Saturday, July 14, 2018

Truth Opened

Freud presented a paper in April, 1896 to the Society for Psychiatry and Neurology in Vienna on the sexual abuse of his female patients by their fathers as the etiology of hysteria. Patients had told these stories to psychiatrists before, but Freud was the first psychiatrist who believed that his patients were telling the truth.

Freud hoped his paper would disturb “the sleep of the world.” However, according to Freud, his paper was “met with an icy reception from the asses.”

One of his colleagues reacted, “It sounds like a scientific fairy tale.”

Freud wrote to a friend saying, "They can all go to hell."

Initially, Freud felt that it was important for him to risk his reputation and ridicule in order to present his findings. After all, Freud's patients had shown courage in his office by confronting the pain of what happened to them in childhood.

Less than two weeks after he gave the paper, he wrote to a friend saying: "I am as isolated as you could wish me to be: the word has been given out to abandon me, and a void is forming around me."

Unfortunately, Freud later dismissed his patients’ disclosures as the fantasies of hysterical women who invented stories. The women betrayed again.

He said patients had been deceiving themselves and him: “. . . I was at last obliged to recognize that these scenes of seduction had never taken place, and that they were only fantasies which my patients had made up.”

In 1905, Freud publicly retracted his theory that hysteria in women was caused by early childhood sexual abuse. Instead, Freud developed a victim-blaming story, a myth, to explain away the trauma - he termed it the "feminine Oedipal Complex," later referred to as the Electra complex - that girls completed with their mothers for their fathers affection.

Now, over a hundred years later, we know the truth.
Truth is the beginning of all discovery and recovery.


For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Luke 8:17. 

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32

Friday, July 13, 2018

Peer-Reviewed Publication #3


Number 3 is magical because tenure (promotion from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor) requires three peer-reviewed publications, or as the college dean who hired me said, "at least three."

This paper is dedicated to the work I had the privilege of doing at Harmony elementary school in South Los Angeles, under the visionary leadership of Mr. Robert Cordova (aka, Mr. C). My work in schools continues to inspire my research questions.

I tell students who are nervous about doing the research projects required for their master's degree, research is not about being good at math. If you can be curious, then you can do research.

As my mom used to say, "Thank you, Yesus!!"
Amen, amen, and amen to that.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Second Peer-Reviewed Publication


I have been working on this paper since the fall of 2011, while in my third year of the PhD program at UCLA.
Despite positive reviews from faculty and a "revise and resubmit" response from the first journal that I submitted it to, I could not get it published until now.
I must have submitted this paper - unsuccessfully - to nearly half a dozen journals.
Feeling discouraged, I told my daughter about this paper. I didn't know if I should give up on it or not. She asked me, "Mom, do you believe in what you wrote?" I said, "yes!" So I kept working on it.
Then I sent a draft to my colleague, Dr. Martinez. He said I should not give up on it.
The difference between success and failure is not giving up.
I am grateful that I had the emotional and instrumental support that I needed to finish it.
I am grateful to my mentor, Reevah Simon, for teaching me these parenting skills - they saved my personal and professional life. I am a better mother and social worker because of what she taught me.


Saturday, July 7, 2018

Connecting the Dots Dream

Since elementary school, I have wanted to be a writer.
Most of my life, I have wanted to make a difference for the most vulnerable among us.
Now I am working on an "expert declaration" for a class action lawsuit on behalf of detainees.
It is the most important piece of writing of my life and most of my personal and professional experiences have led up to this.
You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.
So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.
You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.
This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
Steve Jobs 
If you believe that dreams can come true, then you are right.
If you believe that dreams cannot come true, then you are right.
What do you choose to believe?

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

"Neural WiFi"

"One writer compared mirror neurons to 'neural WiFi' - we pick up not only another person's movement but her emotional state and intentions as well. When people are in sync with each other, they tend to stand or sit similar ways, and their voices take on the same rhythms. But our mirror neurons also make us vulnerable to others' negativity, so that we respond to their anger with fury or are dragged down by their depression...trauma almost invariably involves not being seen, not being mirrored, and not being taken into account. Treatment needs to reactivate the capacity to safely mirror, and to be mirrored, by others, but also to resist being hijacked by others' negative emotions."
From The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk

Parents, Children, Trauma & Neuroplasticity

"During disasters young children usually take their cues from their parents. As long as their caregivers remain calm and responsive to their needs, they often survive terrible incidents without serious psychological scars."

"...early explorations shape the limbic structures devoted to emotions and memory, but these structures can also be significantly modified by later experiences: for the better by a close friendship or a beautiful first love, for example, or for the worse by a violent assault, relentless bullying, or neglect." 

From The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk

Notice, Feel, Be Here

"No matter how much insight and understanding we develop, the rational brain is basically impotent to talk the emotional brain out of its own reality...It is so much easier for them [people who have gone through the unspeakable] to talk about what has been done to them - to tell the story of victimization and revenge - than to notice, feel, and put into words the reality of their internal experience...Our scans had revealed how their dread persisted and could be triggered by multiple aspects of daily experience. They had not integrated their experience into the ongoing stream of their life. They continued to be 'there' and did not know how to be 'here' - fully alive in the present."
From The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk

Truth Opened

Freud presented a paper in April, 1896 to the Society for Psychiatry and Neurology in Vienna on the sexual abuse of his female patients by t...