Thursday, February 25, 2016

God and depression

When depression goes too deep, or one is working with schizophrenia, you encounter a situation in which the person doesn't have a relationship to others or even with their memories of others.

At this place, past memory, what is present is their relationship to God. This is touched on by Erikson as basic trust vs. mistrust, and interestingly, such patients can't even let themselves imagine things working out for them, or what a future happy life might be like for them.

At this place were fantasy isn't even allowed, there is always a God to be found that these people are angry with or don't trust. On top of that, they can often feel "spiritually attacked" or "tortured".

It is always important, however, to not just be satisfied with finding one relationship to God. There are the two poles of egoism and altruism, and very often there are at least two relationships to God here. 

Additionally, there is also the relationship to the body at this stage. To talk about God or the soul also means to have repressed the body, and the body is a repository of projections or displacements.

In this place of God and basic distrust, the respiratory system is the salient place of anger (and the chronic muscular tensions that hold it back there).  

I still don't know how to work with the somatic expression here, but I've had success with exploring the relations to God, Body, and oftentimes dreams about the world, as they relate to actual relationships in their lives. Affect comes up that had been repressed there, and some relief is gained. It's not all that is required, but it's a start.


Monday, February 22, 2016

another thisn't example

A patient comes in talking about how the doctor said he must be pretty tough considering how much pain he must be in because of a problem with his hip. He continued to emphasize this, and how the doctor was surprised he didn't use a cane, etc.

The patient doesn't normally boast or require mirroring work, so I ask him what he would call a person who couldn't deal with pain.

He says a "boo-boo baby" in a childish voice. We use you-statements and he brings up a friend...

thisn't example

Someone asked me for an example and how to use it.

I had a patient who didn't remember dreams and who had enough space in between her visits that we lost our sense of working towards something.

She wanted to say that things were good and stay superficial. I probed and she said everything was fine in her relationships (which had previously been the source of much malcontent for her). The only thing she could say that she'd been doing, was watching episodes of Law and Order.

She stressed how the "good guys" were so "thorough, checked with the bad guys multiple times, and were good"

She didn't stress all these equally, but enough. I ask her for the opposite and she says "half-ass, don't care, and bad". I ask her to turn these into you-statements: (you are half-ass, you don't care, and you are bad) and she says that her boyfriend comes to mind and begins to complain about him and return to a state of anger and indignation that we had got to before.

Friday, February 19, 2016

No, no and thisn't

I was reminded of a classic critique of psychoanalysis the other day. It was the one that claims that psychoanalysis isn't falsifiable because if the patient disagrees with the analyst, his protests are only taken to confirm the interpretation.

It's interesting to me to imagine how self-satisfied the person who makes this argument would be with himself. How untroubled he is by the different affective experiences in other human beings that he would never consider it odd that a person might dismiss something quickly when they had just contemplated other things with an open and hesitant mind. But, I'm sure that these same philosophers would look with contempt on a room full of social workers who are attuned to such experiences but couldn't solve a simple math problem...

Anyway, along with the idea that such a quick no, or nos that come in large quantities, someone defensively saying that they x has nothing to do with y (when x had not been implied at all), etc., might mean yes, there is similar clinical phenomenon I'd like to point out.

Often times a person might get into a description and emphasize the same word many times, or speak with a much different tone when they say a word. Sometimes, this emphasis makes the opposite salient and too much emphasis on this means thisn't.

With a thisn't, for example, a person who brings up someone who is really big, is left with the word small, and this provides the basis for associations that lead one to an interesting area.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Narcissism, Echoism, and Politics

Rather than talk about the pros and cons of the universal health care that Bernie Sanders proposes, other politicians use rhetoric to appeal to narcissistic or echoistic distractions from their individual self-interest or other-interest (i.e. care for loved ones). Of course, across the parties, there are sociological factors such as negative words such as socialism or taxes that will bring up negative associations for the general public. 

Rubio for example, either just says Sanders is a socialist or appeals to social narcissism and how the US is exceptional, the superlative:

Bernie Sanders is a socialist. I think Bernie Sanders is good candidate for president of Sweden.
We don't want to be Sweden. We want to be the United States of America.

Rubio is appealing to a narcissism that places the US as so high above others that we don't want to compare it to other countries or investigate how we can improve it. We are simply who we are, and we are the best.

However, once we leave the volar stage and lack of comparison to others, and enter into the POTUS, we have a characterization of Obama at the anal stage who threatens the volar stage majesty of the US 

This campaign is about the greatest country in the world and a president who has systematically destroyed many of the things that made America special.

The competitive/egoistic nature of this- to be the best, to be more special than others, to soar above everyone else- is very obvious.

Compared to the egoism, competition, power, being on top, etc. of the Republicans we have refrains for oneness, healing, belonging, bringing in the outsiders, etc. as the rhetoric of the Democrats. Here are some lines from just the first half of the debate:

And that is our fight still. We have to get the economy working and incomes rising for everyone, including those who have been left out and left behind. 

We need new leadership. We need to come together as a people and build on the good things that President Obama has done.

We do have too much division, too much mean- spiritedness. 

Let me respond to what the secretary said. We have a criminal justice system which is broken. Who in America is satisfied that we have more people in jail than any other country on Earth, including China?

Secretary Clinton, in his final State of the Union address, President Obama said his biggest regret was his inability to bring the country together. If President Obama couldn't do it, how will you?

SANDERS: Because of what I believe in what I was just saying. The Democratic party needs major reform. To those of you in South Carolina, you know what, in Mississippi, we need a 50-state strategy so that people in South Carolina and Mississippi can get the resources that they need.

The most recurring question I get when I stand on the chair all across Iowa and talk with my neighbors is, how are you going to heal the divisions and the wounds in our country? This is the biggest challenge we face as a people.
All my life, I brought people together over deep divides and very old wounds, and that's what we need now in a new leader. We cannot keep talking past each other, declaring all Republicans are our enemies or the war is all about being against millionaires or billionaires, or it's all against American Muslims, all against immigrants.
Look, as Frederick Douglas said, we are one, our cause is one, and we must help each other if we are going to succeed. HOLT: And that is right.

Along with restoration, oneness, and bringing in the outsiders, Clinton uses the rhetoric of Sanders attacking Obama (the good father who loves us and helps us) and thus being an ingrate or going as far as to "kill" his legacy:

Secretary Clinton, Senator Sanders favors what he calls "Medicare for all." Now, you said that what he is proposing would tear up Obamacare and replace it.
Secretary Clinton, is it fair to say to say that Bernie Sanders wants to kill Obamacare?

But the fact is, we have the Affordable Care Act. That is one of the greatest accomplishments of President Obama, of the Democratic Party, and of our country.

CLINTON: Now, there are things we can do to improve it, but to tear it up and start over again…

Sanders feels like he needs to speak to this "We're not going to tear up the Affordable Care Act. I helped write it. But we are going to move on top of that to a Medicaid-for- all system"

Clinton is setting up Obama as the heroic good father who saves us:

Clinton:The Republicans just voted last week to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and thank goodness, President Obama vetoed it and saved Obamacare for the American people.

Sanders has his own good father and uses the wish of resurrecting/ restoring to life the old good father who would take care of us the best! 

Sanders: If Teddy Roosevelt were alive today, the old Republican trust buster, what he would say is these guys are too powerful. Break them up. I believe that's what the American people to want see. 

Clinton tries to show Sanders as a disloyal ingrate:

CLINTON: Well, there's no daylight on the basic premise that there should be no bank too big to fail and no individual too powerful to jail. We agree on that. But where we disagree is the comments that Senator Sanders has made that don't just affect me, I can take that, but he's criticized President Obama for taking donations from Wall Street, and President Obama has led our country out of the great recession.
Senator Sanders called him weak, disappointing. He even, in 2011, publicly sought someone to run in a primary against President Obama. Now, I personally believe that President Obama's work to push through the Dodd- Frank...

The Dodd-Frank bill and then to sign it was one of the most important regulatory schemes we've had since the 1930s. So I'm going to defend Dodd- Frank and I'm going to defend President Obama for taking on Wall Street, taking on the financial industry and getting results.

Sanders must protect himself against being seen as being disloyal to the good father

SANDERS: Set the record right. In 2006 when I ran for the Senate, Senator Barack Obama was kind enough to campaign for me, 2008, I did my best to see that he was elected and in 2012, I worked as hard as I could to see that he was reelected. He and I are friends. We've worked together on many issues. We have some differences of opinion.

Clinton points out Sanders would raise taxes for his universal healthcare and smears Sanders with the dirty word taxes just as Rubio smeared him with socialist:

SANDERS: What is correct, and I'm disappointed that Secretary Clinton's campaign has made this criticism. It's a Republican criticism. Secretary Clinton does know a lot about healthcare, and she understands, I believe, that a medicare for all, single payer program will substantially lower the cost of healthcare for middle class families. So, what we have got to acknowledge, and I hope the Secretary does, is we are doing away with private health insurance premiums.
SANDERS: So, if I save you $10,000 in private health insurance, and you pay a little bit more in taxes in total, there are huge savings in what your family is spending.