Tag Archives | Therapy

A History of Fecal Therapy

PIC: Cjc2nd (CC)

PIC: Cjc2nd (CC)

Alternative title: Eat Shit and LIVE.

The next big thing?  Someone should probably set up some kind of formal system for measuring doses of… Oh, they did? Huh. There’s video, apparently.

POO IS A DECIDEDLY IMPERFECT delivery vehicle for a medical therapy. It’s messy. It stinks. It’s inconsistent, not to mention a regulatory nightmare. But it can be incredibly potent. A classic study of nine healthy British volunteers found that bacteria accounted for more than half of the mass of their fecal solids. That astonishing concentration of microorganisms, both living and dead, makes sense when you consider that the microbial colonists inhabiting our gastrointestinal tract outnumber our own cells roughly three to one, on recent estimates.

In the ideal conditions of the human gut, a thriving ecosystem of 1,000 or more bacterial species that rivals the complexity of a rainforest has co-evolved with us. This microscopic jungle is constantly adapting in response to our diet, antibiotic use and other environmental influences.

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Kenneth Smith: Self-Knowing

KenIn my archives, I have a large amount of terrific Kenneth Smith emails. This one is an exhilarating journey through the psycho-therapeutic idea of “knowing yourself.” (Smith’s paragraphs are in maroon.)

———-
From: Kenneth R. Smith <kensmith@——.net>
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2005 15:34:40 -0500
To: cbelan <c——@——.com>
Subject: Re: kernel of thought

on 1/6/05 11:54 PM, c—— at c——@——.com wrote:

Hi Kenneth:

Okay, there is a small rumbling deep in the dark recesses of my mind.   I’ll toss it and trust you to run with it.

Rumblings do set me to running.  Never mind to where or with what.  If it’s not an earthquake then it’s something visceral.

After years of therapy I thought that the goal in knowing oneself well was to apply that knowledge and awareness to a range of life experiences.   But looking back at my life I wonder if there are parts of it (namely that faith issue combined with work life) that one should just barrel through in trust of their principals and not analyze or try to make it match that “logic” side of me.

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Don’t Trust Your Feelings: Somatics and the Pre/Trans Fallacy

roottree

A great article applying the pre/trans fallacy to somatics and body-work. Steve Bearman brings some much-needed balance to the alternative healing field.

via Interchange Counseling:

It’s easy for counselors, and the people we counsel, to get stuck in our heads. Counseling as we know it originated as “the talking cure”. Over the generations, counselors have discovered how to use dialogue as a powerful medium for facilitating change in our clients. Even at its best, however, conversation can only get us so far. We are more than mere talking heads.

In a tradition that has long been top-heavy, the growing prevalence of somatics has brought counseling back into balance, adding much-needed weight to the body’s role in healing and growth. “Soma” is the body, and body-oriented work takes us places talking never can, but just like mind-oriented work, it has significant limitations.

For those of us in the world of counseling who strive to live fully embodied lives, somatics has seemed like such a godsend that we can fail to recognize its limits.

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Ten Obstacles to Sane Spirituality

EctoplasmicSnotJulian Walker wrote this excellent overview of New Age flakiness, and gives some corrective measures.

via Elephant Journal:

I am passionate about the relationships between three things:

> inquiry-based practices (yoga, meditation, bodywork and ecstatic dance happen to be my favorites)

> critical thinking (also called “viveka” in yogic parlance, or discriminating wisdom)

> and shadow work (after Jung – the psychological idea that we have a “shadow” that is where we hide the emotions, experiences, thoughts and aspects of self that we would rather not face. Shadow work then is the process of courageously turning inward to bring honest awareness and compassionate attention to this place.)

Having been a yoga teacher for the last 18 years, and having spent my adult life swimming in the waters of popular spirituality, my sense is that more often than not these three elements are missing both in theory and practice. My sense is that this comes down to one revelatory observation.

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The Second Coming of Psychedelics – Inside the Mind-Tripping, Soul-Changing, Ground-Shifting, 21st Century Therapy.

Picture: Sascha Grabow (CC)

Ancient plant healing meets the ails of a generation ruined by War.

Via Spirituality & Health:

Ric Godfrey had the shakes. At night, his body temperature would drop and he’d start to tremble. During the day, he was jumpy. He was always looking around, always on edge. His vibe scared the people around him. He couldn’t hang on to a job.

He started drinking and drugging, anything to numb out.

Years passed before a Department of Veterans Affairs counselor told him he had severe posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. The former Marine had spent the early 1990s interrogating prisoners in Kuwait. Years later, he was still playing out the Persian Gulf War.

Counseling helped a little, but the symptoms continued. He went to rehab for his substance abuse, then tried Alcoholics Anonymous. “That went on for 10 years,” he said. “I don’t know how many times I hit rock bottom.”

Then one of his Seattle neighbors—a woman who also suffered from PTSD—told him about a group of veterans who were going down to Peru to try a psychedelic drug called ayahuasca, a jungle vine that is brewed into a tea.

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Body Pleasures and the Origins of Violence

A classic article, deserving a place in the Disinfo archives. James W. Prescott outlines the link between modern child-rearing practices and their impact on development, psychological well-being and adult behavior. He covers deprivation of loving touch, sexual repression, infant neglect, and the results to the adult psyche. Joseph Chilton Pearce started this conversation and Prescott fleshes it out. The discussion of these issues is still ongoing.

Via The Origins of Peace and Violence website:

The sensory environment in which an individual grows up has a major influence upon the development and functional organization of the brain. Sensory stimulation is a nutrient that the brain must have to develop and function normally. How the brain functions determines how a person behaves. At birth a human brain is extremely immature and new brain cells develop up to the age of two years. The complexity of brain cell development continues up to about 16 years of age.

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Spiritual Bypassing: Using Spirituality To Avoid Pain

Author and psychotherapist Robert Augustus Masters outlines a pervasive phenomenon in contemporary New Age spirituality, spiritual bypassing:

Via Reality Sandwich:

Spiritual bypassing, a term first coined by psychologist John Welwood in 1984, is the use of spiritual practices and beliefs to avoid dealing with our painful feelings, unresolved wounds, and developmental needs. It is much more common than we might think and, in fact, is so pervasive as to go largely unnoticed, except in its more obvious extremes.

Part of the reason for this is that we tend not to have very much tolerance, either personally or collectively, for facing, entering, and working through our pain, strongly preferring pain-numbing “solutions,” regardless of how much suffering such “remedies” may catalyze. Because this preference has so deeply and thoroughly infiltrated our culture that it has become all but normalized, spiritual bypassing fits almost seamlessly into our collective habit of turning away from what is painful, as a kind of higher analgesic with seemingly minimal side effects.

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New York-Based Company Offers Snuggling For $60 Per Hour

In our cold, digital, compartmentalized world, is a lack of platonic physical contact with other humans causing us to wither like plants denied sunlight?

Jackie Samuels, a 29-year-old New Yorker working towards her masters degree in social work, charges clients $60 for an hour-long session of explicitly non-sexual snuggling. The venture is apparently going quite well, and it seems to reflect both the widespread wish for non-virtual connection and the continuing monetization of everything. (Will warm smiles soon be sold on subway platforms for ten cents?)

Samuels concocted the idea after an experiment in selling hugs on the street for a dollar proved wildly successful. Her website, called the The Snuggery, explains:

“Jacqueline established The Snuggery because she believes in the healing power of touch. The Snuggery is a place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of life and focus on the simple restorative pleasure of touch.

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‘Magic Mushroom Therapy’ Clinical Trials May Begin This Year In U.K.

pg-8-magic-mush-afp-gettyWe may be just a few years away from going to our neighborhood pharmacies for our monthly supply of medicinal mushrooms. From the Independent:

Magic mushrooms could one day be prescribed for depression after Professor David Nutt, the controversial sacked government drugs advisor, claimed research on healthy volunteers proved what a mistake it was to abandon therapeutic psychedelic drugs more than 50 years ago.

The first clinical trial into magic mushroom therapy could start by the end of the year after two small studies suggested the active chemical, psilocybin, had a profound affect on key regions of the brain.

Professor Nutt’s team, at Imperial College London, hope to test the hallucinogen on depressed patients who have not benefited from antidepressants or behavioural therapy.

Psilocybin would be infused into their bloodstreams before a psychotherapy session, tailored to elicit positive memories. If funding is approved by the Medical Research Council it would represent a major step towards mainstream rehabilitation for such drugs since LSD was banned in 1966.

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Researchers Extol The Medical Benefits Of Magic Mushrooms

10704200_e19ddddf2aNot only that, but the researchers at John Hopkins say they’ve found the perfect dosage. Sadly, this looks to be one of those cases in which society lags behind science. Via Yahoo News:

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have been studying the effects of psilocybin, a chemical found in psychedelic mushrooms. Now, they say, they’ve zeroed in on the perfect dosage level to produce transformative mystical and spiritual experiences that offer long-lasting life-changing benefits, while carrying little risk of negative reactions.

The breakthrough could speed the day when doctors use psilocybin–long viewed skeptically for its association with 1960s countercultural thrill-seekers–for a range of valuable clinical functions, like easing the anxiety of terminally ill patients, treating depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and helping smokers quit.

The Johns Hopkins study involved giving healthy volunteers varying doses of psilocybin in a controlled and supportive setting, over four separate sessions. Looking back more than a year later, 94 percent of participants rated it as one of the top five most spiritually significant experiences of their lifetimes.

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