Archives for May, 2011
Last week the media reported the sad and unanticipated deaths of two men. Derek Boogaard of the Rangers died from an accidental overdose of the drug oxycodone mixed with alcohol and retired lieutenant, John A. Garcia, a 23-year veteran of FDNY who not only responded to 9/11 but responded and lost two of his men in the Deutsche Bank Fire. died by suicide. One can’t help but wonder if the tragic deaths reflect the danger of hidden depression in men. Increasingly we have become aware that although women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression, many men, beyond the 10-17% diagnosed, may also be suffering with depression. Depression May Be More Deadly for Men What makes depression in men so dangerous? It too often goes unrecognized and untreated because it is masked by physical complaints, substance abuse, anger and other stealth symptoms.
If you have even wondered if your therapist has been in therapy you may be surprised to find that the majority of mental health practitioners actually practice what they preach. A national survey of psychologists found that 400 of 476 or 84% of those responding reported having been in therapy. A national survey of mental health professionals including 219 psychologists, 191 counselors and 192 social workers reported that 85% had sought therapy with no difference across gender or professions. Most dramatically, a questionnaire filled out by 5,000 therapists across 14 countries reveals that despite cultural differences an overwhelming majority of therapists everywhere report having at least one course of personal therapy. Have You Driven Your Therapist Into Therapy? Probably not.
Despite the warnings, our basic human courtesies are not likely to be eroded by smartphones, nor will they be salvaged by quickly decided Emily Post-type rules. Like other social norms, smartphone manners will likely evolve from the complex social group process underscored by the intellectual, physical,and psychological needs that drive us. There was a time when it was in good taste for a gentleman to reach across the dinner table to light a lady’s cigarette. Have you seen etiquette of that kind lately? A recent New York Times article reported on the behavior of attendees at the South by Southwest Interactive. In this arena, tech pros and professionals were reportedly on phones everywhere from the elevator to the dais. What is striking is that the appeal by one of the keynote speakers to put down the devices when interacting and give back the respect owed to each other was met with thunderous applause. More striking is the fact that within minutes -- everyone was back interacting with one eye on their phone and one thumb busy working!
The news of Bin Laden’s death has erupted on national and international levels in a mix of feelings. Attached to the thrill of justice served and military courage recognized are shadows of fear and the pain of catastrophic loss. For survivors and the thousands who lost so many loved ones on 9/11 this is not only long awaited news, it is a déjà vu of that September day. Once again there are ongoing calls of condolence and remembrances, non-stop media reports, and the visceral pain of losing a Dad, a child, a partner, a firefighter, a friend, a community, and the illusion of safety. What Does this Mean for Emotional Healing? It Invites Revisiting: Highly charged events like Bin Laden’s Death are quite likely to trigger traumatic memories that unlike ordinary explicit memory for daily events are encoded under fight/flight conditions in those centers of the brain dealing with sensations and emotion. They can be sequestered for years – untold, intrusive as nightmares and flashbacks, haunting but never integrated into the story of one’s life. While this event might trigger pain, it may offer an opportunity to bear witness, to share and transform traumatic memories.