Psychiatry Must Stop Ignoring Trauma, with Dr. Bessel van der Kolk

Acclaimed psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk explores his field’s long, complex, and stubborn history with trauma. Dr. van der Kolk explains how psychiatry as a whole avoided progress, often misdiagnosing trauma as hysteria or, in the case of shell-shocked soldiers, malingering.

The experiences of abused women and children were more or less ignored for a century. They’re still being ignored in ways, he says.

Behind the Pages with Bessel Van Der Kolk, MD

“The vast majority of drug abuse is associated with earlier trauma. It’s very rare to see somebody who becomes a drug addict who not also has a history of abuse and neglect.” Bessel Van Der Kolk, MD

Behind The Pages host Diane Goshgarian interviews author Bessel Van Der Kolk, MD about his new book The Body Keeps The Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. Interview recorded at 22-CityView Cambridge on October 08, 2014.

As I said last week, this book is essential reading if you are working in the mental health and addiction fields.

Understanding Psychosis and Schizophrenia

understanding“An individual having unusual difficulties in coping with his environment struggles and kicks up the dust, as it were. I have used the figure of a fish caught on a hook: his gyrations must look peculiar to other fish that don’t understand the circumstances; but his splashes are not his affliction, they are his effort to get rid of his affliction and as every fisherman knows these efforts may succeed.” Karl Menninger

What would happen if a team of highly qualified psychologists joined up with a team of people who knew psychosis from the inside, from their own journey into madness and then recovery – and if they collaborated in writing a guide to understanding the difficult states that get names like “psychosis” and schizophrenia”?

Well, you don’t have to wonder anymore, because the result was published a couple of days ago in the form of a report (180 pages) that is free to download. This report is well worth reading. Here’s a summary:

‘Executive Summary
This report describes a psychological approach to experiences that are commonly thought of as psychosis, or sometimes schizophrenia. It complements parallel reports on the experiences commonly thought of as bipolar disorder and depression.

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‘How People-Pleasing Destroys Your Authentic Self’ by Shahida Arabi

stringsI like this piece of writing from the Self-Care Haven, a website developed by a graduate student at Columbia University in the States.

This article is one for your self-care collection. It’s easy to start people pleasing in recovery, particularly when you are worried about stigma in society.

‘ARE YOU A PEOPLE-PLEASER?
Symptoms include but are not limited to: saying yes when you really mean no, allowing people to trample all over your boundaries on a weekly basis without asserting yourself, and “performing” character traits or behaviors that do not speak to your authentic self.

Can cause high blood pressure and stewing resentment that festers for years until the “last straw,” at which point, sounds of an explosion erupt. You’re so tired of being Jekyll all the time you become the worst version of Hyde possible to let out all the steam that was simmering within all along.

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The Grass Arena

Some of you may remember my earlier blog,  ‘Saved by the book’ by Erwin James, which focuses on the life of the author John Healy.

Mike Scott, who first found the article in the Guardian, has now tracked down the film on YouTube and says it is well worth watching. The film stars Peter Postlethwaite and is rated 8.6 on IMDB. YouTube shows it in parts which you can track very easily. Enjoy!

‘The Grass Arena is the true story of John Healy. Raised in an ultra religious family, with an abusive father, young Johnny soon learns that he has to learn to defend himself. He takes up boxing, but soon falls victim to alcoholism. His boxing career over, John takes to the Grass Arena (the park) where he lives with other alcoholics.’

‘Stuck not broke’ by AntiHero79

IMG_1870Hello, as this is my first entry I’ll (try to) keep it short. I am two and a half years into my recovery. I’d love to say that it’s all plain sailing, but in fact has been the darkest and most confusing time of my life up to now.

“I always knew I was different”… Well it’s true, I did. Always felt apart, weird, somehow isolated from even my closest friends. I had a rough childhood, no doubt about it, and when I found drink and drugs it was like I was liberated.

My first round of addiction (to cannabis, from age 14 – 15) saw me walking round school in a virtual coma. In retrospect, it must’ve looked like there was something severely wrong with me. There was, I know now. As a nine year old, I was molested by a family ‘friend’. It was reported to the police but stopped there. Lack of evidence.

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‘Addiction: Problems behind the problem’ by Recovery Coach

P1010092I was pretending to be Superman when my mother’s frantic cries for help brought a sudden halt to my game. I ran towards the kitchen faster than a speeding bullet. But a Superman t-shirt with a bath towel tucked into the collar didn’t give me superhuman strength.

Peering just below the vinyl seat of our yellow kitchen chairs, my eyes widened as Dad pinned my mother to the cold linoleum floor. He was a large man, standing 6’1″, and Mum was 4’6″. The image seemed surreal, like a horror movie, and I stood frozen in fear.

There was an odor of carnage as Dad hovered over her. Maybe it was the mixture of sweat and testosterone rising from his green work shirt. Pure, unfiltered terror flooded my body and my heart beat so fast it seemed to smash against my ribs.

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