MDM-A Tedx talk by British Psychiatrist

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.

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The History and Future of Psychedelic Psychotherapy

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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.  
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   Betty Eisner was a psychoanalyst and psychedelic researcher in the 1950s and 1960s in LA.Her unpublished manuscript was written two years before her death in 2004.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.

 

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Missing in Action: Mental Health Community Fails Fraud Victims

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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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‘I Don’t Believe in God, but I Believe in Lithium’ My 20-year struggle with bipolar disorder.

June 26, 2015 | Posted in balance, bipolar, psychotherapy | By

from the new york times...

The manila folder is full of faded faxes. The top sheet contains a brief description of my first medically confirmed manic episode, more than 20 years ago, when I was admitted as a teenager to U.C.L.A.’s Neuropsychiatric Institute: “Increased psychomotor rate, decreased need for sleep (about two to three hours a night), racing thoughts and paranoid ideation regarding her parents following her and watching her, as well as taping the phone calls that she was making.”

I believed I had special powers, the report noted; I knew ‘‘when the end of the world was coming due to toxic substances’’ and felt that I was the only one who could stop it. There was also an account of my elaborate academic sponsorship plan so I could afford to attend Yale — some corporation would pay for a year of education in exchange for labor or repayment down the line. (Another grand delusion. I was a B-plus student, at best.) more

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Bipolar: The ‘New Normal’

February 18, 2014 | Posted in bipolar, Integrative, psychotherapy, reframe | By

Robin Flanigan wrote a very good piece in BP Canada in which she discusses how people suffering from bipolar disorder can adapt and have the power to decide where to set your goalposts for a fulfilling future. She quotes me based on an interview we did last year. Here is an except from the article: It took a long time for Gretchen B. to come to terms with having a chronic mental illness. But lately, the 41-year-old from Illinois has been looking beyond her bipolar. With the skills and support to manage her symptoms, she’s ready to make the most of her life and her abilities. “There’s an end point to ‘I survived the day,’” she says, referring to her post-diagnosis bunker mentality. “Now I’m more focused on what I can do to thrive. “I’m not necessarily letting go of my struggle with bipolar disorder, but I am learning to thrive inside of it.… I feel more optimistic than I have in a long time.” In other words, Gretchen has embraced her “new normal.” The phrase describes a foundational shift that creates a new baseline moving forward—which is what happens when bipolar symptoms turn our expectations upside down. Basic milestones like getting a degree, keeping a job, sustaining a relationship, and buying a home can begin to feel out of reach. A bipolar diagnosis doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to your hopes and dreams. Mental health experts agree that with patience, commitment, and a plan for setting realistic goals, you can still map out a deeply satisfying existence. And sometimes, the difficult process of re-evaluation can yield new and more meaningful aims. Read the full excert here: http://www.bphope.com/Item.aspx/1124/redefining-your-own-future To read more you will have to subscribe to the magazine...

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