38. Cave Grief



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37. Populism Loneliness

Populism Loneliness – so what is the link between the two?
Hannah Ardent was one of the first writers to make a link in her book The Origins of Totalitarianism

So Populism uses loneliness of a certain part of the population for its own ends. The lonelier people are, the less they belong. But if a marginalised part of the popualtion feel they don’t benefit from the prevailing system. So a section of society that doesn’t belong.

Populist politicians know and can capitalise on this. Create an ideology for the disenfanchised. This creates a new belonging. More votes. 

The move to cities, leaving rural communities behind. The fall of old Industry. The rise of Neo Liberalism .Seeing individuals as competitiors increases the sense of isolation and loneliness. Communities who are excluded and ignored are angry and yearning for a cause to belong to.
The lonely see the world as more unfriendly and threatening: so are more hostile to others.

Like the isolated mouse presented with a new outsider mouse. It attacks the new mouse. The disenfranchised want to attack and lash out. Against immigrants, the Liberal Elite, and anyone who else benefits from the economics of the time. The gap between rich and poor is a fertile ground for Populism.

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North London Counsellor Blog 2020
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Disclaimer: This weblog is the view of the writer and for general information only
This article is designed to provoke argment and critique 


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36. Baader Meinhof

Baader-Meinhof is a cognitive bias. Like other psyche biases it enables the brian to sift information. The Baader-Meinhof phenomenon captures the brain becoming aware of something, which it then recognises over and over making you think that it’s everywhere.

If you bought a red car you might notice a lot more red cars. After a break up you might think there are love songs everywhere. There aren’t any more red cars or love songs around you just notice them more. A kind of frequency illusion.

Its origin is based on the Baader-Meinhof Terror Group: where the fear of a terrorist attack heightened the frequency illusion of hearing the group’s name. Why would the human brain have this frequency illusion? 

Useful for the brain would be an alert system. And this is what it is. Combined with a strong emotion like a threat it would be useful to be able to focus in on the threat and recognise it more often. In other words it is a survival mechanism. Primitive people could focus on animal threats and become heightend to notice them.

Like self awareness noticing the self and being alert to what we are feeling is an advantage. It gives us more skills in life situations, and creates more meaning for ourselves and those close to us.

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North London Counsellor Blog 2020
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Disclaimer: This weblog is the view of the writer and for general information only
This article is designed to provoke argment and critique 



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35. Sean Connery

Sean Connery actor, producer, Scottish man.
And so he was. Not only Scottish but from working class poor   beginnings. This was a turn in the acting profession. Young men from working class backgrounds, uneducated in the world of theatre making it into film. At the time revolutionary. 

Bond defined him. Brutish, sexist, patriarchal it was a sign of the times. The Bond franchise was always more than film. It was like Marks and Spencer. English, of Empire, or Royalty. Conservative, not taking risks in a risky balck and white world when Britain was Great?! Bond was like a Bank slow to change and followed trends rather than making trends. 

Connery looked for respite from fame and fortune in another Scotsman R.D.Laing. A famous psychiatrist and author of the Divided Self. Laing offered Connery LSD which he disliked, & sparred with him opening up a rage Connery had with his mother in his harsh childhood. 

But he was much more. As his films outside the Bond franchise showed us. A brand unto himself with his uniquely slurred Scottish accent.
Sean Connery 1930-2020

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North London Counsellor Blog 2020
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Disclaimer: This weblog is the view of the writer and for general information only
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34. Trumpism

The man might be on his way out but the politics of Trumpism survives and thrives.   
And what might be learnt? Not a lot says history.
Power not only corrupts but it supresses and excludes those who don’t believe or qualify in the power of the moment.

Like the UK, the US has opened its arms to globalisation, profit, & greed. The rich are a lot richer and the rest a lot poorer. In both countries this has left the Rust Belt in the US, and the North of England in the UK workless, and hopeless.

In the rush to keep votes of the urban educated – political parties gave up on them. Unrepresented, with a culture and life style changing with immigration, and industries destroyed under golbalisation. The perfect recipe for populism repeats over and over.

The ingredients seem to be: an angry disenfranchised & excluded part of the population. Unable to profit from the staus quo. Not represented any political party. Helpless and hopeless. Simmering with resentment and rage. 
Along comes a character politician with an ego, and a yearning for power not caring how. Usually with a deep mistrust of the law, status quo and some sort of outsider. Promising a time in the past when the country was great and their part of the population had jobs, communities and thrived. 

This mix in humans creates a desperate rage wanting an outlet. The populist has only to promise, or pretend to represent thier best interests. The follow through doesn’t have to happen. The desperation is appeased by the promise. Job done. Even if it causes pain. Like self harm as pain relief. The outlet was worth it.
The nature of power is that it has to exclude. Beware the excluded. 

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North London Counsellor Blog 2020
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Disclaimer: This weblog is the view of the writer and for general information only
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33. Face to Face

The Counselling and Therapy profession is focused on the returning to face to face work. I look forward to a time in our profession. When phone, zoom, and face to face are equally valued for their own pros and cons. Rather than anything that is not face to face being less than. I don’t think lockdown is going to succeed in this. Such is the profession’s attachment to face to face work.

Whatever your view on Freud he had something with the patient lying down out of the gaze of the analyst. I appreciate the profession has moved on to a more consumer, customer led approach. But my own experience is that the online therapeutic work has changed little. Allowing the shallows and depths as before. But what most clients seem to miss is not the quality of the interaction. But less home privacy, and much more the preparing and digesting in the journey either side of the session. A commute, walk, cycle ride etc to the session location. 

I hear my colleagues’ arguments justifying their return to face to face work. A big room, good ventilation. Or unhappy clients who are demanding a face to face return. Like politicians – open up or shut down the economy. My colleagues range from business like to plain missing the interaction. This would merit some serious philosophical skepticism and self reflection. The decision is deeply personal, moral and political. 

And ego? A profession under duress can afford an over inflated sense of self importance with the service they provide. The special face to face relationship. But for me the therapist is less important than we would like to believe. I am always told of the special relationship. Yet humans have the capacity for many special relationships in a lifetime: lovers, family, friends and other therapists. My work is more predicated on the openess, courage and curiousity of the client. Rather than anything hugely significantly special I might provide. 

This would merit some research and writing. I shall leave it to others trying to gain a foothold up the cold windy mountainside that is the ladder of our profession. Just like other professions. Competitive, egotistical – human. 

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North London Counsellor Blog 2020
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Disclaimer: This weblog is the view of the writer and for general information only
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32. Disassociation

Disassociation – the feeling of being detached from yourself. A feeling of unreality where you sense you are an observer of yourself and your life. A numbness where the day passes in a haze. You know it. But at the same time you can’t do anything about it. Like a fog where you can see but not very far ahead.

The mind is protective. It shuts down to try and process the information which it finds difficult to experience. Like a fright, or hurt or trauma. If you experience fright in early life this can stay with you for the rest of your life. It becomes a store of disassociation energy which gets reactivated in times of difficulty or stress.

There are practical things you can do. When you feel disassociated look around you. Name the objects that see you. Ground yourself in a physical reality. Feel what you feel. Even if it is numbness. Accept the feeling. The mind is doing its job. Let it do it.
You can identify the triggers that put you in a disassociated state. Is it about meeting with your boss? Your parents? Bumping into an ex. Or being abused, emotionally, physically, sexually?

The mental state of the primary care giver is crucial to the early life of the baby. This time can be the start of the forming of disassociation. If the early bond is anxious, frightening or broken. The baby’s mind has to disassociate to try work out the environment and survive. It is a natural but alarming state to experience. 

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North London Counsellor Blog 2020
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Disclaimer: This weblog is the view of the writer and for general information only
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31. Silver Snoopy Award

The Silver Snoopy Award was given to NASA staff and external support staff by the astronauts as an acknowledgement of their support for the space programme. It is a special honour.

In the 1960s Peanuts creator Charles Schultz started to draw the character Snoopy on the moon. Snoopy became a symbol in America for its obsession with space flight. 

The Silver Snoopy was first awarded in 1968 to the crew who tested the first lunar module. One special receiver of the award was Omega’s technical manager Hans Widmer. Omega became the official watchmaker for NASA in 1962. 

The Omega Speedmaster Chronograph Watch came into its own on the Apollo 13 mission. An explosion in an oxygen tank crippled the module. They had to return to earth safely: the exact length of time for an engine burn giving the correct trajectory to enter the earth’s atmosphere was crucial. The watch chronograph measured the time exactly.
They returned to safety.

Snoopy versions of the Omega Speedmaster were created to celebrate the relationship. The third Snoopy Omega Watch was released this week. 

 

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North London Counsellor Blog 2020
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Disclaimer: This weblog is the view of the writer and for general information only
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30. Sitting with Feelings

Sitting with feelings appears to be a challenging exercise for humans to do.
What’s the point? The first thing is to notice when you have them. To notice – a more neutral word to describe a gentle observation. Sounds simple. But remarkable how good we are at noticing what we feel are positive feelings: but the more negative feelings are tricky.

It is a big leap to notice and feel the negative feelings. More helpful is to notice how we don’t notice! What happens when we feel pain or discomfort around feelings? Do we ignore them. Push them down. Compensate by eating, consumption or exercise. Nothing wrong with these tactics until they don’t work.

By noticing of course we start to feel. To sit with discomfort and pain begins slowly to become easier. Until the pain and discomfort become part of the lexicon of feelings we have.

What’s the point? Imagine you have a bereavement. You deny or push away any association with the bereavement. But at times the feelings burst through. Then you push them away again. The bereavement is split off, waiting for a convenient hijack. Or all the other feelings are denied or pushed away: creating a general depression.

To make friends with our painful feelings means that we can switch on our emotional compass to guide us through the tumult of life. We have the facts of our lives, the story. But also if we notice – there is an emotional seam telling us what we like and what hurts us. Like when the body hurts it is keeping us safe. The same with feelings.
Sitting with Feelings 

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North London Counsellor Blog 2020
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Disclaimer: This weblog is the view of the writer and for general information only
This article is designed to provoke argment and critique 



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29. The Doll Test

The Doll Test is an experiment to show how attitudes to race are already set in young children.
Imagine a sponge sitting in a centimetre of vinegar. Nobody would be surprised that the sponge soaks up the vinegar.

The primitive brain is a sponge. It develops through what is seen, and felt: not what is instructed or told. So when it comes to race huge hidden symbols embedded in culture and language influence the primitive brain.

White wedding, pure as driven snow, white priviledge. Political Correctness notices the language used to describe social politics. People complain that nothing can be said or joked about. But it is not the word but the association to the word that is crucial. Some associations we share with others are deeply personal to us. And the feelings associated with the words shape us as people. 

So racism is a bias we are fed from early years. If we have the skill to notice – prejudice is in everything. Parents, family, media, culture, politics are biased. To notice the frame or environment we live in makes sense of what we bias. To see our bias is to understand our prejudice. Then we can acknowledge and lessen our prejudice’s impact on our behaviour. 

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North London Counsellor Blog 2020
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Disclaimer: This weblog is the view of the writer and for general information only
This article is designed to provoke argment and critique 



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