Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Learning in the Context of Relationship

"At a time when the traditional structures of caring have deteriorated, schools must become places where teachers and students live together, talk with each other, take delight in each other’s company.

My guess is that when schools focus on what really matters in life, the cognitive ends we now pursue so painfully and artificially will be achieved somewhat more naturally… It is obvious that children will work harder and do things -- even odd things like adding fractions -- for people they love and trust."

Nel Noddings, 1998

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Chemistry of Joy*

Jeff Koob (CSULB) quoted Dan Siegel (UCLA) as saying that joy causes brain myelination and so for healing purposes, we all need more joy (I'm paraphrasing, big time).

When I saw Dan Siegel speak, I went up to him at the break and asked him about this.  He referred me to the book, The Chemistry of Joy:  A three-step program for overcoming depression through western science and eastern wisdom, by Henry Emmons, MD.

According to the book, step one is understanding our brain and how to feed it.  Step two is knowing our Ayurvedic type (Calming Air, Soothing Fire or Moving Earth Types).  Step three is discovering our Buddhist emotional type (Fear Types, Anger Types, Self-Deluding or Adrift Types).

The author sees people with depression as a complex integration of mind, body, and spirit.  If you are feeling a little bit better after working on one of the three - mind, body, spirit - then maybe you will find yourself feeling a whole lot better if you give the other two some equal time.  If you have participated in talk therapy for a long time, then maybe it is time to focus on the body or spirit.  Likewise, if your focus has been on strengthening the body, then maybe it is time to pay attention to spirit or telling your stories and reflecting on them.  If you have avoided any type of treatment due to fear of pain or lack of energy, then take a small step toward feeling stronger.  A ball in motion is easier to accelerate than a ball that is standing still.  Take the first step in whatever direction feels right to you now.

Surely joy is the condition of life.
--Henry David Thoreau


"You've got to get up every morning with a smile on your face 
and show the world all the love in your heart.  
Then people gonna treat you better. 
You're gonna find
yes, you will
that you're beautiful, you're beautiful, you're beautiful as you feel."

Beautiful by Carole King

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Empowerment, Self-Determination and Integration

Any attempts to control or coerce you can chip away at your soul, your mind-body-spirit-soul - because they are all connected.

Empowerment, exercising your say, is your soul's protection. Use your words! You have a beautiful voice!

Our mission, as humans, is to get or stay whole - integrated - to be at home in our own skin, wherever we find ourselves and wherever life takes us - whole in mind-body-spirit-soul.

Self-determination is the right to make choices about our own life and face the consequences of those choices.

It takes soooo much self-awareness and courage to be whole, truly a hero's journey.

We are not alone.  We have guides and support.  We can do this. Our life depends on it.  It is our birthright.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Families as Therapeutic Agents

"Changes in brain functioning may diminish the integration and recall of memories of traumatic events for some children, at the same time increasing intrusive thoughts about them.

Intrusive thoughts, in turn, have been associated with distress.

For this reason, cognitive theories of trauma focus on the need to integrate frightening or confusing aspects of a traumatic event into existing cognitive models.

Talking about the (traumatic) event is hypothesized to facilitate cognitive processing or integration leading to the possibility that families may play a role in this process."

Proctor, L.J. (2006). Children growing up in a violent community: The role of the family, Aggression and Violent Behavior, 11, 558–576

Resilience at a Price

". . . in our enthusiasm for competence and achievement in people who overcome great risk or adversity, we must be careful not to overlook internal pain or the possibility that extraordinary effort is being expended to sustain competence."

Educational Resilience in Inner-City America:  Challenges & Prospects, Edited by Margaret C. Wang & Edmund W. Gordon

Friday, January 20, 2012

Definitions of Social Marketing

What is Social Marketing?
  • Using marketing principles to influence the acceptability of social ideas.
  • A method to influence the voluntary behavior of target audiences.
  • May include introduction of new products, the modification of existing ones and the promotion of structural change in existing institutions.
  • Use of commercial marketing techniques to achieve a social objective.
  • Social marketers combine product, price, place and promotion to maximize product use by specific population groups.
  • Application of marketing principles and techniques to foster social change or improvement, related to public health challenges or other social needs.
  • The systematic application of marketing concepts and techniques, to achieve specific behavioural goals, for a social or public good.
  • Social marketing is focused on people, their wants and needs, aspirations, lifestyle, freedom of choice.  All marketing activities begin with a focus on understanding people - their wants and needs, aspirations, lifestyle and choices. 
  • Social marketing aims for aggregated behavior change - priority segments of the population or markets, not individuals, are the focus of programs.
  • A population or social change methodology, social marketing must be based on theoretical models that guide the selection of the most relevant determinants, priority groups, objectives, interventions and evaluations for scalable behavior change such as theories of diffusion of innovations, social networks, community assets, political economics and social capital. 

Lefebvre, R.C. (2011). An integrative model for social marketing. Journal of Social Marketing, 1(1), 54-72

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Social Marketing, Lecture Notes Week 1

Methods for changing public behavior to increase health:

1)  Education - Do it because you should.  Give people information.  People are smart - there are other factors that are important and at play in changing behavior.  It is necessary to educate, but not sufficient.

2)  Coercion - Do it because I say so.  Negative consequences are threatened through policies at the organizational, local, and state levels.  In a free society, there are limits to regulating public behavior.  We have the freedom to choose the level of personal risks.

3)  Marketing - Do it because it will help you be the person you want to be.  Use of persuasion.

  • taps into emotions - the reasons why people do things - mostly unconscious
  • artistic, creative, original
  • a bridge between provider and customer relationship - developing connection
  • exchange - marketer and customer exchange.  what does the customer get with that product?  what is our audience getting in exchange for our product? 
  • marketers try to associate emotions to products - products represent more than just the thing
  • how do we take a product (say, getting a colonoscopy) and tie it into what we want - takes a creative approach
  • figure out deep values that appeal to people - communicate how product will help people reach their personal goals
Social Marketing:
  • behavior change is the bottom line.  an awareness campaign may need to be done initially but then move through the behavior stages of change (precontemplation, contemplation, action, maintenance, relapse)
  • segmenting your audience - there is no "general public" target!  Know your audience by narrowing down your scope and in order to best reach them.  Target those ready to change, need change or have resources to make change.
  • research guides all decisions.  To know what appeals to people - ask them, get to know them, conduct literature review, explore previous efforts, ethnographic research, one-on-one interviews, focus groups.  Research forms basis of strategy - that is, what kinds of messages they need, what values drive them, where do they get information (media source, doctor, spouse, peers)?
Social Marketing Mix:
  • Product - what is the product? branding? how to position product?
  • Price - what do people have to give up?  reduce the price and make it easier to adopt.
  • Place - times and places to target so audience is most receptive.
  • Promotion - ads, posters, campaigns, dissemination.
  • Publics - groups taken into account
  • Policies - work to put in place to support behavior change in the long term
  • Partnership - collaborate for success
  • Purse strings - funding and budget

Dance Break

After sitting for an hour, dance your heart out to at least one song (if it is "Zombie" by Fela Kuti, then that's a 12 minute workout!).

It's easier than we think to move again and so good for our mind, body, spirit and soul!

If you're in the office, dance party in the break room instead of coffee!  All it takes is a bold peer or formal leader to start the party.  The followers are dying to join in.  70's mix? 80's mix? Salsa? Afrobeat? Yes, yes, yes, yes!!!!!

Dance Intervention

I teach a graduate level social work course on Tuesdays from 6-8pm.  The students juggle work, school and family.  I have been there and it is not pretty.

During check-in, they said their bodies felt sleepy, hyper, sick, headache, exhausted.  When I asked them to rate on a scale of 1 to 10 (1=low, 10=high), how invigorated they felt, the total class score was 37 (about 16 students). After playing Bob Marley's 3 minute song, Stand Up, I asked for their "invigorated" ratings again.  The class score went up by 10 points.  This may or may not be statistically significant but the class decided it was worth it.  Most students did not even have the energy to move, much less dance.  One student said that with so much going on in her life, the words to the song ("Get up, stand up, don't give up the fight") were motivational even if she was too tired to dance.  Too tired to dance?  That makes me sad. We have prioritized dance out of our lives.  That is not what the ancestors envisioned for us.

How do we reclaim our dance?
Tarda en llegar y al final hay recompensa
En la zona de promesas
--Mercedes Sosa & Gustavo Cerati version

Mechanisms for Resilience

Resilience is happening all the time.  I want to figure out what is regular about the way it happens.
Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights.
Get up, stand up, don't give up the fight.
--Bob Marley

Questions for Relationships

What are 3 things that you like or love about yourself?  What is one thing you wish you could change?

What are 3 things that you like or love about your partner?  What is one thing about your partner with which you struggle to deal?

What are 3 things that your partner likes or loves about you?  What is one thing they can't take?

What are 3 things that your partner likes or loves about him/herself?  What is one thing they wish they could change about themselves?

If you looked deep inside and had no fear, that is, confident that your partner would listen with an open heart and mind, what would you say you want?

If your partner looked deep inside and had no fear, would you listen with an open heart and mind when they told you what they want?

When you close your eyes to imagine or daydream, what do you see?  What are you doing together? saying to each other?


I am taking a dissertation proposal writing seminar with renowned scholar, Zeke Hasenfeld.

The first time I took a class with Zeke, I was embarrassed because I did not know what the title of the class meant when I enrolled (Epistemology), but thanks to Zeke, I do now.  I like to use the word all the time now, less to show off my new found knowledge (although that is part of it - it is hard-won, people!) and more because it is such an important word!  How do we know what we know?  What is the nature of reality (ontology)?

Now, we are exploring heuristics, or "tools for invention and social science discovery" - basic tricks for producing ideas.  Zeke teaches me fancy words and the depth of meaning behind them.

What's exciting about heuristics is that these tools are not just useful to social scientists eager to have something to say.  They are tools for inspiring creativity in any field.  In both the arts and sciences, practitioners are motivated by having something to say.

"Imagination proposes and rigor evaluates.  There is a continual exchange between intuition and method."

What is the difference between "imagination and foolishness"?  "Rigor and secure explanation."  The left and right brain working together in concert. Thoughts and feelings cross-checking each other until wholeness and integration are reached.  Elegant. Simple.


I used to rely on a trifecta of healers - massage therapist, acupuncturist and chiropractor.

Now, I have found healing and transformation from the following practitioners.  They are too great not to share...

1.  Amanda Foulger, Shamanic Practitioner     (310) 455-3758
Offers spiritual, emotional, mental or physical healing.  Performs soul retrieval (after the soul checks out in traumatic situations/events), spirit helper work (to identify your guide and helper), extractions and clearing (limpia).

2.  Cathy Uribe, Gifted Energy Healer     (323) 332-7928
Conducts clearing and charging of energy.  Excellent for stress management, especially when our history rears its ugly head to haunt us.

3.  Sara Cadena, Reader     (310) 970-1890
Provides insight, validation and support for relationship and career decision-making.  She is very specific.

Finally, I would add that if you are not already in the practice of writing, then begin now, and never stop.
Lips are for smiling, kissing and telling the truth.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Good Life Advice

Sometimes we come across sociopaths in our very own families.  Sometimes they are a boyfriend we dumped in college.  Sometimes they appear as Lotharios when we are in middle age - intent on enticing, seducing and duping us for money, sex or pleasure.

It's not that we're fools.  It is that they are skilled at the con.  We can all be hoodwinked and suckered into their charm.  There is no shame in that.  We get to be human.

You don't see them coming.  They are not branded or carrying signs or festooned with horns.  Then again, they are so good that even if they wore a big ol' sandwich board sign saying, "stay away from me, I will play you, I cannot help myself," we'd still fall. hard.

They will outwit, outplay and outlast you, unless. . .

Experts on anti-social personality disorder advise that the best way to protect ourselves is to "know our vulnerabilities."  The sociopath has an uncanny ability to read you - identify your vulnerabilities - and use them against you.  They advise us to "realize our own potential and maximize our strengths" so that our insecurities don't overcome us.  Because a sociopath is a chameleon who becomes "an image of what you haven't done for yourself."  

Words to live by, even if you never meet a sociopath.

What is your potential?  Are you living at your potential?
What are your strengths?  Are you using them to the fullest everyday?
What do you want for yourself that you have not yet done?  What baby steps can you begin to take now that will get you there eventually?


(Definition of sociopath from ehow.com: Sociopaths have little regard for the feelings of others and manipulate others in order to get what they desire. The term "sociopath" is no longer used in psychology and psychiatry, and the disorder is now called "antisocial personality disorder." People who have this disorder often have no sense of right or wrong and many only receive treatment when forced to by the judicial system, an employer or family member. The disorder is relatively rare, with approximately 0.6 percent of Americans affected, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Very Happy New Year

I have enjoyed a leisurely and social Winter break full of requisite hibernation.  I am now ready once again for structure, schedules, classes, teaching, writing, and reading with regularity.


I don't worry anymore that I will go back to my previous break neck speed.  The juiciness of balance is too enticing.

Courses on deck for Winter quarter:  Social Marketing, Dissertation Proposal Seminar, Grant Proposal Strategies, Working Papers Seminar.  Notes from the first week of class will be posted this week.

Also, I am scheduled to teach SW 589: Recovery and Empowerment in Mental Health at CSULA.

2012 is a year for transformation.  Where will it take you?  I relish the ride.

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...