,000 years ago -- about 65 million years after scientists say most dinosaurs became extinct -- the teacher said. When asked about prehistoric fossils and tracks dating back millions of years, Palin said she had seen pictures of human footprints inside the tracks."

I'm sorry, Wilma, but... HOW STUPID ARE WE?!

Today's Successful Quotes

“What the vast majority of American children needs is to stop being pampered, stop being indulged, stop being chauffeured, stop being catered to. In the final analysis it is not what you do for your children but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings.”
Ann Landers

“A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend. A successful woman is one who can find such a man.”
Lana Turner


Well, here it is, the final installment of my take on the five "Character Structures," those defensive cocoons we build in our first five or six years of life to protect us from the slings and arrows of an imperfect childhood. As a reminder of how a character structure is formed - When the child’s basic needs are not met, rage, terror, and grief are the ultimate affective responses to that reality. Because the child cannot live in such a state of chronic negative emotion, a defensive structure will be created to ward off these incapacitating feelings. The particular defenses used will be a function of the severity of the trauma, the age and developmental level of the child at the time of trauma, and the child's genetic strengths or weaknesses. That difference will largely determine the defenses chosen to avoid the painful feelings and cope with the dysfunctional environment. Similarly, the development of the ego, of the self, and of the expression of life force will be stuck at the point at which these defenses are chosen and cemented into the character structure.

This character structure, the Rigid Character Structure, is where the history of psychoanalysis began. Formally known as the "Hysterical Character Structure," or the "Histrionic Personality Disorder," people with the conflicts described below were typical of Freud's first patients back in the early part of the 20th Century. Usually attractive and successful, even wealthy, and often held in high esteem by society at large, this defensive structure not only didn't sabotage success, it demanded it, ruthlessly. While this person may be open to the idea of therapy as yet another form of self-improvement, they are usually not open to the emotional surrender necessary to break through the character structure. In addition, society at large usually heaps great rewards upon this person for their high levels of achievement. Unfortunately, all of that vicarious support only makes it more difficult for this person to find happiness.

Let's see why -


PRESENTING PROBLEMS (when first coming to therapy)

- Unwillingness to fall too deeply in love or engage in a long-term, monogamous love relationship;
- Series of broken relationships, marriages or extramarital affairs in which either some sexual or emotional gratification is experienced, but never the two together with the same person;
- Drivenness, competitiveness, restlessness, hyperactivity, relentless need to “look good” and “achieve”;
- Feelings of unfulfillment in spite of substantial success in work-life; never feeling satisfied;
- Intense fears around vulnerability and betrayal and concerns about looking foolish;
- Hysterical outbursts, psychosomatic symptoms, insomnia;
- Primary falling fear: falling forward (on one’s face);
- Primary holding pattern: holding back;
- Primary longing: to surrender;
- Primary survival struggle: the right to love sexually.

(Developmental Period – 40th to 60th Months)

- Child’s natural erotic strivings and expressions, including masturbation, were greeted with anxiety, rejection, severe disapproval or punishment by sexually repressed parents;
- The parent of the opposite sex reacted to the child’s amorous advances, flirtatiousness and romantic fantasies with rejection, possessiveness, or overstimulation;
- The parent of the same sex vicariously encouraged the child to express that parent’s repressed sexual feelings (mother dressing daughter up in “sexy” outfits, father encouraging son to be a “ladies’ man”, encouraging coy, provocative behavior, etc.), or that parent inappropriately confided in the child about the details of the marital relationship;
- The parent of the opposite sex was significantly absent from the child’s life during the 3rd to 5th year of life (due to work, illness, death or divorce, etc.);
- A major trauma (severe illness, surgery, accident, etc.) occurred in the child’s 3rd to 5th year of life.


- Though the body is generally integrated and harmonious, with body parts proportionate, there is often rigidity and excessive uprightness in the posture;

- Rigidly held straight back and neck (correlates to pride);

- Pelvis is pulled back, while the chest is pushed out with exaggerated authority or seductiveness (“You can want me, but you can’t have me.”);

- The jaw is often set in a look of determination;

- In men, the face may be sharply masculine and very hard-looking; in women the face may be doll-like;

- Physical armoring tends to be superficial and can move around; there are spasticities in the extensor and flexor muscles that create the rigidity in the posture;

- Walking or gesturing tends to be sexual and flirtatious, or very businesslike;

- History of unexplained psychosomatic (“hysterical”) symptoms that appear and disappear without any apparent physical cause (vertigo, fainting, loss of vision, skin rashes, allergies, hyperventilating, heart palpitations, paralysis, etc.);

- Chronic areas of tension: the long muscles of the body, inner thigh muscles, vaginal muscles in women.


- Strong, vigorous energy charge, but held back somewhat at the periphery of the feeling side of the body, allowing for the movement of energy internally and through the will, but with a controlled receptivity;
- Energy is often directed to “getting things done”, often with some hyperactivity; the “rest” rhythm is resisted, while all of the will centers are active and open;
- There is little capacity to bind energy with armoring, so this person is prone to the development of psychosomatic symptoms;
- Chakras (energy centers): Crown - (spiritual connection) varies, can be open or closed; Third Eye - (intuitive abilities) developed and open; Throat - (self-expression) partially blocked; Heart - (love feelings) developed, but partially blocked; Solar Plexus - (universal wisdom) partially opened and asymmetrical; Sexual - (pleasure and creativity) developed, but partially blocked; Base – (grounding and connection to physical life) open.


- Love and erotic feelings are strong, but are controlled by the mind and will; there are intense fears of having one’s “heart broken” in love;
- Surrendering to another is deemed unacceptable and collapse is unthinkable;
- The mind is developed, with an efficient, but unyielding intellect that is trusted much more than feelings or impulses; thinking tends to be very linear, with good concentration, but little capacity for abstraction; creativity is controlled;
- Pride is the driving force in this structure and great efforts of the will are directed towards performance and outer appearances (always being attractive and never appearing vulnerable or foolish);
- Aggression, is generally expressed through competitiveness in socially acceptable ways, without much inhibition.


- An inadequate sense of self caused by the separation of love feelings from sexual feelings;
- A strong Reality Principle that dominates a mistrusted Pleasure Principle;
- Intense pride and competitiveness with an excessive focus on accomplishments, appearances and performing for self-esteem;
- Feelings of emptiness, boredom and dissatisfaction caused by the resistance to receiving from and surrendering to others and feelings;
- Passivity and submissiveness are intensely avoided and experienced as weakness, while stubbornness and rigidity are seen as strength;
- Repressed sexual feelings are pathologically expressed through psychosomatic symptoms, in frequent sexual activity without any love involvement (“flings” or affairs), restlessness, hyperactivity or “flighty” behavior”, or diverted into ambitiousness in the material world (“No time for love in my busy life.”);
- Unresolved Oedipal conflicts are repressed, causing deep longings for the opposite sex, but with persistent fears of betrayal; there is intense competitiveness with the same sex, but with fears of retaliation (“castration anxiety”);
- Constant attention-seeking, trendiness, and a need for compliments pervade the personality;
- Main defenses: repression, sublimation, somatization, identification;
- Typical masks: the flirt or tease (“I’m available…not!”), the alluring temptress (“I’ll give you my magnificent beauty and unimaginable sensual pleasures…maybe if you’re lucky!”), the real man (“I take what I want!”), the serious man of business (“There’s no time for fooling around or getting involved. There’s work to be done.”), the “Barbie doll” (“I’ll be the perfect girlfriend, cheerleader or trophy wife, the ‘Perfect Ten’, just for you!”), the proud one (“At least I’ve got my pride.”), the high society lady or gentleman (“Manners, formality and civility are all that really matters.”);
- Childhood history may include driven perfectionism and competitiveness in learning situations, extreme frustration around any perceived failures (“sore losers”), constant participation in activities that are socially approved of (sports, school plays, musical training, religion, etc.), constant attention-seeking through performing, intense same-sex sibling rivalry, psychosomatic symptoms (allergic reactions, fainting, nosebleeds, etc.); early “dating” or going steady and a preoccupation with romance and gossip.


- Relationships often exhibit a push-pull quality, especially around sexual contact, with a constant seeking out of sexual situations and simultaneous flight from them; often one person is chosen as a sexual partner, while another is chosen as a love partner;
- Relationships are often sought out with people who are seen as having status in socially acceptable ways (the "checklist"); others are often related to as either competitors (to be defeated) or suitors (to be seduced);
- There tends to be a superficial or formal quality to interactions, though often with undertones of intrigue (gossiping or a soap opera kind of drama as the style of communicating), argumentativeness, or there may be an hysterical quality to self-expression;
- Something is always held back in relationships to maintain interest and mystery and an “edge”;
- Sex is primarily sought after for validation of one’s attractiveness and prowess and secondarily for pleasure; sexual energy is often re-routed into external or material accomplishments;
- Sexual desires are often experienced as incestuous;
- Sexual pleasure and full orgasm are possible, but often avoided out of the fear of surrendering and appearing vulnerable; orgasms, when allowed, may take a long time and a lot of effort.


- “If I love, I will be vulnerable.” “I will get love by appearing invulnerable and attractive.”
- “If I desire sexually, I will be rejected.” “I will get sexual gratification by controlling my sexual longings.”
- “I will accept praise, attention and accomplishments as a substitute for love and pleasure.”
- “No one surrenders to another.” “I will survive by never surrendering.”
- “The world is a rejecting, competitive place.”


- Tremendous passion and connection to the sensuality of human relationships, with a true appreciation for and capacity to express the wonder of coming together physically in love with another;
- Great capacity to let go and surrender to the flow of love, to fall in love with life and with others;
- Genuine capacities to make and sustain commitments;
- Strong organizational skills combined with flexibility, patience and acceptance of new approaches to situations;
- A deep appreciation for the beauty of physical life, and sensibilities to integrate the elements of form to create beauty.


- Develop the capacity to experience love and sexual passion at the same time, connecting the heart and genitals energetically;
- Bring into consciousness and release the guilt feelings and judgements for having had loving desires for the parent of the opposite sex, and reverse the repression of those desires caused by fears of retaliation by the parent of the same sex;
- Develop the capacity to yield to others and to surrender to feelings without fears of becoming weak, vulnerable or losing face;
- Develop the capacity to experience the full pleasure of sexual release without ego control, and the joy of falling (falling in love, falling asleep, etc.);
- Become able to make and sustain commitments without fears of being rejected;
- Relax the fierce competitiveness and hyperactivity and constant need to prove oneself;
- Develop flexibility in the body, particularly the back of the body and neck (will centers) and the tensor and flexor muscles; develop natural sensual movements rather than exaggerated gestures of sexual “come on”;
- Develop flexibility in approaches to life’s tasks and relationships, relinquishing the exaggerated pride and need to hold back;
- Eliminate psychosomatic symptoms by making the connection with the repressed impulses behind them, and allowing those impulses to be felt;
- Become aware of and open up to the true depth and beauty of the self that exists beyond the superficiality of appearances and performances;
- Acknowledge and experience the different aspects of the personality, opening the lines of communication between them, while establishing an identification with the adult self;
- Become aware of the erroneous conclusions, images and beliefs of the mask/false self, and the limitations and unreality of the idealized self image;
- Experience pleasure and expansion, and recognize and express one’s Higher Self aspects with less fear of embarrassment;
- Primary raw negative expression that needs release: “I won’t surrender!”
- Primary positive self-affirmation that needs assertion: “I have the right to love.”


- Establish a respectful and professional environment, acknowledging the person’s genuine accomplishments in life, and the seriousness and concern for how he or she has successfully managed many aspects of adult living; also acknowledge the confusion and disappointment the person feels that in spite of these achievements, he or she is bored, lonely, restless and dissatisfied;
- Engage the person’s subtly provocative manner with warmth and an accepting neutrality; do not initially confront any seductive behavior or offer praise for superficial attributes;
- Use unsatisfying experiences in adult relationships to make connections with childhood experiences, particularly to illuminate times in which the child may have felt disappointment and rejection by the parent of the opposite sex, or an uncomfortable possessiveness by that parent (i.e. – not allowing dating as a teenager); also uncover memories in which the parent of the same sex may have shown moralistic disapproval towards, competitiveness with or vicarious involvement in the person’s young love life (i.e. - being overly involved with the teenager’s boyfriends or girlfriends);
- Encourage the person to give examples of having had his or her heart broken in relationships, and the vows they may have made secretly to never be vulnerable again; surface the controlled longing to “have it all” (love and passion) in one relationship, but the fear of surrendering to that longing or believing in its possibility;
- Use stretching, bending, massaging, rolling and vibrating to loosen the rigidly held back and neck, and the spasticities in the tensor and flexor muscles; use pelvic thrusts and rotations to release the holding back in that area and to allow for the experience of pleasure moving through the pelvis; use hitting and kicking to express aggression and pride and refusal to surrender; use massage and hands-on touch over the heart to help opening up to the love feelings, and use visualizations to help the person focus on connecting their heart center to their sexual center; this person will experience the body work as embarrassing, so a professional and technical explanation of its usefulness can be helpful;
- Analyze the meanings of psychosomatic symptoms, their timing, the part of the body affected, etc., and make connections to guilt or anxiety about sexual feelings, competitive impulses, etc.;
- Explore hidden and emerging feelings, desires and fantasies towards the therapist as a love object in a matter-of-fact way, including using dream interpretation, to decrease guilt and anxiety about the feelings, to normalize them, and to begin undoing the pride defense that anticipates rejection or exploitation; when transferences are made to the therapist (i.e. – accusing the therapist of being seductive or rejecting), clarify them as they occur;
- As this person’s heart and genitals become connected and the powerful onrush of integrated love feelings comes forward, he or she will become very sensitive to any perceived insults to their pride or any abuse of their perceived vulnerability; simultaneously, because of the openness, the person will feel exhilarated yet relaxed, confident yet supple, secure yet not rigid; re-assure the person that those new feeling combinations are real, and that now in fact he or she is truly not vulnerable, because of the flexibility and strength of being open;
- Help the person recognize their Higher Self aspects, especially their capacity to love fully, to see that their gifts are there even when hidden behind the mask, and that although they have a wounded aspect in their personality, they need not identify with that aspect in order for it to get the help it needs; in the later stages of therapy, as the person drops the mask and releases the raw negative feelings, fear of pleasure and expansion must be addressed as it comes up with reassurance, based on their own new experiences, that they can tolerate the energy now and that the fear is not a regression or a setback.


Hysterical Personality: (also known as “Histrionic or Repressed Personality) vain, attention-seeking, sexually provocative, dramatic presentation of the self, with a history of many vague symptoms, chronic feelings of disappointment, excitability and exaggerated emotionality; primary repressed conflicts center around genital incestuous strivings.

Identification: the process by which one either blurs or eliminates the distinction between the self and others by extending his or her identity into another, borrowing one’s identity from another, or fusing identities with another (merging).

Oedipal Complex: the dilemma of early childhood, occurring after the 4th year, in which the genitally charged child focuses on the parent of the opposite sex as a primary love object, and comes into internal conflict over perceived competition with the parent of the same sex.

Repression: the process of banishing from consciousness ideas or impulses that are deemed unacceptable.

Somatization: bodily disorders arising from deep-seated emotional and mental conflicts through which repressed instinctual tendencies gain expression.

Sublimation: the modification of an instinctual impulse, expressed in such a way as to conform to the demand of societal norms.


This is great! A post by Nicole Belle on one of my favorite blogs, "CROOKS & LIARS," on Chris Matthews bemoaning how cool Barack Obama is.

Here's Nicole:

"I’m getting really tired of cable airwaves being used for Chris Matthews to exorcise whatever nerdy kid demons he still holds on to since high school. Apparently, for Chris Matthews, Kewl Kid Barack Obama wearing sunglasses is an elitist act.

Quoting Matthews:

"Can Barack Obama, a man of elite education if not elite background, break into the middle class and talk regular? Can he talk to regular people in their kitchens tonight, in their living rooms?[…] Everybody thinks Barack is too cool. In other words, there he is with the shades, getting on the plane. A little bit too elegant, a little bit too proud of his own bearing. Is that a problem, that he’s just too cool for words. In other words, elite."


"Wow, project much, Chris? Seriously, invest in a little therapy. Take Pat Buchanan and Andrea Mitchell with you. This kind of criticism is like a bad episode of “The Hills”. High school was many years ago, let’s move on."


I didn't know Paul Newman personally, nor his wife, Joanne Woodward, with whom he had one of Hollywood's rare long-term marriages. Still, even without knowing them up close and personal, as an expert in body language, I knew that Newman and Woodward were one of those wonderful anomalies: two people who were together for many years and were clearly in-love. (When asked once if he ever thought about straying, Paul once said: "I have steak at home, why go out for hamburger?" Now that's Eros talking!)
It's a thing of beauty to see two people sustaining Eros over the course of time. And likewise, it's a travesty to see so many people staying together year after year who are not in-love, and thinking they deserve some kind of positive recognition for that, when in fact, they are often doing damage to themselves, their kids, and in too many cases, the world at large.
Not coincidentally, there was a piece today on the Obamas' marriage, definitely worth reading at:
The article was written by Kathlyn and Gay Hendricks, authors of numerous books, including "Conscious Loving," and it is about how having a President and First Lady who are actually in love will have many benefits for our country. I agree. (See my post entitled, "A Vote For Eros" from last January.)
Anyway, since I so often find myself assaulting the "family values" crowd who believe in hunkering down and sticking things out now matter how dysfunctional, I thought I'd pass on this positive story.
Happy trails, Paul!

Today's Quote

"You create your reality according to your beliefs; yours is the creative energy that makes your world; there are no limitations to the self except those you believe in."
Jane Roberts (channeling "Seth")


Here's and excerpt from Part Two of the series from the class I taught on "The Stages of Healing," which follows Part One, "Basic Trust." As we progress through each stage of healing, keep in mind that the work of the previous stage is still ongoing and overlaps with the next stage for a while.

Here's Part Two:

Uncovering Beliefs and Images

Part of the healing of basic trust is accomplished by unlearning, or deconstructing, the beliefs and images one has held from childhood that have led to not trusting oneself (or others). Whatever the level of dysfunction, whatever the degree of obsessive or chaotic thinking, and however blocked emotionally, most people have some access to logic and some connection to reality. Therefore, there is a part of almost every adult patient in therapy that is capable of examining objectively the beliefs that they hold about life, others and themselves.
Very often, people are acting according to beliefs that they don’t even know are there, so initially, simply becoming aware of one’s beliefs advances the healing process. Insight-oriented therapies, in which the main therapeutic tool is exploring the mind, provide some relief from neurosis and free up some psychic energy primarily by increasing the patient’s level of self-awareness, particularly of what has been suppressed or repressed out of consciousness. To “not remember” or to dissociate from significant beliefs, memories, feelings or interactions with others depletes or fragments a person’s access to energy. Remembering and facing honestly the traumas that led to these defensive maneuvers furthers the healing process by returning some amount of access to psychic energy. It is not always necessary or possible, however, for a patient to specifically recall traumatic events. In most cases, a person cannot remember experiences from the pre-verbal times of the first few years of life. Traumatic memories are instead “stored” in the body, expressed through character structure features.
Helping a patient uncover beliefs does require technical skill on the part of the therapist. Particularly important is his ability to listen to, track and translate the coded language of a patient’s belief system. Crucial to identifying beliefs are hearing the key words that are reminiscent of the childish mind, which always thinks in absolutes and extremes, and without any real sense of past or future. Words like “always”, “never”, “all” or “nothing” in a statement about oneself or others or life are usually coming from an old childhood belief system. (“I will always have to struggle with money.” “Love is never easy.” “All men/women are__.” “Nothing gets done right unless I do it!”) Beliefs are always generalized to give the child some sense of predictability in an environment that was painfully unpredictable. Also, practically any statement that includes the word “should” is based on a child-created rule that is meant to control some painful aspect of life that, in fact, could not be controlled.
Many types of cognitive-rational therapies today work with beliefs, and up to a point, focusing on beliefs is an effective approach for creating some amount of change in a person’s life. Again, most people have some access to rational thinking, and by simply reflecting back to them what they are “really saying” and “really doing”, many patients will “get it.” Having achieved a level of self-awareness and understanding, however, isn’t “enough” for every person who comes to therapy.

Today's Quote

"Believe those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who find it."
Andre Gide


If there's one area above all else where David Brooks is lacking, it's in his understanding of human nature and the psychology of the mind. In the most pathetic attempt to make excuses for John McCain's abominable behavior during this campaign yet, Brooks tries to assert that the McCain we're seeing during this last year or so is not the "real" McCain.
Even though, as far back as 17 years ago, McCain was involved in a very similar scandal to the current banking debacle he helped engineer in this decade, even though he was one of the infamous "Keating Five" who caused the massive loss of middle-class people's life savings - and then did it again, even though he's done all that, past and present, Brooks claims that McCain up until this year "was an unfailingly candid man" and "for a politician, a humble man."
David, there isn't any school of psychological thought that would support such an absurd assertion that one's basic personality could suddenly change at the age of 72, because of the pressures of a political campaign - unless, of course, you're trying to claim that McCain has Alzheimer's or dementia. If anything, the ambition and the chosen challenge of seeking higher office would bring out the true core of the person. We are seeing the Real McCain in full view.
So many have wanted to project a glorified image onto John McCain because of his wartime heroism, and like you, David Brooks, so many have insisted on seeing what they wanted to see in McCain. But he won't allow it. Like all people whose basic character structure is psychopathic, John McCain cannot resist being who he is and exposing himself to us.


Here's the first installment of a series of posts from a class I taught, entitled, "THE STAGES OF HEALING: THE SELF REVISITED, THE SELF REBORN"

The five stages as I conceive of them are as follows:

1. Forming a therapeutic alliance/establishing basic trust;
2. Working with images and beliefs/developing and increasing awareness and understanding;
3. Energizing, moving and releasing feelings;
4. Re-alignment/knowing;
5. Autonomy/being.

Here's installment Number One -

Forming a Therapeutic Alliance

Basic trust is the first issue in therapy, just as it is the first issue in life. In a sense, a person coming to therapy initially is somewhat like a newly arriving human being in that the new patient is acting from her natural impulse to reach out in an act of trust when it is in crisis of need. That capacity is innate within all of us at birth. The first call to the therapist is an expression of basic trust. It is the first positive diagnostic sign. Even though the new patient doesn’t know the therapist, he still makes the call for help, somehow, just as a baby will reach out for the caregiving adults around it that it doesn’t really know in any way…except intuitively.
Indeed, intuition and gut feelings are strongly at play in the first contacts between a patient and therapist, beginning even before the first session, over the telephone. Little children and animals, naturally connected to their own “6th sense”, either trust you or “bark” at you almost immediately. This is often true of persons in an emotional crisis, when our guts are very active in providing guidance.
A patient in a first session will respond very strongly to energetic and aesthetic details in the same way, though perhaps less consciously, that you, the therapist, will assess a new patient’s presentation of self. Your office décor and ambiance, including colors, smells, knickknacks, pictures, etc., your clothes and general appearance, your body language and character structure, attitudes, etc., all will be reacted to by the person sitting across from you in those first moments. (Freud believed that there was a direct communication between the patient’s and the analyst’s unconscious.) However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that if a patient doesn’t take to you as a therapist or she decides not to see you that you are not trustworthy. It could just mean that the energetic chemistry wasn’t comfortable between you, as happens in any relationship. And the therapeutic relationship is a real relationship.
So…how does basic trust develop further, beyond the innate movement to reach out, and become the basis for a relationship that will prove beneficial for the individuals involved?
This is not a matter of technique, and technically, it can’t be taught. A therapist cannot learn how to act trustworthy toward a patient and expect to be experienced as genuine. A therapist can become able to trust herself in the same way that a patient does – through a process of discovering the inherently loving nature of who we truly are and the inner guidance that is always present within ourselves.
If a lack of basic trust develops in infancy, it is at first in relation to an environment that was hurtful, depriving, frightening, etc. – not trustworthy. Yet, it is mainly the infant’s not trusting its own impulses to reach out for help, nourishment, and love that become the lasting source of dysfunctional behavior and characterological problems. The main channel for healing, then, becomes the patient’s willingness and capacity to reach out, which will tend to be proportionally related to the therapist’s willingness and capacity to reach out…or reach back.
So, as the person doing the guiding, the therapist must have done and/or be doing that work on himself in order to help the patient to do it. Basic trust will develop in the therapeutic relationship, therefore, to the degree that therapist and patient become able to trust themselves as capable of giving and receiving.

Today's "What's Wrong With This Quote" Quote

“I do believe in American exceptionalism. We are the only nation I know that really is deeply concerned about adhering to the principle that all of us are created equal.”
John McCain
(Hint: How can you believe that we're all equal, while saying that your national identity makes you exceptional?)

Today's Quote

"This campaign is now officially surreal. If Palin is supposed to be the 'ordinary American,' she passed that test - she really does sound like an ordinary American. Her answers sound like the responses Couric would get if she interviewed one of my friends. At three A.M. After a night of drinking."
Ta-Nehisi Coates (writer for The Atlantic on the Katie Couric interview with Sarah Palin)


I know the only way you could know this is true would be to ask people I've talked to about it, but this is the truth: weeks ago, I said McCain would not show up for the debates. I knew it. He couldn't. He would be so badly exposed, it would be too humiliating for such a volatile character.
The Republican Party proper - the members of the administration and congress and Wall Street who have fleeced the country bare over the last 8 years - never had any interest in this election. They're done. Their as rich as kings, they're well into middle age, and they all knew that our trashed economy and ruined reputation around the world that they were leaving behind would make this election a washout for their party.
And John McCain was the perfect sacrifice because the fat cats in the GOP never liked him anyway, even though he tried foolishly to do their bidding.
Going back over a year ago to the Republican debates, I remember thinking, the Republicans have given up this year. They're taking their money, their golden parachutes and hitting the beach. When McCain came back from the dead to win the primaries, I knew it. He'd never go the distance.
See ya.

Today's Quote

“Most people say that is it is the intellect which makes a great scientist. They are wrong: it is character.”
Albert Einstein


Here's the fourth in my series on Character Structures, again not in chronological order. In fact, this defensive structure is the formed in the very first months of life. As a reminder of how a character structure is formed - When the child’s basic needs are not met, rage, terror, and grief are the ultimate affective responses to that reality. Because the child cannot live in such a state of chronic negative emotion, a defensive structure will be created to ward off these incapacitating feelings. The particular defenses used will be a function of the severity of the trauma, the developmental level of the child, and its genetic strength or weakness. That difference will largely determine the defenses chosen to avoid the affect and cope with the environment. Similarly, the development of the ego, of the self, and of the living sense will be stuck at the point at which these defenses are chosen and cemented into the character structure.


TYPICAL PRESENTING PROBLEMS (when first arriving to therapy

- Lack of feelings, numbness, little or no joy or pleasure in life;
- Inability to engage in intimate relationships;
- Intense fears, paranoia, phobias, panic attacks, dissociative episodes, chronic anxiety, intense perfectionism, procrastination;
- Physical problems that could not be diagnosed medically; hypochondriasis;
- “Existential angst”, questioning one’s right to exist; feelings of emptiness and meaninglessness;
- Suicidal/homicidal ideations, impulses or actions; excessive concerns about death;
- Episodes of explosiveness, which may include physical violence;
- Self-mutilating behavior (biting, burning or cutting of the skin);
- Primary “falling” fear: falling apart;
- Primary holding pattern: holding together
- Primary longing: to feel whole;
- Primary survival struggle: the right to exist.

(Developmental Period – Prenatal to First Four Months of Life)

- Mother (or primary caretaker) was chronically any or all of the following very early in the child’s life, including during pregnancy: cold, hostile, rageful, abusive, erratic, unreliable, removed, distant, disconnected emotionally, fearful and/or anxious;
- Eye contact and physical contact between mother and child was avoided by mother, due to mother’s schizoid elements, or interfered with due to physical illness of mother or child, or due to traumatic birth circumstances (Caesarian, premature or breech delivery, incubator, etc.);
- Home environment was chaotic or threatening due to alcohol/drug abuse, violence, poverty, or external traumatic environmental circumstances (i.e. - natural disasters, political oppression, war);
- One or both parents were resentful of child’s presence (exacerbated by being unprepared for child-rearing due to an unwanted pregnancy, youth or other social conditions);
- Child did not meet parents’ idealized expectations of a “perfect baby”, and was greeted with disappointment or avoidance.


- Body is often narrow and contracted in an effort to hold together against the fear of falling apart (body may be fuller and more athletic if there are paranoid elements present due to sexualizing by parents); pervasive tension and stiffness throughout the body, with a frozen or wooden quality;
- Head, often large or with a large forehead, is pushed forward, drooping down or off to the side (due to tension created at base of skull to sever the head from the body and feelings);
- Shoulders up (in fear), and arms hang like appendages (to prevent contact with others or violent acting out);
- Feet are often cold and contracted; person is frequently “on their toes”, ungrounded, in the “fight or flight” position (curled, flexed and/or tight in the Achilles tendon);
- Splits in the body are quite marked, most often between the upper and lower halves, but also between front and back and left and right sides, including the eyes, and between the head and the body (correlates to use of splitting defense);
- Twisted spine (trying to get away from the threatening environment or parent that it also needs); person has particular difficulty with the “bow” position;
- Ocular blocks are very common, causing vision problems (doesn’t want to see the coldness or hostility), and the expression in the eyes is often either frozen terror or disconnectedness, with flashes of murderous fury; expression in the eyes is split from the expression of the rest of the face;
- Lack of color to the body and coldness in the extremities; also cold to the touch in the areas of chronic constriction;
- Skin is hypersensitive due to the withdrawal of energy from the exterior surface; touch is experienced as uncomfortable or painful;
- Shallow, constricted breathing (cannot embrace life), and high-pitched or constricted voice; choke response is easily elicited if the person is asked to breathe deeply (or on roller);
- Psychosomatic illnesses (headaches, eczema, digestive and respiratory problems common) due to chronic contractions and de-energized condition which tend to be worse in persons who are more strongly defended;
- Chronic areas of severe tension: base of the skull, joints of the shoulders, legs and hips, the diaphragm, and the ocular segment of the face;
- Dominant spasticities are in the small muscles around joints (fear of moving), so there is either inflexibility or hyperflexibility (more severe because muscles have given out).


- Energy is withheld from the peripheral structures of the body, those that make contact with the world: the face, hands, genitals and feet (correlates to poor reality testing);
- Organs are not fully connected energetically to the core, but are blocked by chronic tensions at the base of the skull, shoulders, pelvis and hip joints;
- The inner charge tends to be frozen in the core, making the will weak, but also precipitating explosive eruptions because of the compression;
- Energy flow is severely diminished at the waist due to severe contraction in the diaphragm and the separation from sexual feelings, and at the base of the head due to separation of thoughts from feelings;
- Chakras (energy centers): Crown - (spiritual connection) open but asymmetrical; Third Eye - (intuitive abilities) open, but asymmetrical; Throat - (self-expression) contracted and inverted; Heart - (love feelings) contracted and inverted; Solar Plexus - (universal wisdom) partially opened; Sexual - (pleasure and creativity) contracted and inverted; Base – (grounding and connection to physical life) contracted and inverted.


- Tremendous efforts are made internally to avoid and control any feelings due to the presence of deep-seated terror and murderous rage, which leads to intense fears of annihilation if feelings are expressed (this later becomes attached to any experiences of perceived rejection or failure); crippling anxiety, panic attacks and phobias often arise when feelings threaten to emerge;
- “As if” feelings are expressed according to what one “should feel” in a given situation, but there is no real spontaneity; self-expression is mechanical and controlled; aggression is expressed through passive withdrawal, though explosions are a potential;
- Feelings are talked about, or thought about, but not really felt or acknowledged as being in the body;
- Will is used predominantly to withdraw from external reality and to freeze feelings internally, so outward, assertive expressions have no energy and are weak and scattered;
- Mental faculties are usually highly developed, frequently with a brilliant intellect; the mind is valued above all else, and deduction, reasoning, calculating, and “figuring things out” logically are the only modes of operating that are trusted; gut feelings and intuition are denigrated and feared; this person is always “in their mind.”


- An inadequate sense of self because of a lack of identification with the body;
- Hypersensitivity and hyperawareness because of weak ego boundaries (correlates to the lack of peripheral charge in the body);
- Poor reality testing;
- Paranoia, from projected rage, which is exacerbated if either parent invested sexual energy in the child;
- Psyche is experienced as a “house of many rooms” without access between them;
- Person feels possessed by a demonic, alien presence or voice at times (introjected hostile parental image);
- Subject to dissociation, depersonalization and fugue states;
- Main defenses: denial, projection, introjection, splitting, disintegration, withdrawal, fragmentation, compartmentalization and intellectualization;
- Typical masks: spiritual or mental arrogance or aloofness (“I am special, I am superior because I am above physical existence.”), exaggerated appearance of serenity or peacefulness (“I am never angry or afraid.”), “Don Quixote”- like Idealized Self Image (“I dream the ‘Impossible Dream”; “I am an unrecognized genius”; “legends in their own mind.”)
- Childhood history may include: frequent nightmares or sleep disturbances, withdrawn behavior with occasional outbursts of rage, autism, pervasive fears, preference for fantasy over reality, psychosomatic illnesses, head-banging or self-mutilation, school phobia.


- Reaching out or self-assertion in connecting to others is avoided (very little eye contact or physical closeness can be tolerated);
- Intimacy and emotional and physical letting go are intensely feared, so relating is mental and abstract; others will often experience this person as “spacey” or “not really there”;
- Sexual interaction is mechanical, with fear of losing control; sex is desired mainly to subscribe to a romantic or erotic idea, rather than for actual feeling; some warmth and closeness physically is desired, but in limited quantities; orgasm is not an important objective;
- Others, including love objects, are idealized (positively or negatively) as are relationships, which are seen in a lofty spiritual light with little real human contact.


- “I should not exist.” “There is something essentially wrong with me.”
- “I am my mind.” “I think therefore I am.”
- “Life is threatening to my life.” “I will survive by deadening myself.”
- “I must control my feelings and others with my mind.” “If I feel, I will disintegrate.”
- “My rage will annihilate others and me.” “The world is a dangerous place.”


- Strong connection to and awareness of the profoundly spiritual nature of life;
- Access to vast universal wisdom and the capacity to teach others how to make the connection to that wisdom;
- Great courage and fearlessness to connect with feelings;
- Great capacity to create and appreciate beauty, including through artistic abilities.


- Become grounded and energized in physical life and in the body as a whole;
- Develop basic trust in the self, others and life;
- Become aware of, feel consciously, accept and express the deep primal rage and terror in a non-destructive way without retreating to primitive defenses;
- Face original state of helplessness and hurt underlying perfectionistic attitude;
- Reverse the denial of early trauma at the hands of parents and the environment;
- Develop tolerance for ambivalence in oneself and others (correct “good-or-bad”, “right-or-wrong” and other dualistic images); and heal the splits between thoughts and feelings, and between positive and negative feelings;
- Acknowledge and experience the different aspects of the personality (child, adult, higher self), opening the lines of communication between them, while establishing an identification with the adult self;
- Become aware of the erroneous conclusions, images and beliefs of the mask/false self, and the limitations and unreality of the idealized self image;
- Experience pleasure and expansion and recognize and express one’s higher self aspects with less fear of being annihilated;
- Primary negative expression that needs release: “I hate you!” “I kill you!”
- Primary positive self-affirmation that needs assertion: “I have the right to be.”


- Establish an accepting, non-critical, “human” environment, understanding that trusting the therapist and the environment may take a long time; even fairly well into the treatment, this person can become paranoid;
- Engage the formidable intellect in a playful, patient and respectful way to begin the process of exposing the attitudes and beliefs of the mask, and their fallibility, including wrong conclusions made in childhood;
- Address concrete self-care, daily living tasks that may be ineffectively tended to with information, advice, direct teaching and personal anecdotes to relieve the judgmental attitude towards the self as a failure or outcast;
- Gradually guide the person into their body through breathing and grounding exercises initially, then introduce the roller; touching or hands-on work must be very limited at first, nothing too penetrating or soothing; help the person to feel their feet on the ground, to feel energy in their body, to begin noticing the increasing aliveness;
- Remind the person periodically that they survived their childhood, that the real trauma was in the past;
- Move into the expression of rage using the body once some basic trust in the therapeutic relationship has been established and there is some physical groundedness; remind the person that no one gets destroyed by expressing rage this way; have them look in a mirror to see that they haven’t disintegrated after bodywork;
- When the person has become able to tolerate some exposure of the mask and to feel moderate emotions consistently, more penetrating bodywork and group process can be added to the therapy;
- Help the person recognize their Higher Self aspects, especially their wisdom, to see that their gifts are there even when hidden behind the mask, and that although they have a wounded aspect in their personality, they need not identify with that aspect in order for it to get the help it needs;
- In the later stages of therapy, as the person drops the mask and releases the raw negative feelings, fear of pleasure and expansion must be addressed as it comes up with reassurance, based on their own new experiences, that they can tolerate the energy now and that the fear is not a regression or a setback;
- The major vehicle for healing the inner splits of this structure is the relationship itself; the therapist can reveal his own struggles, imperfections and mistakes at carefully chosen moments, in small doses, reminding the person that neither of them is perfect and that even when there is conflict in their relationship, the connection between them is still a viable and caring one. (Aloofness in the therapist cannot aid someone who wears a mask of aloofness!).


Denial: a primitive defense consisting of an attempt to disavow the existence of unpleasant reality or feeling.

Depersonalization: a state in which the person feels as though he has lost his identity, that he is different or strange or unreal, or that the environment is strange or unreal (“derealization”).

Disintegration: collapsing into a state of disorganized mental chaos.

Dissociation: sudden and temporary alteration in the functions of consciousness, the fracturing of the integration of one’s identity, or the splitting off of certain mental process from the main body of consciousness (i.e. – thinking from feeling)

Fragmentation: functioning as though the psyche is broken up into many separate parts. (When fragmented feelings such as rage are projected, one may feel plagued by many apparently external voices or faces.)

Fugue: an episode in which a person suddenly leaves an intolerable situation or activity in a way that appears to have no connection to what the person was just doing and of which he or she has amnesia afterwards.

Intellectualization: an attempt to avoid objectionable impulses or feelings by escaping from the world of emotions into a world of intellectual concepts and words.

Introjection: incorporating into one’s mental structure an image, usually harsh and not necessarily accurate or complete, of another. (This can be experienced as an inner alien or demonic oppressive presence.)

Projection: the process of throwing out upon another the ideas, feelings or impulses that belong to oneself.

Splitting: compartmentalization of opposite and conflicting affect states; a defense mechanism in which a person, when faced with emotional stress or conflict, views himself or others as all good or all bad, or alternates between idealizing and devaluing the self or another; positive and negative qualities in the self or others are unable to be integrated into cohesive images.

Withdrawal: the turning away from reality and shutting off the perceptive system in order to avoid the anxiety aroused by interpersonal relationships or feelings.

"Rick" Straightens PL Out and PL's Response

Here's Rick:

"Hi Pistol Pete!

I have been in therapy on several different occasions for very different reasons. I have found it very useful and life changing at times but insignificant at other times. Why? Timing, the therapist + $.

I certainly understand your point that therapy is not a luxury but a necessity. However, your post comes across as reactionionary instead of a well thought out response. Your point gets lost because your reaction sounds very angry, belittling and wreaks of the very dogmatic tone you consistently rail against. People may call it a luxury when they really mean they're not ready or can find other means to achieve the same results. In these cases, therapy is a luxury and a waste of money + time.

Therapy doesn't only take place on the couch in some office. Nor is it only with someone who puts a time limit on your emotions. A decision not to address problems in our lives can be very damaging, but stupid? As a therapist, is that kind of labeling productive? I don't understand blogging and recklessly ranting may be acceptable in that world but why not try to be open, productive and positive and then maybe readers can benefit from your expertise as a therapist. Instead, you give them the easy out to just dismiss these posts as condescending and, because you refer to your being a therapist frequently, hypocritical.

Some people simply may not be ready to take on the sometimes gargantuan task of dealing with their problems. Like a green tomato on the window ledge, some people just need more time in the sun before they can tackle their demons.

As a teacher, there are circumstances in my students' lives that no one should ever have to endure. I'm sure you can say the same about your patients. The students' refusal to receive help has nothing to do with money, but that is not the point. Some of them are just trying to survive. When they are ready, if they ever get to that point, they will begin to deal with these things on their own terms. That may mean sitting on a couch or medication or whatever.

Therapy can take shape in many forms:

1. open and honest conversations with friends, loved ones or spiritual guides
2. letters that you may or may not send
3. a confession/apology to someone who you have hurt or to someone else
4. prayer to whatever god, being or force of your choosing
5. giving love, friendship + trust

I'm sure there are others and invite people to chime in to suggest them.

Who cares which one they choose? As long as they're taking, what they believe to be, helpful steps in becoming whole, who cares? As long as they are one step closer to giving themselves "full permission to live", who cares? Therapy? More sex? Meds? Prayer? Who really cares if it helps people move to a peaceful state or even if they think they are moving in that direction. It's ALL good!

To label people 'stupid' because they don't subscribe to your thinking isn't very therapeutic and I wonder what outcome would you expect? Maybe my response is your intended outcome, so congrats!"

Here's PL's response to Rick:

Hi Rick - Yes, yes and yes! To many of your points. The temptation of having a blog, I'm discovering, is it lends itself for venting and sounding off like Albert Finney in "Network," or making me seem like a bully with a bully pulpit. You sound like a compassionate and patient teacher, and I salute you as such. I hope that I am generally a compassionate and patient therapist, but I know I can also be somewhat relentless and insistent and a bit of a bull in a china shop at times, and I am certainly so in my writing. Again, I agree with your points and the energy behind them, and I know that people can only do what they can do. That being said, I admit that I am trying to provoke a response, as you suggest at the end, in people who actually can do more towards their own healing and are instead letting their resistance dictate their conditions. Nonetheless, you're right that an "angry" approach will not be very encouraging.
Thanks for the corrective - and provocative - response!

Today's Extra Bonus Quote!

"The more one sees of John McCain's impulsive, intensely personal reactions to people and events, the less confidence one has that he would select judges by calm reflection and clear principles, having neither patience nor aptitude for either. It is arguable that, because of his inexperience, Obama is not ready for the presidency. It is arguable that McCain, because of his boiling moralism and bottomless reservoir of certitudes, is not suited to the presidency. Unreadiness can be corrected, although perhaps at great cost, by experience. Can a dismaying temperament be fixed?"
George F. Will (CONSERVATIVE columnist)

Today's BONUS Quote

"The free-market madmen who treated the American economy like a giant casino have had their day. It’s time to drag them away from the tables and into the sunlight of reality."
Bob Herbert (His column, "A Second Opinion," can be read here.)

Today's Reposted Quote

"The very existence of flamethrowers proves that some time, somewhere, someone said to themselves, 'You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I'm just not close enough to get the job done."
George Carlin


You wouldn't believe what I hear. On a daily basis, I hear from people who are in painfully unfulfilling relationships or careers, or are experiencing disastrous financial meltdowns, or suffering from debilitating or humiliating health problems, sometimes all of the above, and yet, and yet... they consider therapy a luxury, somewhere in between tennis lessons and a dental cleaning.
I'm not kidding. Even people who dare to communicate with the likes of me, knowing what I know, saying what I say, writing what I write, I still have people regularly telling me that they don't have the time or money for therapy. Are you kidding me?!
No wonder the country is actually considering by such a close margin whether to vote for Barack Obama or the Flintstones. No wonder so many people have no necks. No wonder so many people still think chemotherapy and radiation constitutes healing. No wonder nobody is having wonderful, soul-quenching sex. No wonder our kids are so gutted of their sense of self.
Therapy a luxury? Yeah, like breathing or eating is a luxury. If the people who know me think therapy is a luxury, what is the rest of the country thinking? Whew!
Are you kidding me?!


Imagine - Really. Just let your emotions subside and think about it. Imagine this person in the job of president of the United States. That's all you have to do.

Today's Quote

"I still wince when I recall wondering if my father had heard of my disgrace."
Read this: click on John McCain

Today's Bonus Quote

"The question is, who in this crisis looked more presidential, calm and un-flustered? It wasn't John McCain who, as usual, substituting vehemence for coherence, said 'let's fire somebody.' And picked one of the most experienced and conservative people in the administration, Chris Cox, and for no apparent reason... It was un-presidential behavior by a presidential candidate."
George Will (well-known CONSERVATIVE writer and pundit)

Today's Quote

"The people who want English to be the official language of the United States are uncomfortable with their leaders being fluent in it."
President Bartlet, of the "West Wing," (ala Maureen Dowd)


Ala Maureen Dowd in her column today in the NY Times, called, "Seeking a President Who Gives Goose Bumps? So’s Obama."

Here's the fictitious president talking to the real-life presidential candidate -

BARTLET: "I didn’t expect you to be getting beat by John McCain and a Lancôme rep who thinks “The Flintstones” was based on a true story. We went to war against the wrong country, Osama bin Laden just celebrated his seventh anniversary of not being caught either dead or alive, my family’s less safe than it was eight years ago, we’ve lost trillions of dollars, millions of jobs, thousands of lives and we lost an entire city due to bad weather. So, you know ... I’m a little angry."

OBAMA: "What would you do?"

BARTLET: "GET ANGRIER! Call them liars, because that’s what they are. Sarah Palin didn’t say “thanks but no thanks” to the Bridge to Nowhere. She just said “Thanks.” You were raised by a single mother on food stamps — where does a guy with eight houses who was legacied into Annapolis get off calling YOU an elitist? And by the way, if you do nothing else, take that word back. Elite is a good word, it means well above average. I’d ask them what their problem is with excellence. While you’re at it, I want the word “patriot” back. McCain can say that the transcendent issue of our time is the spread of Islamic fanaticism or he can choose a running mate who doesn’t know the Bush doctrine from the Monroe Doctrine, but he can’t do both at the same time and call it patriotic. They have to lie — the truth isn’t their friend right now. Get angry. Mock them mercilessly; they’ve earned it. McCain decried agents of intolerance, then chose a running mate who had to ask if she was allowed to ban books from a public library. It’s not bad enough she thinks the planet Earth was created in six days 6,000 years ago complete with a man, a woman and a talking snake, she wants schools to teach the rest of our kids to deny geology, anthropology, archaeology and common sense too? It’s not bad enough she’s forcing her own daughter into a loveless marriage to a teenage hood, she wants the rest of us to guide our daughters in that direction too? It’s not enough that a woman shouldn’t have the right to choose, it should be the law of the land that she has to carry and deliver her rapist’s baby too? I don’t know whether or not Governor Palin has the tenacity of a pit bull, but I know for sure she’s got the qualifications of one. And you’re worried about seeming angry? You could eat their lunch, make them cry and tell their mamas about it and God himself would call it restrained. There are times when you are simply required to be impolite. There are times when condescension is called for!"

Today's Quote

"A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining, but wants it back the minute it begins to rain."
Mark Twain

Today's Quote

"We're going to put an end to greed!"
John McCain (9/17/08)

Whew! I've been a shrink for 30 years and I haven't figured out how to do that. This guy must be a genius... or an insane, incorrigible liar!

More About Today's Quote - Self-Sacrifice Is Not Where It's At!

Here's the quote by George Bernard Shaw:

"Self-sacrifice enables us to sacrifice other people without blushing."

Now, think about that. Pretty radical, huh? Blasphemous, even, to the martyrs of the world. The great Irish playwright is saying in most simple terms that those who sacrifice themselves feel justified in sacrificing others. If this is so, can we not conversely conclude that self-love and healthy self-centeredness must lead us to do what benefits all others, as well?

Here's a long passage from a Pathwork Guide lecture on the "MISCONCEPTION ABOUT SELFISHNESS."

The Guide:

"People very frequently think -- and if they do not do so consciously, they feel it unconsciously -- that whatever brings them happiness must be damaging to someone else. Hence, it is inevitable that your conscience bothers you every time you are happy, whether you were actually selfish or not. This guilt is bound to afflict your inner will for happiness.

Your unconscious concept is that if you enjoy something, your pleasure will automatically be at the expense of somebody else. Since you were taught that it is wrong to be selfish, you feel you must suppress your 'selfish' desire. You fail to distinguish whether your desires are actually selfish or not, and you indiscriminately suppress all desires. In the belief that all desires for happiness are selfish, you do not dare to desire at all. In the process of suppression, unable to distinguish one from the other, you lump together the really selfish with the really healthy desires which have nothing whatever to do with selfishness. Thus, you have no way of sorting them out, of judging, of coming to terms with them. Only then would you be in a position to freely decide for some desires and against some others.

In short, this is the unconscious concept: since desires aim for happiness and wanting happiness is selfish, I must suppress all desires. You do not realize that as they are driven out they continue their existence underground. The really selfish desires in your unconscious make you feel guilty, but so also do the rightful desires. Both continue to claim and clamor inside of you, often without your awareness. On top of all this, the prohibition you inflict on them makes you resentful. You resent the world for not allowing you to be happy, while in reality it is your wrong conclusion about happiness that is the cause. In the process of suppression of all desires and impulses, the childish and therefore actually selfish ones cannot mature and refine themselves. This can happen only if they are faced and dealt with in awareness. As a consequence, your legitimate and healthy desires and impulses, which are not selfish in the least, cannot find fulfillment.

You are all weighed down by the unconscious conclusion that something is selfish merely because it makes you happy. This is very tragic, my friends. It is a needless cost you pay in happiness and joy. You dare not wish for happiness simply because you fail to discriminate between actual and imagined selfishness. Every time a rightful and healthy impulse for self-expression manifests, you feel and think of it as if it were your really immature and crude selfishness.

The question now is how to treat the real selfishness that exists in the immature part of every human being. The usual and wrong way to handle this is to suppress it and superimpose a compulsive unselfishness that is not genuine. Out of the superimposition stems the unconscious concept that it would actually be very pleasant to be allowed to be selfish. This notion gets a foothold within you, and you unconsciously believe that to be selfish would bring you happiness, but alas, you are not allowed to be happy. You wrongly think that should you give in to your desire for happiness, you would not be loved or approved of. Since love and approval are so necessary for you, you would rather forsake 'happiness.' The inner conflict can be stated in this way: 'If I could be selfish, I could do anything I wanted. That would mean happiness. On the other hand, I cannot be happy if I am not loved and approved of. Therefore, I must become unhappy, in order to be happy.' This sounds completely illogical, but the immature unconscious is this illogical and this contradictory. You can now see what utter confusion exists in the human soul. I am sure, you will not have too much trouble confirming similar feelings in yourself. I venture to say that this conflict exists to some extent in all human beings.

This wrong conclusion accounts for the utter hopelessness you so often feel -- a hopelessness that finds an outlet in occasional moods for which you sometimes find outer reasons and rationalizations. This very conflict is the underlying reality of your hopelessness. Were your misconception true, happiness would indeed be an impossibility. You would be justified in being hopeless if you couldn't be happy without being loved, and you cannot be loved when you are happy, for happiness is selfish according to this erroneous concept. There is unhappiness either way. You may fluctuate between the two alternatives, but whichever way you turn you find yourself unhappy and frustrated. You often rebel inwardly and try to force the people around you to break this law, or what seems to you a law. But your conviction that you are in an insoluble situation causes you to try to get out of it in the wrong way. The irony is that you try to come out of it by sometimes actually acting out your most childish and selfish impulses rather than your legitimate and healthy ones. This must offend others and provoke them to react negatively toward you. And this, in turn, convinces you anew that your predicament is indeed hopeless. Since the cause of your rebellion is unconscious, it does not occur to you to choose to act upon your healthy impulses; instead, you pick the most drastic examples for your experiment. The drastic examples are the selfish impulses. Only by a growing awareness and conscious discrimination can you be in a position to make the proper choices and so receive the proof that your conclusion was wrong. It becomes self-evident that this conflict frustrates your inner will and prohibits the deserved fulfillment of your desire.

The idea that selfishness, if allowed, would be a happier state, may be only in your unconscious mind, while consciously you know all the right answers. In that case, questioning yourself in the proper way will bring you closer to the inner contradiction. By going deeply enough, your answers will be less and less convincing, even to yourself. When this happens, you are approaching the afflicted area. Some of you, if you but took the trouble to think about it, might even find a consciously-held belief that you would be happier if you were allowed to be selfish.

Whether this misconception exists in your conscious or in your unconscious mind, how can you be freely unselfish in your actions day in and day out? Not doing the unselfish act makes you feel guilty, doing it seems to be a violation of your will and conviction. It cannot be a free act, independently chosen. Whenever you do something out of compulsion and not because you say yes to it, you cannot be at one with yourself. You must be divided, in conflict, you must lose your inner peace and your sense of rightness. How can you be happy either in doing something that makes you feel guilty, or in doing something that appears to be against your personal interests? Either alternative brings dissatisfaction.

Let us now examine why this concept is wrong. I am addressing that part of your personality where you hold the misconception. First, not everything that makes you happy is automatically selfish and damaging to another merely because it makes you happy. Quite the contrary. As a happy person, you are better able to bring happiness and joy to others. You are entitled to the same consideration for yourself as another person. Only as a free, strong, and happy person can you have fulfillment in life and be constructive in your environment. In order to accomplish this, you have to give yourself consideration, you have to respect your own rights, and they will not conflict with the interests and rights of others. If sometimes it appears that way, ascertain the truth with absolute self-honesty. There are no fixed rules to determine whether actions are right or wrong when they appear to be against the interests of another person. However, it is essential to become completely aware of all your wishes, impulses, and motives. Only in that way can you discriminate and judge which one is selfish and which one is not.

As to the actual selfishness that seems, consciously or unconsciously, so advantageous and desirable: In reality selfishness cannot offer any advantage to you, even if it seems so at the moment. The higher your consciousness is, the more absolute will this conviction be in you. At the moment it may be difficult for you to understand this truth, and then you should just strive toward this fuller vision as a goal. But the true concept cannot become part of you as long as you try to force it upon yourself; as long as you act in the right way because you think you should; as long as the decision is not wholly your own and therefore free. In the meantime, all you can and should do is to be honest with yourself.

When it still seems to you that the selfish act would be more desirable, contemplate the following: An isolated event, with all its causes and effects, will have a different aspect than the same event would in its larger context. In other words, a particular incident may actually seem to warrant the view that selfishness is advantageous. But if you follow through the chain reactions, you are bound to gain a different perspective. The different view will give you the desire and activate the free will to decide for the unselfish act rather than be driven to it as before. This in itself will make a tremendous difference. It will automatically open a new vista, showing you that selfishness is not advantageous, either now or in the long run. It is divorced from reality. As long as you see only the first effects of an action, you do not possess a view of the whole picture. It is only a segment, and the segment cannot convey the whole.

Let us say, you are shown a little stone from a big house. You can tell certain facts by looking at the stone: the quality and material, as well as the color. But you cannot tell what the house looks like from seeing the stone. You can judge neither its beauty, its architecture, nor the proportions and furnishings of the rooms.

It is the same with the inner and outer actions, attitudes, and reactions of the human being. By considering only the immediate effect, you take it upon yourself to pronounce judgment upon the whole picture with only a segment available. You need to extend your view, so that you are in a position to have a truer vision. This does not mean to accept something on faith; nor does it mean that by being good, you will be rewarded in the hereafter. The effect of right action can be seen here and now, while you are still on this earth plane.

When you think or feel that selfishness would be to your advantage, you are leaving out the obvious. You fail to connect cause and effect, and therefore your view is blurred. But you do not need supernatural vision or metaphysical knowledge to put two and two together. You need only to think, reach a little further, and see what is right in front of your eyes.

Let us suppose you have to make a choice between a selfish and an unselfish act. The unselfish act does not seem to bring you benefit, at least not directly. However, if you are objectively convinced that it is beneficial as such, be it for the world at large or for a small group, or for one other person, it is bound to benefit you too in some way, perhaps not always immediately, but often much sooner than you think. This conviction will grow in you. It will become an inner fact, but only if you have made a full and wholehearted decision for the unselfish act. Decide for it only because you are convinced it is right, and not compulsively, because you want to receive a reward, whether in the form of affection, love, approval, or to obligate others, or because you believe that God will reward you for having been a good child. Your action must be self-chosen for its own sake, regardless who seems to benefit from it immediately. When you do so, you will be at one with yourself. This will widen your horizon and raise your consciousness to the necessary maturity. The truth will then dawn on you that selfishness is not advantageous and is definitely not in your interest. Or, to put it differently, unselfishness is healthily "selfish."

I said before that performing an unselfish act for a reward turns the act into a selfish one. However, if you do the right thing in the right and mature way without ulterior motives and out of free choice, you will reap a reward of another sort, namely the good feeling of being at one with yourself, the security that only self-respect can offer. To do something wholeheartedly gives added self-respect that is a decided advantage manifesting in many ways. It will give you, among other things, the strength to overcome many a weakness for which you may despise yourself. It will reduce certain fears and anxieties, especially when dealing with other people. Your fear of others is always based on your feeling weak and inadequate. By coming to terms with your confusions, by making independent decisions for carrying out unselfish acts, thus being at one with yourself, you gain the self-respect which reduces the very inadequacy and self-contempt that make you weak and fearful toward others.

I cannot emphasize strongly enough that it is all-important whether or not you act unselfishly because you truly want to or because you think you have to. As long as the conviction that makes you want to is lacking, you have to continue the work of self-search, of examining your motives and concepts in comparison with objective truth, until you arrive at the point of conviction. Only then are you capable of making a free choice that is not driven by compulsion. This, in turn, will show you that unselfishness is not a yoke that you have to take on against your inner conviction. Instead, you will see without a doubt that unselfishness is really "selfish" in a healthy sense, and that it is to your advantage, provided your motives are right, your decision free, your reactions mature.

This will free you of the misconception that selfishness could make you happy if you were allowed to indulge in it. The other misconception, that happiness is selfish and is therefore forbidden, exists because of this misconception. Because of these wrong conclusions, your inner will cannot function, cannot flow out of you. Each time the desire for happiness manifests, a little inner voice prohibits it so that the inner will is broken. The desire may be reborn on an outer level, but, as I said before, the outer will cannot suffice in bringing you to any goal: it will only tear you apart; it will destroy your inner strength, serenity, and peace.

Try, all of you, to recognize your will; where it comes from, how it feels. If and when you find the inner will blocked, examine where and why you have doubts about the rightfulness of your desire. At times this suspicion may be justified because your desire may actually be harmful to others or to yourself. At times, your desire may be justified, but many unconscious, unhealthy motives may exist together with the healthy ones. At times, a wish may be wholly right and good, but your misconceptions -- about selfishness as well as in other areas -- may prohibit the inner will to function."

Deepak Chopra & The Obama and the Palin Effect (Part 2)


Go HERE ( and check it out!

Today's Quote

"Self-sacrifice enables us to sacrifice other people without blushing."
George Bernard Shaw


In the current Weekly Standard, Steven Hayward argues that the nation’s founders wanted "uncertified citizens" to hold the highest offices in the land. They did not believe in a separate class of professional executives. They wanted "rough and rooted people," says Hayward, "like Sarah Palin."

Here's the usually right-leaning David Brooks, in today's NY Times, struggling with reality about Hayward's illusion:

"I would have more sympathy for this view if I hadn’t just lived through the last eight years. For if the Bush administration was anything, it was the anti-establishment attitude put into executive practice. And the problem with this attitude is that, especially in his first term, it made Bush inept at governance. It turns out that governance, the creation and execution of policy, is hard. It requires acquired skills. Most of all, it requires 'prudence.' What is prudence? It is the ability to grasp the unique pattern of a specific situation. It is the ability to absorb the vast flow of information and still discern the essential current of events — the things that go together and the things that will never go together. It is the ability to engage in complex deliberations and feel which arguments have the most weight."

Right you are, David... until you get it wrong about how one acquires "prudence."


"How is prudence acquired? Through experience. The prudent leader possesses a repertoire of events, through personal involvement or the study of history, and can apply those models to current circumstances to judge what is important and what is not, who can be persuaded and who can’t, what has worked and what hasn’t."

Sorry, David, but prudence, or wisdom, is not a function of experience, but of the ability to LEARN from experience, which requires openness of mind and connectedness in feeling. The development of prudence comes from flexibility, empathy, patience and emotional intelligence. That is why Sarah Palin, with so little experience, AND John McCain, with so much, are both not qualified to be president and vice president.

You almost got it right... again, David. Keep trying.

Today's Quote

"And since you know you cannot see yourself,
so well as by reflection, I, your glass,
will modestly discover to yourself,
that of yourself which you yet know not of."
William Shakespeare

Today's AMAZING Quotes !

In a stunning reshaping of America's financial landscape, two venerable Wall Street firms fell from the shock waves of a credit crisis that has plunged the financial system into turmoil, as stocks tumbled across the globe Monday. Lehman Brothers, a 158-year-old investment bank choked by the credit crisis and falling real estate values, filed for Chapter 11 protection in the biggest bankruptcy filing ever and said it was trying to sell off key business units.

Here's what John McCain and George Bush said about it this morning:

"Our economy, I think, still the fundamentals of our economy are strong."
John McCain

"Adjustments in the financial markets can be painful, both for people concerned about their investments and for the employees of the affected firms."
George W. Bush


I will post the transcript when it becomes available because I just heard it on the radio... But, yes, that is correct, I just heard Bill O'Reilly saying that John McCain's ads claiming Barack Obama supported teaching kindergarteners about sex and claiming that Obama meant to call Sarah Palin a pig were lies, as in lies, and McCain, O'Reilly said, was out of line for doing it and was not being a "stand up guy."

So, now, in the course of 2 days, Karl Rove and Bill O'Reilly have said the same thing about John McCain's negative, dishonest ads against Barack Obama. They're lies!


"JOE" responds to the article on "WHAT MAKES PEOPLE VOTE REPUBLICAN?"


Wow! The whole article is a real eye-opener on the complex psychology of how and why we align ourselves politically. A great read! Thanks Peter!

Follow-up to PL's "TRICKLE THIS!"

This is a piece, called, "WHAT MAKES PEOPLE VOTE REPUBLICAN?", by Jonathan Haidt, Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia, where he does research on morality and emotion and how they vary across cultures.

Here's an excerpt:

" What makes people vote Republican? Why in particular do working class and rural Americans usually vote for pro-business Republicans when their economic interests would seem better served by Democratic policies? We psychologists have been examining the origins of ideology ever since Hitler sent us Germany's best psychologists, and we long ago reported that strict parenting and a variety of personal insecurities work together to turn people against liberalism, diversity, and progress. But now that we can map the brains, genes, and unconscious attitudes of conservatives, we have refined our diagnosis: conservatism is a partially heritable personality trait that predisposes some people to be cognitively inflexible, fond of hierarchy, and inordinately afraid of uncertainty, change, and death. People vote Republican because Republicans offer "moral clarity"—a simple vision of good and evil that activates deep seated fears in much of the electorate. Democrats, in contrast, appeal to reason with their long-winded explorations of policy options for a complex world."

You can read the whole piece HERE.

Today's Quote

“I find that because of modern technological evolution and our global economy, and as a result of the great increase in population, our world has greatly changed: it has become much smaller. However, our perceptions have not evolved at the same pace; we continue to cling to old national demarcations and the old feelings of 'us' and 'them'.”
Dalai Lama


A lot of people don't know this about me, but before I became a social worker and psychotherapist, I was a 4.00 (straight A) undergraduate student with a double major in Economics and Accounting. (How I came to be who I am today is a long story, but...) Although I now mostly work with the inner lives of people who are seeking self-actualization, my fascination with observing the macro-systems of our society has always remained. In fact, combining the two fields of study offers me a particular - and I like to think - interesting perspective.

Here's what I see, in the face of the historic collapse of Wall Street, the housing market and the mortgage industry now wrecking our economy as I write this - and this relates to why I've been posting my series, "HOW STUPID ARE WE?"

There are still a number of people out there, enough of them left in the United States to be enabling the disasters befalling our country at every level, who actually still believe in the theory of "trickle-down economics."

Just to clarify, the "trickle-down" economic theory states that increases in the wealth of the rich are good for the middle class and poor because some of such additional wealth will eventually trickle down to the middle class and to the poor. The theory states that if the top income earners make even more, they'll invest more into business, infrastructure and equity markets, which will in turn lead to more jobs for middle class and poor individuals as well as better goods and services at lower prices for the same middle and poor classes. Thus, according to this theory, regulation of the wealth of the wealthy is counterproductive because the enhancement of the lives of the benevolent wealthy will lead to the betterment of all.

Now, I know, on the face of it, most of my readers wouldn't believe that anyone could possibly be so naive or gullible enough to buy into such an obvious con, but let me tell you something, folks - there are many, many people out there who are still desperately seeking an idealized good parent, one who will happily share their wealth and power and look out for the "little ones" that so many of us unfortunately still want to be. These imaginary good parents, of course, don't have a greedy, narcissistic, psychopathic bone in their bodies, nor any nefarious intentions towards others whatsoever. They are, in other words, what are real parents were not.

You would think that believing such a thing is incredible in the face of the scandals and rip-offs perpetrated by so many of the wealthy and powerful in the last few decades, right? Ha! I can tell you, believers are everywhere, and the political arms of the nefarious and greedy (those who've co-opted and falsely named their psychopathic intentions a "conservative movement") have learned exactly how to fool them and win the "kids" over - with fear of The Other and the wrath of moral judgments that have their roots in our childhood sexual conflicts.

My own working-class father, now living in rural upstate New York, has voted for these characters over and over, in spite of the toll their policies have taken on him economically. But Ronald Reagan seemed like an amiable father, and George W. seems like a righteous guy you'd - UGH! - want to have a beer with. John McCain seems like the grumpy but brave grandfather we wished we'd had, and Sarah Palin, the clear-eyed, firm, baby-making machine we fantasized our mothers were. Yes, that makes people like my father feel secure... even as they're filling out their bankruptcy papers and paying taxes through the nose.

Give up on your parents, folks. Because holding onto the need for imaginary good parents means that you have to stay a child, which ultimately means you end up in a nursing home, broke and alone, but getting all of your needs totally taken care of by someone else.


In a "Dear John" letter to presidential candidate, John McCain, Erica Jong takes umbrage at the selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate.


"Dear John McCain,
We're not that stupid. Sure it would be nice if the women of America believed that everyone with breasts and a vagina believed in equality. But it ain't so. To take the struggle for equal rights that has gone on for two centuries and embody it in the person of Sarah Palin is not just misleading but abusive. Charging rape victims for rape kits is a travesty of equal rights. Insisting that government impose your own views of abortion on others is anti-equality. Cutting funding for black teenage mothers is anti-feminist and racist. Lying to the electorate about your record is insolent. Do you think we're too stupid or indolent to check? We have checked. You are lying and so is she."

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