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Help Kids Concentrate

(category: Psychology, Word count: 344)
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All of us want our children to succeed in school. But for many kids and teens, concentration in this always-pressured, starved-for-time era can be difficult. Here are some tips for helping your son or daughter improve concentration and do better in the classroom:

* Take time for breakfast. Children who have breakfast and enough to eat during the rest of the day will be better able to concentrate in school, according to Head Start, the national child development program run by the Department of Health and Human Services.

* Introduce them to music. Playing instruments has shown to increase focus and concentration in other areas.

* Provide a supplement. One product is Focus, from the "Spray" line of sublingual sprays. Developed by doctors, Focus is a combination of homeopathic remedies that can improve concentration, support memory and help overcome apathy. It acts gently, causes no side effects and meets all FDA guidelines for good manufacturing practices.

Seventeen-year-old Bianca attributes her first-ever "100" on an algebra exam to Focus. "It worked so well at improving my concentration while studying and taking tests, my algebra grade went from D to B," she says. "My mom is very excited about my improvements, and my 16-year-old sister is now using the spray, too."

* Send them to bed on time. Studies show that children and most teenagers concentrate best after about nine hours of sleep.

* Give them space. Your kids will be better able to concentrate on homework if they have a clear, uncluttered workspace. And turn off the TV; they won't learn if they're squeezing their homework in during commercials.

* Get them organized. The National PTA suggests helping older students organize their assignments by recording them on calendars or planners, along with due dates and dates turned in.

* Discourage "cramming." It increases anxiety and interferes with clear thinking, according to the Department of Education. Kids do better on tests if they spread out studying over several days or weeks and can relate the information to what they already know.

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Distinguishing Of Your Temperament

(category: Psychology, Word count: 472)
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Psychology is a very interesting science. With the help of it's achievements we can research the hidden corners of our souls. This can be really exciting and even make you discover something new about your personality and traits of your character. You can make numerous tests to determine what will your reaction be to a certain event, how you act in extreme situations, what is your aim that you don't notice, how well you get along with others. All the above stated questions and the answers you'll get make up your temperament, a psychological term used to show types of personality by I.P. Pavlov, famous scientist from Russia.

He made a theory of temperament after doing some research on the topic and his theory is proved by experiments. In his personal experience essay and just notes he gives a detailed description of person's reaction to the same event. You sit peacefully on a bench in the park and read the newspaper. You bought a new cap today, but the day is hot so you put it nearby on the bench and continue to read. You see an old lady approaching. She takes a free seat near you and says nothing, opens a book and reads. Suddenly, it dawns on you that she's sitting on your new cap. What is your reaction? If you laugh and make jokes to calm the poor granny down you are a sanguine; if you start yelling and your face turns red of the strain and you don't care about the granny who is probably going to have a heart attack, you are choleric; if you burst into tears and allow the granny to comfort you, you are melancholic; and if you ignore everything including granny's sitting on your cap and the start of the rain you are a typical phlegmatic. These for types can be described by anybody who makes observations in an experience essay, if you have enough patience to observe your reactions to different situations long enough.

Temperament is not the only field to research and find out new things about you. You may also try to prove Freud's theory, who says that intellect is completely subjected the passionate nature of a human being and his/her needs. You may see for yourself if you can find "collective unknown" and "individual unknown" which may also be very exciting. Finally, there are a lot of IQ tests that make you understand better in which direction to work to make your mental abilities better. You can not only experiment with yourself but have a friend who is willing to find out something new about his nature. Psychology is still a developing science so that can be a motivator to try your skills in this field professionally. Who knows, maybe you are a born psychiatrist?

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Narcissism And Personality Disorders

(category: Psychology, Word count: 807)
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Are all personality disorders the outcomes of frustrated narcissism?

During our formative years (6 months to 6 years old), we are all "narcissists". Primary Narcissism is a useful and critically important defense mechanism. As the infant separates from his mother and becomes an individual, it is likely to experience great apprehension, fear, and pain. Narcissism shields the child from these negative emotions. By pretending to be omnipotent, the toddler fends off the profound feelings of isolation, unease, pending doom, and helplessness that are attendant on the individuation-separation phase of personal development.

Well into early adolescence, the empathic support of parents, caregivers, role models, authority figures, and peers is indispensable to the evolution of a stable sense of self-worth, self-esteem, and self-confidence. Traumas and abuse, smothering and doting, and the constant breach of emerging boundaries yield the entrenchment of rigid adult narcissistic defenses.

In my book "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited", I defined pathological narcissism thus:

"Secondary or pathological narcissism is a pattern of thinking and behaving in adolescence and adulthood, which involves infatuation and obsession with one's self to the exclusion of others. It manifests in the chronic pursuit of personal gratification and attention (narcissistic supply), in social dominance and personal ambition, bragging, insensitivity to others, lack of empathy and/or excessive dependence on others to meet his/her responsibilities in daily living and thinking. Pathological narcissism is at the core of the narcissistic personality disorder."

What happens when such an individual faces disappointments, setbacks, failures, criticism and disillusionment?

They "resolve" these recurrent frustrations by developing personality disorders.

The Narcissistic Solution - The patient creates and projects an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent False Self that largely replaces and represses the discredited and dilapidated True Self. He uses the False Self to garner narcissistic supply (attention, both positive and negative) and thus support his inflated fantasies. Both the Narcissistic and the Schizotypal Personality Disorders belong here because both involve grandiose, fantastic, and magical thinking. When the narcissistic solution fails, we have the Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). The Borderline patient's awareness that the solution that she had opted for is "not working" generates in her an overwhelming separation anxiety (fear of abandonment), an identity disturbance, affective and emotional lability, suicidal ideation, and suicidal action, chronic feelings of emptiness, rage attacks, and transient (stress related) paranoid ideation.

The Appropriation Solution - This solution involves the appropriation of someone else's imagined (and, therefore, confabulated and false) self instead of one's dysfunctional True Self. Such people live vicariously, through others, and by proxy. Consider the Histrionic Personality Disorder. Histrionics sexualize and objectify others and then internalize (introject) them. Lacking an inner reality (True Self) they over-rate and over-emphasise their bodies. Histrionics and other "appropriators" misjudge the intimacy of their faux relationships and the degree of commitment involved. They are easily suggestible and their senses of self and self-worth shift and fluctuate with input from the outside (narcissistic supply). Another example of this type of solution is the Dependent Personality Disorder (codependents). Manipulative mothers who "sacrifice" their lives for their children, "drama queens", and people with factitious disorders (for instance, Munchausen Syndrome) also belong to this category.

The Schizoid Solution - Sometimes the emergence of the False Self is stunted or disrupted. The True Self remain immature and dysfunctional but it is not replaced by a functioning narcissistic defense mechanism. Such patients are mental zombies, trapped forever in the no-man's land between infancy and adulthood. They lack empathy, their psychosexual life is impoverished, they prefer to avoid contact with others, and withdraw from the world. The Schizotypal Personality Disorder is a mixture of the narcissistic and the schizoid solutions. The Avoidant Personality Disorder is a close kin.

In my book "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited", I described the Aggressive Destructive Solution thus:

"The Aggressive Destructive Solution - These people suffer from hypochondriasis, depression, suicidal ideation, dysphoria, anhedonia, compulsions and obsessions and other expressions of internalized and transformed aggression directed at a self which is perceived to be inadequate, guilty, disappointing and worthy of nothing but elimination. Many of the narcissistic elements are present in an exaggerated form. Lack of empathy becomes reckless disregard for others, irritability, deceitfulness and criminal violence. Undulating self-esteem is transformed into impulsiveness and failure to plan ahead. The Antisocial Personality Disorder is a prime example of this solution, whose essence is: the total control of a False Self, without the mitigating presence of a shred of True Self.

I tend to believe that malignant self love underlies all known personality disorders. Granted, different attributes and traits are emphasized in each personality disorder. But they all share the foundation of a failed personal psychological and psychosocial evolution. They are all the lamentable end results of stunted and compensatory trajectories of deformed growth and development."

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The Roots Of Pedophilia

(category: Psychology, Word count: 2068)
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Pedophiles are attracted to prepubescent children and act on their sexual fantasies. It is a startling fact that the etiology of this paraphilia is unknown. Pedophiles comes from all walks of life and have no common socio-economic background. Contrary to media-propagated myths, most of them had not been sexually abused in childhood and the vast majority of pedophiles are also drawn to adults of the opposite sex (are heterosexuals).

Only a few belong to the Exclusive Type - the ones who are tempted solely by kids. Nine tenths of all pedophiles are male. They are fascinated by preteen females, teenage males, or (more rarely) both.

Moreover, at least one fifth (and probably more) of the population have pedophiliac fantasies. The prevalence of child pornography and child prostitution prove it. Pedophiles start out as "normal" people and are profoundly shocked and distressed to discover their illicit sexual preference for the prepubertal. The process and mechanisms of transition from socially acceptable sexuality to much-condemned (and criminal) pedophilia are still largely mysterious.

Pedophiles seem to have narcissistic and antisocial (psychopathic) traits. They lack empathy for their victims and express no remorse for their actions. They are in denial and, being pathological confabulators, they rationalize their transgressions, claiming that the children were merely being educated for their own good and, anyhow, derived great pleasure from it.

The pedophile's ego-syntony rests on his alloplastic defenses. He generally tends to blame others (or the world or the "system") for his misfortunes, failures, and deficiencies. Pedophiles frequently accuse their victims of acting promiscuously, of "coming on to them", of actively tempting, provoking, and luring (or even trapping) them.

The pedophile - similar to the autistic patient - misinterprets the child's body language and inter-personal cues. His social communication skills are impaired and he fails to adjust information gained to the surrounding circumstances (for instance, to the kid's age and maturity).

Coupled with his lack of empathy, this recurrent inability to truly comprehend others cause the pedophile to objectify the targets of his lasciviousness. Pedophilia is, in essence, auto-erotic. The pedophile uses children's bodies to masturbate with. Hence the success of the Internet among pedophiles: it offers disembodied, anonymous, masturbatory sex. Children in cyberspace are mere representations - often nothing more than erotic photos and screen names.

It is crucial to realize that pedophiles are not enticed by the children themselves, by their bodies, or by their budding and nubile sexuality (remember Nabokov's Lolita?). Rather, pedophiles are drawn to what children symbolize, to what preadolescents stand for and represent.

To the pedophile ...

I. Sex with children is "free" and "daring"

Sex with subteens implies freedom of action with impunity. It enhances the pedophile's magical sense of omnipotence and immunity. By defying the authority of the state and the edicts of his culture and society, the pedophile experiences an adrenaline rush to which he gradually becomes addicted. Illicit sex becomes the outlet for his urgent need to live dangerously and recklessly.

The pedophile is on a quest to reassert control over his life. Studies have consistently shown that pedophilia is associated with anomic states (war, famine, epidemics) and with major life crises (failure, relocation, infidelity of spouse, separation, divorce, unemployment, bankruptcy, illness, death of the offender's nearest and dearest).

It is likely - though hitherto unsubstantiated by research - that the typical pedophile is depressive and with a borderline personality (low organization and fuzzy personal boundaries). Pedophiles are reckless and emotionally labile. The pedophile's sense of self-worth is volatile and dysregulated. He is likely to suffer from abandonment anxiety and be a codependent or counterdependent.

Paradoxically, it is by seemingly losing control in one aspect of his life (sex) that the pedophile re-acquires a sense of mastery. The same mechanism is at work in the development of eating disorders. An inhibitory deficit is somehow magically perceived as omnipotence.

II. Sex with children is corrupt and decadent

The pedophile makes frequent (though unconscious) use of projection and projective identification in his relationships with children. He makes his victims treat him the way he views himself - or attributes to them traits and behaviors that are truly his.

The pedophile is aware of society's view of his actions as vile, corrupt, forbidden, evil, and decadent (especially if the pedophiliac act involves incest). He derives pleasure from the sleazy nature of his pursuits because it tends to sustain his view of himself as "bad", "a failure", "deserving of punishment", and "guilty".

In extreme (mercifully uncommon) cases, the pedophile projects these torturous feelings and self-perceptions onto his victims. The children defiled and abused by his sexual attentions thus become "rotten", "bad objects", guilty and punishable. This leads to sexual sadism, lust rape, and snuff murders.

III. Sex with children is a reenactment of a painful past

Many pedophile truly bond with their prey. To them, children are the reification of innocence, genuineness, trust, and faithfulness - qualities that the pedophile wishes to nostalgically recapture.

The relationship with the child provides the pedophile with a "safe passage" to his own, repressed and fearful, inner child. Through his victim, the pedophile gains access to his suppressed and thwarted emotions. It is a fantasy-like second chance to reenact his childhood, this time benignly. The pedophile's dream to make peace with his past comes true transforming the interaction with the child to an exercise in wish fulfillment.

IV. Sex with children is a shared psychosis

The pedophile treats "his" chosen child as an object, an extension of himself, devoid of a separate existence and denuded of distinct needs. He finds the child's submissiveness and gullibility gratifying. He frowns on any sign of personal autonomy and regards it as a threat. By intimidating, cajoling, charming, and making false promises, the abuser isolates his prey from his family, school, peers, and from the rest of society and, thus, makes the child's dependence on him total.

To the pedophile, the child is a "transitional object" - a training ground on which to exercise his adult relationship skills. The pedophile erroneously feels that the child will never betray and abandon him, therefore guaranteeing "object constancy".

The pedophile - stealthily but unfailingly - exploits the vulnerabilities in the psychological makeup of his victim. The child may have low self-esteem, a fluctuating sense of self-worth, primitive defence mechanisms, phobias, mental health problems, a disability, a history of failure, bad relations with parents, siblings, teachers, or peers, or a tendency to blame herself, or to feel inadequate (autoplastic neurosis). The kid may come from an abusive family or environment - which conditioned her or him to expect abuse as inevitable and "normal". In extreme and rare cases - the victim is a masochist, possessed of an urge to seek ill-treatment and pain.

The pedophile is the guru at the center of a cult. Like other gurus, he demands complete obedience from his "partner". He feels entitled to adulation and special treatment by his child-mate. He punishes the wayward and the straying lambs. He enforces discipline.

The child finds himself in a twilight zone. The pedophile imposes on him a shared psychosis, replete with persecutory delusions, "enemies", mythical narratives, and apocalyptic scenarios if he is flouted. The child is rendered the joint guardian of a horrible secret.

The pedophile's control is based on ambiguity, unpredictability, fuzziness, and ambient abuse. His ever-shifting whims exclusively define right versus wrong, desirable and unwanted, what is to be pursued and what to be avoided. He alone determines rights and obligations and alters them at will.

The typical pedophile is a micro-manager. He exerts control over the minutest details and behaviors. He punishes severely and abuses withholders of information and those who fail to conform to his wishes and goals.

The pedophile does not respect the boundaries and privacy of the (often reluctant and terrified) child. He ignores his or her wishes and treats children as objects or instruments of gratification. He seeks to control both situations and people compulsively.

The pedophile acts in a patronizing and condescending manner and criticizes often. He alternates between emphasizing the minutest faults (devalues) and exaggerating the looks, talents, traits, and skills (idealizes) of the child. He is wildly unrealistic in his expectations - which legitimizes his subsequent abusive conduct.

Narcissistic pedophiles claim to be infallible, superior, talented, skillful, omnipotent, and omniscient. They often lie and confabulate to support these unfounded claims and to justify their actions. Most pedophiles suffer from cognitive deficits and reinterpret reality to fit their fantasies.

In extreme cases, the pedophile feels above the law - any kind of law. This grandiose and haughty conviction leads to criminal acts, incestuous or polygamous relationships, and recurrent friction with the authorities.

V. The pedophile regards sex with children as an ego-booster

Subteen children are, by definition, "inferior". They are physically weaker, dependent on others for the fulfillment of many of their needs, cognitively and emotionally immature, and easily manipulated. Their fund of knowledge is limited and their skills restricted. His relationships with children buttress the pedophile's twin grandiose delusions of omnipotence and omniscience. Compared to his victims, the pedophiles is always the stronger, the wiser, the most skillful and well-informed.

VI. Sex with children guarantees companionship

Inevitably, the pedophile considers his child-victims to be his best friends and companions. Pedophiles are lonely, erotomanic, people.

The pedophile believes that he is in love with (or simply loves) the child. Sex is merely one way to communicate his affection and caring. But there are other venues.

To show his keen interest, the common pedophile keeps calling the child, dropping by, writing e-mails, giving gifts, providing services, doing unsolicited errands "on the kid's behalf", getting into relationships with the preteen's parents, friends, teachers, and peers, and, in general, making himself available (stalking) at all times. The pedophile feels free to make legal, financial, and emotional decisions for the child.

The pedophile intrudes on the victim's privacy, disrespects the child's express wishes and personal boundaries and ignores his or her emotions, needs, and preferences. To the pedophile, "love" means enmeshment and clinging coupled with an overpowering separation anxiety (fear of being abandoned).

Moreover, no amount of denials, chastising, threats, and even outright hostile actions convince the erotomaniac that the child not in love with him. He knows better and will make the world see the light as well. The child and his guardians are simply unaware of what is good for the kid. The pedophile determinedly sees it as his or her task to bring life and happiness into the child's dreary and unhappy existence.

Thus, regardless of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the pedophile is convinced that his feelings are reciprocated - in other words, that the child is equally infatuated with him or her. He interprets everything the child does (or refrains from doing) as coded messages confessing to and conveying the child's interest in and eternal devotion to the pedophile and to the "relationship".

Some (by no means all) pedophiles are socially-inapt, awkward, schizoid, and suffer from a host of mood and anxiety disorders. They may also be legitimately involved with the child (e.g., stepfather, former spouse, teacher, gym instructor, sibling) - or with his parents (for instance, a former boyfriend, a one night stand, colleagues or co-workers). They are driven by their all-consuming loneliness and all-pervasive fantasies.

Consequently, pedophiles react badly to any perceived rejection by their victims. They turn on a dime and become dangerously vindictive, out to destroy the source of their mounting frustration. When the "relationship" looks hopeless, some pedophiles violently embark on a spree of self-destruction.

Pedophilia is to some extent a culture-bound syndrome, defined as it is by the chronological age of the child involved. Ephebophilia, for instance - the exclusive sexual infatuation with teenagers - is not considered to be a form of pedophilia (or even paraphilia).

In some cultures, societies and countries (Afghanistan, for instance) the age of consent is as low as 12. The marriageable age in Britain until the end of the nineteenth century was 10. Pedophilia is a common and socially-condoned practice in certain tribal societies and isolated communities (the Island of Pitcairn).

It would, therefore, be wise to redefine pedophilia as an attraction to or sexual acts with prepubescent children or with people of the equivalent mental age (e.g., retarded) in contravention of social, legal, and cultural accepted practices.

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An Overview Of Hypnosis

(category: Psychology, Word count: 407)
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Hypnosis is state of mind where an individual is subjected to controlled thoughts and behavior. Hypnosis involves two persons - the persons being treated to experiment is called subject while the one conducting the experiment is called hypnotist. Hypnotist takes the subject into the mental state, often termed hypnotized, and tries to get response from her. Hypnosis is possibly one of the most debated disciplines in the world. There are so many theories associated with this stream of studies. The basic debate hovers around the state aspect - one school of thoughts suggests that hypnosis is a state of mind while the other school asserts it to be a non-state.

Practitioners of state theory suggest that the mind can be transformed into an altered setting. In other words, mind of the subject can be taken to another plane, and controlled by the practitioner. Those from non-state theory claim that hypnosis as a phenomenon can be observed as a culmination of focus or attention, and doesn't necessarily lead to transformation of mind to another state. However, it is sufficient for us to know that hypnosis is a process of induction and observing effects of the same.

There are many myths and misconceptions associated with hypnosis. Some people opine that hypnosis cannot be affected on persons with strong will power. Champions of hypnosis feel otherwise - they claim that people with strong will power actually make up good subjects. This can be attributed to their higher level of intelligence.

Lot of research has been done on hypnosis. This research on a scientific basis stems from Psychological research. Hypnosis is often treated as a part of peripherals of psychology. Scientists have been trying to find the most ideal way of hypnotizing a person. Some have been successfully doing it with words, some others with the help of triggers like clock or a pendulum.

Hypnosis is finding its way in many applications to treat patients. Hypnotherapy is one such discipline. Some practitioners use this technique to solve psychological disorders of the patients. Clinical hypnosis is another application area of hypnosis.

According to practitioners of clinical hypnosis, physical as well as mental illnesses can be treated and cured with the help of clinical hypnosis. Mass hypnosis is used for prayers or magic shows. Hypnosis applied to forensic science is called forensic hypnosis. It is not only employed in the procedures, but also accepted in the legal perspective.

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The Construct Of Normal Personality

(category: Psychology, Word count: 291)
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Personality disorders are dysfunctions of our whole identity, tears in the fabric of who we are. They are all-pervasive because our personality is ubiquitous and permeates each and every one of our mental cells. I just published the first article in this topic titled "What is Personality?". Read it to understand the subtle differences between "personality", "character", and "temperament".

In the background lurks the question: what constitutes normal behavior? Who is normal?

There is the statistical response: the average and the common are normal. But it is unsatisfactory and incomplete. Conforming to social edicts and mores does not guarantee normalcy. Think about anomic societies and periods of history such as Hitler's Germany or Stalin's Russia. Model citizens in these hellish environments were the criminal and the sadist.

Rather than look to the outside for a clear definition, many mental health professionals ask: is the patient functioning and happy (ego-syntonic)? If he or she is both then all is well and normal. Abnormal traits, behaviors, and personalities are, therefore defined as those traits, behaviors, and personalities that are dysfunctional and cause subjective distress.

But, of course, this falls flat on its face at the slightest scrutiny. Many evidently mentally ill people are rather happy and reasonably functional.

Some scholars reject the concept of "normalcy" altogether. The anti-psychiatry movement object to the medicalization and pathologization of whole swathes of human conduct. Others prefer to study the disorders themselves rather to "go metaphysical" by trying to distinguish them from an imaginary and ideal state of being "mentally healthy".

I subscribe to the later approach. I much prefer to delve into the phenomenology of mental health disorders: their traits, characteristics, and impact on others.

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What Is Hypnosis

(category: Psychology, Word count: 2525)
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Before anyone experiences hypnosis and starts using it to make wonderful, beneficial changes in their life, this article is designed to perhaps to answer a few questions you may have and also to dispel a few myths and misconceptions about hypnosis.

You know, I still meet people that believe that experiencing hypnosis is like being unconscious. I always reply, "What would be the point of that? Spending money and time to be unconscious in someone else's company?? If I wanted you to be unconscious we would simply bash you over the head!" So it is important that you also know that hypnosis is not about being unconscious and that you have the correct expectations about the hypnotic experience that you are going to have, should you choose to invest in one of our products or experience hypnosis for yourself with a hypnotist.

In order to understand hypnosis, it is important to understand and differentiate between our minds. By that I am referring to our conscious mind, where we are now and just below that level of awareness is our unconscious mind (also known as the subconscious mind, for the purpose of easy understanding they are the same thing).

The conscious mind is where we usually spend most of our waking time, you know that internal dialogue we have that thinks "hmmm, what shoes shall I wear today" that is your conscious mind. Your conscious mind basically does four things;

Firstly, your conscious mind analyses. What is that? Well that is the part of us that looks at problems, analyses them and tries to create solutions to those problems. It is that part of us that makes decisions all day every day "shall I open the door?", "Shall I have something to eat", even though they are automatic behaviours, we make a conscious decision about whether or not to do these things.

The second part of our conscious mind is our rationale, the part of us that, especially in western cultures, always has to know "Why" things happen and "Why" we behave in particular ways. This can cause us so many problems as we give any problems more and more credence and power. More conventional and traditional methods of counselling or psychotherapy are often very much concerned with looking at causes of our problems and it is my opinion that all this does is teaches us "why" they happen as opposed to giving us the skills required to changing unwanted habits and behaviours. The more we think about "why" we do things the more we seem to embed the unwanted behaviour into our psyches!

The third part of our conscious mind is will power, that teeth-gritted determination that so many of us are proud to demonstrate. How many times have we used our will power alone to make changes and found that our will power weakens and that change is temporary or non-existent.

The final part of our conscious mind is your short-term memory. By that I am referring to the things that you need to remember to function on a day-to-day basis, so that when your phone rings you know to answer it rather than stare at it wondering it is, or ensuring that you cross the road without being run over.

That is the conscious part of your mind, it is logical, rational and analytical, a bit like Mr Spock from the Start Trek series and as much as it pains me to say it, our conscious mind is frequently wrong about things.

Your conscious mind is wherever you happen to be pointing it at any given time. I am sure you have been in a busy, noisy environment, such as a restaurant or a bar and have been engaged in a conversation with another individual, and all the sounds going on around you just seem to blend into the background. Then someone else ten metres away can punctuate their sentence with your name and you pick it out as if it was being spoken to you. This illustrates that unconsciously, you are aware of many, many pieces of information every second of your life, sounds, colours, thoughts etc, yet your conscious mind allows you to focus upon what is pertinent or relevant to you at that moment.

If you take that conscious awareness and point it inside of yourself instead of outside into the world, you begin to become aware of your inner self, your unconscious self, which is the part of you that we work with in hypnosis.

Your unconscious mind is tremendously powerful and automates as much behaviour as it possibly can so that we do not have to think about it. For example, there was a time in your life when you had to be shown how to tie your shoelaces, and you concentrated on doing this. I suspect that by this stage in your life you know how tie your shoelaces very well and you don't even think about doing it, you just do it. I have a lonely Auntie who as a boy, my mother would ask me to phone on a weekly basis as she thought this would make her happy and I vividly remember hearing her lighting up a cigarette and heavily exhaling the smoke while on the phone, she didn't even think about what she was doing, she just associated smoking with being on the phone.

We are amazing learning machines and we learn behaviours and habits and then our unconscious mind automates them and does them on auto pilot so that we do not have to think about doing them.

Your unconscious mind has within it all your long-term memory. Just about every blade of grass that you have seen in your entire lifetime is stored away in your long-term memory that serves as an amazing storage centre. These memories affect us in varying ways, some more than others. Sometimes our ability to remember them is not as fluid as we need, as it is often not necessary to have all our memory in the forefront of our minds. For example, right now you are unlikely to be thinking about everything that happened to you on your last birthday, however, me just mentioning it, you can dig into your unconscious, long-term memory and remember.

Another example is if you have ever seen a live stand up comedy show. You watch the comedian and laugh (or not as the case may be!) heartily as you listen to lots and lots of jokes. Then when you leave the venue, you can remember none of them, or one or two at best! Then, a week later, a friend that you were with can say to you "do you remember such and such a joke from last weeks comedian" and you think "oh yeeeaaah!" as you bring that information out from your long-term memory. You know that you know the joke, it was just not at the forefront of your conscious mind, it was tucked away in the deeper unconscious.

Your unconscious mind knows more about you than you consciously that you know. Sound confusing? Well, just think, you are currently breathing, your heart is beating (I do hope!) you are digesting, your body is regulating its body temperature, it is doing a range of wonderful things without you having to consciously think about it. You are not sat around thinking "I really must remember to breathe". We are not machines, there is an intelligence within us that knows how to do these things, and it is that intelligence that we tap into with hypnosis.

Your unconscious mind is where you get your gut feelings, your instincts and intuition that communicates with you sporadically from time to time. Like when sometimes, someone can be saying all the right words to you, but you get a different feeling about them.

Your unconscious mind is a bit like a computer. Throughout your entire lifetime it has been programmed with all your experiences, relationships, interpretations of the world, influences and all this has culminated in your computer functioning with that programming. Hypnosis is simply a way of accessing that computer and updating that programming so that it becomes instinctive and intuitive for you to make the changes that please you.

Your unconscious mind is the seat of your emotions and where your behaviours exist and it is the part of you that we work with in hypnosis. Hypnosis is a way of us stepping over your conscious mind and accessing the unconscious mind to make powerful and profound changes.

Now, I am sure that you have experienced natural trance states many times before, in fact I know it. For example, when you have been driving in a car and thought to yourself "ooh, how did I get here?" or when you have been reading a book and you've turned the page and thought "I have no idea what I have just read, I am going to have to read it all again". I can remember being at school watching my history teacher teach me, yet my mind was a million miles away wishing I was doing something else. All common experiences, daydream like states that we all experience, many times a day. The only difference between these naturally occurring states and those that we use in therapeutic hypnosis, is that with the hypnosis, you intend to enter the state, you are in control of it and it is just like a slightly amplified, deeper version of the state. That is it. Sometimes it is simply like sitting in a chair with your eyes closed, not the magical mystical or unusual experience that some people are led to believe it is.

It is important here to know that you cannot be made to do anything that you don't want to do. Very important. I had a guy that a doctor referred to me, came to see me and said to me "my doctor told me come and see you as I have emphysema and am going to die of it unless I stop smoking". I said to him, well I presume you want to stop, he said "oh, no, I love smoking, it is one of few remaining pleasures." I had to send him away as I cannot make him do something that he does not want to. Can you imagine if I could do that!! Wow. I could go and see my bank manager and make him give me million pounds without returning it! You never read about "Baddy hypnotists" making people rob banks or anything else absurd, because it cannot be done.

People usually then say to me "ok Adam, I hear and understand what you are saying and it all makes sense". However, I have seen stage hypnosis and seen people dancing like chickens, are you telling me that they want to do that?" I am saying that these people are not being made to do things that they don't want to do.

When someone buys tickets to a stage hypnosis show, they are being permissive to the notion that they are going to see hypnosis for entertainment; they expect certain things to happen. Secondly, when the stage hypnotist asks the audience "who wants to come on stage" the people that agree to do so or put their hands up are saying "yes, I want to be hypnotised", they are not being made to do anything they don't want to do. The stage hypnotist ensures that the individuals on the show are receptive and follow a large number of compliance exercises and it begins to create the illusion that these people are doing things that they don't want to do, when they are not. The hypnosis can step over the inhibitions of the conscious mind, so that the individuals behave with more openness, they just cannot be made to do things they don't want to do.

Anyone can be hypnotised. I work with insomniacs, heroin addicts, schizophrenics, people experiencing chemotherapy, these are all people that are often convinced that they cannot relax or cannot be hypnotised, and as long as they want to, they all can and they all do.

All that is required is that you have an open mind, that you expect it to work and have progressive, motivated thoughts about the processes, follow the sessions and allow them to help you help yourself to make the changes you want and deserve.

Finally, at the beginning of the recorded hypnosis sessions and/or individual NLP or hypnosis sessions with me (I cannot speak for other therapists, we all do things differently) individually, you may be asked to do a number of different things with your mind and you can be forgiven for thinking, "well, he asked me to do this, and now something else, and now another thing, what exactly am I supposed to be listening to?" The simple answer is that you listen and follow as much or as little as you want to, remember that is your conscious mind thinking those thoughts and that is not the part of you that we are working with and making the change with. I am sure that there will also be times when you'll be thinking "hmmm… am I in hypnosis, what am I supposed to be thinking or feeling." Again that is your conscious mind thinking that thought and does not matter what it is thinking. It can be attempting to follow everything that I am saying or just wandering off and thinking about whatever you like, just trust that your unconscious mind is absorbing all that you want it to.

There will be times in the sessions when you may be asked to imagine things. Imagining things does not have to mean visualising. If I ask you to think of a favourite place, you can imagine what it would be like, you don't have to be seeing a picture perfect cinema version of it in your mind. You can imagine, sense, think, or just know it without seeing it or picturing it in every detail. If I asked you to imagine the sound your feet make when you walk across gravel, you know the sound I am talking about and you can imagine it, but you are not necessarily hearing it in your ears, you can imagine it. That is all you'll need.

So, hypnosis is not like being unconscious, it is almost like having heightened awareness, it requires you to want the change, have an open, positive mind, as best as you can, and allow whatever happens to happen, without trying to grasp at what you think should happen, just letting it happen.

I wish you all the very best with whichever hypnosis product, or with any consultative sessions you are considering having with any qualified therapist or any training you plan to attend and I just know that having come this far, you really can do it, and make the changes that you want to make with hypnosis.

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How Hypnosis Can Help You

(category: Psychology, Word count: 486)
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Hypnosis has long been recognised as an effective means of treatment for a number of psychological conditions. Hypnotherapy can help you to create more confidence for yourself and improve feelings of self worth. You can also learn to overcome problems like the fear of public speaking; phobias like being terrified of traveling on the tube; and become more at ease with yourself by building your confidence and self-esteem.

Typical examples of area where hypnotherapy can help include:

Overcome the fear of public speaking

Do you freeze before or during meetings or presentations? Suffering from dry mouth, blushing or sweating? Are you lost for words, desperate to escape? Are you terrified of interviews? Is public speaking anxiety your number one fear? With hypnotherapy you can overcome this anxiety, speak with confidence and feel more comfortable with other people. Come and see how hypnotherapy works with an experienced and confident speaker - visit my home page and call or email me today.

Low self esteem and depression

Are you depressed or feeling low in self-worth? This is an increasingly serious problem: find out how hypnotherapy can help you create and build up feelings of self worth and self belief. Overcome the hurts of the past and move on towards a more positive and hopeful future. You can move into a better future. Please visit my home page and email me for more information.

Panic attacks

Do you ever feel as if you are losing control of yourself in everyday situations? Have you ever been in the grip of frightening physical symptoms, like intense sweating, palpations, nausea, fainting? Hypnotherapy can calm your nerves and get to the root of the problem - reducing or even releasing this terrifying anxiety. Visit my home page for my contact details and ask me how hypnotherapy can help you.

Build confidence

Do you want to lift low self-esteem and improve relationships or career prospects? Is lack of self-worth getting you down or holding you back? Find out by calling or emailing me from the home page how hypnotherapy can help you create a more positive YOU.

Fears, phobias & flashbacks

Hypnotherapy can be most effective in releasing phobias -amongst the ones I am often asked to treat is the fear of traveling on the tube in London. It can also deal with the effects of trauma, including flashbacks. Modern techniques can substantially reduce or even remove the symptoms in 2/3 sessions. If you are in the grip of any irrational fear then please contact me now. Visit my home page for contact details.

Post traumatic stress

Have you have been the victim of a traumatic and frightening event? Then you could be suffering the disabling effects of post traumatic stress. Nowadays there are techniques which have been seen to effectively and safely release the symptoms.

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The Narcissist As Eternal Child

(category: Psychology, Word count: 1755)
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"Puer Aeternus" - the eternal adolescent, the semipternal Peter pan - is a phenomenon often associated with pathological narcissism. People who refuse to grow up strike others as self-centred and aloof, petulant and brattish, haughty and demanding - in short: as childish or infantile.

The narcissist is a partial adult. He seeks to avoid adulthood. Infantilisation - the discrepancy between one's advanced chronological age and one's retarded behaviour, cognition, and emotional development - is the narcissist's preferred art form. Some narcissists even use a childish tone of voice occasionally and adopt a toddler's body language.

But most narcissist resort to more subtle means.

They reject or avoid adult chores and functions. They refrain from acquiring adult skills (such as driving) or an adult's formal education. They evade adult responsibilities towards others, including and especially towards their nearest and dearest. They hold no steady jobs, never get married, raise no family, cultivate no roots, maintain no real friendships or meaningful relationships.

Many a narcissist remains attached to his (or her) family of origin. By clinging to his parents, the narcissist continues to act in the role of a child. He thus avoids the need to make adult decisions and (potentially painful) choices. He transfers all adult chores and responsibilities - from laundry to baby-sitting - to his parents, siblings, spouse, or other relatives. He feels unshackled, a free spirit, ready to take on the world (in other words omnipotent and omnipresent).

Such "delayed adulthood" is very common in many poor and developing countries, especially those with patriarchal societies. I wrote in "The Last Family":

"To the alienated and schizoid ears of Westerners, the survival of family and community in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) sounds like an attractive proposition. A dual purpose safety net, both emotional and economic, the family in countries in transition provides its members with unemployment benefits, accommodation, food and psychological advice to boot.

Divorced daughters, saddled with little (and not so little) ones, the prodigal sons incapable of finding a job befitting their qualifications, the sick, the unhappy - all are absorbed by the compassionate bosom of the family and, by extension the community. The family, the neighbourhood, the community, the village, the tribe - are units of subversion as well as useful safety valves, releasing and regulating the pressures of contemporary life in the modern, materialistic, crime ridden state.

The ancient blood feud laws of the kanoon were handed over through familial lineages in northern Albania, in defiance of the paranoiac Enver Hoxha regime. Criminals hide among their kin in the Balkans, thus effectively evading the long arm of the law (state). Jobs are granted, contracts signed and tenders won on an open and strict nepotistic basis and no one finds it odd or wrong. There is something atavistically heart-warming in all this.

Historically, the rural units of socialisation and social organisation were the family and the village. As villagers migrated to the cities, these structural and functional patterns were imported by them, en masse. The shortage of urban apartments and the communist invention of the communal apartment (its tiny rooms allocated one per family with kitchen and bathroom common to all) only served to perpetuate these ancient modes of multi-generational huddling. At best, the few available apartments were shared by three generations: parents, married off-spring and their children. In many cases, the living space was also shared by sickly or no-good relatives and even by unrelated families.

These living arrangements - more adapted to rustic open spaces than to high rises - led to severe social and psychological dysfunctions. To this very day, Balkan males are spoiled by the subservience and servitude of their in-house parents and incessantly and compulsively catered to by their submissive wives. Occupying someone else's home, they are not well acquainted with adult responsibilities.

Stunted growth and stagnant immaturity are the hallmarks of an entire generation, stifled by the ominous proximity of suffocating, invasive love. Unable to lead a healthy sex life behind paper thin walls, unable to raise their children and as many children as they see fit, unable to develop emotionally under the anxiously watchful eye of their parents - this greenhouse generation is doomed to a zombie-like existence in the twilight nether land of their parents' caves. Many ever more eagerly await the demise of their caring captors and the promised land of their inherited apartments, free of their parents' presence.

The daily pressures and exigencies of co-existence are enormous. The prying, the gossip, the criticism, the chastising, the small agitating mannerisms, the smells, the incompatible personal habits and preferences, the pusillanimous bookkeeping - all serve to erode the individual and to reduce him or her to the most primitive mode of survival. This is further exacerbated by the need to share expenses, to allocate labour and tasks, to plan ahead for contingencies, to see off threats, to hide information, to pretend and to fend off emotionally injurious behaviour. It is a sweltering tropic of affective cancer."

Alternatively, by acting as surrogate caregiver to his siblings or parents, the narcissist displaces his adulthood into a fuzzier and less demanding territory. The social expectations from a husband and a father are clear-cut. Not so from a substitute, mock, or ersatz parent. By investing his efforts, resources, and emotions in his family of origin, the narcissist avoids having to establish a new family and face the world as an adult. His is an "adulthood by proxy", a vicarious imitation of the real thing.

The ultimate in dodging adulthood is finding God (long recognised as a father-substitute), or some other "higher cause". The believer allows the doctrine and the social institutions that enforce it to make decisions for him and thus relieve him of responsibility. He succumbs to the paternal power of the collective and surrenders his personal autonomy. In other words, he is a child once more. Hence the allure of faith and the lure of dogmas such as nationalism or Communism or liberal democracy.

But why does the narcissist refuse to grow up? Why does he postpone the inevitable and regards adulthood as a painful experience to be avoided at a great cost to personal growth and self-realisation? Because remaining essentially a toddler caters to all his narcissistic needs and defences and nicely tallies with the narcissist's inner psychodynamic landscape.

Pathological narcissism is an infantile defence against abuse and trauma, usually occurring in early childhood or early adolescence. Thus, narcissism is inextricably entwined with the abused child's or adolescent's emotional make-up, cognitive deficits, and worldview. To say "narcissist" is to say "thwarted, tortured child".

It is important to remember that overweening, smothering, spoiling, overvaluing, and idolising the child - are all forms of parental abuse. There is nothing more narcissistically-gratifying than the admiration and adulation (Narcissistic Supply) garnered by precocious child-prodigies (Wunderkinder). Narcissists who are the sad outcomes of excessive pampering and sheltering become addicted to it.

In a paper published in Quadrant in 1980 and titled "Puer Aeternus: The Narcissistic Relation to the Self", Jeffrey Satinover, a Jungian analyst, offers these astute observations:

"The individual narcissistically bound to (the image or archetype of the divine child) for identity can experience satisfaction from a concrete achievement only if it matches the grandeur of this archetypal image. It must have the qualities of greatness, absolute uniqueness, of being the best and ... prodigiously precocious. This latter quality explains the enormous fascination of child prodigies, and also explains why even a great success yields no permanent satisfaction for the puer: being an adult, no accomplishment is precocious unless he stays artificially young or equates his accomplishments with those of old age (hence the premature striving after the wisdom of those who are much older)."

The simple truth is that children get away with narcissistic traits and behaviours. Narcissists know that. They envy children, hate them, try to emulate them and, thus, compete with them for scarce Narcissistic Supply.

Children are forgiven for feeling grandiose and self-important or even encouraged to develop such emotions as part of "building up their self-esteem". Kids frequently exaggerate with impunity accomplishments, talents, skills, contacts, and personality traits - exactly the kind of conduct that narcissists are chastised for!

As part of a normal and healthy development trajectory, young children are as obsessed as narcissists are with fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence, and unequalled brilliance. Adolescent are expected to be preoccupied with bodily beauty or sexual performance (as is the somatic narcissist), or ideal, everlasting, all-conquering love or passion. What is normal in the first 16 years of life is labelled a pathology later on.

Children are firmly convinced that they are unique and, being special, can only be understood by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status people. In time, through the process of socialisation, young adults learn the benefits of collaboration and acknowledge the innate value of each and every person. Narcissists never do. They remain fixated in the earlier stage.

Preteens and teenagers require excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation. It is a transient phase that gives place to the self-regulation of one's sense of inner worth. Narcissists, however, remain dependent on others for their self-esteem and self-confidence. They are fragile and fragmented and thus very susceptible to criticism, even if it is merely implied or imagined.

Well into pubescence, children feel entitled. As toddlers, they demand automatic and full compliance with their unreasonable expectations for special and favourable priority treatment. They grow out of it as they develop empathy and respect for the boundaries, needs, and wishes of other people. Again, narcissists never mature, in this sense.

Children, like adult narcissists, are "interpersonally exploitative", i.e., use others to achieve their own ends. During the formative years (0-6 years old), children are devoid of empathy. They are unable to identify with, acknowledge, or accept the feelings, needs, preferences, priorities, and choices of others.

Both adult narcissists and young children are envious of others and sometimes seek to hurt or destroy the causes of their frustration. Both groups behave arrogantly and haughtily, feel superior, omnipotent, omniscient, invincible, immune, "above the law", and omnipresent (magical thinking), and rage when frustrated, contradicted, challenged, or confronted.

The narcissist seeks to legitimise his child-like conduct and his infantile mental world by actually remaining a child, by refusing to mature and to grow up, by avoiding the hallmarks of adulthood, and by forcing others to accept him as the Puer Aeternus, the Eternal Youth, a worry-free, unbounded, Peter Pan.

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