Gerald Vest    
 Let Kids be Kids!!!14 comments
picture8 Sep 2007 @ 16:10
Scientific inquiry, research investigation, "finding out," and the like, all have their beginnings in the explorativeness of the child, a neotenous trait of supreme value, which is a never-failing mark of the active mind and the youthful spirit. (Ashley Montagu, Growing Young)

I have been reviewing the literature and writing short articles on the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM) and the dangers that exist with this diagnostic classification system for all populations. However, it seems that our children are increasingly being labeled ADHD as having this disorder related to their attention span. I suspect that rather than examine the teaching methods of our schools and the cloning that is applied with the testing services, the kids are being blamed and targeted with having a disease so that they can be medicated and put to sleep. [link]

I am interested in learning if our academic programs, school social workers, teachers, parents and mental health workers in our communities are investigating this scam that is cooked up with the drug industry, psychiatry, the DSM Board and clinical psychology who are the beneficiaries of this disease model? It is estimated that 20% of the child population are diagnosed with this "disease." Over 12 million kids are taking these drugs for a disease that does not exist. Dr. Baughman describes the harmful affects of these drugs and tells us that "...they (the kids) will never be the same.

I have a personal example of these harmful labels when my grandson was identified as having this invisible ADHD disease. For example, he was completing his classroom assignments much quicker than the others in his class so he became fidgety and on edge. Thus, the teacher had a session with his parents and recommended that he get tested for ADHD. My grandson was taken to a medical health center for testing and was greeted by a social worker who indicated that her son probably had ADHD.

My daughter is also a social worker and knows the indicators for this fabricated disease and the dangers of labels and drugs. Also, she knows how enthusiastic her son is about learning. She requested that he be given an intelligence test and consequently, the results demonstrated that her son was very high in the 'gifted range'. My daughter said that she helped the teacher by sending additional books and resources that she knew would keep her son happy and actively engaged in learning.

Now my grandson is placed in a gifted classroom and is no longer being judged and labeled. Don't you wonder about parents who don't have the knowledge and skill to advocate for their kids and who trust their teachers and professionals who are giving such damaging labels? Drugs?

I prefer what Pink Floyd has to say about the kids in school who are treated as "just another brick in the wall" and advises the teachers to "...leave those kids alone!" Let kids be kids.

Do read this message and click on the link of this interview with Dr. Baughman, a pediatric neurologist, willing to speak out about this scam and epidemic of ADHD.

I am interested in learning if other parents, grandparents, educators, mental health workers or counselors in our forum are concerned about children being labeled and drugged. Are any discussions taking place in the university classrooms about this abusive behavior and cohabitation of the drug, education and psychiatry industries?

Summary and other Recommended Links-

A sensitive human being could become very sick to their stomach knowing that helping professionals are drugging our kids for money. Many others are in on the decision to drug our kids, but no one will stand up for them. In this website, Dr. Baughman Jr., MD, a remarkable medical professional is making this fraud known. Do pass these messages and links on to your friends and others so that we can voice our protest of this disgusting act of aggression against a whole generation of kids. The kids are hyper because their adult 'models' don't have a clue about how to relate and engage them in children's activities. Learning can be fun. Let the kids be kids.

Also, when 0(zero) tolerance for touch policies are established in schools, our kids will not be meeting their basic human need requirements for giving and receiving physical interaction and love. Common manifestations for lack of touch for seniors/elders maintained in nursing homes are agitation, confusion, hyperactivity, anger, frustration, fear, anxiety, depression, loneliness, isolation and despair. Are not these symptoms also evident with children forced to be in classrooms for long periods of time with minimum physical interaction and nominal physical activities? Our health promotion teams using our 15 MinuteStressout Program, with elders and with youth, have provided relief of stress, anxiety and depression by administering safe, skillful and nourishing touch with these groups.

Finally, I am curious as to why people need to identify themselves with a disease model or a belief that they have a deficit or disordered mind. I would suggest that you may be more accurate to say that your mind is overly active and you have difficulty in concentrating or focusing. I suggest that if these conditions exist, begin observing your thoughts and activities of the mind with meditation. Get to know how your mind works and behaves. Observe your breathing and allow your mind to become open, accepting and allowing. You can free your mind of judgments and labels by designing a daily health plan and practice mindfulness while engaging in exercises that improve your whole being--physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

I have learned from clients that labels tend to be as difficult to overcome as the psychotropic meds. You can even make your mind more confused and anxious by accepting these labels as real--they are not. One of my favorite mantras is: "The natural state of the mind is void." (Oscar Ichazo)

I hope that I am not upsetting anyone who believes in these negative labels that are given to them by psychiatrists and psychologists. I believe that creating labels is just a game that is invented to promote and advance their business of treating these symptoms. I suggest that you at least attempt to become mindful and examine integrative or holistic health practices before you fall into the trap of becoming dependent on drugs for relaxing the body, mind and spirit.


Get the real story of press releases and other activities carried out by Dr. Baughman. [Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD: this makes it perhaps the biggest health care fraud in history, but does not a thing to validate it as a disease. Where is the first case report of ADHD-the disease. There is none]


From: NewsTarget Insider
Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2007 07:18:23 -0700
Subject: NewsTarget report: ADHD fraud exposed - Dr. Fred Baughman
NewsTarget Insider Alert (
Online reports / book announcements
(Unsubscribe instructions at bottom)

Dear readers,

In the last 30 years, the field of psychiatry has transformed childhood into a disease through the label of ADHD. That's exactly what Dr. Fred Baughman, a pediatric neurologist and fellow of the American Association of Neurologists explores in this downloadable interview from Truth Publishing.

Dr. Baughman is one of the few neurological experts that is willing to come forward with the truth about ADHD and the mass drugging of America's children. Have you ever wondered why other countries don't have this explosion of mental illness in their kids? Have you ever wondered why people in your parent's generation didn't have these problems? The answers are all right here in this interview.

Plus, Dr. Baughman shares his latest book on the subject, and a DVD warning to parents about the latest epidemic of childhood diagnosis, who is profiting from it, and how the label could hurt their child for life -- not to mention the risk of heart attack, stroke, drug abuse and all the other side effects that children on ADHD drugs experience.

Read all this and more in "Live with Dr. Fred Baughman," available for downloading now at:


Dr. Baughman shares startling facts such as:

o What group wants four out of every ten children diagnosed as ADHD

o How brain "disorders" lack an objective standard

o Why an ADHD-labeled child will have trouble getting healthcare coverage, getting a job, or getting into the military

o How diseases are created by a "show of hands"

o How parents, teachers and school districts are getting paid for ADHD diagnoses

o How many psychiatric experts are owned by the pharmaceutical industry

o The law the Bush Administration put into action that will REQUIRE your child to be screened for ADHD

o Adult ADHD "recruiting" centers where 80 percent are diagnosed as ADHD

o How the FDA lobbied another country to keep dangerous ADHD drugs on the market after fatalities occured

o Why your grandparents were never diagnosed with ADHD

o What percentage of kids walk out of their first psychiatric visit with an ADHD diagnosis

o How taxpayers foot the bill for every ADHD diagnosis

You'll want to pass this information on to everyone you know with children or grandchildren, so they don't become just another vehicle of profit for the drug industry. The risks are just too great, and too many parents and children have suffered already.

Download "Live with Dr. Fred Baughman" right now and read it for yourself:

 More >

 Our Image Egos are not our Essential Beings13 comments
picture31 Aug 2007 @ 14:56
"Surrendering to the teaching is the giving up of self-images, fears, thoughts and desires into the hands of deeper self-knowledge." (Tarthang Tulku, Hidden Mind of Freedom)

We can transform our image egos -

As I look back on my personal and professional development as an adult human being, I can see that my image of myself was the culprit that made life, health and relationships unfulfilling. It appears to me that we develop these images to identify, protect and secure the fixed ideas we create about ourselves. Perhaps this is why we are so fragile, insecure and reactive. We are so fearful about losing, shattering or changing this image that our true sense of being becomes fearful, embarrassed, insecure, indignant, protective and isolated; we are often feeling left alone in the world like a pearl in an oyster.

As a social worker by profession, I learned early on that our most effective approach and method for engaging others is to be present, in the moment, with complete openness, respect and acceptance. Knowing that everyone has an image ego that is delicate and protective is even more reason for us to learn to be non-judgmental and tolerant, allowing us to discover and experience these images for ourselves. Oscar Ichazo, one of my teachers, would describe this experience as making an arc of love with another—or being the equal.

However, because these self-images are so fixed, fearful, rigid and controlling, they don’t usually change without some skillful interventions, personal practice and genuine commitment to change. Alternative and integrative health practices have helped me and many of my students transform this image and become whole, with attributes of compassion, innocence and love that we remember as children. I often think: ‘Oh to be a child again!’ Subsequently, my grandchildren arrive in my landscape to help me relax, enjoy and refresh my essential being so that I can play and enjoy life to its fullest. I appreciate what Dr. Ashley Montagu describes in Growing Young and what it can mean to “grow up” as a child and into the skin of an adult:

To grow young means to grow in our youthful traits, not to grow out of or to abandon them.

Success for the child becomes emulation of his elders. The rare individuals who somehow manage to avoid falling into this trap and retain their childlike qualities are considered either eccentric, odd, nonconformist, or otherwise otiose (futile). We do not appreciate non-conformists in America. Our colleges and universities, not to mention our schools, avoid or reject them.(p. 198)

I have attempted to describe my journey of transformation while introducing various methods that I have employed to free this image ego and return to my true youthful nature. While writing this log, I recall many of the questions that we, my friends and colleagues, raised in our group work and/or challenged our egos with such questions during our process of change and regeneration. See for example: “Being an Effective Professional.”

Integrative Health Practices -

While learning and participating in Gestalt Therapy groups during the early 1970’s, I learned early on that behind every question is the answer. How else would we know if it is true or false? I had the good fortune to participate in some fascinating groups with four of our country’s greatest group workers—Oscar Ichazo, Joseph (Jack) Downing, Tarthang Tulku and Claudio Naranjo. Through these experiences, it became evident to me that our confusion, doubts and fears manifested in our image ego can be transformed into clarity, awareness and confidence.

How do Questions help us?

What is there to know? What would you like to know? For example, in therapy it is important for us to raise questions about ourselves? Who are you? How are you? Where are you? Why are you here? What do you want to do with your life? What makes you happy? What are your plans, goals or aspirations? How do you relate with others? What do you enjoy about your life? How do you feel about your partner, family, friends and colleagues? In other words, how meaningful is your life, health and relationships?

We might also inquire: when was the last time you did a self-assessment? Have you examined your self and your relationships with all that is-physically/sexually, mentally, socially, emotionally, spiritually? How can you improve the quality of your work, your life, your health and your relationships?

Other great questions that I recall we were asked to respond to during group sessions:

1. What is there to fear?

2. What stops or prevents you from being your best possible human being?

3. What are your patterns of conditioning that prevent you from fulfilling your whole being?

4. Do you want to change? Are you fully committed to change? What is there to change?

5. Can others count on you? Are you honest and trustworthy?

6. How do you relate or interact with others?

7. Are you mindful? Do you listen to yourself? Do you hear your voice? How you respond or react? Do you say what you mean? Are you conscious of your internal and external breath?

8. Are you curious, interested and enthusiastic?

9. How do you express your joy?

10.Do you have an open and flexible mind?

11.Are you kind, sensitive and compassionate?

12.Do you sincerely care about others and your natural and social environments?

13.How do you get along with others?

14.How do you compensate or adapt when your instincts and image ego is out of balance and you are stressed, anxious and depressed?

15.How do you act or behave when you don’t get “your way?” "My way or the highway!"

Social Work Practice courses can introduce these questions by organizing experiential work groups in the classroom to help our developing professionals learn to be skillful, aware and effective therapists. I suggest that you introduce a new question each session and encourage the students to share a personal experience related to it. This exercise may assist them in developing an open mind.

There are many ideas about our egos. This is a very good overview that may be helpful to understand how our ego develops and becomes ill-- From Beyond the Frontier of the Mind by Osho . I also have worked for the past 30+ years with the Arica Programs to assist me in this transformation process. Perhaps the best resources that I have found during my search for meaning, purpose and truth are part of Tarthang Tulku's collection.

Do visit my other articles in my log that include various approaches, techniques and methods to advance our professional knowledge, skills and values.

Note: Picture is of my mom when she was a little person. In those days the "playpen" was very popular. However, not much room for play! My grandfather, Bapa, took the picture.  More >

 Global StressOut Program - Update12 comments
picture9 Aug 2007 @ 20:45
So, to a significant extent, longevity and the quality of health are conditions that are within our control. That is the main conclusion of all studies devoted to the matter, to wit that our personal health must be our personal responsibility, and not something we leave to the physician. (Growing Young, Ashley Montagu)


I designed this 'healthy touch' program, in collaboration with the Associated Students Organization - New Mexico State University (NMSU), Health Promotion Team, NMSU School of Social Work and the Family Preservation Institute, as one alternative for improving health and wellbeing in our university, society and beyond. After giving over 10,000 "stressouts" over a 10 year period, we learned that the 'stressout program' is safe to use with all populations. We use our skillful touch program with individuals, groups, couples, and families.

This program also introduces and teaches mindfulness as an intrinsic awareness program for givers and our receivers of touch and meets basic human needs for physical interaction. Earlier this year I posted an update describing our work with elders and our Global Touch Project as we want to use this intervention around the world to support the health and wellbeing of others, especially our elders who are often ignored, lonely and isolated.

Dear team members and friends,

This is a summer report on our stressouts in our health clinics for April, May, June and July. Earlier, I sent an update describing our work while giving over 3,800 stressouts in health clinics and other senior resources averaging about 150 chair type massages a week.

During the past four months, Elizabeth Frost, Ann Twohig and I gave 270 stressouts at Mesilla Park, Eastside and Munson diabetic clinics. Francesca and Imelda introduced our program and gave orientation/training programs with the staff at Village at Northrise and with the Herritage nursing homes. Do contact Francesca if you would like to have a training program in your area--her team is very experienced and knowledgeable about working with elders. Special thanks to Cher Gurerrero for maintaining our statististical reports and for her work with our team.

I know that others in our global network are also giving stressouts, so please let me know about your work in advancing the use of safe, skillful and nourishing touch with individuals, groups and communities. I would also like to include any comments, experiences and evaluations that you receive on our web site.

The Good Samaritan Terrace Times, Aug/2007, published a very excellent article describing the numerous StressOuts our NMSU, "Social Work Practice with Elders," class gave during our Spring term. I posted this article along with others on our website, so do visit us regularly and encourage others to join with us in improving the quality of lives, health and relationships with elders. 15-Minute StressOut Program [link]

We are preparing for Professor Linda Schaberg's nursing classes to begin their work with our elders during the Fall semester and we are eager to extend our work into all of the nursing facilities in our service area as an ongoing activity.

Thanks for staying-in-touch. Come and join with us and become part of our growing health program.

Best wishes,



If you wish to be a volunteer, schedule an in-service training program in your agency or know of care-givers and others who may be interested in learning our safe, skillful and nourishing touch program for all populations, please let us know. We will help you develop your workshops and send you a free DVD and Power Point outline.  More >

 Healthy Kids have enormous energy 12 comments
picture26 Jul 2007 @ 12:44
It is--the need to love others and to be loved; the qualities of curiosity, inquisitiveness, thirst for knowlege; the need to learn; imagination, creativity, openmindedness, experimental-mindedness; the sense of humor, playfulness, joy, the optimism, honesty, resilience, and compassionate intelligence--that constitute the spirit of the child. Growing Young, Ashley Montagu

Do we have the 'spirit' to stay up with our kids and grandkids?

I'm not sure how much energy I have left today to write a log on "staying up" with kids. As we know, when all of the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual systems are in balance, an abundance of energy manifests in all four realms--so it can be great fun to engage our grandkids fully. In a day's time, we play ball, write a "Daily Family Newsletter," go golfing, swim, play cards, go biking, play video games, review the Tarot, and still have time to eat three meals, take pictures and make a video. What a Day this Makes!!!

I am truly amazed at how much energy kids have and how they love to express it with their whole being. It is no wonder that school is so hard for them when they must curtail their physical activities and sit for a long period of time without being able to express themselves fully. It is obvious that their minds are wide open and in the moment so they can express their creativity and joy in living with their whole being when given the opportunity. They laugh, sing, dance, drum, and play freely without any inhibition or limitation. Oh, once in awhile they have some usual sibling rivalries, and the age differences present some challenges: however, the honesty and innocence of children's expression of emotions allows them to get angry, upset and they usually get over it just as quickly as it comes. Hmm, if only we adults could be so skillful and flexible.

Anyway, this is a short article I will expand upon as we enter our 2nd. week of vacation together with our grandkids--Ari (age 9), Beau (Age 8) and Daeja (age 5).

During some quiet times, Ariana made several short videos related to being Mindful: "Learning the difference between Mindfulness and Accidents"- [link]  More >

 Alternatives for Mental Health Workers and their Clients9 comments
picture20 Jun 2007 @ 13:17
Meditation Proves to Relieve Stress-

"Mindfulness requires keen observation, but it must be free from interpretation and passing judgment. Practicing mindfulness develops our usual awarenss to its most subtle level; with this awareness, we can protect ourselves against being pulled off balance by our thoughts and emotions." (Tarthang Tulku, Openness Mind, p. 118)

While discussing the mental health movement in several of my previous logs, I also introduced meditation, exercise, Martial Arts, Psychocalisthenics, massage & skillful touch, theatre, photography, art, music and dance. As we become more interested and involved in developing ourselves--our knowledge and experience of the arts and of various meditations, we can learn first hand how we can balance our body, mind and emotions while experiencing very positive feelings and healthy relationships both internally and externally. Thus, it is no surprise to learn that depression, stress and anxiety can be improved with meditation and the arts because we are 'playing a part' in the healing processes. We develop will power or determination by maintaining a daily practice of being mindful and by being engaged in many integrative health practices.

For many years, while teaching full time for New Mexico State University, School of Social Work, I taught courses in Holistic Health Practice and Integrative Health Practices every semester for many disciplines that included all of these methods. Currently, I introduce these practices with the US Army, Ft. Bliss, TX as part of the "Stress Management-Health Promotion Classes," Army Community Services and annually with our course in "Social Work Practice with Elders."

With meditation, the healing takes place with the patient or client participating in this experience. With drugs, the participant is not often considered important to the healing process, especially with the psychotropic drugs. I have abstracted a couple of paragraphs from this Buddhist Meditation website that demonstrates through research how effective meditation practices can be for improving our whole being and for relieving our pain and suffering.

Buddhist Meditation and Health

"Duangjai Gasandigun (1986) has carried out research on how our moods affect our mental health: 'the effects of meditation on mental health, measured by comparing depression in individuals between 15 and 25 years of age at the Buddhist Center for the practice of Religious Precepts (Phrathamgai Temple) in Phatumthani province. A control group of 156 people who had been instructed in meditation, had to take a test that measured their level of depression both before and after meditation. The average score showed that depression was lower after meditation. This suggests that meditation relieves stress, bringing with it the ability to analyze, understand problems and alleviate the cause of depression.

It should be pointed out that all kinds of diseases are treated with medicine or with many procedures of medical science. Some treatments use our own intentions and will power, for example, psychotherapy or the practice of meditation. In such treatments, the patient must play a part in helping himself, not simply depending on medicine. These treatments demonstrate that the mind can look after itself and have an effect on the treatment of physical disease. In this way, if a patient receiving treatment is able to understand that his sickness is physical and doesn't allow it to affect his mental health, staying calm and cheerful, then that his sickness will inevitably improved and be cured more quickly. But if a patient reverts to being low-spirited, depressed or self-piteous then the sickness will be more difficult and take longer to treat. Therefore, staying calm, clear-headed and cheerful at all times is something that can protect us from disease. Phra Dhebhavedhi (Prayut Payuddho 1993 pp. 15-16) has listed all the benefits meditation can bring both to mental and to the development of the personality: will-power, determination, stability, politeness, gentleness, dexterity, liveliness, nimbleness, cheerfulness, dignity, altruism and the ability to know oneself and others truthfully. These are the attributes of a person who has achieved perfection in both in body and mind."


Another program in Toronto, Canada, "Meditation for Health," introduces meditation and mindfulness to treat a host of symptoms that are normally treated through drug therapies. These alternatives to medical interventions have proven to be very successful for thousands of years by many cultures--our western psychologies are only now beginning to do their research that clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of these practices. Lucynda Sykes,' MD, program as described here, introduces a health practice that is not unlike many integrative health practices throughout the US, many modeled after Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn's, stress reduction clinic, the University of Massachusetts Medical center and introduced in his classic book - Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness.

Meditation for Health is:

a community-based medical program in Toronto, Canada, that teaches Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) as a self-care treatment for chronic, stress-sensitive symptoms.

-a complement and support to regular medical treatment. It helps people to mobilize their own inner resources for coping and healing -- especially for symptoms no longer responding to more standard medical treatments, or for symptoms exacerbating the course of chronic disease.

-an instruction in self-regulating techniques that have been shown to change the experience of symptoms, and to promote healing by reducing the stress response in mind and body.

Has been useful for such conditions as:

o chronic pain

o anxiety and panic

o sleep disturbance & insomnia

o gastrointestinal distress

o fatigue

o headaches

o job or family stress

o skin disorders

o high blood pressure

o stress factors in heart disease"

Furthermore, Dr. Sykes introduces mindfulness that is taught throughout her workshops and sessions:

What is "mindfulness"?

"Mindfulness" is nonjudgmental, moment to moment awareness --- our experience of being here, now.

"Mindfulness can be cultivated by deciding to pay attention to things that we normally never give a moment's thought to:

.... Like the sounds you are hearing right now ....

.... or the feeling of your eyes as they scan this text ....

.... Can you feel your next breath beginning ? .............

This is mindfulness."
(Lucynda Sykes, MD)[link]

These are two excellent models of health practices that can be used to replace the primary use of drugs while supporting and improving the whole health of clients, patients and participants. No diagnostic label is necessary and the participants are fully engaged in their complete process of knowing, changing and improving themselves. I suggest and recommend that mental health workers and social workers learn these various modalities so that they can be more skillful and effective. Also, they should learn to administer evaluation instruments so that what they teach can be evaluated and demonstrated in their practice.

Note: The picture was taken during one of my experiential stress management classes with soldiers at Ft. Bliss, TX.  More >

 Serious Questions go Unanswered in Mental Health Movement12 comments
picture3 Jun 2007 @ 21:56
Serious Probems Continue in MH -

"Simply understanding 'reasons' for our fears in an attempt to control them only strikes at the symptoms, not the cause. The real source of fear lies in our minds--adding more thoughts and concepts only supports the pattern of fear. We need a different approach. (Tarthang Tulku, Openness Mind, (p. 22)

I don't know how many of you notice that almost daily we have some serious reports in the news media about mental health treatment: over-diagnosing; drug research is flawed; psychiatrists and researchers taking money from the pharmaceutical industry; "stressed out moms receiving poor MH treatment;" failing to provide early MH care;" persons diagnosed with bipolar disease improperly treated and misdiagnosed;" colleges struggle with mental health crisis; and, the list goes on.

If you wish to visit these articles and read them, they are available on my forum. [link] I will post some links and headlines here so that you can quickly review the articles:

Psychotropic Drug Prescriptions For Teens Surge 250% Over 7 Year Period

Science Daily — "Psychotropic drug prescriptions for teenagers skyrocketed 250 percent between 1994 and 2001, rising particularly sharply after 1999, when the federal government allowed direct-to-consumer advertising and looser promotion of off-label use of prescription drugs, according to a new Brandeis University study in the journal Psychiatric Services."

A Battle With Depression and Suicidal Tendencies

"A decade ago the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice accused Dr. Faruk Abuzzahab of a reckless, if not willful, disregard for the welfare of 46 patients, 5 of whom died in his care or shortly afterward. The board suspended his license for seven months and restricted it for two years after that."

UC struggles with mental health crisis
29 students killed themselves in 2000-05, panel says; officials strive to find money to hire more counselors. By Richard C. Paddock
LOS ANGELES TIMES Article Launched: 05/31/2007 03:04:41 AM PDT" [link]

The mental health crisis that isn't
Statistics don't support fears of a psychological emergency on our college campuses.
By Mike Males, MIKE MALES, former sociology instructor at UC Santa Cruz, is senior researcher for the online information site [link]

US: Bipolar Spectrum Disorder May Be Underrecognized and Improperly Treated

Older Patients with Major Depression Live Longer with Appropriate Treatment
Older patients with major depression whose primary care physicians team with depression care managers are 45% less likely to die within a 5-year time period than older adults with major depression who receive their care in primary care practices where there are no depression care managers. This study, conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, appears in a recent issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.


US: New Details in Schizophrenia Treatment Trial Emerge
Posted by Gary Holden at April 3, 2007 11:43 AM [link]

My personal experiences with mental health programs have shaped my feelings and interest in change.

I have many fond memories of working with my colleagues in designing, developing and administering a comprehensive MH/MR Program in Pittsburgh, Pa during the early 70's. I also have some pretty strong feelings about the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM) that serves as the classification system for Psychiatry and Psychology, primarily because these labels stick with most patients for a life time; there is no serious effort to change or expunge them when conditions change; and, our core values as a profession (and for medicine) is to support our clients with dignity and respect by offering "best practices & scientific research," including followup.

Some questions we might ask our colleagues to review and for psychiatry and psychology to repond to: Why do you accept money and samples from pharmaceutical companies? Why do you continue to define, categorize, and label your patients with a system that can not stand the test of reliability or validity? Why do you prescribe drugs that are not thoroughly tested by outside resources and without vested interests? Why won't you protest the practice of pharmaceutical companies doing their own research on their drugs? Why won't you explore and incorporate integrative health practices from many traditions that have demonstrated success over many centuries?

Furthermore, why have our health professionals accepted the concept of "Mental Health" as their focus, when, in fact, what affects the body affects the mind, emotions and spirit? Mind-body-spirit are integral and every thought or physical action represents a movement and change in relationships with our whole being. Thus, "mental health," is a misnomer--our whole being, its relationships and interactions are engaged in the process of change, health and well-being.

Unfortunately, many social workers have also jumped on the 'band wagon' and have wrapped themselves around this labeling system without fully understanding or appreciating the dangers and lack of validity and reliability of the entire system. It is particularly evident to me that MSW Licensing Exams & Licensing Boards for social workers have embraced labeling and the disease model with their tests and have accepted this system as their best source of understanding of our clients' problems. Medicine and social work have always maintained that their motto is--"Cause no Harm!" We consider ourselves scientists while offering little scientific evidence of the efficacy for diagnosis and treatment for mental health concerns. Yet, there is growing evidence that much of what they offer their patients is a scam. These reports that I am posting clearly show that "humpty dumpty-mental health is about to have a big fall."

Surely, after reading my earlier log on the DSM and with the inclusion of these recent articles showing the dangers of the MH System it appears to me that this system should be bulldozed and everyone working in the mental health industry should roll up their shirt sleeves and get to work cleaning up their ACT. I have many friends and colleagues in this industry and I know that many of them would like to see some radical changes; however, they also may not recognize the dangers, are fearful about speaking out, and are not encouraged or supported to present their views. Our universities throughout the country are also very timid about raising the Red Flag in regard to the MH system as many journals, accredited courses, grants, scholarships, and many sources of funding could be endangered should they speak the truth.

This log is really just an addendum to my earlier log showing how dysfunctional the MH System of America really is. It is very hard for me to have to put such a negative slant or picture on a whole network of mental health programs and activities. But, as long as social workers and allied mental health professionals adopt the psychiatric/psychological model of sick care, we will continue to enable a failed system and be a major part of the problem.

I encourage those of us who have the strength, courage and willingness to improve health services for individuals, couples, families, groups and communities, to begin adopting ecological, holistic or integrative health practices; applying, teaching and empowering our clients to maintain balance with daily health practices or routines that include our whole being--physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually; and, focus our efforts on primary prevention, improvement of schools, living conditions and on parenting skills. When basic human needs are ignored in our society, for the most part, the deprivation, abuse and neglect are the leading cause of mental illness.

Finally, I hope, the mental health movement and professionals will move out of their private offices and into the wider community, promote whole health, and get over their fear of physical interaction (touch) Perhaps the MH movement is failing, in part, because they have failed to recognize that every human being - therapists included, "...needs to touch and to be touched." See, Montagu, A. (1986). Touching - The human significance of the skin. NY: Harper & Row.

Also, do read this important contribution to medicine, psychiatry, psychology, social work, nursing and to others who fear touch. The following is an unsolicited website by Dr. Ofer Zur offering free articles that make more sense than much of our current mental health practices, theories and dogma. [link]  More >

 Being Enthusiastic and giving Encouragement to Children4 comments
picture31 May 2007 @ 14:49
Everyone needs appropriate encouragement-

As I have been discussing in my Learning to Learn & Play with Children blog, it is essential to support children with what Ashley Montagu describes--"Appropriate Encouragement." Dr. Montagu beautifully describes this concept as follows for all ages:

"Babies are new to themselves, and all that surrounds them is novel. Children of all ages feel much the same way; it is a feeling and a view of life that can last a lifetime. To see the world always with a fresh eye means that one brings encouraging things to every experience a habit of feeling, of experiencing, a not-taking-for-granted the everyday scene, but finding something new in each time one encounters it. And this can only come about naturally by encouraging the child, at every age, to be interested, curious, and experimental minded. This is what babies and children are, and what all humans are capable of being all of their lives, if only they receive the appropriate encouragements." (Montagu, p. 222)

I believe that Professor Montagu is one of our most outstanding human development specialists, yet few professional social workers and allied health professionals are aware of his contributions to understanding and applying his concepts of "neotenous traits." I wrote a previous article introducing these 26 basic needs that are so very important for the development of the child and for the adult to maintain and support throughout his/her evolution.

All of these basic needs are elegantly described in Growing Young and in this article I am focusing on the importance of teachers, families, care givers and other adults to support and encourage this basic need for children to sustain their interest, curiosity, and experimental mind throughout their lifetime. It appears that many children in our schools are abandoning this requirement for healthy living as they enter secondary schools and become more like or emulate adults. There are many reasons for this, but perhaps if we could be more enthusiastic about our children's work while continuing to encourage them and support their interests they would continue to improve, learn and advance their knowledge and skills.

I have found that using photography and theatre offers a great means for children to learn to express themselves and also provides encouragement for them while sharing their creativity with others. This past weekend, Ariana introduced her art work with us. Daeja, her younger sister and I, served as photographers. We posted this short introduction on Google Videos so do let her know about your impressions of her work and you can apply this concept and contribute "appropriate encouragement."

[link]  More >

 Annual Report on Global Touch Project7 comments
picture5 Apr 2007 @ 14:31
Dear friends and Team Members,

I want to thank everyone for your contributions to our Las Cruces Health Promotion Team with Elders during the past year (April 1, 2006-April 1, 2007). We certified 65 team members and gave 2,445 stressouts in our 4 health centers and nursing homes during this past year. This is very impressive and I'm sure that we have contributed to the health and wellbeing of our participants and wider community.

These figures do not include the 90 caregivers who participated in our stressout program during the City-wide Conference. Also, the LC In-home Care Program includes the stressout as part of their daycare program with Alzheimers so their clients receive the stressout regularly. Our BSW students gave stressouts every Tuesday morning during this Sp 07 term, along with Christy with these participants.

It is great that our College of Health & Human Services -social work, nursing and health science students-- are all represented and working together in our touch program. Our elder team members, Ann and Elizabeth, are the pillars of our organization and they are to be commended for giving stressouts every week at Mesilla Park and East Side Centers. Our goal is to have at least 2 team members in each diabetic clinic.

During the next few months, Francesca and her staff will be introducing and teaching our program with nursing home staff and in the Fall Semester, we are hopeful that nursing and social work students and others will continue to join with us in our outreach activities.

Finally, as one of our students mentioned today during our stressout program at Good Samaritan..." I felt as though I was receiving much more energy in return for giving the stressout." Integrative Health Forum

Cher, thank you for maintaining our records and for supporting our teams. Aurora, you are a great strength. Nice wishes to you all as we start a new year and continue to advance safe, skillful and nourishing touch with our elders, families, friends and others. You are wonderful.


PS Please feel free to add anything you wish with this report as I love to hear about the many experiences our team members and participants have while giving touch. I have not included the skillful touch given by our global team members, but will add them as comments as they arrive.

15-Minute StressOut Program  More >

 Our Touch Program with Alzheimer Residents5 comments
picture14 Mar 2007 @ 22:00
As Dr. Luce says, it is not the years themselves that diminish us. It is the way we have learned to live them, giving up a little of our true selves at each step. In our culture we lack a tradition of self-development for the elderly: what we have instead is a tradition of not-so-benign neglect and uselessness. This is supported by the established mythology relating to aging. (p.203, Growing Young, Ashley Montagu)

This is an update on our teams in southern New Mexico and west Texas who are giving our 15-Minute StressOut Program in health clinics and nursing homes regularly. Two of our team leaders from our New Mexico State University, Social Work with Elders Class report on our "StressOut Forum" on their recent experiences introducing our program in nursing homes with Alzheimer residents.

I am so very proud of our students, seniors, nursing faculty and the staff of nursing homes for their courage in giving safe, skillful and nourishing touch with their residents and in our health clinics. As we know, touch has been forbidden in most education, health and human service programs for fear of abuse issues, but our program is given openly with large groups receiving it, so there is no possibility of anyone straying from our guidelines.


You and I have talked, and we know where we each stand on things. Whatever minor differences we may have on certain issues, I gotta hand it to you -- your Stress-Out program is a huge success at Good Samaritan. Today, we (Sharieffa, Robin, Marybeth, Crystal, you and I) did the massage with a small group of Alzheimer's residents in the Special Care Unit (SCU).

Later in the day, after you guys had gone, the head of the SCU came up to me, totally unsolicited, and asked if we could do that on a very regular basis (maybe every week). She had been a bit skeptical last week, but today she said she was amazed at the results, and that she had never seen all of them so calm at this point in the day.

Also, the Activities Director for the rest of the Good Sam population has already scheduled another Stress-Out for this Wednesday; I almost didn't find out. She said she was so impressed with the results from last time, that she also wants to make it a regular thing, using the girls that work with her, and any certified person who wants to come help.

So anyway, this will clearly be a lot more than just once a month as originally planned. I'd like to invite anyone from class to come help out on Stress-Out days (I'll let the class know when they're happening. One is this Wednesday.)

Also, I know you left the music CD with me, but they were still playing it hours later in the SCU, and I was told by the head of the unit that she kept it on because she felt it had a very beneficial, calming effect on the residents. So, I just let them keep it!


Linda Schaberg, RN, is instructor for our New Mexico State University,
community health nursing class
that provides "stressouts" in our city of Las Cruces diabetic clinics and offers training programs for seniors and care-givers to learn how to give our chair type massage. Linda responds to Seth's message and this research article:

I am happy to read this article because I can see that researchers are starting to listen to others about the subject of touch. Here is America we have gotten so far away from touching others that we are now probably the most untouched society on the face of the earth. I have always believed in the power of touch and what it can do for someone who is hurting, sad, lonely, and deteriorating in a nursing home environment. We have gotten to the point that we cannot touch children or someone will say we are molesting them. It is my hope that we who are in favor and excited about the power of touch can turn America back to when it was ok to hug a child, and touch someone without there being some hidden meaning behind the touch. I believe this will lessen sickness, loneliness, will ease pain and promote healing in a way that has never before been seen in the medical profession. With the researchers and the medical profession recognizing the power of touch perhaps we can return healing touch to the healthcare profession where it can be utilized by those who are the recipients as well as those who will be providing it.

Thank you so much for what you are teaching us about the power of touch and how it can be used to promote well care instead of the sick care we have been dealing with for so long.


Just when we think it can't get any better, Cat, our team leader for the Alamogordo, NM stressout team, shares her team experience with giving our program with Alzheimer residents in this community:

The elders and the employees at Casa Arena (in Alamo) are also very responsive to the Stress-Outs. I have to admit, in the beginning, I was a little skeptical about the impact that we would have on the individuals that we would be working with. It’s hard to believe, but I immediately saw the positive impact that we had and could potentially continue to have in the future. The experience that opened my eyes was real encouraging for me.

I was working with one woman, Ms. Anita (an Alzheimer patient), and I was trying to engage her in some friendly conversation, but she wasn’t responsive. In fact she specifically said, “I just want to relax.” So I respected her wishes and continued with the stress out. But she came around mid-way through. She began telling me of her childhood and how her dad would do wood working when she was a child. I am not sure what triggered such thoughts, but Ms. Anita was definitely happy. She was beaming as she recalled these pleasant thoughts. I know for a fact that it had something to do with the Stress-Outs. It allowed us to gain a connection—through the power of touch. It’s definitely moving to be able to lift the spirits of others and make them feel better.

To my fellow classmates, please continue to keep up the hard work. I know that it is hard with all of the commitments that we have and our busy schedules, but this is of great value for both the giver and the receiver. Our work does not go unnoticed or and it is greatly appreciated. : )


As a global project with the New Civilization Network , we are continuing to advance the use of touch with elders and to serve as a model program for other communities around the world to hook up with us. Together we will help to improve the quality of lives, health and relationships for all those we serve and touch. Do join us. As one of my teachers so aptly put it: "Don't wait for the bus, it may never arrive."

Shortly after posting this log, I received an excellent note from one of our other team leaders in Alomogordo, NM who has been giving 'stressouts' with Altzheimer's patients in nursing homes. This is her experience as she describes it:

Dear Friends,

Alzheimer's is a very sad disease. Just knowing there is no cure and for those who have this dreadful disease no hope for a future. As I have been working in the nursing home giving stress outs to people with Alzheimer's I have become more aware of it's devastating effect on a person.

I know there is no cure but I do believe that the touch we have been giving to those we have been working with has made them feel a little more alive that they did before we started. I saw a lady who had not been talking very much start talking and telling me all about her childhood. She then told another worker all about dancing and having fun. It was good to see her come as alive and alert as she could. She told us that she was having a very good day and that she was very happy. That made us happy as well.

I truly believe that touch can alleviate some of the effects of the disease and can make the remainder of the lives of those with the disease more comfortable and tolerable. It reminds me of the song of years past, "Reach out and touch somebody's hand and make this world a better place if you can". We can and we should!


I only wish that I could post more pictures of our participants, but we don't want to do it without their permission. However, we are now giving over 150 stressouts a week with our elders in nursing homes, health clinics, in-home care and other elder and caregiver programs.

Do visit our homepage for more information about how you can become certified and team member in your community.

15-Minute StressOut Program & Health Forum

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 Don't Give Up the Spirit Child6 comments
picture11 Feb 2007 @ 22:34
"Much of our aging, in the negative sense of reduced capacity , is a result of conditioning rather than actual limitation. It is our evolutionary destiny, Montagu says, to lengthen childhood and rescue ourselves from our "mature" ways--before it is too late." (Ashley Montagu, Growing Young).

Growing Young should be required reading for adults, social workers, teachers, parents, elders and other health related professionals. Dr. Montagu describes our development and evolution as human beings as growing in phases rather than of stages as Erickson and others claim. He makes a good case for this, as in stages, as Erickson suggests, one stage has specific challenges that must be met before the child can grow effectively into the next stage. For example, he identifies "Basic Trust" as the first developmental stage related to the quality of nourishment the infant receives from mother and if frustrated or neglected during this early stage, the infant psychologically becomes mistrustful and begins to doubt his/her relations in the world.

On first or second glance, this so called "crisis approach" appears to make sense. However, I believe this crisis is more analytical and built around a psychology model that is limiting in its observations and enlarged with a labeling characteristic that psychiatrists and other clinical professions have adopted to make human development or lack there of, a disease model. In other words, if you don't make it through the stages of development successfully, you are ill, stuck and in need of repair.


Dr. Montagu's thesis in this book is that, "as a consequence of the unique evolutionary history of our species, we are designed to fulfill the bountiful promise of the child; to grow and develop as children, rather than into the kind of adults we have been taught to believe we ought to become." So many of our adult models today are played out in competetive sports and aggressive dramas on tv and in media ads.

By this it is not intended to mean that we are programmed to remain arrested at childhood stages of development, but that we are, by every confirmable measure, designed to continue, throughout our lives, to grow and develop in the traits so conspicuously exhibited by the child. p.121, (Montagu, Growing Young)

Furthermore, it is evident by many observers that we are driven to achieve our best possibilities from birth through all of the phases of becoming a complete and healthy human being. (Professor Montagu defines health as our ability to love, to work, to play, and to think soundly.) "It is the frustration of the child's needs by his incompetent socializers that is principally responsible for the behavior attributed to innate depravity." And, he clearly points out that all the terms related to child development -- fetus, baby, infant, child, adolescent, maturity and old age--are arbitrary concepts with loosely related definitions.

Dr. Montagu is a remarkable and astute observer of human development and has a message for us as adults, especially for those of us identified as old, retired, and stuck in our 'ways.' He reminds us of the healthy attributes that are supposed to be given up as we mature and 'grow older.' In other words, stop enjoying life, laughter, play, learning and adventuring--leave your curiosity and love for life in your playpen.

For me, in addition to learning about "neotaneous drives or needs," he provides us with a more complete description of healthy development. Each of these needs is described so beautifully that we can appreciate the child within us rather than desiring to eliminate this spirit being. I suspect our schools and other institutions that are engaged in teaching and learning programs for children are not familiar with these drives and basic needs. Or, perhaps the adults have failed to "make the equal" with the kids so their relationships are maintained at a superficial level. Why else would our young people (and teachers) be so unhappy in these prison like systems and feel like just ..."Another Brick in the Wall?" (Pink Floyd)

Beyond the usual basic human requirements for living are introduced to us (food, clothing, shelter, touch or physical interaction, sex , fresh air, water, etc) these 26 additional needs will nourish us throughout our lives:

1. The need for love (The child is born not only with the need to be beloved, but with the need to love others)
2. Friendship
3. Sensitivity
4. The need to think soundly
5. The need to know
6. The need to learn
7. The need to work
8. The need to organize
9. Curiosity
10.The sense of wonder
19.The sense of humor
21.Laughter and tears
23.Honesty and trust
24.Compassionate intelligence

Finally, as I started this brief discussion on human development and the development of our spirit child, I want to close by reminding us:

"To 'Grow Young' means to grow in our youthful traits, not to grow out of or to abandon them." We don't have many examples of healthy aging and healthy adults in our society, perhaps because of the forced requirements, beliefs and rules imposed by caregivers, teachers and parents. These impositions of adult related goals to "grow up" and become like them or like other conventional adults who arrived before us, has only worked against the healthy development of children and adults. As my grandkids would remind us: boring, boring, and boring.

If you wish to learn more about this outstanding scientist and remarkable human being, read this two part synopsis on all of his books, his philosophy, his discoveries and his love for humanity and our relationships, inside and out. [link]

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 Our Global StressOut Program - SP ' 071 comment
picture30 Jan 2007 @ 11:07
Dear colleagues/team members and others following our Global Touch Project

"The goal of adulthood is not to grow up, but to develop what are considered childlike traits: the ability to love, to learn, to wonder, to know, to explore, to experiment." (Growing Young, Ashley Montagu)

We are off to a great start for our Spring term plan to move our stressout into nursing homes and other programs. Linda Schaberg's 9 NMSU senior Nursing Students started their orientation to our touch program on Wednesday and they are sharp and eager to give stressouts every week in Munson. They will also be conducting research and designing, promoting, and administering a training program for seniors interested in using or giving our nourishing touch.

I have the good fortune to have 25 senior, BSW students, enrolled in my Social Work Practice with Elders course and they are also enthusiastic and interested in learning to give our 'stressout' in nursing homes and other programs as well. We will have teams in El Paso, Alamogordo and Las Cruces providing training for staff and care givers in nursing homes with a special focus with Alzheimer's patients and residents.

Francesca, Imelda, and her staff are to be commended for taking the lead with our nursing home teams while Aurora will be actively involved in assisting us in recruiting and supporting our senior volunteers. Special thanks to senior volunteers -- Elizabeth for covering our Munson Health Center(Wed) and East Side Center(Thurs) and Ann for maintaining our Mesilla Park(Tues.) services. Also, many thanks to Cher for helping us with our setup in our senior centers and for her expert consultation.

On another note, Samantha is interested in providing stressouts with the battered, abused and neglected population and establishing a research component to determine our touch program's effectiveness with the healing and therapeutic processes. We will be exploring grants to support the project and also look to include university and community partnerships.

Finally, I have been invited to present our program for St. Andrews Episcopal Church (6:00-6:50pm), March 15. And, in April I will be giving a workshop for the El Paso Alzheimers' annual conference for caregivers. I would love to have our team members join with me in presenting these workshops.

Please forgive me if I left your name out of this message. Everyone is equally important and valued for contributing to our Las Cruces NM Health Promotion Team with Elders. We are One.

Thank you all for your support and for advancing our work with elders and others. Let's stay-in-touch.


PS Here is an interesting research report on the use of acupressure.

Acupressure May Help Dementia Patients
Small trial suggests it eases illness-linked agitation

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FRIDAY, Jan. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Regular acupressure treatment helps reduce agitated behavior in dementia patients, according to a small study by Taiwanese researchers.

Acupressure involves the application of pressure to certain points of the body.

This study of 20 dementia patients found that 15-minute acupressure sessions given twice a day, five days a week, led to noticeable improvements, including reduced wandering and less verbal and physical aggression.

During the sessions, each of five key pressure points was pressed for two minutes using three to five kilograms of pressure. The sessions lasted for four weeks. After the end of that treatment period, patient agitation levels started to increase again. That suggests that dementia patients require acupressure therapy on an ongoing basis, the researchers said.

The study is published in the February issue of the Journal of Clinical Nursing.

The findings have "important implications for the future care of dementia patients," study co-author Professor Li-Chan Lin, of the Institute of Clinical Nursing at National Yang-Ming University, said in a prepared statement. According to Lin, the study shows that acupressure "provides an effective option that, following training, can be carried out at home or in long-term care facilities."

"Agitated behavior in people with dementia is a major concern for caregivers. It can endanger patients and others, make it necessary for them to be moved from familiar surroundings and demoralize and psychologically distress caregivers," Lin noted.

"It is very important that we find interventions that enable us to provide more effective care for (dementia patients), both in their own home and in long-term care facilities," Lin said.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about dementia.

(SOURCE: Blackwell Publishing Ltd., news release, Jan. 22, 2007)

Copyright © 2007 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.

HealthDayNews articles are derived from various sources and do not reflect federal policy. healthfinder® does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in news stories. For more information on health topics in the news, visit the healthfinder® health library.  More >

 Opening our Minds for Learning0 comments
picture15 Jan 2007 @ 14:48
As our experience opens to wider perspectives, our senses, our bodies, and our consciousness become vibrantly alive. Patterns of craving and frustration give way to the flowing interaction with the process of living. All imbalances drop away, and whatever satisfaction or healing we need is provided naturally. This protection, this balance, this genuine self-sufficiency allows us to open to the endless possibility of each moment and to discover the richness and depth of all experience. (Tarthang Tulku, Openness Mind, p. 43)

As we begin a new academic season or semester, I think about how we can awaken our being and open our experience to learning from one another and ‘all that is.’ So often, the student is expected to focus on the teacher’s message and it matters not what else is taking place in the moment and in the classroom or internal environments. Obviously, this narrows and limits our psyche and our learning opportunities.

Learning is like health – it is a dynamic experience of wellbeing that is in relationship and interaction with our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual realms. Our senses, thoughts, feelings and energy are all involved in this process of learning. I have learned that we can develop the classroom and our minds as a laboratory for enriching our whole being. Our knowledge, skills, and values will come alive with enthusiasm, balance, and inspiration as we learn to open and calm our minds. It is for these reasons that I begin each class with physical exercises that include breathing and movement to generate vitality, sensory awareness, and emotional conditioning.

For example, often students arrive in class with excessively active minds and often with unbalanced emotions. As parents, especially moms, pre-school and morning routine includes having to awaken our children from deep sleep, get them dressed and their teeth brushed, find their back packs and school work, prepare their breakfast and sack lunches, get them loaded in the car, urge them to put on their seat belts and to stop fighting with one another, and escort them to the bus or drive them to their daycare or school.

Seems to me, our university students have a lot on their minds as they enter our classroom after going through these whirlwind activities. Furthermore, it’s hard enough finding a parking place, rushing to get to class on time, and trying to remember what their assignment is for this day. After all of this activity, it is no doubt that students have difficulty in focusing, learning, and enjoying their academic experiences. Thus, as teachers, we can prepare our students and our classrooms for higher learning, health and wellbeing. And, when our students enter and leave our classes, their body, mind, and spirit will be calm, aware, curious, and open.

Note: This brief article is attached to our course syllabus.  More >

 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders24 comments
picture23 Dec 2006 @ 15:35
"Alternative to Disatisfaction" - For all their unhappiness, few people seem to question the basic patterns of their lives. (Tarthang Tulku, Knowledge of Freedom - Time to Change., p.4)

In a Student Forum, I posted a message that describes my position on labeling clients with the DSM (all versions). I don't think that any labels are respectful of clients. This classification system is virtually the only mental health program used by this broken system. Social workers for far too long have passively bought this model, 'hook-line and sinker.' There is no organizational effort that I am aware of to change these practices. This article is written as a protest to the violation of 'best practices' and ethical considerations with mental health related clients.

"The mission of the social work profession is rooted in a set of core values. These core values, embraced by social workers throughout the profession's history, are the foundation of social work's unique purpose and perspective:

o service
o social justice
o dignity and worth of the person
o importance of human relationships
o integrity competence.

This constellation of core values reflects what is unique to the social work profession. Core values, and the principles that flow from them, must be balanced within the context and complexity of the human experience."

We don't have to buy this harmful DSM program any longer. Let's organize and do what social workers do best--engage clients with dignity and respect.


Dear Students and Colleagues,

Thanks for remembering my position on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV). I have talked with many students and faculty about this issue, especially students who fail the licensing exam because they have little interest in becoming mental health therapists. Several of us, also don't like the idea of putting a label or a negative distinguishing characteristic on our clients. Labeling may produce a stigma or a false impression about a person, thus misrepresenting their dignity and respect as a human being and potentially establishing a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Furthermore, while discussing this issue with mental health professionals, few if any have ever changed their diagnoses to "cured," so these labels apparently stick with the person for life. Seems to me, if this is true, this approach is not just, responsible or respectful. I wonder how many clients are told at intake, if they choose to use this service, they will be labeled for life as mentally ill, emotionally disturbed, personality disordered, bipolar, etc. And, their chances for ever running for public office are minimal.

These are just a few of my objections to labels. I realize that this is not the issue that you raise, but does give me an opportunity to throw up the 'red flag.'

Finally, if we wish to interact and discover the intrinsic nature of our clients and others, I suggest that we free ourselves of judgments, control and labels. By doing so, we experience the natural flow of empathy and compassion--a healthy relationship is the result.

Our Code of Ethics has described these measures for disclosing information:
1.08 Access to Records
(a) Social workers should provide clients with reasonable access to records concerning the clients. Social workers who are concerned that clients' access to their records could cause serious misunderstanding or harm to the client should provide assistance in interpreting the records and consultation with the client regarding the records. Social workers should limit clients' access to their records, or portions of their records, only in exceptional circumstances when there is compelling evidence that such access would cause serious harm to the client. Both clients' requests and the rationale for withholding some or all of the record should be documented in clients' files.

(b) When providing clients with access to their records, social workers should take steps to protect the confidentiality of other individuals identified or discussed in such records.
Perhaps the key to this is: "Social workers should limit clients' access to their records, or portions of their records, only in exceptional circumstances...."

It's good talking with you Tom from Canada. It has been some time since I've been active here, but learn much from the interactions of students and professionals.

I remember our extensive discussions on using safe, skillful and appropriate touch with individuals, couples, groups and communities. We are really doing well with our touch program and would love to invite my colleagues to visit our website and view our alternatives to these labels. [link]

Best wishes for a fulfilling and loving Christmas and New Year to All,

Jerry  More >

 Expressing our Creativity through Work13 comments
picture15 Dec 2006 @ 03:13

I was really taken with "D's" article on "Do Humans Deserve to be Saved" and in the followup discussions, I followed a link to: Pioneers of Change and decided to answer several of the questions.

I have always encouraged my children and grandchildren to freely and openly ask any questions that they wish. I often don't even know the answer to many of them, but together or alone, we will see what we can discover. I once asked one of my spiritual teachers: How do we know if we are telling our children the Truth? As I recall, he said that this is an important question that we must continue to ask ourselves.

Thus, I recommend that we 'Never' stop asking fact, encourage children and others to ask why, what, how, where and when? It is for this reason that I encourage others to examine this excellent resource related to WORK and to being creative.

I think it is worth my time and energy to respond to several of these 21 questions so that I can see what I can discover about my life's work and my professional experience as a Social 'Worker.' I will followup on this challenge by asking my students and children to do likewise, if they wish. Again, I am especially grateful for having visited Dianne's Homepage and finding this gem.

Expressing our Creativity Through Work

"But, now more than ever we need to wake up and recognize the limitations of our knowledge, not only for ourselves, but for the future of all human beings. During the last few decades, we have begun to direct our knowledge into channels which are pathways to destruction, endangering the survival of all forms of life on our planet. How can we free ourselves from this prison when the patterns bind us so tightly?" Tarthang Tulku, Knowledge of Freedom - Time to Change, p. 365.

I am going to start a conversation to myself on how I am enjoying and appreciating my Work. Perhaps, like many of you, I haven't always enjoyed my work for many reasons; however, as I get some distance from my work life it feels and looks so perfect. I made it what it is/was. As I become more mindful and aware, I see how my development as a human being--knowledge, wisdom, love and truth-- is directly related to learning how to freely express my nature, my skills, my courage and my whole being.

So these questions for me offer an assessment opportunity to examine my past, present and future in the "Domain of Work and Activities." 9 Domains by Oscar Ichazo

During my current meditations, I am examining thoughts that come from the past to the present--here and now. Also, I notice how I become attached to certain thoughts and make a big thing out of nothing, if you get the drift. In other 'words,' what makes one thought more valued and important over others. Why the obsession, pain and suffering that follows from these thoughts? So, "what we reap is what we sow." I like what one of my friends said about these mechanisms--"Give me a break, Just stop it."

Do join me if you wish to explore how creativity can flow out of our Work and Activities.

"Never Stop Asking Questions"

Questioning my Work

"A spirituality of Work questionnaire that flows from the themes treated in Matthew Fox's "The Reinvention of Work." Individuals or groups might examine their attitudes toward their work by answering the questions and then sharing answers. This sharing may provoke rich discussion and searching."

"Never stop asking questions"

1)"Do I experience joy in my work? When, and under what circumstances? How often? How can the joy be increased? How does this joy relate to the pain and difficulties of work?"

I feel joy when I go to Work. I think there is big Work and little Work. When I am doing Big Work, all my systems are in harmony. My mind is open. I am aware of my thoughts, feelings and interactions. I frequently observe my breath and notice the quality of my voice. Do I see myself in others? What makes me upset or angry? How do I react when I don't get my 'way?' Hmm, is there such a thing as, 'only my way?' Or, My way or no way?

I am happiest and most joyful when I am teaching and practicing social work. When I am with my grandkids I am probably in the point of joy and happiness with great feelings of love and fulfillment. We find ourselves laughing and freely associating without judgment--thoughts just come and go, much like good friends I cherish.

2)"Do others experience joy as a result of my work?
Directly? Indirectly? How can this joy be increased?"

This is another good question. "How can we spread our positive love and kindness in our Work?"

I directly spread joy by giving and introducing Stressouts in senior centers, classes, with the military and other social service agencies. Our senior health promotion team that includes social work and nursing students, senior volunteers and home care workers offer our touch program to all age groups, but we now have a special program to give our stressouts in all of the senior centers in our community. Also, several of our homecare professionals and Vista workers are giving healthy, nourishing touch with their homebound clients.

How can we increase this joy? We are organizing more training workshops in our community so that we can expand our volunteer network. On a global basis, I have organized our project to include other communities throughout the world. Do visit my blog and [link].

3)"Is my work actively creating good work for others?
How? How might this be improved? How does my work prevent other’s working?"

I think that I have answered, in part, this question; however, there is always room for improvement. We are especially wishing to recruit and train more senior volunteers for our outreach programs in nursing homes and other places that our elders are isolated and lonely. We have a homeless population that can benefit from our touch. We also can build a wider network of human service programs, schools and other resources to open up their minds and hearts. There is a basic fear of touch that dominate most professional education programs. We now have the NMSU School of Nursing and the NMSU School of Social Work who are introducing safe, skillful and appropriate touch with their students and faculty. I am also invited to health science and university courses for new students to present our program.

I do not see how our work prevents others from working, but perhaps some massage therapists may get the wrong impression when we 'give' free stressouts to our participants while they charge a fee for this service. I have introduced our program in some massage and physical therapy programs and have had full support of their faculty to continue our Work.

4)"Is my work smaller than my soul? How big is my soul? How big is my work? What can I do to bring the two together?"

Every time I touch another human being I am exchanging energy and expressing my love and compassion. One of our goals is to reach for the perfect touch with our partners and during our 'laying-on-of-hands' exercise, together we repeat the mantra-We Are One!

5) "Is my work real work or a job? Is it a vocation, calling, or role that the universe is asking of me? How do I know the answer to this question? How can I increase my awareness of the mystery and role my work plays in the work?"

My Work is both a vocation and a calling. As a professional social worker, I have always felt that my spirit is called to serve humanity as one body, mind and spirit. Now that I have designed a healthy and respectful touch program, I know for sure that there is a power of touch united with the vitality of breath that produces a deep body-mind relaxation experience for both givers and receivers.

"Without greater knowledge, we cannot be certain that our actions will not bring suffering to ourselves and others. Continuing to act unknowingly, we can only create more confusion and suffering in a world already overburdened with hopelessness and pain. On a national level, even well-intentioned actions can bring about the opposite of what we desire: serious imbalances in our environment and the heightening of tensions that endanger world peace and prosperity." (Tarthang Tulku)

As you can see from my reference notes, I strongly recommend that "Knowledge of Freedom" can be a very important resource for our helping and empowering professions. We can also ask ourselves and others another question: What will be the impact on others by making this decision or creating this action?

This article is adapted from my Blog: Learning to Learn and Play with Children

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In these articles, I introduce the basic need for human touch. While there is strong evidence that our society and human family are becoming an endangered species, many governments, such as the USA, pay little, if any attention, to global warming, nuclear stock piles, environment, natural and economic disasters, poverty, abuse, neglect, pandemic health diseases, and growing military-industrial monopolies.

While many of us are aware of these pending and current disasters, organizations such as New Civilization, are hoping to awaken humanity through mindfulness, virtual interaction on the Internet, and forming healthy, respectful alliances to make a difference and change the direction we are heading.

Our health promotion team is a small effort, but hopefully an expanding opportunity, to awaken individuals, couples, families, groups, organizations and commuities to an awareness that touch, respect and love are basic human needs for survival and wellbeing.

Obviously, there are serious considerations for being circumspect and skillful in offering touch as a conscious intervention in the workplace or in a family environment. Guidelines for the safe use of touch include:

- providing the option for participants to self-administer our program;

- receiving permission to touch and reminding participants that contact is always in safe areas;

- having witnesses or partners present;

- teaching the activity to others so that they can be the givers of the stressout program;

- encouraging participants to use the teaching video and study guide (Vest,1995)if the worker chooses not to make physical contact.

Join with us in advancing the use of healthy, respectful and loving touch throughout the world. We are One.

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