THE STAGES OF HEALING: THE SELF REVISITED, THE SELF REBORN (PART THREE!)

STAGE THREE: ENERGIZING, MOVING AND RELEASING FEELINGS

Here's the third installment from my training class on the Stages of Healing that I taught to prospective therapists a while ago. Readers will note that the stages of healing in therapy move along with what should be the natural stages of our development.

Whatever the person’s stated reasons for coming to therapy are, and regardless of the symptoms, the main problem of every “patient” (person in pain) is that they are not as happy as they feel they could be. (This does not mean that every patient’s “goal” in therapy is going to be finding happiness, nor does it mean that every patient is going to stick around until they do.)
Emotions are the movements of energy in the body which are perceived and interpreted by the mind in order to decide upon an action relative to the emotion. Joy, pleasure, love and happiness are emotions which, under natural circumstances, move us toward the sources of the “positive” stimulation. Pain, fear and anger move us away from the catalysts of those feelings. However, if we are unable to move towards the sources of pleasure or away from the causes of pain, as is the case when we are helpless and dependent in childhood, we go into a crisis that feels life-threatening to the child. The only recourse to the child in such a situation is to try and move away from the feelings themselves. To do this, she will clench her muscles and distort her body structure to inhibit the flow of energy. While this approach seems to avoid the unpleasantness of the “negative” feelings, it also makes the experience of happiness and pleasure equally inhibited.
These characterological defensive structures are built into the body as well as the mind and therefore cannot be dismantled with insight and awareness (the mind) alone. The body must be engaged in a therapy process if the aim is to facilitate the person’s full capacity to experience real happiness and pleasure. Only minimal and partial relief can be attained through minimal and partial therapies, and very often, the positive results of limited therapies often don’t last because the person’s basic defensive structure has been left intact. (In many cases, however, patients - and therapists - are satisfied with Freud’s “goal” for therapy, once expressed in his famous quote that “the best psychoanalysis can offer is a return to a state of common unhappiness.”)
A fully therapeutic bodywork psychotherapy includes working with the physical/emotional aspects of the person in the following ways: 1. Unblocking, loosening and strengthening; 2. Expressing; and 3. Restructuring.
Knots, kinks, contracted or overextended muscles, etc., can be directly worked on by the therapist to aid the unblocking, loosening and strengthening. Hitting, kicking, stamping, jumping, screaming, shouting, biting, etc., can all be used to facilitate the expression and release of long-held emotions. Corrective breathing and vocal toning, various posture and movement techniques and skeletal adjustments, as well as detoxifying, internal cleansing programs can all be used to help the freeing-up person restructure their bodies to prepare for “full permission living.” (Rolling can be used for everything!)

AND ON THE REALLY LIGHTER SIDE - THE PARK SLOPE FOOD COOP STILL HASN'T GROWN-UP!!

Before I became infamous around Park Slope for lambasting narcissistic parents bringing their tots to bars and fine dining restaurants, I started out as a critic of the self-righteous, self-serving club out here known as the Park Slope Food Coop

Well, CLICK HERE to read an article that was in the NY Times this past weekend about the nefarious PSFC.

This is an excerpt:

"I BOUNDED off the Q train in Brooklyn one night last winter and headed to Union Street, past the yogurt shop and the firehouse, to do some grocery shopping. But my plans soon went awry.
'You’re suspended,' the entrance worker at the Park Slope Food Coop announced as I swiped my membership card. Some entrance workers speak softly, but not this one. Worse, there were a dozen other shoppers within earshot.
Flushed, defeated and taken aback — I knew I owed the co-op some work, but I didn’t know I had been blacklisted — I slunk around the corner for a takeout burrito. But no amount of mushrooms and spinach could diminish my shame and guilt.

Below is a piece I wrote for the ONLY THE BLOG KNOWS BROOKLYN blog a while ago about why I quit the coop:

Well, count me among those who just recently left the co-op. After 3 years, I finally had enough of the Soviet-style Communism masquerading as socialism (which OTBKB commenter Michael reminded us is rooted in the philosophy: to each according to their needs, from each according to their means).
The PSFC's "love us or get out" attitude is hardly exemplary of anything resembling cooperative. I have been a supporter of sustainable agriculture for two decades. One of my best friends was executive director of the largest activist organization in the country for sustainable agriculture and even she told me that the PSFC hard-core were notoriously known as the Co-op Nazi's - even in those liberal circles!
And oh yeah, on Fairway, first of all, you totally DON'T need a car - the F train to Smith and 9th and the 77 bus is a quick and easy route, and with no long lines AND FREE home delivery for orders over a hundred dollars, we have saved hours over the co-op life every week, AND don't let anyone lie to you, the prices are totally comparable to the co-op's, in some cases significantly cheaper, and they have ever-expanding organic sections, including beautiful organic meats and chicken. By adding the two local greenmarkets in Prospect Park on Wednesday and Saturday to our bi-monthly trips to Fairway, our food-shopping life has once again become pleasurable.
The bottom line is this: like most fascist regimes, the PSFC's dogma has ended up superceeding its original mission, which in this case was to help local, small, organic farmers stay in business and help consumers obtain healthy food. I believe in sustainable agriculture as a way of life. I'm also very busy as a psychotherapist, writer and parent of two kids. Most other serious food co-ops in the country today allow members the option to work at the co-op and pay lower prices, or not work and pay higher prices. Who does that hurt? Really?

TODAY'S QUOTE!

"In order to win a World Series, you have to get there first."
Alex Rodriguez (on the occasion of the NY Yankees winning the American League Pennant last night)

THE STAGES OF HEALING: THE SELF REVISITED, THE SELF REBORN (PART TWO!)

STAGE TWO: UNCOVERING BELIEFS AND IMAGES

Here's the second installment from my training class on the Stages of Healing that I taught to prospective therapists a while ago. Readers will note that the stages of healing in therapy move along with what should be our natural stages of development. In this relationship, both the patient and the therapist have responsibilities that intertwine.

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.

NICOLAS on "THE MASOCHISTIC CHARACTER STRUCTURE" - PL RESPONDS!

Here's Nicolas:

Wow, Peter, I have been reading your posts, but this one is really hitting me because it's exactly me.

Can you recommend any literature or a program or anything that will help me grow as a person and be able to keep the good qualities of my character, but overcome the qualities that are so restricting me in my daily and overall life?
I'm so tired of punishing myself, being retentive and not being able to express my feelings. Almost all that know me think I'm smart and wise, but it's so hard on me to try to please almost all, all the time, most of the time hurting my wants in the process. I don't want to become selfish and an ass, just to be able to live life freely and fully with respect towards everyone, but also towards myself. I understand my weaknesses/problems but I'm not able to overcome them on my own. I'm trying hard, but it's just a pretense and I can't fool even myself.
I need a fundamental change in approach towards life I think.

Great blog Peter, keep it up, I'm sure many people appreciated it, I certainly do.

Best regards
Nicolas

Here's PL:

Thank you, Nicolas! It is always encouraging to hear from someone with a strong desire to see himself or herself and willing to reach out for guidance. That courageous humility is what we all need personally and as a society to heal all of our wounds and dysfunctions. In order to break through one's character structure, masochistic or otherwise, and to arrive to a place of freedom and self-actualization, it does indeed require the help of another, and specifically that help should be in the form of a healing process that addresses both the subconscious inner world of our beliefs and the blocks in our emotional lives and physical bodies that keep us in that hamster wheel of repetition. I suggest looking for a mind-body therapist, perhaps trained in Bioenergetics or Core Energetics or something similar. If you truly intend this for yourself, you will indeed find the right person for this noble purpose.
Keep me posted!
PL

PL ON NEFARIOUS HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES - ELEVEN YEARS AGO!

Here's a letter I recently discovered that I wrote to the NY Times, in response to an editorial by Russell Baker, over eleven years ago about the corrupt tactics of insurance companies:

"To the Editor:

Russell Baker’s April 17, 1998 column on the ways insurance companies now determine our choices in medical treament, while written with a humor I can appreciate, underscores what is in fact a very serious health problem. As a psychotherapist treating people with a variety of at times debilitating disorders, I have encountered time and again non-medical personnel at these insurance companies who tell me that if a disorder is not treatable in six sessions, then it must be approved in a telephone case conference - with someone who is not an expert in mental disorders. Furthermore, if the disorder is not treatable in 20 sessions or less, then it is not covered anyway. I recently asked one such representative what psychiatric disorders, other than perhaps nail-biting, were treatable in 20 sessions or less, and he was unable to answer. I prodded him further asking why they weren’t just honest and say that they will only pay for six sessions of therapy per year regardless of the condition, rather than pretending that there are disorders that could be cured in 6 to 20 sessions. Again, no answer. Meanwhile, many of my patients have found out to their unfortunate surprise that the therapy coverage they thought they had was non-existent, but like one of the insurance company reviewers candidly said to me in a recent phone conference, “It just means that people will have to pay for therapy out of pocket like they always did up until 10 years ago.” Now that’s progress.

Sincerely, Peter V. Loffredo, LCSW"

Man, that guy was ahead of his time!

THE STAGES OF HEALING: THE SELF REVISITED, THE SELF REBORN

Here's the first installment from my training class on the Stages of Healing that I taught to prospective therapists a while ago. Readers will note that the stages of healing in therapy move along with what should be our natural stages of development. In this relationship, both the patient and the therapist have responsibilities that intertwine.

Stage 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 d├ęcor 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 THERAPUETIC 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 QUOTE!

"I was 22 or 23 when I made a decision not to be actively Hamlet-like and miserable. Living vitally is not easier than living morbidly- it's just better."
Stephen Colbert

"Jujutomb's" comment on PL's post: "JUJUTOMB' IS TALKING BASEBALL! PL TALKS BACK?!"

Hi Peter!
Thank you for your comments! I appreciated your post on baseball...I just thought I would make my opinion "heard" and it was great doing so thru your funny and entertaining blog!
All in good spirit!

TODAY'S QUOTE!

"Dear G.P. - There are some things which should be writ before we are married, things we have talked over before most of them. In our life together, I shall not hold you to any medieval code of faithfulness to me, nor shall I consider myself bound to you similarly. Please let us not interfere with the other's work or play, nor let the world see our private joys or disagreements. In this connection, I may have to keep some place where I can go to be myself now and then, for I cannot guarantee to endure all the confinements of even an attractive cage. I must extract a cruel promise, and that is you will let me go in a year if we find no happiness together."
Amelia Earheart (in a note to her prospective husband on the morning of their wedding day)

SEX! SEX!! SEX!!!

Whenever I reference the word "sex" or "sexuality" or anything remotely related to the sensual on this blog, the number of people who come here triples! As in TRIPLES!

So, why is that?

Well, just do a search on my blog for any words related to sex and you'll get an understanding.

We are a very sexually repressed country compared to most other western cultures. Only the very repressive regimes that we seem to be constantly at war with are more sexually repressed than the U.S. - Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, etc. We basically are at war with the other countries in the world who are extremely sexually dysfunctional and who repress the women in their culture along with the feminine aspects of life. Sad to say, but that's the club we belong to. They are our siblings that we are in rivalrous relationships with. The French, the British, the Scandinavian countries, even Japan, wouldn't engage in battle with us because they have no interest in our infantile, pseudo-religious and puritanical retrogressive attitudes. They have no need to prove that their God is right, no need to debate whether or not women should have the right to decide what to do with their bodies, etc.

We have fallen behind, folks.

The Islamic world was once the flower of Planet Earth, the most enlightened, the most scientifically innovative and technologically advanced culture of its time, and a true world power. But when they refused to move with the western cultures towards the liberation of women, around 500 years ago, Islam began to fall behind.

The United States runs the same risk.

During the last forty years of right wing rule, while we have focused on suppressing the rights of women and homosexuals and anyone who would dare to celebrate sex other than for procreation, we have fallen behind in technology, science and education, and now finally, our economy is in shambles, as well. This is not a coincidence, but cause and effect.

Think about it.

Study history.

Think about it.

Then, come on people, come visit me tonight because of the title of this blog entry, and demonstrate how much we need to free ourselves up sexually in order to enter the modern, enlightened world.

REPOST: YOU ARE THE ONLY GAME THAT ISN'T RIGGED! READ: "THE GREAT AMERICAN BUBBLE MACHINE!!"

THIS is beyond great journalism; this is brilliance! Matt Taibbi has written an article for Rolling Stone Magazine, called "THE GREAT AMERICAN BUBBLE MACHINE," that demonstrates in crystal clear fashion two things: how utterly corrupt and manipulated and nefarious our financial and government institutions are and what a really smart, persistent, fearless reporter, who isn't a dumbed-down shill or low-brow entertainer like most these days, can do.

This is scholarship at its best!

There is nothing economically natural about the cycles of busts and booms that have afflicted the American and world economies throughout our history. From day one, our markets in stocks, housing and commodities have been manipulated by the likes of Goldman Sachs with the assistance of sleazy politicians - of whom there seem to no longer be any other kind - greasing the way with legal chicanery and tricks, while greasing their own grubby palms with graft and pay-offs.

If you really want to understand what has happened to our economy, and also understand why the only truly safe investment is in yourself, in your own soulful, Higher Self-given gifts, read this. And weep!

And thank you, Matt!


You are the only game that isn't rigged, folks... ...if you do the work to free up and become yourself.

HAS WILMA HIT BOTTOM? OR IS THAT BEDROCK?!

A new poll from Gallup reveals that Sarah Palin's approval rating has plummeted to an all-time low.
According to the survey, the former vice presidential candidate maintains a 40% favorability rating, the lowest it has been since she emerged as a national political figure at last year's Republican convention. Over the course of Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) presidential campaign Palin's "image suffered," declining from a 53% rating when she debuted as the senator's running mate to a 42% rating by the end of the campaign.
Gallup's findings emerge in light of the highly-anticipated release of Palin's memoir, "Going Rogue: An American Life." Buzz in the political realm suggests that Palin could run for president in 2012, but it seems that the conservative sensation faces a steep upward battle to broaden her viability and appeal.

HARTKITT responds to "HARTKITT WITH SOME INTERESTING RESPONSES..."

Here's HK:

Sorry. I need to have a little sign that says "sarcasm" when I'm being sarcastic. My pan apparently is TOO dead. Perhaps a warning: "Caution: the following sentence may contain comments that do not represent actual opinions held by the speaker/writer. May also contain dead-pan humor, facetiousness, tongue-in-cheek remarks and sarcasm."


PL:

Not at all, HK. I like your style!

REPOST: FROM YOUR DRUG COMPANY TO YOU!

This is from the drug companies themselves. In other words, this isn't even from the people who are anti-drug treatment for the common symptoms of a life ignored, but from the companies who actually offer the magic pills as a remedy.

You ready?

"Common side effects of FLOMAX are runny nose, dizziness and decrease in semen. A sudden decrease in blood pressure may occur upon standing, rarely resulting in fainting. So when starting FLOMAX, avoid situations where injury could result. If considering cataract surgery, tell your eye surgeon you have taken FLOMAX capsules."

Hmm. Not too bad.
What about the possible side effects of XANAX?

"Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
• unusual risk-taking behavior, decreased inhibitions, no fear of danger;
• depressed mood, thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself;
• hyperactivity, agitation, hostility, hallucinations;
• feeling light-headed, fainting;
• seizure (convulsions);
• urinating less than usual or not at all;
• muscle twitching, tremor; or
• jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Less serious side effects are more likely to occur, such as:
• drowsiness, dizziness, feeling irritable;
• amnesia or forgetfulness, trouble concentrating;
• sleep problems (insomnia);
• muscle weakness, lack of balance or coordination, slurred speech;
• blurred vision;
• nausea, vomiting, constipation, appetite or weight changes;
• dry or watery mouth, increased sweating; or
• loss of interest in sex."

Whew! Okay, what about a little help with sleeping? This is from the AMBIEN site:

"Serious side effects may include temporary amnesia, drug dependence, withdrawal symptoms when the drug is stopped after being used on a regular basis, excessively outgoing or aggressive behavior, confusion, agitation, strange behavior, hallucinations, depression, and suicidal thoughts."

Okay, fine, then, how about our favorite...

"Possible side effects of VIAGRA:
Headache
Flushing
Dyspepsia
Nasal Congestion
Urinary Tract Infection
Abnormal Vision
Diarrhea
Dizziness
Rash
• Only Viagra® causes color-vision problems.
• Cialis® causes muscle aches in about 5 percent of patients.
• Viagra® and Levitra® last about four hours in the bloodstream. Cialis® stays in the bloodstream much longer (it has a 17.5-hour half life) and can therefore be effective for more than a day."

Man, that's a lot of suffering to get it up, especially at an age when we should still be able to get it up naturally... if we weren't so fat, drunk and depressed.

What about RITALIN for hyperactive kids? Again, this is from the drug company website:

"Stop taking methylphenidate and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
• fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeats;
• feeling light-headed, fainting;
• increased blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision, trouble concentrating, chest pain, numbness, seizure);
• fever, sore throat, and headache with a severe blistering, peeling, and red skin rash;
• aggression, restlessness, hallucinations, unusual behavior, or motor tics (muscle twitches); or
• easy bruising, purple spots on your skin.
Continue taking methylphenidate and talk with your doctor if you have any of these less serious side effects:
• vision problems;
• mild skin rash;
• dizziness;
• nervous feeling, sleep problems (insomnia);
• nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite; or
• weight loss."

Oh yeah, definitely a drug we should consider for kids, right?!

How about these three drug options for high blood pressure:

"BETA-BLOCKERS — Acebutolol (Sectral), atenolol (Tenormin), metoprolol (Lopressor, Mepressor, Merol), nadolol (Corgard), pindolol (Visken), propranolol (Inderal) or timolol (Blocadren) may cause insomnia, cold hands and feet, tiredness or depression, a slow heartbeat or symptoms of asthma. Impotence may occur. If you have diabetes and you’re taking insulin, have your responses to therapy monitored closely.
ACE INHIBITORS — These drugs, such as captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), lisinopril (Zestril or Prinivil), may cause a skin rash; loss of taste; a chronic dry, hacking cough most common side effect; and in rare instances, kidney damage.
Angiotensin II receptor blockers — These drugs may cause occasional dizziness.
Calcium channel blockers — Diltiazem (Cardizem), nicardipine (Cardene), Nifedipine (Procardia) and verapamil (Calan or Isoptin) may cause palpitations, swollen ankles edema, constipation, headache or dizziness. Side effects with each of these drugs differ a great deal."

I don't know, what do you think? Is our medical-pharmaceutical-corporate-political complex really operating in our best interest? Are we really so dumb and numb and easily hypnotized that we just walk into zombiehood without protest? I'd love to hear from you.
PL

Full permission Living

TODAY'S BONUS QUOTE!

"Try to remember that working's no crime, just don't let 'em take or waste your time."
James Taylor

TODAY'S QUOTES!

“A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt

“The radical of one century is the conservative of the next. The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out, the conservative adopts them.”
Mark Twain

“By 'radical,' I understand one who goes too far; by 'conservative,' one who does not go far enough; by 'reactionary,' one who won't go at all.”
Woodrow Wilson

"HARTKITT" WITH SOME INTERESTING RESPONSES TO 2 OF PL'S POSTS ON CHILDREARING!

The only thing is, Hartkitt, I can't exactly tell because of your tongue-in-cheek style which side of the fence you're coming down on. In any case, I appreciate your posts!

Here's Hartkitt on PL's post "PUT THOSE KIDS TO BED!":

Laugh or cry? I don't know.

I gather you forgot that a proper parent makes damn sure that their children:
-are engaged in going to, being in, and coming from school from 7:30am to 3:30pm
-participate in at least one team sport after school and on weekends
-participates in a creative activity after school such as playing a musical instrument and practices diligently between lessons
-completes all 4 hours of homework assigned
-completes the allotted time assigned by the school for beneficial reading
-participates in a healthful, supervised and appropriate social life
-volunteers in church and community
- etc etc

What's with this "sleep" you speak of?

Here's Hartkitt on PL's "MANIFESTO OF THE IDLE PARENT:"

Reading this post sent me off on one of those hours-long internet research trails so thanks for that! :)

Anyway, at it's heart the Scylla and Charybdis of the parenting world are "Stranger Danger" and "helping our kids get ahead in an increasingly competitive world." To address either properly requires 24/365 attention and labor from both kids and parents.

I've heard a number of people say that they would LIKE to let their kids hang out, play outside, be normal kids and not have to be Hyper Supervision Parent all the time but it's too dangerous. So, one might ask, is it REALLY too dangerous?

For some nice, grim statistics that address what really threatens our children: http://www.childdeathreview.org/spotlightNY.htm

The study on this page details what kids in NYC are actually dying from.

the blog of “America’s Worst Mom,”: http://freerangekids.wordpress.com/

http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/sharks/attacks/relarisk.htm (always one of my favorites for putting irrational fears in perspective. Most deadly animal in the US?: Deer!)

Have fun and don't take candy from strangers.

TOO LOW-BROW EVEN FOR FOOTBALL?!!?

"I myself couldn't even think of voting for him," said Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, speaking from the NFL's fall ownership meetings in Boston on Rush Limbaugh's desire to be an NFL owner.

Asked if he'd spoken to other owners about Limbaugh's candidacy, Irsay said, "I haven't and I don't think I would even go to the point of talking to Tony Dungy, Jim Caldwell, Dwight Freeney, talking to those men and seeing what their positions are. I'm very sensitive to know there are scars out there. I think as a nation we need to stop it. Our words do damage and it's something that we don't need. We need to get to a higher level of humanity and we have.

And the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said here Tuesday that it would be inappropriate for the owner of an NFL franchise to make the sort of controversial statements attributed in the past to Limbaugh.

"I've said many times before we're all held to a high standard here, and I think divisive comments are not what the NFL is all about," Goodell said at an NFL owners' meeting. "I would not want to see those comments coming from people who are in a responsible position in the NFL, absolutely not."

Wow! Too rude even for football!

TODAY'S LOL HEADLINE (BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE LYING LIARS): "GOP DECLARES JACKIE ROBINSON A REPUBLICAN!!!

Jackie, the first African-American to play "official" major league baseball, once supported his friend, the very moderate Republican, Nelson Rockefeller against the very right wing Barry Goldwater. So, this week, the Republican Party tried to co-opt Jackie for their own PR purposes. But you know, when you're a lying liar, the Truth is always problematic.

Here's Jackie in his own words:

"Every chance I got, while I was campaigning, I said plainly what I thought of the right-wing Republicans and the harm they were doing. I felt the GOP was a minority party in term of numbers of registered voters and could not win unless they updated their social philosophy and sponsored candidates and principles to attract the young, the black, and the independent voter. I said this often from public, and frequently Republican, platforms. By and large Republicans had ignored blacks and sometimes handpicked a few servile leaders in the black community to be their token 'niggers.' How would I sound trying to go all out to sell Republicans to black people? They're not buying. They know better. Early in 1964 I wrote a Speaking Out piece for The Saturday Evening Post. A Barry Goldwater victory would insure that the GOP would be completely the white man's party. What happened at San Francisco when Senator Goldwater became the Republican standard-bearer confirmed my prediction. I wasn't altogether caught of guard by the victory of the reactionary forces in the Republican party, but I was appalled by the tactics they used to stifle their liberal opposition. That [1964] convention was one of the most unforgettable and frightening experiences of my life. The hatred I saw was unique to me because it was hatred directed against a white man [Rockefeller]. It embodied a revulsion for all he stood for, including his enlightened attitude toward black people."

Oops! Caught lying again!


Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/13/rnc-jackie-robinson-was-a_n_318618.html

ANONYMOUS COMMENTS ON PL'S: "FALSE CLARITY TO GENUINE CONFUSION TO GENUINE CLARITY"

Here's Anonymous:

"Wow, PL. I just want to say I LOVED this (3-part) post as well as the comments by Barry and Laura. I was in classic analysis for years and always wanted the 'official recovery roadmap'! While I realize, of course, that's not how analysis works I very much appreciate what you've done here. Great stuff!!"

PL:

Yes, I very much believe as a therapist that educating my patients - providing a "roadmap" - is a key part of any healing process that can sustain its gains. Too many "professionals" want to keep the "secrets" to themselves in order to maintain themselves in a position of power. Me? I'm trying to put myself out of business!
Thanks, Anon!

LAURA RESPONDS TO BARRY'S COMMENT ON PL'S "FALSE CLARITY TO GENUINE CONFUSION TO GENUINE CLARITY"

Here's Barry's original comment:

You inspired me to write this based on your “genuine clarity” concept (which I thought was brilliant) from my musical perspective. Being a jazz musician, I have experienced "genuine Clarity" many times This only happens when the group members are on the same level creatively, spiritually & emotionally. By transcending normal consciousness & dismissing my ego, I find myself able to contribute to the spontaneous creation of the music which seems to flow uninhibited from somewhere else. This clarity only happens when I'm in the very moment, with an open and absolutely honest attempt to make something beyond myself as pure & beautiful as possible.
I can remember when I was haunted by memories of "blowing it" while trying to create. It wasn't until I was able to not hear that demon saying " you blew it then, you'll blow it now". Once my mind & spirit was free to be in the moment, without any negativity or doubt, then I felt relaxed, confident & powerful. These personal feelings, as well as taking in similar vibrations from my fellow artists around me, enable me to let it flow & reach creative levels that I never thought I could attain.
Also, it's imperative that artists trust themselves & others around them in "taking a chance" without the fear of being humiliated. So many times a "mistake" turns out to be something quite interesting & an asset to the overall creation.
So much of being a creative artist comes from one's own quest for truth, meaning of existence & the chance to contribute to the soul & spirit of everything beautiful in our world.

Here's Laura to Barry:

I appreciated reading your comments to Peter’s “Genuine Clarity.” Being a musician myself, I can relate to some of the fears you mention. However, I was sad to read that you only experienced genuine clarity under certain conditions, or as you write, “This only happens when the group members are on the same level creatively, spiritually & emotionally.” Yikes! Having played with many other musicians myself, I’m not sure we are ever so tuned in to one another on all these levels! And yet, when we are each tuned in to our own selves, whatever level that may be, THEN we truly make music! We shouldn’t need to channel into a larger source to create “something beyond, as pure & beautiful as possible.” We need only BE ourselves as honestly as we can. Therein lies the beauty, and I think this is the beauty that an audience identifies with and, as you say, this is the moment when you really can’t miss. You can’t make a mistake when you’re this alive, so the “demon voices” are silenced, having nothing to criticize.
You end your passage beautifully; so much of being a creative artist DOES come from one’s own quest for truth. I think finding that truth and living it everyday is “genuine clarity.” Sharing it with others who have found it, music to my ears!!

"LARRY" COMMENTS ON PL'S "THE MOVEMENTS OF LIFE: EXPANSION-CONTRACTION-REST!"

Here's Larry first quoting PL from PL's post: "Rigidly holding onto the familiar, and dogged resistance to the unknown is not only the source of stagnation in a society, but it is the main cause for difficulties personally in love and work - in other words, for life in general."

Then, Larry in his own words:

"So very true. Such 'holding on' I think of as loyalty to comfort and familiarity over loyalty to our wild joy, our impulse for the opening love of life.
Enjoyed discovering your blog today."

Thanks, Larry!

DADLOFF SAYS PL'S GOT HIS "HEAD IN THE SAND." HMM...

Here's DADLOFF:

"There you go again. I don't listen to any of the talk shows because I think the are all full of crap. They don't have anything nice to say about anyone. Sometimes when I am flicking through the tv channels I come across Bill Maher. If you think he is any better than the ones you like to criticize, you have your intellectual head in the sand. The world is too full of hate already to listen to any of the vile, disgusting garbage these guys insist on promoting and that includes conservative and liberal and any one else in between. Maybe it's my age that makes me dislike all this garbage and negative comments made by these people or maybe it's because of my age that I think it is repulsive and non-productive. Do you think you are doing me or many other people any good by these comments or quotes that you insist on putting on your blog. Think again."

PL:

Well, DL, I can certainly appreciate that at your age, or any age, one's sensibilities might dictate turning away from the media, which unfortunately in so many cases, left or right or center, are ruled by ratings. I do, however, distinguish between harshness and dishonesty.

Bill Maher may be hard to swallow in his sarcasm and even outright hostility at times, but he doesn't spread lies or misinformation on his show. It's easy enough to look that up, and easy enough to do the research to find out how much of what is presented as information on FOX News, for example, is patently false or grossly distorted.

You know, as an analogy, I would rather have a gruff doctor with a harsh bedside manner who is honest and competent, than a smiling, pleasant liar telling me whatever will work to manipulate me.

Do I think I am doing you any good with my comments, DL? Absolutely not! I have written many times that it is only useful to preach to the choir, to perhaps help wake them out of their sleep from time to time. As for those who only want to obstruct or stand against progress and growth, it is only useful to expose the ignorance and slap down any acting out that intends to stop progress and growth.

Is my intellectual head in the sand? Really? Of course, if I were as harsh as Bill Maher, I might say that some people... Ahhh... nevermind!

"JUJUTOMB" IS TALKING BASEBALL! PL TALKS BACK?!

Here's Jujutomb on PL's post "WHY I STILL LOVE BASEBALL!":

Good post but I disagree when you say you don't have to be in good physical shape. Granted some pitchers are overweight (although not as overweight as a LOT of football players IMO) they nonetheless posses physical gifts and talents that people like you and me dont have. As Tim Kurkjian, a long time baseball expert puts it: "The idea here is to acknowledge the degree of difficulty of baseball. It is golf, with similar skill and concentration, but with tremendous athleticism – running, jumping, throwing, sliding, colliding, etc. – and with significant fear involved. The danger of the game is what separates baseball from golf. Ask NFL players; they want no part of that little white pearl buzzing 100 miles per hour toward the batter's body, which is usually unprotected except for a helmet with an ear flap."
Please, dont classify baseball as a leisurly stroll...fascinating, yes, complex, yes and physically demanding. We love it because it is statistical but also athletic and skillful.

Here's PL:

Okay, Jujutomb - I stand corrected. Perhaps I was trying to take some solace in the idea of excelling at a sport without having a six-pack under my shirt, but anyway, here's an interesting true tale from my adventures in athleticism -

I used to play tennis with a guy who was ten years younger than me and a tri-athlete to boot! Needless to say, I never won a match against him... except once, about five years ago or so, right around the time of my fiftieth birthday.

Here's how it happened...

Right at the start of the match, I took a wrong step and sprained my ankle. I should have stopped playing, of course, but it was a beautiful sunny day in Santa Monica (are there any other kind?), and I loved playing tennis so much, I decided to play on. I had to really favor the injured ankle and I just figured, okay, there's no way I can win today, so just relax and have fun.

Well... I beat him! I actually won my first and only match against this guy. Why? Because I had no choice but to relax and not press and just have some fun. This has been a lesson I have learned and passed on over and over to other people, regardless of what the endeavor is that one is engaged in. When we're in "the zone," we're riding a great wave, and it's important to remember that we are the "surfer" on that wave, but we are not the wave itself.

How to arrive to the zone? Just relax and have fun! Like these chubby guys!

-1 X -1 = +1. JUST DO THE MATH, DADLOFF!

DADLOFF just wrote me this:

"You know, I thought for a while, when I read your entry and the entry by L0FF56 about baseball, I said WOW, finally writing something positive and not political and abusive about people who do not agree with you and your agenda. But, I guess I was wrong. I enjoyed the baseball entries but was disappointed again when I read the entry by Alan Grayson. Back to the same old hateful and negative comments by you and all those you quote on your blog. I would really enjoy reading your blog if you would write more about things that we can all relate to instead of all this political garbage that is upsetting to me and I am sure to other people that are offended by what you put on your blog. I am sure if you do better, you will have more people signing on."

PL:

Good to hear from you, DL. It's been a while. Glad you liked the baseball posts.

In terms of my "agenda," I assume you mean my search for the Truth and my efforts to use that Truth to expose and hammer the retrogressive, psychopathic crooks and liars whose prescription drug-addled brains can't grasp anything that is new and progressive? I suppose my continuing to do that might upset some people, but fortunately, I'm not going for ratings on this blog.

Anyway, regarding your chagrin about my post of Congressman Grayson's quote...

The other night, my 12 year old stepson was explaining how a negative times a negative equals a positive in math. That's what came to mind when I read your comment, DL.

To hate someone because of the color of their skin or because of their sexual orientation or ethnic background or for any ways in which they are superficially different than oneself is a negative. No doubt, right? And, so too, hating the bigotry of the bigot is also a negative, in a way, but one that can lead to a positive.

The people that Congressman Grayson is depicting as pathetic are people who hate for hate's sake, who fear only that which is different than they are, without rational thinking or emotional connectedness. Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter and the majority of the Republican Party they rule are not voicing an opinion on anything. They are venting and spewing raw, unintegrated, uncivilized, unintelligible bile without any redeeming purpose in their intention. And if you get any of your information from them, you are a dinosaur, a Flintstonian throw-back wishing change and progress could just all go away because you don't understand it.

So, for the likes of Congressman Grayson, and me, to counter that kind of nihilistic, primitive negativity with a forceful slap across a few prehistoric snouts is exactly like -1 X -1. It equals +1.

It's not a matter of opinion.

Go Yankees!

NEVER TOO LATE TO LOVE BEING FIFTY!

Here's a blast from the not-too-distant past. Two Augusts ago I wrote a piece called "FREAKING OUT ABOUT TURNING FIFTY? HA!"

Well, someone named "Jeanne" sent me a response to the entry today!

Here's Jeanne:

"I turned 50 on the day this was posted and could not agree more. I am so excited to be entering into this next phase of life. It keeps getting better and better."
Jeanne

TODAY'S BONUS QUOTE!

Congressman Alan Grayson speaking some truth to power on The Ed Schultz Show last night. When asked what he thought of the Republicans being so negative about the President winning the Nobel Peace Prize, he responded:

"I think I understand their disappointment. They're not going to be winning the Nobel Peace Prize themselves anytime soon. They probably wish there was a Nobel Prize for fear, a Nobel Prize for hatred, a Nobel prize for racism. You know, then they'd be in the running, but I don't think they're going to be winning a Nobel Peace Prize soon."

LOFF56 on PL's: "WHY I STILL LOVE BASEBALL!"

Here's LOFF56:

Excellent thought, PL.

I'm in complete agreement with you on this one. Not to get too philosophical, but I think perhaps it's the complete statistical nature of the sport that makes it so akin to the way the universe works. It's all statistical. In the universe small anomalies in statistical patterns work out into something organized over cosmic time scales. Just like the way a manager's ability to manipulate small statistical anomalies over a very long season can win the team a pennant. Think about it, if a manager puts in a hitter that's hitting .340 against a particular pitcher versus a guy that's hitting .280, he's only increasing the odds by a mere 6 percent for that single at bat. But over the course of a season, those odds add up. But, ultimately you're at the mercy of the statistics. You can "execute" your game perfectly (by baseball statistical standards) and still lose. This is unlike any other sport. Football for example does use a ton of strategy, (probably much more than baseball), and yet perfectly executing a perfect strategy in Football will almost always lead to a win, whereas doing the same in baseball may only increase your odds of winning by 15, maybe 20 percent or so.

Baseball also relates to life in a much more complex way than any other sport. I mean, what a lesson to be learned that continuing to persevere despite a 70+ percent failure rate is the only route to success. And it's the only sport where failure can actually lead to a direct positive gain. A sacrifice bunt or a sacrifice fly are actually intentional failures designed to advance the overall chances of winning the game. In certain instances you can actually strike out, (a complete failure), and still make it to first base and ultimately maybe score a run and win the game. How deliciously odd is that?

TODAY'S QUOTE!

"The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America is ruled by it like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again. Oh, people will come, Ray. People will come most definitely come."
James Earl Jones (as "Terrance Mann" in "Field of Dreams")

WHY I STILL LOVE BASEBALL!

I don't watch football, except perhaps the Superbowl once a year - maybe. I don't watch basketball, hockey, soccer, golf, or even the Olympics (winter or summer). There isn't a principle in this. I think sports make more sense to follow most of the time than politics or fashion, and are not as bad for your brain and stomach as reality TV shows. I don't watch most sports because I don't have the time, or as I've been saying lately, "I've got shit to do!"

But baseball? I still watch baseball. Not every game, and rarely the whole game, and only the Yankees. I always have, since I was a little kid. I still remember the 9th inning World Series game Mickey Mantle won with a home run in 1964. I was there, at the old old Yankee Stadium, when I was 10 years old, with my father to witness it.

But why? Why do I still watch? Why do I still love baseball? It is a very peculiar game/sport, isn't it? The players have to develop very odd and unique skills in order to excel. And one doesn't have to be in great physical shape to be a star player either. In any one game, any one player may be standing still doing nothing for long stretches of time. And then there's the time factor. Baseball doesn't have one. Any one game can theoretically go on forever. Some games seem to. Hitters are considered at the top of their game if they actually hit just 30 percent of the time. What other career offers such a low standard for success, and will pay you millions for the effort?!

Imagine telling your boss: "Listen, I have no idea when I'll be finished with this project, but I do expect to get it thirty-percent right whenever I am done."

Baseball is contemplative in its pauses, slow and thoughtful, with frequent conferences on the pitcher's mound that anyone is invited to join in on. There are unlimited time outs to adjust one's clothing. Baseball is deeply complex in its strategies, relayed through elaborate secret signals that make a grown man look insane. And then there's the umpires, those ludicrous arbiters of reality, barking and dancing their decisions as to whether a pitch is in a viable zone or not and whether a player is safe or out at a particular base. Doesn't matter, either, that our technology actually makes umpires obsolete. They are considered almost as infallible as popes, and they are as often as the pope, wrong. Yet, you cannot argue with their decisions, or you'll risk getting a really big time out!

But none of the above actually explains why I love baseball. Ultimately, we cannot really know why we love anything, or anyone, because love is the movement of the soul, and our souls do not move according to our logic or calculations. If you ask me why I love baseball, or why I love the Beatles, or even why I love my girlfriend, I couldn't give you an accurate technical answer. I just do.

OH, AND ONE MORE THING - which has nothing specifically to do with baseball, but is a great message from "Field of Dreams" which I've repeated many times in many situations:

"Build it and they will come!"

TODAY'S QUOTE!

"She's a manifester, if there ever was one," says Guy Ritchie, Madonna's recent ex-husband. "First-rate manifester. Madonna makes things happen. Put Madonna up against any twenty-three-year-old, she'll outwork them, outdance them, outperform them. And, of course, here you go: I still love her," he says. "But she's retarded, too."

MORE ON MADONNA - THE PSYCHOPATHIC CHARACTER STRUCTURE!

The "Psychopathic Character Structure," is a real favorite of my students, patients and practitioners alike, although very few therapists are willing to work with this personality. In fact, there is a lot of thought in the field that someone with this character structure is untreatable through psychotherapy. I disagree. It's just that the challenge for a therapist in working with this person is that the level of manipulation, seductiveness and distrust in this patient is so great that the practitioner has to really roll up their sleeves and get involved. Most therapists would rather not.

Just to clarify, "psychopathic" is not synonymous with "sociopathic." While all sociopaths are psychopaths, not all psychopaths are sociopaths. In fact, many "heroes" - cops, soldiers, politicians, CEO's and Captain Kirk-types - are psychopaths, in terms of their basic defensive structure.

Again, the description below is from a 6-hour class I taught on the Psychopathic Character Structure - the fourth of five classes on character structures, which are sets of defenses that we create in early childhood and affect us deeply for the rest of our lives. Every aspect of a person's being is affected by character structures - mind, body and emotions. We create them to survive the slings and arrows of our imperfect childhoods with imperfect parents, but like the cocoon of a caterpillar, when we are ready to become self-actualized adults, we must shed them, "break through" our character structures. Not easy. It requires help. But there's no end run around it. The good news is, as you'll see in the last small but significant section below, that underneath it all is a Higher Self with great capacities and gifts to give to life.

PSYCHOPATHIC CHARACTER STRUCTURE

PRESENTING PROBLEMS (when first arriving to therapy)

- Intense fears of being defeated, humiliated, controlled, or used;
- Feelings of falseness, insincerity, and a lack of integrity;
- Feelings of emptiness and boredom, counteracted by episodes of recklessness, risk-taking and thrill-seeking behavior;
- addiction to intensity;
- Conflicts with authority (including employers, institutions and the legal system);
- Impulsive sexual acting out, promiscuity, many shallow relationships, but no real intimacy or trusting friendships;
- Criminal, sociopathic behavior; antisocial personality disorder;
- Primary falling fear: falling down;
- Primary holding pattern: holding up;
- Primary longing: to have integrity;
- Primary survival struggle: the right to trust.

EARLY ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS
(Developmental Period – Birth to 4 Years)

- One or both parents manipulated, seduced, sexualized, or otherwise used child (covertly or directly) for their own narcissistic purposes; parents instilled in the child an image of how they wanted the child to be in order for the adults to feel good about themselves;
- The parents used the child as a buffer or weapon against each other; the child was overly involved in the marital relationship;
- There was a role reversal in which the child was maneuvered, often with sexual overtones and promises of love that were never delivered, into being the pseudo-spouse or pseudo-parent to a parent (frequently of the opposite sex); the child was expected to be more than he or she was to that parent (“Mommy’s little man”; “Daddy’s little princess”);
- One or both parents invested child with feelings of specialness and importance and then rejected or ignored child, or otherwise became unavailable (frequently the parent of the opposite sex);
- One or both parents competed with the child, feeling threatened by the child’s real or imagined accomplishments, and sadistically exploited the child’s weaknesses to humiliate, control and diminish the child’s self-confidence;
- Child experienced horror from witnessing events that could not be understood or integrated, such as verbal or physical abuse (either of a violent or sexual nature); a major trauma occurred in the child’s life, usually after the second year, that could not be understood intellectually by the child and was experienced as a betrayal; (i.e. – hospitalization and surgery, exposure to sex acts by adults, witnessing extreme violence, etc., while being told that all was well by the adults, or blaming the child for the trauma);
- Parent of the same sex was significantly absent from child’s early life (due to work, illness, death or divorce, etc.).

BODY STATUS

- Body is “designed” to serve the purposes of dominating or seducing and can take almost any form, following whatever main image the person is primarily attached to (i.e.- athletic and powerful, youthful and innocent, sexual and alluring); generally, however, there are two types of body formations typical of this character structure:
1. The “overpowering type” which is inflated on top, “blown-up” looking, with a barreled chest, broad shoulders, and large head, while rigid and small in the pelvis, with small buttocks and thin legs, particularly the calves; or 2. The “seductive type” which is inflated in the pelvis (but numb to feelings there), with broad hips and hyperflexibility in the back, while deflated and immature in the chest area;
- Armoring is particularly marked in the chest, diaphragm, legs and shoulders;
- Eyes are highly charged, often large, and frequently gleaming or sparkling; in the dominating type, the eyes are penetrating and compelling; in the seductive type, they are soft and intriguing, cunning, dreamy or sleepy looking (“Bette Davis eyes”);
- Often, there is a pronounced split (correlates to a lack of integrity in the personality) between the head and the body (mature body, with a small child-like face and head, or visa versa); this split is facilitated by severe tension at the base of the skull and in the shoulder girdle, which holds the head tightly in place (“I must never lose my head.”);
- Arms tend to be immobilized and away from the body (due to the inflated chest and severe shoulder girdle tensions);
- Feet tend to be “pulled off the ground” and may be small; calves and thighs may be short and thin, even when the torso is heavy;
- Physical illnesses are often not felt or manifested until late in life due to extreme willfulness and numbness (later life problems may be in the hips, prostate, pelvis in general, or the heart);
- Spine may be twisted or fused and immobile;
- Chronic areas of tension: base of the skull, shoulder girdle, chest and rib cage, including the diaphragm, waist and abdominal muscles (which are often hard and clenched to pull sexual energy away from genitals), pelvic area in general, genitals specifically.

ENERGETIC CONDITION

- Highly charged, with energy displaced and pulled upwards into the top half of the body and away from the pelvis;
- Eyes are particularly highly charged, used to penetrate, intimidate and/or seduce;
- Energy is directed outwardly to control, hook and dominate others, and directed inwardly to deny feelings in the self by contracting all feeling centers;
- Energy is not allowed to flow downwards, cut off by severe tensions in the pelvis, waist, diaphragm, shoulders and base of skull;
- Chakras (energy centers): Will Centers – (in the back of the body) are open; Crown - (spiritual connection) can be open and lopsided; can be collapsed; Third Eye - (intuitive abilities) open, but exaggerated; Throat - (self-expression) contracted; Heart - (love feelings) contracted; Solar Plexus - (universal wisdom) partially contracted; Sexual - (pleasure and creativity) severely contracted; Base – (grounding and connection to physical life) contracted.

OPERATING MODES OF THE MIND, EMOTIONS AND WILL

- The will is powerfully exerted to control others and to control feelings; feelings are alive in the body, however, but denied recognition by the mind;
- Feelings and the body are denigrated and not trusted, so neither are the external senses; therefore only what’s in one’s head, only one’s own ideas in the moment, are treated as valid and real;
- Power rather than pleasure is sought from life;
- The mind is the servant of the will in this structure, so reasoning can be dramatically inconsistent, though capable of brilliance; arguing both sides of a situation or mixing lies with truth is common if it suits a manipulative purpose to gain power or be “right”; one’s own lies are often believed; there is also a tendency to poor judgement and an inability to learn from mistakes;
- Pain is numbed, and genuine feelings are denied, but dramatic emotionality and false feelings are acted out to achieve some purpose, like intimidation or seduction;
- Fear of being wrong or of submitting to the will of others is extreme and is powerfully denied;
- Intuitive capacities of the mind are formidable, with very strong abilities to read what is going on inside of other people, although the understanding of the meaning of what is going on is often very distorted.

PSYCHOLOGICAL FUNCTIONING

- An inadequate sense of self due to a lack of integrity and treating the self and others as objects for manipulation and control;
- Lack of empathy or compassion and a lack of conscious feelings of remorse or guilt due to numbness defense (numbness is often augmented by alcohol and drug abuse);
- Craving for intensity and excessive stimulation to counteract numbness;
- Poor impulse control and an intolerance of boundaries and structure;
- Paranoia about being controlled or humiliated underlying an extreme need to be in control of feelings, others and all situations; intense fears of losing power, being defeated or helpless, and collapsing into desperate neediness (orality);
- Aggression is used as a defense against surrender to feelings (which are equated with weakness) or to the will of others;
- Powerful investment in and identification with idealized self-images; desperate need to be special and important;
- Main defenses: displacement, numbing, denial, acting out, rationalization, confusion;
- Typical masks: grandiosity, self-dramatization, outlandishness (“I am the one and only of my kind, the greatest, the best, the most, the first, the worst, the baddest”. “There’s nobody like me.”), exaggerated false sincerity (“I would never lie to you.”), the hero (“Only I have the power to save you.”), the guru (“Only I can take you to the light.”), the great promise giver (“I know what you want and I can give it to you.”), the courtesan (“I will control you by letting you use me…on my terms.”), the chameleon (“I can be whatever the situation calls for in order to get my way.”); Idealized Self-images: “Don Juan” or “Venus” (the God or Goddess of Eros), “the Godfather” or “Black Widow” (“I’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse.” “I always get what I want.”), the “blowfish/monster” (“I am a very scary, dangerous person, so be afraid of me.”);
- Childhood history may include: restlessness and hyperactivity, dangerous behavior (i.e. - fire-setting), severe tantrums, spectacular achievements (in school, sports or the arts) coupled with spectacular self-sabotage or delinquency, cruelty to animals or other children, premature sexual behavior, “troublemaker” persona, inappropriate lack of fear and a lack of crying when hurt.

INTERPERSONAL AND SEXUAL FUNCTIONING

- People are primarily related to as objects, as sources of “narcissistic supply” to support images of power and specialness; since others are objectified, anything can be said or done to get what is wanted from another without concern for the other’s feelings or well-being;
- A “divide and conquer” approach is often taken to gain control of others, individually and in groups, pitting people against each other, then sometimes taking the role of mediator or peacemaker;
- Eccentric, radical, dramatic, unpredictable or extreme behavior and appearance are often used to gain attention and/or to keep others off balance;
- The need to have “followers” is felt as an essential reason to engage with others; it is through the “needing to be needed” that the person with this character structure maintains his or her feeling of power, while denying the inherent dependency (orality) of the dynamic at the same time;
- Antisocial behavior may be engaged in with very little provocation, though it may be seen as justified by the person in the moment; these actions are not followed by feelings of remorse afterwards; only getting caught or confined is of concern, not hurting others or the self;
- This person looks directly at others, but doesn’t really see them as real (whereas the schizoid character sees but doesn’t look!);
- Sex is seen as a means to an end, or a contest, often used to gain power, not pleasure, or to express revenge feelings; sex is related to as a conquest of the other person and as further proof of one’s prowess;
- In men, maintaining an erection is more important than having an orgasm, and extreme pride is taken in the penis; in women, likewise, being seen as sexually powerful and technically skilled is more important than sensual or orgasmic pleasure; feelings in the genitals are greatly diminished, so performances of great endurance are possible, but genuine surrender to sexual feelings and orgasm is experienced as humiliating or terrifying.

PREDOMINANT NEGATIVE CORE BELIEFS

- “I must never surrender.” “If I surrender, I will be helpless.”
- “Everything is a lie, including love, including me.” “Whatever I believe in the moment is the truth.”
- “I must never be wrong.” “If I am wrong, I will be humiliated.”
- “I must get others to need me, so I can control them, in order to get what I need.”
- “If I acknowledge my feelings, I will be weak and get abused.” “The world is an abusive place.”

HIGHER SELF ASPECTS

- Great leadership and executive qualities and capacities to bring people with differences together in a harmonious effort;
- Strong abilities to guide and inspire others to accomplish their chosen tasks in life and see their own specialness without competitiveness or separation;
- True innovators and adventurers able to travel “the road not taken”, or “to boldly go where no one has gone before”, without recklessness or excess;
- A genuine seeker of truth, with genuine humility, honesty, loyalty and unwavering integrity;
- A truly big heart full of love and fearlessness to surrender to the flow of feelings, life and the Higher Self.


THERAPUETIC TASKS

Develop the capacity for empathy and compassion by reversing the numbing of pain in the body and the denial of feelings in general;
Deflate the grandiose self-images by facing their falseness and discovering the longing for truth, sincerity and integrity in the self;
Deflate the overcharged upper half of the body and become grounded and energized in the lower half of the body, allowing for the experience of real pleasure and safety;
Release the tensions at the base of the skull and shoulders, and in the diaphragm and abdomen, allowing for the flow of energy between the mind, heart and genitals;
Become aware of the feelings of emptiness from trying to “win”, “be right”, “be on top”, “get revenge”, “have it my way”, etc., when the real desire is to be able to trust;
Face the horror and confusion in childhood that came from being lied to, used and manipulated by the parents that the child was dependent on and helpless to defend against; confront the illusions that the abuse by the parents meant the child was special, powerful or bad;
Express and release the feelings of hurt and rage at the betrayal by the parents that are hidden by the mask of pride and grandiosity and the fear of humiliation, and discover that those feelings are not devastating to the self now;
Acknowledge, feel and release the early dependency feelings and neediness underneath the fear of collapsing and falling down;
Release the addiction to intensity, overstimulation and exaggerated expansiveness by experiencing the true aliveness of surrendering to 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 humiliated;
Primary negative expression that needs release: “My way!”
Primary positive self-affirmation that needs assertion: “I have the right to trust.”


THERAPEUTIC APPROACH

Establish an honest and sincere environment being clear and direct about the nature and boundaries of the therapeutic relationship, understanding that this person will test them to discover where the hidden agendas and lies are; do not make promises about the outcome of therapy;
Engage playfully with this person’s challenging manner to begin confronting his or her efforts to be in control of the therapy and the therapist; it is important to establish a balance in which control feels and is shared, but not at the expense of the therapy; allowing acting out against the therapy or therapist will undermine the person’s feelings of trust and safety, which are minimal to begin with;
Encourage the person to talk about the betrayals he or she has experienced, and the desire for revenge, beginning with current circumstances, then tracing back to related childhood experiences; help the person face the reality that the desire for revenge is a cover for the feelings of helplessness and impotent fury he or she felt in childhood when they were being used by parents;
Use rolling to begin softening up the rigidity in the chest and to open up to feelings; use kicking, including on the roller, to begin opening up the pelvis; use massage of the neck, shoulders and chest to soften up the armoring there and to begin establishing contact with the person, providing an experience that is physically intimate, but not sexualized or abusive; use hitting and vocalization to access the real rage underneath the “blowfish” mask; use grounding and vibrating to get energy moving downwards, reversing the upward displacement; generally, a person employing this character structure will resist the bodywork early on, and maybe for a long time, experiencing it as “embarrassing”, “silly”, “not what I need”, etc., and when the feelings do start to come they may feel humiliated afterwards; acknowledge those feelings and explain the reasons for the body work, but let the person know that it’s his or her decision whether or not to do it;
In group, this person will want to “take over”, one way or the other, by challenging the therapist’s role or approach, by trying to be the smartest, funniest, most advanced, most dramatic member, etc., or by being disruptive; it is risky to directly deflate this mask with confrontation publicly, because it will feel like a re-creation of the intense feelings of humiliation from childhood, but it may be necessary to maintain the integrity of the person and the group; as an alternative to confrontation, openly support the genuine special qualities of the person and his or her genuine importance to the group; remember that this person carries a deep longing to be genuine and to constructively bring people together;
Tell this person the truth to counteract the belief that everyone lies; with the highly developed intuitive capacities that this person has, he or she will readily sense things going on inside of the therapist, but often misinterpret their meaning; within the boundaries established, it’s helpful to answer personal questions, especially about how the therapist is feeling in the moment; it is also helpful to this person to hear about the reasons for what the therapist is choosing to do, and to have diagnostic updates, encouraging the person to join with the therapist in assessing their progress;
When the underlying feelings of helplessness, dependency and abandonment first begin to surface in this person, it will be a very tenuous moment; even after a long-standing positive relationship, a person using this defensive structure can “turn on you”; impulses to quit therapy or attack the therapist may be acted out; acknowledge that the person always has the power to leave therapy, but that acting out against the therapist is not allowed; give a clear and compassionate diagnostic understanding of what is going on, and “leave the door open” for this person to come back if they want to;
When this person’s powerful feelings of rage have been released, and the body has become more supple, deep grieving may emerge, along with the true courage this person has, as well as a deep capacity to give and receive love;
Help the person recognize their Higher Self aspects, especially their integrity, 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.


DEFINITIONS

Acting Out: a discharge of tension, impulses or feelings through action that attempts to alter or control the environment as if that environment and those in it were part of a transferential (from childhood) conflict or threat.

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

Confusion: a defense that creates a disturbance of consciousness in which awareness of time, place, or person is unclear; this also serves the purpose of keeping others, perceived as a threat, off balance;

Displacement: the process by which energy, feelings or impulses are transferred from one idea, experience, place in the body or object to another; the substitution of one object for another as the target of feeling.

Numbing: a defense mechanism that causes insensitivity to feelings and sensations in general, and in particular, pain.

Rationalization: making a thing appear reasonable, when otherwise its irrationality would be evident; meant to act as a screen, to cover up ideas or actions intended to gratify an unconscious need.

PUT THOSE KIDS TO BED!

This is something I once had posted on the local blog - ONLY THE BLOG KNOWS BROOKLYN:

This is major - in this week's New York Magazine on the effects on kids of not getting enough sleep. Once again - given the choice between that extra hour of homework or an extra hour of sleep, it's a literal no brainer for the health of a kid's brain. Put those kids to bed!
Here's an excerpt:

"It has been documented in a handful of major studies that children, from elementary school through high school, get about an hour less sleep each night than they did 30 years ago. While parents obsess over babies’ sleep, this concern falls off the priority list after preschool. Even kindergartners get 30 minutes less a night than they used to.
"There are many causes for this lost hour of sleep. Overscheduling of activities, burdensomehomework, lax bedtimes, televisions and cell phones in the bedroom all contribute. So does guilt; home from work after dark, parents want time with their children and are reluctant to play the hard-ass who orders them to bed. All these reasons converge on one simple twist of convenient ignorance: Until now, we could overlook the lost hour because we never really knew its true cost to children.

"Using newly developed technological and statistical tools, sleep scientists have recently been able to isolate and measure the impact of this single lost hour. Because children’s brains are a work-in-progress until the age of 21, and because much of that work is done while a child is asleep, this lost hour appears to have an exponential impact on children that it simply doesn’t have on adults.

"The surprise is how much sleep affects academic performance and emotional stability, as well as phenomena that we assumed to be entirely unrelated, such as the international obesity epidemic and the rise of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. A few scientists theorize that sleep problems during formative years can cause permanent changes in a child’s brain structure: damage that one can’t sleep off like a hangover. It’s even possible that many of the hallmark characteristics of being a tweener and teen—moodiness, depression, and even binge eating—are actually symptoms of chronic sleep deprivation."

WOW! NOW MAYOR BLOOMBERG HAS DONE TWO THINGS I CAN CELEBRATE!!

The first was to ban smoking in all public establishments, and the second, revealed today, is this: New York City is releasing the results of a multi-state investigation it conducted, entitled "Gun Show Undercover," in which our city sent investigators with hidden cameras to seven gun shows across Ohio, Tennessee and Nevada, and found out just how easy it is for criminals and the mentally ill to walk in and buy guns - no questions asked!

Read the whole story at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-bloomberg/gun-show-undercover_b_312339.html

TODAY'S QUOTES!

"You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great."

"You don't pay the price for success. You enjoy the price for success."

Hilary "Zig" Ziglar

REPOST: THE RIGID CHARACTER STRUCTURE

This is my take on the last of 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. Formerly 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 -

THE RIGID CHARACTER STRUCTURE

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.


EARLY ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS
(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.


BODY STATUS

- 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.


ENERGETIC CONDITION

- 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.


OPERATING MODES OF THE MIND, EMOTIONS AND WILL

- 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.


PSYCHOLOGICAL FUNCTIONING

- 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.


INTERPERSONAL AND SEXUAL FUNCTIONING

- 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.


PREDOMINANT NEGATIVE CORE BELIEFS

- “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.”


HIGHER SELF ASPECTS

- 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.


THERAPUETIC TASKS

- 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.”


THERAPEUTIC APPROACH

- 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.


DEFINITIONS

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.
posted by peter loffredo, lcsw at 6/22/2009 0 comments links to this post
 

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