Emotional Freedom Technique

The Emotional Freedom Technique newsletter always provides some interesting insights into how we can use our body’s electrical system to heal our minds and bodies. In today’s newsletter an EFT practitioner/therapist has written about his recent experience with a 16 year old client who was on the verge of being committed to the psych ward after breaking up with his girlfriend. The full story can be found at: http://www.emofree.com/Articles2/relationship-breakukp-desanto.htm

I have reprinted Steve DeSanto’s observations about the outcome of the treatment below. First I would like to say that I wish I had known that there were other possible ways of dealing with the crisis when Chris was beginning to come unravelled while in his teens. I am not saying that Chris wouldn’t have ended up in the hospital anyway, but access to another way might have saved Chris from becoming a psychiatric patient and the agony of all that goes with it.

Steve DeSanto: “I’d like to point out some important things relating to the above session. First, we have a single mom already stressed out because she’s single and raising 3 kids. Michelle’s a spunky woman and certainly no shrinking violet. But her son’s emotional condition caused her to seriously consider checking him in to the psych ward. If Nadine had not answered the phone, she probably would have done just that.

Unfortunately, far too many parents do. They trust the mental health system out of ignorance. They wrongly assume psychiatrists have the inside scoop on matters of the mind and can somehow work magic. (But they can’t … unless they know EFT–grin).”

NAMI again

There is something about NAMI’s patronizing view of the mentally ill that really irks me. For a bit of fun, I took a Q and A from its Ask the Psychiatric Pharmacist section and thought, what if this were an obese person they are talking about? Everybody knows that you can’t make another person lose weight. They have to do it themselves, for their own personal reasons. It’s the patronizing attitude that bothers me more than the good intentions. This approach may work with your friends, but it still presumptously assumes that the patient is incapable of making his own decisions for his own reasons. (NAMI does assume the person is incapable of making their own decisions because NAMI believes in agnosognosia, the inabilty to recognize that you are mentally ill!)

So, below is Q and A #14, to which I have copied almost verbatim, but substituted fat/obese for mental illness, diet for medications, FATSO for NAMI. I left in the special case they plead for bipolar and schizophrenia.

As yourself as you are reading this, if this approach will really work if you try it on your friend. I’d say, you’ve just lost a friend.

Original question: Someone I really care about has mental illness but repeatedly stops taking his medication and his symptoms come back. Sometimes my friend has to be hospitalized. How can I help him? (My thought: Why is this question being directed to a pharmacist in the first place?)

Rephrased question:
Someone I really care about is immensely obese but repeatedly stops dieting and he gains it all back. How can I help him?

PHARMACIST’S response: One answer is to let the fat person know that he can always count on your love and friendship, but his best chances of losing weight will occur when he accepts that proper diet is crucial to his recovery. Sometimes one can help persons struggling with fat (especially those with bipolar or schizophrenia) decide for themselves which is worse – the short periods of time without the donut and the side effects, followed by the inevitable re-emergence of the fat (often piling on more fat than before)….. or, the steadier, prolonged times of skinny living (or at least more manageable fat) while staying with the diet and coping with the hunger. In a recent study, a researcher and colleagues have shown that higher rates of non-compliance with diets were associated with relapse between 6 and 18 months following a previous binge.

Simply relapsing can help some of those suffering with obesity to be more compliant with their diet. To them, relapsing means “hitting rock bottom”, and they will be more motivated to change whatever they can to ensure a better recovery. Others may not be prepared, and will be more difficult to reach. For these people, consistent support and patience are important to maintain.

Another valuable action you can take is to tell your friend about FATSO. There may be a FATSO group in the community in which he lives. You could take him to a FATSO meeting. Show him how to get on the FATSO website and navigate to the different sections available (“Inform Yourself,” “Find Support,” and “Take Action”). Being an informed consumer will help him understand not only more about his illness but also about the important role dieting can have in controlling his symptoms (in his case, obesity).

It’s very important that your friend knows you will be there to help him when his over-eating gets troublesome. Your support in helping him stay on his diet will benefit him greatly.


Alarming weight gain seen in kids on psych drugs

CHICAGO — Children on widely used psychiatric drugs can quickly gain an alarming amount of weight; many pack on nearly 20 pounds and become obese within just 11 weeks, a study found.

“Sometimes this stuff just happens like an explosion. You can actually see them grow between appointments,” said Dr. Christopher Varley, a psychiatrist with Seattle Children’s Hospital who called the study “sobering.”

You can find the article at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/27/AR2009102702316.html?hpid=sec-health

My response to this shocking relevation is – oh for heaven’s sake. Like this is a big surprise? Alarming weight gain has been observed in adults for years. Is it only when we see it in children that alarm bells goes off?

Eugene, Oregon takes a giant step forward

Hot off the press! The city of Eugene, Oregon passed this resolution last night. Please circulate. Your local paper should know about this.

The original post is from Ron Unger’s blog. http://recoveryfromschizophrenia.org/2009/10/city-affirms-choice-in-mental-health-treatment-including-choice-of-non-drug-alternatives-as-a-human-right/

RESOLUTION NO. __________

The City Council of the City of Eugene finds that:

A. The City Council of the City of Eugene recognizes that the diversity of our population is vital to our community’s character, and that we have a long tradition of protecting and expanding human rights and civil liberties protections for all of our residents, including persons with all types of disabilities.

B. U.S. Courts have affirmed a number of rights for people diagnosed with mental disabilities. At the national level, the right to choose to live in the least restrictive environment that is reasonably available has been affirmed. At the state level, a number of courts have affirmed a person’s right to refuse psychotropic medications, even when the state has a “compelling interest” in providing treatment, if less intrusive, effective treatment alternatives exist. These decisions are consistent with the principle that all people have the right to lives free of unnecessary restrictions and intrusions.

C. Many people determine that psychiatric medications are quite helpful for their mental and emotional conditions, and are grateful to have the opportunity to take them. Others find medications to be harmful to their health, unhelpful and/or excessively intrusive and problematic. When people seek treatment and are offered medication as the only treatment option, they may feel coerced into choosing that option. Many of the medications currently provided are typically associated with significant medical risk, are often experienced as subjectively harmful, and their long-term effectiveness remains controversial. Furthermore, there are widely researched psychosocial alternative treatments likely to be at least as effective for many, with fewer harmful effects.

D. Many mental health problems are caused by trauma and human rights violations, such as child abuse, war, racism, lack of housing and economic opportunities, domestic violence, and others. A key element in any kind of trauma is the denial of choice. When people who have been traumatized are denied choices in recovery, an effect may be retraumatization.

E. Serious psychiatric disorder is often thought of as inevitably a permanent condition requiring a lifetime of medication, however research shows that a substantial fraction of those with even the most serious diagnoses do fully recover, eventually not requiring treatment. Treatment choices, designed to foster rehabilitation and recovery, which include working, living, and participating in the life of the community, have been shown to increase such recovery.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF EUGENE, a Municipal Corporation of the State of Oregon, as follows:

Section 1. All mental health service providers within the City of Eugene are encouraged to incorporate self determination and consumer choice as much as possible, with accurate information provided to consumers and to families about those choices. Special emphasis should be placed on providing diverse alternatives in treatments, including non-drug alternatives, whenever possible.

Section 2. All mental health service providers within the City of Eugene are urged to offer a full range of choices designed to assist in complete recovery. Section 3. This Resolution shall become effective immediately upon its adoption.

The foregoing Resolution adopted the ____ day of October, 2009.

Acting City Recorder

Martin Armstrong’s cycle theory becoming less of a secret

“We seek and see patterns in things. It is the way our minds work, presumably for the purpose of survival.”*

What I love about schizophrenia is how relevant it is to the life forces of our universe. There is almost nothing that I encounter on a daily basis that doesn’t relate in some way to schizophrenia as I have come to understand it. The latest is an article in the New Yorker magazine about market cycle guru Martin Armstrong, whose ability to predict market cycles based on the mathematical ratio pi, earned him billions and, unfortunately, since 1999, jail time. For obvious reasons I wish I understood as much about the cycles of the market as I think I do about how energy vibrations relate to schizophrenia. On the other hand, Mr. Armstrong has been at his obsession since the 1970s and I only relatively recently started to grasp that there is a link between energy vibrations and schizophrenia.

Losing one’s mind is treated by Western medicine from a biochemical perspective, but is seen by ancient and indigenous cultures in a completely different and more positive way. Ancient and indigenous peoples and religions use vibration as a pathway to the power that shapes the universe. These can range from ceremonially inducing a trance-like and/or hallucinatory state through yoga, music, or plant stimulants that shift the center of energy.

Martin Armstrong began to sense a pattern to the rise and fall of markets when he realized that on average there was a financial panic every 8.6 years between 1683 and 1907. He realized that there was a natural rhythm to the economy and world affairs that followed 8.6 year cycles. Later, he realized that the number 8.6 was 3,141 days, or 1000 times pi (3.141) Pi is an irrational number that governs the physical universe (pyramids, the swing of a pendulum, etc.) If it governs the physical universe, Armstrong reasoned, why could it not govern the financial markets and human behavior?

As technical analysts do for markets, people with schizophrenia see patterns where other people fail to see them. It looks like chaos to us, but as I have said many times, if you pay close enough attention to what is said, there is more than a thread of logic and ultimate truth tying it all together. Technical analysis of market forces say that the market fundamentals like balance sheets and price/earnings ratios are less important than emotions and the so far unexplainable forces that produce quantum changes in markets. “The idea that there may be celestial influences on the spontaneous desire to invest or not is an old one,” a trader is quoted as saying in the article, “but it’s too embarrassing to explore in modern economics. These topics are not fit for polite conversation in most circles.” To which I can add, “or even when healing schizophrenia using energy therapies.” I don’t bother talking to people about this anymore. They begin to nervously back away from me, as if I, too, have caught the so-called disease of schizophrenia.

Martin Armstrong believes that cycles in life (and the markets) started with the Big Bang. Very early on I began to entertain the idea that schizophrenia is also related to the Big Bang, but I couldn’t and still cannot explain it. I do think that schizophrenia is possibly related to sub-particle behavior, which is less predictable than the mass behavior Mr. Armstrong has observed that comes in waves. Perhaps people with schizophrenia are closer to the “God particle” than the rest of us. Many are obsessed with religion and see themselves as God or a God like figure, which to me is an enormous clue that science, so far, has failed to link to physics. I am being perfectly serious here, by the way.

The therapies that most correlate with the cycle theory that Chris and I have undertaken are sound therapy, which replicates the spiraling sound waves following the Big Bang, the Tomatis Method, which recognizes that our behavior is governed by what we hear, and the assemblage point shift. Cathartic psychotherapies also correlate because they are often ceremonial in nature and stimulate cellular changes through a release of emotion. What I am trying to do in having Chris undergo these therapies, is to put his emotions and actions more in sync with the natural world and to not be overwhelmed by it.

On reading the New Yorker article, I found another fellow traveler in Edward R. Dewey, the chief economic analyst at the Department of Commerce in the early 1930s. Like my experience in asking psychiatrists what causes schizophrenia, Mr. Dewey asked a number of economists about what caused the Great Depression, and he found that everybody had a different explanation, which to him meant that nobody had a clue. This has a familiar ring to me. At this point you either accept the wisdom (?) of the crowd, or you continue to look for meaning in what otherwise looks like chaos. Mr. Dewey found his answer in the view of a particular economist that business behaviors have a tendency to repeat themselves.

I am not writing this to boast that I have unlocked the key to healing schizophrenia, because clearly I haven’t. To me, though, there is growing compelling evidence, such as demonstrated by Martin Armstrong, that we are all sensitive to universal forces that began with the Big Bang. Observing the phenomenon of schizophrenia gives you a ring side seat in the quantum universe. This information, even if barely understood, can still be used to heal.

*The Secret Cycle: Is the Financier Martin Armstrong a con man, a crank, or a genius?, Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, October 12, 2009

Click to access NewYorker1012091.pdf

Consumer empowerment

Ron Unger has written a superb piece on consumer empowerment which I think is a must read.

“Recovery from many kinds of problems is affected by beliefs about the possibility of recovery. Consider a hypothetical example of a person who has received an injury which affects the person’s ability to walk, but which is not necessarily permanently disabling if strong efforts are made to recover. If the person is led by medical authorities to believe that the disability is permanent, efforts at rehabilitation will probably not be made, and the prediction may become a self fulfilling prophecy. Since the disability at that point is a result of the inaccurate prediction rather than the injury itself, the disability becomes a medical system induced condition.

You can find the rest of his article at http://recoveryfromschizophrenia.org/2009/10/the-role-of-consumer-empowerment-in-mental-health-recovery/

I know a woman whose husband died within this last year, and his doctor was completely shocked that he had died, because his condition wasn’t life-threatening. Nevertheless the man in his late 70s went further and further downhill, until he ended up in a nursing home, all the time treated by the same doctor. The doctor said to the wife after the fact, “maybe I was too pessimistic when I spoke with him.”

Trauma revisited

I am becoming quite uneasy with the way the word “trauma” is bandied about in the context of schizophrenia. Trauma is often likened to something immediate, like child sexual abuse or having a parent who beats you daily in an alcoholic rage. I fear that what I see as a growing insistence to link child abuse with schizophrenia is turning into a witch hunt. We are all traumatized in some way by our upbringing, even by “good” parents. Most of us don’t go on to develp schizophrenia.

Trauma in schizophrenia is usually much more subtle than that. It depends on the individual and the personal family history. That’s why one person’s schizophrenia is never identical to someone else’s. It is context specific. It can’t be replicated in others because everybody’s environment is different.

Think of dropping a stone into a pool of water. The pool is the pool of you, your children and your ancestors. The stone is a triggering event. It could be an untimely death, a grand deception, a stay in prison, an illigimate child. The ripples radiate out in concentric circles. Each generation is a circle. There is displacement. Most of us are not that sensitive to the ripples. But some of us are. Some of us sense that something has happened without knowing anything about its origins. That can be schizophrenia, or depression, or it could be a childhood cancer. There are all kinds of conditions that we take on in response to pain.

Let’s understand that “trauma” can mean deeply held “feelings” that even the suffer is unaware as to the origin. The sufferer passes these feelings on

Trauma is human suffering not made conscious.

The need to get away

I just dropped Chris off at the airport. He is spending a long week-end with former university friends in a large city. We went through the list – passport, plane ticket, phone numbers, medications, NADH energy pill. He squeezed everything into one carry-on bag and was totally prepared. He was demonstrating that he is again the well-organized person that he used to be. In other circumstances, I wouldn’t be the least bit worried. After all, Chris is twenty-five. However, he is a twenty-five year old who has not managed to do all the stuff that his friends have been taking for granted for several years now. He will be staying in a youth hostel for part of the time.

However, he needed a break from the boredom of not having not enough to do and having no friends of his own age around. One of the hardest things about this is that friends move away. A couple of friends fell away during his recent relapse. I am grateful for the ones who still keep in touch.

I am hoping that a change of scenery will give Chris fresh insight and imbue him, even just a bit, with a sense of direction. He is working, very slowly, with an occupational therapist who is helping him to discern where his talents and strengths are. There is a lot more to schizophrenia than just the absence of psychosis. You might think, great, he’s not psychotic, he seems reasonably intelligent, so why isn’t he back at university, or working hard a job or whatever?

The answer is, I just don’t know. He is more than capable of holding down a job, if his volunteer work is any indication. When Ian and I tried pushing him back to university last year, we got relapse. Ian and I are no longer pushing. We are simply waiting.

Mental disorders treatable by your family doctor

The World Health Organization’s Mental Health Gap Action Programme highlighted through World Mental Health Day recently that mental disorders are treatable and most of them can be treated in primary care, meaning in your family doctor’s office or community clinic.

The report says that treatment does not always mean medication and that many mental disorders can be treated using psychosocial methods. A study carried out in China confirmed that epilepsy could be treated with an inexpensive anti-convulsant medicine by health professionals who had undergone basic training.

The catch here is that treating mental disorders in primary care settings is what WHO recommends for developing countries. Why can’t the same be true for developed countries? Dr. Abram Hoffer said years ago that schizophrenia could be treated by family doctors. Three years ago I asked our family doctor to take over Chris’s care in conjunction with his psychiatrist, and the answer was “no.” The answer will still be “no.”

If schizophrenia could be treated in primary care settings bolstered with psychosocial interventions it would go a long way to taking away the fear and stigma surrounding this label. I suspect more people would get better because it would “normalize” the situation. The WHO has already reported that the incidence of recovery from mental illness is much greater in the developing world. While it is not the premise of this latest WHO report to analyze why recovery from mental illness in the developing world is more likely than in the developed world, the report confirms why it will continue to be so.

The report can viewed at http://www.who.int/mental_health/mhgap_final_english.pdf

An inspirational approach

A better approach than what NAMI offers was put forward at a round table discussion with psychiatrists that I attended during Mental Health Week. This involved a panel of heads of mental health user networks from several countries who discussed how to empower people to take charge of their own mental health. David Crepaz-Keay from the UK was particularly compelling because he stated flatly that the problem with health care systems as most people know them is that they don’t advocate any options when people don’t want to take the meds. He feels strongly that individual’s choices should be respected and the person helped to get better using other interventions, of which there are many.

David Crepaz-Keay ought to know. Given the medical diagnosis of schizophrenia at the age of fourteen he says he didn’t get to where he is today by following medical advice. He also expressed grave concern about the culture of low expecations surrounding people with a schizophrenia diagnosis.

Here is an out-of-date bio of David Crepaz-Keay that is on the Internet. Unfortunately, I can’t recall what his latest position is, but it’s more senior to the one posted.

Profile – David Crepaz-Keay

Posted: 28 July 2005 | Subscribe Online

How long in the job? Four weeks.

I didn’t get where I am today by: Following medical advice.

Over the course of my career, I wish I hadn’t: Admitted to knowing how computers work, condemning myself to years of hard labour as unpaid IT support.

The person who influenced me most is: Pamela Jenkinson, then chair of Wokingham Mind, who I met as a hospital in-patient. She told me to do something more useful with my life.

Me and my career: The treatment of people with a psychiatric diagnosis has changed beyond recognition over the 26 years since I first received one. Although prejudice is widespread, it is demonstrably possible for people who have used psychiatric services to run mental health services.

One of the biggest blocks to developing significant roles for disadvantaged groups is other people’s low expectations and the mental health world is particularly guilty of this. Part of my new role is to dismantle these barriers.

One of the most important challenges facing mental health over the next five years is to move from talking about user empowerment, to making it happen.

Curriculum Vitae
June 2005-present: Senior policy adviser at the Mental Health Foundation.
1997-2005: Consultant, deputy director and chief executive of charity Mental Health Media.
2003-present: Commissioner, Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health.
1990-8: Consultant on service user involvement, various health and social services departments.
1982-91: Worked at HM Treasury and in the water industry.