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Thyroid Disease: Functional Health at Life Change Health Institute – 5 Step Holistic Approach to Optimum Health

A thyroid disorder is an autoimmune condition related to the thyroid gland, a small gland that manufactures and stores thyroid hormones. A thyroid disorder impacts the metabolic processes and may be characterized by nervousness or tiredness, weight changes, weak muscles, impaired memory and irregular menstrual flow. Your thyroid is one of your body's most important glands. When your thyroid doesn't work properly, it can cause you to feel nervous or tired; make your muscles weak; cause weight gain or loss; impair your memory; and affect your menstrual flow. A thyroid disorder can also cause miscarriage and infertility. About 20 million Americans—more of them women than men—are affected by a thyroid disease or disorder, according to the American Thyroid Association (ATA). In fact, an estimated one in eight women will develop a thyroid disorder at some time in her life. Thyroid Disease in Women Women are five to eight times more likely to have thyroid dysfunction than men, but most don't know they have it. Women often overlook their symptoms or mistake them for symptoms of other conditions. For example, women are at particularly high risk for developing thyroid disorders following childbirth. Symptoms such as fatigue and depression are common during this period, but these are also symptoms of thyroid disease. The ATA estimates that more than half of thyroid conditions remain undiagnosed. How the Thyroid Works The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland you can feel at the base of your neck, just below your larynx (voice box). Two lobes (the "wings" of the butterfly) fit on either side of your windpipe. The thyroid gland manufactures and stores thyroid hormone (TH), often referred to as the body's metabolic hormone. Among other actions, TH stimulates enzymes that combine oxygen and glucose, a process that increases your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and body heat production. The [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:08+00:00 October 27th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Thyroid Disease: Functional Health at Life Change Health Institute – 5 Step Holistic Approach to Optimum Health

Working with personality disorders and severe personality disorders at Trauma Recovery Institute using a unique combination of transference focused psychotherapy and our dynamic psychosocialsomatic psychotherapy

Personality disorder, as a term, may sound negative and judgmental and it is important to have a clear understanding with our patients of the meaning of the term. We explain that there is a group of disorders in the DSM-V, six of them to be specific, that are thought to be long-term and enduring, in contrast to episodic, personality styles that at their core are defined by difficulties in the person’s subjective, internal sense of identity, and chronic difficulties in his or her interpersonal relationships. It is noteworthy that the DSM-V description of personality disorders includes this emphasis on sense of self and relations with others more than the previous editions of the DSM did. These different styles have many overlapping features and most people have a mixture of those styles, but most importantly, that when people personify and live out any of those styles with a certain consistency, inflexibility, and in such a way that causes a certain level of distress in one’s emotional and interpersonal life, they meet criteria for a personality disorder. Personality, the concept of personality refers to the dynamic integration of a person's subjective experience and behaviour including 1) conscious concrete and habitual behaviour, 2) conscious experiences of self and the surrounding world, 3) conscious explicit psychic thinking, cognitive processes and habitual desires and fears, 4) unconscious behavioural patterns , experiences, views and intentional states. Personality is a dynamic integration in so far as it implies an organised integrated association of multiple traits and experiences that influence each other. In this regard personality represents a much more complex and sophisticated entity than simply the sum of all its component features. In view of that, any current system of understanding and clinically addressing a personality disorder will necessarily be a simplification. Further progress in effectively treating [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:09+00:00 October 26th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Working with personality disorders and severe personality disorders at Trauma Recovery Institute using a unique combination of transference focused psychotherapy and our dynamic psychosocialsomatic psychotherapy

Transference Focused Psychotherapy at Life Change Health Institute

Transference-Focused Psychotherapy (TFP) is an evidence-based psychodynamic therapy designed for patients with the type of condition known as personality disorders. Individuals with these conditions may experience depression, anxiety and/or other intense emotions. They may also experience frustration and a lack of fulfillment in personal relationships and work achievement. "Psychodynamic" refers to the idea that different parts of our mind are always in movement and that this may result in conflicts; for example, conflicts about whether or not to act on an impulse, urge or desire. TFP sees difficulties in an individual's psychological structure (the way the mind is made up) as underlying many of the specific symptoms the individual is experiencing. Simply put, psychological structure is seen as built around images of oneself and important other persons that have been internalized in the course of growing up. These images are not fully conscious within the individual, and they may contain distortions. They play an essential role in how the patient adjusts to life as they become the lenses through which an individual interprets or "reads" what he is experiencing. Exaggerated, distorted or unrealistic internal images can lead to problems in mood, self-esteem and relations with others. These problems can be modified through psychotherapy. TFP is based on the idea that the patient experiences and lives out the internal images that make up their psychological structure in his or her relationship with the therapist, known as the transference (the transference of internal images and beliefs onto the current experience that the patient is having). Helping the patient get to know the repertoire of images that make up his mind—his internal world—can help him or her better adjust these images to the world around him. This process can lead to a decrease in depressive and anxious feelings and more successful experiences in personal relations [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:14+00:00 October 26th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Transference Focused Psychotherapy at Life Change Health Institute

Nutrient and Toxic Elemental Analysis (NUT10)

Elemental Analysis nutritional test is for patients suspected of recent toxic element exposure and for evaluation of intracellular mineral nutrient status. This toxic element exposure test measures RBC intracellular concentrations of toxic elements and nutrient elements. The vast majority of chemical reactions governing cellular processes are, in turn,regulated by enzymatic reactions. Enzymes usually require mineral cofactors such as magnesium and zinc to operate. Toxic elements, on the other hand, can interfere with enzymatic reactions and disrupt cellular activities. Thus, both element insufficiencies and excesses have a significant impact on health. Nutrient Element Insufficiency Unfortunately, nutrient element insufficiencies are pandemic in our society, leading to a variety of health problems. These include: Zinc deficiency, which can result in stunted growth, poor wound healing, infertility, depressed immunity, and increased occurrence of teratogenicity (developmental malformations), Magnesium deficiency, which contributes to fatigue, depression, osteoporosis, hypertension, and a host of other disorders and Low levels of selenium which are associated with lung and breast cancers. Clearly, accurate assessment of mineral levels is critical to evaluate the causes and contributing factors of illness. Advantages of the Elemental Analysis Packed Erythrocyte Testing Levels of nutrient elements in the serum are homeostatically controlled viametabolic, reabsorptive, and excretory mechanisms. Therefore, serum measurement of elements can only reveal extreme deficiencies. Analysis of packed erythrocytes, in contrast, provides a more accurate window into the intracellular status of most minerals. Elemental Analysis, Packed Erythrocytes provides information regarding: Current or recent exposure to toxic elements (hours to weeks) largely independent of tissue stores. For assessment of long-term tissue deposition, a "post-provocation" urine specimen is preferred Levels of six toxic elements and six nutrient elements Results from this nutritional test enable the clinician to design a customized treatment program for the patient geared toward elimination of current toxic exposure or replenishment of critical minerals. Book This Test Now    View Full Sample Report [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:15+00:00 October 23rd, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Nutrient and Toxic Elemental Analysis (NUT10)

Essential & Metabolic Fatty Acids Analysis (EMFA)

This test evaluates the level of red cell membrane fatty acids, imbalances of which significantly affect inflammatory and other disorders. By knowing the various fatty acid levels, one can re-establish a balance using nutritional intervention.This comprehensive profile allows practitioners to accurately assess dietary intake and metabolism of fatty acids in each patient. Precise, custom-tailored nutritional intervention is then made possible. Fatty acids comprise some of the most essential nutrients in the human diet. They are critical for cell membrane structure and function as well as local “hormonal” signaling. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are transformed into local hormonal mediators called eicosanoids. Eicosanoids regulate all stages of inflammation, including initiation, propagation and termination. This process is vital to the ability of the body’s immune system to repair and protect itself. Fatty acids are also crucial components of neural membranes and receptors that ensure proper intracellular communication within the brain and nervous system. The Clinical Significance of Fatty Acids: The number of diseases whose clinical course can be affected by fatty acid therapy is enormous. These include: Inflammatory disorders Cardiovascular disease Hormonal disorders Autoimmune disorders Arthridities Senile neurological degeneration Mental and behavioral disorders such as depression and ADHD Hair and skin related conditions, such as dermatitis, alopecia, brittle nails coarse dry hair and frequent infections The Omega-6/Omega-3 Ratio: EFA imbalances have been cited by some experts as the most widespread nutritional problem in modern times. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats has increased dramatically due to the widespread use of vegetable oils, rising from about 4:1 for Americans at the beginning of the twentieth century to about 20:1 at the present time. Increased consumption of saturated fats and decreased consumption of omega-3 oils (cold water fish and flaxseed oil) have also contributed to the growing prevalence of these imbalances. Some individuals with a healthy dietary [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:16+00:00 October 23rd, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Essential & Metabolic Fatty Acids Analysis (EMFA)

To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate

Vaccines Suppress Immunity, One careful study of illness patterns observed in 82 healthy infants before and after vaccination was published in Clinical Pediatrics (1988). In this study conducted in Israel, researchers compared the incidence of acute illnesses in the 30-day period following DTaP vaccine (against Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis) to the incidence in the same children for the 30-day period prior to receiving the vaccine. The three-day period immediately following vaccination was excluded because children frequently develop fever as a direct response to vaccine toxins. According the researchers, the babies experienced a dramatic increase in fever, diarrhea, and cough in the month following DTaP vaccine compared to their health before the shot. It is relatively easy to observe whether vaccines have any negative effect on white blood cells, which form the body’s primary immune system. Accordingly, a more recent peer-reviewed study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in May 1996, revealed that tetanus vaccine produces a drop in T Cells and thus disables the immune system in HIV patients. Of course, this means that the vaccine can damage anyone’s immune system, not just in those whose immune system has already been compromised. It is anyone’s guess what a compromised immune system can lead up to. In 1992, the New Zealand Immunization Awareness Society (IAS) conducted a survey study to find out how many of its members' children were suffering from health problems. Among other disease conditions of an impaired immune system, the vaccinated versus unvaccinated children suffered: - five times more asthma - nearly three times more allergies - over three times more ear infections - over four times more apnea and near miss cot death - nearly four times more bouts of recurring tonsillitis - ten times more hyperactivity I can certainly vouch for these findings. In all the [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:16+00:00 October 22nd, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate

Amino Acids Analysis

The Amino Acids Analysis nutritional test helps to identify metabolic imbalances underlying many chronic disorders. Specifically, this nutritional test evaluates dietary protein adequacy and assimilation, as well as metabolic imbalances underlying many chronic disorders. With the precise results and comprehensive commentary provided, nutritional deficiencies, metabolic impairments, and amino acid transport disorders can be accurately identified and corrected. Book This  Test Now  Why is this test important? Amino acids are the building blocks that make up protein in all bodily tissues, including bone, muscles, ligaments, tendons, nails, hair, glands and organs. Amino acids are also the basic constituents of all hormones, enzymes and neurotransmitters. Assessment of amino acid levels will help to identify contributors to illness and allow for precise replacement of deficient amino acids. Because various vitamins and minerals are used as cofactors in amino acid metabolism, imbalances in amino acids noted on the test report can also point to insufficiencies of some of these cofactor nutrients. Inborn dysfunctions of metabolism, such as phenylketonuria (PKU) or cystinuria, may be revealed by this profile. What does this test involve? This test can either be performed on a 24-hour urine collection or a fasting plasma specimen. The Urine and Plasma Amino Acids Analysis reports consist of 43 and 41 individual metabolites, respectively. A Urine or Plasma "Representativeness" index provides a quick measurement of reliability of the specimen for testing. The report includes detailed commentary on abnormal findings, a "Supplement Schedule" which lists recommended replacement amounts of the subnormal amino acids, and an "Interpretation At A Glance" which suggests the likelihood of imbalances in the various systems as well as insufficiencies of the nutrient cofactors. What are the consequences of Amino Acid imbalances? Because amino acids are involved in every bodily system, deficiencies or imbalances in these compounds can lead to disorders of behavior and mood, digestion and [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:18+00:00 October 22nd, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Amino Acids Analysis

The Metabolic Analysis Profile

The Metabolic Analysis Profile is a nutritional test that assesses urine metabolites in order to evaluate four critical areas of metabolism: gastrointestinal function, cellular and mitochondrial energy production, neurotransmitter processing, and amino acid/organic acid balance as influenced by vitamin/mineral cofactors. Results can be used to address chronic systemic complaints ranging from chronic fatigue and mood disorders to headache, muscular/joint pain, and digestive problems. The Metabolic Analysis Profile is a nutritional test using an urinary assessment of 46 key organic acids grouped according to their primary roles in the following four central areas of metabolism. Book This Test Now  1) Gastrointestinal Function — This profile measures eight markers that can reveal malabsorption and dysbiosis. These imbalances can be addressed to improve gut health and to help prevent or alleviate: chronic digestive problems, common causes of nutritional deficiency, yeast overgrowth, cognitive impairment, gastrointestinal distress, and degenerative conditions. 2) Energy Production —This profile assesses metabolites that serve as important intermediates in the citric acid (Krebs) cycle. This cycle supplies the body with its primary energy needs, converting 90% of food energy into cellular energy. This subpanel also includes: Carbohydrate metabolites that can signal impaired glucose metabolism, Markers that help evaluate the breakdown of fats and production of cholesterol, A marker measuring the production of coenzyme Q10 and Imbalances of cellular energy metabolites are linked with chronic fatigue, accelerated cell breakdown, and unhealthy aging. 3) Neurotransmitter Metabolites - A special grouping of neurotransmitter metabolites serve as important diagnostic indicators of abnormal metabolism that can underline many key aspects of neuropsychiatric function. These markers are urinary metabolites of powerful neurotranmitters that act on the central nervous system, including: Epinephrine, Dopamine, and Serotonin. These substances can profoundly influence patterns of stress response, emotional well-being, cognition, and sleep. 4) Assessment of Nutrient Sufficiency — This nutritional test provides a functional assessment of [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:19+00:00 October 22nd, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on The Metabolic Analysis Profile

Comprehensive Nutritional Test

The NutrEval (NUT06) is our most comprehensive nutritional assessment, which provides a personal recommendation on a functional need for B vitamins, anti-oxidants and minerals. It also includes Vitamin D and an Essential Fatty Acid analysis. This Test includes The Metabolic Analysis Profile (MET02) is an urinary organic acid test that measures four critical areas of metabolism: gastrointestinal function and dysbiosis markers, cellular and mitochondrial energy metabolites, neurotransmitter metabolites and functionally important organic acid metabolites of amino acids. The Amino Acids Analysis (NUT01) which quantifies levels of amino acids and their metabolites and evaluates essential and non-essential amino acid nutrient status.The Essential and Metabolic Fatty Acids Analysis (NUT03) and The Nutrient and Toxic Elemental Analysis (NUT10). As well as the following additional markers: Glutathione Homocysteine 8OHdg Vitamin D Coenzyme Q10 Unlike any other nutritional assessments, NutrEval Plasma® provides a framework of core nutrients in 5 key areas: Antioxidants, B Vitamins, Digestive Support, Essential Fatty Acids, and Minerals. In this test, the Amino Acids are measured from a blood draw of plasma. Book This Test Now    Code: NUT06 NutrEval® Blood & Urine Sample    Nutrition From the Inside Out As an informed patient, you understand that nutrition is important. You know that the foods you eat affect your health. Conversely, the things you do not consume – but perhaps need – may also have a tremendous impact on your body. That’s why many people take vitamins and supplements - to feel better and prevent disease. While this practice can be beneficial, many variables exist. It is important to understand which supplements are right for your body, your lifestyle and your circumstances, thus ensuring your unique needs are met without wasting money on items that could be unnecessary or even harmful. What Nutritional Imbalances May Affect You? Amino Acids: Amino acids are integral to [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:19+00:00 October 22nd, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Comprehensive Nutritional Test

Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What it Means for Modern Relationships

Every time someone tells me something like, “Non-monogamy is naive. Life’s not that simple.” I want to point them to this image showing just how unsimple non-monogamy is. This is why Cacilda and I encourage people (even couples who write books about sex) to insist on our right to discretion. If it’s highly personal, extremely complex, changing all the time, and really nobody’s business but yours, why answer the question at all? If Bill and Hillary had gone on 60 Minutes back in 1992 with that message, American culture might have taken a big step into maturity. By Christopher Ryan Phd     INQUISITION Forget what you’ve heard about human beings having descended from the apes. We didn’t descend from apes. We are apes. Metaphorically and factually, Homo sapiens is one of the five surviving species of great apes, along with chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans (gibbons are considered a “lesser ape”). We shared a common ancestor with two of these apes—bonobos and chimps—just five million years ago. That’s “the day before yesterday” in evolutionary terms. The fine print distinguishing humans from the other great apes is regarded as “wholly artificial” by most primatologists these days. If we’re “above” nature, it’s only in the sense that a shaky-legged surfer is “above” the ocean. Even if we never slip (and we all do), our inner nature can pull us under at any moment. Those of us raised in the West have been assured that we humans are special, unique among living things, above and beyond the world around us, exempt from the humilities and humiliations that pervade and define animal life. The natural world lies below and beneath us, a cause for shame, disgust, or alarm; something smelly and messy to be hidden behind closed doors, drawn curtains, and minty freshness. [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:19+00:00 October 16th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What it Means for Modern Relationships

Celiac & Gluten Sensitivity

The Celiac & Gluten Sensitivity test tests a patient´s blood for total IgA as well as IgA specific antibodies for possible celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Celiac disease, also known as celiac sprue or gluten sensitivity enteropathy, is a chronic autoimmune disease which has a genetic component and may affect several family members. Celiac is a lifelong condition with no cure however, it is manageable once diagnosed. What is Celiac Disease? Celiac disease is a digestive condition triggered by consumption of the protein gluten, which is found in bread, pasta, cookies, pizza crust, and many other foods containing wheat, barley, or rye. When a person with Celiac Disease eats food containing gluten, an immune reaction occurs in the small intestine, resulting in damage to the surface of the small intestine and an inability to absorb certain nutrients from food. Conditions, diseases, and symptoms related to Celiac Disease: Abdominal cramps, gas, and bloating Anemia Crohn´s Disease Diarrhea Foul-smelling or grayish stools that may be fatty or oily Gastric ulcers General weakness Intermittent diarrhea Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Osteoporosis Parasitic infections Skin disorders Stunted growth (in children) Weight loss Lupus erythematosus Type 1 diabetes Rheumatoid arthritis Autoimmune thyroid disease Microscopic colitis Test Type: Blood Test   View sample report Here 

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:21+00:00 October 14th, 2015|Testimonials|Comments Off on Celiac & Gluten Sensitivity

Embodied Tantra Ireland, What is Tantra and How can it help?

Tantra is a spiritual path for integrating body, mind and soul. It differs from other paths in its honoring of the body, using the senses, sexuality, and feelings to help you evolve spiritually. Tantra assists you in realizing your full potential as a human being. If you choose to live from the Tantric perspective, you will transform your life. You will discover bliss. You may apply Tantric practices and principles to many areas of life - to relationship and sexual loving, spiritual practice and lifestyle, physical and emotional well-being. Red Tantra is the aspect of Tantra that relates to the mastery of sexual skills. White Tantra relates to the yogic or spiritual aspects of Tantric practice and consists of exercises or postures (asanas) combined with special breathing (pranayama), hand or finger gestures (mudras), internal muscular exercises (bhandas), chanting (mantra), and meditation. The skills and benefits of White Tantra practices increase ones ability to master Red (sexual) Tantra. Pink Tantra refers to a heart centered path of tantra that blends many of the elements of White Tantra with some aspects of Red Tantra. Within the path of Pink Tantra, all of the chakras are acknowledged. However, there seems to be an emphasis on the importance of the heart; opening the heart chakra and healing the heart. Compassion, acceptance and forgiveness for others and for our self are central themes to this practice. Pink Tantra teaches us to cultivate love without attachment, ownership or expectation. With Pink Tantra love is seen as the impetus for healing and transformation.   The benefits of Tantric practice include: * Transcendent sexuality * Deepened relationships with self and others * Emotional freedom & literacy * Expanded intuitive abilities * Sustained health and vitality * Boundless love & Life Force ( Energy) * Playful, Ecstatic awareness * Become more embodied and [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:21+00:00 October 12th, 2015|Blog, Testimonials|Comments Off on Embodied Tantra Ireland, What is Tantra and How can it help?

Raw vegan Yogurt , probiotics and gut health at Plant Based Academy

Happy Brain, Happy Gut ! How does it work? The brain and the gut communicate via gut-brain axis, a mode of bidirectional signaling between the digestive tract and the nervous system. There are several central mechanisms by which gut bacteria can communicate with the brain. First, imbalances in gut bacteria can trigger inflammation by increasing the permeability of the intestinal lining, which allows toxins to seep into the bloodstream. Research has linked pro-inflammatory markers (cytokines) and increased intestinal permeability with anxiety and depression. Secondly, bacteria can produce neurotransmitters, which are carried through the blood to the brain. Bacteria can also stimulate specific nerves in the gut that then transmit information to the brain, Bercik said. Fortunately, you can support gut health (and therefore mental health) by eating a diet that's rich in probiotics -- the "friendly" gut bacteria that support digestion and a balanced microbiome, and are known to boost immune and neurological function. Use the following simple recipe from Plant Based Academy to ensure you are including high dose full spectrum probiotics into your diet and your family's diet. Join our Raw Food Mastery Level III Certification course at Plant Based Academy to learn more about the art, history and science of fermentation and gut health.   Raw vegan Blueberry Yogurt  15 organic Brazil nuts or almonds (Soaked overnight and rinsed) 200 ml of pure filtered Water or Probiotic drink (water Kefir/kombucha) 4 organic Dates 100g of organic Blueberries 1 organic vanilla pod scraped Probiotics 1 teaspoon (Health force nutritional) Blend the nuts, dates, berries and water to a thick creamy and smooth consistency, pour into a container, add the probiotic powder, and stir. Cover with lid but not an airtight lid, as air is needed. Leave out of refrigerator for up to 12 hours. Then Refrigerate. Eat when [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:22+00:00 October 7th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Raw vegan Yogurt , probiotics and gut health at Plant Based Academy

Poetry By John Welwood

When we reveal ourselves to our partner and find that this brings healing rather than harm, we make an important discovery ~ that intimate relationship can provide a sanctuary from the world of facades, a sacred space where we can be ourselves, as we are. This kind of unmasking ~ speaking our truth, sharing our inner struggles, and revealing our raw edges ~ is a sacred activity, which allows two souls to meet and touch more deeply. ~ John Welwood

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:22+00:00 October 7th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Poetry By John Welwood

Conscious Parenting Ireland

Conscious parenting is parenting through connection instead of coercion, through love instead of fear.Conscious Parenting recognizes that securing and maintaining a healthy parent-child bond is our primary work as parents and the key to our children's optimal human development. Our effectiveness as parents is in direct proportion to the strength of the bond we have with our child. Connection Parenting promotes parenting practices that support a strong, healthy parent-child bond.The Latest Neuroscience now confirms attachement theory and the critical importance of the parent child attachment, This above all will influence the appropriate brain development of your child and influence the adult your child will become. The model of parenting most of us grew up with was authoritarian parenting, which is based on fear. Some of us may have grown up with permissive parenting, which is also based on fear. Authoritarian parenting is based on the child's fear of losing the parent's love. Permissive parenting is based on the parent's fear of losing the child's love. Connection parenting is based on love instead of fear. Connection Parenting recognizes that securing and maintaining a healthy parent-child bond is our primary work as parents and the key to our children's optimal human development. Our effectiveness as parents is in direct proportion to the strength of the bond we have with our child. Connection Parenting promotes parenting practices that support a strong, healthy parent-child bond. Both authoritarian parenting and permissive parenting are reactive. Connection parenting is proactive. Rather than focusing on ways to discipline children when their feelings of disconnection result in uncooperative or unacceptable behavior, Connection Parenting focuses on ways to maintain and increase the parent-child bond/connection. Connection parenting is an ideal, a navigation star we can look to for guidance. Whenever we question how to respond to a child we can ask ourselves, will [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:22+00:00 October 6th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Conscious Parenting Ireland

Non Verbal Communication

A strong handshake and assertive greeting may not be the best way to make a good first impression. New research suggests that people respond more positively to someone who comes across as trustworthy rather than confident. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy of Harvard Business School is studying how we evaluate people we meet. Cuddy is known for her research on power posing, which she presented last year at TedGlobal and the annual PopTech conference in Maine. This research suggests that if you strike a strong pose — where you take up as much space as possible — your levels of testosterone rise, while cortisol levels drop. The result: If you do it for two minutes before going into a job interview or other public performance, you will have more confidence and perform better. https://youtu.be/Ks-_Mh1QhMc?list=PLEkk1NI31ZMFYkjMl4q0dxjTcry63GhVO   According to experts, a substantial portion of our communication is nonverbal. Every day, we respond to thousands on nonverbal cues and behaviors including postures, facial expression, eye gaze, gestures, and tone of voice. From our handshakes to our hairstyles, nonverbal details reveal who we are and impact how we relate to other people. Scientific research on nonverbal communication and behavior began with the 1872 publication of Charles Darwin's The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. Since that time, there has been an abundance of research on the types, effects, and expressions of unspoken communication and behavior. While these signals are often so subtle that we are not consciously aware of them, research has identified several different types of nonverbal communication. In many cases, we communicate information in nonverbal ways using groups of behaviors. For example, we might combine a frown with crossed arms and unblinking eye gaze to indicate disapproval. 1. Facial Expressions Facial expressions are responsible for a huge proportion of nonverbal communication. Consider how much [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:23+00:00 October 3rd, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Non Verbal Communication

How to establish healthy boundaries in relationships and in life and how to use healthy communication to foster compassion

Boundaries are clearly established parameters of emotional, physical, and mental space that we expect others to respect in the relationships they have with us. Learning how to set personal boundaries in life is necessary for emotional balance, allowing us to maintain a healthy sense of self and find fulfillment in both professional and personal relationships. Healthy boundaries also provide the physical and emotional space we need to act and express ourselves as unique individuals, capable of making our own choices, and give us the ability to recognize and acknowledge the same in others. People with healthy boundaries look only to themselves to define their sense of self worth, which gives them the freedom to be their true selves without feeling the need to please others to feel worthy of love and connection. Such stability allows a person to create fulfilling relationships that are based on mutual acceptance, love, and respect, rather than overly dependent relationships that are based on fear or control. We learn how to form boundaries and communicate our needs in childhood by observing and interacting with our parents and caretakers. The psychological and emotional issues of those who raise us can inhibit our emotional development, ability to communicate, and self-image. For most of us, it takes introspection and personal work to come to terms with how our parents’ limitations have impacted us in these areas. In his book, Free to Love, Free to Heal, David Simon, M.D., writes, “All emotions derive from needs. Uncomfortable feelings arise when our basic needs for security, trust, attention, and caring aren’t met, or when emotional or physical boundaries are crossed without permission.” Dr. Simon further explains that by identifying unmet needs and recognizing that our pain is a result of a boundary violation, we can open the door to taking emotional responsibility [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:26+00:00 October 3rd, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on How to establish healthy boundaries in relationships and in life and how to use healthy communication to foster compassion

The Power of Empathy, Compassion, Mirror Neurons and the connection between Boundaries and Empathy

The word empathy comes from the Greek word einfullung meaning “feeling into.” Essentially, it means putting yourself in the position of another person. According to Tania Singer, the director of Social Neuroscience department at The Max Planck Institute, the lay definition of empathy refers to affect sharing and mental state attribution. It is important to stress that although empathizing can be defined as “affect sharing,” just experiencing another person’s emotions, which is also known as emotional contagion, is not sufficient to be considered empathy. It is important to differentiate empathy from theory of mind, which is the ability to understand other peoples’ mental states that is associated on structures in the temporal lobe and the prefrontal cortex. According to Singer, empathy refers to the ability to share feelings (emotions and sensation) and is associated on the sensorimotor cortex as well as the limbic and para-limbic structures (Singer, 2006). These concepts are very difficult to differentiate because, in a way, they all reflect an ability to put oneself in the “shoes of another person,” whether it is a person’s mental or emotional shoes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Evwgu369Jw When we talk about ‘empathising’ with another person, usually we think about being a nice person, being a good friend – essentially a fluffy concept sitting within the elusive realm of feelings and emotions. Yet recent discoveries in neuroscience have not only made empathy more tangible – it has also brought us closer to tackling those seemingly unanswerable questions, such as whether or not humans are inherently born with the ability to empathise, how separate we really are from those around us, and if people can actually be taught to feel more empathy.     1. The Discovery Of Mirror Neurons The number one scientific breakthrough would no doubt be the discovery of mirror neurons, a particular [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:27+00:00 September 28th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on The Power of Empathy, Compassion, Mirror Neurons and the connection between Boundaries and Empathy

The Relationship of Adverse Childhood Experiences to Adult Medical Disease, Psychiatric Disorders, and Sexual Behavior: Implications for Healthcare

Biomedical researchers increasingly recognize that childhood events, specifically abuse and emotional trauma, have profound and enduring effects on the neuroregulatory systems mediating medical illness as well as on behavior from childhood into adult life. Our understanding of the connection between emotional trauma in childhood and the pathways to pathology in adulthood is still being formed as neuroscientists begin to describe the changes that take place on the molecular level as a result of events that occurred decades earlier. The turning point in modern understanding of the role of trauma in medical and psychiatric pathology is commonly credited to Freud, who studied patients of the French neurologist, Charcot, attributing their unusual behavior to histories of trauma rather than to underlying biomedical pathology2. The writings of Freud and Breuer as well as Janet represented a departure from the traditional view that mental illness and unexplained medical disease were the result of divine retribution or demonic possession, instead revealing that they were strongly associated with a history of childhood abuse3. The focus of this chapter will be an examination of the relationship between traumatic stress in childhood and the leading causes of morbidity, mortality, and disability in the United States: cardiovascular disease, chronic lung disease, chronic liver disease, depression and other forms of mental illness, obesity, smoking, and alcohol and drug abuse. To do this, we will draw on our experience with the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study, a major American epidemiological study providing retrospective and prospective analysis in over 17,000 individuals of the effect of traumatic experiences during the first eighteen years of life on adolescent and adult medical and psychiatric disease, sexual behavior, healthcare costs, and life expectancy.4 The ACE Study is an outgrowth of repeated counterintuitive observations made while operating a major weight loss program that uses the technique of [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:29+00:00 September 28th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on The Relationship of Adverse Childhood Experiences to Adult Medical Disease, Psychiatric Disorders, and Sexual Behavior: Implications for Healthcare

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study

The ACE Study is one of the largest scientific research studies of its kind, with over 17,000 mostly middle income Americans participating. The focus was to analyze the relationship between childhood trauma and the risk for physical and mental illness in adulthood. Over the course of a decade, the results demonstrated a strong, graded relationship between the level of traumatic stress in childhood and poor physical, mental and behavioral outcomes later in life. The ACE Study is an ongoing collaboration between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente. Co-principal Investigators : Robert F. Anda, MD, MS, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Vincent J. Felitti, MD, Kaiser Permanente, San Diego.       What is an Adverse Childhood Experience / ACE? Growing up experiencing any of the following conditions in the household prior to age 18: 1. Recurrent physical abuse 2. Recurrent emotional abuse 3. Contact sexual abuse 4. An alcohol and/or drug abuser in the household 5. An incarcerated household member 6. Family member who is chronically depressed, mentally ill, institutionalized, or suicidal 7. Mother is treated violently 8. One or no parents 9. Physical neglect 10. Emotional neglect https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMXtOxXBCRo The ACE Score The ACE Study used a simple scoring method to determine the extent of each study participant’s exposure to childhood trauma. Exposure to one category (not incident) of ACE, qualifies as one point. When the points are added up, the ACE Score is determined. An ACE Score of 0 (zero) would mean that the person reported no exposure to any of the categories of trauma listed as ACEs above. An ACE Score of 10 would mean that the person reported exposure to all of the categories of trauma listed above. The ACE Score is referred to throughout all of the peer-reviewed publications about the ACE Study findings.   [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:31+00:00 September 28th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study

The Neurochemistry of Sex & Addiction

Sex has many characteristics in common with addictive behaviors. Regulated by the brain's limbic system or "primitive brain," sex is driven by the region known as the reward circuitry. Dopamine, the craving neurochemical that impels fertilization behavior, also impels addictions to substances. This article examines how dopamine’s unnerving high/low cycle tends to promote emotional separation between mates and increase susceptibility to addictions. It suggests an ancient, but forgotten, way of making love that appears to heal the separation urge, and soothe cravings and depression.   The Neurochemistry of Orgasm Orgasm is generally regarded as the ultimate goal of recreational sex. Wilhelm Reich was the first scientist to describe the nature and purpose of the orgasm as a discharge of excess bio-energy with the additional liberation of feeling energy, and he also recognized the negative consequences of blocked sexual energies. Unfortunately, in addition to exciting peaks, orgasms tend to produce powerful negative side-effects that are only now becoming better understood. This is due to predictable trends in hormonal activity which seem to be similar in all mammals to ensure certain evolutionary objectives, especially the wide mixing of gene pools and the safe raising of offspring. This is achieved with neurochemical changes. The main players are dopamine, the reward hormone; prolactin, the hormone of satiation; oxytocin, the cuddle hormone, and levels of androgen receptors, which all powerfully affect our mood, our desire for intimacy, our perception of our mate, as well as our susceptibility to addictive activities and substances. These hormones can also have different but generally related functions. Additionally the stimulant phenylethylamine (PEA) is involved, which is also present in cocoa and chocolate and elevates energy, mood and attention. PEA is produced in greater amounts when one is in love; conversely a deficiency (common in manic-depressives) causes unhappy feelings. When we first fall [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:32+00:00 September 25th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on The Neurochemistry of Sex & Addiction

Learning to ‘Get Along’ for the Best Interest of the Child

Experts agree that nurturing, supportive parenting that provides firm but fair limits assists children in becoming healthy, well-functioning adults. However, a seven year study by Dallas’s Timberlawn Psychiatric Institute found the one factor that was the most important in helping children become healthy, happy adults, was the quality of the relationship between their parents. This one factor was more important than giving kids hugs, providing good discipline, and building their self esteem, or any other aspect of what is traditionally considered ‘good parenting.’ In light of these and other similar findings, our concern for the ‘best interest of the child’ in marital dissolution cases rests with helping parents communicate and work together after the divorce. Children Do NOT Just “Get Over It” Many of us used to assume, and some still do, that children will ‘get over’ their parents’ divorce after an initial period of adjustment . The Timberlawn study, as well as landmark studies by Judith Wallerstein and others, found that divorce not only hurts both parents and children, but that children suffer long term consequences including emotional difficulties, poor school or job performance, and difficulty achieving intimacy in their own relationships as adults. Wallerstein reports that one third of the children experienced moderate to severe depression five years after the divorce. Fifteen years after the divorce, many of those children were still experiencing the consequences of their parent’s break-up as they began love relationships and marriages of their own. Every child in her study feared repeating a failure to maintain a loving relationship in adulthood, all feared betrayal and rejection, and all remained very vulnerable to loss. Continual Battles Worse than Divorce What these and other studies have also found is, that while divorce hurts children, living with parents who continually wage embittered battles is even worse. Research [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:34+00:00 September 25th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Learning to ‘Get Along’ for the Best Interest of the Child

Crossing the Bridge, The Distinction Between the Essence of the Human Being and the Survival Pattern

1- THE ESSENCE OF THE HUMAN BEING: a) The Essence of the human being: The essence of the human being is the core of the person. It is the way you truly are, as well as the infinite potential that is embedded in you, and that can unfold throughout the adventure of your life. It is like the tree and the seed. b) In the Essence: When you are in your essence. You are expressing your pure life force. There is free energy flow, a sense of aliveness, a creative generativity, a sense of safety, a deep knowing that “all is well”, that “I am being taken care of”. Your actions are based on intentionality. You live in the paradox of the simplicity of complexity. Opposites are complementary, so that you welcome and embrace the tension of polarities. The world is “chaordic”, a magical balance of chaos and order, created by the mysterious laws of the universe. c) The Upward Trend: In your essence you are contributing to the Upward Trend of the universe. Your relationships are in “Essence Mode” or “E-mode”: respectful and honoring of the “other”, filled with natural empathy and compassion. You have a vivid curiosity about the “other”. You give unconditional positive regard and mindful attention. You naturally express your generosity of spirit, and your relationships are cooperative and mutually nourishing. d) The Relational Brain: The research in the new science of Relational Neuro-Biology makes a distinction between the High Road and the Low Road in communication. The High Road is the mobilization of the newest part of the brain, the Frontal Lobes, the seat of consciousness, and of our ability to see many realities at the same time. It is slow and mindful and intentional. It can be called the “Big Mind”. The Low Road is located in the Old [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:35+00:00 September 25th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Crossing the Bridge, The Distinction Between the Essence of the Human Being and the Survival Pattern

Soy Myths and Misinformation

Soy has long been recognized as a nutrient-dense food and as an excellent source of protein by respected dietitians and clinical nutritionists. (1) The soybean contains all of the essential amino acids, as well as an impressive list of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). Micronutrients in rich supply in soy include: calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, C and zinc. Fiber and omega-3 and 6 fatty acids are also present in soy. The composition of these nutrients varies among preparations, but is in the highest quantity in whole soy foods such as edamame (whole soy beans), soy milk, tofu and tempeh. Yet despite the powerful health benefits of whole soy foods, myths and misinformation regarding the ‘dangers’ of soy consumption are being widely circulated and presented as fact. I will address a few of these myths by taking a closer look at some of the sources of confusion and controversy.   “All soy is GMO!” I would like to begin by explaining that the largest consumer of commercially grown GMO soybeans, both in the US and globally, is farmed animals. GMOs are genetically modified organisms, and their safety for human consumption is a hot topic of debate; many European countries have banned GMOs. While long term studies and conclusive data on the health effects of GMOs are lacking, GMOs are ubiquitous in our food supply. Soybeans are one of several major food staples now dominated by genetic modification. Currently, 81% of the global soybean crop is genetically modified, and approximately 85% of all GMO soybeans end up in farmed animal feed. The GMO soy consumed by farmed animals is utilized as a source of protein by them, and does not just magically evaporate in the slaughterhouse or the milk processing plant. It ends up on [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:35+00:00 September 15th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Soy Myths and Misinformation

How Meditation Reshapes your Brain

The Mind & Life Institute, reports Andrea Miller , explores the intersection of ancient meditative disciplines and modern science.There is no contradiction between science and spirituality be- cause “each gives us valuable insights into the other,” says his holiness the dalai Lama. “With the ever-growing impact of science on our lives, reli- gion and spirituality have a greater role to play by reminding us of our humanity.” The Mind & Life Institute, founded by the dalai Lama, entrepreneur Adam engle, and the late neuroscien- tist and philosopher francisco Varela, is a pioneering nonprofit organiza- tion that brings together scientists and contemplatives for the purpose of understanding the nature of reali- ty, and ultimately creating a healthier, more balanced society. The first Mind & Life conference was held in 1987 in dharamsala, India. It was structured as a five-day dialogue between Buddhists and specialists in cognitive sciences, and was attended by the dalai Lama, six scientists, two interpreters, and a few observers. since then, Mind and Life has convened twenty-two conferences, some by invitation only, others large public events. About three thousand people participated in the 2005 confer- ence in Washington, d.C., which focused on the scientific and clinical applications of meditation. In addition to its landmark conferences, Mind & Life has research initiatives. notable among them is the Mind and Life summer Research Institute (MLsRI), an annual weeklong program held at the garrison Institute in garrison, new York. At once a retreat and a scientific conference, MLsRI encourages collaboration among behavioral scientists, neuroscientists, biomedical researchers, and practitioners and scholars of the contemplative traditions, and features presentations by some of the most progressive thinkers in those fields. since 2004, more than 1,000 faculty and participants have attended through competitive application. MLSRI’s long-term objective is to advance the training of a new generation of scientists and contemplative scholar–practitioners. Research fellows participating [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:35+00:00 September 15th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on How Meditation Reshapes your Brain

The Biochemistry of Yeast

The Biochemistry of Yeast Debunking the Myth of Yeast Respiration and Putting Oxygen in Its Proper Place,Originally Published by Tracy Aquilla in Brewing Techniques (Volume 5, Number 2). Through it flies in the face of popular wisdom, yeast does not go through a respiration phase in the early stages of fermentation. A careful look at yeast metabolism and reproduction reveals a common misunderstanding and points the way to more sophisticated applications of oxygen in the brewery. Fermentation is perhaps the most interesting and exciting part of brewing beer. There is something fascinating about watching yeast in action, and being close to the process contributes immensely to my enjoyment of my beer. No matter how well we do our part in preparing bitter wort for fermentation, it is the yeast that turns it into beer. For this reason alone, it is important to understand and appreciate what these microorganisms are really doing inside our fermentors. Most of the popular brewing literature, however, fosters a misconception about yeast and fermentation. This articles sets the record straight. Most of the brewing literature indicates that brewers’ yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae and S. uvarum) required dissolved oxygen for a brief period of time after pitching so the cells can respire and grow, implying that yeast needs oxygen to bud and must respire before it can ferment wort. It is true that aerating or oxygenating wort is generally beneficial to fermentation, but it is untrue to say that yeast requires oxygen to reproduce or that yeast uses oxygen to respire during fermentation. The misunderstanding may be subtle, but it is a misunderstanding nonetheless. Gaining a clear understanding of the truth about how yeast works not only sets us on sound technical foundations, but has practical applications as well. This article briefly discusses yeast metabolism, clarifies the role of [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:39+00:00 September 14th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on The Biochemistry of Yeast

Marketing & Sales Executive Needed for Vegan & Plant Based Business in Dublin

Sales & Marketing Executive required for Life Change Health Institute Limited . Working from Home. Part Time Flexible hours . Must have a passion for the work we do at the Institute and great knowledge of all our programs and workshops . This sales & marketing opportunity is now available for a motivated, passionate and professional person.   The Life Change Health Institute is a world unique Institute for training, education and empowerment through Psychotherapy, Tantra, Somatic Practice, Live Food Nutrition, Nutritional counselling and Conscious Parenting. We offer a number of products under Trauma Recovery Institute, Plant Based Academy and Embodied Tantra Ireland. Life Change Health Institute also has its own unique brand of raw vegan organic juices, smotthies, tonics, elixirs, raw chocolate, skin care & cosmetics. All products are available on our online store and in some local shops. We have a number of online courses also.   Would you like to ?   Start part time Work flexible hours at your own pace Make a percentage of all direct sales Provide health, psychoeducational and social emotional products and services Really make a difference in the lives of others     Responsibilities    Work phone leads in a professional and effective manner Service inquiring/incoming calls & emails about product opportunity Implement New marketing strategies Take customers from first contact to taking payments   About The Business Marketing materials supplied Work from Home Highly Lucrative Make between 10%-25% Per Sale Part Time/Full Time   If you are attracted to this opportunity , please review our websites ( www.LifeChangeHealthInstitute.ie and PlantBasedAcademy.com) then Complete our online Application form.

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:40+00:00 September 10th, 2015|Blog, Career Opportunities|Comments Off on Marketing & Sales Executive Needed for Vegan & Plant Based Business in Dublin

Narcissistic Personality Disorders

The narcissistic personality disorder presents, clinically, at three levels of severity. The mildest cases, who appear “neurotic,” usually present indications for psychoanalysis. They typically do consult only because of a significant symptom, which seems so linked to their character pathology that anything but the treatment of their personality disorder would seem inadequate. In contrast, other narcissistic patients at that level present symptoms that may be treated without an effort to modify or resolve their narcissistic personality structure. All of these patients seem to be functioning in general, except they typically present with significant problems in long-term intimate relationships and in long-term professional or work interactions. A second level of severity of illness of narcissistic personalities reflects the typical syndrome with all the various clinical manifestations. These patients need treatment for their personality dis- order, and here the alternative between standard psychoanalytic treatment and psychoanalytic psychotherapy depends on individualized indications and contraindications. A third level of sever- ity of narcissistic personality disorder functions on an overt borderline level. In addition to all the typical manifestations of narcissistic personality disorder, the patient also presents general lack of anxiety tolerance, of impulse control, and a severe reduction in sublimatory functions (that is, in his capacity for productivity or creativity beyond gratifi- cation of survival needs). These patients usually show severe and chronic failure in their work and profession, and chron- ic failure in their efforts to establish or maintain intimate relations. At this same level of severity, another group of patients may not show overt borderline features, but present significant antisocial activity, which may place them in the same category as those who function on a borderline level. All of these severely narcissistic patients may respond to a psychoanalytic, transference-focused psychotherapy, un- less, for individualized reasons, this ap- proach would seem contraindicated, in which case [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:40+00:00 September 6th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Narcissistic Personality Disorders

Aggression and Transference in Severe Personality Disorders with a history of violence and abuse

Studies of patients with severe personality disorders and of children at high risk for psychopathology have shown growing evidence that early exposure to violence as well as physical, psychological and sexual abuse, particularly incest, are significantly more frequent in their background than in those with milder personality disorders and the population at large (Paris 1993). Yet, evidence is also increasing that abnormality of neurochemical and neurohormonal systems may be related to significant aspects of personality pathology, particularly proneness to aggressive and reckless behavior, pointing to the importance of genetic and constitutional determinants of what is somewhat loosely called "temperament" (Stone 1993). Accepting in theory the possibility that both genetic and constitutional factors and environmental and psychodynamic factors may play roles, the question remains how to conceptualize aggression and understand its involvement in the development of severe psychopathology. I proposed in earlier work (1992) that affects are instinctive components of human behavior, that is, inborn dispositions that are common to all individuals of the human species. I proposed that they emerge in the earliest stages of development and are gradually organized as part of early object relations into gratifying, rewarding, pleasurable affects or libido as an overarching drive, and into painful, aversive, negative affects which are organized into aggression as an overarching drive. Within this conceptualization, affects are inborn, constitutionally and genetically determined modes of reaction that are triggered first by various physiological and bodily experiences, and then by the development of object relations from the beginning of life on. Rage, within this conceptualization, represents the basic affect of aggression as a drive, and the vicissitudes of rage explain, in my view, the origins of hatred and envy, as well as of anger and irritability as moods. Similarly, the affect of sexual excitement constitutes the core affect of libido, which slowly [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:41+00:00 September 6th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Aggression and Transference in Severe Personality Disorders with a history of violence and abuse

Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a serious and prevalent psychiatric condition characterised by affective instability, marked impulsivity, and significant deficits in the capacity to work and maintain meaningful relationships. Patients with BPD struggle with a profound fear of abandonment, identity disturbances, and paranoid ideations. They are at risk for suicide, repetitive self-destructive behaviours, and comorbid mood, anxiety, and substance use disorders. Stern (1938) coined the term "borderline personality" to describe low-functioning, difficult-to-treat psychiatric patients whose symptoms lay between neurosis and psychosis. Thus, 'borderline' constituted a "broad category of patients whose psychology did not portray the chaos, disorganization, or defect in reality testing associated with psychotic patients, but also lacked the integration, stability of relationships, and regulation of affect associated with neurotic patients" (Kernberg and Michels 2009). Borderline personality disorder remains one of the most severe mental health problems in all of psychiatry. Our understanding of borderline personality disorder began to take shape with the seminal work of Otto Kernberg (1967), who offered a perspective of 'borderline' as a syndrome and not as a default categorization of individuals that did not meet the neurotic or psychotic diagnosis. Following this breakthrough, Grinker and colleagues published the first empirical study of the Borderline Syndrome (Grinker et al. 1968). Subsequently, Gunderson and Singer (1975) provided the first clinical conceptualization of the disorder and attempted to define diagnostic criteria for BPD. By 1980, the construct of BPD was considered developed and validated to the extent that the disorder was included in the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III; American Psychiatric Association 1980). Since then, the disorder has captured the attention of scores of researchers and clinicians and has become the most studied personality disorder. Clinical Presentation and Diagnosis BPD is a complex clinical syndrome that has three core features: [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:42+00:00 September 6th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder, depression, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder: Practical differential diagnosis

The challenge of accurate diagnosis remains at the heart of good psychiatric treatment. In the current state of psychiatry, a confluence of forces has increased this challenge for the clinician. These include practical pressures—such as limited time for diagnostic evaluation, the question of what is reimbursed by insurance, and the issue of directing patients to acute treatments—and also trends in nosology, such as the descriptive focus on signs and symptoms in the current official diagnostic system. The authors offer observations that we hope will help clinicians who have to make difficult diagnostic differentiations often under pressured circumstances. The paper is motivated both by the high frequency of diagnostic errors observed under such conditions and also by the belief that considering sym- ptoms in the context of the patient's sense of self, quality of interper- sonal relations, and level of functioning over time will help guide the diagnostic process. (Bulletin of the Menninger Glinic, 77[1], 1-22) Dr. Kernberg is Director, Personality Disorders Institute, The New York Presbyterian Hospital, Payne Whitney Westchester; Professor of Psychiatry, Joan and Sanford I. Weill Medical College of Cornell University; and Training and Supervising Analyst, Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. Dr. Yeomans is Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University; Director of Training at the Personality Disorders Institute at the New York Presbyterian Hospital, Payne Whitney Westchester; and Director of the Personality Studies Institute in New York City. What follows are clinical observations directed to psychiatrists who have to make difficult diagnostic differentiations, often un- der circumstances of pressured time. These differentiations often involve decisions regarding immediate interventions and treat- ment planning. This article is motivated by the high frequency of diagnostic errors observed under such conditions, an observation that emerges only when the patient is seen under more [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:43+00:00 September 6th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder, depression, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder: Practical differential diagnosis

Narcissistic Pathology as Understood in Tranference-Focused Psychotherapy

Readings - 1 • Kernberg OF (1984). Severe Personality Disorders. New Haven, Yale University Press, chapters 11 to 14. • Kernberg OF (2004). Aggressivity, Narcissism & Self-destructiveness in the Psychotherapeutic Relationship. New Haven: Yale University Press. • Kernberg PF. Narcissistic Personality Disorder in Childhood. Psychiatric Clinics of North America. XII, 3, September 1989, 671-694.   Readings - 2 Diamond D, Yeomans FE, and Levy K Psychodynamic Psychotherapy for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The Handbook of Narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Theoretical Approaches, Empirical Findings, and Treatment, Eds. Keith Campbell and Josh Miller, New York: Wiley, 2011 Stern BL, Yeomans FE, Diamond D, & Kernberg OF. (in press). Transference-Focused Psychotherapy (TFP) for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. In, Treating Pathological Narcissism, Ogrodniczuk, J., (Ed.). American Psychiatric Press: Washington, DC, 2011   IPDE Criteria for NPD Grandiose sense of self importance Fantasies of success/power Believes self to be special and unique Requiresexcessiveadmiration Entitlement Interpersonally exploitative Lacksempathy Envious of others Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors/attitudes   NPD/BPD: How are they related? • NPD and BPD share same level of structural intrapsychic organization – identity disturbances • The Grandiose Self characterizes NPD: – A condensation of everything that seems ideal and good, with the exclusion of anything negative – It is a compensatory structure that is superimposed on fragmented internal world to provide a semblance of integration and stability to cover feelings of inadequacy and emptiness   Narcissism: multiple meanings Developmental phases/mental states: primary narcissism and secondary narcissism A question of self esteem and how to manage it A description of the state and quality of an individual’s object relations (capacity to invest in relations with others) Maintaining self-esteem - an internal affair The individual’s relation to the ego ideal: internalized representations... fantasies... The difference between the ego ideal and the real self (as perceived): how to manage the gap The [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:43+00:00 September 4th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Narcissistic Pathology as Understood in Tranference-Focused Psychotherapy

The Mechanisms of Change in the Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder With Transference Focused Psychotherapy

We address how Transference Focused Psychotherapy (TFP) conceptual- izes mechanisms in the cause and maintenance of borderline personality disorder (BPD) as well as change mechanisms both within the patient and in terms of specific therapists’ interventions that engender patient change. Mechanisms of change at the level of the patient involve the integration of polarized representations of self and others; mechanisms of change at the level of the therapist’s interventions include the structured treatment approach and the use of clarification, confrontation, and “transference” interpretations in the here and now of the therapeutic relationship. In addition, we briefly review evidence from our group regarding the follow- ing hypothesized mechanisms of change: contract setting, integration of representations, and changes in reflective functioning (RF) and affect regulation. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Clin Psychol 62: 481–501, 2006. Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious and prevalent psychiatric problem characterized by affective instability, angry outbursts, frequent suicidality and parasui- cidality, and marked deficits in the capacity to work and to maintain meaningful relation- ships. Epidemiological, prevalence, and longitudinal studies suggest that BPD affects approximately 1–4% of the general population, 10–15% of psychiatric outpatients, and up to 20% of psychiatric inpatients (Lenzenweger, Loranger, Korfine, & Neff, 1997; Paris, 1999; Torgersen, Kringlen, & Cramer, 2001; Weissman, 1993; Widiger & Frances, 1989; Widiger & Weissman, 1991; Zimmerman, Rothschild, & Chelminski, 2005). In adult clinical outpatient and inpatient samples, the majority of patients are women; how- ever, both forensic and veteran populations reflect high levels of BPD in men (South- wick, Yehuda, & Giller, 1993, Timmerman & Emmelkamp, 2001), and community samples find a relatively even distribution of men and women (Lenzenweger et al., 1997). One study examining prevalence in a primary care waiting room found 6% of patients met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:45+00:00 September 4th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on The Mechanisms of Change in the Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder With Transference Focused Psychotherapy

Transferenced Focused Psychotherapy

This paper describes a specific psychoanalytic psychotherapy for patients with severe per- sonality disorders, its technical approach and specific research projects establishing empir- ical evidence supporting its efficacy. This treatment derives from the findings of the Menninger Foundation Psychotherapy Research project, and applies a model of contempor- ary psychoanalytic object relations theory as its theoretical foundation. The paper differen- tiates this treatment from alternative psychoanalytic approaches, including other types of psychoanalytic psychotherapy as well as standard psychoanalysis, and from three alternative non-analytical treatments prevalent in the treatment of borderline patients, namely, dialectic behavior therapy, supportive psychotherapy based on psychoanalytic theory, and schema focused therapy. It concludes with indications and contraindications to this particular thera- peutic approach derived from the clinical experience that evolved in the course of the sequence of research projects leading to the empirical establishment of its efficacy. Introduction Transference Focused Psychotherapy (TFP) evolved out of the Menninger Founda- tion’s Psychotherapy Research Project, particularly its quantitative studies, that found that patients with severe personality disorders or borderline personality organ- ization – which would then refer to patients presenting significant ego-weakness – improved more with a psychotherapeutic approach that focused on transference interpretations in the sessions, while providing the patient with as much support outside the sessions as was necessary to maintain the treatment frame, than similar patients treated by either standard psychoanalysis or supportive psychotherapy (Kernberg et al., 1972). Beginning in 1976, a group of psychoanalysts and research- ers developed this approach more systematically, culminating in the work of the Personality Disorders Institute at the Westchester Division of the New York Presbyterian Hospital over the past 10 years. We developed a theoretical model, a corresponding theory of technique, and clinical approaches in the treatment of severe personality disorders, testing various psychoanalytic hypotheses in terms of interpretive approaches to patients, [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:46+00:00 September 3rd, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Transferenced Focused Psychotherapy

Comprehensive Thyroid Assessment

The Comprehensive Thyroid Assessment is a hormone test that provides a thorough analysis of thyroid hormone metabolism. It includes central thyroid gland regulation and activity, thyroid production and secretion, peripheral thyroid conversion, and thyroid autoimmunity. This hormone test allows the practitioner to pinpoint common imbalances that underlie a broad spectrum of chronic illness. This test analyzes serum levels of TSH, free T4, free T3, reverse T3, anti-TG antibodies, and anti-TPO antibodies to assess central and peripheral thyroid function, as well as thyroid auto-immunity. Thyroid hormones are essential and primary regulators of the body´s metabolism. Hormone imbalances can affect virtually every metabolic process in the body, exerting significant effects on mood and energy level. Symptoms of thyroid hormone imbalances can include: Fatigue Depression Coldness Constipation Poor skin Headaches PMS Dysmenorrhea Fluid retention Weight gain Anxiety/Panic attacks Decreased memory and concentration Muscle and joint pain Low sex drive Thyroid hormone function has a profound impact on overall health via: Modulation of carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism Vitamin utilization Mitochondrial function Digestive process Muscle and nerve activity Blood flow Oxygen utilization Hormone secretion Sexual and reproductive health Many other physiological parameters Thyroid Hormone Testing The Comprehensive Thyroid Assessment is a hormonal test which reveals imbalances that often go undetected with more limited assessments.   This thyroid hormone testing measures: Unbound levels of T4 and T3 which reflect the bioactive portion of thyroid hormone. This hormone assessment can identify not only overt hyper-and hypothyroidism, but subtle sub-clinical manifestations of thyroid dysfunction. Reverse T3, levels of which can increase when peripheral conversion to T4 to active T3 is impaired. Peripheral thyroid imbalances may arise from nutrient shortages, heavy metal exposure, adrenal stress, enzyme deficiencies, and other chronic illness. Thyroid antibody levels, which help gauge autoimmune response and may reflect metabolic irregularities and hypothyroidism even when TSH and T4 [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:47+00:00 September 1st, 2015|Our Treatments|Comments Off on Comprehensive Thyroid Assessment

Adrenocortex Stress Profile

Adrenocortex Stress Profile is a powerful and precise noninvasive salivary hormone test that evaluates bioactive levels of the body's important stress hormones, cortisol and DHEA. This hormone test (stress test) serves as a critical tool for uncovering biochemical imbalances underlying anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, obesity, dysglycemia, and a host of other clinical conditions. This hormone test examines 4 saliva samples over a 24-hour period for levels of cortisol and DHEA. The adrenal hormones cortisol and DHEA function to influence: Metabolism Anti-inflammatory response Thyroid function Resistance to stress Diseases and conditions associated with adrenocortex stress: Anxiety Back pain Cardiovascular disease Celiac disease Chronic fatigue syndrome Depression Hypoglycemia High blood pressure Insomnia Migraine headaches Obesity Thyroid dysfunction Ulcers Weak immune system Changing the amounts of cortisol and DHEA can profoundly affect: Energy levels Emotional states Resistance to disease General sense of well-being Although both DHEA and cortisol are hormones produced by the adrenal cortex, they exhibit many opposing actions. Cortisol: Many of cortisol’s physiological actions are geared toward the mobilization of reserves. Cortisol is released in large amounts in response to physical, physiological, and/or psychological stress. When stressors persist, the secretion of glucocorticoids can be prolonged, leading to maladaptation of the adrenal cortex and adrenal hyperplasia. Excess cortisol can adversely affect: Bone and muscle tissue Cardiovascular function Sleep Thyroid function Weight control Glucose regulation Immune defense Aging Over time, cortisol secretion can become impaired, resulting in the inability to respond to stress as demonstrated in conditions as: Chronic fatigue syndrome Allergies Menstrual problems Arthritis   DHEA, in contrast to cortisol, exerts mostly anabolic actions and balances the body’s stress response. DHEA functions to: Provide substrate for the synthesis of sex hormones Guard against degenerative conditions associated with aging Influence immune function and energy production Affect insulin sensitivity, thyroid function, protein synthesis [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:47+00:00 September 1st, 2015|Our Treatments|Comments Off on Adrenocortex Stress Profile

Full Blood Profile

The ION® (Individual Optimal Nutrition) is a combination of nutritional tests that measure levels vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and organic, fatty and amino acids. Using the combination of nutritional testing profiles, the ION® offers a complete evaluation of nutritional functions that impact patients´ mental and physical well-being. Over time, functional nutritional deficiencies can result in a variety of chronic health conditions. The ION® nutritional testing profile can help determine the basis for these conditions.   Nutritional testing profiles included in the ION® nutritional test:   Organix nutritional test profile - reveals nutritional and metabolic impairments Amino Acid nutritional test profile - determines essential amino acid imbalances that affect both physical and mental function Nutrient and Toxic Element test profile - identifies a patient´s toxic burden and mineral status Fatty Acid nutritional test profile - helps identify the right balance of fatty acids that can impact health and development Antioxidant Vitamins test - measures vitamins involved in antioxidant functions Coenzyme Q10 nutritional test - measures total body status of this antioxidant nutrient and energy pathway cofactor Lipid Peroxides nutritional test - measures total serum lipid peroxidation, an indication of whole body free radical activity Homocysteine test - identifies total homocysteine in plasma and elevated levels are an independent risk factor for premature cardiovascular disease and atherothrombotic cerebrovascular disease   The ION® nutritional test profile is helpful in cases of: Heart Disease: where deficiencies of magnesium, taurine, carnitine, fatty acids and other important substances commonly accompany heart disease. Re-supplying depleted nutrients greatly aids in prevention and recovery. Obesity and Weight Issues: often people battling obesity and weight issues have multiple nutritional deficiencies. Dietary improvement and nutritional supplementation based on ION® test results help many achieve more active metabolism. In the process, they are able to eliminate excess fat and fluid. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: an [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:47+00:00 September 1st, 2015|Our Treatments|Comments Off on Full Blood Profile

Fat-Soluble Vitamins Profile – Serum

The Fat-Soluble Vitamins Profile is a great tool to gain an overall perspective of a patient's health, nutrient processing, and dietary insufficiencies. Serum levels of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K plus beta-carotene and coenzyme Q10 are measured to evaluate total body status of these antioxidant nutrients. What are the benefits of measuring all fat-soluble vitamins together? Testing these nutrients together in one panel is important because nutrient functionality is dependent on the adequate supply of each nutrient. For bone health, taking vitamin D without adequate levels of vitamins A, E, and K may be detrimental since all are needed for proper bone calcification. Antioxidants, such as vitamin E, CoQ10, and beta-carotene, help ensure proper oxidation-reduction chain reactions. Vitamins measured include: Vitamin A specific maintenance roles have been reported for vision, bone growth, skin and mucosal integrity, spermatogenesis, as well as protection against cataracts, atherosclerosis, macular degeneration and cancer. Vitamin D, "the sunshine vitamin", is necessary for maintaining blood levels of calcium and phosphorus for healthy teeth and bones. Vitamin D also plays a vital role in immune functions and is essential for reducing cancer risk and health maintenance. Vitamin E is an important free radical scavenger and protective antioxidant for membrane tissues, helping to stop damage to healthy cells. Both gamma and alpha tocopherol are reported to better assess oxidative stress and inflammation. Vitamin K is important in the deposition of ionic calcium needed for proper blood coagulation and bone formation. Research finds vitamin K to be a potential protector against osteoporosis, atherosclerosis, and possibly cancer. Beta-carotene serves as an important antioxidant in keeping cells healthy, and also serving as a pool that is converted to vitamin A when needed. Beta-carotene also helps to identify a healthy diet. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) allows food energy to be converted into [...]

By | 2015-09-01T13:38:11+01:00 September 1st, 2015|Our Treatments|Comments Off on Fat-Soluble Vitamins Profile – Serum

Metabolic Analysis Profile

The Metabolic Analysis Profile is a nutritional test that assesses urine metabolites in order to evaluate four critical areas of metabolism: 1) Gastrointestinal function, 2) Cellular and mitochondrial energy production, 3) Neurotransmitter processing and 4) Amino acid/organic acid balance as influenced by vitamin/mineral cofactors. Results can be used to address chronic systemic complaints ranging from chronic fatigue and mood disorders to headache, muscular/joint pain, and digestive problems. The Metabolic Analysis Profile is a nutritional test using an urinary assessment of 46 key organic acids grouped according to their primary roles in the following four central areas of metabolism.   Gastrointestinal Function — This profile measures eight markers that can reveal malabsorption and dysbiosis. These imbalances can be addressed to improve gut health and to help prevent or alleviate: chronic digestive problems, common causes of nutritional deficiency, yeast overgrowth, cognitive impairment, gastrointestinal distress, and degenerative conditions.   Energy Production —This profile assesses metabolites that serve as important intermediates in the citric acid (Krebs) cycle. This cycle supplies the body with its primary energy needs, converting 90% of food energy into cellular energy. This subpanel also includes: 1) Carbohydrate metabolites that can signal impaired glucose metabolism 2) Markers that help evaluate the breakdown of fats and production of cholesterol 3) A marker measuring the production of coenzyme Q10 4) Imbalances of cellular energy metabolites are linked with chronic fatigue, accelerated cell breakdown, and unhealthy aging.   Neurotransmitter Metabolites - A special grouping of neurotransmitter metabolites serve as important diagnostic indicators of abnormal metabolism that can underline many key aspects of neuropsychiatric function. These markers are urinary metabolites of powerful neurotranmitters that act on the central nervous system, including: Epinephrine, Dopamine, and Serotonin. These substances can profoundly influence patterns of stress response, emotional well-being, cognition, and sleep.   Assessment of Nutrient Sufficiency — This nutritional test provides a [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:48+00:00 September 1st, 2015|Our Treatments|Comments Off on Metabolic Analysis Profile

Essential & Metabolic Fatty Acids Analysis (EMFA)

This test evaluates the level of red cell membrane fatty acids, imbalances of which significantly affect inflammatory and other disorders. By knowing the various fatty acid levels, one can re-establish a balance using nutritional intervention. This comprehensive profile allows practitioners to accurately assess dietary intake and metabolism of fatty acids in each patient. Precise, custom-tailored nutritional intervention is then made possible. Fatty acids comprise some of the most essential nutrients in the human diet. They are critical for cell membrane structure and function as well as local “hormonal” signaling. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are transformed into local hormonal mediators called eicosanoids. Eicosanoids regulate all stages of inflammation, including initiation, propagation and termination. This process is vital to the ability of the body’s immune system to repair and protect itself. Fatty acids are also crucial components of neural membranes and receptors that ensure proper intracellular communication within the brain and nervous system. The Clinical Significance of Fatty Acids: The number of diseases whose clinical course can be affected by fatty acid therapy is enormous. These include: Inflammatory disorders Cardiovascular disease Hormonal disorders Autoimmune disorders Arthridities Senile neurological degeneration Mental and behavioral disorders such as depression and ADHD Hair and skin related conditions, such as dermatitis, alopecia, brittle nails coarse dry hair and frequent infections   The Omega-6/Omega-3 Ratio: EFA imbalances have been cited by some experts as the most widespread nutritional problem in modern times. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats has increased dramatically due to the widespread use of vegetable oils, rising from about 4:1 for Americans at the beginning of the twentieth century to about 20:1 at the present time. Increased consumption of saturated fats and decreased consumption of omega-3 oils (cold water fish and flaxseed oil) have also contributed to the growing prevalence of these imbalances. Some individuals with [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:48+00:00 September 1st, 2015|Our Treatments|Comments Off on Essential & Metabolic Fatty Acids Analysis (EMFA)

Comprehensive Nutritional Test

Organix® Comprehensive Profile – Urine The Organix® Comprehensive Profile is a nutritional test providing insights into organic acids and a view into the body's cellular metabolic processes. Additionally, children’s reference ranges are designed to provide more accurate pediatric nutritional evaluations. Identifying metabolic blocks that can be treated nutritionally allows individual tailoring of interventions that maximize patient responses and lead to improved patient outcomes. Organic Acids and Nutritional Testing Organic acids are metabolic intermediates that are produced in pathways of central energy production, detoxification, neurotransmitter breakdown, or intestinal microbial activity. Marked accumulation of specific organic acids detected in urine often signals a metabolic inhibition or block. The metabolic block may be due to a nutrient deficiency, an inherited enzyme deficit, toxic build-up or drug effect. Several of the biomarkers are markers of intestinal bacterial or yeast overgrowth. The Organix® Comprehensive nutritional test profile provides vital patient information from a single urine specimen. This organic acids nutritional test is valuable for determining: 1) Functional vitamin and mineral status 2) Amino acid insufficiencies like carnitine and NAC 3) Oxidative damage and antioxidant need 4) Phase I & Phase II detoxification capacity 5) Functional B-complex vitamin need 6) Neurotransmitter metabolites 7) Mitochondrial energy production 8) Methylation sufficiency 9) Lipoic acid and CoQ10 status 10) Markers for bacterial and yeast overgrowth 11) Organic Acid Testing and Clinical Solutions: Full review of the patient’s biochemical status and metabolic pathway flow can help identify areas of greatest concern. Follow-up nutritional testing can monitor the effectiveness of selected treatments. Advantages of the Organix® Comprehensive Profile Extensive Analyte List - The Organix® Comprehensive Profile is a nutritional test which contains one of the most extensive biomarker lists in the industry. Including nutritional markers such as Quinolinate, D-Arabinitol, and 8-Hydroxy-2'deoxyguanosine, the Organix® offers great value. Innovative Method - The LC/MS-MS [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:48+00:00 September 1st, 2015|Our Treatments|Comments Off on Comprehensive Nutritional Test

The Neuroendocrinology of Social Isolation

Social isolation has been recognized as a major risk factor for morbidity and mortality in humans for more than a quarter of a century. Although the focus of research has been on objective social roles and health behavior, the brain is the key organ for forming, monitoring, maintaining, repairing, and replacing salutary connections with others. Accordingly, population-based longitudi- nal research indicates that perceived social isolation (loneliness) is a risk factor for morbidity and mortality independent of objective social isolation and health behavior. Human and animal investigations of neuroendocrine stress mechanisms that may be involved suggest that (a) chronic social iso- lation increases the activation of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenocortical axis, and (b) these effects are more dependent on the disruption of a social bond between a significant pair than objective isolation per se. The relational factors and neuroendocrine, neurobiological, and genetic mechanisms that may contribute to the association between perceived isolation and mortality are reviewed. INTRODUCTION Chronic social isolation has long been recognized as a risk factor for broad-based morbidity and mortality. The early evidence for this association came from epidemiological studies, where so- cial isolation has typically been defined in terms of objective features of the social environment such as the absence of a spouse, having less than monthly contact with friends and family, and/or having no participation in organizations, clubs, or religious groups (e.g., House et al. 1988). At that time, health behaviors were already known to have a strong impact on morbidity and mor- tality, and the primary explanation for the association between isolation and mortality—the social control hypothesis—emphasized the impact of friends and family on a person’s health behav- iors. Specifically, the hypothesis posits that internalized obligations to, and the overt influence of, network members (e.g., spouses, family members, friends) encourage individuals to exhibit good health [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:48+00:00 August 29th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on The Neuroendocrinology of Social Isolation

The Neurobiology of Stress

The prefrontal cortex (PFC) provides top-down regulation of behavior, cognition, and emotion, including spatial working memory. However, these PFC abilities are greatly impaired by exposure to acute or chronic stress. Chronic stress exposure in rats induces atrophy of PFC dendrites and spines that correlates with working memory impairment. As similar PFC grey matter loss appears to occur in mental illness, the mechanisms underlying these changes need to be better understood. Acute stress exposure impairs PFC cognition by activating feedforward cAMP-calcium- Kþ channel signaling, which weakens synaptic in- puts and reduces PFC neuronal firing. Spine loss with chronic stress has been shown to involve calcium- protein kinase C signaling, but it is not known if inhibiting cAMP signaling would similarly prevent the atrophy induced by repeated stress. The current study examined whether inhibiting cAMP signaling through alpha-2A-adrenoceptor stimulation with chronic guanfacine treatment would protect PFC spines and working memory performance during chronic stress exposure. Guanfacine was selected due to 1) its established effects on cAMP signaling at post-synaptic alpha-2A receptors on spines in PFC, and 2) its increasing clinical use for the treatment of pediatric stress disorders. Daily guanfacine treatment compared to vehicle control was found to prevent dendritic spine loss in layer II/III pyramidal neurons of prelimbic PFC in rats exposed to chronic restraint stress. Guanfacine also protected working memory performance; cognitive performance correlated with dendritic spine density. These findings suggest that chronic guanfacine use may have clinical utility by protecting PFC gray matter from the detrimental effects of stress. Introduction The highly evolved prefrontal cortex (PFC) generates the mental representations needed to provide top-down regulation of behavior, thought and emotion (Arnsten, 2009a). These abilities are often tested in working memory tasks where representations of goals must be held “in mind” and used to guide choice of action. Understanding these [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:50+00:00 August 28th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on The Neurobiology of Stress

Stress Fractures

In 2005, Steve Cole began to peer inside the cells of lonely people, training his sights on the activity of their genomes. Cole, a psychologist turned molecular biologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, was interested in how psychological stressors such as chronic social isolation could be bad for our health, increasing our susceptibility to certain diseases. Research had already implicated stress hormones, which are produced at higher-than-average levels in people who feel lonely for long stretches. But Cole wanted to know what was going in the genes, and not just one or two. He suspected that the expression of large collections of genes might be disrupted in people who consistently reported feeling isolated. “I had an abiding mistrust of one-gene answers because genes generally work in coordinated networks in cells,” he says. Cole teamed up with University of Chicago social psychologist John Cacioppo, who had already been tracking 166 healthy middle-aged adults for three years, periodically asking them how socially isolated they felt and gathering all manner of biomedical, psychological, social, and economic data. Cole and Cacioppo took blood samples from 153 of the study subjects and focused on the eight most socially secure people and the six loneliest, who had scored highest on the UCLA Loneliness Scale for the past three years. When Cole ran these 14 subjects’ white blood cells through a microarray analysis, he spotted more than 200 genes that were expressed differently between the two groups. Many of the genes dialed up in lonely individuals were involved in inflammation, while the downregulated genes tended to be associated with antiviral response, antibody production, and restraint of inflammatory responses.1 It was a tiny sample, but the implications of the study, published in 2007, were great: loneliness, it seems, shapes one’s health by controlling the “dimmer switch” [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:51+00:00 August 28th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Stress Fractures

When Stress Rises, Empathy Suffers

Among the many contradictions of humans, some of the more striking ones concern empathy. Our hearts break at a disaster on another continent, and we send money to people whose faces we will never see. We look after the well-being of our pets with deep, empathic concern. We feel the pain of characters in a novel. But at the same time, we can walk past a homeless person sleeping on the sidewalk without noticing him. It’s no news that we’re one very complicated species. The challenge is to make sense of such behavior, to understand the circumstances that foster or hinder empathy. A recent study published in Current Biology—I’m one of the paper’s many co-authors—uncovers some of its biological underpinnings. The research, conducted by Loren Martin and Jeffrey Mogil of McGill University in Montreal and colleagues, explores the effects of stress on empathy. It’s well established that stress and the hormones secreted when we’re stressed alter brain function. They disrupt aspects of learning and memory, impair judgment and impulse control, and increase the risks of anxiety and depression. As it turns out, the hormones also disrupt aspects of empathy. Feeling someone else’s pain can alter how we feel about our own. If you watch a needle poke the hand of someone you identify with, your own hand tenses. You display “emotional contagion,” a rudimentary version of empathy. Some years ago, Dr. Mogil showed that even mice display such emotional contagion; their sensitivity to pain increased when they were exposed to another mouse in pain. Even more remarkably, the effect depended on familiarity: It only occurred if the other mouse was a cage mate. A stranger provoked no emotional contagion. Why doesn’t a stranger evoke such empathy? A mouse exposed to a new mouse has a stress response, secreting a class [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:51+00:00 August 28th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on When Stress Rises, Empathy Suffers

How to Relieve Stress bY Robert Sapolsky

In 1900, what do you think were the leading causes of death in this country? If you were 20 to 40 years old and a woman, the single riskiest thing you could do was try to give birth. TB, Pneumonia, influenza killed a lot of other people. But few people under the age of 100 die of the flu anymore. Relatively few women die in childbirth. Instead, we die of these utterly bizarre diseases that have never existed before on the planet in any sort of numbers—diseases like heart disease, cancer, adult-onset diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. Now, some of this has to do with nuts and bolts biology. But some of it has to do with issues that nobody ever had to think about before in medicine—totally bizarre questions like, “What’s your psychological makeup?” or “What’s your social status?” or “How do people with your social status get treated in your society?” And this one: “Why is it that when we’re feeling unloved, we eat more starch?” Figure that out, and you’ve cured half the cases of diabetes in this country. Indeed, when you look at the diseases that do us in, they are predominantly diseases that can be caused, or made worse, by stress. As a result, most of us in this room will have the profound Westernized luxury of dropping dead someday of a stress-related disease. That’s why it’s so urgent that we understand stress—and how to better manage it. How stress kills Do you remember “homeostasis,” a term I guarantee you heard in ninth grade biology? Homeostasis is having an ideal body temperature, an ideal level of glucose in the bloodstream, an ideal everything. That’s being in homeostatic balance. A stressor is anything in the outside world that knocks you out of homeostatic balance. If you’re some zebra and a lion has [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:52+00:00 August 28th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on How to Relieve Stress bY Robert Sapolsky

Gut bacteria and mind control: to fix your brain, fix your gut!

Prof. Simon Carding, Leader of the Gut Health and Food Safety Research Programme, Institute of Food Research and Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia, recently delivered a public lecture at the Assembly House in Norwich.During the talk he describes our current understanding of the human gut and its relationship with its human host and introduce the provocative proposal that gut microbes influence when, what and how often we eat and whether we stay healthy or succumb to disease. https://youtu.be/mioR_WrkRaU?list=PLcZOswp3ZQnA9kr9yEoTiUWxtrAWY6lr4 Simon Carding, who leads the gut health and food safety programme at the Institute of Food Research (IFR), says diseases such as autism and Parkinson’s could be treated using probiotics. Carding, who is also a professor at the University of East Anglia, will tonight deliver a talk on the relationship between gut health and the brain at The Assembly House in Norwich, and will explain how fixing your brain starts by fixing your gut (see video above). Speaking ahead of tonight’s lecture, Carding said: “The human gut is home to hundreds of trillions of microorganisms, collectively called the microbiome. “They outnumber the cells that make up the body by more than 10-to-1.” According to Carding, humans are “under the influence” of microorganisms present in the gut. For instance, individuals that are prone to gaining weight and becoming obese have populations of microbes in the gut that are very effective in extracting maximum levels of calories from their diet. “Interestingly, if you take the microbes present in the faeces of an obese individual and put them into a mouse, then the mouse will become obese,” Carding told Laboratorytalk. “Likewise, if you do the opposite and put the microbes of a lean individual into a mouse, the mouse will stay lean. It will not gain excessive weight.” Carding also [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:52+00:00 August 28th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Gut bacteria and mind control: to fix your brain, fix your gut!

If you want to change the world…Love a woman.

If you want to change the world…Love a woman. If you want to change the world… love a woman-really love her. Find the one who calls to your soul, who doesn’t make sense. Throw away your check list and put your ear to her heart and listen. Hear the names, the prayers, the songs of every living thing- every winged one, every furry and scaled one, every underground and underwater one, every green and flowering one, every not yet born and dying one… Hear their melancholy praises back to the One who gave them life. If you haven’t heard your own name yet, you haven’t listened long enough. If your eyes aren’t filled with tears, if you aren’t bowing at her feet, you haven’t ever grieved having almost lost her. If you want to change the world… love a woman-one woman beyond yourself, beyond desire and reason, beyond your male preferences for youth, beauty and variety and all your superficial concepts of freedom. We have given ourselves so many choices we have forgotten that true liberation comes from standing in the middle of the soul’s fire and burning through our resistance to Love. There is only one Goddess. Look into Her eyes and see-really see if she is the one to bring the axe to your head. If not, walk away. Right now. Don’t waste time “trying.” Know that your decision has nothing to do with her because ultimately it’s not with who, but when we choose to surrender. If you want to change the world… love a woman. Love her for life-beyond your fear of death, beyond your fear of being manipulated by the Mother inside your head. Don’t tell her you’re willing to die for her. Say you’re willing to LIVE with her, plant trees with her and [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:53+00:00 August 26th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on If you want to change the world…Love a woman.

The Power Of Eye Gazing – We are Designed to connect

“Beam a Gleam!”A “gleam” or “Gleaming” is the word that describes the special look we send when we greet someone special to us! Imagine showing up at a friend’s house unexpectedly and they open the door and immediately show an authentic delight to see you there. That is a “Gleam Beam”! See the effect it can have by sending a “Gleam Beam” to your partner , friend or child,! It is free and very effective to keep your innate secure attachment bond growing and strong! Attachment Gaze is a critical way we feed and enhance our bond with those close to us. When you catch a beam Gleam from someone you love that tells you that you are special to them and that that special look is just for you it opens out heart and gives us gourmet contact nutrition. Simply put, we feel loved and deeply connected. This happens in an ideal world. For some of us – we looked out into the world as babies into the eyes of parents or caregivers that appeared lifeless, empty without presence – or even worse, hostile. This can shift our natural capacity and desire for eye contact away from others and we may grow up not even being aware that we avoid “I” (eye) contact because our original attempts were not met and became repeatedly painful. We learn to know ourselves in the reflection and eye contact of those closest to us. Without it we often disconnect and feel unknown to ourselves and with others, which can be very isolating. Eye Gazing can be enjoyable for those of us that originally had the good fortune to look into kind loving eyes of our caregivers as children. If the contact was painful it may be quite difficult, and the memory is stored [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:54+00:00 August 26th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on The Power Of Eye Gazing – We are Designed to connect

Mycotoxins

Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites produced by microfungi that are capable of causing disease and death in humans and other animals. Because of their pharmacological activity, some mycotoxins or mycotoxin derivatives have found use as antibiotics, growth promotants, and other kinds of drugs; still others have been implicated as chemical warfare agents. This review focuses on the most important ones associated with human and veterinary diseases, including aflatoxin, citrinin, ergot akaloids, fumonisins, ochratoxin A, patulin, trichothecenes, and zearalenone. Mycoses and Mycotoxicoses Fungi are major plant and insect pathogens, but they are not nearly as important as agents of disease in vertebrates, i.e., the number of medically important fungi is relatively low. Frank growth of fungi on animal hosts produces the diseases collectively called mycoses, while dietary, respiratory, dermal, and other exposures to toxic fungal metabolites produce the diseases collectively called mycotoxicoses. Mycoses range from merely annoying (e.g., athlete's foot) to life-threatening (e.g., invasive aspergillosis). The fungi that cause mycoses can be divided into two categories, primary pathogens (e.g., Coccidioides immitis and Histoplasma capsulatum) and opportunistic pathogens (e.g., Aspergillus fumigatus and Candida albicans). Primary pathogens affect otherwise healthy individuals with normal immune systems. Opportunistic pathogens produce illness by taking advantage of debilitated or immunocompromised hosts. The majority of human mycoses are caused by opportunistic fungi (149, 172, 245, 265). The mechanisms of pathogenesis of both primary and opportunistic fungi are complex, and medical mycologists have devoted considerable research energy trying to identify the factors that distinguish fungal pathogens from saprophytic and commensal species (31, 66). Some infections remain localized, while others progress to systemic infection. For many mycoses, the ordinary portal of entry is through the pulmonary tract, but direct inoculation through skin contact is not uncommon. In contrast to mycoses, mycotoxicoses are examples of “poisoning by natural means” and thus are [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:55+00:00 August 24th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Mycotoxins

FDA Approves Turkey Tail Medicinal Mushroom Trial for Cancer Patients

Researchers study how a traditional Chinese mushroom helps cancer patients strengthen their immune systems in a $5.4 million investigation. Turkey tail mushrooms, named for their colorful stripes, have been brewed for thousands of years in Chinese medicinal teas. It's been brewed for thousands of years as a Chinese medicinal tea. Now Bastyr University researchers are closer to discovering whether the turkey tail mushroom (Trametes versicolor) can help cancer patients boost their immune systems during chemotherapy. Turkey tail, named for its colorful stripes, is the humble fungus at the center of a $5.4 million collaboration between Bastyr, the University of Washington and others, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The mushroom grows widely in forests around the world, but its health potential has never been fully measured in scientific trials. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved a clinical trial for a turkey tail extract, allowing patients with advanced prostate cancer to take it in combination with conventional chemotherapy. Another trial pending FDA approval will test the effects of taking the extract along with a vaccine treatment in women with breast cancer. These will help researchers gather safety data and continue their development of potentially transformative cancer therapy. "We didn't discover turkey tail," says lead investigator Leanna J. Standish, PhD, ND, LAc, FABNO, medical director of the Bastyr Integrative Oncology Research Center. "It's been used in Asia for thousands and thousands of years, and it turns out to be a really potent immune therapy. The significance, I think, is that we're bringing a new medicine to cancer patients in the U.S." Previous research by Bastyr and the University of Minnesota found a turkey tail supplement may support conventional breast cancer therapies by strengthening a patient's immune system. That study was published recently in the peer-reviewed journal ISRN Oncology. Chinese Medicine [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:56+00:00 August 21st, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on FDA Approves Turkey Tail Medicinal Mushroom Trial for Cancer Patients

Herbs for Detoxification

The liver, kidney and colon function as elimination organs, ridding the body of toxins and waste. Toxins develop from both dietary and environmental sources and are frequently absorbed through the digestive system. Signs of toxins include fatigue, constipation, low immunity, hormone imbalance, nausea, skin problems and poor circulation. Using natural substances, such as foods and herbs, can rid the body of toxins and restore it to optimal health.   Liver Detoxification The liver is an important organ that performs many vital roles in the body. It functions in energy production, blood-sugar regulation and hormone regulation, and converts toxic substances to nontoxic forms, which are then excreted through the kidneys. Herbal supplements provide natural methods for detoxification. Milk thistle increases the production of antioxidants that protect liver tissue and regenerate damaged tissue. Dandelion root, kelp, burdock root and turmeric aid in cleansing the body and protect against toxins.   Kidney Detoxification The kidneys are bean-shaped organs that process blood to sift out waste products and expel excess water. Turmeric is an overall body cleanser. A diet containing cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cabbage, aids in detoxification. Adequate protein intake aids in detoxification of the kidneys as well.   Colon Detoxification “Health begins in the colon” is a common statement among health practitioners. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, brown rice and legumes provides fiber that naturally cleanses the colon. Natural products that can assist in colon cleansing include cascara sagrada bark, senna, psyllium hulls, garlic, ginger root and black walnut hulls.   Borotutu Bark Borotutu bark is by far one of the most powerful substances when it comes to liver cleansing and digestive system support. It has even shown promise in combating biliary colic, and jaundice. It’s also important to note that this herb contains powerful antioxidants which [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:57+00:00 August 19th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Herbs for Detoxification

Medicinal Herbs

Herbal medicine -- also called botanical medicine or phytomedicine -- refers to using a plant's seeds, berries, roots, leaves, bark, or flowers for medicinal purposes. Herbalism has a long tradition of use outside conventional medicine. It is becoming more mainstream as improvements in analysis and quality control along with advances in clinical research show the value of herbal medicine in treating and preventing disease. What is the history of herbal medicine? Plants have been used for medicinal purposes long before recorded history. Ancient Chinese and Egyptian papyrus writings describe medicinal uses for plants as early as 3,000 BC. Indigenous cultures (such as African and Native American) used herbs in their healing rituals, while others developed traditional medical systems (such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine) in which herbal therapies were used. Researchers found that people in different parts of the world tended to use the same or similar plants for the same purposes. In the early 19th century, when chemical analysis first became available, scientists began to extract and modify the active ingredients from plants. Later, chemists began making their own version of plant compounds and, over time, the use of herbal medicines declined in favor of drugs. Almost one fourth of pharmaceutical drugs are derived from botanicals. Recently, the World Health Organization estimated that 80% of people worldwide rely on herbal medicines for some part of their primary health care. In Germany, about 600 - 700 plant based medicines are available and are prescribed by some 70% of German physicians. In the past 20 years in the United States, public dissatisfaction with the cost of prescription medications, combined with an interest in returning to natural or organic remedies, has led to an increase in herbal medicine use. How do herbs work? In many cases, scientists aren’t sure what specific ingredient in [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:58+00:00 August 18th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Medicinal Herbs

Medicinal Mushrooms & Cancer

Fungi are integral to the planetary web. The lives of plants, animals, and people depend on fungi. They support all forms of life, all stages of the natural life cycle, and play important roles in health and disease. The earth supports more than 1.5 million species of fungi, a family comprising yeasts, molds, and mushrooms. Yeasts are unicellular. Molds and mushrooms are multicellular. They form networks of threadlike membranes called mycelia, which can infest a rooting apple or infiltrate an entire field or forest floor. Mycelia help create soil by secreting enzymes that break down rocks, releasing minerals that help form organic matter. A type of fungi called “white rot” secrets enzymes that turn lignin in wood to carbohydrates. The mold Phanerochaete chrysoporium is capable of digesting oil from spills. Thousands of years ago, humans learned to harness fungi for food and to ferment cheese, beer and wine, and leaven bread. Aspergillus oryzae is necessary to ferment soybeans into soy sauce and miso. Rhizopus oligosporus is part of the process in making tempeh, a high protein food product from soybeans popular in Japan. We cook with wild and cultivated edible mushrooms to enhance flavor and improve nutrition. Mushrooms were included in traditional diets to prevent disease.   Mushrooms for Health For their own protection, fungi have developed an arsenal of medicinal compounds with antibacterial and antiviral properties. The first antibiotic, penicillin, was discovered in the Penicillin rubens mold. Ganomycin, a powerful modern antibiotic, comes from Reishi mushrooms. According to Robert Rogers in The Fungal Pharmacy, there are more than 270 species of fungi with known medicinal properties, including antioxidant, blood pressure lowering, cholesterol reducing, liver protection, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and immune modulating properties. Mushrooms contain disease-busting polysaccharides, glycoproteins, ergosterols, triterpenoids, and immune-boosting chemicals. Agarikon mushrooms have antiviral properties against H1N1 swine [...]

By | 2018-03-28T10:56:20+01:00 August 18th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Medicinal Mushrooms & Cancer

Harmful Toxins Bisphenol A (BPA)

Bisphenol A (BPA) is one of the most common chemicals to which we are exposed in everyday life. It is the building block of polycarbonate plastic and is also used in the manufacture of epoxy resins found in many common consumer products (Beronius, 2010). It is also prevalent in thermal receipts and other paper products, including in recycled paper products as a result of the recycling of thermal receipts (Liao, 2011). Avoid canned foods; clear, shatterproof plastic food and drink containers; and thermal receipts. And even if a plastic is labeled as BPA-free, do not assume that it's safe! An estimated 5 million US tons of this endocrine-disrupting chemical were produced globally in 2008, and more than 2.4 million tons were produced in the United States in 2007 (CEPA, 2009). According to Global Industry Analysts, the global market is expected to reach 6 million tons by 2015 (GIA, 2010). Over 500 tons of BPA are released into the U.S. environment annually, according to an estimate by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA, 2012). Significant levels of BPA have been measured in ambient air (Matsumoto, 2005), house dust (Rudel, 2003), and river and drinking water (Rodriguez-Mozaz, 2005). Present in many common household products such as eyeglasses and compact discs, BPA is also commonly found in the epoxy lining of metal food cans; polycarbonate plastic food containers, including some baby bottles; microwave ovenware; and eating utensils. Because BPA is an unstable compound and is also lipophilic (fat-seeking), it can leach into food products, especially when heated (Brotons, 1995). Once in food, BPA can move quickly into people — a particular concern for women of childbearing age and young children. Two studies have explored the effects of increased ingestion of food and drink packaged in materials containing endocrine-disrupting compounds. Both found rapid increases [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:58+00:00 August 18th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Harmful Toxins Bisphenol A (BPA)

Healthy Sexuality & Intimacy

Emotional intimacy is a foundational aspect of all great relationships. The word “intimacy” refers to the experience of being fully seen and comes from the Latin “intimus” meaning innermost. When we share this experience with another, we feel whole, complete, and at one with the world. Yet we often fear that which we most desire, and in the case of emotional intimacy this is all too often the case. Intimacy requires an unmasking of our public image and a disarming of the defenses that we normally utilize to protect ourselves from the vulnerability that exposes us to the possibility of pain, rejection or hurt feelings. This desire to experience the feelings of deep connectedness is often the primary motivator for engagement in romantic relationships. Consequently it’s not surprising that so many of us find ourselves in the conundrum of both desiring and resisting deep connection in our lives. Fortunately, despite these ambivalent feelings and desires, it is possible to bring greater intimacy (both in terms of quantity and quality) into our lives. The experience of intimacy is not one that can be brought forth by demand, but can be invited to arise when certain conditions are in place in a relationship. These conditions include: Feelings of emotional safety: When we feel trust that our partner supports our well being and has no unspoken or unacknowledged agenda we are less likely to feel the need for the emotional protection that inhibits openness. No incompletions: Incompletions occur when “unfinished business” is neglected, causing both partners to feel uneasy or fearful of activating unresolved differences. This can promote feelings of anxiety or defensiveness, which inhibit vulnerability. Responsibility: When someone feels the need or the desire for more intimacy, it’s helpful if they can take responsibility for taking the initiative to make that desire [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:59+00:00 August 18th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Healthy Sexuality & Intimacy

The Importance of Probiotics and Health

The intestinal microflora is a positive health asset that crucially influences the normal structural and functional development of the mucosal immune system. Mucosal immune responses to resident intestinal microflora require precise control and an immunosensory capacity for distinguishing commensal from pathogenic bacteria. In genetically susceptible individuals, some components of the flora can become a liability and contribute to the pathogenesis of various intestinal disorders, including inflammatory bowel diseases. It follows that manipulation of the flora to enhance the beneficial components represents a promising therapeutic strategy. The flora has a collective metabolic activity equal to a virtual organ within an organ, and the mechanisms underlying the conditioning influence of the bacteria on mucosal homeostasis and immune responses are beginning to be unravelled. An improved understanding of this hidden organ will reveal secrets that are relevant to human health and to several infectious, inflammatory and neoplastic disease processes. Introduction Host–microbe interactions occur primarily along mucosal surfaces, and one of the largest interfaces is the human intestinal mucosa. The intestine is adapted to bi-directional host–flora exchange and harbours a diverse bacterial community that is separated from the internal milieu by only a single layer of epithelial cells. Resident bacteria outnumber human somatic and germ cells tenfold and represent a combined microbial genome well in excess of the human genome (Shanahan, 2002). Collectively, the flora has a metabolic activity equal to a virtual organ within an organ (Bocci, 1992). Most bacterial species cannot be cultured, but modern molecular methods, such as broad-range sequencing of 16S ribosomal RNA from amplified bacterial nucleic acid extracted from faeces or biopsies, indicate evolutionary divergence that can be used to identify and classify bacteria. The availability of bacterial sequence data has facilitated the development of molecular probes for fluorescence in situ hybridization, DNA microarrays and gene chips that can [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:59+00:00 August 18th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on The Importance of Probiotics and Health

How Gut Bacteria Help Make Us Fat and Thin

For the 35 percent of American adults who do daily battle with obesity, the main causes of their condition are all too familiar: an unhealthy diet, a sedentary lifestyle and perhaps some unlucky genes. In recent years, however, researchers have become increasingly convinced that important hidden players literally lurk in human bowels: billions on billions of gut microbes. Throughout our evolutionary history, the microscopic denizens of our intestines have helped us break down tough plant fibers in exchange for the privilege of living in such a nutritious broth. Yet their roles appear to extend beyond digestion. New evidence indicates that gut bacteria alter the way we store fat, how we balance levels of glucose in the blood, and how we respond to hormones that make us feel hungry or full. The wrong mix of microbes, it seems, can help set the stage for obesity and diabetes from the moment of birth. Fortunately, researchers are beginning to understand the differences between the wrong mix and a healthy one, as well as the specific factors that shape those differences. They hope to learn how to cultivate this inner ecosystem in ways that could prevent—and possibly treat—obesity, which doctors define as having a particular ratio of height and weight, known as the body mass index, that is greater than 30. Imagine, for example, foods, baby formulas or supplements devised to promote virtuous microbes while suppressing the harmful types. “We need to think about designing foods from the inside out,” suggests Jeffrey Gordon of Washington University in St. Louis. Keeping our gut microbes happy could be the elusive secret to weight control.   An Inner Rain Forest Researchers have long known that the human body is home to all manner of microorganisms, but only in the past decade or so have they come to [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:00+00:00 August 17th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on How Gut Bacteria Help Make Us Fat and Thin

The Role of the Gut Microbiota in Health

The human gut microbiota has become the subject of extensive research in recent years and our knowledge of the resident species and their potential functional capacity is rapidly growing. Our gut harbours a complex community of over 100 trillion microbial cells which influence human physiology, metabolism, nutrition and immune function while disruption to the gut microbiota has been linked with gastrointestinal conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and obesity. Here, we review the many significant recent studies that have centred on further enhancing our understanding of the complexity of intestinal communities as well as their genetic and metabolic potential. These have provided important information with respect to what constitutes a ‘healthy gut microbiota’ while furthering our understanding of the role of gut microbes in intestinal diseases. We also highlight recently developed genomic and other tools that are used to study the gut microbiome and, finally, we consider the manipulation of the gut microbiota as a potential therapeutic option to treat chronic gastrointestinal disease.     Introduction     The human intestinal tract harbours a diverse and complex microbial community which plays a central role in human health. It has been estimated that our gut contains in the range of 1000 bacterial species and 100-fold more genes than are found in the human genome [Ley et al. 2006a; Qin et al. 2010]. This community is commonly referred to as our hidden metabolic ‘organ’ due to their immense impact on human wellbeing, including host metabolism, physiology, nutrition and immune function. It is now apparent that our gut microbiome coevolves with us [Ley et al. 2008] and that changes to this population can have major consequences, both beneficial and harmful, for human health. Indeed, it has been suggested that disruption of the gut microbiota (or dysbiosis) can be significant with respect to pathological [...]

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Character Defenses & Relational Responses

One of the useful things about being human is that we can learn things, then repeat the learned process with almost no effort. We learn to stand, walk, run, drive a car, write, type, check emails and do other useful things. We also learn some habits that are not so useful, like chewing our fingernails when nervous, grinding our teeth when angry, and eating chocolate or drinking alcohol when we don’t feel so good. These sorts of habits can turn into so‐called bad habits or even addictions. Habitual Emotional Reactions We can also develop habitual emotional reactions to certain situations. These can be hidden from our own awareness, but they can be very clear to others. They usually cut in when we feel under stress or pressure. Consider a situation where you are suddenly under threat. Some people would experience the impulse to flee, where others may turn and fight. A person not under stress would be able to face the situation with more presence, and evaluate options rather than impulsively react using a learned reaction. Being in the Present It is not easy to be fully present in every situation. Life is complex, and it is not always possible to respond to each moment with all your attention, experience and maturity. By the time we reach adulthood we each carry a huge range of learned reactions, and are usually unaware of when we play them. They just feel like ‘normal’ (or even ‘good’) behaviour. A classic example is transference ‐ a person might in some way remind me of my mother, and in subtle ways I find myself reacting to her as though she was my mother. Character Defences In psychological literature these subtle habitual responses are called character defenses. Most of us know and use all the common [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:03+00:00 August 17th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Character Defenses & Relational Responses

The Root of Violence by James Gilligan and Alice Miller

During the past 35 years I have used prisons and prison mental hospitals as "laboratories" in which to investigate the causes and prevention of the various forms of violence and the relationships between these forms and to what I will call (with a nod to William James) "the varieties of moral experience." In the course of that work, I have been struck by the frequency with which I received the same answer when I asked prisoners, or mental patients, why they assaulted or even killed someone. Time after time, they would reply "because he disrespected me" or "he disrespected my visitor [or wife, mother, sister, girl-friend, daughter, etc.]." In fact, they used that phrase so often that they abbreviated it into the slang phrase, "He dis'ed me." Whenever people use a word so often that they abbreviate it, it is clearly central to their moral and emotional vocabulary. But even when they did not abbreviate it, references to the desire for respect as the motive for violence kept recurring. For example, I used to think that people committed armed robberies in order to get money; and indeed, that is the superficial explanation that they would often prefer to give, to themselves and to us. But when I actually sat down and spoke at length with men who had repeatedly committed such crimes, I would start to hear comments like "I never got so much respect before in my life as I did when I pointed a gun at some dude's face." On one occasion, the officers in a prison had become involved in a running battle with a prisoner in which he would assault them and they would punish him. The more they punished him the more violent he became, and the more violent he became the more they punished [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:03+00:00 August 17th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on The Root of Violence by James Gilligan and Alice Miller

Love Rewires Our Brain

There are several neurotransmitters that seem to be involved in novelty. Dopamine is often spoken of and aspects of norepinephrine are involved in novelty, too. But basically, what happens in life is that if you keep doing the same thing of any kind, your dopamine chemistry is not being triggered. Sometimes, when you hear people complaining about monogamy as being boring, it’s not that their mate is boring, it’s just that there’s a certain amount of routine involved in monogamous relationships or long- term, steady relationships. It’s good to know about that and learn how to manipulate your dopamine to some degree. You should pay some attention to the fact that if you want to maintain a long-term relationship, you’re going to have to do certain things to inject some novelty into it. People – and I am not inventing this – who are very good at love know how to do this. Part of the reason you might want to go on vacation is to be with your beloved in a totally new situation – a new place where you’re both doing a lot of learning. It’s turning on that dopamine chemistry that’s allowing you to discover new things in the beloved. Probably that is what a new suit and a new dress is about, too. So, again, this is just part of knowing about the “Users’ Guide to the Brain” – just knowing about the art of life and that your brain evolved to learn. It is not just for learning – it is for self-regulation, too. The brain has to be learning to feel fit. So you always have to be learning new things, and even within the context of a relationship, I think you have to be learning together to keep that relationship feeling really vital. Putting Ideas into Action Bill O’Hanlon: [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:04+00:00 August 17th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Love Rewires Our Brain

TRAUMA REVEALS THE ROOTS OF RESILIENCE

After September 11, a friend sent me the following quote from Hemingway, a gift I want to share it with you. "The world breaks everyone and afterward some are strong at the broken places." I cannot think of a better way to capture what our aim is than to say that through our work, we try to help our patients –and ourselves-- become stronger at the broken places. In the process of doing the work, we also sometimes discover amazing places that have always been strong and were never broken. Not so infrequently, in the course of dealing with tragedy, with destruction, with misfortune, and evil, we are taken aback by the miracles that we are privileged to witness. Steeled for the worst, we encounter the best. It is not only that some are strong at the broken places; it is also that, through trauma, others become strong, and discover they’re strong in ways they never knew. For sometimes trauma awakens extraordinary capacities that otherwise would lie dormant, unknown and untapped. Without the trauma, they would never see the light of day. Crisis is opportunity. In the early 1940s, hundreds of people died in a huge fire at the Coconut Grove Hotel in Boston. After seeing hundreds of patients, survivors and people who had lost people, Eric Lindemann (1944) wrote an article about the symptomatology of acute grief. In it, he articulated the principle that crisis creates psychic fluidity and thus an unequaled opportunity for change. Crisis loosens defenses: fluidity can be found where previously rigidly entrenched patterns prevailed. So compelling was his discovery, that the creation of an intrapsychic crisis became the goal of an entire therapeutic modality, the experiential STDPs (short-term dynamic psychotherapies), the psychotherapeutic tradition that informs my work (cf., Davanloo, 1990; Fosha, 2000b; McCullough Vaillant, 1997). [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:05+00:00 August 17th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on TRAUMA REVEALS THE ROOTS OF RESILIENCE

The Sense and Nonsense of Boundaries. Transference Remembering and Resistence to Psychotherapy by Lawrence Hedges

People with a prosecuting mentality who sit on licensing boards and ethics committees have long been seduced by the plaintiff bar into naïve and nonsensical moralizing with regard to the concept of boundaries as applied to the practice of psychotherapy. Clearly a spatial metaphor derived from ethological concerns of territoriality, the concept of boundary refers to an imaginary line that I claim demarks what is mine from what I am willing to acknowledge as yours. Ethologists such as Robert Audrey in The Territorial Imperative (1966)i and Konrad Lorenz in King Solomon’s Ringii have studied extensively how members of various species work to establish and maintain these ever-shifting imaginary lines and how the power to establish and maintain functional boundaries both within and between the species operates in rich complexity. The clearest referent in human life to the concept of psychological boundaries is real estate where lines of possession can be arbitrarily concretized by geographical landmarks such as rivers, mountains, and lakes or by reference to magnetic compass points. Ethologists are fond of demonstrating, however, that even in sophisticated human life it is still primarily aggression and the capacity and willingness to subdue and dominate others that in the final analysis determines the placement of these arbitrary lines—lines that nonetheless remain in perpetual question according to prevailing social concords and discords. Contemporary psycho-biologists such as Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela (1987)iii have been able to revise evolutionary theory considerably utilizing communication theory and the concept of an environmental niche that each group of creatures learns over time to exploit by auto poetic (self-creative) means. The confines or the fixed and flexible functional boundaries of such niches effectively define the species and the various members of the species—male, female, young, dominant buck, ruling hen, and so forth—and cannot simply be defined by [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:05+00:00 August 14th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on The Sense and Nonsense of Boundaries. Transference Remembering and Resistence to Psychotherapy by Lawrence Hedges

Transference & Countertransference Reenactments

Transference, Countertransference and reenactment in Therapy by Richard B. Gartner- Director of centre for the study of psychological Trauma and The Sexual Abuse Program New York city. Recurrent themes affecting the transference and countertransference with people who have suffered huge trauma in early childhood, start with the patient’s wariness of the therapist and the dangers involved in intimacy. In addition, dependency, reliance and counter dependent and counter phobic defenses tend to emerge, often-cloaked in overt idealization of the therapist. In this idealization, patients may expect the therapist to be all attentive, nurturing, non-seductive and nonabusing parent who will heal and undo the trauma. All these themes tend to appear in concerns about boundaries, secrecy, control and power and in dicussion of fees, confidentiality, and other issues related to the frame of the treatment. Behavioral reenactments in treatment allow a patient to communicate previously dissociated and therefore unsymbolised, material to the therapist. By exploring verbally what has been communicated through behavior the therapist and patient initiate a process by which the dissociated material becomes encoded in language, and therefore available for conscious consideration.Behaviors associated with a reenactment in therapy are unconscious messages from the patient to the therapist and to himself about a traumatic past. They represent an attempt to bypass the need for symbolized experience. Reenactments are most likely to occur when the patient has a reduced capacity for self-reflection, another result of being unable to verbalize traumatic experiences that were never encoded when they first occurred, as a result of not have a present witness to their pain. Memories became trapped encased within a wordless world. Incapable of articulating what he has never symbolized verbally, the patent repeats behaviorally or reenacts an aspect of his dissociated trauma. Such reenactments are crucial disclosures about un-integrated, un-symbolised unformulated experience. Understanding the [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:05+00:00 August 14th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Transference & Countertransference Reenactments

Terrifying Transferences and the importance of both understanding and working through Transference in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

Recurrent themes affecting the transference and countertransference with people who have suffered huge trauma in early childhood, start with the patient’s wariness of the therapist and the dangers involved in intimacy. In addition, dependency, reliance and counter dependent and counter phobic defenses tend to emerge, often-cloaked in overt idealization of the therapist. In this idealization, patients may expect the therapist to be all attentive, nurturing, non-seductive and nonabusing parent who will heal and undo the trauma. All these themes tend to appear in concerns about boundaries, secrecy, control and power and in dicussion of fees, confidentiality, and other issues related to the frame of the treatment. Behavioral reenactments in treatment allow a patient to communicate previously dissociated and therefore unsymbolised, material to the therapist. By exploring verbally what has been communicated through behavior the therapist and patient initiate a process by which the dissociated material becomes encoded in language, and therefore available for conscious consideration.Behaviors associated with a reenactment in therapy are unconscious messages from the patient to the therapist and to himself about a traumatic past. They represent an attempt to bypass the need for symbolized experience. Reenactments are most likely to occur when the patient has a reduced capacity for self-reflection, another result of being unable to verbalize traumatic experiences that were never encoded when they first occurred, as a result of not have a present witness to their pain. Memories became trapped encased within a wordless world. Incapable of articulating what he has never symbolized verbally, the patent repeats behaviorally or reenacts an aspect of his dissociated trauma. Such reenactments are crucial disclosures about un-integrated, un-symbolised unformulated experience. Understanding the unconscious communication within a reenactment is often pivotal point in therapy with a traumatised adult, in particular a sexually abused adult.Seen in this light, enactment is a [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:06+00:00 August 14th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Terrifying Transferences and the importance of both understanding and working through Transference in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

Beyond The Fee

A money taboo hinders the ability of psychotherapists and psychoanalysts to address the meaning of money in their clients’ lives and in the transference and countertransference. When such issues are addressed at all, exploration is usually limited to issues involved in fee policies and management. In this article, non-fee-based issues involving money, including the meaning and importance of money in our clients’ intrapsychic and interpersonal lives, and the connection of money to issues of values, identity, culture, class, sex, and family history, are discussed. The author’s psychological definition of money is offered as a tool for thinking about money in a new way, and some practical suggestions and some cautions about how to ask about money are offered. Introduction A cultural taboo against discussing money on a personal level, referred to in this article as “the money taboo,” exists in America and many other (but not all) societies. According to Krueger (1986), Americans, including psychotherapists, are “seclusive, embarrassed or conflicted about discussion of money.” As a result of this taboo, money issues are seldom addressed either in our professional training or in the psychological literature, and most clinicians tend to avoid exploring, for themselves or with their clients, either the psychological meaning of money or the reality-based importance of one’s relationships to it (Krueger 1986; Trachtman 1999). In this field, money issues are addressed somewhat frequently only when it comes to setting and managing fees, an area that has strong practical as well as emotional implications for therapists (Allen 1971; Eissler 1974; Freud 1913; Hilles 1971). Even here though, “avoidance has been apparent” (Krueger 1986). How do we know there is a money taboo? Imagine that you are at a party and someone asks you how much money you make. If you are an American, you are likely to feel [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:06+00:00 August 14th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Beyond The Fee

Parent Attachment Style, Consequential Child / adult Personality and Trauma Recovery

Attachment is a special emotional relationship that involves an exchange of comfort, care, and pleasure. The roots of research on attachment began with Freud's theories about love, but another researcher is usually credited as the father of attachment theory. Bowlby shared the psychoanalytic view that early experiences in childhood have an important influence on development and behavior later in life. Our early attachment styles are established in childhood through the infant/caregiver relationship. In addition to this, Bowlby believed that attachment had an evolutionary component; it aids in survival. "The propensity to make strong emotional bonds to particular individuals [is] a basic component of human nature" (Bowlby, 1988, 3). Attachment refers the particular way in which you relate to other people. Your style of attachment was formed at the very beginning of your life, during your first two years.  Once established, it is a style that stays with you and plays out today in how you relate in intimate relationships and in how you parent your children. Understanding your style of attachment is helpful because it offers you insight into how you felt and developed in your childhood. It also clarifies ways that you are emotionally limited as an adult and what you need to change to improve your close relationships and your relationship with your own children. John Bowlby’s investigation into the intense distress caused in children when separated from their parents led him to define what he called the attachment behavioral system. Later work by Mary Ainsworth made clear distinctions of attachment categories (known as attachment styles) including Secure, avoidant, ambivalent, and disorganised. Contemporary research shows that these early experiences in childhood repeat themselves in adult relationships by how we interact in and what we expect from our significant other. Further work on attachment theory has been done by experts Allan Schore, Dan Siegel, [...]

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The Neurophysiology of Dissociation and Chronic Disease

Dissociation as a clinical psychiatric condition has been defined primarily in terms of the fragmentation and splitting of the mind, and perception of the self and the body. Its clinical manifestations include altered perceptions and behavior, including derealization, depersonalization, distortions of perception of time, space and body and conversion hysteria. Using examples of animal models, and the clinical features of the whiplash syndrome, we have developed a model of dissociation linked to the phenomenon of freeze/immobility. Also employing current concepts of the psychobiology of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), we propose a model of PTSD linked to cyclical autonomic dysfunction, triggered and maintained by the laboratory model of kindling, and perpetuated by increasingly profound dorsal vagal tone and endorphinergic reward systems. These physiologic events in turn contribute to the clinical state of dissociation. The resulting autonomic dysregulation is presented as the substrate for a diverse group of chronic diseases of unknown origin.   During the last two decades of the 19th century, psychiatrists in Europe began to explore and define the peculiar behavior manifested by patients of theirs who fell under the diagnostic category of hysteria. Pierre Janet at the Salpetriere` described dissociation as phobias of memories, in the form of expressions of excessive or inappropriate physical responses to thoughts or memories of old traumas (Janet, 1920). After visiting Janet, Freud adopted many of these concepts of dissociation as a splitting of consciousness, often associated with bizarre physical symptoms and manifestations, and ultimately attributed such symptoms in his hysterical patients to a history of childhood sexual abuse (Freud, 1896). Evolution of the concept of dissociation led to the description of a constellation of varied clinical manifestations attributed to it, including altered perceptions of physical sensation, time, memory, and the perceptions of self and reality. Complex expressions of these states came to [...]

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Neurophysiology of Trauma

The physiology of trauma has its roots in the fight/flight/freeze response. If a prey animal is unable to fight or flee from a predator, it will enter a state of immobility, called the freeze response that is governed by a deep state of parasympathetic autonomic dominance. If the animal survives this experience, it will undergo a stereotyped “discharge” involving the activation of seizure-like motor responses and sympathetic autonomic activation that “completes” the unconscious act of survival. If this freeze discharge does not occur, the animal, or person, will tend to retain all of the elements of the threatening experience in procedural, or unconscious, memory. Memory mechanisms in trauma are felt to be critical to the often-disabling symptoms that follow a traumatic event, described in psychiatric manuals as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The primary types of memory involved in trauma are conscious (explicit, declarative) memory, and unconscious (implicit, procedural) memory. If conscious and unconscious memories of the trauma are not dissipated through the freeze discharge, they will continue to recur under the influence of familiar environmental cues, and eventually lead to a process called kindling, or establishment of an internal self-perpetuating neural circuit that contributes to ongoing, often permanent symptoms. The process of classical conditioning is involved, and leads to fear conditioning, an animal model of trauma that is quite analogous to the behaviors observed in PTSD. Trauma as a Universal Life Experience The DSM-IV diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) defines several groups of symptoms that fall under core symptoms of reexperiencing, or memory phenomena, arousal, or symptoms linked to panic and anxiety, and avoidance, or symptoms of numbing, detachment and apathy. This classification represents the tip of the iceberg of posttraumatic experiences. A new and evolving approach to the definition of posttraumatic experiences addresses the concept of Complex Trauma, [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:08+00:00 August 14th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Neurophysiology of Trauma

The Iliopsoas – Fight/Flight Muscle for Survival

The term iliopsoas (ilio-so-as) refers to the combination of the psoas major and the iliacus at their inferior ends. These muscles are distinct in the abdomen, but usually indistinguishable in the thigh. As such, they are usually given the common name "iliopsoas" and are referred to as the "dorsal hip muscles" or "inner hip muscles". The psoas minor does not contribute to the iliopsoas muscle. Survival is biologically encoded in our genetic DNA. Unconditional reflexes respond before a thought crosses our minds. Triggered by internal and external sensory stimulus, these involuntary muscular responses ignite for protection. Large and powerful, the iliopsoas muscle expresses our basic need to survive in the face of danger. Understanding the iliopsoas as part of the survival response offers both therapist and client a fresh perspective and more thoughtful approach to personal healing.   Standard Iliopsoas Protocol   Standard practice for most massage and bodywork training programmes is one of either passing over the importance of the iliopsoas or teaching a variety of manipulations with the intention of addressing the unresponsive or constricted muscle. Located deep within the physical core, either the muscle is recognized as not easily accessible and therefore out of the range of basic massage or a major postural muscle, an integral component for realignment. For the structural practitioner, working on the iliopsoas is akin to constructing a house, important for building a good foundation. For the massage pratitioner, with the client's relaxation as top priority, a lack of awareness of the iliopsoas may result in being ill-prepared for the biological response that may appear in their client and/or themselves. What is paramount to recognize is that both views of the iliopsoas stem from a common but limited bio-mechanical paradigm. Viewed as an object, the body is understood by examining its parts. The goal: to fix [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:09+00:00 August 14th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on The Iliopsoas – Fight/Flight Muscle for Survival

Trauma and the Psoas Muscle

In case you have never studied anatomics, you probably would not know it: the group of muscles called Psoas. They connect the upper torso with the pelvis and are located on the lower side of the back. They are responsible for a lot of tasks: Walking upright, even shoulders, position of the legs and the spine. We usually use them not only unconsciously, but we also notice tensions in that area only indirectly: They affect the diaphragm, are communicated to the torso and can cause pain in the upper back and the shoulder area. The psoas muscles form a connection between breathing and body posture. This is illustrated by the fact that in our evolution, walking on the ground and breathing have developed at the same time. So exercising in a relaxed way with the psoas muscles leads to a more dynamic pelvis and a liberated breathing rhythm as well as to a stable grounded body feeling. From the Tibetian tradition we learn that the psoas muscles are the ultimate source of the ego. Working with it, can confront with issues like clinging to something and fixation. The interesting discovery of the body worker and trauma therapist David Berceli is that these muscles play an important role in storing as well as in healing trauma."The psoas muscles are considered the fight/flight muscles of the human species. These primitive muscles stand guard like sentinels protecting the center of gravity of the human body located just in front of the 3rd vertebrae of the sacrum (S3). These muscles connect the back with the pelvis and the legs. During any traumatic experience, the psoas muscles contract. To heal from physical trauma contractions, this deep set of muscles must let go of their protective tension and return to a relaxed state. It has been generally [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:09+00:00 August 14th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Trauma and the Psoas Muscle

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has been described as a disorder of memory. It has become quite apparent that there are two types of memory in PTSD: the first being the involuntary intrusions of the trauma, and the second being the voluntarily recalled memories that constitute the trauma story, also known as the trauma narrative. Both are fundamentally different in their quality and form. The involuntary intrusions are vivid, highly emotional, and involve a sense of reliving the original trauma. In contrast, the voluntarily recalled trauma narratives do not share this same intensity, but their content is notable for being significantly disorganized. Such disorganization can be found very soon after the traumatic event and hence is not attributable to poor recall, but to the very nature of these traumatic memories themselves. In essence, there is an inability to put into words the most emotional part of a traumatic event, a period of time which could have lasted anywhere from several seconds to several hours. Traumatic memories are also unstable, so what is under voluntary and involuntary control varies over time. For this reason, the recall of trauma over different points in time creates different trauma accounts, with such discrepancies being more noticeable as the symptoms of PTSD become more severe. For such disorders of memory, a natural follow up question is what are the molecules and chemical building blocks that our memories are made from? Unlike taking a blood sample, a saliva swab or a sample of bone marrow, there is no simple way to sample brain tissue from a live human. For this reason, neuroscientists have relied on animal models to discover what goes on in the brain when memories are made. The work of Eric R. Kandel forms the basis for much of what we understand about how memories are formed. [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:09+00:00 August 13th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Saving Face – Dangers of Cosmetics

When it comes to beauty products, the effects of the ingredients they contain can be more than just skin deep. The cosmetics industry uses thousands of synthetic chemicals in its products, in everything from lipstick and lotion to shampoo and shaving cream. Many of these substances are also used in industrial manufacturing processes to clean industrial equipment, stabilize pesticides and grease gears. And we can all agree that an ingredient that effectively scours a garage floor may not be the best choice for a facial cleanser. In the U.S., major loopholes in federal law allow the cosmetics industry to put thousands of synthetic chemicals into personal care products, even if those chemicals are linked to cancer, infertility or birth defects. At the same time as untested chemicals have been steadily introduced into our environment, breast cancer incidence has risen dramatically. Following are some of the chemicals commonly found in cosmetics and what they do to us. Phthalates Phthalates are a group of endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are found in cosmetics like nail polish and in synthetic fragrance—both perfumes and fragrance ingredients in other cosmetic products. Phthalate exposure has been linked to early puberty in girls, a risk factor for later-life breast cancer. Some phthalates also act as weak estrogens in cell culture systems. Triclosan Triclosan is used in antibacterial soaps, deodorants and toothpastes to limit the growth of bacteria and mold. The chemical, which is classified as a pesticide, can affect the body’s hormone systems—especially thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolism—and may disrupt normal breast development. Widespread use of triclosan may also contribute to bacterial resistance to antimicrobial agents. 1,4-dioxane 1,4-dioxane is not listed on ingredient labels. It is a petroleum-derived contaminant formed in the manufacture of shampoos, body wash, children’s bath products and other sudsing cosmetics. The International Agency for Research on [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:14+00:00 August 10th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Saving Face – Dangers of Cosmetics

Somatic Focused Psychotherapy at Life Change Health Institute

There is a large body of neuroscience and attachment research supporting the importance of the early attachment process to brain development and the subsequent ability to form close relationships throughout the life span (Schore, 2003), which we only have time to mention here. From neuroscience, summarized in many articles by Allan Schore (2001), we can see the outlines of how the infant brain develops in relationship to its caregivers. The caregiver is neuroscientifically primed to nurture: when presented with infant stimuli such as audiorecorded infant cries, parents' basal forebrain region are activated. Significant for its nurturing functions, the basal forebrain region of the brain activates the areas in the brain responsible for qualities of effective parenting, including empathy and emotion, in addition to regulating nurturing responses (Swain, 2007). The parent's cognitive abilities are so that it responds neurobiologically to infant's responses, making warm and nurturing caregiving instinctual. This design is pivotal to the development of the infant's emotional foundation. Similarly, infants are innately designed to receive these caregiving responses. When a child is born, his nervous system has not been fully developed. Schore puts forth the idea that from 0 to 18 months, the child's nervous system is essentially sculpted by the interactions he has with his mother (Schore, 2002). Furthermore, the structures of the right brain, which are responsible for autonomic, involuntary stress regulation, and emotional regulation are designed to mature within the first two years, indicating that the child-parent relationship is crucial in this time. After birth, the baby naturally exhibits what Bowlby refers to as ―proximity seeking behavior,‖ where the baby relies on the mother for emotional regulation (Bretherton, 2004). Because the parent is primed to respond positively to infant stimuli, in the ideal secure attachment situation, there is positive synchrony between the mother and the child. [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:14+00:00 August 10th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Somatic Focused Psychotherapy at Life Change Health Institute

Sexually Abused boys, the aftermath of sexual trauma and healing sexual trauma at Trauma Recovery Institute.

Talking about boyhood sexual abuse and its aftermath for men can be difficult, even painful. But such talk is absolutely essential. By age 16, as many as one in six boys in America has had unwanted sex with an adult or older child. Millions of men, abused as children, continue to live with the debilitating effects of shattered trust. The media has been of little help deepening the conversation about male sexual victimization. Recent coverage about the sexual abuse of boys has emphasized preventing abuse, making sure sexual predators are sequestered from youthful prey, and "moving on." For example, the crises of a church that harbored predators have gotten far more air time than the harm done to the boys molested by priests. To be fair, while these boys - and the men they become - have mostly been neglected by the media, at least those scandals brought boyhood abuse into the public discourse. We can talk about it now, and we must do so, no matter how difficult this talk can be. It's disturbing to think about what it means to a boy when he's sexually abused by someone he trusts. Uncomfortable as we feel, however, we must either talk about the reality of his experience or continue to live in silence, with devastating consequences. Abusers use their age or authority to satisfy their own needs without regard to those of their victims. Seemingly unbreakable bonds are broken when treachery is introduced into these relationships. Consequently, many sexually abused boys grow up distrustful, considering people dishonest, malevolent, and undependable. They often become frightened of emotional connection and isolate themselves. This may alternate with merging with loved ones so they hardly know where they end and others begin. Confusing affection with abuse, desire with tenderness, sexually abused boys often become men who have [...]

By | 2018-04-20T13:33:39+01:00 August 4th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Sexually Abused boys, the aftermath of sexual trauma and healing sexual trauma at Trauma Recovery Institute.

RADICAL ALIVENESS

Radical Aliveness is an advanced high functioning psychodynamic process group for psychotherapy students, Tantra facilitators, counselors, psychotherapists, and other practicing professionals in a similar field. In an atmosphere of love, compassion, non-judgment, acceptance and awareness, we explore the interrelation dynamic in the here and now, exploring topics such as transference, countertransference and reenactments. Our therapeutic intervention is based on the latest research in NeuroPsychoanalysis, Interpersonal Neurobiology and Somatic experiencing. There is a minimum commitment of one year. If you decide to break therapy within the one-year period we ask for a 4-week notice in order to process within the group your premature exit from therapy. Radical Aliveness integrates the paradigms and practices of modern neuroscience, Western relational psychology and Eastern contemplative practice to help people shift out of old patterns of response to life events and relationships (neural “swamp” or neural “cement”), to more flexible, adaptive patterns that lead to more authentic resilience, Intimacy and well-being. The group also embraces gestalt, somatic experiencing and attachment research. In Radical Aliveness Group, you will gain great awareness and insight around the sophisticated, complex and ubiquitous nature of transference and countertransference enactments in its overt and many times covert expressions within the relational space. The work of the group is to provide participants with a dynamic opportunity to experience reflect on and identify the causes of and solutions to their relational challenges both in their personal and professional lives. At the heart of Group Analysis is the belief that human beings are fundamentally social in nature, living their lives with other people in family, friendship and other social groupings. The sources of many problems encountered by individuals can be found in their relationship with the groups they grew up in, as well as the groups of which they are now a part. Foulkes believed [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:15+00:00 August 4th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on RADICAL ALIVENESS

EMBODIED TANTRA

The Institute of Embodied Tantra & Somatic Sexology is an organization in Dublin offering education and therapeutic services on topics such as healthy sexuality, Tantra, relationships, sexual energy, and sexual trauma recovery. The Institute offers a number of weekly and monthly interpersonal process groups and workshops. Somatic sexology combines the modern disciplines of somatic and sexology, as well as ancient approaches such as Tantra, Taoism, shamanism, yoga and meditation. The focus is on bringing regular study and practice into our lives, so we experience greater embodiment. Embodied Tantra is living with awareness in the moment through the body in an intimate connection with self, others and all that is. This allows us to have more choice, and to access more of what we are capable of, including pleasure. The word “somatic” comes from the Greek word “somatikos”, meaning living, aware, of the body. Somatics recognizes that the body and mind are not separate entities. They are part of a living process. Somatics aims to support integration of the body-mind, and to promote freedom from body-mind restrictions, so that we can fully function and thrive, and have more choice in how we live. Sexology is the scientific study of human sexuality, including human sexual interests, behavior, and function. Sexology may use tools from a variety of academic fields, including biology, psychology, education, sociology, anthropology, and neurology. Tantra itself means "to weave, to expand, and to spread", and according to tantrik masters, the fabric of life can provide true and ever-lasting fulfillment only when all the threads are woven according to the pattern designated by nature. When we are born, life naturally forms itself around that pattern. But as we grow, our ignorance, desire, attachment, fear, and false images of others and ourselves tangle and tear the threads, disfiguring the fabric. Tantra [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:16+00:00 August 4th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on EMBODIED TANTRA

TANTRA FOR SEXUAL PLEASURE

Tantra for Sexual Pleasure not Therapy, Is it possible to engage in Tantra for non-therapeutic reasons? It is absolutely true that we can provide sessions, workshops, groups and Tantra massage & bodywork for people who have an interest in Tantra, or in pursuit of education or even pleasure. It may feel that in these situations there is no need for a therapeutic framework. However this may be a dangerous assumption and one that can and certainly has resulted in situations where the client has left their Tantra therapist feeling that boundaries were too loose, boundaries were broken, that the therapist was getting needs met, that the therapist became emotionally involved with the clients process, that the therapist acted out countertransferential to erotic and romantic transference from the client and feeling re-traumatized that once again they have attracted unwanted attention, sexual advances or inappropriate relating. If we are involved in Tantra as a therapist or a client there is a pretty good chance that at some point in our lives we realized that we were not living the life we wanted, we were blocked in some ways, we had shame around our sexuality, we could not have an intimate relationship or we were acting out sexually. At whatever stage of life we find ourselves with these realizations and whether we have acknowledged it or not, these are the symptoms of our early attachments as children to our caregivers and in particular the attachment or lack of attachment to our biological mother even in the prenatal environment. So if the very reason we are drawn to Tantra as a client or therapist is the very material that can actually resurface during our experiences with Tantra then it seems extremely important to bring our awareness to this fact and to bring more awareness to [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:16+00:00 August 4th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on TANTRA FOR SEXUAL PLEASURE

TRAUMA, REPRESSION & REENACTMENTS

This psychological phenomenon is a much-talked about and argued subject particularly in psychoanalysis. Repression in its own right deserves an entire article in itself and so in this article I just touch on it. For the purpose of this article, Repression and dissociation are explained as adaptive protective defensive strategies. Repression is when we dissociate from feeling states as a child due to the difficult nature of the feelings and experiences and feel unable to process them due to the non supportive environment or indeed abusive environment in which the feelings arise from and within. These feelings are overwhelming for the child and become repressed which then resurface in adult relationships and experiences as reenactments. A very significant case of repression in childhood and trauma reenactment in adulthood with devastating consequences is the atrocities carried out by Hitler. Alice Miller has presented convincing evidence that Hitler was physically and emotionally abused as a child. His father was, in every sense, a totalitarian dictator. Some historians conjecture that Hitler's father was half-Jewish and illegitimate and acted out his rage on his children. Some believe that Hitler was reenacting his own childhood, using millions of innocent Jews as his scapegoats. 
But Hitler could never have done this alone. What seems beyond all human logic is the fact that one madman could corrupt an entire elitist nation like Germany. 
Erik Erikson has suggested that Hitler mobilized the dissociated rage of German adolescents. He was an adolescent gang leader who came as a brother and offered a matrix that institutionalized their rage. This rage was their unconscious response to their cruel upbringing and was neatly denied in the myth of the "master race." The scapegoated Jews represented the victimized part of themselves as they identified with their aggressive totalitarian parent. This national "acting out" [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:16+00:00 August 4th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on TRAUMA, REPRESSION & REENACTMENTS

TANTRA THERAPY Vs SEXUAL FREEDOM

Sexual freedom is extremely important and it involves freedom of choice and freedom from oppression, shame, guilt and judgments for all persons engaging in their sexual expression. If their expression impedes or imposes in any way on another person then this cannot be sexual freedom. This I feel is an important dictum as very often-sexual freedom is taken as freedom of sexual expression in all its shapes and colors without thought of anyone else. Perhaps this is non conscious sexual freedom expression but can be traumatizing for people to experience and re-traumatizing and very representative of an original sexual wound perhaps as a result of sexual oppression which gives rise to the desire for sexual freedom in the first place. Sexual freedom may encourage and support ancient practices and lifestyle choices such as swinging (recreational sex with others), polyamorous (multiple lovers), and Bdsm (Bondage and Discipline, Sadism and Masochism), which are all very interesting topics in themselves. Tantra Therapy would not be so concerned about supporting, encouraging or discouraging such practices but would be more concerned with any underline dynamics and reenactments within those practices. Within these practices one can experience great sexual freedom and pleasure. However bringing consciousness to our sexual fantasies and expressions in Tantra therapy can unravel many reenactments that may have been guised as sexual freedoms and free sexual expressions but were actually facilitating a lack of a deeper freedom in ones own life. A freedom from the trauma of the past. Freedom that will allow for great positive change in our lives. Whatever else can be said about our many and varied sexual proclivities, it is clear that they are derived from a past that is deeply embedded in our personalities and colors the ways that we choose to view and relate to our world [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:17+00:00 August 4th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on TANTRA THERAPY Vs SEXUAL FREEDOM

WHY WE BECOME THERAPISTS

It is our early life experiences that mostly influence the decisions we make as adults including what work we become interested in and motivated to become involved in. Dr. Gabor Maté is a Hungarian-born Canadian physician who specializes in the study and treatment of addiction. Gabor says that there is no therapist who cannot identify with the client. With this statement he is suggesting that whether we are working with a client with an addiction or trauma or some form of psychopathology that on some level we can identify with it from a personal perspective from our own experience or from our experience with a family member. Even if it is not a direct identification of the actual symptomology it may be identification with the underline feelings of loneliness, isolation, oppression, rejection etc., to some degree many of us come from dysfunctional family systems with insecure attachments. Many of us may have experienced some form of actual abandonment or proximal abandonment as children. In a way our parents can never meet all our needs at all times. Some of us come from addicted parents where we become the co addict and enmeshed in the emotionally unavailable relationship, later in life we have a great understanding of addiction and empathize with others struggling with addiction as a way to identify with our parents struggle, working with addicts may become a way that we can be close to our parents or a way to offer support to clients who mirror the child in ourselves who never had support. Some of us may have been caretakers to our parents and carried this burden into our adult lives becoming helping professionals. Time and time again we hear example after example of how an early childhood experience or experiences are directly responsible for the career [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:17+00:00 August 4th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on WHY WE BECOME THERAPISTS

COVERT INCEST

Covert sexual abuse is also referred to as covert or emotional incest. This happens when a parent gets his/her needs met through the child, this dynamic may or may not include actual sexual molestation or intercourse but innate in the dynamic there is leek of sexual energy from parent to child into the space and relationship between parent and child, the child is seduced into becoming the surrogate husband or wife to the opposite sex parent in order to compensate for the physically or emotionally absent mother or father. As this is not a choice for the child it is extremely abusive for the child and extremely difficult to both recognize and work with later on as an adult. The child experiences this as a helplessness, as an overwhelming responsibility, a loss of autonomy, a loss of self as self is merged with the opposite sex parent in order to meet their needs and the child’s wish to do this is stimulated and encoded in the seduction from the parent. In this dynamic on a conscious level, the child feels special, significant, wanted, needed, important and so it’s a powerful cocktail meeting the human needs of the child but in an abusive way thus setting up an abusive imago that will be reenacted in adult relationships and will be transferred into the therapeutic relationship. An adult coming from a childhood of covert incest will share similar characteristics to those of adults of childhood sexual abuse and due to their attachment blueprint with the opposite sex parent will have a difficulty with acknowledging, recognizing, setting and asserting boundaries due to their overwhelming feeling of responsibility for the other’s emotional state including the therapist. For therapy to be successful with victims of childhood convert incest, it is important to maintain a sense [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:17+00:00 August 4th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on COVERT INCEST

CORRECTIVE ACTION IN THERAPY

Correction action is the premise with which we engage in interpersonal relating with the client, which is different to that in which the client experienced as abusive in the original trauma. In this article abuse is defined as anything less than nurturing. When we experience abuse in childhood such as physical, emotional, psychological and sexual abuse we experience a violation of personal boundaries. These feelings of abuse and violations cannot be successfully processed due to their complex and overwhelming nature, these feelings are dissociated and repressed into unconscious awareness and stored in our bodies. The only way to address these feelings as adult clients in therapy is to re-experience these dissociated affected states in the here and now but this time as an adult and within a safe environment within a therapeutic frame of compassion and strong boundaries which helps to set up conditions which can be portrayed as opposite to that of the environment in which the original trauma took place. We as therapists also need to portray that unlike before when the client was a child and felt alone and unable to communicate the trauma with a supportive care giver that now we can be the supportive care giver and witness the client in the pain of the abuse and completely welcome the clients pain in a compassionate non-judging validating way. If the therapeutic framework has loose boundaries then rather than holding a different environment to that of the original trauma, the environment and relationship on an unconscious level feels similar to that of the original trauma and will block the client from successful therapeutic outcome. Even if it feels like on a conscious level that the client is doing well because they may be very comfortable in a space with poor boundaries as it is very familiar [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:17+00:00 August 4th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on CORRECTIVE ACTION IN THERAPY

HOW TO CHOOSE A TANTRA THERAPIST

When considering entering therapy of any kind including Tantra bodywork, massage and Tantra counseling, it is important to understand the ingredients necessary for the potential of successful treatment outcomes. Considering that much of the traumatic experiences, resulting attachment blueprint and characterology leading to specific behavioral, relational and /or somatic symptoms which brings the client to seek therapy in the first instance, remain in implicit memory, the unconscious and within a specific body armoring.   The ways in which to bring about positive change will include working with the armoring and making the unconscious conscious and this usually happens through transference and countertransference reenactments and remembering within the specific therapy. So it is very important for us to have a therapeutic framework to facilitate this ardent work and within the framework a negotiation of strong boundaries, which will help and encourage the transference remembering in the therapy. These boundaries within the therapeutic framework should outline specific fee structure, specific session times, specific session duration, therapist availability outside of session, what specifically the session will involve, what are the possible dangers of this style of therapy etc.,   In order for us as therapists to work in a healthy therapeutic way with a client it is essential that we are familiar with the concepts discussed above of transference / countertransference re-enactments and boundary setting whether its psychotherapy, somatic therapy and particularly if it’s a tantric massage, Tantra bodywork or Tantra counseling as it involves a much more intimate relationship between the therapist and client in a much shorter time period due to contact, touch and the nature of the work involved and so can bring about transference remembering very quickly which if gone unnoticed and colluded in can be extremely re-traumatizing to the client and damaging to both therapist and client.   [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:18+00:00 August 4th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on HOW TO CHOOSE A TANTRA THERAPIST

THE THERAPEUTIC FRAMEWORK

Lack of Ethics, boundaries and contractual criteria with Tantra therapy and the therapeutic relationship including inside and outside of therapy sets up a collusion of poor boundaries, a blurring of the relationship required for successful transference to take place. In a way we the therapists need to be a blank canvas so that the client can project and transfer onto that which allows for important material to surface can then be worked with within the therapy. This is set up by the dynamic of therapy which is the client shares intimate details about him or her self and we as therapists listen but do not share information about ourselves, although self disclosure is often debated topic in psychotherapy, generally it is best to only disclose if by not doing so will disrupt the therapeutic relationship. When we as therapists are more personal with clients such as outside contact, emails, phone calls and all interactions outside of structure therapy, this can be in itself a reenactment just as during any abuse there is dissolution of the healthy relationship (adult/child, parent/child and Therapist/client). If we as therapists have not worked on our own unresolved trauma and sexual trauma, and in many cases this trauma can be of a very covert nature but nevertheless leaves a blueprint in which is reenacted as an adult, this unresolved trauma must manifest itself into current life relationships including those of a therapeutic nature. This is not malicious on our part but in a way somewhat ignorant and irresponsible as John Bradshaw suggests, to be human is to have trauma and he suggests that we all have unresolved trauma and it is our duty as therapists, facilitators, counselors, tantric healers etc. to resolve our childhood trauma however insignificant we may feel it may be, it has an [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:18+00:00 August 4th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on THE THERAPEUTIC FRAMEWORK

BODY ARMORING AND NEUROCEPTION

Interpersonal Touch In some cases, simply touching another person can contribute to enhancing his or her embodied self-awareness, leading to a reduction of muscle tension and armoring, and an increase in parasympathetic relaxation. How does this happen? Touch stimulates receptors in the skin for pressure, pain, temperature, and movement and receptors in the muscles and tendons for stretch, fatigue, and pain. These receptors are linked directly into the neural networks for interception and body schema self-awareness. Because trauma originates in the body, there is clearly a place in the healing process for touch and bodywork. Bodywork helps trauma sufferers to heal because it can stimulate a healthy, safe discharge of trauma. Trauma discharge can manifest in sweating, laughing, sighing, yawning, crying, shaking, flushing, breathing and tingling—these are all symptoms of good release. With the groundbreaking work of scientists like Wilhelm Reich who discovered and coined orgone energy and character analysis and Peter Levine who wrote the book waking the Tiger and healing trauma and who also set up somatic experiencing Institute, they both believed that when we experience trauma and can not share this experience with a supportive caring witness and process it in a healthy way, this trauma is then stored in our body, in the fibers of our being and it lays dormant in our body like a trapped muscle which disrupts the flow of life force energy and may even cut off completely the flow of energy in a particular part of the body such as many adults of childhood sexual abuse have stuck energy in the pelvis area as a direct result of the trauma and it is how the body remembers the traumatic event. Reich stated, “Armoring is the condition that results when energy is bound by muscular contraction and does not flow through the [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:19+00:00 August 4th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on BODY ARMORING AND NEUROCEPTION

WHAT IS THERAPEUTIC TOUCH

So what touch is therapeutic then, for touch to be therapeutic it needs to happen within a therapeutic relationship in which there are strongly held boundaries to facilitate the ubiquitous transference. As therapists we must continuously ask ourselves what is this touch about, is this to meet my own needs or is this an unconscious wish to shut down the emotional expression of the client. Is this touch erotic or romantic countertransference with the client? Is this touch an effort to control what is happening in the therapy? What am I getting from this touch, what does it mean to me, the more we ask these questions of ourselves as therapists, the actual need for touch within the therapeutic relationship shifts into a more connected, guided, vulnerable and emphatic interaction where touch is not actually needed to facilitate the here and now therapeutic interaction. The times when touch can be profoundly healing is when a client is connected to a previously dissociated affective state and his/her natural response is to withdraw from connection, bringing the clients awareness to this response and encouraging the client to stay in contact in the here and now can be transformative thus changing the pattern of neuronal activity and creating a corrective action with new neuronal activity and a new set of beliefs such as “ when I am feeling sad it is possible to connect with another and be seen, heard and witnessed without being hurt and shamed” This therapeutic dyad can be amplified by touch in the form of the therapist placing some light touch on the client in a caring and supportive way with permission which is completely different to the experience of the original wound in the client. In Tantra Counseling or Tantra bodywork sessions where there can be a much [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:19+00:00 August 4th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on WHAT IS THERAPEUTIC TOUCH

TANTRA CAN BE SET UP TO FAIL

Tantra therapy specifically is in many ways, set up to fail, and the ways in which it has the potential to heal sexual trauma like nothing else also are the same ways in which it makes it difficult to offer therapeutic change. In this I am referring to the boundaries within Tantra therapy, unlike most other psychotherapies the Tantra session is very different and usual boundaries of contact, ethics, and contractual therapeutic criteria is often absent. There is touch, where in other therapies it is forbidden and very taboo. But the touch is not the problem. In fact touch is extremely powerful and in many pathologies touch is an extremely powerful healing modality as we are wired to receive touch, we are sensitive so that we can experience touch, if we do not experience touch in the first few months of life we die and research shows us that the population of people who are the most deprived of touch during their childhood and early adulthood are those who eventual engage in the most hideous crimes of humanity and those who end up on death row. Scientists and psychologists such as James Prescott, Alice miller and Gabor mate have demonstrated to us through a mass of research and clinical studies that touch deprivation in early childhood and adulthood can lead to psychopathologies such as the case with the Romanian orphans and many other similar case studies. Where the deprivation of touch leads to autism and other inter-relational disabilities, an inability to connect with others. Clinicians such as Lawrence Hedges, director of the Listening Perspectives Study Center and the founding director of the Newport Psychoanalytic Institute is an advocate of introducing touch into psychoanalytic therapy at specific junctures in therapy to create corrective action and therapeutic change. Touch in the therapeutic [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:19+00:00 August 4th, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on TANTRA CAN BE SET UP TO FAIL

TRANSFERENCE & TANTRA

Transference is ubiquitous in all relationships, successful therapy depends on the ability to both recognize and work with the transference as very often it is the way in which the sexual abuse of the past is communicated in the present when there are no words for the abuse or the affective state of the child before, during and after the abuse. We know that as human beings we have an entire biological apparatus which is dependent and designed for us to sustain and maintain healthy relationships, we also know that this apparatus is under developed in those who have experienced sexual trauma and healthy relationships can be the cost of this. Through the development of healthy relationships as an adult, these neurobiological effects can be completely reversed and new pathways in the brain developed to allow the adult survivor of sexual abuse to thrive in relationships. We see the role of therapy to do just this to build a healthy relationship over a period of time with the client through working with the transference, holding very strong boundaries and engaging in behaviour and attitude different to that of the original trauma, this is corrective action. Adult clients of childhood sexual abuse both overt and covert abuse will be unconsciously driven to break boundaries, to collude in poor boundaries, to challenge boundaries, to test boundaries and to resist boundaries all in an unconscious way to reenact the original wound in order to heal. If we as therapists have poor boundaries and an inability to hold strong boundaries, recognize our own and other’s boundaries due to our own unresolved sexual trauma then the therapy becomes a reenactment without corrective action which is re-traumatizing, re-abusing, non therapeutic and redundant. This very often is the case with many forms of therapy including Tantra therapy. [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:20+00:00 August 3rd, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on TRANSFERENCE & TANTRA

CAN TANTRA BE HEALING ?

With the latest research in neuroscience from leading neuroscientists such as Daniel Siegel, Bruce Perry and Jaak Panksepp showing us what is happening inside the brain of a patient suffering with sexual addiction or an adult victim of childhood sexual abuse, the groundbreaking work of clinical psychologists and psychoanalysts Richard Gartner, Patrick Carnes and Lawrence hedges who have spent over 30 years researching and working with sexual trauma and sexual addictions in their clinical practice and the astonishing findings for brain repair through neuroplasticity such as the leading edge work of Norman Doidge outlined in his book The Brain that Changes Itself, we now know the essential ingredients necessary for successful sexual addiction recovery and successful sexual trauma recovery both inside and outside the therapy room. These mechanisms for recovery include successful development and maintenance of healthy relationships both inside and outside of therapy. There are a number of ways in which childhood sexual trauma both overt and covert trauma such as emotional incest impacts the interpersonal relationship of the adult abuse survivor. Firstly the adult survivor of childhood sexual trauma will have huge difficulty in acknowledging their own personal boundaries which can lead to continuous abusive relationships and an inability to say NO which sets up a continuous repetitive pattern of the original trauma either through affect or through reenactment. Secondly they will have huge difficulty in acknowledging, recognizing and honoring another person’s boundaries which again is a continuous repetitive pattern of the original trauma either through reenactment and/or projecting affect onto the other so that in an unconscious way the other experiences the dissociated feelings of the child experiencing the abuse. In Psychotherapy we call this behavioral phenomenon, Transference. READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:20+00:00 August 3rd, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on CAN TANTRA BE HEALING ?

Tantric Re-Wounding and What you need to know about Tantra Therapy

Tantra as a practice and tantric therapy such as tantric massage, Tantra coaching, Tantra bodywork and Tantra counseling can be a very powerful vehicle for therapeutic change and sexual trauma recovery and in fact is an essential ingredient in the therapeutic treatment model of sexual addictions along with The 12 step Program and abstinence from compulsive sexual behaviour. However very often it does not work and we will explore the pitfalls in this article.   “Our sadness is an energy we discharge in order to heal. …Sadness is painful. We try to avoid it. Actually discharging sadness releases the energy involved in our emotional pain. To hold it in is to freeze the pain within us. The therapeutic slogan is that grieving is the ‘healing feeling.’” ― John Bradshaw   Can Tantra be Healing, How? With the latest research in neuroscience from leading neuroscientists such as Daniel Siegel, Bruce Perry and Jaak Panksepp showing us what is happening inside the brain of a patient suffering with sexual addiction or an adult victim of childhood sexual abuse, the groundbreaking work of clinical psychologists and psychoanalysts Richard Gartner, Patrick Carnes and Lawrence hedges who have spent over 30 years researching and working with sexual trauma and sexual addictions in their clinical practice and the astonishing findings for brain repair through neuroplasticity such as the leading edge work of Norman Doidge outlined in his book The Brain that Changes Itself, we now know the essential ingredients necessary for successful sexual addiction recovery and successful sexual trauma recovery both inside and outside the therapy room. These mechanisms for recovery include successful development and maintenance of healthy relationships both inside and outside of therapy. There are a number of ways in which childhood sexual trauma both overt and covert trauma such as emotional incest impacts [...]

By | 2019-09-06T11:39:20+01:00 August 3rd, 2015|Blog|Comments Off on Tantric Re-Wounding and What you need to know about Tantra Therapy

SELF CARE

We would like to replace the word “selfish” which is much misunderstood as used in 12 step programs. It conjures up negative ideas- taking without concern for others, synonymous with grasping, greedy and mean. This is not the meaning we wish to convey when we tell the newcomer “it’s a selfish programme’. It is easy to confuse selfishness with self-centeredness- the complete opposite of any 12 step program concept. Self centered people are hollow. The constantly manipulate others in an attempt to fulfill their needs for love, care or attention. Those who are self-caring have concern for others but not at the expense of themselves. They allow others to look after themselves and at the same time see that their own physical, mental, spiritual and emotional needs are met. They get enough sleep, good food and exercise so they have strong healthy bodies. They find mental stimulations to keep their minds alert. They do what is necessary to remain spiritually healthy. They talk things over with a sponsor to learn how to deal with unruly emotions. And they spend time with people who like and respect them so they can remain emotionally stable. They do not expect any one person or group of people to meet all their needs. Instead of being self-centered, self-caring people can be ‘other centered’. The are able to care for others because they recongnise and find the love and attention they themselves need. They do things for others because they want to, not to get something in return.  They act without fear of what others will think, for their satisfaction lies in the action itself, not in the reaction of other people. They share their love with others and are able to accept love in return. Self-caring people have found serenity. They know they are [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:21+00:00 February 26th, 2013|Our Philosophy|Comments Off on SELF CARE

BODY PLEASURE AND THE ORIGINS OF VIOLENCE

A neuropsychologist contends that the greatest threat to world peace comes from those nations which have the most depriving environments for their children and which are most repressive of sexual affection and female sexuality. Human violence is a global epidemic. Unless the causes of violence are isolated and treated, we will continue to live in a world of fear and apprehension. Unfortunately, violence is often offered as a solution to violence. Many law enforcement officials advocate 'get tough' policies as the best method to reduce crime. Imprisoning people, our usual way of dealing with crime, will not solve the problem, because the causes of violence lie in our basic values and the way in which we bring up our children and youth. Physical punishment, violent films and TV programs teach our children that physical violence is normal. But these early life experiences are not the only or even the main source of violent behavior. Recent research supports the point of view that the deprivation of physical pleasure is a major ingredient in the expression of physical violence. The common association of sex with violence provides a clue to understanding physical violence in terms of deprivation of physical pleasure. Unlike violence, pleasure seems to be something the world can't get enough of. People are constantly in search of new forms of pleasure, yet most of our 'pleasure' activities appear to be substitutes for the natural sensory pleasures of touching. We touch for pleasure or for pain or we don't touch at all. Although physical pleasure and physical violence seem worlds apart, there seems to be a subtle and intimate connection between the two. Until the relationship between pleasure and violence is understood, violence will continue to escalate. As a developmental neuropsychologist I have devoted a great deal of study to the [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:21+00:00 February 26th, 2013|Blog, Our Philosophy|Comments Off on BODY PLEASURE AND THE ORIGINS OF VIOLENCE

RESTORING BALANCE

In the Ayurvedic healing system, balance is the foundation for health and happiness.  When the physical, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of our nature are working together harmoniously and effectively, we feel joyful and energetic and we are able to engage deeply and passionately in our lives. When we’re out of balance, we may feel depleted and emotionally spent.  There is a sense of dis-ease in our lives that can ultimately contribute to physical or emotional disorders. Often, however, we miss the signals our body is sending us that something is out of balance in our lives. Instead of getting the rest we need, we order an extra-strong coffee and keep forging ahead. We may ignore our heart’s message that it’s time to end a relationship. Or we may neglect our need for nutritious food and regular exercise, telling ourselves we don’t have time to cook or get to the gym. Your Body's own Doctor and Pharmacy While we may not always be aware of it, our body has its own internal GPS, a system whose goal is to stay in a state of dynamic balance. The messages it sends are designed to help us make life-affirming choices for our own health and wellbeing. In his book Free to Love, Free to Heal, David Simon writes, “Like a young child, the body communicates its needs in a relatively simple and straightforward manner. Whether it wants nourishment, affection, new experiences, time to rest, or a chance to release toxins, your body generates sensations to get attention. When you listen to these signals and address the basic needs they represent, your body responds by producing chemicals of comfort. When you fail to heed your body’s message, its calls become louder. If despite its best efforts your body is unable to get your attention, [...]

By | 2015-08-03T14:56:56+01:00 February 26th, 2013|Blog, Our Philosophy|Comments Off on RESTORING BALANCE

CONSCIOUS PARENTING

The model of parenting most of us grew up with was authoritarian parenting, which is based on fear. Some of us may have grown up with permissive parenting, which is also based on fear. Authoritarian parenting is based on the child's fear of losing the parent's love. Permissive parenting is based on the parent's fear of losing the child's love. Connection parenting is based on love instead of fear. Connection Parenting recognizes that securing and maintaining a healthy parent-child bond is our primary work as parents and the key to our children's optimal human development. Our effectiveness as parents is in direct proportion to the strength of the bond we have with our child. Connection Parenting promotes parenting practices that support a strong, healthy parent-child bond. Both authoritarian parenting and permissive parenting are reactive. Connection parenting is proactive. Rather than focusing on ways to discipline children when their feelings of disconnection result in uncooperative or unacceptable behavior, Connection Parenting focuses on ways to maintain and increase the parent-child bond/connection. Connection parenting is an ideal, a navigation star we can look to for guidance. Whenever we question how to respond to a child we can ask ourselves, will this response create a connection or a disconnection. We feel connected when we feel listened to and loved. We feel disconnected when we feel hurt and unheard. Sometimes a child's behavior will push our buttons and we react rather than respond. As soon as we realize we have created a disconnect, we can reconnect by doing the following: Rewind - Acknowledge we have said or done something hurtful Repair - Apologize and ask for forgiveness Replay - Respond with love and listening Even if we can't parent in the most nurturing ways all the time, the more often we can, the more our children get [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:21+00:00 February 26th, 2013|Blog, Our Philosophy|Comments Off on CONSCIOUS PARENTING

LIVE FOOD

The Power of live foods for healing is being more & more supported by traditional research. Based on recent journal articles the power of a calorie restricted diet (which is still feasting on live foods) and of upgrading gene expression have become keys to understanding the clinical effectiveness of live foods. The essence of understanding living foods is … if it is not broken, don't fix it. Living foods or raw foods are those, which have not been cooked, processed, "pesticide" or "herbicide", micro waved, irradiated, or genetically engineered. They represent an unbroken wholeness that is the original creation and nutritional gift of the Divine. The understanding that the food we eat is an energetic whole greater than the sum of the parts reflects a quantum mechanics view of nutrition. Research by Dr. Brekhman of the former Soviet Union illustrates a foundational truth – when he gave whole, live foods to animals, their endurance was 2-3 times greater than if he gave them the same foods after they had been cooked. From a traditional nutritional perspective there should not be a difference since cooked and raw foods have the same amount of calories and therefore the same amount of energy. Brekhman's results can be explained, however, if we understand the effect of cooking on the whole food. Thorough cooking destroys the ecological balance of the food. It makes 50% of the protein unavailable, destroys 60-70% of the vitamins, up to 96% of the B12, and 100% of phytonutrients such as: gibberellins, anthrocyans, nobelitin, and tangeretin which boost the immune system and other body functions. Cooking foods also disrupts the bioelectrical structure, the bioelectricity transfer power, and the bioluminescence. All of these factors are important for building and maintaining our life force energy and health. The famous European physician, Dr. Bircher-Brenner, [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:22+00:00 February 25th, 2013|Blog, Our Treatments|Comments Off on LIVE FOOD

LIVE BLOOD ANALYSIS

Live Blood Microscopy, or Analysis, is a superb educational and motivational tool for every person.  Live Blood Analysis is the study of a single drop of blood examined under a microscope, in its living state, in order to determine the general health , vitality and well-being of a person. This is done as the client observes their own sample on a monitor and they can see the actual state of their own blood, and get an assessment of how to improve their health to the maximum. Who Can Benefit? Live Blood Microscopy is suitable for you if: You are feeling tired, run down, or stressed You are struggling with illness and wish to enhance your recovery You are an athlete wanting to improve performance and recovery You have troubling symptoms, e.g. Menopause that you do not understand. You believe in preventative health You have problems with dieting. How Can It Help Me? Looking directly at your blood is a unique experience. Over the course of the test you will be given comprehensive information in a way that will be clear and easy to follow. You can start to understand what is happening on a cellular level in your body, and can see for yourself how, over a period of time, the positive changes that you have taken can improve and enhance your life. You can use Live Blood Analysis as an excellent indicator to your cellular health and monitor the changes over a long period of time.    

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:22+00:00 February 25th, 2013|Our Treatments|Comments Off on LIVE BLOOD ANALYSIS

COLONTHERAPY – ENEMA

Enema is the procedure of introducing liquids into the rectum and colon via the anus for medical reasons, alternative therapies, and also for erotic purposes, but this is not a new procedure. Enemas, also called enematas in their plural form, were formerly known as clysters from the modern era to the 19th century, an old-fashioned term to describe this cleansing method using a clyster syringe and administered for symptoms of constipation, stomach aches, and other illnesses, with dubious effectiveness. In those days, the patients were placed kneeling and with the buttocks raised (or lying on the side) to allow their servant or apothecary to insert the syringe nozzle into the anus and depress the plunger to inject the liquid remedy into the colon. Because of the embarrassing aspect for women, by the time syringes equipped with a special bent nozzle were invented, enabling self-administration to eliminate the embarrassment. From the late 19th century to the present, clyster syringes were replaced by enema bulb syringes, bocks and bags, but the history of enemas can be traced back to ancient times when people implemented enema treatments in the rivers by using a hollow reed to induce water to flow into the rectum. The first record mentioning a colon therapy is an Egyptian medical document discovered by Ebers, dated as early as 1500 B.C. and nowadays one of the great treasures of the Leipzig Library. This papyrus in a state of wonderful preservation is 20.23 meters long and 30 centimeters high and shows that the Egyptians employed emetics, purgatives, enemas, diuretics, diaphoretics and even bleeding to treat diverse diseases. Another Egyptian papyri, showing some of the first signs of importance are the Kahun, Berlin, Hearst and British Museum papyri, published in recent times to document the ancient origin of medical therapies. Such papyrus [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:23+00:00 February 25th, 2013|Blog, Testimonials|Comments Off on COLONTHERAPY – ENEMA

GROUP THERAPY

In an atmosphere of love, compassion, non judgment, acceptance and awareness, using different techniques such as core energetic work, bioenergetics and Group psychotherapy, we pierce through layers of protection. This process allows one to uncover psychological patterns, release primal feelings and suppressed energy and thus return to the essence of who we are. The only way to heal our wounds is to expose them, to bring them to the light. When the longing to be free is bigger than the fear of being exposed, we open ourselves to experiences that re-program our deepest beliefs about ourselves. The workshop helps the individual to look at emotional incidents from the past in order to liberate the flow of energy held in dysfunctional psychological behavior patterns. We aim to create an atmosphere in which love and awareness surround and support us, allowing us to drop layers of protection which are no longer needed, release suppressed energy and return to our essence. Fortunately, because we are instinctual beings with the ability to feel, respond and reflect, we possess the innate potential to heal even the most debilitating traumatic injuries. Traumatic symptoms are not caused by the ''triggering'' event itself. They stem from the frozen residue of energy that has not been resolved and discharged; this residue remains trapped in the nervous system where it can wreak havoc on our bodies and spirits. The long-term, alarming, debilitating, and often bizarre symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) develop when we cannot complete the process of moving in, through and out of the ''immobility'' or ''freezing'' state. However, we can thaw by initiating and encouraging our innate drive to return to a state of dynamic equilibrium. A threatened human must discharge all the energy mobilized to negotiate that threat or it will become a victim of trauma. [...]

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:23+00:00 February 25th, 2013|Blog, Testimonials|Comments Off on GROUP THERAPY
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