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University

There's a right way, and a lot of wrong ways, to heal a veteran

11/11/2010

Veteran November 11th 2010 is Veteran’s Day in the United States – but despite the call to honor our soldiers, most people will be talking about recession and the recent elections. 

Whether we talk about them or not, however, there are still many men and women who are overseas, entrenched in one of the most life altering events that we humans can put ourselves through – war. Life altering may be a slightly pacifying way to say traumatizing, and the experience in being in a war forever shapes an individual, their families and their futures.

While we’ve mostly put the troops in the field out of our minds, there have been more stories recently about returning troops: stories that reflect the potential struggles that loved ones, children, schools, businesses and entire communities must deal with when a soldier comes home. Today we as a nation seem far more conscious oandr aware of the psychological and social aftermath of combat. Their trauma is set to echo for generations as it did for the families and children of the previous U.S. wars.

Stories about soldiers who have committed suicide have been getting far more attention than they ever did in previous wars.

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University

Meditate - for life!

11/10/2010

Abbot_of_Watkungtaphao_in_Tat_Hong_Waterfall We know that meditating can improve your quality of life;  what we didn’t know is that it can also help you live longer. 

Researchers at the University of California, Davis and the University of California San Francisco have found a link between meditation practice and the long-term health – and the results are positive. The study “Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators” was published in the November 2010 issue of Psychoneuroendocrinology.

Meditation has been shown to reduce stress and an individuals’ ability to cope with stress. In the practice of meditation, we can gain greater insight into ourselves. We can see our anger, stress and pain alongside our joy and happiness. Thich Nhat Hanh (Thây) speaks about the practice of meditation as being a pathway to becoming more aware of who we are and who we are in relation to others and the world around us.Knowing who we are can lead us to understanding the presence of stress, anger and pain in our lives…and we can begin to move through it all with greater ease as the meditation practice continues. This leads back to the research.

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University

We can't drug our way to a healthy America

11/09/2010

Pharmacy How badly does the U.S. need to revamp its health care system?  This badly:  according to a recent report by the Commonwealth Fund, the United States was second to last in providing health care for its communities.

The rising numbers in obesity, heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes also make the case.

The report titled Mirror, Mirror On the Wall: How the Performance of the U.S. Health Care System Compares Internationally compared the health care systems of the United States and six other countries – Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the U.K.

The rating system looked at five key areas of care, Quality, Access, Efficiency, Equity, Healthy lives. The U.S. health system ranked last in all but one area of the report; that was in the area of Quality. We were only slightly above Canada in this area.

The U.S. certainly spends money on health care:  but spending may not be the answer.

A research study recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that spending on prescription drugs does not always lead to better health.

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University

Has environmentalism reached The Tipping Point?

11/07/2010

Usstamp-save-our Environmentalists:  stand up and take a bow.  The surest sign that a green revolution is catching on is that, love it or hate it, everybody knows what a “carbon footprint” is. 

But now that a green revolution has started, what does it take for it to come to fruition?

Some excellent suggestions have been made for ways to help businesses adjust to environmental programs;  to use local action as a springboard for global change;  to green our supply chains;  and how to talk about sustainability to non-environmentalists.  New models of leadership have been proposed.  These are practical and helpful:  but so far, we’re all still “raising awareness,” not changing society’s paradigm.  How do we take the green revolution from making people aware of their carbon footprint to getting them to take it as seriously as they do their gas mileage?

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Alumni Messenger

Saybrook Alumnus Jeffrey Stamps, PhD '80: An Interview with an Organizational Systems Pioneer

11/05/2010
To see the full interview with early Saybrook/Humanistic Psychology Institute OS Pioneer, Jeff Stamps and his wife Jessica Lipnack, including the Forward, Introduction, and Interview, go to: http://www.saybrook.edu/sites/default/files/alumni/news/interview_stamps_lipnack.pdf

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University

Is depression really chemical? Your mind may vary

11/05/2010

SSRI Are you going crazy?  Chances are there’s an expert who says “Yes!”

Statistically the odds are staggering: In the United States today, one in every five Americans is affected by mental illness. It is estimated that nearly half of the American population will be diagnosed with some psychiatric disorder in the course of their lifetime. According to the World Health Organization, mental illness is the second leading disease that affects people in working market economies around the world.

We are, without a doubt, the craziest culture in world history.  At least if you go by the psychiatrists.  With the increasing stress and pressures of the twenty-first century, the demands on our fragile human nature continue to increase. And so, the question becomes, as a society are we “mentally ill” or are we simply buckling under the pressures of everyday living?

The answer, according to psychiatrists and the pharmaceutical companies, is that half of us are suffering from chemical imbalances in the brain (that’s according to the classifications in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, or DSM-IV).  Thus, psychiatric medications – with their debilitating effects – attempt to “fix” the chemical imbalances that result in psychiatric conditions. 

Interesting, right? Plausible, not so much.

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University

Wisdom and age go together

11/04/2010

It turns out we have something to look forward to:  life does get better as we age. Old_Mennonite_Couple_Pennsylvania_1942

This is something that qualitative study has taught many people.  Here’s a wonderful quote from a Facebook post by Psychologist Irving D. Yalom, (Yes, he has a Facebook page, you’re never too old to have one)

“On being seventy-nine. We dread the limitations and losses of old age. But an encouraging word about the positive aspects of aging: this may sound odd but the last decade has been the best one of my life. Gone are many of the anxieties of my earlier days and I’ve been able to bask in the sheer pleasure of being alive in the company of those I love.”

 

This lovely sentiment is now backed up by recent research. 

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University

Peanut allergies and ego boundaries - what research says parents can give their kids without even knowing it

11/03/2010

Peanuts What do parents pass on to their children?  Maybe peanut allergies – maybe more. 

Peanut allergies in children have tripled over the last three years – some three million Americans are now said to have this allergy, which was unheard of 50 years ago.  Millions more children and adults are said to have egg and milk allergies.  If these trends continue, such allergies will be a widespread epidemic. 

Right now the best explanations, emerging from research at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, suggest a potential link involving a mother’s eating habits and the development of food sensitivities beginning in pre-natal development.  The research is proving how a pregnant woman’s eating habits can affect an unborn child’s antibodies and immune system response. It’s possible that a mother can transmit an allergy she doesn’t have to her children. 

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University

Existentialism and voting go together like freedom and responsibility

11/02/2010

Yes, it's another election day.

Are you planning on voting? Maybe, maybe not? Feeling like it won't matter?

Well, you're probably not alone. The polls and pundits believe that voter turnout is going to be low today.  The diagnosis will be apathy.

130 million people turned out to vote in 2008, estimated to be 64% of the electorate. That's pretty good. This year these numbers are expected to drop.

Do potential voters really just not care or is there more to this?

Apathy is a lack of interest or concern, so voter apathy is a lack of interest or concern for voting…but is it that simple?

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University

Sixty years of rallying to restore sanity

11/01/2010

Just before election day comedians John Stewart and Stephen Colbert rallied the nation’s attention in Washington, D. C..  Their “Rally to Restore Sanity” brought over 200,000 people to the National Mall. The goal? To use humor and politics to rekindle enthusiasm, turn away from divisive politics, and engender a spirit of working together toward the common purpose of making the world a better place.

Restoring sanity, of course, is a cause psychologists can get behind – but in fact they’ve been ahead of the curve. Humanists, existentialists, and transpersonalists have been proactively leading the way for decades—unequivocally standing in favor of human potential.  

These days it’s not as flashy or well publicized as a rally on the national mall, but by taking a closer look at the theoretical tenants of psychologists such as James Bugental, Abraham Maslow, Rollo May, Carl Rogers, and Kirk Schneider, one can see the domino effect their work is having in the realms of business, politics and adolescent mental health.

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