Archives for April, 2011

General

Ear Acupuncture For Stress, Anxiety and Addiction

I get a lot of raised eyebrows when I mention one of the treatment modalities I use. But auricular (ear) acupuncture works. Especially in the treatment of addiction where it is used for detox and relapse prevention.

It isn't very well known because it is not generally reimbursed by insurance, so essentially I (and other practitioners) are performing a free service.

Ear acupuncture complements other therapies, but isn't a main treatment, itself. It is a hard-sell to addiction programs. Not many programs want their staff doing treatments that they cannot bill for. 
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Communication

Does Your Therapist “Got The Gift”?

Therapists are, by profession, expert listeners. They mine the spoken word (and gesture and expression) for insight into their patients' minds and hearts.

But this "gift of listening" is actually a technique that must be learned and practiced by most (yes, some do naturally have it). This gift is called "active listening."

*Active listening in therapy, from the patient's perspective, is listening that:

1. encourages

2. paraphrases

3. summarizes

what you say and your therapist observes and hears.

Does your therapist "got the gift?" If he does, you'll see and feel that your therapist is paying close attention to you. He will nod encouragingly, speak one to three word statements such as "uh-huh," "yes," "go on" which prompt you to continue speaking.
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General

Ten Signs You May Be Resistant To Therapy

There could be a few reasons a person is resistant to therapy. It could be a deep, unresolved issue or it could simply be that the therapist you are working with is not right for you.

If you have one or more of these signs, you may be resistant to therapy. It may be a good thing to  talk about these issues with your therapist. If you simply can't because you are too uncomfortable or angry, go ahead and discuss them with a caring, wise friend of family member that you really trust

1. I am chronically late for my therapy sessions.

2. I find fault with just about everything my therapist tells me.

3. I don't follow through with most of the "homework"/recommendations my therapist gives me.

4. I've been to therapist after therapist but always quit before I've reached my goals.
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General

How Much Is Therapy Costing You? Poll

We're talking strictly dollars and cents, here. Do you know how much you've already paid for therapy? How much more therapy you'll probably want/need and what the tab will be?

Remember, if your health insurance pays for therapy, there are some hidden and not so hidden costs you may not have thought about.

First, there are co-pays and deductibles which you've probably noticed are on the rise. Second, there is  generally, in the U.S., capitation. That means that there is a maximum amount your insurance (including government insurance such as Medicaid) will cover. Reach your limit, and you have to enter into a appeal/grievance process, which can be time-consuming and costly itself. For most appeals, the probability of getting approval for more therapy is slim in most cases. Then you've got to come up with the cash.
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Depression

From Slavery To Freedom

The teachings of the Jewish mystics are full of ripe, spiritual fruit. We learn from them that everything we encounter in life is a teacher; not just a person, but a creature, an event, a tree or a rock, a storm, an overheard conversation, an unusual sight, and so on. All contain messages for the person who encounters them.

We're also taught that each day, month, and year, especially the Jewish holy days, are packed with meaning. Some call this meaning "symbolic" but to those who have spent time immersing themselves in the teachings, they are far more than that. Each holy day is a teaching in and of itself-and is personally relevant to our growth as individuals.

Passover, which begins tonight at sundown, has many messages-some overt, some cryptic, depending on how far one's willing to plunge into the ancient texts. For instance, Passover has several messages for those with mental illness or addiction. One of the messages, in fact, is universal. You don't have to be Jewish to take a bite out of the Passover paradigm.
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Communication

Granny’s Brain

C.R. writes: New research shows that environment can strongly influence cognitive function, so much so that incidents of Alzheimer's in the elderly is shown to be linked to limited living space and interactions. I was witness to an amazing transformation in cognitive function-in reverse.

Because of a rancorous divorce, my parents remarried and "started new lives." Translation: They pretended their children from their first marriages didn't exist. Sadly, my paternal grandmother, a elderly widow with whom I was always close, felt she couldn't maintain contact with me against her son's wishes.

Years later, when I read that my father had passed away from a chronic illness, I decided to see if my grandmother was alive. I searched for her, beginning with the Internet. There I found her listed as living in a nursing home, about five hours drive from my home.

I arrived a few weeks before her 101st birthday. She was living in deplorable conditions-her glasses and dentures were missing, she had no socks or underwear, and spent her time lying in her bed (which she had wet), all alone, staring at the ceiling. I found mouse droppings in her nighttable. On the wall was a bulletin board with photos of my father, his wife and his stepsons. After giving her a hug and some gifts, which she didn't acknowledge, I went to see the staff.
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General

Bipolar, Sober, and Spiritual: New Film Hero

Following Boruch (Work-in-progress trailer), from Paula Eiselt.

"After battling bipolar disorder, alcoholism, and drug addiction for over thirty years, forty-seven-year-old Boruch Hoffman, a Hasidic Jew from Brooklyn, is sober and eager to live the life he never had. FOLLOWING BORUCH is a feature length documentary that follows Boruch over one year as he strives to find the job and wife he always prayed for but was never able to fulfill." (From the web site).

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Studies

Leery About Liberal, Conservative Research Findings

Once again, it's time for the latest research on the minds and emotions of Liberals vs. Conservatives.

This time, brain differences are explored. Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor at writes: "A new study suggests individuals who call themselves liberals are more likely to have brains that have a larger anterior cingulate cortex while conservatives have larger amygdalas."

(Which came first,...
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General

Five New Books About Autism

Just in time for Autism Month, here are five new books about Autism Spectrum disorders especially for parents, children, teachers, friends (and everyone else):

1. Parent and Child (and Grandparent, too): Point To Happy: For Children on the Autism Spectrum, by Miriam Smith and Afton Fraser, is a picture book and uses a pointer to "create a breakthrough in reaching children who communicate best through pictures. It was created by a grandmother, Miriam Smith, and mother, Afton Fraser, for Ms Fraser’s son, a young boy on the autism spectrum."

"Point to happy. Point to sad. Point to hug. Give me a hug. The parent reads, the child points."
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General

Aspergians & Other Misfits with John Elder Robison, Part II

In Part I of Aspergians & Other Misfits, bestselling author John Elder Robison shares his thoughts about his newest book, Be Different. More of our interview with John...

Both C.R. and I found passages that definitely corresponded to experiences, thoughts or feelings we’ve had. For example, you describe the overwhelming environment of a school dance and how you spent the evening totally absorbed in listening to and staring at the band’s speakers.  You describe how you carefully set about teaching a school-bully a lesson. There are many other examples.

Though social awkwardness does not have a diagnosis on the autism spectrum make, C.R. was really struck by your descriptions. She thought that perhaps they are so compelling because “nypicals” have instances of “temporary Asperger’s” in their lives. She asks if there is any research that you know of that indicates this may indeed be the case?

I am not aware of any studies that show nypicals to have “autistic moments.”  That’s not to say it could not happen . . . But I think a more likely explanation is that my thoughts and feelings mirror yours because they are representative of the human condition, not just people with Asperger’s.  My Asperger’s may cause me to act differently, and have unexpected responses to situations but inside we are all the same.

I really think that’s a strong message of both my books.
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