Residential school survivor uses poetry, psychotherapy to heal – Saskatoon – CBC News

A poet and residential school survivor is releasing her latest collections of poems, and she says they have been instrumental in healing from the scars of residential schools.

Source: Residential school survivor uses poetry, psychotherapy to heal – Saskatoon – CBC News

Louise Bernice Halfe was was born in Two Hills, Alta., and completed programs at the University of Regina and University of Saskatchewan. She attended the Blue Quills Residential School, near St. Paul, Alta., for six years.

While the recently finished Truth and Reconciliation Commission was intended to help survivors heal, Bernice Halfe said the process opened old wounds. This collection of poetry, Burning in this Midnight Dream, helped heal those wounds.

Traditional ceremonies, psychology needed to help others

“It’s been extremely challenging and frightening as well,” she said of the process of walking backward, and retracing her past through the poetry. “What scared me was the feeling of being exposed and vlunerable.”

She said she needed to press ahead as a process of “accepting responsibility of my own actions and behaviours,” but the poetry is “also for the people who don’t have the vocabulary to articulate the shame and the pain and the anger that goes within their own stories.”

Bernice Halfe has training in drug and alcohol counseling, and in social work. She also emphasized the importance of psychotherapy and talking as tools for healing.

‘How do you recover as quickly as the people in the Canadian public want us to recover? I don’t know; I hope it’s possible. It’s very very hard.’– Louise Bernice Halfe

When asked how she wants to contribute to conversations on the legacy around residential schools, she described a photograph that showed her parents’ wedding and all of her relatives connected to her parents.

“There’s been a generational impact on whole communities. How do you recover as quickly as the people in the Canadian public want us to recover? I don’t know. I hope it’s possible. It’s very, very hard,” she said.

Bernice Halfe said she wants to see more aboriginal therapists and psychologists. “Not the kind that just prescribe pills,” she said.

Part of that responsibility is shared by the government, which she said has been insufficient in providing deep healing for aboriginal communities to recover from the legacy of residential schools.

“I would like to see more people trained in psychotherapy, along with their [traditional] ceremonial practices,” she said. “We needing funding for education in our communities. We also need mental health services closer to the communities.

“I’m talking about talk therapy. I’m talking about psychologists,” she emphasized.

Louise Bernice Halfe launches her latest collection of poems on Thursday at McNally Robinson in Saskatoon at 7 p.m. CST.

Mindfulness: Attention and Attunement

Joe Loizzo, M.D., Ph.D.: Reliable Methods: The Future of Self-Transcendence.

The three decades since mindfulness meditation was first found to help with anxiety, chronic pain and depression have seen the reversal of a trend that goes back over a century. When Freud founded psychotherapy as “a middle way between philosophy and medicine,” he took pains to keep it on the scientific side of the modern gulf between science and religion. He did this in part by basing his insights on evolutionary neurobiology, and in part by distancing his psychology from its sources in the spiritual philosophy of Romanticism.

Sadly, in cutting his “new science” away from its spiritual roots, he felt a need to jettison not just myth and ritual but contemplative states and practices too. Though spiritually minded analysts like Carl Jung warned this was throwing the baby out with the bathwater, Freud’s rejection of all things spiritual came to earmark mainstream psychotherapy. Jung’s dream was that psychotherapy would not only work as a clinical art to heal mental suffering but also as a spiritual science to help build the best in our nature. The recent film, “A Dangerous Method,” dramatizes with telling accuracy Freud’s break with Jung and the rift this caused in modern psychology. 

Fast forward to the present. The more mindfulness has been proven to enhance attention, empathic attunement and neuroplasticity, the more it has found its way into traditional psychotherapy and new cognitive therapies. As this simple technique has made waves in psychotherapy, it has raised a groundswell of interest among researchers and clinicians in contemplative methods in general and Buddhist psychology in particular. 

Of course, mindfulness did not turn the anti-contemplative tide of mainstream therapy all by itself. It helped catalyze a complex reaction fueled by new findings in evolutionary biology, the neuroscience of plasticity and emotion, developmental psychology and positive psychology, all of which have converged in a new view of human nature as far more malleable and sociable than we thought. Buttressed by a growing body of research on meditation and yoga, this new consensus has begun to bridge the gulf between science and spirituality. Where the split faces of modern culture are starting to reunite is in two emerging fields for the scientific study and clinical application of humanity’s ancient contemplative traditions: contemplative neuroscience and contemplative psychotherapy. 

As clients and therapists have grown more curious about the traditional practice behind mindfulness, they’ve learned that it comes embedded in a complex psychology all its own, including integrated disciplines of cognitive self-analysis, emotional self-healing and behavioral life-change. This second wave of influence has brought mounting awareness of the scientific tradition of classical Buddhist psychology and its core disciplines. With this, the tide has shifted away from simply grafting mindfulness into conventional therapies, toward a fuller confluence of Buddhist and Western psychology.

A vibrant new field blending meditative insights and tools with current neuroscience, contemplative psychotherapy represents a turning of the modern tide away from contemplative methods. And as Buddhist contemplative science has been a catalyst in this turn thus far, it seems likely to play a more influential role in years to come. This is no accident, but reflects Buddhism’s unique bent as a religion which seeks to awaken the human spirit less by myth and ritual than by therapeutic philosophy and contemplative psychology.

Fortunately, the rise of contemplative psychotherapy also comes at a watershed moment in the history of the West’s encounter with Asian Buddhism. As neuroscientists and psychotherapists turn toward contemplative science and practice, Western and Asian scholars of Buddhism for the first time are giving us access to the long isolated Buddhism of Tibet. This most recent confluence seems likely to give rise to a third wave in the convergence of Buddhist and Western psychology, for several reasons. 

First, Tibetan civilization preserves in its final form the ancient Buddhist tradition that was most concerned with bringing contemplative tools to lay people in everyday life. This was the socially engaged tradition linked with the rise of the world’s first university at Nalanda, a world-class institution which became India’s beacon of liberative education and a think-tank for contemplative civilization throughout Asia. The second reason is that the Nalanda tradition was and is both scientifically rigorous and psychologically minded. Its core curriculum assumes that success in secular and religious life both require mastery of scientific knowledge and empirical methods, especially the insights and methods of psychology. The third reason is that this tradition is not just universal but comprehensive, enhancing mindfulness and loving kindness with a whole range of industrial-strength tools for building compassion, altruism and inspired leadership in a stress-driven world. 

Unfortunately, there’s a rub. Because it forged the religious practice of Indian yoga into a human science of spirituality, the Nalanda legacy is not only the most modern and scientific of Buddhist traditions, but ironically also the one that seems most religious! The challenge contemplative therapists face in integrating its rich archetypal imagery and transformational arts is reminiscent of those faced by analysts like Jung.

Can powerful, mind-altering contemplative states and methods be harnessed to the therapeutic work of building confident, caring and inspired new selves, while staying grounded in objective science and reproducible methods? 

Fortunately for us all, this challenge is far simpler in our day than it was only decades ago. Brain science has progressed so dramatically that we now understand how empathy and altruism, archetypal imagery and transmuting affects like joy and bliss work. And direct access to the living masters of the Nalanda tradition offers the time-tested perspective and methodology we need to make the work of reinventing ourselves for interdependence eminently safe, reliable and reproducible. Given the fast-shifting tides of science and civilization, contemplative psychotherapy seems ideally poised now to realize Jung’s dream, with a rigor that would have satisfied even Freud.

Spiritual Laws of Money & Abundance

Follow The Spiritual Laws of Money and Abundance.

By S. Roman & D. Packer in Abundance on February 7th, 2008 

Money is neither good nor bad; it is energy. It is the way money is used that determines whether or not it is a positive energy that will benefit you and others. If you come from the highest level of integrity with your money, if you make it in ways that benefit people, through shifting their consciousness, or through serving and making a contribution, by giving your best, honoring others, and putting attention and consciousness into what you do, you are making a contribution to humanity and to yourself. When you use money in ways that serve your higher purpose and bring you and others joy, you are creating money of light. The more money is made and spent with integrity and light, the more it becomes a force of light for everyone.

True abundance is having all you need to do your life’s work – the tools, resources, and living environment – and to live a life filled with joy and aliveness. Abundance is not an extravagant, glamorous style of living maintained purely to impress others or one that does not support your true aliveness and life’s work. Part of the essence of spirituality is the belief in true abundance – of time, love, and energy. You teach others by setting an example. It may be hard, if not impossible, to help others lead abundant lives if you do not have a feeling of abundance about your own life. You do not want living at a survival level and experiencing lack to be the examples you set. When you have the right amount of money and money works in your life, people will learn about abundance from your example.

Most war and strife come from a belief in scarcity. People who believe in scarcity often try to squeeze more and more out of nature, wasting the planet’s resources. If you want to contribute to planetary peace, you can start by believing in abundance for yourself and others. As society begins to believe that there can be abundance for everyone, new discoveries will be made that will provide unlimited energy and resources that do not pollute or deplete the earth, and there will be fewer reasons for war. There truly is the potential for abundance for everyone on the planet. If humanity believed in abundance for all, it could be created. Start by believing that it is possible for everyone to have abundance.

It is all right to have money. Some of you feel guilty about having money, especially when you look around and see others living in lack. Some people learn and grow as much by having a totally materialistic focus as others do by living in poverty. It is not more spiritual to be poor, nor is it better to be rich. If you are worried that it is not spiritual to have money, examine the times in your life when you had money, even if it was just a small amount. Remember how you used your money. You may have been able to help those around you even more. When you felt abundant, you probably felt generous and able to support others in their abundance.

The people who are clearest about money are not usually those who have large sums of money, or those who have none, but those who have just the right amount for them. People who have just the right amount are not burdened by too many possessions; their possessions serve them. They do not spend time and energy that would be best spent creating their life’s work to acquire or take care of material things. Having too much money can take you off your path if you must spend a lot of time taking care of it. Not having enough money can also take you off your path if it requires a lot of your time and energy just to survive. It is important for you to have enough money to live on. If you do not have enough, if you spend most of your time worrying about your rent and food, your time and energy are not available to do the greater work you came here to do.

Think of being rich as having enough wealth to carry out your life’s work. You may not need many material possessions to have enough. For instance, your life purpose may be to work with nature. You may live in a log cabin, spend little money, and still have all the natural resources you need to carry out your purpose. In that case, you would be rich. What is important is having enough money to do the work you came to do, and not having so much that it keeps you from the work you came to do. Having enough money means being able to put your vision into action, to transform the energy around you into a higher order. Some people may need many material things to accomplish their life purpose. They may need to work with a group of people who will only listen to and respect them if they have an appearance of wealth and power.

Material possessions may provide some with a spiritual experience, teaching them what they need to learn in this lifetime, just as not having money may be a great teacher for others. Some people gain great freedom and growth from having money; some people gain freedom and growth from not having money.

How much money people need is an individual matter; do not judge others for what they have or do not have. Some people may be amassing fortunes that will later be used for the good of humanity, even if at present they don’t plan on using their money this way and aren’t on a spiritual path. You cannot know the larger purpose of anyone’s path. It is good to measure people’s success not by how much money they make or have, but by the degree to which they are fulfilling their life purpose, are happy about their lives, have the right amount of money, and believe in themselves.

As you become more prosperous yourself, it is likely that you will be around prosperous people. As you think in terms of prosperity, your vibration begins to change and you attract other people who think in terms of abundance as well. Do not feel jealous or threatened by someone who is successful. Realize that if you are close to a person who is succeeding, you are beginning to have that same vibration of success yourself. Begin now to believe that everyone’s success means even more success for you. If everyone around you begins to succeed, then you are surrounded with the vibration of success, and your success will grow even faster. When you hear of other people’s good fortune, appreciate their success, knowing that it affirms the abundance that is available for you as well.

Many of you think that you have to get your work out to a large number of people or be number one in your field to truly be successful. It is not wrong to feel competitive if that feeling helps you do your best at your job, but don’t feel that others who succeed in what you are doing can take away from your success. There is an unlimited supply of success. Every person in the world can be successful. Realize that you have your special place, and what you are here to do is in some way special and unique, no matter how many people are doing similar things. Are there people or companies you are competing with? Are you worried that their success might mean a loss to you? Take a moment to picture them succeeding beyond your wildest dreams. Then, imagine a reason why their success will be beneficial to you.

Know that there is no one else in the world who is going to do your work exactly as you do it. Even if it appears that others are doing the same work, they are probably reaching a different group of people, or reaching the same group in a different way. It is better to focus on living up to your potential. Are you putting the wants of people you serve first? Are you following your inner messages? As you do, you will shine. You will have all the business and abundance you want. Enjoy the process of getting your work out, not just to strive for recognition and fame. Let it be all right not to be number one, have the most clients, make the most money, or do it all yourself.

Do not worry about someone else taking away your idea, or doing what you are doing better than you are. As long as you do the best you know how and put out the finest quality product or service you can offer, you will be richly rewarded. It doesn’t matter what other people do. Even if someone is claiming the credit right now for your good work, don’t stop putting out quality work. You will be rewarded eventually. As with the tortoise and the hare, the one who works consistently and steadily, doing a good job all the time, will have more abundance and make a greater mark in the world than the person who takes shortcuts to beat everyone else out.

If you are competing with other job applicants for a job, or with other businesses for a client, or are wanting to get a grant or funding, do not view yourself as competing with others. If it is for your highest good to get the money, client, or job, you will. Always do your best in your grant applications, job interviews, and sales presentations; write or go to only those people your inner messages direct you to, and you will find your money or job. If you get it, do not worry that you have taken something away from someone else.

The universe is perfect and abundant, and others will receive exactly what is best for them. You cannot take away from others. Your opportunities are meant for you, and those that aren’t for you will be given to others. If you are competing for anything right now – a job, funding, a loan, a scholarship, or an apartment – see if you can let go of your worry and trust that the best outcome will occur for all of you. Trust that what is meant to be yours will be yours; the universe is always working to bring your higher good to you.

Don’t view your coworkers or those around you as competitors; see them as friends. Cooperation will get you much further than competition. One man who worked for a company wanted to be the vice president in a short period of time. He went around telling everyone of his ambitions, often praising his own work. He undermined the work of other employees so that his own work would appear better, and tried to take the credit himself for work that others had done. Another man in the same company simply wanted to do the best job he could. He was constantly thinking of his fellow employees, took on extra jobs, helped his boss out whenever he could, and performed the job he was hired for with attention and love. The first man was not promoted and quit in anger with many grievances against the company that “just couldn’t appreciate him.” The second man went on to become vice president.

When you think of others and yourself, have thoughts of riches, prosperity, success, and goodness. Having such thoughts helps make them come true. Let your thoughts about everyone be of their increased good. Picture everyone as successful. Sometimes people bring financial hardship to themselves by dwelling on other people’s financial difficulties, for what you focus on is what you draw to yourself. Rather than talking about how hard life is for people, send them compassion and light; see them getting out of their difficult situations and experiencing abundance. The positive pictures and love you send out will come back to you many times over.

One storekeeper increased his business dramatically by sending love and envisioning success for everyone who came into his store. People were magnetically drawn to his shop. If you hear friends complaining of lack, remind them of what they do have. When you are around people who talk of financial problems, see if you can change the subject or help them appreciate the abundance they have already created.

You may be hoping that your wealth will come from winning a lottery. To win, be ready to receive the money. While many of you hope to win, you don’t truly expect to win. People who win are committed to winning, and have dealt with their beliefs that say getting money this way is too easy, or too good to be true. Even more important, if winning the money would stop you from doing your life’s work, your higher self will keep you from winning. Winning a large sum of money can create more challenges than you think. It is important to have the right amount of money, and if a huge windfall would put your life out of balance, your higher self will most probably keep it from you.

Depending on how prepared you are to have a large windfall, many things in your life will change. Getting money gradually, at a pace you can adjust to, is a gift. You can get used to handling a larger energy flow in a balanced, stable way. You have the time to try out various actions before large sums are involved. If you aren’t prepared to handle a larger amount and you do get it, your higher self may find many ways for you to let go of it. Many people who have won or inherited large sums have also lost or spent them in just a few years; their own energy and the larger sum of money weren’t in harmony. Those who do keep their windfalls often keep the same jobs and homes and bank the money, slowly getting used to the increased amount.

Play lotteries if you grow from the process. For many people lotteries provide an opportunity to visualize themselves as abundant, and that picture helps them draw in abundance in other ways. Every time they buy lottery tickets, they feel the possible joy of winning, and bring that feeling into their lives. That may be precisely the feeling their souls want them to develop. You can create the same experience by visualizing your success, imagining having what you want, and making the picture as real and vivid as possible.

When you have money, see your money as a source of good; see it as potential to create higher purpose that has yet to be converted into substance and form. Keep picturing all your money in the bank or in your wallet as money that is awaiting your command to go out and create good for you and others. Appreciate your abundance, and realize that you have learned to tap in to the unlimited abundance of the universe. Your money is awaiting the opportunity to bring you good, and to improve your life and the lives of others.

About the author:
Sanaya Roman has been channeling Orin, a wise and gentle spirit teacher, for more than twenty years. All of Orin’s work assists people in unfolding their potential, finding their inner wisdom, and in growing their spirituality. Duane Packer has been channeling DaBen for many years, teaching people how to sense subtle energy and work with it to transform their reality. Both authors reside in Oregon and their website is www.orindaben.com.

Based on the book Creating Money. Copyright © 1988, 2008 by Sanaya Roman and Duane Packer. Reprinted with permission of H J Kramer / New World Library, Novato, CA. Additional information at www.orindaben.com

 

The Powerful Influence of Parents

by Jerry Lopper, Personal Growth Coach  on June 13, 2011 »

Image By Colin Brough

The influence of our parents is on my mind right now. Even as we become fully functioning adults and parents ourselves, it’s intriguing to consider how much of who we are is directly attributable to beliefs and experiences we encountered as children of our parents.

I’m reminded of this in reading Into My Father’s Wake, by journalist and author Eric Best. Best leaves his job, buys a sailboat, and sails solo from San Francisco to Hawaii and return in an attempt to resolve his relationship with his parents, especially his father.

A respected journalist, Best’s marriage is failing, he feels dead-ended in his job, and he struggles with alcohol and anger. The 50 day, 5,000 mile solo journey is his attempt to find himself and correct the path of his life.

Adult Children of Abusive Parents

Interspersed with fascinating descriptions of his sailing adventures, Best shares pleasant childhood memories of long sailing voyages with his father and disturbing memories of brutal beatings with a rubber hose at his father’s hands. He recalls his mother’s silent support of her husbands discipline, and struggles to come to terms with both parents’ treatments.

Most children are raised without the abusive behaviors demonstrated in Best’s book, yet don’t we all grow up carrying mixed images of our parents’ behaviors?

Psychologists offer an explanation that makes sense. Carl Pickhardt Ph.D. is a psychologist in private counseling practice who has authored several parenting books exploring the various phases of parent/child relationships as a child moves from childhood to adolescence to adulthood.

Pickhardt explains that the child idolizes and worships her parents, the adolescent criticizes and blames her parents as she begins the process of independence, and the adult rationalizes parental behaviors as she begins to understand the complexities of parental behavior.

Parental Behaviors

The children of abusive parents experience conflicting and inconsistent adult behavior, at times nurturing and caring, at other times abusive and hurtful. Given the child’s total dependence and natural tendency to look up to her parents, the abused child is confused, ceases to trust, and may even assume she’s part of the problem. Best demonstrates how these conflicts carry into adulthood.

Children of non-abusive parents also experience conflicts. We see behaviors that are loving and caring as well as darker behaviors such as anger. We see our parents’ faults, tend to focus on those in adolescence, and may even carry their faults into adulthood as the reasons for our own failures.

Life Purpose and Our Parents

Looking at more pThe Celestine Prophecyositive aspects of parental influence, in The Celestine Prophecy, author James Redfield suggests that each person’s life purpose evolves from and extends the life purpose of their parents. Intrigued by this, I followed the suggested process of examining what each of my parents stood for (their strong beliefs and values) and where they fell short (weaknesses and limitations).

Sure enough, I could clearly see how my own life extended what each of my parent’s stood for and how I’ve developed interests and strengths which they lacked.

Since this analysis was valuable and informational to me, I added the process to my Purpose in Life Workshop content, expecting that others would also find valuable insights.

I was surprised by the responses of workshop participants. Though some found the process positive and helpful, a majority reacted strongly against the hypothesis, even resisting my encouragement to keep an open mind and explore the possibilities. It seemed a large number of people attribute their life’s problems directly to their parents.

Coming to Terms with Parents

What does this all mean? To me it simply means that parents are human beings, with the full range of human strengths and weaknesses. Parenting is tough work. Our parents made some mistakes along the way, as we have in our parenting roles.

On the road to adulthood, we’re exposed to many examples of behaviors, including the very influential examples of our parents. Whether they were outstanding parents or lacking in many ways, as adults our behaviors are ours alone. We can chose whether to copy behaviors of our parents or discard them. We can chose whether to cherish their parental talents or denounce them.

Personal growth involves insightful—sometimes painful—self-reflection. Personal growthInto My Father's Wake also involves accepting the accountability and responsibility of personal choice for our behaviors.

Eric Best reaches this conclusion near the end of his solitary 50 day voyage, deciding to cherish the love and care his father displayed in teaching him to sail, while forgiving his brutal discipline as a terrible weakness of his father’s own personal struggles.

Into My Father’s Wake is a good story of a man’s journey of self-discovery. Those without sailing knowledge may struggle a bit with the sailor’s terminology, but all will appreciate the vivid imagery Best conveys as he describes the beauty and danger of solo-oceanic travel. I found that sharing Best’s struggles with the human frailties of his parents stimulated useful self-reflection on the influence of my own parents on my adult life.

Mindfulness Meditation: Effective as antidepressants for depression relapse

Mindfulness meditation found to be as effective as antidepressant medication in prevention of depression relapse.

TORONTO, Dec. 7 /PRNewswire/

A new study from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has found that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy — using meditation — provides equivalent protection against depressive relapse as traditional antidepressant medication.
The study published in the current issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry compared the effectiveness of pharmacotherapy with mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) by studying people who were initially treated with an antidepressant and then, either stopped taking the medication in order to receive MBCT, or continued taking medication for 18 months.
“With the growing recognition that major depression is a recurrent disorder, patients need treatment options for preventing depression from returning to their lives.” said Dr. Zindel Segal, Head of the Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Clinic in the Clinical Research Department at CAMH. “Data from the community suggest that many depressed patients discontinue antidepressant medication far too soon, either because of side effect burden, or an unwillingness to take medicine for years. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy is a non pharmacological approach that teaches skills in emotion regulation so that patients can monitor possible relapse triggers as well as adopt lifestyle changes conducive to sustaining mood balance.
Study participants who were diagnosed with major depressive disorder were all treated with an antidepressant until their symptoms remitted. They were then randomly assigned to come off their medication and receive MBCT; come off their medication and receive a placebo; or stay on their medication. The novelty of this design permits comparing the effectiveness of sequencing pharmacological and psychological treatments versus maintaining the same treatment – antidepressants – over time.
Participants in MBCT attended 8 weekly group sessions and practiced mindfulness as part of daily homework assignments. Clinical assessments were conducted at regular intervals, and over an 18 month period, relapse rates for patients in the MBCT group did not differ from patients receiving antidepressants (both in the 30% range), whereas patients receiving placebo relapsed at a significantly higher rate (70%). “The real world implications of these findings bear directly on the front line treatment of depression. For that sizeable group of patients who are unwilling or unable to tolerate maintenance antidepressant treatment, MBCT offers equal protection from relapse,” said Dr. Zindel Segal. “Sequential intervention — offering pharmacological and psychological interventions — may keep more patients in treatment and thereby reduce the high risk of recurrence that is characteristic of this disorder.
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada’s largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the world’s leading research centres in the area of addiction and mental health. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental health and addiction issues. CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre. For more information, please visit www.camh.net.
SOURCE Centre for Addiction and Mental Health