Tag: mental health

Beware: Reductionist Approaches to Understanding the Soul Can Undermine Human Existence and Cause Suffering

“What if we consider your soul as the sum total of your neurocognitive essence, your very specific brain signature, the unique neuronal connections, synapses, and flow of neurotransmitters that make you you?” [Marcelo Gleiser for NPR]

I’ll be honest, to me it is so painfully human and reductionist to try to pin down the concept of a soul and apply it to something more concrete. The mechanisms behind neurocognition are all directly observable, and understandable to humans. We know that brain processes happen as a result of action potentials that occur in the context of neurons, and neurotransmitters. We know that our brains are made up of the same core components but that they are all different. These differences are the result of our genetics, and our individual experiences. So, this perspective is reductionist-yet- it is safe. Because we can grasp the concepts associated.

And, I get it. I understand why we need to continue to have these conversations. Because, it is human nature to want to know more about human nature. And as alluded to in the aforementioned article, we are constantly striving toward advancements in technology and motivated to achieve immortality.

We have all of these unanswered questions swirling around in our heads. Floating around in abstract space as we go about our very concrete lives. In certain moments, we may tap into this space. And explore, postulate, question. Most of the time, either out of necessity to cater to our concrete lives, or out of fear we exit this space. Without having any answers. Sometimes, there are brave souls who formulate theories in an attempt to explain what has up until that point been unexplainable.

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Schizophrenia

Nothing is Real: Perspective, Perception, and Schizophrenia

About one percent of our population struggles with Schizophrenia (3.2 million people). It may seem like a small number in comparison with other diseases. However, despite it’s rarity in our population, it has huge impacts. To me, Schizophrenia is fascinating. In fact, it played a huge role in my decision to become a therapist.

Following my undergraduate education, I went to work for a Human Services agency. Specifically, I worked in a high intensity group home for severely mentally ill young adult males. Most of which carried a diagnosis of Schizophrenia among others.  It was a truly eye opening experience. One that caused me to feel that I could really make a difference in the world simply by how I related to others.

These guys were not unlike other teenage young boys. They had girlfriends, poor hygiene, and could eat ungodly amounts of food. They wanted relationships,enjoyed talking about things that made them happy, and most of all they desperately wanted to fit in. However, the pervasive nature of their symptoms often times landed them in trouble, either with the law, or within the established rules of the home. Really, the “trouble” they found themselves in was directly a result of how society has perceived their “condition”.

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Depression-

Nothing is Real: Perspective, Perception, and Depression

Depression effects 15 million adults in the US yearly. That is 6.7% of the population. It is one of the most common mental health concerns that people seek help for.

I’ve been in therapeutic relationships with many individuals who suffer from depression. There is a consistent theme in how they describe their experience. In the last few weeks, I’ve asked my clients; children, adolescents, and adults to describe what depression feels like to them.

Here’s what they had to say:

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Nothing is Real Poster

Nothing is Real: Perspective, Perception, and the Human Psyche

In my next series of blog postings entitled Nothing is Real I’d love to explore with you the concepts of reality, perception, and perspective. Specifically, I’ll explore how all of these play a role in the human psyche and ultimately our mental health in various ways. In addition, I will be discussing the strong connection  between art and mental health. Today’s blog will be an overview of my general stance on these subjects. We’ll take some deeper dives into these concepts in the future as we discuss how they apply to specific human experiences of mental health “problems”.

“Your Entire Universe is In Your Mind. To Expand the Universe, Expand Your Mind”-Deepak Chopra

 

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Canva Design

Fasting to Achieve and Maintain Mental Health in the Age of Social Media Saturation

How much have you thought about what it means for us to constantly be connected to other people via social media? To consistently be bombarded with not so positive information and news daily? I think about it often. Especially in more recent times.

The negative stories that we see across our timelines grab our attention and elicit reaction. Whether we like it or not, this effects us tremendously over time. In fact, I won’t be surprised if in the future we have mental health diagnoses directly related to the effects of social media. We certainly have built a culture primed for it.

With a cultural shift (I know, easier said than done) we may be able to prevent that from happening. So, let’s take some time to examine the potential effects of social media saturation. Then let’s talk about what we can actually do to reverse and mitigate these negative effects.
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Asking for Help is a Sign of Strength

Asking for help is a sign of strength within a culture that informs how society thinks about mental health. Unfortunately the thought process is not always helpful or positive. As a result, one of the first things that I make sure to communicate with all of my clients, is just how amazing they are for asking for help. I do this because I know that our society is not set up for those who may be experiencing mental health difficulties to access care. This is largely because of the stigma associated with mental health. The presence of societal stigma can further lead one down a path of isolation thereby perpetuating difficulties.

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A Seat At the Table: Part 2 Self Esteem and Maturity

Self Esteem and Maturity are two key components to being a successful adult navigating today’s world. So, why not do …

Shared decision making

A Seat At the Table: How To Strategically Use Shared Decision Making To Empower Your Child, Foster Maturity, and Decrease Emotional Oubursts

Shared Decision Making is a topic I explore with parents often. This is the concept of allowing your child to be in on the …