The Soul of Adulthood

This is a key psychological truth: struggle is good.

When you don’t have to struggle, you don’t heal and grow up. It’s the “soul” of maturity and adulthood.

Many times in therapy, individuals demand quick fixes amid the high drama of their lives. They avoid the pain of struggle. Those who become successful in this only prolongs their misery.

Rowena is spoiled, smothered, and coddled as a child. Her Mom does every basic chore for her, removing all comfort roadblocks from her path.

Now at 30, Rowena refuses to leave home. Her Mom likes doing things for her. Since home is an only place where she “runs the show,” she failed to learn the value of struggle.

Rowena is unable to leave home. She wants to continue studying in a university and receive allowances from Mom. She doesn’t want a job. She can’t.

In my own sessions with Rowena, she said that life feels cruel and depressing to her. She felt trapped in a fantasy world and emotional prison she could not understand.

Joining Rowena in therapy is her Mom. Over time, she realized the part she played, allowing Rowena to bargain, manipulate her, and pretty much run the show.

Mom just kept playing the game of “no struggle” for her child all these years. But now, she’s healing her self. She begins to address her own childhood shortage rather than continue projecting it to Rowena.

I’m reminded of one psychologist who said, “Struggle is easier when you’re not unconsciously controlled by the ghosts of your own past.”

Struggle is good. Without optimal doses of it, there is no growth and life. No reason to exist. No sense of accomplishment.

Welcome struggle!

Instead of running away from it, you embrace it. Through struggle, you grow up to be healthy and balanced.

Christmas’ Biggest SECRET

Do you know the biggest secret of Christmas?

I tell you, it’s not Santa Claus. Not the gifts or “aginaldos.” Not the colorful Yuletide tree. Nor even the family reunions, parties, and bounty foods.

It’s a simple secret and yet so easy to miss nowadays. Even ignore or deny.

Once, I was in Thailand. While there, I started getting scared of running out of resources. That’s when I learned an essential life lesson. I’d always have something to share to others. Time. Energy. Smiles. Food. A lending hand.

I realized, the more I give, the more I receive! The generosity gave me joy and peace.

Over two thousand years ago, Someone got generous. It was the first Christmas.

We’re all familiar with religion. It tires. It enslaves our minds and hearts. For it only tells us to do this and to do that in order to reach out to God. It’s never-ending, yet there is no true satisfaction.

But, Christmas comes. It erases religion.

Christmas is the generous God Himself reaching out to mankind in the form of the greatest gift of His one and only Son, Christ Jesus, to save, reconcile, and give us everlasting life.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Look.

The biggest secret of Christmas is a “relationship, not religion.”

It’s ever before our very eyes. It dwells in the hearts and souls of mankind. Changing lives, bringing lasting joy, peace, and life on earth and hereafter.

 

The Art of Detachment

Carol set limits.. She told her husband, “I feel so devastated by your affair. You even used our car to bring her out and to our vacation house. Despite your promise to stop it, you still continue. I want you out of the house. If you agree to seek help, maybe we can talk.”

Carol sought relief. But that’s not the reason why she did that. She did it for her. While she wished her unfaithful husband would make a turnaround, it’s out of her hands. She separated from her husband’s problem and responsibility without separating from him. She still cared to offer him help.”

Detachment. At times, it’s an only way we can do to survive overwhelming pain, frustration, and disappointment of our “broken dreams.” Its often a first step in reclaiming our lives. It can be our best hope towards recovery and wholeness.

First-aid emotional detachment teaches us to endure the unendurable, the inexplicable, the paradoxical. Not just in our selves or our relationships, but also in the world in general. Managing the difficult task of detachment frees us to go even amid unanswered questions.

I’m reminded of Mommy Wilma who learned to practice a “script” with her daughter. Wilma heaved a deep sigh of relief, after telling her daughter “I separate from your problem which is your responsibility without separating from you!”

Detachment is a conscious choice. An expression of our own will to survive.

 

Nicole

The famous psychologist, Dr. Carl Jung, once wrote that resistance makes us unfocused, restless, and apathetic, which in turn “begets meaninglessness.” When the Big R (resistance) has us, we cease to live or work at all. We avoid being responsible and finding any meaning in life.

Resistance is an escape. It’s a form of war against or running-away from what needs to be done. In psychotherapy, a patient who rejects recovery, too tired or lethargic, and unable to focus on any of life’s courses, is a resistant person.

A young woman, Nicole, was smart enough to hold a high-paying position in her company. Yet she wouldn’t go for it. She’s always heard giving her self and others varied reasons why she’s “incapable” of doing where she’s seen to have great potential. One day, to the shock of those around her, she resigned her job.

Nicole went back to her mother’s care. For years, she withdrew from applying for a new job and just stayed with her Mom. She felt helpless and hopeless. She avoided even the simplest tasks of self care. In the depths of her growing depression, she missed life’s opportunities.

I’ve been reading parts of author John Sanford’s book, “The Transformation of the Inner Man.” I discovered he describes a condition he called psychological “amniosis,” which seems to apply perfectly to Nicole’s state, her Big R.

Sanford writes that “amniosis” means an “inability to come out of the amniotic fluid and be born, or flight by regression to return to the safe hiding place of the womb … Amniotic people want to be taken care of. They want to find strong people – ones in whom they can nestle, upon whom they can be dependent…”

People with the Big R usually experience a damaged self esteem. And people with a damaged self esteem often avoid being powerful, responsible, and well-adjusted. Or, they become addicted to temporary sources of relief, such as drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling etc, that prove life-damaging in the long run.

It’s a good thing Nicole is becoming increasingly aware of her Big R in our sessions. She’s now being “reschooled” away from her earlier programming, inappropriate cultural or society values and biaes, and other influences that have damaged her own self, her own uniqueness, her own interior wisdom.

Take Charge of your Health

Medicine in the form of pharmaceutical drugs plays a significant role in countless lives, such as among the elderly or seriously ill.

But the truth is, it can be just as much a curse (causing disability or death) as a blessing (especially in severe cases and diagnostic purposes).

We live in a world of “pharmageddon!” And statistics say that prescription drugs are killing far more people today than illegal drugs.

In treating mental health patients, I’ve witnessed a number of them drugged by psychiatrists, which produced more ill health than health.

A case in point was a friend of mine who chose to agree to every drug her doctor gives her for her depression and anxiety. She never recovered from decades of brain medication.

She actually got worse than before she took the drugs, getting in and out of a psychiatric or psychological facility, and finding new diseases inside her body.

If you’re not careful, “problems” can do appear that were not problems at all after indiscriminate approval of every drug, test, diagnostics, or procedure by your doctor or in the hospital.

I’m reminded of this actress who died just recently. Her slippery slope began, where each drug and test given to her led to another.

Sooner, one of these chemical interventions inside her body may had proven fatal, possibly by way of drug interaction, infection, or surgical complication. How dehumanizing, this “over-medicalizing!”

I’ve been thinking, how come, hundreds or thousands of years ago, people lived for so long and died even without much medical attention at all. In some, even when their life span had been shorter, they lived meaningful and fruitful lives.

Certainly, they had something else to account for their health apart from reliance on medicine or medical professionals.

(Related article: “Why We Are Losing Americans To Prescription Medications?”
https://theduneseasthampton.com/blog/why-losing-americans-to-prescription-medications/)

Revolutionary Psychotherapy

I’m not a traditional psychotherapist. I lament the routinely wretched treatment of mental patients throughout the world. Instead of drugs and chains of the old traditional system, I offer a loving innovative system of support and deep process healing.

I value humanity. And I act as a fellow human and traveler to those who seek help to heal.

In my sessions, I drink coffee, walk and talk, with clients in normal life-spaces. Only a few times do I see clients in a confined cubicle or fixed office space. Mostly, I’d rather bring life recovery to a therapeutic space where client and I process while we “soak in humanity” around us.

For me, this is most effective and humane than psychiatric incarceration, forced hospital or facility confinement. It’s least costly. The hurting person is freed from the zombie-like effects of brain drugs. And it’s based on empowerment of family responsibility/support as well as faith of the individual.

Working with his parents and sister, I once delivered intensive psychotherapy services to Mark into their family home. He’s 25 with a history of manic depressive episodes, depression, and severe dependency to psychiatric drugs, who might otherwise be institutionalized.

Echoing themes of my revolutionary psychotherapy, I bypassed traditional mental health approaches and invited the family, including Mark, to see me first in a coffee shop. Having been into brain drugs and in and out of facilities for years, it’s his family’s last-ditch effort to get through Mark’s hard-core.

The personalized direct involvement of the therapy hour in a casual space proved effective for Mark. It did him a lot more good and a lot less harm. He shared he felt “normal.” The nontraditional, non-invasive intervention calmed both Mark and his family.

For the first time, unencumbered by psychiatric institutional red tape, ideology, and pharmacy, Mark expressed how he felt differently. It avoided unnecessarily humiliating him and his family. He functioned better enough to think through his deeper issues without the medication.

Revolution in psychotherapy!

Time for change.

No more drugs. No more forced hospital/facility incarceration. No to dehumanization. No to shame. No to incomplete, invasive treatment. No to abrogation of family responsibility and connection.

We say “Yes!” to the Total Person deep process. Physical, Mental, Emotional, Spiritual. Natural mental health. Drug-free. Brain Health. Going to the roots, not mere fruits. Family and community.

Wellness … Inspite of Pain

Pain is a place for the mind and soul. It’s an inevitable part of life.

We’re often unable to fully understand the substance of our self. But our willingness to go deeper and experience the pains of life can make us find this true substance.

…. and wellness in spite of them.

Pain is not just physical. Mother Teresa was once quoted saying that the worst disease in the world is not leprosy or tuberculosis but the feeling of being unwanted, unloved, and abandoned by every one.

Life’s pain also includes the non-physical, the emotional, relational, and spiritual pain. It’s so because the self is of many components, one but of many parts.

In psychotherapy, there is mostly this type of pain. A lot of psychopathology and socially unacceptable behavior is really a heart cry to be loved and accepted.

Few people ever come out directly declaring this aspect of pain in their lives. But the behaviors and feelings manifested say it loud and clear.

How then do you find wellness … in spite of your pain?

Christopher is a millionaire doctor and sought-after life coach. He is only after he survived financial bankruptcy, his wife’s infidelity, and family estrangement.

He shared his hints that we can all learn from: “I just accept and bear it and every moment choose to be present in the Presence.”

Anxiety is known to stimulate pain. Christopher learned to conquer that through solitude, Scripture, and prayers.

He learned to experience wellness amidst his varied pains, even at times eliminate the pain, by changing his attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors.

An anonymous writer once wrote about a secret formula: “Suffering is not a question that demands an answer; it’s not a problem that demands a solution; it’s a mystery which demands a Presence.”

Yes, you can experience wellness … in spite of your pain or suffering.

Apply the secret.