Violence and Aggression Articles

Building Empowerment After Sexual Assault

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Building Empowerment After Sexual AssaultHealing from sexual assault is a process, and recovery is different for everyone. When working with clients who have been sexually assaulted, I attempt to provide some general guidelines that may prove useful in their individual journeys.

The healing process is multifaceted. It involves:

1. Asserting boundaries related to disclosure.
2. Assigning accountability to the perpetrator.
3. Managing self-blame.
4. Realizing that many people lack education or experience related to dealing with survivors.

Mass Shooters = Mental Illness?

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

Mass Shooters = Mental Illness?In the wake of yet another mass school shooting, we mourn. We are angry. Why is this happening in our country? What is going on? And yet, as I flip on my television — what do I see? It’s certainly not anything about gun control or raising children properly, but alas, mental illness.

No one is disputing that our mental health system is a wreck. I know from firsthand experience that it is a travesty. I must admit, however, that the media’s portrayal of these shooters is uncomfortable and offensive.

Adverse Childhood Experiences Affect Adult Behaviors

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

Adverse Childhood Experiences Affect Adult BehaviorsAdverse childhood experiences negatively affect adult life, says a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). One in four young adults were severely maltreated during childhood and approximately half of adults in England have suffered an adverse experience during their childhood.

Roughly one in ten adults have experienced four or more adverse childhood experiences. There are many forms of childhood adversity, ranging from physical abuse to emotional neglect.

Delusional Thinking 101: How Blaming Mental Illness Won’t Help Stop Mass Shootings

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Delusional Thinking 101: How Blaming Mental Illness Won't Help Stop Mass ShootingsWe’ve written in the past how there’s is a real delusional disconnect between the desire to act to stop future mass shootings, and people constantly pointing the finger at mental illness as being the root of the problem.

I say “delusional” because the leap of logic it takes to utter statements like, “mentally ill people only account for a small fraction of the gun deaths in America every year” and “the vast majority of those gun deaths are suicide, not homicide,” and then to blame such violence on mental illness is mind-boggling. I just cannot understand it.

Yet that’s exactly what Mel Robbins over at CNN has done. She says “don’t blame the NRA” for these shootings. I say, stop blaming people with mental illness too.

Social-Emotional Learning is a Must to Reduce Bullying

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Social-Emotional Learning is a Must to Reduce BullyingI’ve heard it said too many times: Social and emotional learning shouldn’t be taught at school because that’s a job for parents.

Good in theory, but in reality, there are many children who lack supportive, loving and safe home environments that promote good values. Instead, these children often experience an ugly side of life that can have a devastating effect on their character and development.

‘We Would Need a Monument 5 Times Bigger than the Vietnam Memorial’

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

need-monument-vietnam-memorial

We can do more to prevent gun-related mental health deaths. But probably not the deaths you’re thinking of.

You’re probably thinking of all those high-profile, media-driven mass shootings that apparently are becoming more and more common. You might even think the shooter’s mental health is a big component of identifying and preventing similar future shootings.

But the title of this headline isn’t referring to just those deaths. It’s referring to the estimated 300,000 people killed by gunshot wounds in the past decade that were due to mental illness.

And the reason so few people care about these deaths? Because the vast majority of them — more than 95 percent — are suicides.

Violence Against Women: The Washington Post’s Sad, Sloppy Journalism

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Violence Against Women: The Washington Post's Sad, Sloppy JournalismOne would hope that one of the last bastion’s of good journalism wouldn’t just publish some researchers’ thoughts on a topic without vetting the research they’re based upon. Not at the Washington Post.

In an article originally entitled, “One way to end violence against women? Stop taking lovers and get married,” researchers Robin Wilson and W. Bradford Wilcox decided to ignore all the other risk factors research has identified for partner violence against women and focus only on one of them.

In doing so, the scientists seemed to have purposely painted a biased, blurry picture of what we know about violence against women — especially in partner relationships.

The Psychology of Elliot Rodger

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

The Psychology of Elliot RodgerI’m a bit scared to admit that I actually wasn’t shocked when I watched Elliot Rodger’s now-infamous YouTube video. I was horrified, to be sure, but not surprised.

You would think that it’s unnatural not to feel shock when watching a video of an intelligent, articulate young man relish describing his plan to “slaughter” all of the “girls” in the “hottest sorority.”

But these types of desperate, vengeful fantasies have become familiar to me in my line of work. I have, with some frequency, sat in my therapy office and listened to similar sentiments expressed by more than a few patients over the past several years. There are many more Elliot Rodgers in our country than we’d like to believe.

Where Do Bullies Come From?

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

Where Do Bullies Come From?I don’t write about my experiences with bullying very often. Maybe I have internalized society’s beliefs that I should have stood up for myself in middle and high school, especially when my peers were doing the bullying. Maybe the shame is more significant because this time, the abusers were my age.

Maybe the messages about “asking for it” are still driving my interpretation of the situation. Sometimes it is even hard for me to believe that I could be subjected to so much cruelty by so many heartless people. I felt as though I was a magnet for abuse.

Why Some Delusions Can Be So Persistent

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Why Some Delusions Can Be So Persistent A delusion is defined as a firmly held belief or impression which is contradicted by reality or rational argument.

As a person with schizophrenia, I’m more than familiar with delusional thinking. A major part of my experience living with the illness has taught me to be wary of any thought I have which doesn’t seem entirely real.

Tim Murphy Doesn’t Miss a Beat Turning Tragedy Into Political Opportunity

Monday, May 26th, 2014

Tim Murphy Doesn't Miss a Beat Turning Tragedy Into Political OpportunityOne of the disgusting fall-outs from the Santa Barbara tragedy on Friday is Rep. Tim Murphy’s opportunism to promote his regressive, forced-treatment House bill. He says he’s angry by Friday’s tragedy, where a lonely, narcissistic, shy person by the name of Elliot Rodger decided he was going to take out his anger on a bunch of innocent people.

But if Rep. Murphy is angry, I’m furious.

I’m furious a Congressperson is using a tragedy for self-promotion. I’m furious that — suspending all logic — he somehow believes his bill will be endowed with magical powers to prevent future tragedies of this nature. A tragedy where the criminal was actually assessed by police with specific training to assess people who may be at risk at harming themselves or others.

And who believed a consummate liar. Demonstrating that if someone wants to lie, no amount of laws, forced treatment, or effort will stop them.

Police Missed Locking Up Elliot Rodger, Santa Barbara Mass Murderer

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

Police Missed Locking Up Elliot Rodger, Santa Barbara Mass MurdererOn Friday, a month after police were first alerted to Elliot Rodger’s odd YouTube videos and paid him a visit, Rodger took out revenge as he had promised on his “Day of Retribution.” Luckily for the rest of us, his “Day of Retribution” apparently lasted about 20 minutes. Which is a fitting end to a man who appears to have been at least a little bit narcissistic.

Unlike most mass shooting murderers, Elliot Rodger left us a 140-page manifesto where he lays out his complete life in detail. And while it’s clear from reading this document (part autobiography, part explanation as to why a “Day of Retribution” is needed) that here is a man who has some issues, it’s not clear exactly where those issues came from.

And more importantly, the document sheds little light on what led this man to commit such heinous crimes. He seemed to have had a life of little hardship — outside of being a bit socially awkward (and what teen hasn’t been there?). Most socially-rejected, lonely teenagers don’t go on killing rampages. So what made Elliot Rodger different?

And why didn’t the police pick up on this soon-to-be killer?

Recent Comments
  • akesh03: Caligirl, may be you are blessed with an insight. But, for the most of us, the roles he chose to play were...
  • jenna malone: Hi, Im 23 I still have my bankey too. Its nicknamed ‘sucky sheet’ lol. My family named it...
  • akesh03: Yes, very sad. An acclaimed, award winning hero, runaway success, who influenced a whole generation of...
  • Gaetane: I think I understand the point you are trying to make – we all deserve “nice things”, low...
  • Dawn: You poor dear. You need to move to the US. I am 40 and single and haven’t experienced any of this. Also....
Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter


Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code