Mass suggestion: A way to save the world? 

Posted on Updated on

Psychological research has had a tendency to study negative effects of behavior both on the individual and cultural level. But new research has started to focus more on the positive aspects of behavior. I like this shift, as I think it will change how we interact with the world. In one TED talk I watched, scientists were studying genetic superhumans. That is, people with genetic ‘flaws’ that has proven to give these people abilities normal people don’t have. By getting more knowledge about these ‘superhumans’ we are also a step closer to knowing which environmental, psychological and biological factors contribute to their genetic make-up.

Mass suggestion 

Humans in a big crowd have an inclination to behave the same way. It is difficult to resist the force of it. This is why people, who ordinarily are sensible, can do things that they regret afterwards . It is also the reason people who normally are harmless can become violent.  

There are thousand different ways we can be affected by mass suggestion, both in a negative and positive sense.

A mass-suggestion experiment

If I could do a study as a researcher, I would want to look at how positive mass-suggestion could affect us . Let’s for fun’s sake call it a social media experiment. If every person shared the research hypothesis I’m about to present with one person, it would be interesting to see what would happen next.

My hypothesis would be something like: Can we by mass-suggestion, make people around the world do the same thing on the same day?

For example I could propose that the 30th of september, every one of us tried to do one random act of kindness. What do you think would happen? Could it affect us all in a positive way?

The date could be set one year in advance to make sure that many get the message, but as information can spread like fire in the right circumstances maybe it would not be necessary to wait that long.

So, would somebody be interested in an experiment like that? What can each and all of us do by simply being kind towards others?

Why not try? We got nothing to lose.


Mass suggestion ideas

Mass suggestion in society


Posted on Updated on

I am a 29-year-old girl from Norway where I work as a psychologist. On my free time I love to read, travel and experience new things. I also like taking photos and creative activities like scrapbooking and decoupage. My personality? For those of you who know the BIG 5 personality test, I am high on 20130623-181833.jpgOpenness, Conscientiousness, middle on agreeable and on extroversion/introversion. It basically means that I`m a flexible person, work hard, usually don`t make a fuss and love to be with others, while also needing to be alone to think and calm down. I also want to add that I love the Italian language, my family, Haruki Murakami, good music and my friends. I am VERY emotional, but calm when I have to be. Earlier I had a tendency to put other`s needs first, believing that I wasn`t worthy of any attention myself. Luckily I have grown in heart and mind since then, and learnt that being there for others mean taking care of your own needs first.

This blog is a blend of my personal story (called narrative or the sound of..) topics related to psychology and just random things I find interesting. I work daily as a clinical psychologist, and most of my clients have been abused and neglected in heartbreaking ways. Many of my posts will cover subjects related to trauma and dissociation. I am quite open and honest in my posts, because I believe it might make us psychologist less mysterious.

Most of the psychologist I know are kind, intelligent people. Some with their own stories, but all with a genuine wish to help. In this blog I want to share what I know about overcoming challenges and following your dreams.

IMG_0377Since more and more people have started to read this blog, I unfortunately found it necessary to password protect some of my more personal posts. If you want to read them, feel free to contact me at I am also on twitter (@ninjafighter), instagram and Facebook. I also have two other blogs that are dedicated to psychology and the “Kindness project” that I started one year ago, You find them here: Free psychology and The kindness project.

In the last blog I post interviews with different people. I ask them questions about good things they do, and my hope is that their answers will inspire others to do be kind towards others. I have also invited guest bloggers to share their stories on “Free psychology”. They are brilliant writers, so feel to explore their story on this blog. I am always open to invite more bloggers who want to write, so feel free to contact me at any time if you`d like to write about topics relevant for the blog. 

I started my blog three years ago, and it has grown so fast I almost can`t believe it. I am really proud of it, and grateful because I have made new friends and found other blogs that I like.

I want to thank all my readers and offer some encouragement to everyone who suffers or have done so in the past. I have been in the deepest valleys myself, and felt emotional pain so intense that I was afraid of it.

I hope this blog might prove that the fight for a better life is worth it.

Thank you.

The bipolar super power

Posted on Updated on

Before I start this post I would like to emphasize the importance of remaining on bipolar medication and seeking help when you feel overwhelmed or unable to cope with life. This post is not about trying to romanticize bipolar disorder but rather about encouraging those suffering from bipolar to not only see the bad but also to embrace the positive.

I know there are many negatives associated with bipolar disorder, but little attention is paid to the ‘super power’ that comes with bipolar.

First off, here’s a list of well-known bipolar sufferers;-

  • Demi Lovato
  • Carrie Fisher
  • Catherine Zeta-Jones
  • Claude Van Damme
  • Russell Brand
  • Mel Gibson
  • Marilyn Monroe
  • Amy Winehouse
  • Vivien Leigh (|Gone with the Wind)
  • Frank Sinatra
  • Edgar Allan Poe (Writer)
  • Richard Dreyfuss
  • Axl Rose
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Mike Tyson
  • Virginia Wolf
  • Ernst Hemmingway
  • Vincent van Gogh
  • Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Any many, many more

What is interesting is that the names on the list are artistes who have been able to tap into a deep source of creativity and experience.

I honestly believe that with the highs and lows of bipolar comes a profound understanding of emotions and the effect they have on lives. Accompanying this is the ability to acknowledge these emotions and inhabit the very soul of them.van-gogh-698329__340

Having read many of the bipolar blogs on WordPress (and other sources), I am astounded at the power with which bipolar writers portray emotions and feelings. There seems to be an intense connection between the writer, the feeling and concept.  Certainly some of the greatest creators of our times are ‘credited’ with having intense mood swings vacillating between heights and depths.  How could this not acquaint them with the entire spectrum of human moods?

If you have been diagnosed with bipolar I pretty sure that you have become familiar with ;-

  • Gut wrenching sadness
  • Feelings of loathing and hate
  • Extreme inexplicable joy
  • Crazy thoughts
  • Wildness
  • Depths of despair
  • Profound anxiety
  • Absolute desperation
  • Boundless energy
  • Pangs of regret
  • Deep darkness
  • Brilliant light
  • Coldness and searing heat
  • Bursts of creative genius
  • Racing and then barely moving
  • Embracing and discarding
  • Winning and losing
  • Crashing and flying

All the emotions of a life time will have found their way into your journey and stayed with you for differing lengths of time. You know them, you recognise, you feel them over and over and over again.

This is your super power.


It enables work to be borne out of a spherical place with intense raw emotion. It is able to unite souls and feelings and words. It is able to explore places that ‘bipolar-less’ people can’t. It is able to draw solutions from bare lifelessness . It is able to feel deeply and all consumingly. It is able to connect every fibre of the mortal man.

It is unique to the bipolar world and its yours if you own it and claim it.

Of course there will be many times where these emotions disable you and hold you captive, but in between the bad spaces there is an opportunity to create something heart-felt and compelling.

Yes, stigmas still abound around mental illness, but I think its time that bipolar gets the creative credit it deserves.

For me, this sums it all up; –

Starry, starry night
Paint your palette blue and gray
Look out on a summer’s day
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul

Shadows on the hills
Sketch the trees and the daffodils
Catch the breeze and the winter chills
In colors on the snowy linen land

Now I understand
What you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free

They would not listen, they did not know how
Perhaps they’ll listen now

Starry, starry night
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze
Swirling clouds in violet haze
Reflect in Vincent’s eyes of china blue

Colors changing hue
Morning fields of amber grain
Weathered faces lined in pain
Are soothed beneath the artist’s loving hand

Now I understand
What you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free

They would not listen, they did not know how
Perhaps they’ll listen now

For they could not love you
But still your love was true
And when no hope was left in sight
On that starry, starry night

You took your life, as lovers often do
But I could’ve told you Vincent
This world was never meant for
One as beautiful as you

Starry, starry night
Portraits hung in empty halls
Frame-less heads on nameless walls
With eyes that watch the world and can’t forget

Like the strangers that you’ve met
The ragged men in ragged clothes
The silver thorn of bloody rose
Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow

Now I think I know
What you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free

They would not listen, they’re not listening still
Perhaps they never will




Reblog: Once Upon An Alcoholic

Posted on Updated on

Alcoholism is not a topic I have written much about so far on this blog. Since it is so common, the post is an important contribution to demystify the condition and reduce stigma. The post is personal and honest, and I have immense respect for her courage  in writing about what she went through.

You can read more by the author in her blog santeachers


On October 5, God willing, I will have been sober for 31 years.  That’s just about half of my lifetime.  And what a journey it has been.

People get sober for various reasons.  I remember going to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting and standing near an open window sipping a cup of coffee.  There was a commotion at the window and in tumbled a man.  As I happened to be the closest person, he staggered a couple of feet to me, grabbed my arm for stability and said “my wife told me to get in here or I can’t come home.”  At least that’s what I thought he said. It was garbled. I in turn signaled a man near me and said “he’s yours.”  It’s encouraged to have a man help a man and a woman help a woman from the get-go.  omg-i-need-help-gif

I should mention that the window was about 4 feet from the door and had bushes in front of it, so it’s a statement about how drunk he was that he missed the door.  He has been sober ever since.

A lot of people have horrible, yet funny from an insider’s point of view, stories about how they knew, or were pushed, to get help.

One of the first lessons one learns is that no one is unique.  Our stories might have different twists and turns, but our lives have spun out of control from alcohol, drugs, or a combination.

But how many people get sober when their family is against that?  I had the opposite experience from the man who fell in the window.  I felt like the first person in the history of mankind whose family tried to stop them from getting sober.  For real.dont-get-sober

I didn’t think I knew anyone who didn’t drink a lot. In my family, people were categorized as drinkers (normal people) and non-drinkers (odd people). “They seem nice enough, but they aren’t drinkers.”

When I started going to AA meetings, I hid it from my family.  So that my ex-husband didn’t catch on, I went during the day when my kids were in school and/or got a babysitter.  I told my children I was going shopping so their father wouldn’t know.  Can you imagine?  The craziness of the disease.

My first Thanksgiving in sobriety was at my father’s house.  By then everyone knew and I had to listen to comments like “you don’t drink that much, everyone drinks” and “what if people find out.”  At my place setting, instead of the glass of wine I would have had in the past, there were two glasses of wine.  I threw them out and my father was mad that I wasted the wine. Welcome to the Twilight Zone.


But back to what brought me to AA.  The signs were there.  I started drinking in 7th or 8th grade, by sneaking whiskey into my coca-cola.  I’m writing that out so as not to confuse people by saying coke. That should have been clue #1, but it was so normal in my house that I thought it was normal behavior in everyone’s home.

Then drinking “for real” in high school.  Then almost out of control in college.

Funny story that shouldn’t have been funny but I still think it is: I went out drinking with a friend of mine from my sorority the night before a midterm.  College midterms are a very big deal.  We got an hour or two of sleep and went to take the midterm.  I can’t remember how many students were there, but it was a fair number and my friend and I sat on opposite sides of the room.  Each question seemed funny and it was one of those times where you know you can’t laugh, your shoulders start to shake, and then laughter explodes from your mouth.  Which made her laugh on the other side of the room.  

I was still drunk.  

I went to Ohio Wesleyan University which was at the time, and maybe still is, in a “dry” county.  Appalling.  My parents felt sorry for me.  About the second week of school, my roommate and I got each got a care package from home.  Yay!!  She excitedly opened her large tin of homemade cookies.  I excitedly opened my case of pint-size bottles of Seagrams 7.seagrams-7-pint

Clue #3.  On my 21st birthday, a bunch of us went into New York City to celebrate.  At the time, the drinking age in NY was 18, but 21 is a banner year.  My maiden name is Harvey, so even though I was only used to drinking whiskey straight (ice cubes are for sissies), I had a bunch of harvey wallbangers.  Little girl drinks.  I remember standing up from the table, and getting about half-way up and then nothing.  I “came to” the next day in Rockland County with no idea how we got there.  Lots of people that night must have had angels looking out for them.  I know that I did.

Side note: I had blacked out before.  I didn’t know at the time that is due to alcohol poisoning.  Tell your friends.

When I married and was blessed with my first daughter, I wanted to be the best mother I could be.  So I planned my day and her day around my drinking.  Baths in the morning, not at night.  Waaaaay less drinking (and none during pregnancy).  I thought that made me a good mother.

My second daughter died on Christmas Eve, 1981.  I had not drunk during the pregnancy at all.  She was one day old and died of cardiac arrest during open heart surgery.  My addiction exploded.  Heavy morphine in the hospital and whiskey that my ex-husband brought into the hospital.  No drugs upon release, nor again, but my drinking certainly increased but did not stop the pain.

I’m skipping a lot here but want to lighten it up.  Not all of my story is icky.

One Sunday morning, all of the above and all that I’ve left out brought me to the point where I realized that I needed help.  1985 was back in the day.  I had to look up the AA Hotline number.  The deal was that you called, and the hotline people had someone call you right back.  im-scared

For whatever reason, I opened my wallet and the AA Hotline number fell out.  In my handwriting.  I must have looked it up and written it down in a blackout.  With my heart racing I harnessed every ounce of courage I had and called the number.  A man answered and said he would have a woman call me right back.  He sounded kind, happy and serene.

When the woman called me back, she asked me if I had any liquor in the house.  Duh. She told me to put the phone down and empty it all down the sink.  Was she crazy? I screamed at her I’M NOT A DRUNK.  And then realized that I was the one who was acting crazy.

She told me that it was just for today.  That the next day I could buy as much as I wanted.  Just not that day.  So I did.  I couldn’t do it for myself; I did it for my children. And that was the last time I had to pour liquor down the drain and the first day that I didn’t drink.


When I was sober for 8 years, my son was 6 years old.  At the dinner table I said to my kids that I hadn’t had a drink in 8 years.  He turned to me and said “Aren’t you thirsty???”

October 5, 1985.  Thank you, God.

Going to Cuba

Posted on Updated on

On Wednesday I am getting on a plane again. This time, my destination is Cuba. I am traveling with one of my best friends, and almost can`t wait. We will see three places: Havana, Vinales and Trinidad. A month ago we met a guy who was in Cuba last november. He gave us a lot of tips, so we have prepared well. None of us are good at planning ahead, as we love to explore and go where the wind takes us, so it was luck that we met him. Normally we book hotels right before we go, but he told us that in Cuba things are different. There are not many hotels, so you have to live at people`s houses. Finding a place proved to be difficult. We had to wait for confirmation when we sent a request, so finding a place in Vinales took us two weeks since we just could send one request per day. But now we have somewhere to stay for our ten days there, and we also have some plans: We want to go horseback riding, cycle, and visit a wonderful beach. This summer I just went to Italy for four days, and with a terrible summer in Norway, sun and relaxation is just what I need.

If anybody here has been to Cuba before, feel free to recommend more things to do.


The sound of melting ice

Posted on Updated on

Behind the walls of ice, stood a man. He was 30 years old, and had already lived more than most. He was a boy everyone liked, he could talk to anyone, and the more tired he got from always being there, the more he saw others. He did not think he was lonely, but he did get cold every now and again. His giving, his sacrifices sapped his energy reserves, until there was no strength left to keep him warm.  

When he was 18, he fell in love with a girl. But she was never satisfied with what he did. He worked a lot, and she felt like he did not prioritze him. He had other flaws as well. He did not put up his toilet seat, he did not listen to her, and he used too much time on his cooking. A real cook would be done with the dish much faster. A real man does not misbehave as much as him, she said. She got pregnant, and had a traumatic birth. His parents came in, and he turned to them. She felt abandoned and depressed. The depression did not lift. She was exhausted, and every opportunity she got, she told him how she felt. She went to a therapist, where she talked about how he was never there for her. At the end, he could not take it anymore. They split apart, and he started working even harder to prove he was good enough. He became friendlier and cooked every day to improve his recipies. 

One day, he met a girl. She was timid and shy, and never thought he could like her. But he did. He used his warmth to make her feel safe and protected. She thought he was wonderful. Slowly, they fell in love.

One day he had a fight with his parents. He did not want to talk to his new love about it, and moved away from her in bed. She said that was okay. But she asked if she could hold him. She felt his cold wall of ice,  but was used to the cold too, and therefore didn’t mind. Luckily, she could feel how the ice slowly melted next to her. But she did not want to rush it, because if it melted too much he might feel like he was drowning. So she just held him for a little while longer and asked if he wanted to go to sleep. Exhausted, he told her yes.

Every day she told him how he impressed her. He managed to take care of his child, excersise, go to work where he lit up people`s lives and cook wonderful meals. He told her that was what everyone did, and that he was no different from others. When he could not sleep, after his child told him that her mother said she wished she never had been born, he said he was okay. He did not need sleep. So he excersied more, cooked more and talked more to keep his energy level up. When he went to sleep that night, the ice around him was thicker than ever before. 

The next day, he stood in the kitchen, making a chocolate cake his child would get for her birthday. His girlfriend smiled and showed how impressed she was, and some of the ice started dripping again. Standing up, he was not afraid of drowning. The heat in the kitchen made it even safer, and finally the water evaporated.

She took his hand, and even though he wanted to pull it away, she did not let go of it. She told him that he was a good father, and his hand got warmer. Later, after his child had her party, he came home and told her that her mother did not call to congratulate her child until he posted a picture of him and his girl on facebook. He told his girlfriend  that she should not have to live with his troubles, that this was not was she had bargained for. She asked him if it was okay that she gave him a hug. He stood still for a while, but at the end let her envelop him in a hug.

He told him that he could not remember the last time he cried. His tears had frozen. But when he stood there in her arms, he started to cry. She held him even closer, her warmth protecting the tears so they did not freeze. They were allowed to escape from their prison, and the salt from them melted the last droplets from his frozen soul.

That night, he told her that he needed to take care of things. He would ask his parents for help with the child, and go to therapy with his ex. In therapy, he apologized to her for not being there enough.

In the next session, his ex had thought a lot. She realized that she had not always given him what he needed, and for that she was sorry. The ice between them, started dripping. It melted so much that they finally could see each other again. The humans behind the frosty wall.

When he went home, he told his girlfriend that he felt free.  


Protected: The solution

Posted on

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

The sound of dissolving

Posted on

Like aspirin dissolving in the water, she fell into the ocean. Her white nightgown floated upwards as she sank headfirst toward the ground. Undercurrents took hold of her, until only residues of her were left. Painkillers can’t be seen after a while, diluted in the water. When there is only one glass of water it will kill the pain when you swallow it. But the ocean is big, and no matter what you pour into it, it will not be strong enough to take the edge of the pain off.




Protected: Dilemma

Posted on

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Protected: EMDR: Finding me after she died

Posted on Updated on

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Kids proverbs

Posted on Updated on

The following proverbs were collected by a first grade teacher over
the years. She gave her classes part of an old proverb and let them
fill in the rest.

As You Shall Make Your Bed So Shall You........ Mess It Up. 

Better Be Safe Than........ Punch A 5th Grader.

Strike While The........ Bug Is Close.

It's Always Darkest Before........ Daylight Savings Time. 

Never Under Estimate The Power Of........ Termites.

You Can Lead A Horse To Water But....... How? 

Don't Bite The Hand That........Looks Dirty. 

No News Is........Impossible.

A Miss Is As Good As A........ Mr.

You Can't Teach An Old Dog New........ Math.

If You Lie Down With The Dogs, You'll........Stink In The 

Love All, Trust........Me

The Pen Is Mightier Than The........Pigs.

An Idle Mind Is........ The Best Way To Relax. 

Where There's Smoke, There's........ Pollution.

Happy The Bride Who........ Gets All The Presents! 

A Penny Saved Is........ Not Much.

Two's Company, Three's........The Musketeers.

Don't Put Off Tomorrow What........You Put On To Go To Bed.

Laugh And The Whole World Laughs With You, Cry And......You Have To
Blow Your Nose.

None Are So Blind As........ Helen Keller.

Children Should Be Seen And Not........ Spanked Or Grounded. 

If At First You Don't Succeed........ Get New Batteries.

You Get Out Of Something What You........ See Pictured On The 

When The Blind Leadeth The Blind........Get Out Of The Way.

There Is No Fool Like........Aunt Eddie. 

How to resist an impulse

Posted on Updated on

“There is perhaps no psychological skill more fundamental than resisting impulse. It is the root of all emotional self-control, since all emotions, by their very nature, led to one or another impulse to act.” Daniel Goleman

It soars through you like a wave. The impulse to do something you will regret later. The urge is so irresistible, that you feel there is no other way. You just have to do it. Have another drink, although it is way beyond bedtime. A cigarette after managing to not smoke for three days. The ice-cream dripping with chocolate sause that you kept in the fridge. Just in case you get visitors. We know these impulses so well, and despair when we cannot do anything to stop them. Walter Mischel found in his famous Marshmallow experiment, that children who managed to postpone having a marshmallow and get two later if they waited, had better results at school and success later in life. Unbelievable, isn`t it? That just one experiment like this, can predict what happens years later? For some this might even lead to a feeling of despair: Especially if you struggle time and time again with resisting those impulses. Is it really impossible to stop the urge when it threatens to take over? Sometimes it honestly is. When you are stressed, have too many things to think about, have no time to think through what you do during a day or feel tired, you might slip on some of your promises to yourself. Studies show that choosing and resisting alternatives, drains mental energy. In the evening you might be so exhausted that willpower simply vanishes. BUT: We can trick our gratification searching brain. First: Prepare for the fight. Do not keep what you are trying to avoid, around you. Don`t buy that chocolate bar. To avoid doing so when you are stressed, plan to go shopping when you are not hungry. Shop everything you need so you don`t need to pop into the store later. If you feel bad from not having your usual way of regulating those difficult emotions or cravings, find alternative positive activities. Talk to yourself a LOT: I am strong. I can do this. I am actually doing it already by trying to resist. Good work! And if you manage to resist the impulse, for just one or ten minutes, be sure to tell yourself what accomplishment it is. Because you have just rode on the wave instead of letting it sweep you away. Even without a surf-board. Because who actually learn how to resist impulses? If we haven`t had good role models, like many of us haven`t (especially today when everything happened two minutes ago), how could we have learnt to resist? Luckily, the marshmallow experiment showed that if the experimenter learnt the children how to resist impulses, for example by distracting them (having interesting toys in the room, asking them to close their eyes) they managed to do so in the future too. Every time you find creative ways to resist your urges, your willpower grows. It is hard work, and sometimes it feels like it`s all for nothing. But just think about how happy people who have really tried to change, often are. Why might that be? I think you already have the answer: Because it is immensely gratifying to doing what we know in our hearts are right.

But, we have to balance resistance with acceptance. Sometimes we push the brakes to often, leading to us stopping impulses that are healthy and bring life to us.

From the blog feed your soul: My concern, however, is the squashing of the other impulses, the ones that guide us to life-enhancing decisions. The impulse to express a truth even if it is unpopular. The impulse to say no, when social mores would have us say yes. The impulse to radically change a life that looks perfectly fine from the outside but feels like death on the inside. I am afraid that we will begin to live only in extremes, much like the stratification of our socioeconomic classes. We become like the addict, powerless over any whim or desire, or we become the ascetic who deems any impulse evil, and the control over our desires the mark of superiority.

Is it possible to live in the middle ground, where our impulses can go through a highly developed discernment filter and we honor all ways?

I love those thoughts from the blog. And in my opinion, it is possible to find that balance. But first we must learn the skills to stop impulses first, and then we must learn to let go. Finding the balance can`t be done if we lack the knowledge and experience necessary to either resist or let go. So if you want to resist more, can it harm to try?