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September 2015

Soy Myths and Misinformation

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:35+00:00 September 15th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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How Meditation Reshapes your Brain

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:35+00:00 September 15th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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The Biochemistry of Yeast

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:39+00:00 September 14th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:40+00:00 September 10th, 2015|Blog, Career Opportunities|

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.

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Narcissistic Personality Disorders

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:40+00:00 September 6th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:41+00:00 September 6th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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Borderline Personality Disorder

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:42+00:00 September 6th, 2015|Blog|

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: [...]

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

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:43+00:00 September 6th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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Narcissistic Pathology as Understood in Tranference-Focused Psychotherapy

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:43+00:00 September 4th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:45+00:00 September 4th, 2015|Blog|

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, [...]

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Transferenced Focused Psychotherapy

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:46+00:00 September 3rd, 2015|Blog|

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, [...]

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August 2015

The Neuroendocrinology of Social Isolation

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:48+00:00 August 29th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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The Neurobiology of Stress

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:50+00:00 August 28th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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Stress Fractures

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:51+00:00 August 28th, 2015|Blog|

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” [...]

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When Stress Rises, Empathy Suffers

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:51+00:00 August 28th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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How to Relieve Stress bY Robert Sapolsky

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:52+00:00 August 28th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:52+00:00 August 28th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:53+00:00 August 26th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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The Power Of Eye Gazing – We are Designed to connect

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:54+00:00 August 26th, 2015|Blog|

“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 [...]

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Mycotoxins

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

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 [...]

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FDA Approves Turkey Tail Medicinal Mushroom Trial for Cancer Patients

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:56+00:00 August 21st, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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Herbs for Detoxification

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:57+00:00 August 19th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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Medicinal Herbs

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:58+00:00 August 18th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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Medicinal Mushrooms & Cancer

By | 2018-03-28T10:56:20+01:00 August 18th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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Harmful Toxins Bisphenol A (BPA)

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:58+00:00 August 18th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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Healthy Sexuality & Intimacy

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:59+00:00 August 18th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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The Importance of Probiotics and Health

By | 2017-12-01T13:40:59+00:00 August 18th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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How Gut Bacteria Help Make Us Fat and Thin

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:00+00:00 August 17th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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The Role of the Gut Microbiota in Health

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:01+00:00 August 17th, 2015|Blog|

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

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:03+00:00 August 17th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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The Root of Violence by James Gilligan and Alice Miller

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:03+00:00 August 17th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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Love Rewires Our Brain

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:04+00:00 August 17th, 2015|Blog|

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: [...]

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TRAUMA REVEALS THE ROOTS OF RESILIENCE

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:05+00:00 August 17th, 2015|Blog|

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). [...]

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

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:05+00:00 August 14th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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Transference & Countertransference Reenactments

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:05+00:00 August 14th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:06+00:00 August 14th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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Beyond The Fee

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:06+00:00 August 14th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:07+00:00 August 14th, 2015|Blog|

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

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:07+00:00 August 14th, 2015|Blog|

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

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:08+00:00 August 14th, 2015|Blog|

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, [...]

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The Iliopsoas – Fight/Flight Muscle for Survival

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:09+00:00 August 14th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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Trauma and the Psoas Muscle

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:09+00:00 August 14th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:09+00:00 August 13th, 2015|Blog|

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. [...]

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Saving Face – Dangers of Cosmetics

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:14+00:00 August 10th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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Somatic Focused Psychotherapy at Life Change Health Institute

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:14+00:00 August 10th, 2015|Blog|

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. [...]

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

By | 2018-04-20T13:33:39+01:00 August 4th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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RADICAL ALIVENESS

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:15+00:00 August 4th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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EMBODIED TANTRA

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:16+00:00 August 4th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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TANTRA FOR SEXUAL PLEASURE

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:16+00:00 August 4th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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TRAUMA, REPRESSION & REENACTMENTS

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:16+00:00 August 4th, 2015|Blog|

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" [...]

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TANTRA THERAPY Vs SEXUAL FREEDOM

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:17+00:00 August 4th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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WHY WE BECOME THERAPISTS

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:17+00:00 August 4th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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COVERT INCEST

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:17+00:00 August 4th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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CORRECTIVE ACTION IN THERAPY

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:17+00:00 August 4th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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HOW TO CHOOSE A TANTRA THERAPIST

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:18+00:00 August 4th, 2015|Blog|

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.   [...]

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THE THERAPEUTIC FRAMEWORK

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:18+00:00 August 4th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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BODY ARMORING AND NEUROCEPTION

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:19+00:00 August 4th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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WHAT IS THERAPEUTIC TOUCH

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:19+00:00 August 4th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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TANTRA CAN BE SET UP TO FAIL

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:19+00:00 August 4th, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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TRANSFERENCE & TANTRA

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:20+00:00 August 3rd, 2015|Blog|

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. [...]

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CAN TANTRA BE HEALING ?

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:20+00:00 August 3rd, 2015|Blog|

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

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

By | 2019-09-06T11:39:20+01:00 August 3rd, 2015|Blog|

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 [...]

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February 2013

BODY PLEASURE AND THE ORIGINS OF VIOLENCE

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

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 [...]

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RESTORING BALANCE

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

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, [...]

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CONSCIOUS PARENTING

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

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 [...]

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LIVE FOOD

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

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, [...]

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COLONTHERAPY – ENEMA

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:23+00:00 February 25th, 2013|Blog, Testimonials|

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 [...]

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GROUP THERAPY

By | 2017-12-01T13:41:23+00:00 February 25th, 2013|Blog, Testimonials|

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. [...]

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