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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A coffee company chief recovers from ‘CEO’s disease’

Toronto psychotherapist

September 30, 2015 | Posted in balance, bipolar, Blog posts, psychotherapy, reframe | By

(From Crains Chicago Business. By Shia Kapos)

Tony Dreyfuss, co-founder of Metropolis Coffee, and his wife were celebrating Mother's Day with their infant child in 2006 when he got a call about a broken coffee brewer.

“I said, 'Gotta go.' And I left on my wife's first Mother's Day. I wasn't taking stock,” Dreyfuss recalls. It was a low point for them, but not low enough to make him pull back from the long hours building his business. Six years and two more children later, his wife, Karen, pulled him aside and said something had to change.

Dreyfuss saw a doctor and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder type 1, a mental illness that led to an intense attention to work. The disease often is referred to as manic depression or sometimes “the CEO's disease.”

“I simply ran manic for years. I got a lot done, but it deeply affected my relationships. I wasn't present with anyone,” he says. Though he didn't exhibit other common symptoms of the disease—“I didn't spend money, sleep around or drive like a maniac”—“I just worked, worked, worked.”

The Chicago businessman, 41, grew up in Madison, Wis. He was a skateboarder who took up juggling and photography. Since he was a child, “he's had a limitless imagination,” says Tony's father and business partner, Jeff Dreyfuss.

Tony Dreyfuss says he was prone to making life-changing decisions on a whim. His career began while he was driving a cab as a student at the University of Wisconsin, where he earned a philosophy degree. He pulled over one night for coffee and was so struck by that particular cup's flavor, he decided right then to make the drink a career.

To him, that meant running a coffee shop. “At that point I wasn't thinking about roasting it,” he says.

He and his wife moved to Portland, Ore., which along with Seattle is the epicenter of specialty coffee. He took a job at a Peet's Coffee & Tea, working his way up from bean-scooper to management before taking a pay cut to become a taster and “fill a knowledge gap.”

His parents, both linguists, had moved to Seattle, and his father also had become a coffee connoisseur. While attending a trade show in Seattle, father and son purchased a coffee-roasting machine with the idea of going into business.

'JACKED UP'

“We were jacked up on caffeine after drinking a dozen espressos. It was like drunk people getting tattoos,” says the younger Dreyfuss, who already was planning to move to Chicago, where his wife had grown up.

Dreyfuss found retail space in the city's Edgewater neighborhood for a coffeehouse and roasting facility. That was in 2002.

By 2003, the Dreyfusses were in business and counted Hopleaf Bar and M.Henryrestaurant among early clients.

Today, Metropolis has 400 wholesale customers in Chicago and 200 beyond and expects revenue of more than $7 million this year. The company still operates its only cafe on Granville Avenue, and it employs people with disabilities through nonprofit Aspire.

After his diagnosis in 2012, Dreyfuss told his staff he was taking a three-month leave. The response, he says, was “Oh, thank God!”

Bipolar disorder, he continues, “makes you completely incapable of understanding how your actions affect other people. You have great ideas and you just dump them on other people and move to the next thing.”

With counseling, medication, dietary changes and at least eight hours of sleep a night, Dreyfuss says he's as healthy as he's ever been. He carves out open time on his calendar, which allows him more time to think creatively. The company has thrived as a result, he says.

Karen Dreyfuss calls the change at home “miraculous,” adding that the diagnosis explained a lot.

“When you start out in marriage, you support all the meetings and all those fires that have to be put out,” she says. “But year after year there will always be more fires and more meetings and if you don't draw that line, it will consume you.”

On the patio of Metropolis' new headquarters in the Avondale neighborhood, Dreyfuss' phone goes off midconversation. He pulls it out and turns it off.

“Three years ago I would have answered it,” he says. “I really try to be present with who I'm with. That's what I've learned the most.”

full story at: http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20150925/ISSUE09/150929894?X-IgnoreUserAgent=1

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Harnessing depression: One Ars writer’s journey

October 21, 2014 | Posted in psychotherapy | By

This is a beautiful piece of writing about a father's and son's struggle with depression. I think it's an optimistic piece, showing that you can live with depression, or at least make adjustments for it...

In his final piece for Ars, Dave Girard talks about life with depression.

Aurich Lawson / Thinkstock

Last November, my father took his own life. I'm frequently aware of the fact that the depression which helped drive him to that dark fate lives on in my genes. That's a doozy of a legacy to inherit, but it's one that has not been wholly negative for me.

Getting to the point where I could write this article involved a series of debates. I debated talking about my father’s suicide; I debated “outing” myself as a depression sufferer; I debated not talking about it and what that meant. I decided in the end that I would be the worst kind of hypocrite if I believed that dialog about depression was essential but was unwilling to start that dialog myself. I hope that my story can help others understand why the traits that cause depression have been both a plague and a gift to so many.

Nothing's easy when talking about depression. Navigating this sensitive topic is fraught with traps and taboos that can make Israel the good option at dinner discussion. But this dialog is important, and hopefully we can lift the grim veil that hangs over this subject before disaster strikes someone we know and love. Even as it goes underreported, suicide now kills more people than car accidents in the US.

To read the rest of the article in Ars Technica, click here...

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