Browsing: psychotherapy

Reviews

Touch is essential to human life. From the earliest writings by Ashley Montaqu (1971) who discussed the importance of nurturing touch to help babies thrive physiologically and emotionally to a recent study lead by Nathalie Maitre at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio that demonstrated the significance of sensory experiences in early life on brain development— physical attention during a baby’s development, during our entire lives in fact, is important—the more you hug and cuddle your babies, the more their brains grow.

According to Maitre, our sensory system supporting touch and bodily sensation is the earliest to develop in human beings; further, it forms the basis for other sensory development as well as our cognitive and social development. Maitre’s study established that nurturing touch is essential for infant development with study outcome demonstrating that positive proper touch increased brain activity while negative touch (pin pricks, tube insertions) decreased brain activity.

As human beings, we crave touch. There’s an instinctive need to feel another—be it a lover’s hand, a mother’s breast. The soft fuzz of an animal’s fur, even the gristle of a father’s beard can create pleasurable sensations when contact is loving and supportive. As body psychotherapists, many of us acknowledge the value of appropriate touch in the therapeutic setting—of course within proper boundaries and acceptable containment and with the client’s permission. As therapists, we must be clear about why we want to integrate touch, discuss what kind of touch, and for whose purpose the touch is occuring (certainty not to make the therapist feel better!).

Currents

“I am researching perspectives of self-disclosure and comfort level using self-disclosure amongst professionals in the field of psychology with different amounts of clinical experience. The study will take no more than 15 minutes of your time. The study involves completing a short demographic and clinical questionnaire, and four open-ended short response questions. All participants who choose to participate will have an opportunity to win one of two $50 Visa gift cards!

Uncategorized

Some say that it takes a village to raise a child into a well-functioning adult and it probably does. But without an entire village of free childcare, we are often left with books to fill in the gaps. Today hundreds of books claim to outline the “right way” of parenting. This often leads parents to listen to conflicting advice which is not only confusing to the parents but also to the children. Author of The Reflective Parent: How to Do Less and Relate More with Your Kids, experienced psychiatrist and founder of the Center for Reflective Communities, Regina Pally, comes from a more ground up approach to parenting. She argues that “there is a lot more leeway in parenting” (xi).

As a young parent raising her three children, she had read all the parenting books and was left “feeling less confident than before” (xi). Through her pediatric, psychiatric and psychoanalytic training, clinical work, studies in neuroscience and personal experiences, Pally “learned that a parent’s reflective capacity is the factor most closely associated with healthy child development.” (xi) Throughout this book, ideas and skills required for reflective parenting are interwoven with what we know today about child development, the neuroscience of human social relationships and parent-child relationships. The Reflective Parent is a practical and easy-to-read guide for anyone looking to build stronger relationships with their children.

Currents

Introduction. This new edited collection will explore the practise of counselling and psychotherapy by self-identified survivors of sexual violence/abuse: #MeToo for psychotherapy and counselling. It will show:

• That sexual violence/abuse is widespread rather than rare – so widespread, in fact, that all contributors to this book about it have experienced sexual violence/abuse;
• That victims/survivors are more than victims/survivors – including that we can be counsellors and psychotherapists;
• That pathologising and objectifying victims/survivors – something which often happens in ‘mental health’ settings – can be challenged….

We’re aiming to make a rich and nuanced contribution to #MeToo, a significant political intervention for psychotherapists and counsellors, qualified and in-training. We are interested in exploring a wide variety of potential contributions to the book…

Structure and content. An initial chapter will offer an introduction to social, cultural and political understandings of sexual violence for counsellors and psychotherapists. After some notes about the ethical underpinnings of our project, the main body of the collection (with space here for approximately 12 main contributions) will be original (previously-unpublished) chapters about working as a therapist and being a survivor (or however you prefer to term yourself) in a variety of counselling and psychotherapy modalities. There will be at least one chapter concerned with supervision; and there will be exploration of activism beyond the therapy room.

Currents

Addiction is rampant. Drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, shopping, food, social media, digital games, movies, whatever the ‘substance’ the effect is the same—numb out, dissociate, flee from the perception of pain (be it physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual). The number of people who are considered addicts has reached pandemic proportions—no one place, no one race, no one culture is free of this infectious disease.

But, is it a disease as many associations responsible for intervention state? Or is it a reflection of our inability to self and/or mutually regulate our affective state? Are these behaviors, labeled as addiction or addictive, are these monikers—addict, addicted— accurate? Or, do labels simply shadow deeper manifestations motivating people to reach for something to quell their emotional fluctuations, to smooth the ups and downs in their bodily being?

These questions and more are considered in our Winter issue. Our contributors share their thoughts on addiction, on behavioral patterns that become ‘stuck’, automated, reactionary in the face of overwhelm and affective arousal. Possible physiological causes are considered—think trauma and all that comes with that terminology—and potential interventions are pondered.

We invite you to read our articles and to respond to our authors.

Mind/Body/Spirit

“The word wild is like a gray fox trotting off through the forest, ducking behind bushes, going in and out of sight. Up close, first glance, it is “wild” – then farther into the woods next glance it’s “wyld” and it recedes old Norse villr and Old Teutonic wilthijaz into a faint pre-Teutonic ghweltijos which means, still, wild and maybe wooded (wald) and lurks back there with possible connections to will, to Latin silva (forest, sauvage), and to the Indo-European root ghwer, base of Latin ferus (feral, fierce), which swings us round to Thoreau’s “awful ferity” shared by virtuous people and lovers. The Oxford English Dictionary has it this way:

Of animals – not tame,
undomesticated, unruly
Of plants – not cultivated
Of land – uninhabited, uncultivated
Of wild crops – produced or
yielded without cultivation”
(Snyder, Practice of Wild, 2010: 9.)

Reviews

I am, admittedly and unabashedly, enthusiastic about Stephen Porges’ work. I’ve attended his workshops, learned his process for measuring heart rate variability as an indicator of vagal tone, interviewed him for several articles published in this magazine, and have read his books and articles. This review is clearly biased. And with that said, I will offer my honest opinions and not side step points that for some may or may not be considered 100 percent positive.

For those new to Porges’ work, he is noted as the originator of the Polyvagal Theory (PVT), which is his perspective of how our autonomic nervous system, dependent on phylogenetic transitions/shifts that occurred between reptiles and mammals, resulted in specific adaptations in vagal pathways regulating the heart, which in turn impact our lives.

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For many it can be easy to harshly judge the person sitting on the street corner asking for change. Perhaps we might believe they are taking up too much sidewalk space or too much space in general. So, we step over them without stopping.
Psychoanalyst and poet, Merle Molofsky makes us stop before we judge. In this visceral piece of poetry, she asks important questions about psychoanalysis, life, death, sex, love and violence. Her exceptionally engrossing writing style takes us onto the streets and in the presence of her characters. As if we stand face-to-face with the burdens and torments of each person we encounter, we come to realize our own connections to it all. She delves into topics that are still relevant today including topics of greed, drug addiction, heartbreak, loneliness and feelings of hopelessness and depression.

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Walking over to my chair, cell phone in hand, Bev exclaimed (the tone of her voice implying the answer was a given to her upcoming question), “Aren’t these pictures beautiful? Here, look at this one—I took it from the old Fort. Can you spot the house in the background across the inlet? That’s where my father would put the boat in the water to take us up the coast. Those were good times.” Bev’s photographs, composites of her beloved seas and shorelines along Maine’s southern and mid-coast, comprise a visual memorial to the beaches and bays that provided a measure of playfulness and serenity within the more chronic and painful vagaries of her childhood and adolescence.