The Self Concept

Chapter 7b of Meeting the Voices in My Head and Searching for an Inner Adult

Image from Pixabey

The mission of the Rebel is to claim certain feelings, beliefs, and practices as my own, distinct from others. It establishes the boundaries of the Self and assiduously patrols them. It guards my individuality and protects me from losing my identity.

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A Case for Rage

A Book Review

Oxford University Press

Is my anger justified? Anyone who’s ever been angry believes it is. But anger can be terribly destructive and must be managed, say those who are not angry at the moment. Who’s right? Is anger worth keeping?

Ethical philosopher, Myisha Cherry recently wrote a book that describes the difference between righteous anger and the other kind. It’s titled, The Case for Rage: Why Anger Is Essential to Anti-Racist Struggle. Dr Cherry comes out in favor of certain kinds of rage against racism. I’d like to see if my rage can be justified when it’s against something else that pisses me off: my cable provider.

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The Rebel

Chapter 7a of Meeting the Voices in My Head and Searching for an Inner Adult

Ernesto Che Guevara – Graffito in the Harbour of Havanna from Pxhere

Your head must be reeling with all the inhabitants of my mind I’ve introduced so far. How do you think I feel, with everyone chattering away, wanting me to do what they say? Between the Innermost Child, The Face of the Other, Firefighters, the Fuck-Its, Linus, Bots, Critics, and all the Feelings, including Shame, I’ve often wondered, where do I come in? Is there any room in my own head for me?

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The Critic in Disguise

Chapter 6c of Meeting the Voices in My Head and Searching for an Inner Adult

Photo by ContentAl from PxHere

An Inner Critic will sometimes disguise itself as someone else to give more authority to the things it says. That happened to me once at the grocery store. I was happily browsing in the coffee aisle when a woman came near, choosing some expensive beans for herself. She moved with the poise of a dancer, dressed in elegant clothes, tastefully perfumed, and meticulously groomed. I had the sense she thought I was not worthy of inhabiting the same aisle as her. Not that she said so, for her manners were far too refined. One part of me agreed I was inferior. This part of me seemed to say, hail to the queen and, if it had its way, I would have bowed and paid homage. Another part of me resented her and proclaimed that, although I come from a humble background and have relatively crude ways, I’m as good a person as she; even better, if you factor in my lack of pretense.

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Shame’s Minions: The Inner Critics

Chapter 6b of Meeting the Voices in My Head and Searching for an Inner Adult

Image from Pixabay

Shame has such an important job to do, to protect me from rejection, that it spawns a horde of minions to do much of its work. These are the Inner Critics, who dominate a great deal of airtime in my mind.

As a writer and a shrink, I’m intimately familiar with the inner critics, both my own and others’. You might expect us to be natural enemies. Most of my clients come to me complaining about their inner critics and asking me to silence them. If only they didn’t have this voice in their head constantly demeaning them, they would be happier than they are.

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A Reflective Eclectic Treatment of Addiction

A Reading of The Urge: Our History of Addiction, Part V

When I was growing up, some people in my life drank, but there was only one instance when someone’s drinking resulted in scary behavior. I grew up in the sixties and early seventies and considered myself a hippie, but drug culture passed me and my friends by. Addiction was not even on my radar the first time I attended an AA meeting, but that meeting changed my life.

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Zero Tolerance or Harm Reduction?

A Reading of The Urge: Our History of Addiction, Part IV

My very first client when I began my career as an intern at a VA Medical Center’s Chemical Dependency Unit, confessed to me that he couldn’t stop thinking about having sex with little girls. He explained that heroin was the only thing that helped him resist that urge. Now that we were telling him to stop using heroin, he didn’t know what he was going to do.

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Get Started On the Road to Reconciliation

Or Personal Peace

I have developed a 2 1/2 hour video course that helps people get on the Road to Reconciliation. You can watch it as many times as you need.

Part one is free, so you can see what it’s like. The cost of the entire course is $25.

Part 1 – How to Get Started on the Road to Reconciliation

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Course Description

1- How to Get Started on the Road to Reconciliation

How to break the Victim-Offender Cycle, assess the damages, and the likelihood of continued harm.

2- Wreckage on the Road to Reconciliation

The mistakes victims make that prevent them from finding peace or achieving authentic reconciliation. Plus supplemental videos on dealing with emotions and immaturity.

3- The Mountaintop Moment

Covers the most delicate part of the journey. This is the part where you go from just feeling like a victim, to finding where your sense of power and agency reside. How to deal with your guilt or shame.

4- Making Reparations

Takes the Offender’s point of view. Covers how to deliver an effective apology and make long-lasting repair.

5- Cultivating Change

Returns to the victim’s point of view. You identified where you went wrong, apologized, made amends, but your partner has done nothing to help you trust him. Is there anything you can do to move him along and make him change? There is, but you must learn how to ask for what you want without asking for trouble.

6- When Problems Take Over

Here, we turn to the toughest cases, when there has been repeated harm and general deterioration of the relationship. How to deal with addiction, personality disorders, or other chronic problems.

7- Personal Peace

How to find personal peace when reconciliation is impossible. Making an escape plan. Dealing with intrusive thoughts about the relationship.

The After Visit Summary

And my take on Dr Melfi and Tony Soprano

Image from HBO via Wikipedia

The best idea I’ve had about how to conduct psychotherapy, I got from visiting my allergist.

Whenever I have tears in my eyes during a session, it might be because of what the client was saying; sometimes I’m deeply moved, but probably my allergies were responsible. I once went to see an allergist to determine if there was something I could do about it. He gave me a bunch of tests and told me there was. All I had to do was…

“Got it?” the allergist asked.

“I understand,” I claimed.

Then he showed me the printed After Visit Summary where he had written out the instructions. I learned I had not understood. Not at all. I was completely confused.

The incident got me thinking about all the times I’ve had people in my office and watched them arrive at an important insight or learn an important skill, only to forget about them as soon as they left. Many of my interventions, interpretations, recommendations, and homework assignments also get forgotten. I might prevent that from happening simply by writing an After Visit Summary just as my allergist had. In this document, he summarized the things I had said about my allergies. He gave the test results. He listed the steps I could take to treat them.

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Is Addiction a Disease?

A Reading of The Urge: Our History of Addiction, Part III

People have debated whether addiction is a disease for as long as I know and have never settled the matter for me, so that I cannot say for certain whether it is or isn’t. It depends on what you mean by disease. The word is inherently slippery, according to Carl Erik Fisher in his book, The Urge: Our History of Addiction.

Fisher is an addiction psychiatrist, bioethicist, and assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University. The book presents the history of the concept of addiction and our consequent response to it, paired with his own history of alcoholism and recovery.

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