Psychotherapy
Psychology is the study of human behaviour. It seeks to look at the motivational drives within an individual and offer an explanation to the behaviour that is demonstrated.

Psychotherapy is the use and application of psychological knowledge to help people understand themselves and begin to make appropriate changes, or to be comfortable with who they are.

Psychotherapy has several different theoretical models that have developed over time, the most commonly known being psycho-analysis. The therapy that I practise uses some of the best ideas from these differing schools of thought in order to help people achieve not only a rapid rate of improvement but also a lasting one. It has its basis in a cognitive–analytical model that seeks to look at the process behind thought, and understand how it has developed, and of course how to change negative thought processes into positive ones.

Hypnosis
Hypnosis is a very effective method of treatment. It is a state of altered consciousness with increased and heightened awareness, which is often accompanied by deep relaxation; this in itself can be beneficial. Contrary to popular belief it does not involve becoming unconscious and has nothing to do with sleep.

Hypnosis cannot be forced upon people, but it is a state which people allow themselves to enter.

It is important to understand that, during hypnosis, people cannot be forced to do things that they would choose not to do. Hypnosis or "trance" as it is often referred to is similar to the experience of day dreaming, when you lose a sense of time and may without thought continue a task that routinely requires concentration, such as driving from one place to another but not actually remembering the journey. This is an example of an altered state of consciousness that we experience every day of our lives.

What is Hypno-psychotherapy?
Hypno-psychotherapy is the practice of psychotherapy with applied hypnosis being the primary approach. The United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy, the lead body for the provision of Psychotherapy in the United Kingdom, recognises the practice of hypno-psychotherapy.

Both hypnotherapy and hypno-psychotherapy utilise hypnosis in a therapeutic form, however an individual that only practises as a hypnotherapist may not have undertaken training in psychotherapeutic theory and practice.

For therapists to be able to register with United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy requires an extensive programme of 4 years training.

Short courses of study that are readily available may give an insight into the techniques and practice of hypnosis, but they do not in themselves enable the practitioner to be able to address all forms of presenting problems.

It is strongly advised that anyone seeking any form of therapy investigates the qualifications and registrations of the practitioners they approach for treatment.

A United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy registered therapist will always provide information relating to their qualifications and registrations if requested.

Most people have heard of most phobias. Mention claustrophobia, social phobia, or arachnophobia and everyone pretty much knows what you are talking about. Mention agoraphobia, and most people will just shake their heads.

Because of this, many people who get agoraphobia often take a year, and in some cases, many years, just finding out what is wrong with them. Since the panic and anxiety symptoms that come with agoraphobia are so physical, people who get agoraphobia commonly visit a succession of doctors trying in search of a diagnosis. Since medical doctors are not usually trained to diagnose agoraphobia, let alone anxiety disorders, agoraphobia has had time to become deeply rooted in most people before they know enough about the disorder to seek the proper treatment and being recovery.

In light of this, here are some basics about agoraphobia:

Agoraphobia is "anxiety about, or avoidance of, places or situations from which escape might be difficult (or embarrassing) or in which help may not be available in the event of having a panic attack or panic-like symptoms.” (DSM-IV)

Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety disorder. The term “agoraphobia” comes from the Greek words agora  (ἀγορά), meaning “marketplace,” and phobia (φόβος/φοβία) , meaning “fear.” Literally translated as “fear of the marketplace,” people with agoraphobia are afraid of open or public spaces.

In reality, most people with agoraphobia are not so much afraid of open and public places as they are afraid of having a panic attack in these settings, especially settings in which there may be no one to help in the case of a panic attack or actual emergency.

The most common symptoms of agoraphobia are:

1) Panic Attacks: Periods of intense fear, usually lasting about ten minutes or so (but sometimes longer).

2) Avoidance Behavior: Avoiding places and situations that are hard to escape from or that might be embarrassing to have to suddenly leave. Most commonly, this is because they fear having a panic attack or unexpected catastrophe and not being able to get help or get away.

3) Developing "Safe" People: People with whom the agoraphobic is highly familiar with and feels emotionally close to. “Safe” people are usually parents, spouses, children, or close friends and relatives.

4) Developing "Safe" Places: Places in which the agoraphobic feels psychologically comfortable. The most common safe place for someone with agoraphobia is his or her own home.

5) Scanning: Obsessive monitoring of one's own body for strange or unusual symptoms.

6) Fear of being alone: This is related to the fear of having no one to help in the case of a panic attack or real emergency.

If you suspect that you or someone you know might have agoraphobia, don’t waste any time in learning about the disorder. Research has shown that the sooner you start the recovery process the more likely your chances of a successful recovery are.

Roots of the Disorder
Are the psychopath, sociopath, and someone with the Antisocial Personality Disorder one and the same? The DSM says "yes". Scholars such as Robert Hare and Theodore Millon beg to differ. The psychopath has antisocial traits for sure but they are coupled with and enhanced by callousness, ruthlessness, extreme lack of empathy, deficient impulse control, deceitfulness, and sadism.

Like other personality disorders, psychopathy becomes evident in early adolescence and is considered to be chronic. But unlike most other personality disorders, it is frequently ameliorated with age and tends to disappear altogether in by the fourth or fifth decade of life. This is because criminal behavior and substance abuse are both determinants of the disorders and behaviors more typical of young adults.

Psychopathy may be hereditary. The psychopath's immediate family usually suffer from a variety of personality disorders.

Cultural and Social Considerations 

The Antisocial Personality Disorder is a controversial mental health diagnoses. The psychopath refuses to conform to social norms and obey the law. He often inflicts pain and damage on his victims. But does that make this pattern of conduct a mental illness? The psychopath has no conscience or empathy. But is this necessarily pathological? Culture-bound diagnoses are often abused as tools of social control. They allow the establishment, ruling elites, and groups with vested interests to label and restrain dissidents and troublemakers. Such diagnoses are frequently employed by totalitarian states to harness or even eliminate eccentrics, criminals, and deviants.

Characteristics and Traits 

Like narcissists, psychopaths lack empathy and regard other people as mere instruments of gratification and utility or as objects to be manipulated. Psychopaths and narcissists have no problem to grasp ideas and to formulate choices, needs, preferences, courses of action, and priorities. But they are shocked when other people do the very same.

Most people accept that others have rights and obligations. The psychopath rejects this quid pro quo. As far as he is concerned, only might is right. People have no rights and he, the psychopath, has no obligations that derive from the "social contract". The psychopath holds himself to be above conventional morality and the law. The psychopath cannot delay gratification. He wants everything and wants it now. His whims, urges, catering to his needs, and the satisfaction of his drives take precedence over the needs, preferences, and emotions of even his nearest and dearest.

Consequently, psychopaths feel no remorse when they hurt or defraud others. They don't possess even the most rudimentary conscience. They rationalize their (often criminal) behavior and intellectualize it. Psychopaths fall prey to their own primitive defense mechanisms (such as narcissism, splitting, and projection). The psychopath firmly believes that the world is a hostile, merciless place, prone to the survival of the fittest and that people are either "all good" or "all evil". The psychopath projects his own vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and shortcomings unto others and force them to behave the way he expects them to (this defense mechanism is known as "projective identification"). Like narcissists, psychopaths are abusively exploitative and incapable of true love or intimacy.

Narcissistic psychopath are particularly ill-suited to participate in the give and take of civilized society. Many of them are misfits or criminals. White collar psychopaths are likely to be deceitful and engage in rampant identity theft, the use of aliases, constant lying, fraud, and con-artistry for gain or pleasure.

Psychopaths are irresponsible and unreliable. They do not honor contracts, undertakings, and obligations. They are unstable and unpredictable and rarely hold a job for long, repay their debts, or maintain long-term intimate relationships.

Psychopaths are vindictive and hold grudges. They never regret or forget a thing. They are driven, and dangerous.

I wrote this in the Open Site Encyclopedia:

"Always in conflict with authority and frequently on the run, psychopaths possess a limited time horizon and seldom make medium or long term plans. They are impulsive and reckless, aggressive, violent, irritable, and, sometimes, the captives of magical thinking, believing themselves to be immune to the consequences of their own actions.

Thus, psychopaths often end up in jail, having repeatedly flouted social norms and codified laws. Partly to avoid this fate and evade the law and partly to extract material benefits from unsuspecting victims, psychopaths habitually lie, steal others' identities, deceive, use aliases, and con for "personal profit or pleasure" as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual puts it."

It is the nature of soul to grow, to heal, and to love. As we enter into the world, we emerge as a tiny child. We are open. We do not have conditions placed on us by our parents or ourselves. We have not closed ourselves off from any possibility. It is though the world lay at our feet. We are a bundle of unconditioned purity.

As we age, conditions are placed on us to direct us along our paths intended to keep us from harm. Even if we manage to stay out of harms way, we move into a state of stimulus-response reactions toward life. This draws us further and further away from the natural state of pure being we came into the world with as an infant.

How can we return to our natural state of being? How can we call our soul back and gain a sense of spiritual well-being? The following are ways we can return to the wholeness and healing we seek as spiritual beings incarnated into the human race:

1. Do Something Creative.

Creativity engages our heart, our mind, and our imagination. These activities allow us to utilize our whole being. Our attention moves from outer expressions of the world and enters the inner dynamics of living giving rise to our heart and our imagination. When our heart and our imagination are given attention, we enter into the realm of insight. Insight is our ability to see from within just how sacred and magical our lives really are.

In the realm of soul, our humanity becomes sacred. Through creativity we are aware how life flows through us and not from us. The more we identify with these qualities of attention flowing through us, the more we are identifying with qualities residing in us that are whole and healing. It is our natural state.

2. Spend Time With A Child.

Children have a way of drawing our attention away from activities and responsibilities defining us as adults. All a child wants to do in this world is have fun. They seem to never tire of such activities. Children are constantly motivated by play.

As adults, we tend to think of play as wasted time. Adults who lose a sense of play and joy in their lives are in danger of losing self-motivation. The kind of self-motivation I am referring to involves the desire to have fun in life. This can lead to a depressive state lacking creativity, spontaneity, and the heart of a child.

Each of us has the heart of a child within us that never tires. It is the part of us fully participating in and with life. As our imagination and heart begin to guide us over the mind, we are in soul. In soul, our mind is in its proper perspective. This part of us is our inner awareness not bound by the pressures of the world. When we return to soul, the possibility of living whole and healed becomes a reality.

3. Become A Child.

The next time you look into a child's eyes try to feel their heart. Notice the difference and similarities of your heart and their heart. Is there a difference? Is this awareness a long or short distance from where you were as a child?

What happened to that little boy or little girl inside you? Since we cannot retrieve childhood physically, maybe we can from within. Remember your past as a child - the good times and the bad times. As you look at your life through the eyes of a child, recall how active your heart and imagination were. Embrace it. Let this inner vision penetrate your entire awareness. Let go of your adult interpretations of your childhood and view it with innocence and love.

Our true nature is to live in the world without being fully of it. Inside us are endless avenues that can move us toward the experience of joy. When we let go of our tendency to view the world as right or wrong, good or bad, we leave behind dualism and enter into Unity.

This Unity behind all appearances of diversity is a healing state of unconditional love. It is the part of us bringing all life into being, leading us through life, and what will lead us home. It is the force of nature giving us life. It is our soul.

                                                                                                                  Samuel Oliver, author of, "What the Dying Teach Us: Lessons on Living"

Confabulations are an important part of life. They serve to heal emotional wounds or to prevent ones from being inflicted in the first place. They prop-up the confabulator's self-esteem, regulate his (or her) sense of self-worth, and buttress his (or her) self-image. They serve as organizing principles in social interactions.

Father's wartime heroism, mother's youthful good looks, one's oft-recounted exploits, erstwhile alleged brilliance, and past purported sexual irresistibility - are typical examples of white, fuzzy, heart-warming lies wrapped around a shriveled kernel of truth.

But the distinction between reality and fantasy is rarely completely lost. Deep inside, the healthy confabulator knows where facts end and wishful thinking takes over. Father acknowledges he was no war hero, though he did his share of fighting. Mother understands she was no ravishing beauty, though she may have been attractive. The confabulator realizes that his recounted exploits are overblown, his brilliance exaggerated, and his sexual irresistibility a myth.

Such distinctions never rise to the surface because everyone - the confabulator and his audience alike - have a common interest to maintain the confabulation. To challenge the integrity of the confabulator or the veracity of his confabulations is to threaten the very fabric of family and society. Human intercourse is built around such entertaining deviations from the truth.

This is where the narcissist differs from others (from "normal" people).

His very self is a piece of fiction concocted to fend off hurt and to nurture the narcissist's grandiosity. He fails in his "reality test" - the ability to distinguish the actual from the imagined. The narcissist fervently believes in his own infallibility, brilliance, omnipotence, heroism, and perfection. He doesn't dare confront the truth and admit it even to himself.

Moreover, he imposes his personal mythology on his nearest and dearest. Spouse, children, colleagues, friends, neighbors - sometimes even perfect strangers - must abide by the narcissist's narrative or face his wrath. The narcissist countenances no disagreement, alternative points of view, or criticism. To him, confabulation IS reality.

The coherence of the narcissist's dysfunctional and precariously-balanced personality depends on the plausibility of his stories and on their acceptance by his Sources of Narcissistic Supply. The narcissist invests an inordinate time in substantiating his tales, collecting "evidence", defending his version of events, and in re-interpreting reality to fit his scenario. As a result, most narcissists are self-delusional, obstinate, opinionated, and argumentative.

The narcissist's lies are not goal-orientated. This is what makes his constant dishonesty both disconcerting and incomprehensible. The narcissist lies at the drop of a hat, needlessly, and almost ceaselessly. He lies in order to avoid the Grandiosity Gap - when the abyss between fact and (narcissistic) fiction becomes too gaping to ignore.

The narcissist lies in order to preserve appearances, uphold fantasies, support the tall (and impossible) tales of his False Self and extract Narcissistic Supply from unsuspecting sources, who are not yet on to him. To the narcissist, confabulation is not merely a way of life - but life itself.

We are all conditioned to let other indulge in pet delusions and get away with white, not too egregious, lies. The narcissist makes use of our socialization. We dare not confront or expose him, despite the outlandishness of his claims, the improbability of his stories, the implausibility of his alleged accomplishments and conquests. We simply turn the other cheek, or meekly avert our eyes, often embarrassed.

Moreover, the narcissist makes clear, from the very beginning, that it is his way or the highway. His aggression - even violent streak - are close to the surface. He may be charming in a first encounter - but even then there are telltale signs of pent-up abuse. His interlocutors sense this impending threat and avoid conflict by acquiescing with the narcissist's fairy tales. Thus he imposes his private universe and virtual reality on his milieu - sometimes with disastrous consequences.

Hospice patients come to our care after being cut, burned, and poisoned. Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment are the normative methods of care for most of the patients who enter a life-threatening disease. Hospital staff members are trained to be aggressive about curative care.

Hospice care is a phase of care whereby aggressive treatment is no longer appropriate. Palliative care becomes the norm. Patients have been probed physically, mentally, and emotionally. In many ways, patients may be reluctant to any type of care beyond the experiences that led to his/her doctor sharing that no more can be done.

The purpose of this article is to claim that much more can be done. Our Doctors and Nurses are trained to help patients receive medication that stabilizes and even diminishes pain and suffering physically. Social Workers are trained to help patients and families deal with emotional, practical, and legal issues surrounding loss and grief. Spiritual Counselors help with the integration of emotional well-being and a sense of faith and hope beyond one's self-awareness.

There are three aspects of the grieving process I wish to mention in this brief article:


The Heart of Care,


The Heart of Compassion, and


An Awakened Heart

Since I am a Spiritual Counselor for Hospice Care, I will take a spiritual approach to grief care.



The Heart of Care


The heart of care centers it's attention on the needs of the patient who is dying. Any attempt to move a patient away from his/her authentic character becomes a war of wills. As we listen and care for a person just as he/she is, we are allowing a person to die the way he/she lived. Our ability to meet a person in unconditional love will draw out the desire to be fully known by the patient. Here, we are given opportunities to meet him/her in grace and mercy.

Patients are not a disease. Patients are awakening into soul. Mary was a strong-willed person who did not want to die. She had a strong personality. She had many roles she carried out in life, and she wanted to hold on to them all. She was a mother, friend, wife, among many other roles.

About two weeks before Mary died, she shared with me that she became aware of two identities: one was her strong personality and the other was a presence of peace she could not explain. The closer Mary came to her dying, the more she could identify with wanting peace over suffering. This identity with her soul became more appealing to her than living in a body that was failing her. She was awakening into her authentic self.

The Heart of Compassion


A dying patient gives up so much in their dying that he/she is tempted to hold on to what is left in their life. Even if holding on means more pain and suffering, some patients do try to do so. As care givers, we need to be sensitive to this aspect of a patient's letting go process. A patient needs support and guidance to simply learn to move from letting go (an act of the will) to letting be (getting into harmony with one's dying). A person offering care will enter into the heart of compassion by giving a patient space to enter into this process of moving from "letting go" to "letting be."

As a person dies, their personality will give way to their soul. In the process, a heart is broken. This desire to escape a painful body and embrace peace (one's authentic-self) is complicated by the desire to remain with those he or she has loved. This built up tension creates a path one has to choose inside them that transcends individual and collective conscious awareness. In essence, this is a matter of survival for the soul. This path moves a person's soul forward.

Funeral services remind us, it is the soul of a person that draw us to face death and not the deceased body. These services serve as a symbol of transition for the loved one who has died and those reflecting on the life of the deceased. A relationship that once was created outside us and in the body of another person no longer applies. Now, relationships with the deceased are internal and completely within us creating an invisible bond forever linking our awareness to a spacial quality within us drawing those left behind deeper into soul.

An Awakened Heart


An awakened heart knows there is more to life than what appears on the surface.

Dying people lead us to this place where eternal relationships are forged into the deepest aspects of our nature. It is our nature to love and feel love. Even grief has the capacity to deepen our sense of sacredness toward those we love.

A year ago, I gave a talk for the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in Los Angeles, CA. I was gone about a week. When I returned, my youngest son gave me a big hug. I missed him and he missed me. I could feel him literally fill my heart with love. In a real way, my soul was touched by my son's soul. An awakened heart knows that this is the heart of relationships.

In the landscape of the soul, what matters in life IS NOT matter. When we begin to look through our eyes and not with them, we enter into a view of life from the perspective of soul. Insight, to see from within, enables us to encounter death with hope, with faith, and with love.

As we grow in our capacity to see from within, we enter into the heart of grief. This emergence into the nature of soul will sustain us through death and into life - eternal. May the Creator of us all give us strength for the journey.

   Samuel Oliver, author of, "What the Dying Teach Us: Lessons on Living"

In a famous experiment, students were asked to take a lemon home and to get used to it. Three days later, they were able to single out "their" lemon from a pile of rather similar ones. They seemed to have bonded. Is this the true meaning of love, bonding, coupling? Do we simply get used to other human beings, pets, or objects?

Habit forming in humans is reflexive. We change ourselves and our environment in order to attain maximum comfort and well being. It is the effort that goes into these adaptive processes that forms a habit. The habit is intended to prevent us from constant experimenting and risk taking. The greater our well being, the better we function and the longer we survive.

Actually, when we get used to something or to someone - we get used to ourselves. In the object of the habit we see a part of our history, all the time and effort we had put into it. It is an encapsulated version of our acts, intentions, emotions and reactions. It is a mirror reflecting that part in us which formed the habit in the first place. Hence, the feeling of comfort: we really feel comfortable with our own selves through the agency of our habitual objects.

Because of this, we tend to confuse habits with identity. When asked WHO they are, most people resort to communicating their habits. They describe their work, their loved ones, their pets, their hobbies, or their material possessions. Yet, surely, all of these do not constitute identity! Removing them does not change it. They are habits and they make people comfortable and relaxed. But they are not part of one's identity in the truest, deepest sense.

Still, it is this simple mechanism of deception that binds people together. A mother feels that her offspring are part of her identity because she is so used to them that her well being depends on their existence and availability. Thus, any threat to her children is perceived by her as a threat to her own Self. Her reaction is, therefore, strong and enduring and can be recurrently elicited.

The truth, of course, is that her children ARE a part of her identity in a superficial manner. Removing them will make her a different person, but only in the shallow, phenomenological sense of the word. Her deep-set, true identity will not change as a result. Children do die at times and the mother does go on living, essentially unchanged.

But what is this kernel of identity that I am referring to? This immutable entity which is who we are and what we are and which, ostensibly, is not influenced by the death of our loved ones? What can resist the breakdown of habits that die hard?

It is our personality. This elusive, loosely interconnected, interacting, pattern of reactions to our changing environment. Like the Brain, it is difficult to define or to capture. Like the Soul, many believe that it does not exist, that it is a fictitious convention.

Yet, we know that we do have a personality. We feel it, we experience it. It sometimes encourages us to do things - at other times, it prevents us from doing them. It can be supple or rigid, benign or malignant, open or closed. Its power lies in its looseness. It is able to combine, recombine and permute in hundreds of unforeseeable ways. It metamorphoses and the constancy of these changes is what gives us a sense of identity.

Actually, when the personality is rigid to the point of being unable to change in reaction to shifting circumstances - we say that it is disordered. One has a personality disorder when one's habits substitute for one's identity. Such a person identifies himself with his environment, taking behavioural, emotional, and cognitive cues exclusively from it. His inner world is, so to speak, vacated, his True Self merely an apparition.

Such a person is incapable of loving and of living. He is incapable of loving because to love another one must first love oneself. And, in the absence of a Self that is impossible. And, in the long-term, he is incapable of living because life is a struggle towards multiple goals, a striving, a drive at something. In other words: life is change. He who cannot change, cannot live.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fourth edition, text revision [American Psychiatric Association. DSM-IV-TR, Washington, 2000] - or the DSM-IV-TR for short - describes Axis II personality disorders as "deeply ingrained, maladaptive, lifelong behavior patterns". But the classificatory model the DSM has been using since 1952 is harshly criticized as woefully inadequate by many scholars and practitioners.

The DSM is categorical. It states that personality disorders are "qualitatively distinct clinical syndromes" (p. 689). But this is by no means widely accepted. As we saw in my previous article and blog entry, the professionals cannot even agree on what constitutes "normal" and how to distinguish it from the "disordered" and the "abnormal". The DSM does not provide a clear "threshold" or "critical mass" beyond which the subject should be considered mentally ill.

Moreover, the DSM's diagnostic criteria are ploythetic. In other words, suffice it to satisfy only a subset of the criteria to diagnose a personality disorder. Thus, people diagnosed with the same personality disorder may share only one criterion or none. This diagnostic heterogeneity (great variance) is unacceptable and non-scientific.

In another article we deal with the five diagnostic axes employed by the DSM to capture the way clinical syndromes (such as anxiety, mood, and eating disorders), general medical conditions, psychosocial and environmental problems, chronic childhood and developmental problems, and functional issues interact with personality disorders.
Yet, the DSM's "laundry lists" obscure rather than clarify the interactions between the various axes. As a result, the differential diagnoses that are supposed to help us distinguish one personality disorder from all others, are vague. In psych-parlance: the personality disorders are insufficiently demarcated. This unfortunate state of affairs leads to excessive co-morbidity: multiple personality disorders diagnosed in the same subject. Thus, psychopaths (Antisocial Personality Disorder) are often also diagnosed as narcissists (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) or borderlines (Borderline Personality Disorder).

The DSM also fails to distinguish between personality, personality traits, character, temperament, personality styles (Theodore Millon's contribution) and full-fledged personality disorders. It does not accommodate personality disorders induced by circumstances (reactive personality disorders, such as Milman's proposed "Acquired Situational Narcissism"). Nor does it efficaciously cope with personality disorders that are the result of medical conditions (such as brain injuries, metabolic conditions, or protracted poisoning). The DSM had to resort to classifying some personality disorders as NOS "not otherwise specified", a catchall, meaningless, unhelpful, and dangerously vague diagnostic "category".

One of the reasons for this dismal taxonomy is the dearth of research and rigorously documented clinical experience regarding both the disorders and various treatment modalities. Read this week's article to learn about the DSM's other great failing: many of the personality disorders are "culture-bound". They reflect social and contemporary biases, values, and prejudices rather than authentic and invariable psychological constructs and entities.

The DSM-IV-TR distances itself from the categorical model and hints at the emergence of an alternative: the dimensional approach:
“An alternative to the categorical approach is the dimensional perspective that Personality Disorders represent maladaptive variants of personality traits that merge imperceptibly into normality and into one another” (p.689)

According to the deliberations of the DSM V Committee, the next edition of this work of reference (due to be published in 2010) will tackle these long neglected issues:

The longitudinal course of the disorder(s) and their temporal stability from early childhood onwards;

The genetic and biological underpinnings of personality disorder(s);

The development of personality psychopathology during childhood and its emergence in adolescence;

The interactions between physical health and disease and personality disorders;

The effectiveness of various treatments - talk therapies as well as psychopharmacology.

You laugh at the story, don't you?

The method used to get Kara into bed seems a bit like trickery. And who am I to say that it's not? Yet I want you to pay attention to one thing. Kara was glad to be given a choice between yes and yes.

Your clients are not much different

Clients come to you every single day asking you to give them a choice. A choice between yes and yes. Instead all you're giving them is a choice between yes and no.

Mah friend, your bank account will see far better days if only you'd step back, and use the immense power of the choice between yes and yes.

Of course, you don't have to believe that this choice factor works. You don't have to believe your sales will go up. All you have to see is proof. So in the article below I'll demonstrate the psychological factor of choice.How it can work for you and how it can turn against you and bite you in the you-know-where.

It all started on one stupid loss-making November's day...

We were doing fine with the sales on our website when we made one change. I'm going to demonstrate the change in the article below so it would help for you to have the page open so you can see what I'm talking about.

If you look at this page at http://www.psychotactics.com/hiddenlink.php you'll find that you get the choice to buy two packages. One is the copy of the Brain Audit and the other choice is a copy of the Brain Audit + the Brain Audit Rip.

Till the middle of November, we had both the offers up. Then one ego-driven morning we decided to pull the plug on one choice.


We gave customers the choice between a yes and um..NO!

Almost within 24 hours, our sales started going south for no reason at all. We ignored this sickening slack for about a week. Then we looked back at what was working. And we put back the choice between yes and yes.

The customer was back in choice-ville and the sales soared.

But here's the curious part

Among the two packages, one has a much higher price. Yet over 97.5% of customers, when given the choice between the two packages, chose the higher priced package.

The customer is no dumbo

No siree. The customer knows exactly what she wants. And when given the choice between yes and yes, she takes a decision to buy that which creates most value for her. Of course, if there's an enticement to buy, as was in this case, then there's a far greater likelihood of her buying the more expensive product.

The customer is no dumbo...but I sure am

Think about it. If your revenue shot up. If customers were buying higher-priced products what would you logically do? Wouldn't you take the same concept and use it everywhere you could?

You'd think a smart person would do that, wouldn't you? (Which is why I qualified myself at the start of this paragraph). But no! As we speak, the only product that has a choice of YES and YES is the page I've already mentioned above.

Don't stop at one point. Take the concept through it's paces

If you're in consulting, look at the choice between yes and yes. Are you giving the customer a choice between package A and package B. Or do you offer just one package? If you're selling products, the concept of yes and yes choice stays put.

And once you've found that the concept works, puh-lease don't do the dumbo bit. Audit every possible thing you sell. And put in a yes and yes factor. Not only will this bring you higher quantity of sales, but also an a much better price on every product/consulting assignment you do.

I said yes and yes...NOT yes and yes and yes and yes

You, me, we all crave for choice. But give us too much and we go a little waka-waka in our brains. Because choice is based on rejection. To choose the strawberry flavour ice-cream, you must mentally refuse all the other flavours.

If you give a client too much to choose from, they will end up rolling their eyes, doing a RAM check and shut down their brains before you have time to do anything at all.

Keep your options simple. Keep the choice between yes and yes.

So that even a three-year old has no trouble choosing!

Let’s speak about the psychological aspect of a street collision. You should differentiate two items. You must realize, whether your fight is a result of a usual domestic conflict, or you are attacked by a robber, killer or bandit. Your actions will flow depending on these circumstances.

If it is an everyday domestic conflict that happens in the street (someone pushed you or your leg, disturbed the queue order etc.), you should not use your fighting knowledge and skills to put your opponent out of action.

As a rule, all these conflicts occur because of trifles, and you need to behave normally in this case, let’s say naturally. When this conflict happens, no one wants to fight actually, but just gets rid of the negative energy that was accumulated.

Those who express harshly their negative reaction are not dangerous at all in most cases. He will threaten you, make expressive gestures, grab you with iron fingers but nothing more will happen. This is nothing but the pose which does not contain real threat at all. However, there are exceptions in this case too. You must define at once who is dangerous and who is not.

I would like to precise one thing. Though laws and principles of a hand-to-hand fighting are the same, a sports battle in a gym differs greatly from that one happened in the street. If you are calm when fight in a sports gym and don’t worry about fatal injury, you will be extremely nervous when come across your real enemy in the street. You won’t fight according to rule (as you do in the sports gym), you need to act most quickly and cruelly sometimes for your effective self defense.

The psychological aspect plays a very important role in the street scuffle. You must prevent your enemy’s attack or take the lead over him. Therefore, I advise you on no account not to start fighting if you see you can avoid it.

If you cannot do that and you know you will be attacked inevitably, you should act quickly, harshly and be the first with attack actions. Lots of things depend on who starts the battle first. This is the main distinction of a street fight. When you train in the sports gym, it is not important at all who will attack first. Both fighters are ready to attack and defense.

It is not the same thing in the street fight. Opponents rarely stand at the certain stances (as in the sport gym) and are situated in close distance quite often. In other words, they are in the hitting zone of each other. Hence, a person who starts his attack first has a huge advantage. Attack here means just the most harsh and strong action and not the expressive gestures at usual domestic conflict.

I always feel awkward when I am forced to come into such conflict. When I see a person standing in front of myself and offending me, I feel ashamed for this conflict that occurred. This person cannot be dangerous for me, he is completely defenseless.

I know that I can put him out of action in a moment, but my consciousness does not let me do that. As we see, such clashes that happen in shops, public transport, streets etc are not the fight itself, but just an everyday conflict.

Real fight happens when your enemy or enemies are certain in their superiority over you. For example, it may be numerical advantage, force advantage or armament advantage.

So, I strongly recommend to you: try to avoid street fight at any cost. If you see you are about to be attacked, you need to act most quickly and harshly. You must always remember that if your enemy is eager to fight with you, he is sure in his superiority. If he is alone and is not too strong or high, but still wants to fight, it means most likely that he is either armed with the weapon or instructed of some martial art.

Personality assessment is perhaps more an art form than a science. In an attempt to render it as objective and standardized as possible, generations of clinicians came up with psychological tests and structured interviews. These are administered under similar conditions and use identical stimuli to elicit information from respondents. Thus, any disparity in the responses of the subjects can and is attributed to the idiosyncrasies of their personalities.

Moreover, most tests restrict the repertory of permitted of answers. "True" or "false" are the only allowed reactions to the questions in the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory II (MMPI-II), for instance. Scoring or keying the results is also an automatic process wherein all "true" responses get one or more points on one or more scales and all "false" responses get none.

This limits the involvement of the diagnostician to the interpretation of the test results (the scale scores). Admittedly, interpretation is arguably more important than data gathering. Thus, inevitably biased human input cannot and is not avoided in the process of personality assessment and evaluation. But its pernicious effect is somewhat reined in by the systematic and impartial nature of the underlying instruments (tests).

Still, rather than rely on one questionnaire and its interpretation, most practitioners administer to the same subject a battery of tests and structured interviews. These often vary in important aspects: their response formats, stimuli, procedures of administration, and scoring methodology. Moreover, in order to establish a test's reliability, many diagnosticians administer it repeatedly over time to the same client. If the interpreted results are more or less the same, the test is said to be reliable.

The outcomes of various tests must fit in with each other. Put together, they must provide a consistent and coherent picture. If one test yields readings that are constantly at odds with the conclusions of other questionnaires or interviews, it may not be valid. In other words, it may not be measuring what it claims to be measuring.

Thus, a test quantifying one's grandiosity must conform to the scores of tests which measure reluctance to admit failings or propensity to present a socially desirable and inflated facade ("False Self"). If a grandiosity test is positively related to irrelevant, conceptually independent traits, such as intelligence or depression, it does not render it valid.

Most tests are either objective or projective. The psychologist George Kelly offered this tongue-in-cheek definition of both in a 1958 article titled "Man's construction of his alternatives" (included in the book "The Assessment of Human Motives", edited by G.Lindzey):

"When the subject is asked to guess what the examiner is thinking, we call it an objective test; when the examiner tries to guess what the subject is thinking, we call it a projective device."

The scoring of objective tests is computerized (no human input). Examples of such standardized instruments include the MMPI-II, the California Psychological Inventory (CPI), and the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory II. Of course, a human finally gleans the meaning of the data gathered by these questionnaires. Interpretation ultimately depends on the knowledge, training, experience, skills, and natural gifts of the therapist or diagnostician.

Projective tests are far less structured and thus a lot more ambiguous. As L. K.Frank observed in a 1939 article titled "Projective methods for the study of personality":

"(The patient's responses to such tests are projections of his) way of seeing life, his meanings, signficances, patterns, and especially his feelings."

In projective tests, the responses are not constrained and scoring is done exclusively by humans and involves judgment (and, thus, a modicum of bias). Clinicians rarely agree on the same interpretation and often use competing methods of scoring, yielding disparate results. The diagnostician's personality comes into prominent play. The best known of these "tests" is the Rorschach set of inkblots.

Scientific theories appear influenced for the conditions of the social life in the economic aspects, politicians, cultural etc. They are historical products created by concrete men who live its time and contributes or radically modify the development of science.  Sigmund Freud (1856-1839) was a Viennese doctor whom changed in an extreme way the imagination about the psychic life.

His contribution is comparable to Karl Max in the comprehension of the historical and social phenomena. Freud dared to place the [mysterious processes] of the psychism, its [obscure regions], that are, the fancies, dreams, the black holes, the interiority of the man, as scientific questions. The systematic inquiry of these problems took Freud to the creation of the Psychoanalysis.

The Term Psychoanalysis is used to design itself as a theory, a method of inquiry and one practical professional. Theory is characterized for a set of wisdom systemized on the functioning of the psychic life. Freud published an extensive letter work, during all his life, telling his discoveries and formulating general laws on the structures and the functioning of psyche human being.
Psychoanalysis (while an inquisitive method) is characterized for the interpretative method, that searches the hidden meaning of what is manifest through action and speech or the imaginary productions, as dreams, deliriums, free associations. Practical professional mention the form to the psychological treatment (the analysis), that aims at the cure or self-knowledge.

Analytical psychoanalysis is met in the paradoxical position of frequent rejected as a scientific system (at the same time that is accepted for its remarkable contributions for science) gave contributions for some fields, it stimulated the thought and the comment in many areas, until then neglected, of psychology: the meaning of the unconscious factors in determination of the behavior; the general importance of the sex in the normal and abnormal behavior; the importance of the conflict of infancy, the irrational and the emotional one.
Freud himself carried through fine comments during a long life of untiring and daily work and contributed with hypotheses or facts (there isn’t possible to say still which are what) on vast areas of the human behavior. Instinct, to Freud, is the representative of the stimulations.

The psychologists interest to verify new sources of motivation derived from the satisfaction of the instincts and not them somatic processes as source from the instincts, that is the source of comment of the biologist.
Some new originated sources of motivation of the satisfaction of the instincts are the punctions. We do know now (and thanks to Freud) that instinct has biological nature and hereditary and the punction results of a shunting line of the instinct. The sexual punction becomes a shunting line of the instinct, as a baby who receives milk from the mother. After this milk its hunger and therefore it has the instinct to suck, but the contact with the breast also provides it pleasure, that is a shunting line of the instinct. Libido is the deriving energy of the instincts, that is deeply related with the pleasure and resultant affectionate impulses of the punctions. Libido is any instinctive or pulctional energy that has as sources sexual stimulations that appear in the body.

Human being is a system that operates in function of the instincts and punctions in the search of the pleasure. There are different kinds of instincts as the instinct of death, visas in life and sadism cases. Life instincts lead to the conservation of the person: hunger, headquarters, escape, pain, sex. Instincts of death have as objective a return to a previous state of the substance: self-destruction. Aggression also can be part of the life instinct: competition, fights.

Instincts and punctions, at the most common, cannot find its exempt satisfaction. Therefore, it creates adjustment mechanisms to tolerate the frustration, alliviating or defending individuals from tensions, distress and anxiety.  Conflicts generate intense emotional reactions, as anxiety, that is a compound of fear, apprehension and hope - a feeling of real or imaginary threat to the individual security.

Some of the best persuasion techniques have been developed from NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) methods. For example, if you hear a person saying, "I see," a few times, they are probably processing information visually, according to NLP. To influence them then, you would use phrases like, "You can see how..." or you would actually show them things. A more auditory person would be influenced by, "I hear what you're saying," and "Listen."

Notice if they use visual, aural, or kinesthetic words. If you want to convince your spouse to go to the Bahamas, it makes a difference which words you use. "We'll be feeling that sun on our backs," is not the same as "We'll see sunny beaches," or We'll listen to the waves at night." You may use all of these, but one of the three types of words will be more influential for most people.

More Persuasion Techniques

1. Use a person's name. You have undoubtedly heard salesmen use and abuse this technique. Maybe a statement like "Look Steve, you can see the benefits of this..." just turns you off. Using a person's name IS a powerful persuasion technique, but there is more subtlety and art to persuasion than just following simple rules.

People do love to hear their own name, but you have to be careful how you use it. First of all, use it how they want to hear it. Ask how they prefer to be addressed. A Mike may not like "Michael," and a Joseph may be irritated by you calling him "Joe."

Second, use it at the right time. Unless you are great at reading people and know it is okay, don't say "Hi Betty!" the moment she walks into your office. Wait until there is a bit of rapport, and sometimes even ask permission ("Is it okay if I call you Betty?").

2. Use motivating words. Say "think about," they'll do that. It is not a call to action. Use words like "today," and "now," and "do this." Many subliminal experts will tell you that even using "by now," repetitively, as in "By now you can see that this car is luxurious," is subconsciously taken as "buy now."

Remember to use THEIR words. If they use the word "efficient" often, then it's an important word to them. Start using it: "You can see how efficient this RV is in it's use of space." Pay attention and pick out any words they use often. Persuasion is easier when you speak the same "language."

3. Be a chameleon. Change your language to more closely match theirs. Slow or accelerate your speech to match theirs. Sit in the same position that they sit in. Use the same facial expressions. Laugh when they laugh.

This technique is called "mirroring and matching," and, when done well, you can establish rapport quickly and easily with most people. Most people will never notice you're doing this, but don't be too obvious. The person will just feel like you're like they are, that you can "relate" to them. A bond will begin to develop between you, and you can test this bond by "leading."

This means that once you have established the bond, you can change your body posture, to see if they unconsciously do the same. If so, they are ready to follow. You continue to mirror and match, but you also start to lead them right to the bottom line on the contract, or to whatever action you want them to take. This is one of the more powerful persuasion techniques.

It is commonly believed myth that personality testing instruments can measure your personality and predict your future behaviors. The pre-employment testing mechanism has been following this creed without any solid evidence. The testing industry claims all out validity. The educational institutions and employer organizations use them for screening purposes. Their transparency and equity has even convinced the courts of law.

But it is still an unresolved riddle; what do they test?

Do they test personality? What is personality then? What is its nature? How does it come into existence? Is it outcome of evolution? Does matter has capability to generate a personality? Why animals don’t have a personality? Does it remain the same during whole of your life? And many more questions.

It is like peeling off an onion. Every strip leads to many more. Finally you get a heap of onion strips. Where is the onion?

But personality is not an onion…

Allport has recorded hundreds of different definitions. Most of the psychologists equate it to your style, behaviors and reactions. They have devised instruments to measure these main areas. The collected data about your behaviors and temperaments help them to decide your career. You may organize your behaviors in future but you may never be able to go for a career of your passion.


Why?

Experts like to predict. They predict weather. They predict political situations. They predict economic conditions. They predict your future with signs, numbers, cards or palms. And they predict your future performance with the help of personality testing instruments.


What’s Your Personality?
-----------------------

It is well recognized fact that every human being has a personality. It is not merely your physical body. It is not merely your consciousness. It is not merely your ego. It is not merely your behaviors. It is not merely your physical expression. It is not merely your style. It is not merely your temperament.

But they all and many other characteristics are expressions of your personality.

I don’t find it wise to define personality. Admittedly it is an abstract reality. You get it with your birth. You can either develop it or disintegrate. Your style, behaviors and reactions are expressions of your developed, undeveloped or under-developed personality.

How do you look? How do you react? How do you talk? How do you live? How do you think? They all are expressions of your personality. The psychometrics measures these expressions and not your personality.

The abstract nature of personality can neither be measured nor be analyzed with any scientific or non-scientific tool. It can only be visualized. It can be developed. It can be disintegrated. Your thinking and doing makes all out the difference. A developed personality gives better style, behaviors and reactions than an undeveloped one.


Why Psychometrics are Getting Popular?
---------------------------------------

The very first reason is that every one wants to know who he is.

But bigger reason of their massive use is just a desire of the employers to avoid bad-hire. They get hundreds of applications for a single situation. They are the only available tools to avoid idiosyncrasies.

They don’t have alternatives for psychometrics.

Tests are going to stay. Whether you are trying to be admitted for a specific discipline or looking for your dream job, you are going to encounter psychometrics at one stage or the others. You need to prepare before encountering them.


How to Prepare for Personality Testing Sessions?
-----------------------------------------------


Keep in mind…

Personality is an amazing entity. You can think. You can visualize. You can discover. You can express. You can plan. You can create. You have unlimited hidden potentials. But your selected options on paper are going to decide your future.

You should practice offline and online personality tests before encountering a real session. Your practice shall not only make them familiar to you but also generate a list of your strengths and weaknesses. You can improve them with your conscious effort.


However, it is much more important to learn how different personality and aptitude tests measure expressions of your personality. What theories are working behind them? How do they relate different jobs with different types? This knowledge shall make it a lot easier to encounter psychometrics.

A hard working partner at a major law firm, John B., finds that he gets short with co-workers especially when under stress.  He is not viewed as a “team player” by other members of the firm and the support staff avoid him.  In spite of feedback and coaching from his colleagues, he has experienced little progress in modifying his behavior.

Judy S. struggles with balancing her personal and professional life, often finding herself overcommitted.  As a VP of a large health care organization, she also serves on a number of community boards.  She has difficulty saying “No” and feels guilty that she is not doing enough for her children.  She has tried repeatedly to decrease her work time but seems to be busier each year.

Both of these successful people may find it difficult to change.    

There is a “paradox of success,” according to the executive coach Marshall Goldsmith, reported in a Business Strategy Review article.  This paradox makes it difficult for successful people to grow and improve.  When things are going well, people have little motivation to change.  Yet, successful people need to change before they have to change or they will plateau or even decline in effectiveness.  Even the most successful leaders can increase their effectiveness by changing some elements of their behavior.

Goldsmith has worked with hundreds of executives in Fortune 100 companies and has found that successful people have four key beliefs that drive their success and, often, limit their growth.  These beliefs are:

· I choose to succeed.  Successful people believe that they are doing what they choose to do, because they choose to do it.  They have a strong need for self-determination and do not like feeling controlled or manipulated.  They believe that their behavior is a result of their choices and commitments.  The “I choose to succeed” belief is highly correlated with achievement.  The more we believe that our behavior is a result of our own choices and commitments, the less likely we are to want to change our behavior.
Successful people’s personal commitment can make it hard for them to change.

· I can succeed.  Successful people believe that they have the internal capacity to make desirable things happen.  They do not see themselves as victims of fate; rather they believe that their motivation and ability has driven their success.  
 Successful people often confuse correlation with causality.  Because they get    positive reinforcement for results, they may not have an accurate perception of what behaviors drove those results.  This can result in “superstitious behavior” where the successful person repeats behavior that they believe was a factor in their success.
Successful people have difficulty realizing that they are successful “in spite” of certain behaviors, not “because of” them.

· I will succeed.  A contagious sense of optimism is one of the most important characteristics of successful people.  They not only believe that they can achieve, they believe that they will achieve.  Because they are ambitious and goal oriented, they have difficulty saying “no” to desirable opportunities.  They often equate “busyness” with success.   Some successful people drown in a sea of opportunity and burn out their staff trying to complete what they have promised.
Successful people are very busy and face the danger of over commitment.

· I have succeeded.  Successful people tend to have a positive interpretation of their past performance.  They consistently over-rate their performance relative to their professional peers.  When positive outcomes occur, they believe that their efforts were instrumental to the success.  They see their history of what they have done as a validation of who they are and their personal attributes.  
Successful people’s positive view of their performance can make it difficult to hear negative feedback from others.

Goldsmith has found that successful people have great difficulty in accepting input from others regarding their behavior.  If the feedback does not agree with their perceptions of themselves they tend to deny the information for three reasons:  1) the input is from someone that they do see as their peer or equal in terms of success, therefore it “doesn’t count;” 2) they view input that is inconsistent with their self-image to be “incorrect” and the other person is “confused” or 3) they agree there is truth in the feedback but it could not be important since they are so successful.  These are some of the reasons that feedback is not very effective with successful people.

As Denis Diderot once said, “we swallow with one gulp the lie that flatters us, and drink drop by drop the truth which is bitter to us.”

One of the most important symptoms of pathological narcissism (the Narcissistic Personality Disorder) is grandiosity. Grandiose fantasies (megalomaniac delusions of grandeur) permeate every aspect of the narcissist's personality. They are the reason that the narcissist feels entitled to special treatment which is typically incommensurate with his real accomplishments. The Grandiosity Gap is the abyss between the narcissist's self-image (as reified by his False Self) and reality.

When Narcissistic Supply is deficient, the narcissist de-compensates and acts out in a variety of ways. Narcissists often experience psychotic micro-episodes during therapy and when they suffer narcissistic injuries in a life crisis. But can the narcissist "go over the edge"? Do narcissists ever become psychotic?

Some terminology first:

The narrowest definition of psychosis, according to the DSM-IV-TR, is "restricted to delusions or prominent hallucinations, with the hallucinations occurring in the absence of insight into their pathological nature".

And what are delusions and hallucinations?

A delusion is "a false belief based on incorrect inference about external reality that is firmly sustained despite what almost everyone else believes and despite what constitutes incontrovertible and obvious proof or evidence to the contrary".

A hallucination is a "sensory perception that has the compelling sense of reality of a true perception but that occurs without external stimulation of the relevant sensory organ".

Granted, the narcissist's hold on reality is tenuous (narcissists sometimes fail the reality test). Admittedly, narcissists often seem to believe in their own confabulations. They are unaware of the pathological nature and origin of their self-delusions and are, thus, technically delusional (though they rarely suffer from hallucinations, disorganised speech, or disorganised or catatonic behaviour). In the strictest sense of the word, narcissists appear to be psychotic.

But, actually, they are not. There is a qualitative difference between benign (though well-entrenched) self-deception or even malignant con-artistry – and "losing it".

Pathological narcissism should not be construed as a form of psychosis because:

The narcissists is usually fully aware of the difference between true and false, real and make-belief, the invented and the extant, right and wrong. The narcissist consciously chooses to adopt one version of the events, an aggrandising narrative, a fairy-tale existence, a "what-if" counterfactual life. He is emotionally invested in his personal myth. The narcissist feels better as fiction than as fact – but he never loses sight of the fact that it is all just fiction.
Throughout, the narcissist is in full control of his faculties, cognisant of his choices, and goal-orientated. His behaviour is intentional and directional. He is a manipulator and his delusions are in the service of his stratagems. Hence his chameleon-like ability to change guises, his conduct, and his convictions on a dime.
Narcissistic delusions rarely persist in the face of blanket opposition and reams of evidence to the contrary. The narcissist usually tries to convert his social milieu to his point of view. He attempts to condition his nearest and dearest to positively reinforce his delusional False Self. But, if he fails, he modifies his profile on the fly. He "plays it by ear". His False Self is extemporaneous – a perpetual work of art, permanently reconstructed in a reiterative process designed around intricate and complex feedback loops.
Though the narcissistic personality is rigid – its content is always in flux. Narcissists forever re-invent themselves, adapt their consumption of Narcissistic Supply to the "marketplace", attuned to the needs of their "suppliers". Like the performers that they are, they resonate with their "audience", giving it what it expects and wants. They are efficient instruments for the extraction and consumption of human reactions.

As a result of this interminable process of fine tuning, narcissists have no loyalties, no values, no doctrines, no beliefs, no affiliations, and no convictions. Their only constraint is their addiction to human attention, positive or negative.

Psychotics, by comparison, are fixated on a certain view of the world and of their place in it. They ignore any and all information that might challenge their delusions. Gradually, they retreat into the inner recesses of their tormented mind and become dysfunctional.

Narcissists can't afford to shut out the world because they so heavily depend on it for the regulation of their labile sense of self-worth. Owing to this dependence, they are hypersensitive and hypervigilant, alert to every bit of new data. They are continuously busy rearranging their self-delusions to incorporate new information in an ego-syntonic manner.

This is why the Narcissistic Personality Disorder is insufficient grounds for claiming a "diminished capacity" (insanity) defence. Narcissists are never divorced from reality – they crave it, and need it, and consume it in order to maintain the precarious balance of their disorganised, borderline-psychotic personality. All narcissists, even the freakiest ones, can tell right from wrong, act with intent, and are in full control of their faculties and actions.

What is the Difference between Healthy Narcissism and the Pathological Kind?
In my book "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited", I define pathological narcissism as:

"(A) life-long pattern of traits and behaviors which signify infatuation and obsession with one's self to the exclusion of all others and the egotistic and ruthless pursuit of one's gratification, dominance and ambition."

Luckily for us, we are all narcissists to some degree. But healthy narcissism is adaptive, flexible, empathic, causes elation and joy (happiness), and help us to function. Pathological narcissism is maladaptive, rigid, persisting, and causes significant distress, and functional impairment.

Prevalence and Age and Gender Features 

According to the DSM IV-TR, Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is diagnosed in between 2% and 16% of the population in clinical settings (between 0.5-1% of the general population). The DSM-IV-TR proceeds to tell us that most narcissists (50-75% of all patients) are men.

We must carefully distinguish between the narcissistic traits of adolescents - narcissism is an integral part of their healthy personal development - and the full-fledge disorder. Adolescence is about self-definition, differentiation, separation from one's parents, and individuation. These inevitably involve narcissistic assertiveness which is not to be conflated or confused with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

"The lifetime prevalence rate of NPD is approximately 0.5-1 percent; however, the estimated prevalence in clinical settings is approximately 2-16 percent. Almost 75 percent of individuals diagnosed with NPD are male (APA, DSM IV-TR 2000)."

From the Abstract of Psychotherapeutic Assessment and Treatment of Narcissistic Personality Disorder By Robert C. Schwartz,Ph.D., DAPA and Shannon D. Smith, Ph.D., DAPA (American Psychotherapy Association, Article #3004 Annals July/August 2002)

However, as the narcissist grows old and suffers the inevitable attendant physical, mental, and occupational restrictions, Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is exacerbated.

Studies have not demonstrated any ethnic, social, cultural, economic, genetic, or professional predilection or susceptibility to the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

Still, Robert Milman suggested a condition that he labeled "Acquired Situational Narcissism". He observed a transient and reactive form of the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) in certain situations, such as under constant public scrutiny and exposure.

Comorbidity and Differential Diagnoses 

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is often diagnosed with other mental health disorders ("co-morbidity"), such as mood disorders, eating disorders, and substance-related disorders. Patients with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) are frequently abusive and prone to impulsive and reckless behaviours ("dual diagnosis").

The comorbidity of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) with other personality disorders, such as the Histrionic, Borderline, Paranoid, and Antisocial Personality Disorders, is high.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is often misdiagnosed as Bipolar Disorder (the manic phase), Asperger's Disorder, or Generalized Anxiety Disorder - and vice versa.

Though the personal styles of patients with Cluster B personality disorders resemble each other, they also substantially differ. The narcissist is grandiose, the histrionic coquettish, the antisocial (psychopath) callous, and the borderline needy.

From my book, "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited": 

"As opposed to patients with the Borderline Personality Disorder, the self-image of the narcissist is stable, he or she are less impulsive and less self-defeating or self-destructive and less concerned with abandonment issues (not as clinging).

Contrary to the histrionic patient, the narcissist is achievements-orientated and proud of his or her possessions and accomplishments. Narcissists also rarely display their emotions as histrionics do and they hold the sensitivities and needs of others in contempt.

According to the DSM-IV-TR, both narcissists and psychopaths are "tough-minded, glib, superficial, exploitative, and unempathic". But narcissists are less impulsive, less aggressive, and less deceitful. Psychopaths rarely seek narcissistic supply. As opposed to psychopaths, few narcissists are criminals.

Patients suffering from the range of obsessive-compulsive disorders are committed to perfection and believe that only they are capable of attaining it. But, as opposed to narcissists, they are self-critical and far more aware of their own deficiencies, flaws, and shortcomings."

Bibliography 

Goldman, Howard H., Review of General Psychiatry, fourth edition, 1995. Prentice-Hall International, London.

Gelder, Michael, Gath, Dennis, Mayou, Richard, Cowen, Philip (eds.), Oxford Textbook of Psychiatry, third edition, 1996, reprinted 2000. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Vaknin, Sam, Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited, seventh revised impression, 1999-2006. Narcissus Publications, Prague and Skopje.

Aside from the billions of dollars spent on military hardware like planes, submarines, aircraft carriers and state of the art missiles, militaries and armed forces of the United States of America has also relied on military psychology to further boost its war time efforts to finish of battles and gather intelligence.

This form of war strategy is very effective and applied to captured prisoners of war but the sad thing is that military psychological techniques and strategies usually is accompanied by torture. It is a part of the three elements needed to break down a POW’s conviction, Psychology, Torture and Interrogation. 

This has been very much in use in the Vietnam war. Where in captured communist rebels would be subjected to psychological strategies to find out the location of their bunkers and camps. Unfortunately, the rebels had the same idea. Captured American soldiers would tell horrid tales of torture and humiliation in the hands of their interrogators psychologically breaking them down bit by bit. 

As weapons have been technologically developed, using laser targeting, satellite guidance and unmanned surveillance systems, military psychology has also developed their methods and strategies. As each country has made their armed forces stronger, so much more so for the United States Army. 

United States is on one of its biggest wars right now, the “War on Terrorism.” One of the defenses used by the American armed forces and security is military psychology. Advances in different forms have been developed and utilized to catch and prevent terrorism to happen again.

The September 11 attack alone can be considered as a psychological strategy done by terrorists instilling fear and panic in the hearts of American people. These are propagandas used to weaken and divide the Americans and on a psychological plane, it has somewhat made its point. Not only did it kill thousands of Americans it has also made them think about their vulnerability. 

US securities have done their own homework. This includes profiling the enemy. Many psychological studies have been done on face recognition. Once perfected, this is a big help in surveillance and prevention of infiltration. This researches has drawn heavily from psychological knowledge of the military psychology track.

Military psychology has also developed various techniques and strategies in how to muddle a persons mind during interrogation making them confused and disoriented. This includes placing bags over the heads of the interrogated. They are made to raise their hands and spread their legs for a long period of time. Other techniques used lately would be, noise bombardment, sleep deprivation, food deprivation and being brainwashed and mentally tortured. 

Another latest development in military psychology is their statistical prediction of behavior. Given many names already, this development probe through huge amounts of data on a suspected person in order to ‘predict possible terrorists by following a lifetime of seemingly innocent movements through electronic paper trails, for example; academic transcripts, prescription drugs, telephone calls, driving licenses, airline tickets, mortgage payments, parking permits, banking accounts and records, emails, website visits and credit card purchases. Through this, the military would like to prove if a person is a threat to national security. Many feel though that this is an invasion of their privacy. 

Military psychology is an important aspect of the military. It can help end wars faster and with less loss of life on both sides. As more and more technological and psychological advances has been develop, this may result to more peace and tranquility. 

Military psychology though has been very controversial ever since it was used. But it is not the United States alone that uses military psychology. Armed forces from all over the world has seen its potential and has made studies and researches on how to make it more effective. 

While we may never really know everything that is being done in camps. The latest developments in military psychology are surely being used to gain a foothold over the enemies. These are strategies not shown to everybody to have the advantage. The race for military supremacy through technology is not just about having the biggest guns and the best planes and tanks, its also about using mans greatest weapon, the mind. And sometimes, the mind can be used against itself.


Recent headline: “Road Rage may be due to medical condition called Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED)”

WHAT IS THE SCIENCE BEHIND THIS?
The study, reported in the June (2006) issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry was based on a national face-to-face survey of 9,282 U.S. adults who answered diagnostic questionnaires in 2001-03. It was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.

Results? About 5 percent to 7 percent of the nationally representative sample had had the disorder, which would equal up to 16 million Americans. That is higher than better-known mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

The average number of lifetime attacks per person was 43, resulting in $1,359 in property damage per person. About 4 percent had suffered recent attacks.

IS IT REAL?
This study has created much controversy regarding exactly what is “medical” about road rage and how it differs from plain bad, inconsiderate behavior.

Take the two following headline which were published recently:
News Item #1: “Police search for shooter following road rage incident”

Date: June 10, 2006. City: Indianapolis, Indiana.
The event: At an intersection, two drivers were involved in a confrontation when one of them opened fire on the other at a stoplight.

News Item #2: “Man, 21, charged in road rage shooting.”
Date: May 21, 2006. City: San Antonio, Texas.
The event (according to news reports): “Around 3AM Samuel Hitchcock, 21, Daniel Pena, 17, and another man were driving when a pickup passed them on an inside lane, striking Hitchcock’s side mirror. Hitchcock followed the truck into a residential area to gather information and the truck made a sudden turn, stopping. Hitchcock pulled up next to the truck. Pena, who was in the front passenger seat told police the truck’s driver pulled a gun and started shooting at them, striking him and killing Hitchcock.

Are all cases like this due to Intermittent Explosive Disorder? Very Unlikely! Some are and some are not. This is why it is important to have a professional assessment of each case of “road rage” to determine the underlying cause, such as IED — or some other problem.

Other causes that could come into play would include: alcohol or drug intoxication, stress, depression or bipolar disorder and, of course, bad, selfish or inconsiderate behavior.

ROAD RAGE VS AGGRESSIVE DRIVING
The person who weaves in and out of traffic, tail gates, or cuts in front of you may not be showing “road rage” per se, but inconsiderate aggressive driving. He is not angry at you; he probably doesn’t even know you exist, being preoccupied with his own selfish needs.

IED SEEN IN OTHER LIFE AREAS
It is also important to remember that persons who do indeed suffer from Intermittent Explosive Disorder may explode in many other situations besides road rage. Often they “blow up” at spouses, children, co-workers, or customer service employees.

REMEDIES FOR ROAD RAGE
If road rage is indeed due to IED, there are two treatments that can help both adolescents and adults: (1)medications , and (2) cognitive training

The medications usually involve SSRIs (a type of anti-depressant). In my opinion, most people who show rage on the road do not need medication, but some do and will benefit greatly from them.

Cognitive Training means learning to think differently about driving, aggression on the road, and other drivers. Cognitive training is an important element in many anger management programs, which a few states now require for “road rage” behavior and/or aggressive driving.

In our anger management classes and programs, we teach specific cognitive and behavior skills to control aggressive, inconsiderate, and dangerous driving behaviors. These skill include:


  • managing life stress better, including time-management skills
  • developing empathy for other drivers
  • learning healthy “self-talk” phrases
  • adjusting expectations of others on the road.



Conversational Hypnosis is a type of hypnosis where it is very important to access certain states of mind in order to set triggers to change lives for the better. In order to do this you must learn and know how to access those states to start the trigger process with a clean and pure state of mind.

Access State Principal plays a huge role in this process. This is because the clarity of the state of mind a person is in when the trigger is set will determine how well the trigger is going to work, if at all. When people access emotions they are really going back through their files of memories to re-experience memories that correlate with the emotion you are asking them to bring to mind.

If you are asking them to relax they will think of times and places where they felt this way. Accessing the state of mind you want is important. However it is equally important to make sure it is a pure state. You will have conflict in placing your suggestions and triggers if the state of the listener is not just in the mode of relaxation.

If your listener is experiencing relaxation along with anxiety it will cause the same combination of feelings when you set off the trigger again in the future. This can cause problems in accomplishing the changes you want to achieve throughout the course of hypnosis.

The main thing from previous articles you will want to remember as you learn to use revivification is that you need to know how to change the whole mood of a person before setting your emotional trigger. If you can keep this in mind and access a clear state of mind before setting those triggers it will aid in the process of accessing states with revivification as well.

The concept behind revivification itself is to bring an experience to life for the person having it. The listener needs to be able to experience the memory fully in order to access a completely pure state of mind. This means you will be using and developing different skills in this process that will make the experience as real as possible for your subjects.

The first state inducing method (and the only one we will focus on in this article) is the revivification process. This is a process of accessing a state is by asking revivification questions. These questions are used to give direction to your subject while they are attempting to emerge themselves fully in a particular emotional state.

In your practice as a hypnotist you will be asking questions of the people in your care, these questions will be the start of a journey through their experiences in order to answer each one. You see when you ask a question of someone they are required to re-experience the situations where they felt the way in which you are asking about. We all must experience the actual answer before our minds compute how to answer a question.

Revivification will run more smoothly if you apply the principal of 'going first'. 'Going first' in this situation means that you will first tell as story of your own that would get you into the same emotional state you are trying to get your subject into. If you want the person to feel happy you would tell a story of a thing that happened or a time when you were completely happy.

By 'going first' your physiology will change, your body will sub-communicate that emotion on an unconscious level through tone, body language, movements and gestures. In turn the person you are talking to will unconsciously pick up on those signals and start to be open to accessing that emotion as well.

After you have told a story and you are now in the same state of mind you wish your listener to be in you prompt or ask them of a time when they felt that way. When you ask questions of the people around you, especially when using revivification you want to make each question sound meaningful.

If you sound bored or uninterested the person you are working with will be more likely to reserve their answers, meaning they will not be interested in reliving an emotion for you. When you ask a question make it sound like the answer is extremely important to you. You can use different tonalities and language suggestions to make this happen. This will cause the person to really get deeper into the experience and in turn give you a much more quality answer.

The next step in revivification questions is to listen closely to the answer the person is giving, and repeat it back to them. You want to do this in the exact same way they said it to you. Use the same tone, lean and emphasis on the words they used.

The reason for doing this is people will use words that are what we call trigger words, these words are important to them. When you repeat the same words back using the same tones and such it will help your listener to access the memory and experience it more fully.

As you are doing this you will notice that you are going to be able to create a kind of feedback loop. In this loop you will give a story to go first, then ask them to give an example of the same emotion, listen for the sensory information they are giving, repeat the answer back to them exactly as they have said it and then start again.

Each time you complete the loop you will be allowing the subjects to dive deeper and deeper into the state of mind you are accessing.

As you use the process of revivification remember that part of the goal is to make the experience as real as possible through the language and stories each of you are telling. This is a powerful scenario and will be a great help in accessing pure clean states of mind.