Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Trauma Medicine

Cleansing and charging with prayer songs, drumming, stories, and plants on a Tuesday morning.

Dr. Brian Burkhart, chair of the American Indian Studies program at CSUN, presented to SWRK 630 (Family Crisis, Grief & Trauma) MSW students. Here are some highlights:

"You're supposed to fall and get up. You start your relationships and commitments all over again everyday...The past is here, invisible. We bring it out in ceremony...The fire in us needs to be fed. The ceremonies feed the fire and make it grow...If you build the fire really, really big, then several days of thunderstorms cannot blow it out." 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017


when everything is aligned and makes sense - there is coherence and wholeness.
things get easier, simpler.
clean and clear.
all put together and integrated.
smooth and in harmony.

i have a right to my thoughts and feelings. freedom.
my voice matters and i use it. power.
i confidently walk in the world. joy.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Tell it on the Mountain

“It’s OK to talk about it. Expressing those feelings is better for a student’s health and well-being." -Me
I get called by reporters for quotes about stories related to my research interests. Here's one:
Immigration policies take a toll on students

Sunday, October 1, 2017

What do you choose to believe?

"You can always substantially change how intelligent you are."
Carol S. Dweck

"I divide the world into the learners and non learners."
Benjamin Barber

We can change our mindset and harness powerful beliefs. What is your mindset?

“If the faculty offered a course for students who need to improve their _____ skills, would you take it?”
Fixed Mindset
Growth Mindset
Not interested.
Emphatic yes.
Don’t want to expose deficiencies.
Believe that success is about learning.
To feel smart in the short run, willing to put college career at risk.
Seize the opportunity to learn.

Also, "people have to decide what kind of relationships they want:
  • Ones that bolster their ego.
  • Or ones that challenge them to grow." Carol S. Dweck

Passion, Toil & Training

I'm reading, Mindset: The new psychology of success, by Carol S. Dweck (professor of psychology at Stanford University and previously at Columbia University).

She explores the consequences of thinking that your intelligence or personality is something you can develop (growth mindset) vs. a fixed trait (fixed mindset).

She asserts that this simple difference in belief has the power to transform our psychology and our life. The view we adopt for ourselves affects the way we lead our life - becoming the person that we want to be and accomplishing the things we value.

"The major factor in whether people achieve expertise is not some fixed prior ability but purposeful engagement." Robert Sternberg

A person's true potential is unknown/unknowable. It's impossible to foresee what can be accomplished with years of passion, toil, and training.

"Darwin & Tolstoy were considered ordinary children."

"Geraldine Page, one of our greatest actresses, was advised to give it up for lack of talent."

"Believing that cherished qualities can be developed creates a passion for learning."

Here are some differences between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset:

Fixed Mindset
Growth Mindset
“I want to stick with what’s safe.”
“I love a challenge!”
Believing your qualities are carved in stone, which creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over again. Don’t believe in putting in effort or getting help.
Believing that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts, strategies, and help from others. The hand you’re dealt is just the starting point for development.
In the world of fixed traits, success is about proving you’re smart or talented. Validating yourself.
In the world of changing qualities, it’s about stretching yourself to learn something new. Developing yourself.
“Nothing ventured, nothing lost.”
“Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
“If at first you don’t succeed, you probably don’t have the ability.”
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
“If Rome wasn’t built in a day, maybe it wasn’t meant to be.”
“Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
Risk & effort might reveal your inadequacies and show that you were not up to the task.
The importance of risk and the power of persistence.
Focused on permanent traits, fear challenge and devalue effort.
Focused on development, ideas about challenge and effort follow.
If everything is either good news or bad news about your traits, distortion almost inevitably enters the picture. Some outcomes are magnified and others are explained away. Super sensitive about being wrong or making mistakes.
If you believe you can challenge yourself, then you’re open to accurate information about your current abilities, even if it’s unflattering. You understand that important qualities can be cultivated.
Ability is fixed and needs to be proven.
Ability is changeable and can be developed through learning.
Believe people are born smart and don’t make mistakes.
Believe you can get smarter.
“Will I succeed or fail?” “Will I feel like a winner or loser?”
“Everyone can change & grow through application and experience.”
“Will I look smart or dumb?” “Will I be accepted or rejected?”
“Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them?”

Wednesday, September 6, 2017


"These are rats that live in a laboratory. They have never been out of the laboratory. A researcher keeps track of how often they play. Basically, they play all of the time. They are born; they have this wonderful life; they live in a cage in a laboratory and they play, play, play.

The researcher put a “minimal fear stimulus” - a single cat hair - in their cage. Just one cat hair. Mind you, these are rats that have never seen a cat. He put one cat hair inside their cage and what do you think happened? They stopped playing completely. The cat hair was in the cage for 24 hours; and they did not play for 24 hours.

But what was even scarier, when he took the cat hair out, the rats never played the same amount of time again in their lives. So, one cat hair for 24 hours caused lifelong changes to playing behavior. 

When you think about the people we serve, some of them come from homes that are full of cat hair, some live with the cat. Some of them have lived in environments that are full of cat hair and what we want to make sure is that our organizations are not full of cat hair."

From Brian R. Sims, M.D.

Let's play way more again :)