Tag Archives: therapy

Post traumatic event counseling: New research shows it doesn’t work and may make things worse

This week’s shooting incident in Lake City makes me glad that the Northfield School District has an Emergency & Crisis Management Plan, revised in 2010.

However, there’s one big problem with it.

Section 2.29 of the District’s plan, Post-Crisis Intervention Procedures, advises that district leaders consider interventions known as Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) or Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM).

CISM is "designed to help people deal with their trauma one incident at a time, by allowing them to talk about the incident when it happens without judgment or criticism" (Wikipedia reference).

Redirect - The Surprising New Science of Psychological ChangeIt turns out, "CISD doesn’t do what it is supposed to do and may even prolong people’s distress," according to a new book I’m reading, Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change by Timothy D. Wilson, professor of psychology at the University of Virginia. (See Timothy Wilson’s blog, follow him on Twitter, and see the book’s Facebook page.)

Neither Carleton College nor St. Olaf College have CSID as part of their crisis management plans but it’s evidently not by design, according to those I contacted. I think it’s safe to assume that if there were a traumatic event of some kind at the colleges, post traumatic event counseling would be made available.

I’ll invite some Northfield area psychologists, therapists and counselors to chime in here with their comments and questions in hopes that we all can get smarter about this issue and be better prepared should something bad happen.

Here’s an extended excerpt from Wilson’s book about CISD:

Continue reading Post traumatic event counseling: New research shows it doesn’t work and may make things worse

Psychological and spiritual advice from Chris Hardwick: Be smarter than your brain

A buddy of mine alerted me to an article in the Oct 21 Wired, Self-Help for Nerds: Advice from Comedian Chris Hardwick, an excerpt from his book The Nerdist Way – How to Reach the Next Level (In Real Life).

This blurb caught my attention:

The Nerdest WayA simple mantra has guided me through the darkest bouts of autocerebral asphyxiation: You don’t have to believe everything you think. I know, right??

If you are having trouble uploading positive images to your ego satellites, here is a great tactic: Ignore your fucking brain altogether.

It doesn’t mean to lead you in bad directions! It’s just that, unless properly trained, it usually takes into account only your short-term happiness. “Get drunk in the morning!” “Eat 50 Chocodiles” “Instead of working, you could masturbate!”

These are all examples of things that will bring you only microbursts of temporary happiness but could have negative long-term effects. You can simply say to yourself, “I hear what you’re saying, brain, but I choose to ignore you.”

If your brain rages beyond that, you can diffuse it by acknowledging its request and explaining in detail why it could be devastating were you to honor it. Be smarter than your brain.

That’s not only hilarious, it’s psychologically and spiritually brilliant.

Are there therapists in Northfield who would agree?  Are there members of Northfield’s clergy who would agree?

How the cult of self-esteem is ruining the kids of Northfield

Last week I purchased two magazines– the type made of paper—from a bookstore—the type made of bricks and mortar. Radical, I know, but it’s part of my August sabbatical strategy of whacking myself upside the head.

There’s an article in the July/August issue of The Atlantic titled How to Land Your Kid in Therapy by Lori Gottlieb. The tagline: "Obsessing over our children’s happiness may doom them to miserable adulthoods."

I think it’s an excellent wake-up call for many Northfield parents—and maybe the local therapist community. Our colleges might appreciate it, too. Here’s a quote

Atlantic cover July Aug 2011Something surprising began happening: I started getting more patients like her. Sitting on my couch were other adults in their 20s or early 30s who reported that they, too, suffered from depression and anxiety, had difficulty choosing or committing to a satisfying career path, struggled with relationships, and just generally felt a sense of emptiness or lack of purpose–yet they had little to quibble with about Mom or Dad.

Instead, these patients talked about how much they "adored" their parents. Many called their parents their "best friends in the whole world," and they’d say things like "My parents are always there for me." Sometimes these same parents would even be funding their psychotherapy (not to mention their rent and car insurance), which left my patients feeling both guilty and utterly confused.

See below: