Archive for the ‘Borderline Personality Disorder’ Category
Author, Life Coach, BPD/Mental Health and Self Improvement Coach, A.J. Mahari, host of The Psyche Whisperer Radio Show interviewed Dr. Karen Sherman, author of the book, “Mindfulness and The Art of Choice”, who is a New York State licensed psychologist, has been in private practice for over 20 years on Monday June 6, 2011 at 7pm Eastern. Now, Dr. Sherman is taking her experience to the public, making her Art of Choice workshops and seminars available to groups and organizations rather than just to private clients. Additionally, she teaches individually designed adult education courses, catering to the specific interests and learning styles of the people who seek her expertise.
Drawing on personal experience as well as academic training, she relates to a much broader arc of life situations than most. “For many years, my life was an emotional roller coaster,” Dr. Sherman says. “Growing up, I was exposed to horribly negative life situations, and as an . Speaking of her transition, Dr. Sherman recalls, “I realized that I no longer wanted my past to define who I was. That was a choice I could make, and I did. My past no longer haunts me; in fact, I am thankful for what I experienced since I have used each situation to help me to grow. It is from my journey that I know that you, too, can choose not merely to react to all the things that happen around you- whether they trigger something from your past or are things that are happening today- but to make powerful choices.” Dr. Sherman sees her role as a facilitator of those difficult choices. Her mission is to assist others in freeing themselves from their own past cycles of behavior, as she freed herself.
Most of us live in a basic state of mindlessness. When we live mindlessly it means we simply function. We exist rather than live – like we’re on “autopilot” and therefore not really conscious of what we are doing. We are not taking responsibility for our actions, reactions, or behaviors. Despite this gray state of existence, we’re surrounded by choices at every moment, each an opportunity for change, each an opportunity to live mindfully.
But we don’t take these opportunities. We are not free enough to make these choices nor are we trained in how to make them. Once we can make one choice, it leads to other choices. Choices indicate movement rather than stagnation. Unfortunately, sometimes we do not like any of the choices that are available; we resentfully say that there is no choice when what we mean is that we see no good choice. Many times, we have made a choice and don’t think about the fact that we have eliminated other possibilities.
Part of the Art of Choice is accepting the realities that exist in the moment. Even if we do nothing, it’s important to realize that choosing to do nothing is in itself a choice. Once we do that, we can move out of the mire in which we find ourselves, and even create future possibilities that didn’t previously exist.
Why would old emotional patterns prevent us from thinking clearly?
As children we only experience the world; we do not have the ability to analyze. So, if something doesn’t feel right, we remember the situation and the negative feelings. Later in life, if a situation arises that makes us feel the same or similar, our old feelings act like a filtering system and we react as if it is the same situation — never thinking it through. When emotions are aroused we’re biologically wired to respond for survival – so much so that emotions win out over rational thought.
When we see things similar to our old experiences, our subconscious minds tap into old emotions that aren’t accurate, or relevant to the situation at hand. This drains our energy and produces behavior that’s inappropriate and out of sync with the choices that we have rationally chosen to make for ourselves. If we don’t realize that we behave and function based on these emotional errors, misunderstandings compile and can get in the way of healthy relationships.
Understanding how our brains are wired is the first step to altering this unconscious behavior. Once we acknowledge that there are irrational forces at play in our minds, we can decide to make a change. By learning to observe ourselves and question our automatic reactions, there is a window of opportunity to make changes.
Changes can only take place if we are willing to make the necessary choices. In the Art of Choice series, Dr. Sherman guides her clients through the complexities of their own decision-making process. She walks us through the unconscious choices that have paved groundwork for our current behaviors, and through the decisions that we want to make for the future, in order to exact the changes that we want and deserve in our lives.
Do you worry a lot? Do you find yourself experiencing increasing anxiety? Are you fearful? Do you have negative worry thoughts that create anxiety and fear in your life? Please join Life Coach, A.J. Mahari, on Monday October 25th, at 7pm EST, for an interview with Dr. Mark A. Reinecke, Ph.D., author of the book, “Little Ways to Keep Calm and Carry On – Twenty Lessons for Managing Worry, Anxiety, and Fear” on the Psyche Whisperer Radio Show.
This interview is now available in our archives on blogtalkradio.com and you can listen to it right here on this page now.
Dr. Reinecke, author of “Litte Ways To Keep Calm and Carry On – Twenty Lessons for Managing worry, anxiety, and Fear” is Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Chief of the Division of Psychology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. His research and clinical interests center on understanding and treating depression and suicide among children and adolescents. He is widely published, and has authored or edited eight books including Cognitive Therapy Across the Lifespan, Comparative Treatments of Depression, Cognitive Therapy with Children and Adolescents, Personality Disorders in Children and Adolescents.
Dr. Mark Reinecke is a clinical psychologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. His clinical interests include cognitive-behavioral therapy, as well as anxiety, panic and obsessive-compulsive disorders. Dr. Reinecke earned his doctorate from Purdue University, and he is board-certified in clinical psychology.
He is a distinguished fellow and past president of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, a diplomat of the American Board of Professional Psychology, and a fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science. He lives in Chicago, IL.
This is a very useful, practical, and non-stigmatizing helpful book about keeping calm versus being in a state of anxiety, worry, and/or fear. The lesson in this book and how they are conveyed in layman’s terms not only normalize the experience of anxiety, worry, and fear, but also give you understandable information about how you can change your way of thinking and your way or perceiving and experiencing your thoughts and life so that you can “Keep Calm and Carry On”. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to more effectively manage the challenges of worry, anxiety, and/or fear. We live in stressful times and worry is increasingly becoming a part of everyday life but it doesn’t have to be as Dr. Mark A Reinecke points out in this book that delivers much-needed information in a way that won’t overwhelm you. – Life and Mental Health Coach, A.J. Mahari
Table of Contents
About the title
Lesson 1 Anxiety: It Works
Lesson 2 The Big “A”
Lesson 3 We Overestimate Risk When We’re Afraid
Lesson 4 The Future Is Uncertain
Lesson 5 Influence and Control
Lesson 6 You Have the Power to Control Your Anxiety
Lesson 7 Perfect Solutions Don’t Exist
Lesson 8 Sometimes You Can Take Control of Bad Situations—but Sometimes Not
Lesson 9 Recurring, Intrusive Thoughts Are Normal; It’s the Meaning We Attach to Them That Counts
Lesson 10 Dwelling on Problems Impairs Your Ability to Cope
Lesson 11 Worrying Is Highly Overrated
Lesson 12 Don’t Magnify the Importance of Your Physical Sensations
Lesson 13 It’s Time to Relax
Lesson 14 Evaluate Your Thoughts and Make Them Account for Themselves
Lesson 15 Changing Your Thoughts
Lesson 16 When You’re Worried or Anxious, Avoiding Problems Is Among the Worst Things You Can Do
Lesson 17 Social Anxiety: Worrying Too Much About What Others Think
Lesson 18 What’s Really on Your Mind?
Lesson 19 Flow with the Current of Life
Lesson 20 Live Wisely
Epilogue: A Final Note
Resources for Readers
Worrying is a national epidemic, so if you feel anxious and uncertain, you’re not alone. But there’s good news! Thanks to researchers and clinicians, this subject is well understood. Here it is: a quick, compact read that tells you what you need to know to understand anxiety and deal with it constructively. This little book presents the most important findings from empirical research in cognitive behavioral therapy and affective neuroscience in a concise way that’s easy to grasp. It tells you what you need to know and do. Based on recent work in empirically supported anxiety treatments, this easy-to-read guide will help you deal with an emotion that can completely unravel your day.
Think of this book as a tool that teaches you how to filter your thoughts in ways that will change both how you feel and how you behave. Despite the simplicity of the techniques, they produce powerful results.
Read each lesson in sequence. Some will resonate with you more than others, but each lesson allows you to build your own customized “anxiety management toolbox.”
As you read this book, consider taking some time to write your thoughts. Put pen to paper and note how you might apply the various lessons in your life. This is your own personal journey—an opportunity to learn to think, feel, and behave differently. You might think of your notes as a personal journal or a private blog. Keeping a journal is entirely optional, but writing notes and reflecting on new information will not only aid your retention but also help you organize the material in your mind and integrate it with your existing knowledge. It may make for a richer and more useful experience, and it should only take a few minutes. Give it a try.
Many of the lessons conclude with recommendations for action, under the headings “Now Ask Yourself…” and “What You Need to Do.” For these activities, you’ll need a notebook or at least a few blank sheets of paper. Though brief, these exercises can be quite powerful. Applying daily what you’ve learned can accelerate the process, increasing your likelihood of making progress and maintaining your gains. These are the tools that will help you master your worry, anxiety, and fear. Clinicians often refer to them as “homework,” but this isn’t homework in the academic sense. Rather, it’s the notion that though insight alone—what we learn—may not bring about changes in emotions or behavior, we can introduce change by acting on our knowledge and insight. You’ll want to apply this insight in your day-to-day life, and these exercises are an opportunity to do just that.
Know this: these approaches work. I’ve seen them work with my clients. More importantly, dozens of controlled studies completed at clinics and research centers around the world support the approaches described in this book. The result? Using them can help you have a better day—one where you are more productive, have a greater sense of control, and manage whatever life throws your way by using solutions rather than letting worry take your brain hostage. A small book is no substitute for professional care, of course. If you are experiencing more severe anxiety, or thoughts of death or suicide, you’ll want to work with an experienced mental health specialist; you’ll find Internet resources at the end of the book.
Don’t underestimate the power of worry, anxiety, and fear. When appropriate, they can play a positive, even essential, role in your life. However, they can also be disruptive and disabling. The bottom line is that you don’t have to be a victim of these unpleasant emotions. You can control how you live your day and what role anxiety plays, and this little guide will show you how.
Let’s get on with it.”
Source: New Harbinger Publications Inc.
“He’s a Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University and an expert on anxiety. He’s managed to put all of his expertise into a cute, handy little guidebook for everyday life. Who doesn’t need a little extra help to keep calm in these stress-filled times?
‘No worries.’ It’s the new catch phrase.
Everybody worries. It doesn’t mean you need a shrink. But every once in awhile, when the stress level gets a bit too high, you might wish you had a little coach sitting on your shoulder to give you some tips on how to calm yourself down.”
Source: Just The Bookstore
“First featured on a British poster produced during World War II, ‘Keep calm and carry on’ has become the mantra of millions—but exactly how to keep calm remains a difficult question for most of us.
The next time you are stressed by pressures at work, overwhelmed by life’s challenges, or panicked by problems that seem unsolvable, reach for this book. In Little Ways to Keep Calm and Carry On, you’ll find twenty short yet powerful lessons and anxiety-reducing techniques that will help you move past stressful moments with grace. Each lesson is so simple to learn and practice, you’ll find that this pocket guide is all you really need whenever you need a little help keeping calm.
A gem of a resource for anyone who struggles with anxiety or worry.”
<—Denise D. Davis, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and assistant director of clinical training at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN – from the New Harbinger Publications Inc.
Do you have a loved one with Borderline Personality Disorder? Do you have a loved one with a mental illness? Are you worried about a loved one with BPD or other form of diagnosed “mental illness” who is on a lot of psychiatric medication and who isn’t feeling any better or getting better? What can be done about the notion put across as “science” that psychiatric meds are the answer to mental distress? Psychiatric medication is not the answer to human distress. It is the inhumane abuse, not even treatment, of people in a disempowering and unethical way that dehumanizes their distress, pain, and suffering and pathologizes it without even considering a compassionate caring response that makes room for the context within which people’s mental/emotional distress arises.
Author and Life Coach, A.J. Mahari, interviewed, Kristin Ulland, a mother of a daughter who was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder among other things and who ended up becoming a victim of the mental health system and biopsychiatry, “the medical model of psychiatry”, when she was given a lot of psychiatric medications. Her daughter’s journey was, of course, shared by her mother who has had to come to term with her feelings of guilt for having trusted the profession of psychiatry.
Kristin Ulland is the mother of a daughter who was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. She has a very informative blog at borderlinefamilies.com where she writes about her journey with her daughter and what she has learned from all of her experience. Just recently, Kristin has become, as she describes it, “anti-psychiatry” but not anti-psychology. Kristin is not into the “medical model of psychiatry” (biopsychiatry) or drug “treatment” anymore. Listen to Kristin explain why in this interview. My daughter has borderline personality disorder. I plan to share the story of how we struggled with her illness while searching for help. In dealing with this I found that borderline is not only treatment-resistant but that it is often misdiagnosed. I was frustrated by the unreliable treatments offered and the lack of discussion.
Kristin is now an advocate for others and wants to help raise awareness of what is going on with biopsychiatry and the psychiatric drugs being viewed as the answer or way to wellness. She is an active blogger on her site at borderlinefamilies.com
Have you heard that mental illness, according to some in the profession of psychiatry (mainly in the United States) is “brain disease”? What do you think? Is it a coincidence that many studies aiding in these theories of what is known as biopsychiatry are being made on the basis of the outcomes of studies that are largely funded by pharmaceutical companies in the United States? Do you think that all psychiatrists or even all psychologists agree with this un-proven conclusion? Many do not agree. One very well known opponent of his own profession’s all-too-common practice in recent years is Australian psychiatrist, Dr. Niall (Jock) McLaren. I interviewed Dr. McLaren on Friday July 23, 2010, at 7pm EST on The Psyche Whisperer Radio Show on blogtalkradio.com
Niall (Jock) McLaren, MD, is an Australian psychiatrist, author and theoretician. His work opposes the mainstream view in psychiatry to the extent that he argues modern psychiatry has no scientific basis whatsoever. However, he insists that he is not “anti-psychiatry,” but a committed scientist following his duty of criticizing the prevailing models in his field in order to improve it. He is the author of the two books, Humanizing Madness: Psychiatry and the Cognitive Neurosciences. 2007; and Humanizing Psychiatry: The Biocognitive Model. 2009. He is working on another book due out later this year.
“McLaren has never held an academic post and has had practically no involvement in teaching, either medical students or post-graduate trainees in psychiatry. At the beginning of his training in psychiatry, he was interested in the biology of mental disorders but soon realized that many of the claims being made by biological psychiatrists were simply not supported by the state of neurosciences. At the same time, he developed an interest in psychotherapy and delved into psychoanalysis but soon reached the same conclusion, that analysts were making claims which went beyond the available evidence. In particular, he noted the way they quoted from Freud, analysed the quote and determined it was correct. This led him directly to the philosophy of science and the philosophy of mind, as well as studies in history and epistemology. When he was accepted as a PhD candidate, he had no training or qualifications in philosophy but was required to complete several philosophy units before proceeding. His books are the culmination of a long and, he says, lonely journey. The response of mainstream psychiatry in Australia to his work ranges from indifference to hostility. The author does not claim to be “anti-psychiatry.” As a psychiatrist with 35 years diverse experience in difficult and remote areas (including extensive work with veterans and aboriginals), he insists his interest lies in building the foundations for a better psychiatry: “A critical analysis of the logical status of modern psychiatry shows that psychiatry has no rational basis to its practice, its teaching and its research. At best, it is a protoscience.” In his view modern psychiatry is currently operating within the Kuhnian realm of “normal science.” He regards psychoanalysis and behaviorism as historical aberrations, eighty-year deviations which could have been averted if psychiatrists had looked critically at what was being offered.”
“Similarly, he argues that biological psychiatry is “mere scientism,” the inappropriate application of scientific methods and procedures to questions with no empirical content. The claim that mental disorder can be reduced to a matter of brain disorder is, he insists, a metaphysical claim which cannot be resolved by brain scans or blood tests: “The claim that all mental disorder is due to a chemical imbalance of the brain is an ideological claim, where ideology preconceives reality.” He emphasizes that the major problem with modern psychiatry is that it lacks a unified model of the mind and has become entrapped in a biological reductionist paradigm. The reasons for this biological shift are intuitive as reductionism has been very effective in other fields of science and medicine. However, despite reductionism’s efficacy in explaining the smallest parts of the brain this does not explain the mind, which is where he contends the majority of psychopathology stems from. An example would be that every aspect of a computer can be understood scientifically down to the very last atom, however this does not reveal the program that drives this hardware.” (Source – Wikipedia)
Personality Disorder – (From Wikipedia – by Paige Lovitt )
[In his book Humanizing Psychiatry] “He begins with defining personality as “the distinguishing, habitual forms of interaction between the individual and her environment in the stable, adult modes of behavior…personality just is a set of rules” and argues that previous methods of defining personality are but mere typologies (i.e., personality as described by behaviorism). Typologies do not describe or determine the roots of personality but merely put personality into groupings which can then predict future actions based on previous actions. From a psychiatry perspective this falls short because the therapist’s goal is to modify behavior by reconciling the personality and guiding it.
However, the output of personality is not static and can vary depending upon the situation and the largely unconscious rules which guide it. An example in the book reveals “consider Mr. James Smith, a man of normal intellect and no compelling idiosyncrasies, who is sitting quietly on a park bench somewhere. He brings to his bench a personal background, a huge, rich history of events dating almost from the day he was born. His head is full of rules derived from his myriad life experiences, some of which he could tell you but most of which he couldn’t. These rules amount to his personality (note I didn’t say rules are identical with personality,; a generative mechanism is not the same as its output, of which more later). When something happens near him, his reaction is determined by a high-speed and unreportable interaction between what he sees and his unique set of rules. some of his rules are more or less fixed and won’t vary much from one year to the next, but some are more fluid, even a little unpredictable. If, today, a man comes past and asks him for money, Mr. Smith may be inclined to smile indulgently and hand over a few coins. However, another day, he may have had an argument with his wife or his boss and not be feeling so chipper; this time, the same wheedling request may elicit only a snarl to get a haircut and a job. His personality hasn’t changed, and the inconsistency doesn’t mean he has a personality disorder, he’s just being normal. Normality is a huge, multidimensional range and behavior is only disordered at the extremes.” Additionally, since personality is guided by rules coded in memory “therefore, anything that interferes with memory can affect the rules we call personality, and anything that affects current computational capacity will affect the application of those rules.”
Personality disorder is then defined, “if the rules governing a person’s life are internally inconsistent, or there are so many of them that he can’t reach a decision, or they generate disabling emotions or cause repeated conflict with his neighbors, then we say he has a personality disorder.” However, the major problem with personality disorders is that the “distorted rules give rise to the disordered behavior and generates an output state which serves to reinforce the rules. That is, either directly or indirectly, the individual’s behavior or emotions are such as to convince him that his beliefs or rules are correct (therefore creating a positive feedback loop of psychopathology, ie a vicious cycle). Of course, he doesn’t refer to them as rules; he simply knows what is right.” The author lists several examples but one of widespread significance is “I’m stupid, ugly and worthless. I hate myself.” which leads to “if my girlfriend looks at another man, she’s probably thinking of leaving me.””
The author argues that the path of mental wellness should involve replacing destructive rules with more adaptive standards. He contends that in general religion, the Freudian model, relaxation therapy, and many other therapies fall short because they seek to “suppress the output without changing the pathological factors generating the output.”
On Tuesday June 29, 2010 I had the pleasure of interviewing Merri Lisa Johnson. In this interview available to be listened to now in our show archives on our Blogtalkradio Show Page you will also hear the author read a few excerpts from her book and talk about her experience and thoughts about Borderline Personality Disorder.
Girl in Need
of A Tourniquet
Memoir of A Borderline Personality
An honest and compelling memoir, Girl in Need of A Tourniquet is Merri Lisa Johnson’s account of her borderline personality disorder and how it has affected her life and relationships. Johnson describes the feeling of “bleeding out” — unable to tell where she stopped and where her partner began. A self-confessed “psycho girlfriend,” she was influenced by many emotional factors from her past. She recalls her path through a dysfunctional, destructive relationship, while recounting the experiences that brought her to her breaking point.
In recognizing her struggle with borderline personality disorder, Johnson is ultimately able to seek help, embarking on a soul-searching healing process. It’s a path that is painful, difficult, and at times heart-wrenching, but ultimately makes her more able to love and coexist in healthy relationships.
About the Author
Merri Lisa Johnson believes in bold lines, strange truths, off rhymes, and the art of the glimpse. After pursuing various graduate degrees in colder climates, Johnson returned to the southeastern US, where she performs a curious balancing act as author, professor, and Women’s and Gender Studies program administrator. A newlywed lesbian-after-marriage, Johnson currently resides in South Carolina with her partner Stace and their two loyal shih tzus.
Johnson’s previous publications include three anthologies in feminist cultural studies — Jane Sexes It Up: True Confessions of Feminist Desire, Flesh for Fantasy: Producing and Consuming Exotic Dance (with R. Danielle Egan and Katherine Frank), and Third Wave Feminism and Television: Jane Puts It in a Box — as well as essays published in Sex and Single Girls: Women Write on Sexuality, Her-space: Women, Writing, and Solitude, Homewrecker: An Adultery Reader,and Fucking Daphne: Mostly True Stories and Fictions.
Johnson blogs at borderlinephd.blogspot.com
Praise for Girl in Need of A Tourniquet
“Merri Lisa Johnson takes you, at breakneck speed, through a brilliant young writer’s chaotic life and a remarkable mélange of important psychological theory. The result is vivid, heartbreaking, and deeply feminist.” —Jennifer Baumgardner, author of Look Both Ways, Abortion & Life, and co-author of Manifesta and Grassroots
“Girl in Need of A Tourniquet is an artful, brave memoir that invites compassion from those on the outside of borderline personality disorder and inspires hope for those on the inside.” —Randi Kreger, author of Stop Walking on Eggshells and The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder
“With the eye of a detective, the hand of a surgeon, and the heart of a postmodern fabulist, Merri Lisa Johnson relentlessly pieces together the truths of her borderline behavior, diagnosis, and recovery. Unflinching, ruthless, and always compelling, Girl in Need of A Tourniquet shows us the furiously beating, all-too-human heart under all the blood.” —Daphne Gottlieb, author of Kissing Dead Girls
“Lisa Johnson may have written the first truly lyrical book-length memoir. Girl in Need of A Tourniquet is a fiercely intelligent, formally inventive, emotionally searing account of borderline personality disorder.” —Susannah Mintz, author of Unruly Bodies
“This book delves with intelligence and insight into the chaos of a disordered mind, leaving the reader at once astonished, sometimes baffled, and englightened.” —Nancy Mairs, author of Waist-High in the World
“An honest and compelling memoir, Girl in Need of a Tourniquet is Merri Lisa Johnson’s account of her borderline personality disorder and how it has affected her life and relationships. Johnson describes the feeling of “bleeding out” — unable to tell where she stopped and where her partner began. A self-confessed “psycho girlfriend,” she was influenced by many emotional factors from her past. She recalls her path through a dysfunctional, destructive relationship, while recounting the experiences that brought her to her breaking point. In recognizing her struggle with borderline personality disorder, Johnson is ultimately able to seek help, embarking on a soul-searching healing process. It’s a path that is painful, difficult, and at times heart-wrenching, but ultimately makes her more able to love and coexist in healthy relationships.”
kaylakavanagh.com where you can purchase the song used in our guest’s intro, “On the Borderline” and other music by the very talented Kayla Kavanagh.
© The Psyche Whisperer Radio Show, June 21, 2010