Violence and Aggression Articles

‘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?

Responsibility in Relationships: Stop Playing the Blame Game

Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

What Role do Sibling Struggles Play in Adult Relationships?

I often find it valuable to take commonplace sayings, or “rules” and, rather than just accept them at face value, “take them for a ride” to see if they ring true.

Most of us have heard the saying, “Others only treat you the way you allow them to.” The hard part about owning this belief is that we have to face the possibility that we are truly responsible for our relationships.

While it is my experience that this is true, it is also my experience that most of us would far rather rely on our “default” setting of blame. I recently had a situation that brought this saying into the realm of truth for me.

Military, Media Quick to Report Fort Hood Shooter’s Mental Health Status

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

Military, Media Quick to Report Fort Hood Shooter's Mental Health StatusThere’s no way to stop the rare mass shootings that occur in the United States. You may not like it, but it’s a fact no amount of laws or background checks will ever fix.

Every time a new shooting occurs, it’s a tragedy. No words can begin to describe the senseless violence of a mass shooting.

But it’s even more of a tragedy when the media — with the help of the military, in this case — is quick to report that an alleged suspect in such shootings was seeking mental health treatment for a concern. Especially when it ended up having nothing to do with the shootings.

A Mindful Practice to Fully Feel Your Anger

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

A Mindful Practice to Fully Feel Your AngerEarly in her practice, psychotherapist Andrea Brandt, Ph.D, M.F.T, found that the clients she was seeing were able to talk about their anger. They used popular techniques such as “I” statements. They were able to articulate when they felt angry.

And, yet, their anger wasn’t dissipating. Communicating their anger wasn’t the problem. The problem was their inability to fully feel that anger.

Fearful & Frozen: Why Victims Don’t Act to Stop Bullying

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Fearful And Frozen: Why Victims Don’t Act to Stop BullyingOn January 1, 2014 in Australia, anti-bullying legislation was introduced. Workers now can apply to to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) for an order to stop the bullying. Once an application has been received, the FWC has two weeks to investigate the complaint.

Legislators expected an overwhelming demand: Bullying affects over 30 percent — more than 3 million — Australian workers and costs the economy between $6 billion and $36 billion dollars a year.

It seemed reasonable to expect that applications should have numbered in the thousands by now when results from a parliamentary inquiry in 2012-13 showed that workers’ most desired outcome was that they just wanted the bullying to stop.

However, only 44 applications have been received so far in 2014, six of which were withdrawn. Why?

Bullying at Work: Workplace Mobbing is on the Rise

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

Bullying at Work: Workplace Mobbing is on the RiseMobbing is “bullying on steroids,” a horrifying new trend whereby a bully enlists co-workers to collude in a relentless campaign of psychological terror against a hapless target.

Targets are usually anyone who is “different” from the organizational norm. Usually victims are competent, educated, resilient, outspoken, challenge the status quo, are more empathic or attractive and tend to be women, aged 32 to 55. Targets also can be racially different or part of a minority group.

The target receives ridicule, humiliation, and eventually, removal from the workplace. It leaves the victim reeling with no idea what happened or why. It takes away a person’s safety in the world, dignity, identity and belonging and damages his or her mental and physical health. The effects also radiate outward toward the target’s partner, family, friends and even community.

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