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I provide psychotherapy for clients in mid-town Toronto looking for practical, integrative help in dealing with overwhelming issues in their lives.

With the resurgence of interest in the use of psychedelics for therapeutic purposes including many clinical studies at NYU, Johns Hopkins, UBC, and many other research centres I have been digging into some of the literature. I came across two pieces that make for an interesting contrast: Remembrances of LSD Therapy Past by Betty Grover Eisner Ph.D., and The Ten Lessons in Psychedelic Psychotherapy, Rediscovered, by Neal M Goldsmith, which is a chapter in a book called Psychedelic Medicine: New Evidence for Hallucinogens as Treatments.  
Betty Eisner

Betty Eisner

  • Psychedelics such as LSD, Psilocybin, MDMA, and Mescaline has been shown to be very powerful psychoactive tools that reach places psychotherapy and current pharmaceuticals don’t touch. Psychedelics are highly effective in reducing anxiety in terminal cancer patients, those with highly resistant PTSD, alcoholics, and new clinical research is exploring ways that psychedelics can have a positive impact on people with eating disorders, and there are many other studies researching how psychedelics work. Hope among researchers is that they will encourage governments to loosen control of these highly restricted drugs.  
  • Betty Eisner was a psychoanalyst and psychedelic researcher in the 1950s and 1960s in LA.Her unpublished manuscript was written two years before her death in 2004. Even though there were some controls on LSD in the US before it became illegal in 1966, Betty’s book documents how freewheeling the researchers were back in the day. It is mainly a collection of letters to other researchers such as Humphry Osmond, Tom Leary, Adolous Huxley, Bill Wilson the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous who fervently believed in using LSD to treat alcoholics, and many other larger-than-life characters like the LSD evangelist Al Hubbard with his private plane.
  • She is a terrific writer and documents her experiences of the first age of the LSD beautifully. It was expected that researchers regularly partake in psychedelic experiences and Betty documents these with great clarity. She noted that an eight hour trip was like four years of therapy.
  • Have a look at this short 1956 film of Dr. Sidney Cohen (Betty’s boss) chatting with people on LSD.
  • Neal Goldsmith’s Ten Lessons of Psychedelic Psychotherapy, Rediscovered is a much more nuanced and balanced account of the important lessons learned by Betty and her peers before LSD was banned in the US in 1966 up until research resumed in the 1990’s. Even though the first generation’s research was a bit loosy goosey and improvised, they discovered many very important techniques Neal documents.
  • The importance of set and setting was recognized early on. They recognized that one had a better trip if one is prepared and in a comfortable location. This might seem obvious to us now, but keep in mind that early researchers had people strapped to gurneys in hospital rooms and left alone for the duration of their trip. Probably because researchers consumed LSD themselves that they were able to understand the importance of things like set and setting.  
  • In this second age of psychedelic research, clinicians are hoping to document and validate the beneficial effects these drugs in the hope that medical authorities will relax the controls that currently exist on psychedelics. If successful, psychedelic psychotherapy will become much more common in the future and I think it will inevitably lead to a radical re-examination our current understanding of psychiatry as it has been practiced for the past hundred years. After all, psychiatrists wrote off psychedelics and mimicking psychosis and schizophrenia, but now most understand that it is the gateway to understanding altered states of consciousness which include spiritual and religious experiences.  
  • These books are available for a free download with the links posted below.  
  • Betty Grover Eisner, Ph.D. Remembrances of LSD Therapy Past
    , 2002, unpublished
  •  NEAL M. GOLDSMITH “The Ten Lessons of Psychedelic Psychotherapy, Rediscovered.” In Winkelman, M. and Roberts, T. (Eds.), Psychedelic Medicine: New Evidence for Hallucinogens as Treatments.  New York: Praeger, 2007.

     
    This is by Brianna West. It's excellent!

    Here’s What Your Subconscious Mind Wants You To Know, Based On The Way You Keep Self-Sabotaging Your Life

    Sophia Sinclair
    The way you are self-sabotaging: Going back to the same person who broke you. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: Evaluate your childhood relationships. If you find something comforting or appealing about someone who hurts you, there’s usually a reason.The way you are self-sabotaging: Attracting people who are too broken to commit in a real way. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: You are not too broken to find someone who actually wants you. The way you are self-sabotaging: Being unhappy even when nothing is wrong. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: You keep expecting outside things to make you feel good, rather than relying on changing how you think and what you focus on. The way you are self-sabotaging: Pushing people away. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: You want people to love and accept you so much that the stress of it all makes you isolate yourself away from the pain, effectively creating the reality you’re trying to avoid. The way you are self-sabotaging: Automatically believing what you think and feel is true. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: You want to worry because it feels comfortable, therefore safer. The way you are self-sabotaging: Eating poorly when you don’t want to be. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: You are doing too much, or not giving yourself enough rest and nourishment. You are being too extreme. The way you are self-sabotaging: Not doing the work you know would help move your career forward. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: You’re not as clear as you think you are on what you want to be doing. If it isn’t flowing, there is a reason. The way you are self-sabotaging: Overworking. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: You do not have to prove your value. You do, however, have to stop running from the discomfort of being alone with your feelings. The way you are self-sabotaging: Caring too much about what other people think. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: You are not as happy as you think you are. The happier you are with something, the less you need other people to be. The way you are self-sabotaging: Spending too much money. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: Things will not make you feel more secure. The way you are self-sabotaging: Dwelling on past relationships, or continually checking up on exes. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: This relationship affected you more than you were letting yourself believe. The ending hurt you more than you acknowledged, and you need to process that. The way you are self-sabotaging: Choosing friends who always make you feel like you’re in competition with them. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: Wanting to feel “better” than people is not a replacement for needing to feel connected to them. The common denominator is you. The way you are self-sabotaging: Having self-defeating thoughts that hold you back from doing what you want. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: Being mean to yourself first will not make it hurt less if other people judge or reject you. The way you are self-sabotaging: Not promoting your work in a way that would help move you forward. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: You’re not putting your all into what you’re doing each day. Create things you are proud to share. The way you are self-sabotaging: Ascribing intent, or worrying that things are about you when they aren’t. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: You think about yourself too often. The way you are self-sabotaging: Ending relationships you “should” have stayed in. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: You’re choosing relationships based on society’s standards, not your own. The way you are self-sabotaging: Staying in a city you claim to dislike. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: Home is where you make it, not where you find it. The way you are self-sabotaging: Denying the obvious in order to “win” the argument. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: Your ego is fragile. Conversations are not about “winning,” they’re about learning. The way you are self-sabotaging: Wanting to be more attractive (read: thinner) than other people, because you think it makes you “better” than them. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: You are insecure about the ways you perceive other people to be superior to you – trying to be more physically appealing is the most basic way to remedy that feeling, because you think it’s the one thing that you can solely control and everyone else can see. The way you are self-sabotaging: Procrastinating. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: Re-think what you’re doing. If it’s not coming to you naturally, it is not the right thing for you to be doing. The way you are self-sabotaging: Focusing on fear thoughts and irrational ideas. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: You’re misusing the power of your mind. The way you are self-sabotaging: Mindlessly scrolling through social media as a way to pass the time. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: You need to address the inherent discomfort you have when you don’t have something to distract you.
    Bruce Tobin is coming to Toronto to facilitate two Holotropic Breathwork Workshops using image making as integration. Tickets are now on sale through Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/holotropic-breathwork-workshop-saturday-may-13th-tickets-31405007222?utm_campaign=new_event_email&utm_medium=email&utm_source=eb_email&utm_term=viewmyevent_button
    this is brilliant! A new model of addiction overturns the antiquated notion of abstinence and prohibition which clearly haven't worked. The new model understands the root causes of substance abuse to be trauma. Healing the trauma heals addiction and it works! Read more here: http://ecosalon.com/a-new-model-for-addiction-at-home-in-the-dark/
    This is a terrific trailer for a film about a groundbreaking approach to mental health. If you register for the town hall on the main page you get to watch the film for free. Look for the link in the email. CRAZYWISE Trailer from Phil Borges on Vimeo.
    The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows is a fabulous reference, and it makes great reading too. Dip into a word and discover what it means. Having traded in tiny sorrows all my life, I had no idea many of them had names, like sonder, joupla, or adronitis. Every psychotherapist needs with own dictionary of tiny sorrows to help people make sense (or not) of their own.
    This is a powerful video on how MDM-A can help so many people with trauma. MDM-A is like the key that opens up PTSD sufferers who are treatment resistant.  Then the psychotherapy can take hold. One day and I hope it's within a few years, people who suffer trauma will have the option of a short course of MDM-A and therapy rather than have to endure a lifetime of addiction and suffering.
    A great article from CGMagazine about whether violent video games encourage suicide ideation. I am quoted extensively in the piece. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, suicide is the second leading cause of death amongst young people in Canada; the statistic is the same over in the United States. While there are a multitude of factors that can contribute to suicide, an American study released in January found that action category videogames can play a significant role in suicide ideation and attempt. The study, published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, found that individuals who played extensive hours of action games (which the researchers define as first-person shooter, fighting, sports, horror and crime/war-themed games) evidenced the highest Acquired Capability for Suicide, or A.C.S. This is defined in the study as traits (for example, a lowered fear of death and higher tolerance for both physical and emotional pain) that can both physically and mentally prepare one to make a lethal or non-lethal suicide attempt. To Read More, click here: http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/02/08/lets-talk-about-suicide-and-action-games/
    Major fraud cases grab the headlines for a few days or weeks then forgotten until the next one comes along. We never have to wait long. Media typically focuses on following the money, the colourful perpetrator and occasionally on the victims. Because no violence is used, there is some sort of collusion, and sometimes insurance, fraud appears to be a victimless crime. On the contrary, fraud victims are often devastated by their loses, blamed for their perceived collusion, secrecy, greed, lack of foresight, gullibility, stupidity and so on. Is that why is there so little support for fraud victims from the mental health community? Major fraud cases grab the headlines for a few days or weeks then forgotten until the next one comes along. We never have to wait long. Media typically focuses on following the money, the colourful perpetrator and occasionally on the victims. Because no violence is used, there is some sort of collusion, and sometimes insurance, fraud appears to be a victimless crime. On the contrary, fraud victims are often devastated by their loses, blamed for their perceived collusion, secrecy, greed, lack of foresight, gullibility, stupidity and so on. Is that why is there so little support for fraud victims from the mental health community? Google help for victims of fraud and you will find various resources from police forces, governments, lawyers, accountants, and third parties who will help you navigate the legal system. Google psychological help for fraud victims and you get pretty much the same results but more along the lines of how to prevent people from falling for scams. Missing from these results are any psychologist, psychotherapists, agencies, or help lines that will help victims deal with their trauma. Where are those mental health professionals who can help victims deal with their pain and loss? You don’t even want to know what you get when you Google psychotherapist fraud. Sadly, there are many more psychotherapists accused of fraud than those who specialize in helping the injured party. Fraud is a global problem that is growing about 4% a year. You will become a victim of swindlers at some point unless you live in a monastery in Tibet. Often it is small: being over-charged for work done on your car; or giving money to a charity that funnels it to offshore accounts. Scams exist in every type of transaction from foreign trade to adoption to human smuggling. It may well be the second oldest profession. Some of the first writing ever found was on Samarian clay tablets. They were itemized lists of goods in jars used in trade to prevent loss. It’s estimated that fraud costs the US economy $400 billion each year. You find it in every country of the world.  Many of the instances of it is small potatoes, like in the two example above, but what really adds up are the major frauds like Madoff and Worldcom where billions are lost and many lives are ruined. This cohort variously suffers from PTSD, inability to trust others or themselves, depression, suicide, divorce, strained relationships, low self esteem, and anger. It’s curious to me that professionals aren’t stepping over themselves to help these people. A report by the School of Psychology at the University of Exeter on why people fall for scams reports that: “Scams cause psychological as well as financial harm to victims. Victims not only suffer a financial loss, but also a loss of self-esteem because they blame themselves for having been so 'stupid' to fall for the scam. Some of the victims we interviewed appeared to have been seriously damaged by their experience.” A British charity wants us to recognize that it is the most vulnerable people, often isolated elderly and those with mental health issues are most at risk of being scammed. The Think Jessica organization is lobbying to have (Jessica Scam Syndrome (JSS) recognized as a disorder to help prevent this vulnerable population from being victimized. But it’s not just the vulnerable who fall victim. Intelligent, skeptical people who think they would never fall for anything suspicious can also become victims. Perpetrators are a high risk to reoffend even when they get caught and serve time. The chances of getting caught is slim and the payoff so large that most fraud artists make a career of it. Perhaps if and when vulnerability to fraud appears in the DSM will the mental health community swing into action? Of course the best thing we could do as a society would be to educate citizens to stay away from anything suspicious and drastically increase monitoring and penalties for those who ruin lives. Bradley Foster

    The History and Future of Psychedelic Psychotherapy

    relationship therapy

    September 22, 2016 | Posted in anxiety, psychedelic psychotherapy, psychotherapy, Uncategorized | By

    With the resurgence of interest in the use of psychedelics for therapeutic purposes including many clinical studies at NYU, Johns Hopkins, UBC, and many other research centres I have been digging into some of the literature. I came across two pieces that make for an interesting contrast: Remembrances of LSD Therapy Past by Betty Grover Eisner Ph.D., and The Ten Lessons in Psychedelic Psychotherapy, Rediscovered, by Neal M Goldsmith, which is a chapter in a book called Psychedelic Medicine: New Evidence for Hallucinogens as Treatments.   [caption id="attachment_198" align="alignright" width="185"]Betty Eisner Betty Eisner[/caption]
  • Psychedelics such as LSD, Psilocybin, MDMA, and Mescaline has been shown to be very powerful psychoactive tools that reach places psychotherapy and current pharmaceuticals don’t touch. Psychedelics are highly effective in reducing anxiety in terminal cancer patients, those with highly resistant PTSD, alcoholics, and new clinical research is exploring ways that psychedelics can have a positive impact on people with eating disorders, and there are many other studies researching how psychedelics work. Hope among researchers is that they will encourage governments to loosen control of these highly restricted drugs.  
  • Betty Eisner was a psychoanalyst and psychedelic researcher in the 1950s and 1960s in LA.Her unpublished manuscript was written two years before her death in 2004. Even though there were some controls on LSD in the US before it became illegal in 1966, Betty’s book documents how freewheeling the researchers were back in the day. It is mainly a collection of letters to other researchers such as Humphry Osmond, Tom Leary, Adolous Huxley, Bill Wilson the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous who fervently believed in using LSD to treat alcoholics, and many other larger-than-life characters like the LSD evangelist Al Hubbard with his private plane.
  • She is a terrific writer and documents her experiences of the first age of the LSD beautifully. It was expected that researchers regularly partake in psychedelic experiences and Betty documents these with great clarity. She noted that an eight hour trip was like four years of therapy.
  • Have a look at this short 1956 film of Dr. Sidney Cohen (Betty’s boss) chatting with people on LSD.
  • Neal Goldsmith’s Ten Lessons of Psychedelic Psychotherapy, Rediscovered is a much more nuanced and balanced account of the important lessons learned by Betty and her peers before LSD was banned in the US in 1966 up until research resumed in the 1990’s. Even though the first generation’s research was a bit loosy goosey and improvised, they discovered many very important techniques Neal documents.
  • The importance of set and setting was recognized early on. They recognized that one had a better trip if one is prepared and in a comfortable location. This might seem obvious to us now, but keep in mind that early researchers had people strapped to gurneys in hospital rooms and left alone for the duration of their trip. Probably because researchers consumed LSD themselves that they were able to understand the importance of things like set and setting.  
  • In this second age of psychedelic research, clinicians are hoping to document and validate the beneficial effects these drugs in the hope that medical authorities will relax the controls that currently exist on psychedelics. If successful, psychedelic psychotherapy will become much more common in the future and I think it will inevitably lead to a radical re-examination our current understanding of psychiatry as it has been practiced for the past hundred years. After all, psychiatrists wrote off psychedelics and mimicking psychosis and schizophrenia, but now most understand that it is the gateway to understanding altered states of consciousness which include spiritual and religious experiences.  
  • These books are available for a free download with the links posted below.  
  • Betty Grover Eisner, Ph.D. Remembrances of LSD Therapy Past
    , 2002, unpublished
  •  NEAL M. GOLDSMITH “The Ten Lessons of Psychedelic Psychotherapy, Rediscovered.” In Winkelman, M. and Roberts, T. (Eds.), Psychedelic Medicine: New Evidence for Hallucinogens as Treatments.  New York: Praeger, 2007.

     

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    What your subconscious mind wants you to know

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    April 17, 2017 | Posted in Uncategorized | By

    This is by Brianna West. It's excellent!

    Here’s What Your Subconscious Mind Wants You To Know, Based On The Way You Keep Self-Sabotaging Your Life

    Sophia Sinclair
    The way you are self-sabotaging: Going back to the same person who broke you. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: Evaluate your childhood relationships. If you find something comforting or appealing about someone who hurts you, there’s usually a reason.The way you are self-sabotaging: Attracting people who are too broken to commit in a real way. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: You are not too broken to find someone who actually wants you. The way you are self-sabotaging: Being unhappy even when nothing is wrong. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: You keep expecting outside things to make you feel good, rather than relying on changing how you think and what you focus on. The way you are self-sabotaging: Pushing people away. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: You want people to love and accept you so much that the stress of it all makes you isolate yourself away from the pain, effectively creating the reality you’re trying to avoid. The way you are self-sabotaging: Automatically believing what you think and feel is true. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: You want to worry because it feels comfortable, therefore safer. The way you are self-sabotaging: Eating poorly when you don’t want to be. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: You are doing too much, or not giving yourself enough rest and nourishment. You are being too extreme. The way you are self-sabotaging: Not doing the work you know would help move your career forward. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: You’re not as clear as you think you are on what you want to be doing. If it isn’t flowing, there is a reason. The way you are self-sabotaging: Overworking. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: You do not have to prove your value. You do, however, have to stop running from the discomfort of being alone with your feelings. The way you are self-sabotaging: Caring too much about what other people think. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: You are not as happy as you think you are. The happier you are with something, the less you need other people to be. The way you are self-sabotaging: Spending too much money. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: Things will not make you feel more secure. The way you are self-sabotaging: Dwelling on past relationships, or continually checking up on exes. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: This relationship affected you more than you were letting yourself believe. The ending hurt you more than you acknowledged, and you need to process that. The way you are self-sabotaging: Choosing friends who always make you feel like you’re in competition with them. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: Wanting to feel “better” than people is not a replacement for needing to feel connected to them. The common denominator is you. The way you are self-sabotaging: Having self-defeating thoughts that hold you back from doing what you want. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: Being mean to yourself first will not make it hurt less if other people judge or reject you. The way you are self-sabotaging: Not promoting your work in a way that would help move you forward. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: You’re not putting your all into what you’re doing each day. Create things you are proud to share. The way you are self-sabotaging: Ascribing intent, or worrying that things are about you when they aren’t. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: You think about yourself too often. The way you are self-sabotaging: Ending relationships you “should” have stayed in. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: You’re choosing relationships based on society’s standards, not your own. The way you are self-sabotaging: Staying in a city you claim to dislike. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: Home is where you make it, not where you find it. The way you are self-sabotaging: Denying the obvious in order to “win” the argument. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: Your ego is fragile. Conversations are not about “winning,” they’re about learning. The way you are self-sabotaging: Wanting to be more attractive (read: thinner) than other people, because you think it makes you “better” than them. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: You are insecure about the ways you perceive other people to be superior to you – trying to be more physically appealing is the most basic way to remedy that feeling, because you think it’s the one thing that you can solely control and everyone else can see. The way you are self-sabotaging: Procrastinating. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: Re-think what you’re doing. If it’s not coming to you naturally, it is not the right thing for you to be doing. The way you are self-sabotaging: Focusing on fear thoughts and irrational ideas. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: You’re misusing the power of your mind. The way you are self-sabotaging: Mindlessly scrolling through social media as a way to pass the time. What your subconscious mind wants you to know: You need to address the inherent discomfort you have when you don’t have something to distract you.

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    Announcing 2 Holotropic Breathwork Workshops May 13th and 14th in Toronto

    April 9, 2017 | Posted in Integrative, mental health, psychotherapy | By

    Bruce Tobin is coming to Toronto to facilitate two Holotropic Breathwork Workshops using image making as integration. Tickets are now on sale through Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/holotropic-breathwork-workshop-saturday-may-13th-tickets-31405007222?utm_campaign=new_event_email&utm_medium=email&utm_source=eb_email&utm_term=viewmyevent_button

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    A New Model of Addiction

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    March 16, 2017 | Posted in anxiety, depression, mental health, psychedelic psychotherapy, psychotherapy, suicide | By

    this is brilliant! A new model of addiction overturns the antiquated notion of abstinence and prohibition which clearly haven't worked. The new model understands the root causes of substance abuse to be trauma. Healing the trauma heals addiction and it works! Read more here: http://ecosalon.com/a-new-model-for-addiction-at-home-in-the-dark/

    Read More...

    Why normal, healthy people see a psychotherapist

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    March 7, 2017 | Posted in anxiety, balance, depression, Integrative, mental health, psychotherapy, Uncategorized | By

    Psychotherapy from Isaac Holland on Vimeo.

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    Crazy Wise

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    March 4, 2017 | Posted in anxiety, balance, depression, Integrative, mental health, psychotherapy | By

    This is a terrific trailer for a film about a groundbreaking approach to mental health. If you register for the town hall on the main page you get to watch the film for free. Look for the link in the email. CRAZYWISE Trailer from Phil Borges on Vimeo.

    Read More...

    Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

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    January 5, 2017 | Posted in Integrative, psychotherapy | By

    The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows is a fabulous reference, and it makes great reading too. Dip into a word and discover what it means. Having traded in tiny sorrows all my life, I had no idea many of them had names, like sonder, joupla, or adronitis. Every psychotherapist needs with own dictionary of tiny sorrows to help people make sense (or not) of their own.

    Read More...

    MDM-A Tedx talk by British Psychiatrist

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    October 19, 2016 | Posted in anxiety, Integrative, psychedelic psychotherapy, psychotherapy, suicide | By

    This is a powerful video on how MDM-A can help so many people with trauma. MDM-A is like the key that opens up PTSD sufferers who are treatment resistant.  Then the psychotherapy can take hold. One day and I hope it's within a few years, people who suffer trauma will have the option of a short course of MDM-A and therapy rather than have to endure a lifetime of addiction and suffering.

    Read More...

    DO ACTION GAMES ENCOURAGE SUICIDE?

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    February 9, 2016 | Posted in psychotherapy, suicide, teen, video games | By

    A great article from CGMagazine about whether violent video games encourage suicide ideation. I am quoted extensively in the piece. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, suicide is the second leading cause of death amongst young people in Canada; the statistic is the same over in the United States. While there are a multitude of factors that can contribute to suicide, an American study released in January found that action category videogames can play a significant role in suicide ideation and attempt. The study, published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, found that individuals who played extensive hours of action games (which the researchers define as first-person shooter, fighting, sports, horror and crime/war-themed games) evidenced the highest Acquired Capability for Suicide, or A.C.S. This is defined in the study as traits (for example, a lowered fear of death and higher tolerance for both physical and emotional pain) that can both physically and mentally prepare one to make a lethal or non-lethal suicide attempt. To Read More, click here: http://www.cgmagonline.com/2016/02/08/lets-talk-about-suicide-and-action-games/

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    Missing in Action: Mental Health Community Fails Fraud Victims

    toronto psychotherapy

    November 12, 2015 | Posted in balance, Fraud, Integrative, psychotherapy | By

    Major fraud cases grab the headlines for a few days or weeks then forgotten until the next one comes along. We never have to wait long. Media typically focuses on following the money, the colourful perpetrator and occasionally on the victims. Because no violence is used, there is some sort of collusion, and sometimes insurance, fraud appears to be a victimless crime. On the contrary, fraud victims are often devastated by their loses, blamed for their perceived collusion, secrecy, greed, lack of foresight, gullibility, stupidity and so on. Is that why is there so little support for fraud victims from the mental health community? Major fraud cases grab the headlines for a few days or weeks then forgotten until the next one comes along. We never have to wait long. Media typically focuses on following the money, the colourful perpetrator and occasionally on the victims. Because no violence is used, there is some sort of collusion, and sometimes insurance, fraud appears to be a victimless crime. On the contrary, fraud victims are often devastated by their loses, blamed for their perceived collusion, secrecy, greed, lack of foresight, gullibility, stupidity and so on. Is that why is there so little support for fraud victims from the mental health community? Google help for victims of fraud and you will find various resources from police forces, governments, lawyers, accountants, and third parties who will help you navigate the legal system. Google psychological help for fraud victims and you get pretty much the same results but more along the lines of how to prevent people from falling for scams. Missing from these results are any psychologist, psychotherapists, agencies, or help lines that will help victims deal with their trauma. Where are those mental health professionals who can help victims deal with their pain and loss? You don’t even want to know what you get when you Google psychotherapist fraud. Sadly, there are many more psychotherapists accused of fraud than those who specialize in helping the injured party. Fraud is a global problem that is growing about 4% a year. You will become a victim of swindlers at some point unless you live in a monastery in Tibet. Often it is small: being over-charged for work done on your car; or giving money to a charity that funnels it to offshore accounts. Scams exist in every type of transaction from foreign trade to adoption to human smuggling. It may well be the second oldest profession. Some of the first writing ever found was on Samarian clay tablets. They were itemized lists of goods in jars used in trade to prevent loss. It’s estimated that fraud costs the US economy $400 billion each year. You find it in every country of the world.  Many of the instances of it is small potatoes, like in the two example above, but what really adds up are the major frauds like Madoff and Worldcom where billions are lost and many lives are ruined. This cohort variously suffers from PTSD, inability to trust others or themselves, depression, suicide, divorce, strained relationships, low self esteem, and anger. It’s curious to me that professionals aren’t stepping over themselves to help these people. A report by the School of Psychology at the University of Exeter on why people fall for scams reports that: “Scams cause psychological as well as financial harm to victims. Victims not only suffer a financial loss, but also a loss of self-esteem because they blame themselves for having been so 'stupid' to fall for the scam. Some of the victims we interviewed appeared to have been seriously damaged by their experience.” A British charity wants us to recognize that it is the most vulnerable people, often isolated elderly and those with mental health issues are most at risk of being scammed. The Think Jessica organization is lobbying to have (Jessica Scam Syndrome (JSS) recognized as a disorder to help prevent this vulnerable population from being victimized. But it’s not just the vulnerable who fall victim. Intelligent, skeptical people who think they would never fall for anything suspicious can also become victims. Perpetrators are a high risk to reoffend even when they get caught and serve time. The chances of getting caught is slim and the payoff so large that most fraud artists make a career of it. Perhaps if and when vulnerability to fraud appears in the DSM will the mental health community swing into action? Of course the best thing we could do as a society would be to educate citizens to stay away from anything suspicious and drastically increase monitoring and penalties for those who ruin lives. Bradley Foster

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