Showing posts with label psychology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label psychology. Show all posts

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Do You Believe in Magic? Comments on a Psychology Today Article

About a year and a half ago, a friend of mine brought this Psychology Today article (Do You Believe in Magic? : Eckhart Tolle, the Dalai Lama, and the Future of Psychotherapyto my attention and I posted a couple of comments. I'm not sure why--maybe PT reposted the article--but new comments began showing up in my email in the last week or so, and I was moved again to respond to some of the responses posted by the author of the original article, a psychiatrist, Dr. Stephen A. Diamond. I thought you might enjoy reading the exchange:

Your Comments on Tolle

Dear Dr. Diamond,
Spoken like a true Aristotelian.
But perhaps you should read Tolle's books before you comment on them. And if you could refrain from ad hominem attacks on people (even gurus) that would be lovely.
Also, the colorful language you use to subtly slur ideas you don't agree with is probably counter-productive, if your goal is an honest discussion. Probably better to present their ideas objectively and then tell us where you disagree.
Interesting stuff about Jung and the Dalai Lama though. Thanks!

Reply to Todd

You are welcome for those things you found interesting. But tell me/us: What is your take on this topic?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Two Approaches to Psychological Problems in Children

When I come across an article like "How Quiet is Too Quiet? When Shyness is Actually a Disorder," I always recall the line from Robert Persig's classic book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance:
Through multiplication upon multiplication of facts, information, theories and hypotheses, it is science itself that is leading mankind from single absolute truths to multiple, indeterminate, relative ones.
This article is exactly what Persig is talking about. In it, a mother, Kim O'Connell, recounts her experience with her son Declan's extended periods of complete silence, which she discovered has a name: Selective Mutism.

So science has added another category, that's what science is all about. It's a process that began with Aristotle. It's called classification. Selective Mutism is unique, requiring unique handling, unique treatment and possibly unique drugs--multiplication of facts, etc., leading from single absolute truths (root causes, if you will) to multiple, indeterminate, relative ones. The child's behavior, in other words, is meaningless. These are just symptoms of a disease that he's come by at random.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tantrums: Tolle vs. APA

The American Psychiatric Association recently introduced its first revision to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 16 years. The "bible" of the psychiatric field, the DSM, as it's called, has wide-ranging impact upon mental healthcare and society at large. It's revision has taken ten years so far and has a least another two to go before the new disorders it proposes will reach the quivers of healthcare professionals.

The APA is recommending some 41 changes in the area of childhood disorders ranging from learning disorders to retardation (can the APA still use this word?) to the relationship of Asperger's Disorder to autism.

Among the proposed new childhood disorders is one called "Temper Dysregulation Disorder with Dysphoria." This proposed disorder occurs between the years of six and ten and "is characterized by severe recurrent temper outbursts in response to common stressors."

Or in a word, tantrums.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Modern Concept of "Flow" has Its Roots in Taoism

As reported in the Good News Gazette, veteran reporter Cheryl Hall of The Dallas Morning News had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, best known for his development of the concept known as "Flow," which has gained wide application in the business world.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Response to Canadian Therapists Concerns About Eckhart Tolle

Here is an article from Integral Options Cafe, discussing a piece by Douglas Todd, originally written for the Vancouver sun:

Canadian Therapists Worry that Clients Use Eckhart Tolle as a Spiritual Bypass

Here is my response:
This is a thought provoking article, but the main argument is a straw man. Tolle doesn't say you should gloss over the past. He simply urges people to deal with the past as it arises in the present, or "in the now." Negativity in the past, if it was dealt with effectively then (if it wasn't grieved and processed at the time), will inevitably resurface as what Tolle calls a "pain-body" attack. This occurs in the present and can be dissolved through awareness, allowing it to be, while focusing on the uncomfortable sensation that it causes (emotion, Tolle says, is the body's reaction to a thought). Inevitably, too, this process brings to mind the unconscious thoughts that are causing the pain and the sufferer awakens a bit further.
You are right when you point out that Tolle's philosophy is more sophisticated that some of his followers realize. But it is not a sophistication of the head, it is that of the heart. Tolle says we learn from the past but we should not live in it, nor the future.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Pain-Body: What Is It?

The term, Pain-body was coined (as far as I know) by Eckhart Tolle in his first book, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment. He develops the idea much more fully in his second book, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose.

The pain-body is a complex of built up thought patterns and emotions that results from unprocessed or unacknowledged pain experienced in the past. (Tolle goes so far as to hypothesize that we can be born with a certain amount of pain, but we need not agree with this view for the concept to be of service to us.) It lies dormant for varying periods of time, depending on the person, and is triggered by certain stimuli.

The Pain-Body in the Workplace

If people could take a sick day from work for a pain-body attack, we would probably find much more malady in the general population than we currently realize.

Check out this training video script from the HR department of a future Fortune 500 company I uncovered (humor alert: this doesn't really exist):

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Conscious Backgammon

Our good friend Eckhart Tolle, in A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose,tells us:"A powerful spiritual practice is consciously to allow the diminishment of ego when it happens without attempting to restore it." (p.215)

This spiritual practice I force upon myself almost everyday (as if driving in Naples isn't enough to diminish my ego).

I start off every writing day playing backgammon against my computer. Computers are generally good at what they do and most games I take a drubbing, and that's painful to what's left of my ego.

Eckhart also tells us that enlightened doing is not attached to outcomes, and I would like to be in a position to tell you that I see each game through to the end, win or lose, and that I concede graciously when a point of inevitability is reached. But generally, the truth is, I shut down the game and start up a new one and keep doing this until I finally win. Hey, what can I tell you? That's my writing process.

But here's the thing, I'm pretty sure the computer cheats. Let's look at the facts.

From the Archives

What's Your Drama?

Ok, I'll go first. My drama has been to allow my pain-body to take over my thinking in the context of a love relationship. No...

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