Where the Pope falls short.

rape-victim-1Abortion is still a sin! Although abortion should be not used as birth control, at times it can be necessary. Of course birth control should be  available as well to women!

Although now the Pope claims that women will not be excommunicated for past, not current abortions, without having to go to the archbishop to beg for forgiveness. Well the pope forgets two of the largest problems troubling humanity and making life harder overall for all of us namely, overpopulation and female oppression. If women are considered equal to men in the world and by the church than the pope should endorse women’s right to determine what h… See More

Finally protection for sex trafficking victims!

One good thing is that girls that are victims of sex trafficking no longer will be branded criminals in the US. It is about time that people and police realize that girls who don’t get any love, protection or attention growing up will join any gang or pimp or anybody who promises love and protection, even at a high price!
Even if it means selling yourself or killing others because everybody needs to feel connected or loved and if the parents don’t provide this then all bets are off who will overpower and use the helpless traumatized girl!

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Core reason for mental health problems

ctc_02_img0332I am seriously concerned about the increase in the percentage of Americans on psychiatric medication, which counts 40% and rising according to some studies.
Therapists have a flourishing private practice in Marin County, one of the richest counties in California, because kids are depressed and lonely.
Living in Ecuador I have seen only one homeless schizophrenic in 18 months and nobody hardly is obsessed with their cell phone. Many families walk around in the evening rather than watch the tube and take pictures of each other.
I also visited a local prison and was surprised at the trust given. Left my backpack in a room there was no inspection of my body before entering. I noticed woodcarving tools all over the place, enough to kill somebody. The prison lawyer told me that half of one percent has Mental Health issues and meds. Families also were allowed to visit the inmates at the Ecuador prison and many kids were running around and wives were hugging their imprisoned husbands.
The percentage of inmates with a diagnosis would run up to around 48% at San Quentin where I worked for 6 years. Clearly, the psychiatrists made great money, around $300.000 a year! Many inmates would have an adjustment disorder at their first incarceration and after a few years of spending in prison or after their return to prison, their diagnosis often had changed into a full-blown psychotic disorder or other major disorders such as bi-polar etc. Why? I believe because this was a toxic and heartless environment with a lot of cruelty and little love to go around. The mentality was that everybody, including staff, had to suffer. A five- year survival rate for any mental health staff member was celebrated as a major victory and many staff members didn’t make it that long, again due to the factors written above that also applied to us all, staff and prisoners alike.
So my hypothesis is that mental health problems are caused by a lack of love and a lack of connection with others and lack of self-esteem more often than by genetic factors. How else can we explain that I see more than a handful schizophrenics each mile I walked at downtown SF versus only one in 18 months in Ecuador and living in a major city?
I like a vote. 1 is Agree with me. 2. Disagree with me.

What to teach your son

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photo copyOne thing I always taught my son is to respect all people regardless of race, sexual preference, age, handicap, wealth, title etc.
To accomplish that I took him when he was young to volunteer like feeding the homeless, easy to find in SF, one of the wealthiest towns in the US, introducing him to my clients, mainly junkies etc, bringing him to spiritual teaching and meditation workshops and through travel

Result? He gets along with most everybody!

Here he is kissing his exotic girlfriend.

Influence of the planets

Astrological urges are not existent because of the position of the Sun, Moon, or any planet at the time of birth, but rather because the soul-entity is a part of the Universal Consciousness and has dwelt in those environs. Thus they yield, or wield, an influence upon individual application of spiritual or mental truths or laws, as they are brought into material manifestations.” -- Edgar Cayc

Astrological urges are not existent because of the position of the Sun, Moon, or any planet at the time of birth, but rather because the soul-entity is a part of the Universal Consciousness and has dwelt in those environs. Thus they yield, or wield, an influence upon individual application of spiritual or mental truths or laws, as they are brought into material manifestations.” — Edgar Cayc

Three relationships to avoid

  1. The other person needs you to have only happy feelings.  There is no room for any negative or painful feelings.  This person wants and needs you to bolster his or her low energy or low self esteem.  You have a right to the full spectrum of human feelings.
  2. This other person cannot tolerate having to compromise or yield to your request or preference.  It is his or her way or the highway.  You deserve someone who can soothe oneself when you do not satisfy this other person.  Relationships are about taking turns, give and take and mature negotiation.
  3. The converse of # 2 is toxic as well.  This is the person who never has a preference.  What you hear a lot is- “Whatever you want” or “Anything- I’m easygoing.”  This may feel great at first but a healthy relationship is comprised of 2 strong people who express their wants and feelings and learn to deal with conflict.  If you want a relationship that is full of passion and energy for the long haul, you want someone who is a force to be reckoned with and not an emotional marshmallow.

There are many other toxic patterns that healthy people avoid and these were three that I see often in my practice. Be clear what you want, set boundaries and get out of any relationship where any of these three patterns continue.  Of course, the relationship optimist I am says- confront the person and if things change or the person gets into a therapy or coaching situation where it can change (i.e.- he or she takes your feedback seriously), you can definitely see how the story ends.  People are not necessarily chained to their toxic ways!

Why putting people down in treatment does not work.

People that abuse drugs do this to self-medicate painful feelings or Mental Health problems. They need first to feel good about themselves before any treatment should be attempted.

There is a kind of drug treatment program called a therapeutic community (TC). The patients come in for treatment from around the country (so long as their insurance pays), looking for a pathway to recovery.

In most of these places the case managers have no formal training or education, rather familiarity with the systems and processes used through their own experiences.

At the TC, communities shame, degradation and humiliation are built into a “treatment” model in a way I can barely believe.

I can fill volumes with all that I saw when I worked in a residential Group home for adolescent addicted boys.
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There were situations where patients walked around with signs around their necks, saying, “I’m a loser”, “I’m nothing”, and “I’m not worth caring about.” The “transgressions” that earned these sanctions included getting in an argument with a more favored client, yelling at a case manager, or getting high.
A favorite punishment was ghosting and the boys could not acknowledge a person or talk to him for days.

There was little compassion in this place, and little-to-no therapy. Individual therapy was not permitted, although I’m still unclear why. And there were no formal policies or procedures; grievances couldn’t be filed, and if you were bold enough to lodge a complaint you would soon find yourself on the Greyhound back to where you came from.

The case managers control your money, your shelter and your medication.

i believe that no one should put a sign around a patient’s neck saying, “I am trash.” Many people with addiction say that to themselves—sometimes much worse—every time they look in the mirror. The research also backs up the idea that confrontational approaches can be harmful—something that Substance.com columnist Maia Szalavitz, among others, has written about extensively.

Through harm reduction work, both in programs and in private psychotherapy, I have seen patients succeed, and succeed with more consistency and longer periods of success. I saw growth and confidence develop within my patients. They set a goal, they take control of their lives, often for the first time in a while, and it’s a beautiful thing to see as a therapist.

Why should we be trying to break people down, tear them apart? Isn’t the whole purpose of this work to help people see and be their best selves? To help them feel as close to whole as possible?

How can the prison system be improved in the US?

It could be improved by building a bridge between Mental Health, Psychical Health and Corrections. The Departments do not cooperate well and Corrections rule the roost. The officers learn in their training that inmates are manipulators who need to be controlled by them and this results in a lack of awareness about Mental Health Problems, Suicide etc. The officers are also ignorant about transgender males and address them by Sir to tease them. These officers need to be trained in understanding Mental Health issues and treating these inmates respectfully. The inmates complain that they often feel put down by the officers. More attention needs to be put into rehabilitation and building of self-esteem and there should be as many Mental Health workers as officers in the prison. Right now no real therapy is allowed only case management which can only do so much since these men are mostly deeply wounded souls who get very little attention. A larger part of the budget needs to be allocated to mental health. Right now it is only 5% of the total budget and the case loads are huge. I dealt with almost 150 inmates a month at one point. Also drug addiction and possession ought to be decriminalized, too many spend their life in prison just for being an addict with drugs in their pocket. I can go on and on but will leave it here for now.