The Hard Work of Resignation

Having worked in a Mental Health Clinic, in which, the wait list for services is typically 4-6 weeks long, there is a consistent expectation of timely discharge once therapeutic goals have been met, so I usually initiate counseling with clients by framing it as working towards discharge from the very ……

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#Compassion, #MentalHealth, #SocialWork

Normalizing the Mental Health Spectrum to Address Widespread Stigma

It would be fair to say that I was figuratively dragged kicking and screaming into the field of mental health. My greatest fear when my foundational practicum placement was confirmed was to be at a subsidized housing building for residents with mental health issues and I would not be adequately equipped with the necessary skills to intervene with individuals that were actively suicidal, which scared me substantially….

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#Compassion, #Humanity, #MentalHealth, #Stigma, #TherapeuticUseOfSelf

Tarpon Springs, FL, first trauma-informed city, embraces messy path toward peace


Tarpon Springs, Florida, once known as the nation’s sponge-fishing capital, today boasts a new designation: the first city in the country to declare itself a trauma-informed community.

It isn’t that the 24,000 residents of the scenic Gulf Coast town know more than the rest of us about emergency room techniques, spend their time crunching spreadsheets of violence data or watch more episodes of “America’s Most Wanted.”

Being a trauma-informed community means that Tarpon Spring has made a commitment to engage people from all sectors—education, juvenile justice, faith, housing, health care and business—in common goals. The first is to understand how personal adversity affects the community’s well being. The second is to institute resilience-building practices so that people, organizations and systems no longer traumatize already traumatized people and instead contribute to building a healthy community….

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#Abuse, #Compassion

Mindfulness protects adults from physical, mental health consequences of childhood abuse, neglect

Fact #1: People who were abused and neglected when they were kids have poorer physical and mental health. The more types of ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) – physical abuse, an alcoholic father, an abused mother, etc. – the higher the risk of heart disease, depression, diabetes, obesity, being violent or experiencing violence. Got an ACE score of 4 or more? Your risk of heart disease increases 200%. Your risk of suicide increases 1200%….

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#Academic, #Compassion, #Healthcare, #Neurobiology, #PublicHealth, #Research, #Violence

Need help loving humanity? How To Evolve Beyond “Us” Versus “Them” Thinking

“Pysco Slut,” by Tracey Emin (1999)

One of the greatest threats to humankind is our tendency to create what sociologists call in-groups and out-groups. While such distinctions contribute to group solidarity, increased safety, and a personal sense of belonging, they can also lead to the us versus them thinking that underlies humans’ greatest acts of cruelty….

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#Abuse, #Compassion, #Humanity, #SocialTrauma

Vermont first state to propose bill to screen for ACEs in health care


Dr. George Till, Vermont state legislator and physicianWhen Vermont State Legislator and physician Dr. George Till heard Dr. Vincent Felitti present the findings of the CDC’s Adverse Childhood Experiences Study at a conference in Vermont last October, he had an epiphany that resulted in a seismic shift in how he saw the world. The result: H. 762, The Adverse Childhood Experience Questionnaire, the first bill in any state in the nation that calls for integrating screening for adverse childhood experiences in health services, and for integrating the science of adverse childhood experiences into medical and health school curricula and continuing education.

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#Abuse, #Compassion, #HealthCare, #MentalHealth

Empathy and the Problem of Definition

In the behavioral sciences it is often very difficult to know if we are on the same page. This confusion plagues many of our discussions. How do we define our terms? How do we manage useful disagreement? Are we even talking about the same thing? These issues surfaced immediately at The Helix Center’s roundtable on empathy and altruism. We have varied and different commitments when we use these concepts.

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#Compassion, #DSM, #Empathy

A Civilized Heart?

At the beginning of the Enlightenment, the story of the world was told like this: Homo sapiens stand at the top of the evolutionary pyramid, the pinnacle species, a white man distinguished by his capacity for reason. One giant step down the pyramid stands the white woman, and below her are her children. Another large step down the side of the pyramid stands all the other races and below them, at the bottom, resides animals, plants, and earth. Each step down marks a distance away from reason and a step closer to the emotions, until finally at the bottom, there were no thoughts or emotions at all, just the body-machine and space. Here we would have found one of the heroes of the Enlightenment, René Descartes, asserting, as he repeatedly kicks a dog, that its cries were no different than the ticks of a clock. “Kick a dog, or vivisect a dog, and it yelped not out of pain but like the spring in a clock being struck.”

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#Compassion, #Enlightenment

Cure Cancer With a Smile?

As CEO of Acts of Random Kindness a “good news” organization we often get requests for help from fans of the Facebook page.  Yesterday we got a very interesting one which while about an act of kindness made me look at things more from a clinical perspective.

The message read as follows:
Can you help m ……

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#ActsOfKindness, #Cancer, #Compassion, #DeathAndDying, #Disease, #Family, #Kindness

Do You Believe?

Things I Have To Believe In

I feel the urge to share some of the things and people I believe in.  I was standing in line speaking with someone yesterday when a young woman walked by chatting with a co-worker;  we both overheard her speaking with a lot of passion and hope for a client of hers. The person I was talking to rolled their eyes as the woman passed and out of the side of their mouth said quietly, “Ugh, give her a few years to grow up and she’ll soon change her tune.”  Well, the cynicism of those words and the mocking tone in which they were uttered made me feel sad for the person who spoke them rather than the person they were spoken about. I hope I never get to the point where I stop believing in the people I’m working with. …Full Story @