Tag Archives: Anxiety

Natural Giving

Marshall Rosenberg, psychologist and founder of the Non Violent Communication, a method to help people learn to communicate in a peaceful and conflict-solving way:

Instead of playing the game Making Life Wonderful and enjoying the quality of natural giving, everywhere and with everyone, we play the game of Who is Right.

The game of Who is Right is a game in which everybody loses. It involves two of the most devious things human beings have ever come upon: Reward and Punishment.

Anything we do out of fear of punishment if we don’t do it – everybody pays for.
Everything we do for a reward – everybody pays for.
Everything we do to make people like us – everybody pays for.
Everything we do out of guilt, shame, duty, obligation – everybody pays for.

The Basics of Non Violent Communication 1.1
The Basics of Non Violent Communication 1.2
(Fun and surprising videos to watch. You’ll also have a good laugh or two.)

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Releasing Thoughts

If I take care of my mind I have taken care of yours. – Byron Katie

I like the quote, I can make sense of it. But that’s about how far my appreciation for Byron Katie and her method The Work, “…that teaches you to identify and question the thoughts that cause all the suffering in the world”, goes.

A few days ago I was frustrated due to a clash I had with my son. The thought that I had said all the wrong things to him was torturing me. The next day I spoke to a friend who told me about Byron Katie and her method of self-inquiry, The Work, which is intended to help people find relief by questioning their thoughts that cause distress.

I then spent nearly four hours listening to Byron’s videos on YouTube and reading about her on the web. I couldn’t find any information about her formal education – she doesn’t seem to have any training in psychology or another field of mental health. Nor could I find any research-based evidence validating her method.

The Work can actually become quite problematic –  in many cases Byron Katie leads her followers (yes, she’s like a guru) to come to absurd and confusing conclusions, and often she seems to struggle to find an answer to questions asked. Just listen to The Work on Terrorism and you’ll understand what I mean.

Here is an excerpt from an in-depth and well founded Critique of Byron Katie’s therapeutic method The Work: “… the problem with The Work is that it has a conclusion in advance, namely that the thought is false, and therewith it is in progress, as with other New Age directions, of eliminating peoples´ ability of critical thinking. Problematic, because the training of critical thinking is the first step in a true spiritual process, and on the whole a primary condition for a healthy mind. In Cognitive Therapy for example, they also have questions to ask to problematic thoughts, that actually have some truth in them (examples in the end of this article).”

“… The Work can get quite nasty with its turnaround technique. After that you, as expected, have “realized”, that your thought is not true, then you have to turn it upside down; you so to speak have to think the opposite thought.

Again it can be a good thing to look at problems from different sides, but that is not what you do with the turnaround technique. The turnaround technique actually sounds a bit like the thought distortion called Conversion to the opposite … The turnaround technique must be a dream for any bully, liar or manipulator. If you are critical, then this is due to your own false thoughts. If someone … bullied you, and you feel hurt, then this pain is based on your own wrong way of thinking. Certainly not the bully´s (the bully is actually a kind of guru; an example of the divine). And in that we find the main problem with The Work, and the reason why I would advise people to keep a long distance from it.”

“Many former Katie devotees have been in counseling for years in order to remove this way of confused thinking.”

***

Here are more critical articles on Byron Katie’s work:

Byron Katie – Snake Oil Business?

The Work And Byron Katie: Reviews?

Why You Should Steer Clear of Byron Katie’s “Work”

One Person’s Experience with Byron Katie

The Work of Byron Katie Could Accidentally Cause Problems In Psychologically Vulnerable People

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Feeling Gut

When we hear the word bacteria many of us instinctively think yuck, dirty, bad.

But actually, the 1.5 – 2 kilos – about three to five pounds – of microbiota (bacteria and other microorganisms) living in our gut and all over us, are good and vital for us.

Our gut’s “inhabitants” are responsible for supporting the digestion of what we eat,  for helping with the production of some vitamins, for warding off  dangerous, intrusive microorganisms (the “bad” bacteria) that can cause serious illness, and they are connected to obesity and skin conditions, just to name a few of their functions.

A newborn’s digestive system, which is sterile before birth, is quickly colonized by microorganisms from the mother (vaginal, faecal, skin, breast, etc.), the environment, the air etc. From the third day, the composition of baby’s intestinal microbiota is dependent on its food.

And here is the hottest stuff about our gut bugs, the gut-brain connection:

++ There is increasing evidence that intestinal bacteria play a major role in brain chemistry and mental health, in influencing our mood and our feelings, and they have even found to be connected to hyperactivity and autism;

++ The intake of probiotic foods or supplements has shown to improve mood and may even be effective in treating anxiety and depression;

++ FMT – fecal microbiota transplantation (yes, the transplantation of poop!), which is currently used to treat life threatening infections, may also prove to be an effective treatment for emotional and mental disorders.

 

The way to a happy heart is through your gut.

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Sources:

https://relaxattranquilityblog.wordpress.com/2015/01/10/5-ways-to-boost-your-immune-system-naturally/
http://www.nature.com/news/the-tantalizing-links-between-gut-microbes-and-the-brain-1.18557
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150728110734.htm
http://www.gutmicrobiotawatch.org/en/2015/08/05/microbes-with-the-blues-gut-microbiota-may-be-linked-to-depression/
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/reading-between-the-headlines/201309/gut-bacteria-transplant-new-treatment-anxiety
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/reading-between-the-headlines/201309/gut-bacteria-transplant-new-treatment-anxiety

 

 

What A Year

I have just completed one year of psychotherapy* with an amazing clinical social worker, accompanied by psychiatric/psychological follow-up. Today, at 54, I am as mentally and emotionally strong as maybe never before in my life.

Until less than a year ago my life was a mess. And that of my son even more. Our home was a mess, and I am not even going to begin detailing.

After another psychiatric hospitalization of several months, my 26-year-old son (who is struggling with psychotic OCD) has been living in supervised housing for the past 6 months and he is learning to live an independent and socially healthy life.

I have moved to a new apartment with my cat and have begun studying psychology and working with children with special needs.

The love of my life (who is also coping with emotional-mental complexity) has evolved into my best friend.

Things are far from perfect, but they are steadily improving.

AND, most days are sunny and warm in this country.

 

* State-funded, I didn’t pay a penny.