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Featured Guest Blog: Your Body. Your Baby. Their Flu.
As a conventionally trained, dyed-in-the-wool psychiatrist, I learned that mental illness is a manifestation of an imbalance of brain chemicals that can be largely reduced to too little serotonin and/or norepinephrine, too little dopamine, or messed up excitatory signals at the membrane level. These deficits required pharmaceutical intervention for repair, just as one of my attendings once patronizingly said to an inpatient post-suicide attempt: if you had poor vision, you would need glasses. There would just be no way for you to navigate the world without those glasses no matter how much you wanted to.
I don’t believe this anymore. I’ve left the church and I’ve run into the woods where I’m listening to the sermons delivered by the natives there…those who believe in a natural order, in the body’s capacity to heal, in the sanctity of a clean environment, and in the interconnectedness of spirit, nourishment, and movement. But this was a journey for me. I started to open my eyes during my first pregnancy, when I began my fellowship in treating pregnant and postpartum women. I learned how to consent them, and what informed consent really looked like, around treatment with psychotropics in pregnancy and lactation. Many of these women had been on medication for the better part of their adult lives and either found themselves pregnant, were planning to become, or developed symptoms despite treatment. I poured over the literature for hundreds of hours, memorizing authors and statistics, distilling complex analytic concepts, and building a rational path, with some forks in the road, for these women to travel. I helped them to understand the known risks, the unknown risks, the alternatives, and allowed them to assess the perceived benefits. This process would often culminate in a 90-120 minute session involving all and any interested family members and extensive communication with other providers – general psychiatrists, obstetricians, therapists, so that everyone was on the same page.
Posted by: Kelly Brogan, MD
The article addresses the issue of how girls are objectified in popular culture and the ensuing complications for parents navigating these situations.
Psychoanalyst and Huffington Post columnist McFadden offers insight and honesty in a discussion of the healthy ways mothers can help their daughters grow comfortable and knowledgeable about their sexuality. In August 2005, the author launched the Women’s Realities Study, a research project that aimed to take the pulse of modern women by asking open-ended questions about relationships, motherhood and mental health, among others. Her intended goal was to create a companion piece to the classic Our Bodies, Ourselves. Mission accomplished. The author clears away the heavy clouds that overshadow topics many daughters do not learn about from their mothers (and which mothers often dread sharing with their daughters): menstruation, masturbation and sex... There are hurdles to cross and backs to be straightened when it comes to this topic, but daughters need their mothers, and it’s time they heard their voices. An empowering resource for mothers and daughters everywhere.”
submitted by: Joyce. T. McFadden, NCPsyA
Congratulations to WMHC member Lisa Rubin, PhD, on her recent promotion to Associate Professor with Tenure at The New School for Social Research, where she is also the Assistant Director of Clinical Training for the Clinical Psychology doctoral program.
In addition, Lisa is currently chair of the WMHC social action committee. Lisa's research and clinical work focuses on women’s health concerns, including body image and eating problems, psycho-oncology, and assisted reproductive technologies.
Her scholarship includes publications in Cancer, Psychology of Women Quarterly, Health Psychology, Sex Roles, Psychology & Health, Culture Medicine & Psychiatry, among other journals. She is currently co-editing a special issue of the journal Women & Therapy on women and cancer.
The Head Bone’s Connected to the Body Bone
December 18, 2012
We have long been told that “low levels” of serotonin in the brain equal bad and sad, and we have been educated by the Pharmaceutical industry about the opportunity we have, through the use of antidepressants, to retrain our wayward neurons: by making the proverbial holes in the strainer that much smaller. But even if you accept the conventional wisdom regarding the role of serotonin in the narrative of mind, merriness, and misery, from where do we think that this magical neurochemical arises?
Full Article →
My Journey Home to Selfby Kelly Brogan, MD ABIHM
December 11, 2012
It is not the responsibility of those exposed to demonstrate danger, it is the responsibility of pharmaceutical, commercial, and industrial companies to properly evaluate the long-term safety of such exposures, including an evaluation of the severe risks to a potentially genetically vulnerable minority. Only then can a governing body be in a position to sanction, condone, or even promote such chemicals.
Full Article →
Finding peace in a forward fold
As a professional performing artist for over 10 years in musical theater, I adored the process of making a show. The rehearsal process meant learning and honing new music and choreography, drilling it to as close to perfection as possible, and of course making new friends and acquiring new skills.
But nothing compared to the moment the curtain went up and there was an audience. My kicks were higher, smile broader, adrenaline was coursing through my body and my voice felt more expansive than ever. All those hours in class and in rehearsals paid off big time.
So it was quite a shock for me to take my first yoga class, and truth be told, I didn’t appreciate it much.
Where were the mirrors? How would I know if I was doing the poses right? Without my body to look at, and my voice to listen to, how would I know my place in this practice?
To read more click here:www.elephantjournal.com/2012/09/the-truth-is-a-quiet-thing-alena-gerst/
submitted by Alena Gerst, LMSW, RYT firstname.lastname@example.org
To buy the book click here: Pride and Joy: A Guide to Understanding Your Child's Emotions and Solving Family Problems
An article written by Alena Gerst on Yoga and mental health has been published in Dr. Frank Lipman’s weekly newsletter. Dr. Lipman is an internationally recognized expert in Integrative and Functional Medicine, and Founder and Director of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center. The article focuses on the principle of Samtosha, a concept in yogic philosophy relating to “contentment”, and how Alena applies it to her therapeutic yoga work in hospitals.
To read the article click here: http://www.drfranklipman.com/being-content-with-intent/
submitted by: Alena Gerst, LMSW, RYT
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