Lindy Quinn | Psychotherapy Blog
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Psychotherapy Blog

John Rigg

In his work with trauma patients, Dr. Rigg has observed how the brain is constantly reacting to sensory information, generating non-thinking reactions before our intelligent individual human brains are able to process the event and formulate a self-driven response.

John is a professional musician, who became a physician in his 40s.

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Bessel Van Der Kolk

Bessel van der Kolk on Trauma, Development and Healing
by David Bullard

Internationally acclaimed clinician, educator and researcher Bessel van der Kolk, shares some observations from his 40-year passion for understanding and treating people who have experienced trauma.

Talking About it Doesn’t Put it Behind You

David Bullard: Bessel, you are the medical director and founder of the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute and professor of psychiatry at the Boston University School of Medicine. You have been one of the most influential and outspoken clinicians, educators and researchers contributing to our understanding of trauma and its treatment.

I don’t remember reading a professional book in several intense sittings like I just did with your new book, The Body Keeps The Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. It’s been praised by everyone from Jon Kabat-Zinn and Francine Shapiro to Jack Kornfield, Peter Levine and Judith Herman, who called it a “masterpiece that combines the boundless curiosity of the scientist, the erudition of the scholar, and the passion of the truth teller.” Let me start with some basics: Could you say something about why talk therapy alone doesn’t work when treating trauma?

Bessel van der Kolk: From my vantage point as a researcher we know that the impact of trauma is upon the survival or animal part of the brain. That means that our automatic danger signals are disturbed, and we become hyper- or hypo-active: aroused or numbed out. We become like frightened animals. We cannot reason ourselves out of being frightened or upset.

Of course, talking can be very helpful in acknowledging the reality about what’s happened and how it’s affected you, but talking about it doesn’t put it behind you because it doesn’t go deep enough into the survival brain.

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Gabor Mate

Gabor Mate  ” When the body says no”.

Now in paperback, the bestselling exploration of the effects of the mind-body connection on stress and disease

Can a person literally die of loneliness? Is there such a thing as a “”cancer personality””? Drawing on scientific research and the author’s decades of experience as a practicing physician, this book provides answers to these and other important questions about the effect of the mind-body link on illness and health and the role that stress and one’s individual emotional makeup play in an array of common diseases.

  • Explores the role of the mind-body link in conditions and diseases such as arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, IBS, and multiple sclerosis
  • Draws on medical research and the author’s clinical experience as a family physician
  • Includes The Seven A’s of Healing-principles of healing and the prevention of illness from hidden stress

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Ruby Wax

Sane New World

Ruby Wax – comedian, writer and mental health campaigner – shows us how our minds can jeopardize our sanity.
With her own periods of depression and now a Masters from Oxford in Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy to draw from, she explains how our busy, chattering, self-critical thoughts drive us to anxiety and stress.
If we are to break the cycle, we need to understand how our brains work, rewire our thinking and find calm in a frenetic world.
Helping you become the master, not the slave, of your mind, here is the manual to saner living.READ MORE

Esther Perel

The Secret to desire in a long term relationship

Whenever I ask people, “What do you think of when you hear the word love?” I am met with countless variations on the same theme: warmth, intimacy, kindness, tenderness, support, care, safety, protection, calm, trust. The answers are quite different when I ask about desire: hardness, heat, power, exciment, a sense of being alive, feeling sexy, hungry, sweaty, tingly, full, energized, driven, abandon, free — and these are the attributes missing from the most loving and closest of relationships. Like fire, desire needs air. Many couples fail to leave each other enough air, confusing intimacy with fusion; this is a bad omen for sex.READ MORE

Mindfulness

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the gentle effort to be continuously present with experience. But I like Jon Kabat-Zinn’s definition of mindfulness:

“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way;

On purpose,in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”

Kabat-Zinn, if you haven’t heard of him, is a famous teacher of mindfulness meditation and the founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.

Paying attention “on purpose”
First of all, mindfulness involves paying attention “on purpose”. Mindfulness involves a conscious direction of our awareness. We sometimes (me included) talk about “mindfulness” and “awareness” as if they were interchangeable terms, but that’s not a good habit to get into. I may be aware I’m irritable, but that wouldn’t mean I was being mindful of my irritability. In order to be mindful I have to be purposefully aware of myself, not just vaguely and habitually aware. Knowing that you are eating is not the same as eating mindfully.
Let’s take that example of eating and look at it a bit further. When we are purposefully aware of eating, we are consciously being aware of the process of eating. We’re deliberately noticing the sensations and our responses to those sensations. We’re noticing the mind wandering, and when it does wander we purposefully bring our attention back.

When we’re eating unmindfully we may in theory be aware of what we’re doing, but we’re probably thinking about a hundred and one other things at the same time, and we may also be watching TV, talking, or reading — or even all three! So a very small part of our awareness is absorbed with eating, and we may be only barely aware of the physical sensations and even less aware of our thoughts and emotions.

Because we’re only dimly aware of our thoughts, they wander in an unrestricted way. There’s no conscious attempt to bring our attention back to our eating. There’s no purposefulness.

This purposefulness is a very important part of mindfulness. Having the purpose of staying with our experience, whether that’s the breath, or a particular emotion, or something as simple as eating, means that we are actively shaping the mind.READ MORE

Marwencol

Marwencol is a 2010 American documentary film that explores the life and work of artist and photographer Mark Hogancamp. It is the debut feature of director-editor Jeff Malmberg.On April 8, 2000, Mark Hogancamp was attacked outside of a bar by five men who beat him nearly to death. After nine days in a coma and forty days in the hospital, Mark was discharged with brain damage that left him little memory of his previous life. Unable to afford therapy, Mark creates his own by building a 1/6-scale World War II-era Belgian town in his yard and populating it with dolls representing himself, his friends, and even his attackers. He calls that town “Marwencol,” a portmanteau of the names “Mark,” “Wendy” and “Colleen.” He rehabilitates his physical wounds by manipulating the small dolls and props — and his mental ones by having the figures act out various battles and stories.

When Mark begins documenting his miniature dramas with his camera, his photos are discovered and published by Esopus magazine[2] and even shown in a New York art gallery. But having the label of “art” applied to his intensely personal work forces Mark to make a choice between the safety of his fictional town and the real world he’s avoided since his attack.READ MORE

Mentalization

Mentalizing is crucial to our well-being in several respects. First, mentalizing implicitly and explicitly is the basis of self-awareness and a sense of identity. Importantly, when we mentalize, we have a feeling of self-agency, being in control of our own behavior. Thus mentalizing provides us with a spontaneous sense of ownership and responsibility for our actions and our choices, rather than feeling that our behavior just “happens.”

You are mentalizing when you’re aware of what’s going on in your mind or someone else’s. You’re mentalizing when you puzzle, “Why did I do that?” or wonder, “Did I hurt her feelings when I said that?” Your ability to mentalize enables you to make sense of behavior. You hear a car door slam shut and it draws your attention. Then you see the man who slammed the car door reaching into his pockets and coming up empty handed. He starts to get agitated, tries unsuccessfully to open the door, looks through the car window toward the ignition, and starts cussing. All this behavior would be bewildering if you didn’t automatically infer that he’s frustrated because he locked his keys in the car.

Mentalizing, you automatically interpret behavior as based on mental states, such as desires, beliefs, and feelings. The man wanted to be able to drive his car, believed that he’d have a hard time getting back into it, and felt frustrated—perhaps also helpless. Sometimes you need to mentalize to interpret your own behavior: “How could I have been so gullible as to loan him money when I knew full well that he’s totally undependable?” Often you need to mentalize to understand your emotional reactions: “Why am I this upset about her not calling me back right away? Why am I so sensitive right now? I’ve been feeling like a lot of people have been letting me down lately…”READ MORE

Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart is a spiritual teacher and author who was born in Germany and educated at the Universities of London and Cambridge. At the age of 29, a profound inner transformation radically changed the course of his life. The next few years were devoted to understanding, integrating and deepening that transformation, which marked the beginning of an intense inward journey. Later, he began to work in London with individuals and small groups as a counselor and spiritual teacher. Since 1995 he has lived in Vancouver, Canada. Eckhart Tolle is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Power of Now (translated into 33 languages) and the highly acclaimed follow-up A New Earth, which are widely regarded as two of the most influential spiritual books of our time.READ MORE

Working with the unconscious

Jungian Analyst Marion Woodman describes her approach to therapy, which she says, comes from the unconscious. She goes on to define and explain the unconscious and how it starts with a dream. The dream is a picture of the unconscious and what you do through the day is mirrored in the dream at night. (Originally aired May 1997)

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