Long. Mostly for my own reference/learning. No obligation to click!


“Thinking Through the Body, An Interview with Allan Schore – 'the American Bowlby'.” http://www.thinkbody.co.uk/papers/interview-with-allan-s.htm

“The early social environment, mediated by primary caregiver, influences the evolution of structures in the infant’s brain. He shows how the maturation of the orbitofrontal cortex, the executor of the right cortex, is influenced by dyadic interactions of the attachment relationship. This is critical to the child’s future capacity to self-regulate emotions, to appraise others’ emotional state, and manage stress.” That is, child abuse in infancy produces bad long-term consequences.

“I have been convinced that these essential regulatory mechanisms - fast acting events occurring at levels beneath awareness - are the ones really which move us in and out of relationships. This is very compatible with Freud’s concept of the unconscious.” […] “I’m talking about a face can be picked up within 40 milliseconds and appraised within a 100 milliseconds. So a person is walking down the street right all of a sudden sees a particular face and for reasons that are purely intuitive and non-conscious starts moving away.”

“My interest is in social emotions [including positive ones] and how they develop and how they’re influenced by the attachment relationship and how social emotions, such as shame, regulate the ongoing interactions between human beings.”

“The attachment to the mother is therefore not only minimising negative states but she’s maximising positive states.”

“One other point is that much of psychotherapy is still geared towards the removal of symptoms and negative emotions and not towards the implication of positive states.” Note: this has potentially very interesting implications. Keep this in mind.


Chapter One in Summers, F. (2005). Self creation: Psychoanalytic therapy and the art of the possible. Very, very dense. Not for the layperson. I am still a layperson.

Psychoanalysis and psychodynamic psychotherapy have a notorious flaw: analysis and insight often don’t translate into change. What to do?

Possible remedies: focus on therapeutic relationship. Don’t treat client as passive. [Me: Start from an explicit assumption that change rather than only insight is both possible and the goal? Narrative therapy and CBT do this.] Integrate CBT. (Ha, author hates this suggestion, saying CBT puts client back in position of student being taught, crushes client’s agency. [Me: Bullshit.]) Insight is necessary but not sufficient. Analysis must leave room for client to bring their own creativity to the table.

“Potential space is defined by the very fact that it has no determined meaning…” Not seeing how this is different from “shut up and listen.” See material not as indicating old experiences, but as possible directions for future growth. I think.

Isay, R. (1989). Being homosexual..

Discusses some gay male clients who have difficulty with intimacy. Many gay men report feeling “different” as children before they were aware of being gay (that usually happens between ages eight and thirteen), and of having distant relationships with their fathers. Author thinks that fathers were probably aware that their sons were “different,” and unconsciously and homophobically withdrew. From a Freudian perspective, Oedipal conflicts (in love with Dad) also made sons withdraw. Author speculates that this causes difficulty with intimacy later on. (He’s not saying this makes anyone gay, but that it affects later gay relationships.)

No such consistent reports with mother relationships, but gay men who felt their mother was at least a “good enough” parent are more positive about themselves and their sexuality.

Adolescence: Homophobic therapists often screw up gay teens. Ditto homophobic or narcissistic parents. It often takes a sexual experience or falling in love to make gay teens confront/accept their desires.
lovepeaceohana: A tilted artist's rendition of a clear blue ocean with sky and clouds above; text reads "now bring me that horizon..." (Default)

From: [personal profile] lovepeaceohana

Integrate CBT. (Ha, author hates this suggestion, saying CBT puts client back in position of student being taught, crushes client’s agency. [Me: Bullshit.])

I am confused by this, but that is possibly because I see the role of a therapist differently than the author. I tend to think of therapists as something akin to professional lifehackers - I am coming to them for advice because I have noplace left to seek it, and I expect them to have answers. "Student being taught" is probably the best way I relate to/understand therapy. Is that not right?
green_knight: (Confused?)

From: [personal profile] green_knight

To me, a student/teacher relationship implies that one side has answers, and the other strives to learn to emulate the skills. This is necessary when the searcher knows very little - and even then, you need to pick your teachers with care.

Beyond that is the stage where you are fellow learners on the same path, with one person far ahead (or occasionally just differently ahead) of the other. In riding, I tend to use the term 'instructor' for the first - the person who tells you what to do' - whereas the second is more often referred to as a 'coach'. You go to them stating your goals - often refined in many years of study - and they observe what you do, give you advice on how to improve it, guide you to do it better - but the path you follow is yours, and the coach assumes that you know what you're doing and will assist you in reaching your goals; and they'll acknowledge that you've accumulated wisdom and experience of your own which differs from theirs, and they make far less effort to shape you to their method, their path.

smw: A woman sits at a typewriter, pages flying, a plug in the back of her awesomely big-curly hair. (Default)

From: [personal profile] smw

"... gay men who felt their mother was at least a “good enough” parent are more positive about themselves and their sexuality."

Possibly I am missing something from context or have misinterpreted this, but wouldn't having a "good enough" or better mother improve anyone's attitude about themselves and their sexuality?
smw: A woman sits at a typewriter, pages flying, a plug in the back of her awesomely big-curly hair. (Default)

From: [personal profile] smw

Damn, you mean science can't be built off of assumptions? Things just got a lot more complicated.

Which is to say: sorry for silly comment. Should have woken up more before perusing my reading list.

From: [identity profile] marzipan-pig.livejournal.com

It often takes a sexual experience or falling in love to make gay teens confront/accept their desires.

Something about this charmed me, I think it 'often takes' this for adults too :)

From: [identity profile] torrilin.livejournal.com

I thought the whole point of doing repair work on my brain was to work towards the positive :o. Otherwise it wouldn't be a repair, it'd be a band-aid.

As far as the CBT thing... It's something a parent can teach a kid by example. Or someone can teach it to themselves from a book. Yes, it takes study. For most people, studying a subject does not crush their individuality or identity. The therapist making this claim needs to do more teaching and spend less time imagining teaching. I'd think a bigger issue is that not every patient finds learning new things intrinsically fun, and patients who don't get joy out of learning for its own sake may need more nurturing and encouragement, or they may need a therapist whose greatest joy is teaching.

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com

A lot of people feel like just the act of teaching is inherently authoritarian. (I disagree - I think that depends on how you approach it.)

From: [identity profile] tanyahp.livejournal.com

Good teaching is collaborative. Authoritarianistic teaching tends to motivate the student through coercion and fear. In some cases not-learning on the part of the student is a form of resistance, and might actually be healthier than learning would be under the authoritarian teacher. Good teaching on the other hand is student-focused and takes the form of an interaction or dialogue between teacher and student, where the student's goals are equally, if not more, important than the teacher's.

From: [identity profile] vom-marlowe.livejournal.com

I actually think it depends on how CBT is integrated in therapy--sometimes it can reduce patient agency. Speaking from experience there.

From: [identity profile] vom-marlowe.livejournal.com

It depends a bit on how CBT is used and how it's presented. In my early teen years, I tried a few times to get help via therapy, and some of the therapists were big on CBT. I actually am quite fond of CBT. However.

Patient says, "I'm depressed and suicidal, blah blah."
Therapist says, "That's because you're inner thoughts are bad! Let's fix your inner thoughts!"
To which I basically replied, Fuck you and your victim blaming BS. Therapy has no help for me, I'm on my own and there is no escape from the misery of being bullied/abused/whatever.

Inner thoughts CAN make for problems, but if the big problems are external (homophobia, horrible home life, ongoing trauma, etc), then telling the patient that they can't control other people, they can only control themselves, and their problems are created by how they interpret the world, it can lead to a feeling of powerlessness, because sometimes inner thoughts are not enough.

My social welfare buddy used to say that CBT was great for what she'd call the worried well. Basically employed, not in danger, etc. But if your husband is beating the crap out of you--get out of the house first. And CBT can play a role in getting someone to feel well enough to leave, sure, but again, it's not really enough.

I mean, my grandmother is actually a master of recreating her own inner thoughts--and that's what terrified me about CBT, because it was very much the direction the therapists wanted me to go in. Gram's husband didn't let her work outside the home, which she interpreted as him being very caring, instead of him being very controlling, for example. That made her happier, for sure, but it wasn't a good idea, because it kept her in a terrible situation.

To me, the powerlessness came in because the therapists were always big on you can only control you and your own thoughts. Which isn't actually true--while you can't force people to do things, you can influence their behavior--we all do that. Pass me the salt, then you get salt. Or what have you. But if the main shtick is that your depression is primarily caused by bad internal dialogue and the only help available is to rewrite that dialogue...it can be a bleak picture, I think. Again, it just depends on how it's integrated into a situation.

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com

Thanks. I see what you mean.

I'd also say that's a bad use of CBT for more than the obvious reason. CBT isn't really about thinking positively. It's about thinking realistically. If your problem is something like your husband beating you, trying to think positively without making any life changes isn't very realistic. "Realistic thinking" would involve facing the gravity of the situation, not making excuses for it.

I wonder if there's anything formally integrating something like narrative therapy, which is all about creating change and dealing with external issues, and CBT, which is very helpful for not still feeling and acting like you're stuck in a traumatic situation when that's no longer true.

From: [identity profile] swan-tower.livejournal.com

I really may need to pick your brain at some point for one of my back-burner projects; for reasons rooted in the worldbuilding, there's a whole group of people there who have to be raised from infancy in an institutional setting, i.e. where caregivers are a) not family and b) outnumbered by their charges. Since the people of this world have a Very Strong Interest in seeing those kids grow up emotionally stable, however, this isn't some Dickensian orphanage; it needs to be the most well-designed, nurturing environment it can be under the circumstances. (To some extent I can handwave that via magic, because the caregivers are all capable of controlling other people's emotions. But I'd rather set it up in a fashion where somebody like you would look at it and go, okay, that makes sense.)

Digression aside, what gets classed as a "social emotion"? I can guess, obviously, but I'm curious whether the category is broad or narrow.

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com

Feel free to email!

Social emotions are all emotions which are perceived and transmitted socially, I think: any emotion you feel when you're not locked in a room by yourself.

Regarding your orphanage, I am pretty sure there's been a lot of research into exactly that. The problem with real-life orphanages is typically lack of funds, poorly trained/uncaring caregivers, high turnover in caregivers, kids moving in and out with no consistency or predictability in their lives, poor education, and kids literally being thrown out in the streets with nothing the instant they turn 18.

The latter is standard procedure in the US - kids who "age out" of group homes or foster care without having been adopted typically become homeless: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2010/0407/Crime-unemployment-homelessness-dog-ex-foster-care-youths

So basically, don't do any of that.

What I recall off the top of my head:

- Caregivers must be loving, touch the babies as much as possible, and pay as much individual attention to the kids as possible.

- Biological relationships aren't necessary.

- You have to limit turnover in caretakers as much as possible. Even kind caretakers who aren't around long enough for kids to attach to them create long-term problems with the kids' ability to relate to people.

- Encourage big brother/big sister relationships between older and younger kids.

- Provide an "enriched environment," full of toys, books, education, sports, etc.

- Maintain consistent discipline.

- Read Cheaper by the Dozen, about a very functional family of eleven kids.

- Don't have the caregivers control the kids' emotions if you want this to be a functional set-up. They need to learn to control and feel their own emotions. If they lack experience doing this, they will be a mess when they become adults.

What is the kid/adult ratio? If it's 10-1 or so, they should be fine. If it's 50-1, that could be difficult.

From: [identity profile] swan-tower.livejournal.com

Woot. This is very helpful, but I'll respond by e-mail so as not to totally hijack the thread. :-)

From: [identity profile] elsmi.livejournal.com

This is pointlessly nitpicky, I'm sure, but -- "a face can be picked up within 40 milliseconds" -- really? Because it takes 40-50 ms just for signals to travel down the "wires" from the eye to cortex (V1), and I don't think anyone believes that that the first layer of neurons can pick out faces.

(There are some subcortical areas that get the signals faster, like the pathways involved in blindsight, but again I think people would be surprised and excited to find evidence of robust face recognition happening down there. Mostly they seem more worried about things like circadian regulation...)

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com

It's an interview transcript, so either the writer or Schore probably got the number wrong. What would be more plausible?

From: [identity profile] elsmi.livejournal.com

Well, face recognition's not my speciality, and it's a very difficult question to answer even in principle. It's easy to measure the instant when someone, say, presses a button, but how do you tell at what moment they've "picked up" or "appraised" a face? I'm not sure it's actually a meaningful question.

One thing you can do is to show people both faces and things-that-are-similar-to-faces-but-not-actually-faces, and then see when some sort of brain imaging response starts to differ. The idea is that if you're careful to control overall luminance, shape, etc., so that the only thing different between the stimuli is that some are faces and some aren't, then any differences in the brain response must reflect processing that's specific to faces. So that at least gives you an upper bound on when something in the brain has "recognized" a face. (It's only an upper bound, because brain imaging techniques are pretty crude, so you have to assume that there might have been differences earlier that you just couldn't see.) Even then, this is controversial, because it's hard to come up with things that are just like faces in every way except for not being faces, see e.g., but AFAICT most people think this happens in the 100-200 ms range.

I'm not sure how such measurements could be relevant to therapy anyway. I don't see any reason why there should be any connection between how fast something happens and whether it's "occurring at levels beneath awareness"?

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