Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, by Shunryu Suzuki. I had read this before, and am re-reading now. Similarly to my first read, I alternate between feeling like I kind of intuitively get what he's talking about, and feeling like the book is proof that some experiences are felt but not conveyable in words.

Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence--from Domestic Abuse to Political Terror, by Judith Hermann. This is excellent, and readable by a lay person. I already own it, but apparently loaned it out or something, because it's sure not here now. Ordered another copy. Thankfully, it's a cheap paperback.

Compassion in Action: Setting Out on the Path of Service, by Ram Dass. Does anyone have any opinions on him? I know who he is, but that's it.

The Trauma Treatment Handbook: Protocols Across the Spectrum (Norton Professional Books)

Seeking Safety: A Treatment Manual for PTSD and Substance Abuse

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression: A New Approach to Preventing Relapse

Integrated Treatment for Dual Disorders: A Guide to Effective Practice. ("Dual disorders" or "dual diagnosis" means "mental illness + addiction.")

I'm not even listing all the bazillions of articles I have to read. These are just the textbooks. And it's not even all the textbooks - one professor doesn't have her book list up yet.
rydra_wong: Text: BAD BRAIN DAY. Picture: Azula, having one. (a:tla -- bad brain day)

From: [personal profile] rydra_wong


Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression: A New Approach to Preventing Relapse

My ambivalence, let me show you it.

Their research is solid, I think their theories have merit, I think this could be invaluable for lots of people, and in the end it didn't stop me crashing like the Hindenberg. Their data suggests they can halve the relapse rate in people with recurrent depression, I suspect they can, and, well, I was in the other fucking half. I still find myself using some of the techniques in an informal way (I can't have a formal practice because my brain will use it as an opportunity to eat itself). Some of the techniques got tangled up in my insanity and made me feel like shit for not being able to make myself better. I wish they had something -- or at least some acknowledgement -- for people like me.

Good book. Important stuff. I cannot read another fucking Mary Oliver poem without wanting to punch people in the face.
rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)

From: [personal profile] rydra_wong


Printed on handouts. It seems to be more or less compulsory. JESUS H TAPDANCING CHRISTMAS PEOPLE, CHOSE ANOTHER POET ONCE IN A WHILE.

that no one system will work for everyone.

And that sometimes a system can be a good and appropriate choice for someone, and not work anyway. And under those circumstances, it's easy for the patient to feel they've "failed", which is hard to avoid when you're dealing with depressives, but it would be nice if that wasn't so.

(I got fired from my MBCT course. Well, told that it didn't seem to be helping me right now and perhaps I could break off and resume at some future date when I was feeling better. Which was, I agreed at the time and still agree, probably better than having me sob through all meetings and look like a bad example to the other clients, especially as I was the one who'd been working the MBCT stuff from books for months on my own prior to the course. But still. I got fired, for relapsing into depression. I am still bitter, yes.)
rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)

From: [personal profile] rydra_wong


How would you have liked that situation to have been handled?

*throws hands in the air*

I don't know. I wish I did. But working with people with severe recurrent depression, even if you halve the relapse rate, that still leaves a significant number of people relapsing, and it'd be nice if it didn't feel like: go away, we can't handle you now.

(What could be done instead: not my problem to figure out, thankfully, what with me not being a therapist.)

And yes, there's the whole thing that there's no failing, but at the same time there's the implied promise -- which you can't avoid -- that if you do this right, it'll work and you won't get depressed again. Or at least it'll help.

And there was a sense both in my mind that I'd failed, and in what I was picking up (accurately or inaccurately) from the therapist that she didn't know how to handle me crashing conspicuously and still turning up to sessions, sobbing, and not being able to respond with the "proper" responses (yes, I know there aren't supposed to be any "proper" responses either) to any of the exercises because the inside of my head was a nuclear wasteland.
kore: (Default)

From: [personal profile] kore


At least in the recovery movement (here comes Moi with her good old AA background, hahaha) relapse is expected, and altho people are still very shamed and horrified when it happens, it doesn't mean "go away, never come back." In fact the more people "relapse" - i.e. the more times they try to quit - the better their chances are of quitting in the long run.

But I guess depression doesn't work like that because every time it just seems to get worse?....wow, I am....not helpful. Ugh. But yeah, the idea that people who are severely depressed over and over and over again are "causing" it somehow or are "not being serious"....gack.
rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)

From: [personal profile] rydra_wong


But I guess depression doesn't work like that because every time it just seems to get worse?

Yeah, the data is scary on that. The more episodes of depression you have, the more likely a recurrence is. Once you've had three episodes of depression, I believe the recurrence rate is 90%.

And I do have respect for the MBCT people, because they've got some good theories (of a non-victim-blaming nature, I should add) of how those self-perpetuating brain mechanisms work and how it might be possible to interrupt them, and solid data indicating that they can seriously cut the relapse rate (by up to 50%) in the three-or-more-episodes group.

But OTOH, the nature of working with that group is that even if you halve the relapse rate -- which is fucking awesome -- you're still going to get nearly half of your patient population relapsing regardless, because the rate is so incredibly high to begin with. And IMHO you've got to be prepared for that, and (in so far as possible) avoid creating the sense that those people have "failed".
kore: (Default)

From: [personal profile] kore


Wow, that fucking sucks. I got fired by a therapist once, when I was 12-13 or so, and it was devastating. I can't imagine what it must have felt like to be pushed away when you needed help so badly.
rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)

From: [personal profile] rydra_wong


Well, the therapist said -- and I agreed -- that I didn't seem to be getting any benefit from it at that point. Which was entirely true. And a good reason would have been hey, stop pressuring yourself to work on any new skills, just hunker down and survive. Which was what I did.

But. It still felt like being fired.
kore: (Default)

From: [personal profile] kore


I have never read that book but I have been given handouts of Oliver's poems (Wild Geese in particular I think) more than once. By therapists. And AA sponsors. And friends in recovery. WHAT'S WRONG WITH A LITTLE DICKINSON I ASK YOU. For some reason she's big in /Japan/ recovery, and therapy.
coraa: (Default)

From: [personal profile] coraa


Ha. I didn't know her by name, but I vaguely wondered, "Oh, the goose poem?". And sure enough, the goose poem was by her.

It was a good thing to be exposed to once, but, uh, the repetition is a bit much! I'm amused to see it wasn't just my luck in getting it repeatedly.
kore: (Default)

From: [personal profile] kore


She's not....bad? but by God, one Mary Oliver poem in therapy is enough.

The other one everyone always overuses is the Sharon Olds poem that ends "Do what you are going to do, and I will write about it." Everywhere. Every writing workshop ever.
kore: (Default)

From: [personal profile] kore


AHAHAHA...yeah it's not _bad,_ it's just like the "Maps" of writing and narrative classes.
coraa: (Default)

From: [personal profile] coraa


Exactly. One time it was like, "Oh, that was a mildly nice poem." The second time it was like, "That's... still a mildly nice poem, I guess." The fifth time, it was like, "Fucking geese! You just have to fly through the high clear air or whatever. You wouldn't be so happy if you had to make phone calls, huh, GEESE?"

I do wonder why those poems in particular get used so much.
kore: (Default)

From: [personal profile] kore


You wouldn't be so happy if you had to make phone calls, huh, GEESE?

//dies, just DIES
kore: (Default)

From: [personal profile] kore


Important stuff. I cannot read another fucking Mary Oliver poem without wanting to punch people in the face.

....I adore you, but you know that.
vom_marlowe: (Default)

From: [personal profile] vom_marlowe


I concur very much. Similar studies and ideas are used in chronic pain research, and I find it maddening that if you're not getting better, you're not supposed to be in the class. (If I had the fucking coping tools already, why would I be here?) AHEM.

I have found that a certain aspect of new agey medicine, of which this is a subset, is really really big on a variant of blame the victim that goes something like "we draw these things towards us with the words we use" or the thoughts we think and all that rot. It's subtley different from the more Christian version, although I can't really explain it. Overall, I kind of prefer my grandmother's Catholicism, "Life is hard, suck it up, you're not dead yet." Although she would never swear. At least then it's not one's own FAULT.
kore: (Default)

From: [personal profile] kore


There's a really creepy New Age healer-type popular with cancer patients - wossname, oh yeah, Louise Hay - who IS a Christian Scientist (or at least she started out as one) and seeing cancer patients with her books makes me want to scream. I mean, I get that people are desperate and want whatever helps, but it's SO blaming. (Among other things, don't wear black! Black is negative! &c &c)

something like "we draw these things towards us with the words we use" or the thoughts we think and all that rot

That's so totally Mary Baker Eddy, yeah.
daedala: line drawing of a picture of a bicycle by the awesome Vom Marlowe (Default)

From: [personal profile] daedala


OMG yes on Mary Oliver. What IS that? I got that in my mindfulness course, too.
kore: (Default)

From: [personal profile] kore


The thing about Suzuki is IIRC it's a lot of off-the-cuff taped lectures that were posthumously published, and his students transcribed, edited and rearranged them. So he might not have even meant for them to be his big legacy, but I do still like the book.

And not that it looks like you'll have the time to read it BUT RACHE, there's a really fantastic book called Shoes Outside the Door that deals with the birth of Zen in America and this completely whack Svengali figure who sexually abused women, bought priceless art, lived like a sultan while students were scraping by on $50 a month, &c &c. Some of it's here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Francisco_Zen_Center#Problems

Bonus: the guy who replaced that roshi (well one of them) took a gun off a corpse and threatened people with it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Francisco_Zen_Center#Tenshin_Reb_Anderson.27s_arrest
kore: (Default)

From: [personal profile] kore


NOT ENOUGH EXCLAMATION POINTS IN THE WORLD.

I KNOW RIGHT

Probably the craziest thing that went down at Zen Center in the eighties, but it had stiff competition.

I am torn between "NO SHIT" and "At least his followers had some sense, given that often NO amount of bizarreness or criminality will deter people from following their guru."

Ohhh man apparently Baker would use private teaching sessions to convince female students to fuck him. Or to nag them about how they weren't fucking him. Or to convince them to split from their partners. Nasty nasty scene.
vom_marlowe: (Default)

From: [personal profile] vom_marlowe


At least somebody had the sense god gave a goat, as we in the midwest like to say. Holy shit. Returning to meditate on a corpse takes the effing biscuit. Sheesh.
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)

From: [personal profile] vass


Wait, Reb Anderson? I seem to vaguely remember that this guy was one of Jeanne Robinson's teachers? Or at least mentioned favourably in Spider and Jeanne Robinson's SF novels?

Definitely Suzuki was, but I think Anderson was too.

BTW, did you find Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind a bit weird and problematic about race? I read it years ago, but I distinctly remember him saying something about Westerners being better at Zen than Asian people.
rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)

From: [personal profile] rydra_wong


I second the rec for "Shoes Outside the Door" very hard. Excellent, excellent book about the San Francisco Zen Center and the Richard Baker debacle. Which was, in a lot of ways, awfully typical of such clusterfucks.
kore: (Default)

From: [personal profile] kore


Ohh you read it too! Wasn't it good? I collect books on People Coming to Realize they're in that kind of situation (and whack religious upbringings), and it's by far one of the very best. I thought the author presented things very fairly. And he was funny.

Wiki: On September 25, 1999, Baker married Her Grand Ducal Highness Princess Marie Louise Elisabeth Mathilde Theodora Cecilie Sarah Charlotte of Baden, daughter of Maximilian, Margrave of Baden and wife Archduchess Valerie of Austria. They have a daughter, Sophia Baker, born on March 1, 2001, in Alamosa, Colorado. He has two daughters, Sally and Elizabeth, from a prior marriage to Virginia Baker. Well bzuh.


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


Wow, those all sound great!

B/w my mixed-success with lamictal and beta blockers I am wondering how much of a focus on psychopharmacology you have in your trauma program?

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


We have a required class in psychopharmacology, and it comes up a fair amount in other classes.
.

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