Adult Children of Parent Alienation Syndrome

Pas On May 24, 2007 Deborah Harper on Psychjourney interviewed Dr. Amy J. L. Baker about her book, Adult Alienation Syndome: Breaking The Ties That Bind.

Dr. Richard Garner coined the phrase Parent Alienation Syndrome back in the late 70s and it has been a controversial contruct ever sense. As they say, "Seeing is believing" and over the years I have been involved with families where parent alienation syndome is present and in my experience this is a very real thing which is often misunderstood and made worse by our Child Protective System, our Family court system, and our school systems.

The podcast lasts about 50 minutes and can be listened to on line or downloaded. I highly recommend it if you are interested in this topic. You can access it by clicking on the link below.

Link: [[Psychjourney]].

Words are magic - for better or for worse

"Only the hand that erases can write the true thing."

Meister Eckhart

Slut, geek, idiot, asshole, whore, drunk, fatboy, dumb, lazy, slacker, felon - the names that confer identity assault us daily and we come to believe them. They bring to consciousness an identity which can cause great pain and work an evil magic on our life that poisons it and turns it sour if not deadly.

What is in a word? Nothing less than reality. Remember the old saying, "Perception is reality." Our own realities are created from words. Words confer consciousness; they confer meaning; they confer experience. And ignorant, unenlightened fools that we are, we believe them. And they are not true. What they refer to, the pictures they paint, the identities they confer is not who we are. How many people know that?

Be careful of the words you attribute to things and experiences. They are magical because they create a reality for ourselves and others. As the bumper sticker says, "Don't believe everything you think."


Music Therapy Improves Stroke Outcomes

Stroke Reuters HealthDay reported on 02/20/08 on a study published in the February 20, 2008 issue of the journal, Brain, which found that music therapy helps the rehabilitation of people who have suffered a stroke. Here is a brief snippet of the HealthDay article:

Listening to music for a few hours a day can help boost a stroke patient's early recovery, according to Finnish researchers.

Their study of 54 patients who'd suffered a stroke of the right or left hemisphere middle cerebral artery found that those who listened to music for a few hours a day showed better improvements in verbal memory and focused attention, and had a more positive mood than those who listened to audio books or listened to nothing at all.

The study, published in the Feb. 20 issue of Brain, is the first to show this link between music listening and stroke recovery, and the findings may prove useful in clinical practice, the researchers said.

"As a result of our findings, we suggest that everyday music listening during early stroke recovery offers a valuable addition to patient's care -- especially if other active forms of rehabilitation are not yet feasible at this stage -- by providing an individually targeted, easy-to-conduct and inexpensive means to facilitate cognitive and emotional recovery," study first author Teppo Sarkamo, of the University of Helsinki and the Helsinki Brain Institute, said in a prepared statement.

Link: MedlinePlus: Music Therapy Improves Stroke Outcomes.

Therapy Stories - Growing up means being alone

Today, I am starting a new category on my blog called, Therapy Stories. They are fictitious and any resemblance to real people and events is purely coincidental. I have created these stories from my mulitiple experiences in working with people, couples, families, organizations, and communities.

Growing up means being alone

“It sucks to be you”, I said with a lilt in my voice and a slight smile.

She took it the right way and shook her head up and down and laughed lightly but still had somewhat of a frown on her face.

“My life is just ehhhhh”, she said. She looked a little depressed. She described the problems in her life at college, at home, with her boyfriend, with her job, and then said, “I’m OK though.”

I have been a psychotherapist for over 35 years. I could be her father and almost her grandfather, and I wonder to myself what it is like to be a young woman starting out in life, having graduated from high school and off to the first year of college with high hopes but disappointed somewhat with how life is starting out.

I wondered further what she had been told about life, about what kind of life she could have, what kind of life she should have. She told me that everybody was telling her what she should do about this, that, and everything and she was torn. Her mother wanted her to do this, her father that, her older sister had advice as well.

She is conscientious and earnest and bright and sensitive, maybe too sensitive. What does she need to hear from me? What could we talk about that would help?

I finally said, “Lisa, this isn’t about them, it is about you. What do you want?”

She nodded and looked a bit skeptical.

“I want them to stop fighting and like my boyfriend.”

“Never going to happen”, I said softly, “and you can’t control them. Supposing they keep on fighting and continue to not like your boyfriend, then what?”

“Yeah, I know”, she said, now seemingly more depressed than before.

“Listen”, I said, “I make a distinction between privacy and secrecy. People have a right to their privacy. They have a right to their own life. They don’t have an obligation to share with everybody, information about everything in their life. It’s kind of like being in the military where people get information on a ‘need to know’ basis.”

She laughed.

“Secrecy”, I said, “is when another person has a right to know something and you are holding out on them. That can be unfair because the information may have an impact on them and they have a stake in it. Where do you draw the line, the line between privacy and secrecy? I can’t tell you that. You are the expert on your life not me, but I can tell you that there is a line there somewhere.”

“I like that”, she said with a pensive look.

I thought to myself how growing up means having a life of one’s own, developing a mind of one’s own, standing up for what you believe in, becoming captain of your own ship and master or mistress of your own fate. You are no longer a member of the herd.  You have staked out your own life, your own stands, your own positions on things. You have become aware and chosen your own values, opinions, beliefs, and practices, and no longer do things just because “that’s the way I was raised”.

Coming into one’s own is liberating but it also is scary because it can be lonely. No wonder Peter Pan never wanted to grow up but to remain a child forever.