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 :)

Sunday, August 27, 2017


When the internal critic tells you it's not enough.
When the naysayers tell you it can't be done.
There's really only one appropriate response (shouted at the ocean while pumping two middle fingers in the air or a quiet thought in your head, depending on the time or place)...

My daughter gave me this stamp for Christmas a few years ago (special order from Staples). You may borrow it when you need it. Love and hugs.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Storytelling Campaign

The Minority Male Mentoring (M3) storytelling campaign starts with a poster and one man's story about his journey to graduation. I want to wallpaper the world with these stories.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Recognize, Challenge & Change

"Cognitive restructuring is a technique that specifically focuses on cognition by teaching individuals to recognize, challenge, and change stress-inducing thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs in order to minimize unhealthy negative emotions such as anxiety, anger, and depression, and to minimize unhealthy thinking styles, such as pessimism while promoting health-enhancing mental states, including sense of control and optimism. Cognitive restructuring has become a core technique, along with the relaxation response, in mind–body medicine for reducing the effects of stress on a variety of medical conditions (Jacobs, 2001, p. 94)."

"In cognitive restructuring, teaching patients to alter negative, pessimistic thinking styles not only directly influences emotional states, including anxiety and depression, but in fact, improves...functions associated with depression, particularly appetite, sleep, and sexual activity (Jacobs, 2001, p. 95)."

Turning Poison to Medicine

"...hostility has been associated with increased coronary blockage, increased risk of heart attack, and increased risk of dying from all causes. Redford Williams, in research at Duke University on the relationship between hostility and heart disease, has shown that hostile men are seven times more likely to die within 25 years from any cause compared to less hostile men (Williams and Williams, 1993). In numerous studies assessing stress in the laboratory, stress has been shown to result in increased blood pressure, heart rate, and reduced blood flow to the heart (Jacobs, 2001, p. 86)."

synonyms for h
antagonism, unfriendliness, enmity, malevolence, malice, unkindness, rancor, venom, hatred, loathing, fighting, conflict, armed conflict, combat, aggression, warfare, war, violence 

Save yourself, brother-man. Release the anger and hang up your boxing gloves. Let your life lived well be your greatest "revenge." 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Fleeing Stalking and Violence

Update (August 13, 2017): The immigration judge granted the young woman asylum last Monday! She was released to family in the area, and is currently figuring out next steps.

I'm writing a forensic psychological report for an asylum seeker. She is fleeing a violent stalker in her country of origin. I am doing research and here are some of my notes...
  • Stalking seems to have common roots in a mixture of psychological processes that include frustration, aggression and the desire to control the target. 
  • Stalking refers to wilful, malicious and repeated following or harassing another person. Stalkers often persecute their victims by unwanted communication (phone calls, texts), camp outside the victim’s home or workplace, spread rumors about the victim. 
  • In many cases innocent parties and the target’s circle of friends and associated become victims of the stalker’s behavior. 
  • The various forms of harassment are done to gain control over the victim. 
  • Wright et al (1996) found that many stalkers were seeking possession of the victim, angry and retaliating against the victim, whom he perceived as rejecting him.
Canter, D.V. and Ioannou, M. (2004) A multivariate model of stalking behaviours. Behavormetrika, 31(2), 113-130. 
  • Similar to domestic violence relationships, power and control play a role in stalking situations. 
  • Psychological control and social control are the most common forms reported by victims. 
  • Physical assault during the stalking and financially controlling behaviors are also reported (Brewster, 2003). 
  • An objective observer might not understand the rationale for stalking once the perpetrator is clear that reconciliation has been ruled out as a possibility. In trying to make sense of stalking behavior, it is clear that the desire to control the former partner is a great, if not the most important, motivating factor. 
Brewster, M.P. (2003). Journal of Family Violence, 18(4), 207-217. 
  • Domestic violence research suggests that stalking may play a role in the “cycle of violence.” 
  • The cycle of violence is a three-stage process used to explain spouse battering. The first stage is called the tension-building phase, in which unresolved conflict and unexpressed anger collect and there is a sense of “walking on eggshells.” The tension continues to build to the second stage, called the explosion phase. During this stage, the actual abuse incident occurs, which may involve emotional, verbal, and/or physical abuse. This stage is followed by a honeymoon period. The abuser seeks forgiveness in a contrite manner, almost as if courting his partner, and promises never to let the abuse occur again. The cycle begins again as tension rebuilds. 
  • When the woman leaves an abusive relationship to stop the cycle, she is the most vulnerable to extreme acts of violence. When the male realizes that his usual methods of control are no longer effective, he is likely to resort to more extreme acts of violence. It is at this point that the woman is also at risk of being the focus of repeated, unwanted attention and harassment as he tries to “win her back.” The attention may take many forms and become progressively more violent when these efforts are not successful in reunifying the relationship. 
Coleman, F.L. (1997). Stalking behavior and the cycle of domestic violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 12(3), 420-432.

Fragile Power

When an abused child, a rejected adolescent, or a humiliated man is finally able to deny his desire for acceptance and love, he can become . . . a man obsessed with power and the abuser of others.  
He may be relatively secure only when in a position to dominate or humiliate someone else, which gives him a false and fragile sense of superiority. Lack of self-worth and experiences of devaluation, rejection, or abuse in childhood, coupled with a desire for revenge, make people prone to become like [this]. (Bolen, 1999, p. 26) 
From Brewster, M.P. (2003). Journal of Family Violence, 18(4), 207-217.