The Five Keys to Understanding Men: a Great Spring Read!

The Five Keys to Understanding Men: A Woman’s Guide is a great spring read to learn about basic male psychology. Written from the perspective of women trying to understand the men in their lives, the book covers the basic drives and fears men have and explains their behavior in relationships. If you have a Dad, brother, son, boyfriend, co1worker or spouse, this book is for you! Available on Amazon in hard copy or e-book format, this timeless classic is a great way to leap into spring!

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The Role of Neurostimulation inPsychiatry

Psychiatry is a broad field that deals with the psychic mind and it’s development and also the balance of neurochemistry and specific disorders in the brain. Treatments range from individual psychotherapy  and psychoanalysis to work in families and groups, as well as medication management and, in some cases, neurostimulation. This includes ECT (electroconvulsive therapy), TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation, VNS (vagal nerve stimulation) and DBS (deep brain stimulation. These treatments are reserved for treatment resistant depression not responsive to medications and psychotherapy (at least six month of aggressive therapies) and can be life saving. Each has it’s own benefits and risks.

ECT induces a seizure in a controlled way and is 70-80% effective in severe depression. It takes usually 16 treatments, most likely in the hospital, but causes memory loss which is often permanent. TMS achieves a 60-70% response with no memory loss. It takes 30 treatments outpatient and is pricey. I had 33 TMS cases with 28 responders. VNS is low yield is now seldom done. DBS is 80-90% effective, but leaves a permanent implant deep in your brain and is serious neurosurgery. All, but VNS, are effective, but with costs,either physical or financial.

There is much emotion and mythology surrounding these treatments, but the results are evidence based and reproducible. If you or a loved one are incapacitated by depression, this would be your choice. And the good news is that newer treatments with less side effects are on the horizon, including a deep TMS which is more effective. Leave the folklore behind and follow this science!

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Baby Boomers, Putin and “The Bomb”

The most recent crisis in the Ukraine seems like one more in a series to most younger folks, but this one stirred up old, bad memories for me. I am mixed on the last two wars and thought Viet Nam was a mistake, but agree aggressions cannot go unchecked. But, direct confrontation with the Russians? My generation spent decades avoiding this, and for good reason.

After World War Two we entered a stalemate with our old ally and then the “cold war”. Nuclear armament actually meant we could not fight, so a long painful dance ensued. I lived 15 minutes from a base in Ft. Worth which was a top five Soviet target and we practiced “duck and cover” drills weekly. Of course, my lesson in reality occurred when I ask my Dad if this would work and he replied, thoughtfully, “son, we’d be in the impact crater”! My first lessons in the reality of nuclear war. We Boomers grew up fearing a Russian Armageddon.

I actually found myself in disagreement with my daughter this weekend, a true first, as we’d switched sides. I kept hearing the old song verse, “Give peace  a chance”. I did not hear this when we invaded Afghanistan. As the cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead once wrote, our generation will be forever fearful of the “Bomb” and the Russians.

So, like everyone else, I’ll watch closely as this crisis unfolds; with the shirtless Putin posturing, leaving all of us in a quandary as to what to do. I’m aware we must do “something” to stop aggression against sovereign nations, but hope we don’t push these guys too far. I’m way too old to duck and cover!

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Spring is a Good Time to Assess Your Family!

As winter releases it’s long grip and spring begins to emerge, it is a good time to look at your family. This is the family where you grew up , with the baggage that is still in place, your family of origin in real tim,e and the adult family you have created. Examining your innate psychology as it relates to these three family units is the heart of psychotherapy. Our book, What’s Wrong with my Family?, and How to Live Your Best Life Anyway, is a starting point for this exploration. Spring is where new life and hope emerges and is a great time to begin your journey! Order hard copy or e-books from this site.

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Our Culture of Narcissism an Celebrity

I’ve watch in amusement the last few month as another cultural icon, teen heart throb Justin Bieber, self destructs publicly. Of course, he is one of an endless series of  vapid actors an singers we idolize, only to lament in their humanity. In fact, an uneducated, un-mentored “artist” who rises to fame is the least likely person to handle it well and the most likely to look foolish in the process. It’s our reaction the is the most curious.

Hero worship is a way to role model after someone who has traits we wish we had, i.e.: singing well and being popular. We then assume that person has other traits (maturity?) too and that they in fact may be “perfect”. We then psychologically attach to the idealized object, bolstering our sense of self. A narcissistic self object you use to self nurture. But what if your role model is Justin Bieber?

Bieber’s music and 12 year old appearance never did anything for me. He lost me forever several years ago when visiting Anne Frank’s home in Amsterdam. He stated “She was teenage girl. She would have been a Bieber- head!”. A woeful misjudging of his place in history (he never took it!) and total disrespect for a true cultural icon! And he’s now the little boy who’s never been told “NO” and behaving like an ass.

It’s thought that one measure of maturity occurs when you realize you no longer have any heroes. I’m not sure this ever entirely happen ( I’ve still got Dr. J and Batman!). But choose and reevaluate your heroes wisely. You are the only you and, I promise you, you do not want to be a Justin Bieber!

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