Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Yahoo!: The Psychology of Aswangs! (life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, quezon city, manila, philippines)

Ordinary by day, beastly at night

By Dr. Randy Dellosa, Your Online Shrink | Yahoo SHE – Tue, Oct 29, 2013 11:25 AM PHT

Many people brush off the aswang as a mere figment of the imagination. But when night time comes, people somehow lose their rationality. The deepening darkness of the night seems to have a strange power over people to make their imagination run wild.

When people, for instance, wake up in the dead silence of the night to the high-pitched “tiktik” sounds heard outside their windows, the instant belief is that an aswang is trying to come into their room to prey on them.

Historically, the belief about aswangs is known to have existed among tribal Filipinos as early as the 1200s. The word “aswang” is presumed to be a shortened version of “aso-wang” since aswangs could shape-shift into various animals such as dogs. When Spanish missionaries began colonizing the Philippines, their immediate task was to convert Filipinos to Catholicism. To extinguish the existing tribal religions, a strategy they used was to accuse babaylans (tribal healers and spiritual leaders) of being aswangs.

In modern times, Filipinos use the word “aswang” in general reference to anyone they don’t like, such as their husband’s mistress perhaps, or a terror boss, or any bitchy person for that matter.

To understand the psychology of the aswang, we first have to differentiate it from its western counterpart- the vampire. The vampire is mythically depicted as an un-dead person who “sleeps” in a coffin by day, wakes up at the stroke of midnight, and whose nocturnal activities consists of sucking the blood of human prey so that they continue to survive as the living dead.

On the other hand, the aswang of Filipino folklore is portrayed as a simple and ordinary person by day who transforms into a nightmarish creature at night. Aswangs usually come in two forms:

  • As a demonoid, the aswang is typically a male creature with a long slithering tongue. The tongue can be used for siphoning foetuses, in the same way that a person would use a straw to suck up bubble tea. Their tongue can also be used for snaring a foetus out of a pregnant woman’s vagina, after which the aswang would eat the foetus in the same manner people would eat balut. 
  • The manananggal is typically female and divides itself at the level of the torso. Night time is "thriller” time as a horrifying transformation takes place. The manananggal's upper body starts to grow giant bat-like wings, leaving its lower torso on the ground and its upper torso flying off to eat the hearts and livers of their human prey. 

Psychologically speaking, the aswang as a manananggal is symbolic of a severely disturbed person. It is an individual tormented by a multitude of inner conflicts:

  • The ordinary person it is by day represents innocence, while the aswang it becomes at night symbolizes evil. 
  • The ordinary person represents integration or wholeness, while the manananggal cut in half symbolizes brokeness and disintegration. 
  • The ordinary person it is by day can also represent contentment, while the hungry manananggal at night symbolizes greed and craving. 
  • The lower torso represents groundedness or stability of being, while the upper torso represents a flightiness or wildness of character. 
  • With its guts all exposed and spilled out, the lower torso represents vulnerability, while the upper torso symbolizes predatorship as it searches for human prey.

According to the myth, the manananggal separates its body at the middle of its body where its guts are located. The aswang therefore is an individual who is violently ripped apart at the very core of its own being. And as an emotionally-torn individual, the manananggal feeds on the emotional centers (the heart and liver) of their prey, thus draining the life energy out of them.

True, the aswang is a mythical creature of Filipino folklore. But a psychological analysis of the aswang beckons us to ask the question, who are the symbolic aswangs among us? And lest we exempt ourselves, the more important question to ask is, how are we an aswang to others, preying on other people's vulnerabilities out of our own brokeness and greed?

Yahoo!: Yes, Real Life Vampires, Werewolves, and Zombies Do Exist! (life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, quezon city, manila, philippines)

A psychiatrist's face-to-face encounter with the 'undead'

By Dr. Randy Dellosa, Your Online Shrink | Yahoo SHE – Mon, Oct 28, 2013 9:35 AM PHT

Vampires, werewolves, and zombies are known to be mythical characters and most people get to see them only on two occasions: in the movies or in costume parties on Halloween.

Psychiatrists like me however get the real deal- a face-to-face encounter with these “creatures” in the clinic. Yes, true-to-life vampires, werewolves, and zombies do exist and they actually consult psychiatrists!

Real life vampires are people with the psychiatric condition known as Renfield Syndrome or Clinical Vampirism. Renfield Syndrome refers to the obsessive desire to taste or drink blood. Some people with Renfield Syndrome believe that they strengthen their “life force” by consuming blood.

The few vampires I’ve met are adolescent or young adult “self-cutters” who lap up their own blood after cutting themselves. For some of these vampires, the act of lapping up or drinking blood is done with an intimate partner and is associated with sexual arousal.

In extreme cases, real life vampires are known to level up in their vampiric activities. From self-cutting, they advance to more complicated acts such as acquiring blood from butchers and blood banks, engaging in vampiric rituals, or committing hideous crimes which involve the murder of animals and even human beings for their blood.

Some psychologists in fact have raised serious concern on how modern vampire movies glamorize vampirism thus influencing adolescents to join dangerous “vampire cults.”

Real life werewolves are people afflicted with the psychiatric disorder known as Clinical Lycanthropy. “Lycanthrope” is the greek word for “wolf-man” and lycanthropy refers to the delusional belief that one has become a wolf or can transform into a wolf. Real life werewolves expectedly behave as wolves do and commonly howl at the moon, particularly when it is full. A popular example of a person with Clinical Lycanthropy is King Nebuchadnezzar of the Bible who lost his mind and lived in the wilds, behaving like an animal. Lycanthropy is usually a manifestation of schizophrenia.

As for real life zombies, they are people who suffer from Cotard’s Syndrome or the Walking Corpse Syndrome. People with Cotard’s Syndrome have the delusional belief that they are already dead, or decaying, or have lost their internal organs. One real life zombie patient of mine, for instance, had the belief that he didn’t have any organs inside him and therefore had a hollow body. Cotard’s Syndrome may be caused by schizophrenia, neurological disorders, and surprisingly, the antiviral medication called Acyclovir.

Vampires, werewolves, or zombies on the celluloid screen are mercilessly annihilated through silver bullets, stakes driven through their heart, or through exhumation.

Clinical vampires, werewolves, and zombies, on the other hand, are real life human beings who need compassionate understanding and psychiatric treatment in the forms of medication and psychotherapy.

Yahoo!: Premature Ejaculation: When Guys Come Sooner than Later (life coach, counselor, clinical psychologist, psychotherapist, psychiatrist, osteopath, quezon city, manila, philippines)

By Dr. Randy Dellosa, Your Online Shrink | Yahoo SHE – Fri, Oct 18, 2013 1:11 PM PHT

Aside from erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation is another sexual problem that afflicts many guys. Men who suffer from premature ejaculation are understandably ashamed of their condition and thus bear their embarrassment in silence. While there are no Philippine statistics on this sexual condition, premature ejaculation is assumed to be a common sexual dysfunction among Filipino males. In fact, in my own clinical practice, a whopping 40% of male patients who consult me due to sexual problems complain of premature ejaculation.

Premature ejaculation is described as follows:

  • It is ejaculation which rapidly occurs from sexual excitement despite minimal or no physical stimulation.
  • It is ejaculation which occurs before sexual intercourse starts, or as soon as the penis touches the vagina, or immediately after the penis enters the vagina. 
  • It is ejaculation which rapidly occurs sooner than the man wishes it to happen.

While most men will ejaculate beyond 7 minutes of vigorous vaginal thrusting or manual self-stimulation, premature ejaculators will “explode” in less than 2 minutes, and even as early as 30 seconds.

Premature ejaculation is a humiliating ego-buster for many men. It destroys a man’s self-confidence and can later on result in erectile dysfunction. It robs not only the man of the pleasure of intercourse but his sexual partner as well. Women who want to get pregnant feel frustrated that intercourse gets interrupted even before it has begun. And since premature ejaculation prevents the occurrence of sexual intimacy, relationships get strained and some marriages end up permanently ruined.

Premature ejaculators first experience their dysfunction in their teenage years. Some theorists believe that it is a learned response by young guys who engage in rushed sex acts in order to avoid being caught. Examples of “quickie” sex include sex in a movie theatre, inside a car, on the living room sofa, or while masturbating to internet porn while family members lurk nearby. Some cases of premature ejaculation are suspected to be genetic in origin. But whatever the cause, premature ejaculators are extremely sensitive to mental and physical sexual stimulation, and get easily overwhelmed by their sexual excitement.

Premature ejaculation is best treated by a self-training program which includes:

  • Physical exercises for developing control of the sex muscles.
  • Breathing and relaxation techniques to be practiced during the sex act.
  • Manual techniques and sexual positions that delay the urge to ejaculate.
  • Therapeutic masturbation techniques to prolong sexual stamina.

The self-training program is enhanced by combining it with the following treatment strategies:

  • Acupuncture
  • Prostate electro-stimulation therapy
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Individual and couples counselling
  • Ejaculation-delaying condoms and creams
  • Medication. 

Premature ejaculation is an exasperating problem which, in the long run, destroys a man’s self-esteem, sexual confidence, and intimate relationships. With prompt and proper treatment, premature ejaculators can prolong their sexual stamina in the bedroom and experience satisfaction in their sex lives.

Yahoo!: Animal Crushing Videos (life coach, counselor, clinical psychologist, psychotherapist, psychiatrist, osteopath, quezon city, manila, philippines)

Why people abuse animals

By Dr. Randy Dellosa, Your Online Shrink | Yahoo SHE – Sun, Oct 13, 2013 9:58 AM PHT

The viral video was despicable, enraging, and saddening. Even President Aquino responded promptly by approving a bill imposing stiffer penalties for perpetrators of such vile acts. And for those of us who viewed the video, we could only wonder how the three teenage ladies in the video got themselves to kill a defenseless puppy by trampling on it with their bare feet.

Animal crushing, plainly put, is animal abuse. It is the intentional human act of torturing or murdering animals:

  • for the mere thrill of doing so,
  • for no apparent reason,
  • to punish the animal,
  • as a “punching bag” for one’s anger or frustrations in life,
  • or as a focus of sexual arousal. 

People who enjoy crushing animals for the mere heck of it have sociopathic tendencies. Sociopaths are people with a poorly-developed set of moral values. They have little or no compassion for the sufferings of other beings. Because they lack a conscience, they do not show guilt or remorse for the wrong that they’ve done. On the contrary, they may even feel proud of their wrong doings.

Some sociopaths don’t only get a thrill from being sadistic towards animals, they also derive sexual pleasure from it. This is a form of a sexual deviancy known as “zoosadism” and those who engage in said perversion are called “animal sadists.” The pornographic material which animal sadists enjoy must have a strong element of animal torture in it coupled with sexual content. Otherwise, if the movie just depicted naked human bodies or ordinary sexual activities, animal sadists would not get sufficiently aroused. Movies wherein animals are tortured then killed are called “animal snuff videos.”

It’s likely possible that animal crushing has its roots in childhood, especially if children are frequently exposed to the abuse of animals. Also, children who are victims of physical abuse may become abusers themselves when they get older, not necessarily abusing people but animals instead.

The danger in animal crushing videos is that when they are allowed to proliferate, people get easily desensitized to the vicious act until it becomes accepted as normal human behaviour. This desensitization is reflected in some forms of animal abuse which, sadly, are culturally and legally sanctioned. Bullfighting for instance is a popular sport which drives the whole stadium cheering in wild frenzy for the matador who repeatedly pierces the bull to its bloody death. Or how about cockfighting or pitbull fighting wherein, amidst the excitement of its enthusiasts, the animals end up getting permanently maimed or killed? Despite civilized society, we even pit “human animals" against each other inside a boxing ring or mixed martial arts cage, excitedly watching the opponents violently pummel each other until one is disgraced in shameful defeat.

The point here is that we human beings have to guard ourselves against our own violent streak. If left unchecked, the violent streak grows and gets lashed out on animals or other humans. If we pride ourselves as being the most evolved of living creatures, it becomes our responsibility to protect the rights and welfare of those creatures whose survival depends to a big extent on our mercy towards them.

To conclude, we must uphold the law and be vigilant against all forms of animal abuse, including animal crushing. As for producers of animal crush videos and animal crushers themselves, they clearly need a rehabilitation of the mind which hopefully can be attained through intensive psychotherapy and behavioural management.

Yahoo!: Suicide: Understanding the Urge to End It All (life coach, counselor, clinical psychologist, psychotherapist, psychiatrist, osteopath, quezon city, manila, philipppines)

Suicide: understanding the urge to end it all

By Dr. Randy Dellosa, Your Online Shrink | Yahoo SHE – Thu, Oct 3, 2013 2:49 PM PHT

News has it that actor Paulo Avelino was allegedly rushed to the emergency room of St. Luke’s Medical Center due to an anxiety attack after displaying some suicidal behaviour. As expected, Paolo’s manager quickly doused the flames of showbiz intrigue by shrugging off the report as mere fabrication.

Fabricated or not, any news that we hear about suicide touches in us a raw nerve and is bound to disturb us. We innately know that suicide is wrong and should never be done, and so we wonder how some people could treat life so cheaply as to snuff out their own lives.

Suicide is defined as an intentional self-inflicted death. The most common reason for people to attempt suicide is because of problems that cause intense emotional suffering. Overwhelmed by a dark and heavy emotional gloom, they feel that the only way out of their problems is by ending their life. Thus, suicide for them is not just some random or pointless act but rather, the best solution for their problems. Although there may be other options or strategies to manage their problems, they sadly choose a permanent solution where there is no turning back.

Some people though can become suicidal even without experiencing problems or crises. For these people, the culprit is a biological one- a chemical imbalance in the brain that causes severe emotional depression. This type of depression may be genetic in origin, or it may be caused by certain medications (hormone pills, anti-hypertensive medication), substances (alcohol, marijuana), physiological/medical conditions (pregnancy, menopause, hypothyroidism), or other psychiatric disorders (schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, borderline personality disorder).

The greatest impact of suicidal behavior falls on family members and friends. If the suicidal person survives the attempt, that person’s loved ones become extremely restless and fearful that another attempt may be made. And for suicidal people whose attempts tragically led to their own demise, they leave their loved ones with a heavy burden of sorrow to be carried for their entire lifetime.

Suicide is a true emergency needing urgent psychiatric attention. Suicidal thoughts, threats, and behaviours have to be taken seriously rather than ignored or belittled. Suicidal people have to be monitored 24/7 and be confined at a psychiatric facility until they fully recover from their emotional pain, desperation, and hopelessness.

There is much help for people who are suicidal. Through proper psychiatric interventions such as psychotherapy (intensive counselling) and antidepressant medication, suicidal people can regain hope in their lives and re-experience the joy of living.

Yahoo!: The Battered Husband Syndrome (life coach, counselor, clinical psychologist, psychotherapist, psychiatrist, osteopath, quezon city, manila, philippines)

Claudine battered Raymart? But, is that even possible?
Just like women, men can suffer from physical, verbal or emotional abuse

By Dr. Randy Dellosa, Your Online Shrink | Yahoo SHE – Mon, Sep 30, 2013 11:05 AM PHT

Early this year, Senators Tito Sotto and Gregorio Honasan supported the filing of a bill seeking to protect men from domestic violence. But sadly, the proposal was largely ignored and quickly forgotten. Recently however, public interest on the issue of battered husbands was revived when Raymart Santiago made a televised claim that he was a husband who suffered battering from his wife Claudine Barretto. But really, is it even possible for women to batter their husbands? 

Because men are typically bigger and stronger than women, people find it hard to accept the notion of battered husbands. Battered husbands are often laughed off as ‘henpecked” men, and in Filipino society, they are often ridiculed as being “ander de saya,” “macho-nurin,” or “takuza (‘takot sa asawa’).”

A distinction however has to be made between henpecked and battered husbands. Henpecked husbands are men who assume a submissive role to their domineering wives. Battered husbands, on the other hand, are victims of violence by their abusive wives.

The violence in husband-battering comes in the form of physical, verbal, or emotional abuse commonly done by:

  • humiliating the husband privately, in public, or online,
  • inflicting physical harm or injury,
  • being extremely jealousy or over-controlling, and
  • using threats, intimidation, and blackmail. 

Although women are stereotyped as the weaker sex, husband-batterers are far from helpless and fragile. On the contrary, husband-batterers are women who assert their power and control over their husband through psychological warfare, verbal tirades, and physical violence. They have an obvious inability to manage their anger and are quick to retaliate when offended. After their violent outbursts however, they may temporarily become remorseful and loving as they try to kiss-and-make up. Husband-batterers are commonly diagnosed to have borderline personality disorder, major depression, substance abuse, or other psychiatric disorders.

A battered husband often suffers from depression, fear, anxiety, low self-esteem, and self-blame. Despite being emasculated by his abusive wife, he chooses to stay in the relationship for a number of reasons: 

  • He fears that he will be ridiculed and dismissed as an unmanly weakling;
  • He wants to protect his children from the abusive mother;
  • He harbors the religious belief that ‘what God has joined together, no man should put asunder;’ and for some,
  • He holds on to the hope that one day, his wife will change for the better. 

What a battered husband urgently needs to do is to protect himself and his children from potential harm, even if this means separating from the abusive wife. He needs to reach out for help from sympathetic family members and supportive friends. He should gather as much evidence of the abuse in case a legal battle ensues. Also, he should get help from a psychologist or psychiatrist for himself, for his children, and more importantly for his abusive wife.

Battering is still battering whether it is perpetrated by a man or a woman. The battered husband should not be ridiculed as a shameful wimp. Instead, he deserves compassionate help as the tortured victim of his abusive wife.