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The Heart Of Soul

(category: Psychology, Word count: 423)
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Hide and Seek is a wonderful game to play with your children. The next time you play this game observe what happens. If you are the person hiding your eyes and counting to 10, feel what happens to your heart as you look for your children.

If you pay attention, my hunch is that your heart and imagination will heighten. Since you cannot see your children in front of you, a movement from the perceptual world to the intuitive world becomes your path into soul. You are, now, being guided from within. In soul, you will feel your heart come alive. You will feel your heart open. And, you will experience your heart become ONE with your children.

1. Feel Your Heart.

Close your eyes and place your attention on your heart. Look at your heart from within using the inner vision of your mind, and not, the ones you use in the material world. This simple act of noticing and placing your attention on your heart enables you to feel your heart.

2. Feel Your Heart Open.

The next time you hug someone you care deeply about, feel how warm and open your heart becomes. It is a similar feeling you get when you receive good news or visit someone you haven't seen in a long time. An open heart is able to receive the love and attention of another person who wants the same. This mutual receiving and giving love connect hearts as one cohesive unit.

3. A Unified Heart.

A heart in unity with the world, itself, and others around it knows wholeness. Wholeness is the feeling of being ONE with all that is alive and well. It is the feeling of being loved, blessed, known, and cared for. This feeling of being connected to the unified whole called the universe is our ability to identify beyond our own individualized selves. This transcendent state of being creates an awareness of what infuses our heart with eternal love.


Notice what happens when you play Hide and Seek with a small child. The closer you get to finding them, the more you will feel your heart. Your heart will open to a channel of expression and experience where physical eyesight is no longer necessary. This guiding force enabling you to feel your heart, allow your heart to open, and create a path merging two hearts as ONE is the heart of soul.

Sam Oliver, author of, "A Fish Named Ed"

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Dark Hypnosis Man Busted Sent To Jail

(category: Psychology, Word count: 432)
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Did you know that "pattern interrupts" are a hypnotist's secret weapon to getting direct access to someone's unconscious mind?

In fact they're so powerful that many years ago a man, who was eventually caught and sent to jail, was using them to STEAL from tons

of restaurants.

More on that in a bit...

Pattern interrupts are so powerful because they work like this...

You break someone's expectation of how a normal, everyday event should proceed by doing something highly unusual instead.

This creates momentary confusion of their conscious mind and opens a brief doorway to their unconscious mind.

At that precise moment you can then give instructions to their unconscious mind.

And it can be DEVASTATINGLY effective.

Take the man who was banged up in jail for using them. Turns out this dude was easily scamming restaurants left, right and centre. He'd go into expensive restaurants and begin to give an order to a waiter. Halfway through he'd do a pattern interrupt on the unsuspecting waiter. During the moment of confusion he'd give an instruction to 'forget the bill', then continue with the order as normal. 9 times out of 10, he'd simply walk out of the restaurant after eating all their nice chow and drinking their fine wine. And without paying a dime!

Of course when you use this kind of hypnosis power criminally, you'll eventually end up getting busted.

And good job too.

But it doesn't take away from the fact that pattern interrupts are an incredibly powerful way to access peoples' unconscious minds whenever you need to.

In fact the friends of the greatest hypnotist of all time, Milton Erickson, use to REFUSE to shake his hand when they'd meet him!

That's because he'd often have fun using pattern interrupts on them and then instructing them to do little tasks for him.

Mind you that crafty old wizard had so many conversational hypnosis tricks anyhow - if he really wanted to chat with their unconscious minds he could easily have done so - and without them realizing it either!

That's the beauty of conversational hypnosis - people believe the instructions YOU give them are their idea.

Which is pretty handy!

If you'd like to discover more about pattern interrupts with conversational hypnosis and learn ALL the secret tricks and KILLER techniques of the great Milton Erickson then there's only one place

to surf over to now.

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How To Tell If Someone Is Lying

(category: Psychology, Word count: 549)
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How to tell if someone is lying? Carefully. All methods of lie-detecting, including polygraph machines, are regularly fooled or used improperly, resulting in mistakes. There are a few good ways described here, but try to confirm the truth by other means as well, such as confession or investigation of the facts.

You should compare behavior in the person under suspicion to their "base" behavior, if possible. In other words, if they always have shifty eyes, then this trait can't be considered as an indication of lying. On the other hand, if they are normally very calm under pressure, but start shifting in their chair after certain questions, that may indicate lying. Because all techniques fail at times, you should use several indications before assuming the person has lied.

How To Tell If Someone Is Lying By Testing Responses

One way to test for lying, is to measure a persons desire to avoid a subject, which will sometimes indicate dishonesty or guilt. If you think the person is lying, change the subject quickly. A lying person will often go along easily, and may even visibly relax. An innocent person is more likely to be slightly confused by the change and want to finish their thoughts.

Another lie detecting technique is to suggest something that would make a guilty person feel uncomfortable and watch for a response. Suppose your wife Jane says she was at her mother's house, and you think she is lying. Rather than saying, "I'm calling your mother to verify this," you could use a subtle approach. You might say, "That reminds me, I'm going to stop by your mother's house today to fix that door for her."

If your wife was lying, the idea of you seeing her mother should make her nervous. She may give you reasons why you shouldn't go there. Of course, if your relationship has reached the point where you feel the necessity to resort to these techniques, a simple lie may not be the worst of your problems. Still, sometimes you need to know, so here are a few more ways to tell if someone is lying.

They are using your words. Using your exact words to respond can be an indication of lying. You say, for example, "Did you leave this here?" and they respond, "No, I did not leave this here."

They use un-contracted words. A lack of contractions is more common when lying. For example, instead of saying "I didn't sleep with her," a man might say," I did not have sexual relations with that woman." Again, compare to base behavior, though, as some people may not use contractions often anyhow.

Over-compensation. Often when people lie, they try too hard to be natural, and they give more detail than is necessary.

Forced smiles. A real smile involves more muscles, while a forced smile will use just the muscles around the mouth. The lie here may only be about their feelings, of course.

Let them talk. The more a person talks, the more likely you are to catch them in a lie (if they are being dishonest), especially when you learn the indications to watch for. These are just a few of the ways how to tell if someone is lying.

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Debunking Psychics

(category: Psychology, Word count: 484)
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Have you ever been curious about your future? Have you ever called a phone psychic to get some answers?

If you wonder how "psychics" work, read on. This article is for you.

Most "psychics" are plain scammers. They use cold reading to make calculated guess about the sitters. Cold reading is an interactive psychological technique which extracts information from a person through verbal and non verbal cues. More often than not, psychics utilize known psychology techniques that can apply to almost anyone. An example would be claiming the sitter is cursed and he or she could lift that curse for a fee, because most people visit a psychic when they are down and depressed, "being cursed" is a quick, convenient reason to blame. Paying the fee to lift the curse would be the quickest solution to their complicated life problems.

There seems to be several common factors in psychic readings. The psychic usually:

+Skillfully extracts information from non verbal cues such as breathing patterns, voice, dress, skin color, and body language.

+ Makes statements that seem to give information when they are actually out to fish for it. E.g. Prompts feedback from sitters by saying "I see a man in uniform, why would that be?"

+Feeds back to the subject what the latter wants to hear

+Makes general "Barnum statements" such as "You are worrisome on the outside but insecure on the inside."

The sitter of the reading is the key to a 'successful' reading. The sitter's willingness to connect vague 'clues' came up by the psychic will often decide how successful the reading is. Many sitters who try to contact their deceased loved ones are very motivated in the first place, and will take the psychic's message as a sign that he or she have made contact with the other side. That is why psychics subtly encourage cooperation before and during the reading. Once the psychic gains the trusts of the sitter, the latter usually actively supply information and clarifications.

Although facial expressions and body languages could mean differently to people from different cultural backgrounds, many psychologists believe that certain facial and body expressions are universal to the mankind.

How to tell dominance: People who dominates have a tenancy to stand up with an erected body, speaks slowly and rarely, and look people in their eyes for an extended period of time. Because of the demonstrated link between testosterone and aggression, people with square jaws ( testosterone induced feature) are thought as more domineering and aggressive.

How to tell submissiveness: Submissive people touches themselves a lot when they are confronted with a difficult situation. This is because human have an inborn mechanism acquired very early on in life to link physical touching with comfort and safety.

Most important to keep in mind: Real, powerful psychics don't advertise on the back of a supermarket magazine and do readings for $1.99.

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Common Features Of Personality Disorders

(category: Psychology, Word count: 699)
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Psychology is more an art form than a science. There is no "Theory of Everything" from which one can derive all mental health phenomena and make falsifiable predictions. Still, as far as personality disorders are concerned, it is easy to discern common features. Most personality disorders share a set of symptoms (as reported by the patient) and signs (as observed by the mental health practitioner).

Patients suffering from personality disorders have these things in common:

They are persistent, relentless, stubborn, and insistent (except those suffering from the Schizoid or the Avoidant Personality Disorders).

They feel entitled to - and vociferously demand - preferential treatment and privileged access to resources and personnel. They often complain about multiple symptoms. They get involved in "power plays" with authority figures (such as physicians, therapists, nurses, social workers, bosses, and bureaucrats) and rarely obey instructions or observe rules of conduct and procedure.

They hold themselves to be superior to others or, at the very least, unique. Many personality disorders involve an inflated self-perception and grandiosity. Such subjects are incapable of empathy (the ability to appreciate and respect the needs and wishes of other people). In therapy or medical treatment, they alienate the physician or therapist by treating her as inferior to them.

Patients with personality disorders are self-centered, self-preoccupied, repetitive, and, thus, boring.

Subjects with personality disorders seek to manipulate and exploit others. They trust no one and have a diminished capacity to love or intimately share because they do not trust or love themselves. They are socially maladaptive and emotionally unstable.

No one knows whether personality disorders are the tragic outcomes of nature or the sad follow-up to a lack of nurture by the patient's environment.

Generally speaking, though, most personality disorders start out in childhood and early adolescence as mere problems in personal development. Exacerbated by repeated abuse and rejection, they then become full-fledged dysfunctions. Personality disorders are rigid and enduring patterns of traits, emotions, and cognitions. In other words, they rarely "evolve" and are stable and all-pervasive, not episodic. By 'all-pervasive", I mean to say that they affect every area in the patient's life: his career, his interpersonal relationships, his social functioning.

Personality disorders cause unhappiness and are usually comorbid with mood and anxiety disorders. Most patients are ego-dystonic (except narcissists and psychopaths). They dislike and resent who they are, how they behave, and the pernicious and destructive effects they have on their nearest and dearest. Still, personality disorders are defense mechanisms writ large. Thus, few patients with personality disorders are truly self-aware or capable of life transforming introspective insights.

Patients with personality disorder typically suffer from a host of other psychiatric problems (example: depressive illnesses, or obsessions-compulsions). They are worn-out by the need to reign in their self-destructive and self-defeating impulses.

Patients with personality disorders have alloplastic defenses and an external locus of control. In other words: rather than accept responsibility for the consequences of their actions, they tend to blame other people or the outside world for their misfortune, failures, and circumstances. Consequently, they fall prey to paranoid persecutory delusions and anxieties. When stressed, they try to preempt (real or imaginary) threats by changing the rules of the game, introducing new variables, or by trying to manipulate their environment to conform to their needs. They regard everyone and everything as mere instruments of gratification.

Patients with Cluster B personality disorders (Narcissistic, Antisocial, Borderline, and Histrionic) are mostly ego-syntonic, even though they are faced with formidable character and behavioral deficits, emotional deficiencies and lability, and overwhelmingly wasted lives and squandered potentials. Such patients do not, on the whole, find their personality traits or behavior objectionable, unacceptable, disagreeable, or alien to their selves.

There is a clear distinction between patients with personality-disorders and patients with psychoses (schizophrenia-paranoia and the like). As opposed to the latter, the former have no hallucinations, delusions or thought disorders. At the extreme, subjects who suffer from the Borderline Personality Disorder experience brief psychotic "microepisodes", mostly during treatment. Patients with personality disorders are also fully oriented, with clear senses (sensorium), good memory and a satisfactory general fund of knowledge.

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Secret Information

(category: Psychology, Word count: 574)
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Secret information? Okay, probably not much remains truly hidden or forbidden anymore, but there are little secrets about how things work. Salesmen, politicians, and others learn and use subtle techniques to influence you. "Lucky people" use little-known tricks to get that way. Here are some examples.

Controling Through Words

There is a classic joke, "Have you stopped beating your wife?" It is difficult to answer without incriminating yourself. This technique of the implicit premise is used by politicians for more than jokes. Get everyone to argue about how to do something, for example, like win the the "war" on drugs, and nobody questions if it should even be done. Implicit premises are a powerful method of control. Get in the habit of recognizing the premises hidden in political debate.

Another way to influence people is to control language. Since social security payments don't come from actual investments, unless you call the government lending itself money "investing", social security isn't a "retirement fund." Calling it that, however, makes it seem safer and more acceptable than what it is: welfare. You can see how the words used control the debate.

Our words matter greatly. Could it be difficult politically to spend millions on "human shredder" bombs? Maybe that's why they are called "daisy cutters." Start paying attention, and you'll see how words are being used to influence you.

Hypnotic Sales Techniques

Read the following sales pitch:

"Does speaking before a crowd make you nervous? What if it was easy? Imagine standing there in front of a crowd, knowing exactly what to say to make them love you. Wouldn't that feel wonderful? Just apply our simple methods, and you will have that power. Use the form below to ORDER RIGHT NOW."

It starts by getting you to say yes, which is habit forming. It hints at the possibility of a solution. The word "Imagine," in line three, gets you doing just that. Line four suggests positive emotion and gets another yes. "And" in line five infers cause and effect, that you'll have the power BECAUSE you used their product. The last line directs you with "Use the form below." The "order right now" is called an "embedded command," because putting it in capitals influences you without you noticing consciously.

When I learned dozens of these techniques, I used them to re-write the sign-up page for one of my newsletters, and I started to get four times as many subscribers from the same traffic. Secret information or not, it is powerful stuff.

More Secret Information

"Lucky people" create the right conditions for "luck," by being in the right place, and around people who can help. Good salesmen use techniques like "mirroring," and "leading," to persuade you. Research from the new science of behavioral economics is applied by smart marketers to create methods of getting you to buy.

Secret information isn't all about influencing others. Most industries and human activities have little-known "tricks of the trade." Wise real estate agents sell expensive homes, for example, because they know it takes the same work as selling a mobile home, but the commission can be five times as much. Those who don't use this "secret" struggle to make a living.

Certainly, subliminal techniques and other "forbidden knowledge" can be used for good or bad, so are they dangerous? Yes, especially if you're not in on the secret. Why not start to gather some of your own secret information?

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Military Psychology The Latest Developments

(category: Psychology, Word count: 716)
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Aside from the billions of dollars spent on military hardware like planes, submarines, aircraft carriers and state of the art missiles, militaries and armed forces of the United States of America has also relied on military psychology to further boost its war time efforts to finish of battles and gather intelligence.

This form of war strategy is very effective and applied to captured prisoners of war but the sad thing is that military psychological techniques and strategies usually is accompanied by torture. It is a part of the three elements needed to break down a POW's conviction, Psychology, Torture and Interrogation.

This has been very much in use in the Vietnam war. Where in captured communist rebels would be subjected to psychological strategies to find out the location of their bunkers and camps. Unfortunately, the rebels had the same idea. Captured American soldiers would tell horrid tales of torture and humiliation in the hands of their interrogators psychologically breaking them down bit by bit.

As weapons have been technologically developed, using laser targeting, satellite guidance and unmanned surveillance systems, military psychology has also developed their methods and strategies. As each country has made their armed forces stronger, so much more so for the United States Army.

United States is on one of its biggest wars right now, the "War on Terrorism." One of the defenses used by the American armed forces and security is military psychology. Advances in different forms have been developed and utilized to catch and prevent terrorism to happen again.

The September 11 attack alone can be considered as a psychological strategy done by terrorists instilling fear and panic in the hearts of American people. These are propagandas used to weaken and divide the Americans and on a psychological plane, it has somewhat made its point. Not only did it kill thousands of Americans it has also made them think about their vulnerability.

US securities have done their own homework. This includes profiling the enemy. Many psychological studies have been done on face recognition. Once perfected, this is a big help in surveillance and prevention of infiltration. This researches has drawn heavily from psychological knowledge of the military psychology track.

Military psychology has also developed various techniques and strategies in how to muddle a persons mind during interrogation making them confused and disoriented. This includes placing bags over the heads of the interrogated. They are made to raise their hands and spread their legs for a long period of time. Other techniques used lately would be, noise bombardment, sleep deprivation, food deprivation and being brainwashed and mentally tortured.

Another latest development in military psychology is their statistical prediction of behavior. Given many names already, this development probe through huge amounts of data on a suspected person in order to 'predict possible terrorists by following a lifetime of seemingly innocent movements through electronic paper trails, for example; academic transcripts, prescription drugs, telephone calls, driving licenses, airline tickets, mortgage payments, parking permits, banking accounts and records, emails, website visits and credit card purchases. Through this, the military would like to prove if a person is a threat to national security. Many feel though that this is an invasion of their privacy.

Military psychology is an important aspect of the military. It can help end wars faster and with less loss of life on both sides. As more and more technological and psychological advances has been develop, this may result to more peace and tranquility.

Military psycholo9gy though has been very controversial ever since it was used. But it is not the United States alone that uses military psychology. Armed forces from all over the world has seen its potential and has made studies and researches on how to make it more effective.

While we may never really know everything that is being done in camps. The latest developments in military psychology are surely being used to gain a foothold over the enemies. These are strategies not shown to everybody to have the advantage. The race for military supremacy through technology is not just about having the biggest guns and the best planes and tanks, its also about using mans greatest weapon, the mind. And sometimes, the mind can be used against itself.

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The Four Elements

(category: Psychology, Word count: 1386)
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Empedocles, a Greek philosopher,scientist and healer who lived in Sicily in the fifth century B.C.,believed that all matter is comprised of the four elements of earth, air, fire and water. Fire and air are outwardly reaching elements, reaching up and out, whereas earth and water turn inward and downward.

In her book, Four Elements in Ancient Greek Philosophy,Tracy Marks describes wide-ranging look at earth, fire, water, and air, and the dynamic twin forces

of Love and Strife. Her book takes one to a journey from ancient Greece to alchemy to Carl Jung's association of sense, feeling, thoughts and intuition .

The Four Elements of Air, Fire, Water and Earth describe the four unique personality types associated with the zodiac signs.The elements exhibit profound influence on basic character traits, behaviour, emotions ,

thinking and intuition. Detractors consider these traits too general, but these are reflected in our relationships, and ambitions or lack thereof, and the unexpected

turns and twists that add spice to our lives.

Astrology aims to help us focus these energies to the positive aspects, gain a better understanding of our positive traits and deal with the negative ones; thus realize our full potential and give our best to this life.

To deny these is to deny life and destiny. We all need air to breathe, water to sustain our growth and to cleanse us, fire to shelter us from the cold and nourish us, earth to live on together with all the living things on it and to grow our food.


Astrology: Taurus, Capricorn, Virgo

Jung: sensation

Feel the Earth under our feet, the soil that sustains all forms of life. Look at the power and beauty of the mountains, a symbol of stability and solidity of the earth. Everyday we experience the physical world, we walk on this earth, enjoy

the beauty and bounty of Mother Earth and feel the comfort of being on solid ground.

Associated with the signs Taurus, Capricorn and Virgo, Earth represents the practical, realistic material side of our nature, it seeks to assert a stable, secure and structured environment into which we can function. Feel the earth under your feet, solid and steady as you walk slowly. Earth is patient and reliable. It is solid and strong. To be on solid ground encourages one to seek the practical and most logical answer to a problem.

Earth can be a stabilizing force in a relationship contributing structure and organization to achieve balance and harmony. Earth sustains growth- watch

plant life grow, from an acorn does an oak tree grow; so does man grow from youth to maturity, and realize the immense growth in every facet of life.

The over expression of this element can be seen in a stubborn and rigid personality, one that strives to remain in the comfort zone in life, afraid to take

risks. It can also be seen by a love of the material side of life, the comforts of material well- being, material worth can be over emphasized and this can

lead to a stressful worrisome situation.

Weakness: attachment, stinginess, materialism, resists change, too much attention to detail and miss the big picture.


Astrology: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius

Jung: Thinking

The element Air is associated with the signs Gemini, Libra. and Aquarius. It seeks to establish itself in the realm of the intellect. It is through the process of

thinking that we develop ideas. It is through the influence of this element that we learn to communicate. Through air we gain and share knowledge.

Air contributes inventiveness, originality and versatility to the personality. It gives that feeling of freedom, unattachment, it reaches out to the mental self. Enjoy that refreshing gentle breeze, allow thoughts to flow freely and nourish the creative moment. Air expresses love of people, the ability to intellectualize, to appreciate the differences in people, accept different perspectives without which, there would be a lack of vision and human interaction.

Thoughts are a continual force in our lives. It is associated with meditation where deep breathing is essential to reach that level of stillness, energy, and relaxation. Air is used for transport, flying and sailing. Let your thoughts soar to

reach your intellectual pursuits.

An over expression of air's influence can be seen as living in a dream world with unrealistic goals and flights of fancy. Air should seek to maintain practicality and develop consistency in dealing with the real world.

Weakness of this element: lack of emotion, depression, lack of connection with the higher self, overactive mind that blocks inner peace and harmony.


Astrology: Leo, Sagittarius, Aries

Jung: Intuition

The signs Leo,Sagittarius and Aries are associated with the element Fire. It represents the life force glowing within us. This element projects self-expression,

creativity, courage and enthusiasm. Feel the comforting warmth of a fire, or heat when you come in from the cold.

We need fire to meet the basic need of cooking our food. Fire provides a sense of security, warmth and t inspiration that is shared with those around. Fire strengthens self-confidence to tackle problems without hesitation. Without fire, there is no radiance, no conviction, no expression.

A spark can light up new ideas, serve as a beacon to light the way to achieve goals with conviction and enthusiasm.

An over expression of fire can turn assertiveness into aggression, daring into reckless behavior and so forth. When fire's influence is out of control ,it

seeks to consume all in it's path.

Weakness: lack of interest, egotistic, excessive self-centeredness, self- importance.


Astrology: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces

Jung: Feelings/Emotion

The element Water associated with the signs of Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces influences the conscience and the subconscious forces that act on our lives,

The element water pours forth to others. It allows one to feel their pain and suffering and offer sincere compassion.

Psychic awareness is also present in the water signs and shows itself from time to time with uncanny accuracy. Water seeks to heal and nurture those around it.

Uncontrolled, this element can send emotions on a turbulent path resulting in moodiness and unpredictable highs and lows, like the crest and trough of the waves.

Water signs need serenity and calmness, like a gentle flowing river nurturing all in its wake and at the same time leading to the discovery of new paths.

When over expressed, one may tend to be overly emotional, deeply sensitive and subjective. With too much emotion, depression may result.

Weakness can result from being too protective and possessive of their loved ones; and cold attitude and lack of drive may arise.

A Balance of the Elements

The best combination of each element type of personality strives to create a balance of these elemental aspects of each, thereby resulting in relationship that thrives on mutual growth and harmony.



The element air in a relationship provides ideas and dreams that Fire can act on and forge into reality. The element water provides sensitivity and nurturing to the sometimes cold reserved earthly approach to matters, thereby laying the

groundwork for future growth in the relationship

At the same time remember in a fire/ water relationship balance can be achieved by realizing that water can inject needed sensitivity and patience into the fire sign. and at the same time Fire can add drive and the courage to act that

can be sometimes lacking in the water signs.

When two elements of the same type combine, harmony can be achieved when the needs and traits are the same for both However, it hinders growth when both individuals may become too comfortable to a point that the needed spark

for growth may be lacking.

In a Fire/Earth combination we find that fire's initiative and drive can stimulate the sometimes laid back and reserved nature of Earth. At the same time, Earth's practicality and discipline can be balancing to fire's sometimes quick to,act ways.

Ideally we should strive for a balance of the elements Earth/Water and Air /fire.

The other combinations can also work as long as both partners respect the others needs and unique traits that both bring into the relationship and they utilize each others strengths to balance.

Reference: Tracy Marks book

The Elements in Ancient Greek Philosophy

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The Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Dsm Pros And Cons

(category: Psychology, Word count: 610)
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The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fourth edition, text revision [American Psychiatric Association. DSM-IV-TR, Washington, 2000] - or the DSM-IV-TR for short - describes Axis II personality disorders as "deeply ingrained, maladaptive, lifelong behavior patterns". But the classificatory model the DSM has been using since 1952 is harshly criticized as woefully inadequate by many scholars and practitioners.

The DSM is categorical. It states that personality disorders are "qualitatively distinct clinical syndromes" (p. 689). But this is by no means widely accepted. As we saw in my previous article and blog entry, the professionals cannot even agree on what constitutes "normal" and how to distinguish it from the "disordered" and the "abnormal". The DSM does not provide a clear "threshold" or "critical mass" beyond which the subject should be considered mentally ill.

Moreover, the DSM's diagnostic criteria are ploythetic. In other words, suffice it to satisfy only a subset of the criteria to diagnose a personality disorder. Thus, people diagnosed with the same personality disorder may share only one criterion or none. This diagnostic heterogeneity (great variance) is unacceptable and non-scientific.

In another article we deal with the five diagnostic axes employed by the DSM to capture the way clinical syndromes (such as anxiety, mood, and eating disorders), general medical conditions, psychosocial and environmental problems, chronic childhood and developmental problems, and functional issues interact with personality disorders.

Yet, the DSM's "laundry lists" obscure rather than clarify the interactions between the various axes. As a result, the differential diagnoses that are supposed to help us distinguish one personality disorder from all others, are vague. In psych-parlance: the personality disorders are insufficiently demarcated. This unfortunate state of affairs leads to excessive co-morbidity: multiple personality disorders diagnosed in the same subject. Thus, psychopaths (Antisocial Personality Disorder) are often also diagnosed as narcissists (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) or borderlines (Borderline Personality Disorder).

The DSM also fails to distinguish between personality, personality traits, character, temperament, personality styles (Theodore Millon's contribution) and full-fledged personality disorders. It does not accommodate personality disorders induced by circumstances (reactive personality disorders, such as Milman's proposed "Acquired Situational Narcissism"). Nor does it efficaciously cope with personality disorders that are the result of medical conditions (such as brain injuries, metabolic conditions, or protracted poisoning). The DSM had to resort to classifying some personality disorders as NOS "not otherwise specified", a catchall, meaningless, unhelpful, and dangerously vague diagnostic "category".

One of the reasons for this dismal taxonomy is the dearth of research and rigorously documented clinical experience regarding both the disorders and various treatment modalities. Read this week's article to learn about the DSM's other great failing: many of the personality disorders are "culture-bound". They reflect social and contemporary biases, values, and prejudices rather than authentic and invariable psychological constructs and entities.

The DSM-IV-TR distances itself from the categorical model and hints at the emergence of an alternative: the dimensional approach:

"An alternative to the categorical approach is the dimensional perspective that Personality Disorders represent maladaptive variants of personality traits that merge imperceptibly into normality and into one another" (p.689)

According to the deliberations of the DSM V Committee, the next edition of this work of reference (due to be published in 2010) will tackle these long neglected issues:

The longitudinal course of the disorder(s) and their temporal stability from early childhood onwards;

The genetic and biological underpinnings of personality disorder(s);

The development of personality psychopathology during childhood and its emergence in adolescence;

The interactions between physical health and disease and personality disorders;

The effectiveness of various treatments - talk therapies as well as psychopharmacology.

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