real world solutions

Here’s an Idea for Curbing Gun Violence: Stop the Nut-Shaming

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Here’s an Idea for Curbing Gun Violence: Stop the Nut-Shaming

“Say it loud, I’m crazy and proud!” This is a chant I have yet to hear in any Pride or protest parade, but I can only hope. See, I think the discussion about what to do with crazy, usually young, apparently always males who go on semi-automatic killing sprees has gotten way off-topic. Some are suggesting that a history of diagnosed mental illness should be a prohibitive factor. Yeah, like my clients with Complex PTSD are a danger to anyone but themselves. And like somehow its SANE to argue that your right to shoot off rounds with your prized armament trumps the right of children to feel...

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Where is the Humanity?

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Where is the Humanity?

Recently, I took the opportunity to retrace the steps of my Scandinavian ancestors, and found some powerful wisdom in the Norwegian culture that produced the majority of my heritage.  In Norway, common humanity is of great, perhaps even greatest, worth. The value placed on everyday life, often in the face of great trials, is paramount, and I sensed it as I spoke with the many Norwegians I encountered. From the young Air BNB host and her youthful cooperative, to the new father taking time off from work to tend to his infant, to the proud historians of the Norwegian Resistance Museum and the...

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The Sauna: Managing Conflict Well

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The Sauna: Managing Conflict Well

Conflict. It’s on the political agenda this year, from the more rabid factions of the Trump campaign to the infighting in the Democrat and Republican parties. As a therapist, I’m no stranger to conflict, and in my next series, The Sauna, I’ll be exploring how it can go wrong, and how, when handled correctly, it can lead to greater understanding and trust. Yup, conflict can be good! We’re hopefully familiar with the joys of a healthy debate, or a respectful negotiation. For many, even most of us, we’ve used basic skills to get a promotion, work out the household tasks, and tickle our...

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The Sauna, or, How To Befriend Heated Conflict

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The Sauna, or, How To Befriend Heated Conflict

A woman walks into a sauna. Two men are assailing Hillary Clinton and her “pedophile” husband; they question rhetorically, “who would vote for that woman?!” She answers, “I would.” The fight is on. It’s not a debate. Hillary herself is attacked, and the woman responds with a few choice comments on Trump. In the corner, one man sits, saying nothing. Another man grows silent, then circles from behind for a more general attack. There are others in the room, clearly uncomfortable, and he addresses the women present as “ladies” (fingering air quotes), which the woman also...

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(Not) Having a Sense of Humor is Dangerous: Am I Charlie?

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(Not) Having a Sense of Humor is Dangerous: Am I Charlie?

Long before Charlie Hebdo, we human have responded to the overblown ego, and all the threats thereby, with humor. Surely, even in the era of the Cro-Magnon, some overbearing he-man’s slight trip over a rock was lampooned by the scrawny guy with a sense of humor, who with an exaggerated trip and an equally exaggerated attempt at cover-up made the tribe laugh…and the thug hopefully humbled. Of course, even then, the he-man might have retaliated and, wham, no more scrawny guy. However, enough of these guys survived, and proved useful to the tribe, that their descendants: the court...

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Elliot Rodger: A Cautionary Tale

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Elliot Rodger: A Cautionary Tale

I’m taking a break from the joys of currency to put my two cents in on the recent shootings in Santa Barbara.  By now, the young, isolated male with a history of mental instability who can yet access major firearms is tragically stereotypical. A friend of mine, seeing the posthumous youtube posting, critiques it and Rodger as “poorly acted…(by an) attention seeking entitled shit who suffers from illusions of grandeur and affluenza,” and asks me for my diagnosis. While I’m not going to diagnose Elliot Rodger, what I’m hearing in the post is someone absolutely disconnected from his...

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