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Monday, April 29, 2013

Broken Glass

29th July 2012
Dear Cassi,
The most bizarre thing happened to me when I was washing dishes. A glass broke apart in my hand. I was rinsing it under the tap when it just came apart into bits in my hand. There was nothing I could have bumped it on. It just happened.
That would have been all right except for the shard that went down into the water. This cup had horizontal rings and the glass broke along them leaving thin slivers with very sharp edges.
I pulled the drain stopper to let the dirty water out and it just sat there as if I had done nothing. I fished my hand into the sink to see the obstruction and found shards of glass. They slashed through my fingertip and opened a few more cuts on my hand. I put what glass I had in the recycling bin and pulsed the irater to get the sink to drain.
It worked, but my bleeding and open wounds were far too tender to hold under water for long. I washed my hand and put on latex gloves then both finished with the dishes and with some cooking I was doing at the time. I had to bag most of it up because I had planned to make a good amount of it so I could freeze some for Pickles.
Another downer to this situation was that I found typing my homework hard and so turned it in late. I should have turned it in yesterday to be honest but I had so much work to do that I got side tracked.
I tried to get my work done but my wound broke open and stained my keyboard red. That was when I figured on the gloves. I had taken some time way from the kitchen to sit down and work because I needed to get off my feet.
When I finally got things put away so that nothing would spoil I took three sleeping pills and nodded off to sleep for six hours. It still hurt to type when I woke up but it only took ten minutes to finish my homework. I was very glad when it was over.

Stay safe, little sister

Richard Leland Neal

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Hard Road of Law Enforcement

11th March 2013

As a general note, Patty, I think the best place to examine EMDR would be in law enforcement. If the process really can decrease anxiety it would help Police officers recall events for trial and clear their mind of the emotional trauma.

Police officer have a stressful job and so are prone to ‘cop rage’. This is the situation where they lose control of their mental faculties and react with unnecessary violence. Sometimes this helps them service and other times, most of the time, it is a hindrance to their duties in serving and protecting the public.

It becomes hard to fault the police officer in this case but still imperative to remove them from duty as they may injure the innocent, cause negative press for the department, of property damage. We of the schooled in mental health know to think of this as a medical problem but the public is not so understanding.

In such a case, mental stability exorcises should not only be recommended for police officer but required.

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

When Needs are Not Met

Hi Richard,
I too am sorry to hear that your needs are not getting met. I can say that personally, obtaining this type of higher education would be difficult had I not gone to a university for my master's degree... and didn't have the years of clinical experience. For me, I needed the classroom structure and the one on one supervision, especially during my residency. However, this many years later, with all of the "core" theoretical approaches branded in my brain, it has been uplifting, to say the least, to add these different approaches to fill in the gaps of the more "mainstream" theoretical approaches. Those theories are critical for psychotherapists, for one, that's what you'll be tested on for your board exams (assuming that's the route your planning on going) and secondly, insurance panels will require that you have this knowledge as well. For me though, I can say that all of these types of practices are equally important and I am coming more and more to the belief that it is the conjunction of all of them that gives us the opportunity to offer the most effective client centered psychological services. As for the rock, sometimes it's just the symbolism alone that gets a person from one moment to the next...and hopefully in the next moment it will be that rock and something else that starts to build overtime what the client needs to get where they're going. I wish you nothing but the best. Randi

10th March 2013 10

The truth is, Randi, I believe my life is not fit for therapy. Frankly, it looked like the logical thing to do when I started this program but things changed. I found a stable job where I already help people with mental problems so I have to ask myself what is this education about? If a better job was my reasoning I’m just being greedy. A person should be happy if their bills are paid.

If I came to therapy to help people, well, I’ve never been helped by a therapist. I’ve seen a good many over the years and found none who could really bring me round where I wanted to find myself. Now I’m there for my clients for free and for as long as they need me. I change lives and connect with people.

Then it came to this class and I was pressed to write a paper I simply felt was unsupported by the evidence. That’s unethical; I could open up a stats text book and show you how the evidence is less than sound. If we go through the world fitting information together with a hammer then I can see why people like myself, my brother, and my father are products of the mental health system and yet are still less than sound minded.

The final nail in the coffin was the attitude I got from management about this subject. I’ve worked in a lot of bad places over my life, and I know when folks are giving me the run around. If they had looked into the subject and given me a clean and educated response I may have changed my mind.

Still, the bottom line fact is that what I want to do with my life is write. I do that every day but when it comes to classes or writing I think I should spend time writing because the only thing a degree in therapy could bring me to is a life where I want to find time for writing.

Like a lot of people my age I’ve spent most of my life in class rooms and in learning. Education has done little for a lot of people I know. Many of the resident advisers have master’s degrees and they work alongside those with BA’s and at some times for less. Education does not make happiness or even wisdom for that matter. This simply isn’t the place for me.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Motivation of Security Officers

As you can see from the date I wrote this essay some years ago about my working conditions and how to motivate security officers. There are a few errors and some other issue with this paper but I do believe I earned and A.

24 April 2009
Richard Leland Neal
Psychology 391
Blackman Tuth 8:30AM-9:45AM
Hard Uniform

I’m a state registered security officer working at a factory making parts for aircraft and military equipment. This position was described as lobby ambassador but what that means was never defined. I’m still in a “hard” uniform that designates me as a security officer rather than an ambassador who would wear something less imposing.
My company claims to refuse to renew its lower paying contracts in an effort to increase pay. However, I believe this is has more to do with overtime costs and a lack of manpower than any effort to improve the conditions for their work force. The possibility of promotion or increased pay through change in contract is the only real monetary motivation we have. Thus, we are subject to merit pay at undefined intervals measured in years. Pay is controlled solely by the negotiation of company and client. This can have some motivating aspects as the action of one guard tends to alter the pay of all, but as good behavior is poorly reinforced this factor is insignificant.
Another motivational program of my company is enrichment through the MSO program. MSO stands for Master Security Officer and is a group of five short classes that provide information about the security industry. Completing of each class results in the employee receiving a pin and some other token of compensation like a lunch bag or coffee mug.   However, this program too falls short of motivating because recognition for completing the training is often unenforced.
Some supervisors have tried motivating guards through fear of termination or an appeal to the sense of national pride but neither of these work well either. For one, security jobs are easy to come by so termination is an idle threat. National pride is another foolish attempt because telling a guard that they should do a better job because they work at a terrorist target only serves to further the idea that pay is inappropriate for work.
To motivate security personnel we must first understand who they are and what they want. Security personnel can be split into three categories; students, moonlighters and career guard. Students are working their way through school and have little interest in promotion. Moonlighters are just looking for extra money and again are hard to motivate. Career guards are generally either undereducated underachievers or retirees who have nothing better to do with their lives. The third category are the longest term employees easiest to motivate and most reliable.    
In order to motivate the whole body of security personnel the existing enrichment program should be revamped and strictly adhered to. With every MSO level in addition to the pin and other prize security officers should be issued more uniforms. Few of us like reusing dirty uniforms and those of us that do would prefer to wash them less frequently so the enrichment would come with functional benefits. In addition we often end up issuing these uniforms regardless so the cost to the company will be minimal.
Another useful motivator would be a set interval compensation for good attendance. Essentially this would be a perfect attendance award given every year to officers who miss no work. This need be no more than a slip of achievement and four hours of regular time added to the guard’s paycheck at the end of the year. This would cost as much as one absence and likely reduce the absence rate of student and moonlighter guards who are more motivated by money and yet have the highest absentee count in the company.  This would look great on resumes and be an encouragement to college students looking to move on.
In terms of those officers who will miss work regardless of this program an absentee evaluation slip given at the end of every year may reduce absences. This would be a written report on how much work the guards missed during the year and a total lost wages on that count. I’ve noted guard missing as many as four Fridays in a row at a cost to them of more than three hundred dollars. Knowing just how much money they are missing may serve to reduce absences and increase company revenue.
Another program I propose is a total Confidence Assurance Pledge. My company has been accused of many things like payroll skimming and failing to pay for hours worked. The Confidence Assurance Pledge or CAP would be an online service that would inform guards of what their contract actually says regarding their pay rate. They would be able to look up pay documentation and read overtime laws for their state. This would allow for quick resolution of pay disputes. Not only would this safeguard against issues like payroll skimming but it would reduce the likelihood of unfavorable ruling in labor disputes. The tendency of a judge in this regard is to rule in favor of whoever has the best kept record and company record would have to be pristine to support CAP.
I have to express that few of these programs would involve monetary compensation because the security industry is subject to harsh competition. If there is one thing I need to be in looking at motivating employees it’s a realist. We could all get guard to work hard for the right prices but getting that money is difficult. It is unfortunate but I must look for motivation elsewhere.   

Friday, April 19, 2013

Very Grounded in My Thoughts

11th March 2013 11

I have to admit, Randi, that a lack of memories before the age of twelve is an oddity. Myself, I can remember things clearly from age three, not much mind, but things are there to be recalled. I have to admit that the EMBR session that made so much an impact on you did very little for me, but then understand that I have become very grounded in my thoughts over the last few years.

I’ve heard of memory projects that involve doing the things one did at the time of the lost memories. This would be watching film, reading books, and viewing other media that would have been in your life during those lost years. Still, memory blocks are something I have no experience with in my life.

Let’s be clear on one thing, if there is something there you’ve toned out it may be something you have no wish to find. I can tell you that I know little of my mother’s life and what I do know is rather sad. The poor woman was a tortured angry soul that lived a miserable short existence. An account of the happenings of her life is long lost to me because I never get along with her family. I come to grips with things by understanding that her life was hard and that I will only find pain if I go looking for more.

As for my own memory, I write letters about my day to day life to a friend.

You can read a few if you like
and I found this to be very settling. There are times that I will just take notes on an event and then come back to it months later but on the overall it helps me to deal with the trauma of my life.

I try and fail to write a letter every day and some days I have nothing to write about so I write about the past. Those things that happened to me often come back slowly and dimly but like working any part of body or mind they become strong.

I still have a distance to go before I have a truly stable mind. Well, stable as it should be, more stable than most I hope, but I found a great joy in writing about my life. Then I guess you may say that memory isn’t all that big a thing so long as you can find your joy in life.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Human Mind Is Complicated

11th March 2013 11

A point we have to say over and over again, Heather, is that the human mind is a complicated thing and even the owner often has little understanding of what happens within that box of bone.

For this reason patient report is always questionable and should be met with follow-up visits. I’ve always believe that depression is the bodies way of turning itself off during bad times and every now and again it can kick on. When it does kick on the patient feels much better for a short time but when the problem comes back they just shut down again.

In the height of my own depression I would plan to do great things with my day then sleep through the hours without getting much done. If you had ask me at the end of a school day, this was back in high school, you would have believed I was on top of the world and you would quickly wonder at my problems. Ask me again thirty minutes after I got home, and I would say I wanted to sleep and be left alone.  The mind is a thing of now.

Another point, is that medical doctors often like to have a person’s wife or other family member come in with them because when they ask their client how they are doing the answer is almost always ‘fine’. The wife or other family member would then say ‘no you aren’t’ in list the maladies of the last few weeks or months.

What I’m getting at is that sometimes what looks like a brilliant recovery will fade back into the problem. Mental health is a lifetime affair just like physical health. You can do great things in the space of an hour but they fall to nothing if you fail to keep them up.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Two Good Points

Neither of these are large enough to be full blog posts but put together they are both interesting.

Back in Neuropsychology, Heather, we talked about something called the homunculus , little man, which is the neurological map of the body located in the brain (Baars 2010 pg144). When a part of the body is lost that part still has the neurons in the brain that felt and ran it and they still can fire.  In fact Dr. Vilayanur S. Ramachandran speculated that the phantom limbs were part perception and part the surrounding nerves invading those no longer used areas of the brain. This comes from his book ‘Phantoms in the Brain’

Baars, Bernard J. Gage, Nicole M. (2010) Cognition, Brain, and Consciousness ‘Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience’. 2nd ed  Oxford: Academic Press. ISBN 978-0-12-375070-9
At some point, Randi, I came to the conclusion that any good theory has an explanation, at least seventy percent of the way, in other good theories. After all, we do not throw away the ideas of Newton to usher in the ideas of Einstein.

Still, by understanding that one theory holds echoes of the other we need understand that as in the world of physics they search for a unified idea so do we in the searching of an understanding of the mind. In that search we cannot become believers more than we are questioners looking for the truth. Even when in our heart the truth is had we need question it to be sure.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Mystery of Touch

The nature and phenomenon of touch as it relates to the human psyche has always been of a great mystery to me, Randi, as it is a form of none verbal communication but can convey so much.

I once met a fellow, not a client, who talked to me about his time with the Holy Rollers Church. I was unfamiliar with the denomination so he told me that the name comes from people rolling on the floor during sermons. They would be what one calls a high energy faith.

“The preacher man comes up and touches people and they fall on the ground in rapture,” he told me that afternoon. “It’s a load of bull and I know it’s a load of bull but you know what? I fall down every time.”

Here was a fellow who didn’t believe feeling the power of combined human energies. I have to admit he was still a drug addict and still a type A personality, but it’s hard to deny a power there in the church house.

I would have to speculate that there was some gift of energy in the holy man’s hands and what was done with it is in question. We as humans use the most powerful of our technologies for energy and destruction. Energy is energy and how we use it may be what’s important.

At least that’s the impression that I get.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

How I Heal My Mind

Okay, well, you get half this conversation and I wish I had recovered the statement that prompted this response. I’ve grown to the point where I understand that I should write for those who have no understanding of the topic at hand. None the less, you can find a few useful points in these few words.

If only people would say how much they like my kitties on the comic where I posted their picture.  I post a new drawing or photograph every day so that the internet can ignore me. Well, let us call that trivial for the moment, Christen.

There exercise I go through for my depression stated with comic drawing were I wrote about my experiences and made them into jokes. It was easier at that point to laugh at my pain and in that way come to live with my memories. Now my comics are more for the fun of it but I still do drop a life experience in every now and then.

Getting more into depth, I stated writing letters about the things in my life that bother me and sending them to a friend. At some point I started posting them online in my blog ‘Letters to Cassi and Other Folks’

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Art of Transportation

Back in my days of theater, Heather, we talked about the feeling of transportation. This meant that despite the nature of set or theater building the audience truly felt as if they were where ever the story took place. This is the one advantage of live theater over film is that the live version has an impact that can only be transfused in the present and living manner.

In the world of storytelling this translates some to the personalization of the story. There were times that I have talked about the experiences of soldiers in Vietnam and been asked if I had served there myself. I’m only thirty years too young for that, but I spoke as if I had been there and seen what they had experienced.

If you wish to take a romantic look at this idea then I connected with the energy of the veterans and translated their lives into my own taking with me the feeling they felt. If I ever have children it is through this story telling that they will come to know the generations before me because my family has already said that they have no wish to see any offspring that I may have. … Yes, that is the kind of thing my family says.

Sadly, in theater we see a good number of narcissists who think that what they do is good because they do it, and the art of transportation is something very much lost in the modern theater. Still there was a time that story telling had a magic to it and that translated and was felt. There was a time when a good story teller could make his living in the art of this craft. The oral tradition took folk on real adventures once and these adventures may have been good for the soul.

Friday, April 5, 2013

What is Wrong with Me

Sadly, Randi, what’s wrong with me isn’t something that’s going away any time soon. In the nature of what I have it is primarily mental and the structures of the brain have been as they are for a very long time. I like to think that my persistent depression is some primitive part of my brain thinking that I would outlive the bad parts of my life and saving all the energy for all the good.

The truth is that it will take an intense process to change the structure of my brain and mold me into something other than a deeply depressed, mentally unstable person. There is a bizarre irony in this as my job involves settling the unsettled, but I do regulate well in light of my problems. I would estimate that if I could take nine to twelve weeks and focus on a cognitive fix to my problems that I may pull through to a state of proper mental health. That would be a time with all the other ample problems of my life set aside and we all know that can never happen.

Every day I go through exercises to heal my mind and have been in this practice now for three years.  Still my condition persists in a dogged way and no end looms on the horizon. Even as the hours pass and I read and review the work of my fellow students I take time to work on the rebuilding of my mind. 

Mine is a lonely chore and every weekend I say that this will be the last that I spend using the walls of my home as armor against the world and a prison for my mind.  Then five days pass and I find myself in another stupor trying to crawl out of my depression.

Well, on a lighter note here is a link to a picture of my cats the first day I found them

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I’m a Bitter Old Pill

Here it is week three and I’m finally getting to your week one, Randi, my apologies. The combat I face with my own inner demons is daunting and the work I do is strange. I was taking to my normally lonely watch when a client came in and what was normally a five minute or less interview became an hour long counseling session about emotional abuse.  My clients spend as much or as little time with me as they need to which is the advantage of a live in facility where a man like myself works at the front desk.

That said, as much as I believe it would be a redundancy in your life to apply the aspects learned in week three to the situation mentioned in week one I am not a fellow who will believe a thing when I can know. If you will forgive my intrusion into your mother’s health I must make some inquiry. My own mother was taken from me in youth and so I have always felt some jagged rock upon my heart when hearing of what I could have done to save her or in very least make her passing less painful.

The first and foremost question I have to broach is, have you looked into the best diet for your mother’s condition? My own mother grew up in the cold war and so was a meat and potatoes gal all the way. This diet having little of the needed vitamins and an over abundance of starch was a large part of my own cooking until the late nineties when I learned how to cook food that supported health. I still need to work on this by my doctor was very in-depth in assessing of my health and found me to be perfectly healthy other then my depression and body mass.

My health provider has classes on weight management and healthy eating and if your mother is not looking into this presently it would be a good idea. I once treated a man for potassium deficiency, I have no right to so treat someone but the fellow was dying, and five minutes of advice changed his life.

Again, I’d imagine you have already found a support group for your mother, as Energy Psychology would suggest, but have you looked into any other groups that may be beneficial? Anything that would get her mind off the subject of her health would likely make an improvement in that area of her life.

It may be a comfort to her, I’m not sure why, to revisit the good memories of her youth in an active way. If she could listen to the music, watch the films and TV shows, and perhaps take part in some of the things she did in the best years of her life this may take her back to her, as our text puts it, healing energy.

If you live near to your mother taking her to a sporting event or play at the local high school or college would be a great experience for both of you. In addition you would be tapping into all that energy of youth and that energy is healing.

Okay, so I may be taking the information we get from class too far and further I’m probably telling you a whole lot of things you’ve already thought about. Well, take me with a spoon of sugar for I’m a bitter old pill and may your mother live many happy years yet.

Richard Leland Neal

Monday, April 1, 2013

On Good Story


As something of a holdover from my days as a student of the arts I recall learning that a good story shows the change and commonly the evolution of a character. The pick a story that we all know Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carole” is a prime example.  During the course of this story Ebenezer Scrooge learns how his actions impact others and so changes to be more acceptable not only to himself but the world around him.

As we come away from this story there is a scene of things being right with the world and in truth that is very therapeutic. It would be hoped that the point of this story carries to the audience and impacts them in life. Sadly, locking Wal-Mart executives in a room while every version of this story produced in the last ten years runs on screen is less than legal. Under the right conditions it may even make them better people.

What we can glean from this is that story can make us feel better and improves us as people. The operative is can and the conditions are that the stories have the right moral and the mind is properly receptive to said moral.