Wednesday, August 22, 2012

... on being a hero ... (life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, quezon city, manila, philippines)

again, shel sombillo and edwin morales of tv5's reaksyon weekend, hosted by luchi cruz, asked me for sound bites about our national heroes.

i told them that in this day and age, people hardly appreciate the national heroes that are mentioned in school textbooks.  there is a great divide between the culture, issues, and experiences of their generation and ours.  they are just a blur in our consciousness and in fact, like a very distant memory, we visualize them in our minds not in color, not even in crisp black and white, but in faded grayscale.

many have suggested, and rightly so, that we need modern day heroes--  people whose character and whose lives offer hope and inspiration as we live in the complexity of our times.

i say, better than having modern day heroes who are looked up to, we need to become heroes ourselves.  for me, a hero is simply an ordinary person who chooses to create some good change within his area of influence.  no, we don't have to be that type of hero who carries the burden of the world on his shoulders.  we can become a type of hero that is incognito--  a hero that enjoys doing random acts of kindness in secret; a hero that does what is right even when no one is looking; a hero that strives to always do his best in whatever he does, even if his best is a far cry from the best of others.

when we finally decide to become heroes, then national heroes' day not only becomes a commemoration of the patriotism of the past, it becomes a celebration of the inherent good which resides within all of us.

...hmmm, well lookee here... 
even babies can become heroes:

      and sad to say, 
some adults can make very good villains...

...eeewwww! get me a barf bag quick!... 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

... psychology of the chakras at ripples bookstore, robinsons galleria ... (life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, quezon city, manila, philippines)

it was a wonderful time i had at ripples bookstore, robinsons galleria, having a discussion group on the topic "psychology of the chakras:  letting go of emotional baggage that block your energy centers."  the participants were all very enthusiastic as well as honest in asking questions and in sharing their life stories.  i felt as if i learned as much from them as they did from me.

in the 1950s, an eminent psychologist by the name of abraham maslow identified a hierarchy of basic human needs which he explained had to be satisfied before a person could experience a state of self-transcendence. for maslow, self-transcendence occurs after the following needs are met in sequential order:  physiological needs --> safety needs --> belongingness needs --> esteem needs --> self-actualization.

four thousand years before abraham maslow, the ancient people of india already had an equivalent hierarchy found in the chakra system of their yogic tradition.  their sequence goes as follows:  survival and self-preservation needs --> sexuality and self-gratification needs --> power and self-definition needs --> love and self-acceptance needs --> communication and self-expression needs -->  intuition and self-reflection needs --> spirituality and self-knowledge needs.  when the lower needs are unmet or are not fully satisfied, they become psychological obstacles in attaining the ultimate goal of the yogic system which is union with God.

maslow's hierarchy of needs and the chakra system are reminders for us that we need to deal with the physical, emotional, and mental baggage in the different aspects of our lives so that we can reach our fullest human and spiritual potential.

... touch psychotherapy, psychiatric acupuncture, and tarot card psychotherapy at the psychological association of the philippines PAP 2012 convention ... (life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, quezon city, manila, philippines)

the last time i attended a convention of the psychological association of the philippines (PAP) was almost a decade ago, to do a workshop where i taught an arnis (filipino stick-fighting) routine which could be used for emotional growth and healing.  i remember that workshop to be attended by around a hundred participants who had fun practicing the arnis sequence on each other using rolled-up newspapers instead of actual wooden sticks.  

this time, my purpose in attending the 3-day PAP convention at the cebu waterfront lahug hotel was to man the booth of life change recovery center (LCRC) and distribute flyers.  besides that, I did free 5-minute sessions for anyone interested in experiencing the dellosa approach to touch psychotherapy, psychiatric acupuncture, and tarot card psychotherapy.  lo and behold, the number of PAP participants who lined up for the 5-minute sessions totalled more than a hundred fifty-  almost 50 people per convention day.  

the best experience i had was to be of service to my fellow psychologists who felt some degree of physical, emotional, and mental relaxation through their sessions with me.  the next best thing was meeting old friends and making new ones.  

the moment i arrived back in quezon city, the first thing i did was to get a good massage and dine in a fancy restaurant.  now it was my turn to take good care of myself. and by the way, a big hello to all you friends i met at the convention!

... alcoholism, alcohol abuse and dependence, and alcohol rehab detox / detoxification rehabilitation treatment center in the philippines ... (life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, quezon city, manila, philippines)

pat mallari and alyssa de dios of st. scholastica's college, manila asked me some questions on alcoholism.  i referred them to DSM-V proposed criteria for Alcohol Abuse Disorder. 

DSM-V states that an alcoholic is generally someone who has a strong urge to use alcohol, who takes in large and progressively increasing amounts of alcohol, whose life revolves around the use of alcohol such that it significantly affects different aspects of his daily life, who persists in its usage despite the negative consequences, and who experiences withdrawal symptoms upon stopping its usage.

some alcoholics drive under the influence of alcohol which is a major cause of lethal vehicular accidents.  other alcoholics experience "black-outs" wherein they have no memory of what was done during the time they were intoxicated.  alcohol is a toxin to the liver so many chronic alcoholics develop hepatitis, cirrhosis, and other liver ailments.

chronic alcoholics need to undergo a gentle detoxification process because if they quit cold turkey, they may experience life-threatening seizures.  some alcoholics have a strong support system and are strongly determined to quit alcohol thus, an outpatient detox and rehab program is appropriate for them.  but for majority of chronic alcoholics who lack the willpower to quit, they will need to go through an intensive in-patient detox and rehab program which must have a strong individual and family counseling component.

... psychology of altruism in the philippines ... (life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, quezon city, manila, philippines)

shel sombillo and edwin morales of tv5's reaksyon weekend hosted by luchi cruz asked me for sound bites about the psychology of altruism.  

so here's what i told them:  

altruism is the practice of concern for the welfare of others.  from a psychological standpoint, "pure" unselfish altruism does not seem to be possible.  The practice of doing good will always be done with a degree of self-interest or even selfishness, whether the doer of the good deed is aware of it or not.  in short, people will do good deeds only because they get something for themselves in return.  

some people, for instance, do good deeds, to get a reward from people or from heaven, or to prevent the feelings of guilt for not helping out, or to prove to oneself or to others that he or she is a good person, or to relieve oneself of the feelings of pity for the person in need of help. 

so what can we conclude from this?  i guess we shouldn't really concern ourselves about why people do good deeds or whether they are sincere in doing so, so long as the good deeds are done. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

... the psychology of obesity and eating disorders, therapy and treatment in the philippines ... (life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, quezon city, manila)

dessa jimenez of abs-cbn's cheche lazaro presents asked me to share a bit of what i know about the psychology of obesity.

to start with, people have both positive and negative impressions of obese people.  on the positive side, obese people are considered jolly or masayahin like sta. clause, cute and huggable like a giant teddy bear, wealthy like donya buding or donya delilah (for those of you coming from the generation who watched John & Marsha), or authoritative like a sumo wrestler or mafia godfather.  on the negative side, obese people are treated as the butt of jokes, perceived as slow and lazy, and at worst, considered to be lacking in self-control and discipline.  

some people are triggered to eat by positive emotions such as when they feel happy, when they want to celebrate or reward themselves, when they relax in front of the tv or computer, or when they socialize.  others  are triggered to eat by negative emotions such as boredom, sadness, loneliness, worry, anger, frustration, or stress.  others eat not because of their emotional state, but simply because they enjoy the taste of food.

for those driven to eat because of negative emotions, their vicious cycle goes like this:  negative emotion --> overeating (aka comfort eating/ mindless eating) --> weight gain --> frustration, disappointment, and other negative emotions

obese people are generally self-conscious, especially of their tummy, thighs, neck and chin.  they may have poor body image and thus suffer from low self-esteem.  obese people are also prone to major depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse (substances that increase metabolism. diuretics, laxatives), and bulimia nervosa wherein they purge what they've just eaten.  

practically all aspects of life are affected by their obesity.  for instance, they may suffer discrimination at work. they can't enjoy or engage in activities which most people take for granted (e.g., riding jeepneys or buses, entering CR cubicles, going to movies, or buying clothes off the rack).  obese people who are single get worried that they might not be able to find a lifetime partner. and for the obese people who are in relationship, even their sex lives suffer.  for instance, they are afraid that they might crush their partner, that they can't enjoy the sexual acrobatics of slimmer people, or that they might kill the sex urge of their partner as soon as they get naked.

short of bariatric surgery, what obese people need is a strategic plan.  obese people must first of all identify their specific foods of abuse.  contrary to popular belief, it's not junk food that is the primary culprit for obesity but delicious ulam (e.g., kaldereta, kare-kare, crispy pata, lechon, fried chicken with gravy, etc.) which makes them eat tons of rice.  these foods of abuse must be avoided at all cost.  obese people must also identify the situations (family gatherings, socials, watching tv, etc.) and the time of day (big breakfast or lunch, the midnight meal) that make them vulnerable to overeating.  and lastly, they need to correct the attitudes that promote overeating (e.g. 'i must eat all the left-over food of my family and friends because people in africa are dying of starvation.')

as a final word, here's my tip for you:  when you feel like eating when you shouldn't, just drink cold water, or suck on strongly mentholated sugarless candy, or try extra strong fisherman's wharf lozenges.  these will surely eradicate your food craving.

oh, and one more thing- rather than be plainly slim or thin, the greater goal for obese and non-obese people alike is to BE HEALTHY!

Friday, August 3, 2012

... the psychology of hazing ... (life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, psychiatrist, quezon city, manila, philippines)

in light of the latest murder through hazing, ac nicholls of solar network news passed by for an interview about the psychology of hazing in fraternities (sororities and gangs included).  

hazing is an initiation or rite of passage that uses control and power over others by inflicting ridicule, humiliation, a sense of anguish, or harm.  

hazing is believed to screen out initiates who are not serious, courageous, or worthy enough to be part of the fraternity.  because the initiates weathered the ordeal, they become more bonded to each other.  they also become more loyal to the fraternity since membership was nearly paid with their life.

for the hazer, it is usually out of loyalty in perpetuating the fraternity's traditions that he hazes.  besides loyalty, the hazer enjoys a sense of domination by making the neophytes pass through hell.  some hazers experienced severe discipline and corporal punishment in their childhood and are thus able to inflict the same on the neophytes.

the hazed neophyte, on a good note, is rewarded with a sense of accomplishment and self-discipline for successfully surviving the ordeal.  hazing however, has its apparent risks:  the risk of emotional stress and mental anguish, stress-related illnesses, psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety/ panic diorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, physical pain and injury, and sadly, even death.  the neophyte must possess a sense of desperation or death-defying thrill to belong to a group, at the expense of risking his own life.   

so what can we do?  we have to educate ourselves and others (frats, sororities, and gangs included) about the dangers of hazing.  we need to review our anti-hazing laws.  we need to organize campaigns against hazing.  and we need to reach out to and dissuade neophytes whose lives might be endangered by hazing rituals.  

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

... should i convert to my partner's religion? ... (life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, quezon city, manila, philippines)

gladys reyes of abs-cbn's umagang kay ganda posed to me the question "should i convert to my partner's religion?"

i answered her that it all depends on a number of factors.  one factor to consider is religious conviction.  if you don't espouse any strong affiliation towards your religion, then religious conversion will apparently not be such a big deal for you.  

interfaith marriages do exist in the animal kingdom!

another factor to consider is whether your partner strongly wants you to convert but you don't want to.  this conflict is best dealt with in premarital counseling.  three possibilities here:  (1) you convert, or (2) your partner accepts the fact that you won't, or (3) both of you end up at loggerheads and the relationship fizzles out.  

Selvakumar of Southern India married Selvi, his pet dog. 
I'm guessing that Selvi converted to Selvakumar's religion 
since they got married in a Hindu temple.  
By the way, Selvi is the one wearing the orange Sari.  

The black putty tat has fallen in love 
with a stone-hearted white cat, 
so I guess it's the soft-hearted black putty tat that converts.  

nadine schweigert will certainly not get into 
a religious conflict with her partner 
because she happily got married to herself.  

yes, we need to co-exist!

a third factor i'd like to discuss is when both you and your partner really don't care too much about each other's religions, but your in-laws do.  in this case, you can convert (and go through the motions, so to speak) just for the purpose of appeasing your in-laws.  the other option is, of course, not to convert and suffer from your in-law's religious discrimination.  if you can tolerate that, then don't change your religion.