psychology

The sound of management

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In the book I am reading, I have come to the people behind the problem of trafficking. What scares me is how much they earn by using other people, and not giving them profit in return, and their close connection to politics. Examples are the Yakuza in Japan, and politicians in Pakistan.

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our knowledge, their problem

Slaves are forced to work for their “master” or “owner” and cannot get free. Sexual slaves are forced to work as prostitutes. The masters or pimps use violence, threats, blackmail and other methods to reduce the woman’s self worth and self esteem until eventually she will not try to escape because of fear or mental trauma. Sexual slavery is a way for a man to make a lot of money and to feel powerful. Society rewards people with power and wealth so unfortunately sexual slavery may continue until society values caring and sharing above all else. Women are trying to alter men’s attitudes towards violence and abuse of power and this is gradually having an effect. There are now shelters for abused women and heavier fines for pimps but there is a very long way to go yet.
http://otrazhenie.wordpress.com/2013/05/09/nothing-in-life-is-to-be-feared/
image Vulnerable people, usually poor, are deceived or forced into working abroad with promises of a better life. When they get there their passports are taken off them, they are forced to work behind locked doors and beaten or starved if they refuse. Sometimes they are killed and the threat of murder is always there. Their “masters” or “owners” make money by forcing them to work in sweatshops, dangerous jobs or as prostitutes. If the victim manages to get to the police, she is often not helped because she has no documents or the crime is not taken seriously. Because she is likely to be deported to her own country where she will probably be murdered, she doesn’t usually try to contact the authorities and so human trafficking continues to grow.

Women and girls are at particular risk of becoming victims of trafficking due to diverse factors, such as the high global prevalence of violence and discrimination against women; unequal access to education and the consequent lack of good employment opportunities which may render women more susceptible to false promises of work abroad; the lack of legal channels of entry for unskilled workers; and sex-selective migration policies.
The ILO estimates that women and girls represent the largest share of forced labor victims with 11.4 million victims (55%), compared to 9.5 million (45%) men and boys. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that 500,000 women are trafficked into prostitution each year.

on this side (on the bottom) you find small but important things you can do, like spreading information and signing petitions.

For Me (and You)

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Psychologist also need to blow off steam (but silently)

Some of you might wonder what a psychologist do in their free time. I can of course, only use myself as a reference, even if I also have friends with the same profession as me. I know that some of them go on mountain trips, use time with friends, spend time with their family and travel. They often wish they had more time to read articles, books and psychological updates, but they choose the things most important for them at that time.

Scrapbooking is on my "relax" list
scrapbooking makes me relax

Some of you might hope for something sensational. Maybe you imagine me going to fancy parties with a lot of glamorous people, while sipping champagne. Or you think I use all my time on charity, either with people or small puppies. Maybe some even have a picture of me doing really strange things, like using voodoo-dolls, or perfecting my skills in collecting stamps. Like you probably realize, that’s not how I live. I also like to do things mentioned in connection with my colleagues, but also have other stuff I do, just for me. Sometimes I have time-limited projects, like last year when I started a facebook-group where I tried to connect people in my city with each other, which led to some new friendships and a lot of fun activities (photography course, cooking-course and hair-styling course, in addition to several nice dinners). I have also worked hard with learning Italian, and use some time on this blog (have always loved to write). I also love to read and scrapbook. The pictures are some project of mine, and now I am working with making “posters” for my office, with full of inspirational quotes and ideas. I have already put up three of them at my office, and have been a bit disappointed that no patients have commented on them so far (either they are too ugly, or they simply do not notice it. In that case, I should be pleased, since that must mean they pay attention to our conversations). I have also made some posters related to food. I use the scrapbook method, and focus on pasting things like recipes and information about healthy food, on them.

8efce35337cc54b8e9a789a2af30092dIt’s also relaxing for me to just think, but unfortunately I use too little time on that. Sometimes I make food, and when routine kicks in, my thoughts start to roll in every direction. I can also sit and sip some tea, and let the thoughts wander for a while (until I burn my tongue) Sadly, other than that, my nose if often buried too deep in a book to get any thinking done. But as I have learn, too much thinking is not necessarily a good thing, either.

swimWhat I also do, is train a lot. I go swimming mostly three times a week, and this week I also had a little biking tour. I was deliciously sweaty and pumped afterwards, but it felt so good to feel the wind in my hair and finally get some daylight on my white skin. One problem with working long days and using my car all the time, is that I forget that there exist something called nature, weather or fresh air. Lovely to be reminded of that, once in a while.

I think everyone needs to blow off some steam, once in a while, and if you found my activities boring, I still hope this might have made you think about what YOU like to do! If not, at least you know even more about a psychologist life!

That`s all for now!

That`s all for now!
That`s all for now!

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My work as a psychologist

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Freud with his couch

Therapy has for most people been associated with something mystical. Before I started with psychology myself, I also had my mental images of it, and knew about the standard Freudian couch where you simply said whatever you wanted. I`ve heard about Freud, and knew you probably had to talk about your childhood, but had no idea how a typical therapist or patient looked like.

For people who haven`t been in therapy, it is often still a mystery. A lot of my friend have asked me, isn`t it hard to hear about so many horrible things, every day? But it’s basically what we all do, every day, anyway. We see films, listen to our friends, read books and watch news about what`s going on. Of course, we don´t have the “obligation” to do something about that, so people might feel that it`s different, but I promise you, a therapist is not more than a personal trainer cheering the clients on. We always stand by our patients sides when something needs to be done or untangled.

Even if I am a therapist, I still love to go to therapy or supervision myself. I don`t respond to the words, but simply to the fact that I talk with a human being about myself. It’s good to have someone there, who just say “it truly sounds like you had a rough time”.

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What do you talk about in therapy?

This might still be a bit vague. You might think: Well, that`s fine: But what do you exactly DO in those 45 minutes? To make it more concrete, I will try to write a bit more of what therapists do in therapy. Since we can`t talk about patients, I must underline that I don`t describe any patients of mine.

Of course there will be variations in how we work and approach problems, but I always have some basics that underlie everything I do: Respect, curiosity and an attitude of “everything is possible”. I truly believe that, no matter how far someone has fallen, with motivation and hard work, nothing can´t be done.

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People come to therapy for all kinds of reasons

A typical morning for me is getting to work, looking through my calendar and appointments or maybe attending a meeting if its monday or Wednesday. Normally I have about four sessions every day, with people who have a variety of diagnosis. If we have our first meeting, I have to go through some standard questions, but mostly I try to get a description of the problem as they see it. Sometime I also give them some surveys that should be filled out before the next session, but personally I prefer to not use too much time on those, as I find talking to people and hearing their story more important.

people have a variety of problems
people have a variety of problems

In addition, people might get a bit annoyed if everything is about answering questions on papers. I also explain why they have to answer them: So that we can choose a treatment that fits people who generally score the same on those surveys. And of course, if they have a diagnosis where medications is necessary, I can`t ignore that. For very depressed, bipolar people, AD/HD or people with psychosis, conversations might not be what we focus on in the beginning. Sometimes I contact a doctor so that we can secure basics like sleep. For some people, collecting energy will be the first thing we do. It’s can be saying no to people who drain energy, working with attitudes about how perfect everything must be, or simply making a schedule where they put in healthy food, physical activities and “alone-time”. Some people worry a lot, and then the goal might be to set up experiments where those worries are put to the test. For example, people with panic attacks, might worry about fainting in public, and after a while they start to avoid situations that they feel are dangerous. An example that I actually saw on television, was a woman afraid of hurting kids if she had a knife in her hand.

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Using eye movements to reduce fear

After a while, she stopped using knives, and even made sure to lock them in. She also developed a fear where she worried she might accidentally kill someone while driving. After a while she simply stopped driving, because she didn`t want to take any risks. The therapy for her was rather concrete: She had to expose herself to what she feared, like being in the area where kids could be WHILE she carried a knife, and drive a car where people could potentially be hurt, without turning back to check if she had run over people.

I work mostly with traumatized people and people with personality disorders. I usually follow a model where I first focus on collecting energy, before we work with specific traumas that give them flashbacks, nightmares and disrupt them in their daily lives. I use EMDR for this work, which is basically using eye movements while thinking about traumatic memories. I ask them to bring forward a memory that scares them, and to think about the worst part of it. Then they keep that picture in their mind’s eye, while following specific movements I do with my fingers. I monitor their discomfort on a scale from 1-10, where 10 is the worst discomfort they have ever felt, and 0 is completely calm, and keep doing the finger movement until they feel calm. I will write more about EMDR later, but it the main point is that afterwards, it`s easier to live with what happened. People have described it as “earlier I felt the past was as real now as then and now it feels like it`s finally behind me”.

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How to say goodbye

The last “phase” is to talk about ending therapy. We go through the work we have done, and talk about how it will be to say goodbye. This is important, because separations is something a lot struggle with. I must make sure that people don’t feel abandoned, that they can take with them some part of what they learnt in their hearts. I have also talked to a therapist once, and when I feel especially low, I still hear her voice saying: “Take care of yourself, dear”. I say this to my clients: If you take some of what you have learnt here with you, I am happy. I also say that they can contact me later, if they need to. It’s just a way of saying that goodbye is just “Now you can continue on your own. I wish I could walk every step of the journey with you, and in my heart, I will”.

A lot of my jobs is actually just being there. Far too many think they aren`t good enough. It doesn`t matter how many times they have been told or have read that they have worth, it still FEELS like they haven`t. Sometimes its all about stating the obvious; I see how kind-hearted they are (most people are really wonderful), how hard they try, how much suffering they had to go through, and remind them off this, when they think they are terrible people. Therapy is about never leaving, and making sure that they never give up.

I truly care about my clients. When they manage to do something good for themselves, I cheer them on and feel real joy for them. When they change, it feels like magic. It gives me hope, because no matter how bad the past has been, there is nothing that can`t be achieved.

Memory-training as treatment for depression and PTSD

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Depression and PTSD: To feel overwhelmed by memories

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50 ways to take a break!

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How has you`r weekend been so far? If you need more inspiration for what to do, I found this on pinterest!
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the kindness of strangers

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http://forwardwalking.com/author/clementinecustom/

I live by a principle I have to learn others and spread when I see it in action, because understanding is the first step in creating the world we want. A world where threats of nuclear wars will be changed to a competition on who finds outt the best way to share resources and also create more by doing that. We are a long way from such a world, and we give that a lot of attention. My view is the more we see of the other side, the healthier, so I absolutely recommend to check out how a stranger helped the kid who mugged him by passing on kindness and wisdom at the same time.

Julio Diaz has a daily routine. Every night, the 31-year-old social worker ends his hour-long subway commute to the Bronx one stop early, just so he can eat at his favorite diner.

But one night last month, as Diaz stepped off the No. 6 train and onto a nearly empty platform, his evening took an unexpected turn.

He was walking toward the stairs when a teenage boy approached and pulled out a knife.

“He wants my money, so I just gave him my wallet and told him, ‘Here you go,'” Diaz says.

As the teen began to walk away, Diaz told him, “Hey, wait a minute. You forgot something. If you’re going to be robbing people for the rest of the night, you might as well take my coat to keep you warm.”

The would-be robber looked at his would-be victim, “like what’s going on here?” Diaz says. “He asked me, ‘Why are you doing this?'”

Diaz replied: “If you’re willing to risk your freedom for a few dollars, then I guess you must really need the money. I mean, all I wanted to do was get dinner and if you really want to join me … hey, you’re more than welcome.

“You know, I just felt maybe he really needs help,” Diaz says.

Diaz says he and the teen went into the diner and sat in a booth.

“The manager comes by, the dishwashers come by, the waiters come by to say hi,” Diaz says. “The kid was like, ‘You know everybody here. Do you own this place?'”

“No, I just eat here a lot,” Diaz says he told the teen. “He says, ‘But you’re even nice to the dishwasher.'”

Diaz replied, “Well, haven’t you been taught you should be nice to everybody?”

“Yea, but I didn’t think people actually behaved that way,” the teen said.

Diaz asked him what he wanted out of life. “He just had almost a sad face,” Diaz says.

The teen couldn’t answer Diaz — or he didn’t want to.

When the bill arrived, Diaz told the teen, “Look, I guess you’re going to have to pay for this bill ’cause you have my money and I can’t pay for this. So if you give me my wallet back, I’ll gladly treat you.”

The teen “didn’t even think about it” and returned the wallet, Diaz says. “I gave him $20 … I figure maybe it’ll help him. I don’t know.”

Diaz says he asked for something in return — the teen’s knife — “and he gave it to me.”

Afterward, when Diaz told his mother what happened, she said, “You’re the type of kid that if someone asked you for the time, you gave them your watch.”

“I figure, you know, if you treat people right, you can only hope that they treat you right. It’s as simple as it gets in this complicated world.”

Produced for Morning Edition by Michael Garofalo.

listen to the story here, or check out others:
http://www.npr.org/2008/03/28/89164759/a-victim-treats-his-mugger-right

Remember, by doing things right, you also have a chance to set an example that people respect and follow.