Category Archives: Social Anxiety

Chapter 3: Assessing the Enemy’s Tactics

Dr. Robert F. Mullen
Director/ReChanneling

This is a draft of Chapter Three – ‘Assessing the Enemy’s Tactics’ in my upcoming book on moderating social anxiety disorder and its comorbidities. I present this as an opportunity for readers to share their ideas and constructive criticism – suggestions that I will gratefully consider and evaluate as I work to ensure the most beneficial product to those with emotional dysfunction (which is all of us to some degree). Please forward your comments in the form provided below.

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Assessing the Enemy’s Tactics

The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid,
but he who conquers that fear. – Nelson Mandela

I want you to mentally dissociate yourself from your social anxiety. Recognize it as a separate entity, familiar but distinct from the substantive individual known as you. The most important thing to take away from Chapter One is the commitment that you will no longer define yourself by your fears and apprehensions, but by your character strengths, virtues, and achievements. 

This is a crucial lesson in recovery. When we identify ourselves by our emotional dysfunction, we attribute our self-destructive feelings and behaviors to a personality defect. Something must be wrong with me. That is false. Our life-consistent negative thought patterns are SAD propaganda – biased and misleading information that promotes a false self-image. Nothing is wrong with us.

We are not dissociating ourselves from our memories, feelings, and achievements that constitute our unique personalities. We are dissociating ourselves from the things that make us feel incompetent and undesirable while embracing our inherent and acquired qualities that challenge these irrational self-beliefs. It is purely a mental exercise, and it is a necessary one. Our fears are expressed by unsound emotions. We challenge them through rational responses. Mind over emotion. Right now, social anxiety disorder controls our emotions. The goal of recovery is to take back our rightful control.

SAD is the enemy. Seize that awareness and emblazon it on your frontal lobe – the part of your brain that processes your emotions and your decisions. To successfully engage this sinister adversary we must learn its tactics and the scope of its weaponry. From that, we devise our stratagem. That is the substance of this chapter. This is a war for control over our emotional wellbeing and quality of life 

As the third-largest mental health care problem in the world, SAD is culturally identifiable by our persistent fear of social interaction and performance situations. Our suspicions of criticism, ridicule, and rejection are so severe, that we avoid the healthy life experiences that interconnect us with others and the world. It is not the fears that devastate our lives; it is the things we do to avoid them. We have far more to fear from our distorted perceptions than what we might encounter in the real world. Our imagination takes us to dark and lonely places. 

SEE Anatomy of Recovery and Empowerment Workshops

Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs) are the anxiety-provoking emotions or images that occur in anticipation of or reaction to a feared situation. They are unpleasant expressions of our life-consistent negative self-beliefs that define who we are and how we relate to others, the world, and the future. (I am incompetent; No one will talk to me; I’ll say or do something stupid; they’ll reject me.) They are our predetermined assumptions of what will happen in a Situation. We will discuss ANTs in more detail when we analyze the life-cycle of our negative self-beliefs in Chapter Five.

These cognitively distorted emotions can elicit an endless feedback loop of hopelessness, worthlessness, and undesirability, leading to substance abuse, eating disorders, anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. 

We fear the unknown and unexplored. We obsess about upcoming events and how we will reveal our shortcomings. We experience anticipatory anxiety for weeks before a situation and anticipate the worst. We visualize those events in high school when we were the last to be chosen. The times we felt shunned when we tried to join a conversation. We do not revisit the good times or relive our happy experiences because SAD sustains itself by focusing on the negative aspects of our life. 

As the saying goes, power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. We do not seek power in recovery, however, but empowerment. There is a huge distinction. Empowerment is the process of overcoming power and becoming stronger and more confident. We exponentially erode SAD’s power by consciously compelling our brain to repattern its neural circuitry. Out with our life-consistent negative self-beliefs; in with the self-appreciation of our value and significance. As our neural network realigns, we regain control of our life and emotions. We embrace our universal entitlements.

SAD is ostensibly the most underrated, misunderstood, and misdiagnosed disorder. Nicknamed the neglected anxiety disorder, few experts understand it, and even fewer know how to address it. The constant and massive number of revisions, substitutions, and changes in defining SAD do little to remedy the problem. SAD is routinely misdiagnosed. What did your therapist tell you? That you are depressed or obsessive-compulsive. That you might be borderline personality or agoraphobic? Here is an indisputable reality. Experts may be up-to-date on the latest issue of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and familiar with the revolutionary new anti-depressant, but they cannot comprehend the personal impact of social anxiety. One has to have SAD to recognize the severity of its impact. We know it because we experience it every moment of every day. 

Chronic and debilitating, SAD attacks on all fronts, negatively affecting our entire lived-body. It manifests in mental confusion, emotional instability, physical dysfunction, and spiritual malaise. Emotionally, we are depressed and lonely. We are subject to unwarranted sweating, trembling, hyperventilation, nausea, and muscle spasms. Mentally, our thoughts are discordant and irrational. Spiritually, we define ourselves as inadequate and insignificant. 

We feel unjustifiable shame and guilt for an emotional dysfunction that is due to heredity or childhood disturbance that interfered with our natural human development. Social anxiety disorder sensed this vulnerability and onset during our adolescence. The disturbance might have been real or imagined, intentional or accidental. It is essential to recognize it is not our fault. It is not the result of aberrant behavior. We did not make it happen; it happened to us. 

While we understand the relevance of past circumstances, the focus of recovery is on the present and the solution. In the case of David Z., his recollections of childhood physical and emotional abuse helped him understand and moderate his avoidance of trust and intimacy. Notwithstanding, awareness is not obsession. The past is immutable, the future to be defined. Transformation is a here-and-now endeavor. Dwelling on the past is not helpful to recovery. We must unencumber ourselves of things over which we have no control, giving us room for new possibilities.

Our commitment-to-recovery rate is abysmal ― reflective of our SAD-induced persuasions that manifest perceptions of worthlessness and futility. SAD’s recovery rate mirrors a general inability to afford treatment due to employment instability. Over 70% of us are in the lowest economic group. Why? Because SAD makes us feel non-essential and incompetent.

Do you feel trapped in a vicious circle, restricted from living a normal life: Do you feel alienated from your peers and isolate yourself from family and friends? Do you reject new relationships before they reject you? Do you repeat the same mistakes over and over again?  

Feeling anxious or apprehensive in certain situations is normal; most of us are nervous speaking in front of a group and anxious when visiting our dentist. The typical individual recognizes the normality of a situation and accords appropriate attention. The SAD person dreads it, dramatizes it, and obsesses about its potential ramifications. We make mountains out of molehills and spend our days in tortuous anticipation of our projected negative outcomes. We guarantee our failure through SAD-fulfilling prophecy.

We intuitively know it is an irrational and maddening way to live. We have tried everything to circumvent our behavioral patterns, yet nothing seems to work. That is because SAD thrives on counterproductivity, a tactic that guarantees the opposite of the desired effect. Established recovery approaches fail because they are not designed to address this irrationality. SAD is the ultimate enigma – an intractable condition difficult to evaluate. That is the purpose of this book – to unravel the enigma and defeat the enemy.

Do you feel like your actions are under a microscope, and everyone is judging or criticizing you? Do you worry you are making a poor impression on individuals who do not matter? Are you inordinately concerned about what you might do, how you look, and how you express yourself? 

We live with persistent anxiety and fear of social situations such as dating, interviewing for a position, and even contributing to class. We anticipate others will deem us incompetent, stupid, or undesirable. Often, mere functionality in perfunctory situations – eating in front of others, riding a bus, using a public restroom – can be unduly stressful. 

The fear that manifests in social situations can seem so fierce, that we feel it is beyond our control, a conclusion that manifests in perceptions of helplessness and hopelessness. We avoid situations where there is the potential for embarrassment or ridicule. Negative self-evaluation interferes with our desires to pursue a goal, attend school, or form relationships– anything that might precipitate our anxiety. Our imagination creates false scenarios. 

Elisha D. was terrified of the everyday introductory question, Tell me about yourself. It was one of her five primary situational fears. By simply devising a rote rational response and trying it out in graded exposure situations, she was able to dramatically moderate her fear. Planning structured responses to our situational fears is an important facet of recovery. Tolkien reminds us, “It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near one.” Meaning, that if you know you have a feared situation, devise a rational plan to counter it. The solution is obvious, but SAD thrives on irrational responses to the simplest situations. What is irrational? Anything thought or behavior that is emotionally self-destructive. It is irrational to self-harm.

Do you imagine you are the constant focus of everyone’s attention? Do you worry that people will notice you sweating or blushing? That your voice will tremble and become incoherent? We are overly concerned that our fears and anxieties are glaringly obvious to everyone. That is rarely the case, however. Each of us is the center of our little universe, too self-conscious to notice the idiosyncrasies of another.

The overriding fear of being found wanting manifests in our self-perspectives of incompetence and unattractiveness. We walk on eggshells, supremely conscious of our awkwardness, surrendering to the GAZE―the anxious state of mind that comes with the fear of being the center of attention. I am reminded of that phrase from the Book of David: You have been weighed on the scales and you have been found wanting. It is a self-image difficult to reconcile when SAD is the scale upon which we are being weighed. 

Our social interactions are often clumsy, small talk inelegant, and attempts at humor embarrassing. Our anticipation of repudiation motivates us to dismiss overtures to offset any possibility of rejection. SAD is repressive and intractable, imposing self-destructive thoughts and behaviors. It establishes its authority through defeatist measures produced by distorted and unsound interpretations of reality that govern our perspectives of desirability. 

It does not have to be this way. We function under false perspectives – illusions perpetuated by SAD. We are not unworthy, undesirable, or insignificant. We are children of the universe, endowed with all its unalienable substance. We are an integral part of the evolution of consciousness. 

Let us briefly discuss one of the more devious strategies of a well-executed campaign of warfare. Propaganda is the distribution of biased and misleading information. SAD utilizes propaganda to convince us of the validity of our self-destructive thoughts and behaviors. It is a form of control and manipulation. We manifest the effectiveness of this propaganda through maladaptive behaviors and cognitively distorted responses to our fears.

Maladaptive behavior is a term coined by Aaron Beck, the pioneer of cognitive-behavioral therapy. A unique characteristic of SAD, maladaptive behaviors are manifestations of our negative self-beliefs. We find ourselves in a supportive and approving environment, but SAD tells us we are unwelcome and the subject of disparagement and ridicule. SAD distorts our perception, and we adapt negatively (maladapt) to a positive situation. To analogize, if the room is sunny and welcoming, SAD tells us it is dark and unapproving. 

Cognitive distortions are the exaggerated or irrational thought patterns involved in the perpetuation of anxiety and depression. Because they reinforce or justify our irrational thoughts and poor behaviors, it is a crucial element of recovery to recognize these distortions to eliminate them from our self-destructive repertoire. We will be discussing this further in Chapter Five as we familiarize ourselves with the origins and  trajectory of our life-consistent negative self-beliefs

Do you incessantly replay adverse events in your head? Do you stay constantly relive all the discomforting things that happened to you during the day? Do you avoid meeting people or going on dates because you persuade yourself it will be a disaster? Do you beat yourself up for all those lost opportunities? 

We circle the block endlessly before confronting a situation, then end up avoiding it entirely. We avoid recognition in the classroom, our hearts pounding, hands sweaty, hoping we will not be singled out. We lay awake at night, consumed by all the negative events of the day. 

We do not have to live like this. We do not have to be afraid to connect with others. We do not have to constantly agonize over how we will be perceived. We do not have to worry about criticism and ridicule from people who do not contribute to our quality of life. By deliberately and repetitively feeding our neural network with healthy information, we proactively transform our thoughts and behaviors from self-doubt and avoidance to self-assured expressions of our relevance and contributions.

We crave companionship but shun social situations for fear others will find us unattractive or stupid. We avoid speaking in public, expressing opinions, and fraternizing with peers. We are prone to low self-esteem and high self-criticism due to the childhood disturbance that precipitated the disruption in our psychological development, allowing the onset of SAD. 

The various positive qualities prefixed by the term self, including -esteem, -efficacy, -reliance, -compassion, and -resilience are not lost, however, but are underdeveloped and redeemable. The renewed recognition of our character strengths, virtues, and achievements augmented by the deliberate, repetitive neural input of positive information, awakens and reinvigorates our dormant self-esteem and motivation. All that is lost shall be found when you commit to recovery. That is the wonderful product of transformation.  

Do you avoid persons and situations for fear of criticism and rejection? Do you refrain from sharing your opinion because you believe people will think you are stupid? Do you lose out on life’s experiences because you are afraid others will disapprove of you?

We blame ourselves for our lack of social skills. We feel shame for our inadequacies. We guilt ourselves when we avoid getting close to someone, terrified of rejection. We know these feelings are irrational, we know we are not responsible for onset. But our social anxiety compels us to self-loath and self-destruct. Then to top it off, we consistently beat ourselves up for these feelings that are the product of emotional dysfunction that is not of our doing.

We must stop beating ourselves up. We did not ask for our social anxiety, we did not make it happen; it happened to us. We are, however, responsible for doing something about it. We are the captains of our ship. The onus of recovery is on us; no one else does it for us. It comes down to a simple choice. Are you happy with who you are now, or would you like to change for the better? Do you choose to be miserable or comfortable in your own skin? It is that cut and dried. The tools and techniques for recovery are ours for the taking. 

We are not defined by our emotional dysfunction but by our character strengths, virtues, and accomplishments. If we break our leg, we do not become the injured limb. We are an individual with a broken leg. The same logic applies to our condition. While not accountable for the cards we have been dealt, we are responsible for how we play the hand we have been given.

We are engaged in a war that is not easily won – a life-consuming series of battles. The process of proactive neuroplasticity is theoretically simple but challenging, due to the commitment and endurance required for the long-term, repetitive process. We do not don tennis shorts and advance to Wimbledon without decades of practice with rackets and balls. Philharmonics cater to pianists who have spent years at the keyboard. Neural restructuring requires a calculated regimen of deliberate, repetitive, neural information that is not only tedious but also fails to deliver immediate tangible results, causing us to readily concede defeat and abandon hope in this era of instant gratification. However, once we initiate the process of recovery, utilizing the appropriate tools and techniques, progress is exponential.

There are many things that seem impossible
only so long as one does not attempt them. – André Gide

Social anxiety disorder is comorbid with multiple emotional dysfunctions including depression, substance abuse,  panic disorder, ADHD, PTSD, generalized anxiety, and issues of self-esteem and motivation. Proactive neuroplasticity and subsequently, this book addresses emotional dysfunction in general because each originates with childhood disturbance and benefits, dramatically, from neural realignment.

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Comments, Suggestions, Constructive Criticism.

ReChanneling: Updates and Happenings, Fall 2022

Matty Saven
Media Consultant

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YouTube Series on Proactive Neuroplasticity

ReChanneling has produced the sixth YouTube installment on Proactive Neuroplasticity – Affirmative Visualization. By visualizing a positive outcome prior to a feared situation, we experience behaving a certain way in a realistic scenario and, through repetition, attain an authentic shift in our behavior and perspective. It is a form of proactive neuroplasticity, and all the neural benefits of that science are accrued. Just as our neural network cannot distinguish between toxic and healthy information, it also does not distinguish whether we are physically experiencing something or imagining it. Installment #7 will be available on September 15th. LINK

Next Video: 19/15/2022

These and other instructional videos are currently hosted by YouTube, BitChute, ReChanneling, Regimed Pharmacy, and other supporting organizations.

Workshops

Clio’s Psyche

Dr. Mullen’s article ‘Utilizing Psychobiography to Moderate Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder’ will be published in the Fall issue of Clio’s Psyche focusing on Psychobiography. Clio’s Psyche is a peer-reviewed, scholarly journal founded in 1994. It is published by the Psychohistory Forum, an organization of academics, therapists, and laypeople, founded in 1982 and holding regular scholarly meetings in Manhattan and at international conventions.

Early this year, Palgrave MacMillan published Dr. Mullen’s “Broadening the Parameters of the Psychobiography. The Character Motivations of the ‘Ordinary’ Extraordinary’” in C.-E. Mayer, P. Fouche, R. van Niekerk, Psychobiographical Illustrations on Meaning and Identity in Sociocultural Contexts, Palgrave-MacMillan, 2022.   LINK to other Publications.

Mullen’s ‘Enlisting Positive Psychologies to Challenge Love Within SAD’s Culture of Maladaptive Self-Beliefs’ in Springer’s Handbook of Love. Transcultural and Transdisciplinary Perspectives has been uploaded to ResearchGate and Academia.edu. Contact us to request a copy.

Klatch: Information Technology and Services

Director Mullen was interviewed by Klatch, the e-learning communication platform for large groups and communities. The topic was the tools and techniques ReChanneling employs to keep over 970 individuals with emotional dysfunction actively engaged in groups and workshops and other interactivities.

WeVoice (Valencia and Málaga, Spain)

We continue to advise WeVoice in the development of technological support systems. Headquartered in Valencia, Spain, WeVoice is a program of mental health utilizing Adaptive 3D Sound Healing powered by Voice Emotion-AI.

Dr. Mullen is doing impressive work helping the world. He is the pioneer of proactive neuroplasticity utilizing DRNI—deliberate, repetitive, neural information.– WeVoice

Academia.edu

Academia.edu continues to offer two ReChanneling courses: Neuroscience and Happiness: A Guide to Neuroplasticity and Positive Behavioral Change and Social Anxiety in the LGBTQ+ Community.

Draft Chapters from Social Anxiety Disorder: Recovery and Empowerment

Chapter drafts from Dr. Mullen’s upcoming book on moderating social anxiety disorder and its comorbidities are presented twice monthly as an opportunity for colleagues and peers to share their thoughts and constructive criticism – ideas gratefully evaluated as we work to ensure the most beneficial product to those with emotional dysfunction (which is all of us to some extent). LINK. Passcode: WIP

Latest Posts

Devising Response Plans for Situations
Social Anxiety Disorder: A Definitive Guide
A Workshop Graduate’s Testimonial
Services Offered by ReChanneling

… and, of course, everything on the ReChanneling website is constantly updated as the program continues to evolve and flourish.

Discussion Groups

ReChanneling currently facilitates over 950 individuals with social anxiety disorder in our two discussion groups. Social Anxiety and Proactive Neuroplasticity and LGBTQ+ Social Anxiety Group.

A third discussion group, ReChanneling: Recovery and Empowerment focuses on proactive neuroplasticity in the pursuit of goals and objectives.

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WHY IS YOUR SUPPORT SO IMPORTANT?  ReChanneling develops and implements programs to (1) moderate symptoms of emotional dysfunction and (2) pursue personal goals and objectives – harnessing our intrinsic aptitude for extraordinary living. Our paradigmatic approach targets the personality through empathy, collaboration, and program integration utilizing scientific and clinically practical methods including proactive neuroplasticity, cognitive-behavioral modification, positive psychology, and techniques designed to reinvigorate self-esteem. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.

Social Anxiety. Why Do We Resist Recovery?

Robert F, Mullen, Ph.D.
Director/ReChanneling.

This is a draft of the chapter on Resistance in my upcoming book on moderating social anxiety disorder and its comorbidities. I present this as an opportunity for others to share their feelings and constructive criticism – suggestions that I will gratefully evaluate as I work to ensure the most beneficial product to those with emotional dysfunction (which is all of us to some degree). Please forward your comments in the form provided below.

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Overcoming Our Resistance

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle. — Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Why begin this chapter with an obscure, 2,500-year-old quote about Chinese battle tactics? Because we must declare war on our social anxiety disorder if we are to conquer it. Make no mistake about it, SAD is the enemy, and it is devious and manipulative. If we are going to win this war, then we must educate ourselves about the symptoms and characteristics of our emotional dysfunction, and how they individually impact us. Roughly forty million U.S. adults and adolescents find themselves caught up in this devasting and lonely chasm of fear and avoidance of social connectedness. Statistics tell us that roughly a third of those seek recovery,  but what about the millions who choose not to reveal their condition or pretend it does not exist. Our resistance to recovery is formidable.

SAD makes us feel helpless and hopeless, trapped in a vicious cycle of fear and anxiety, and restricted from living a ‘normal’ life. We alienate and detach – loners consumed by trepidation. Our fear of disapproval is so severe we avoid the life-affirming experiences that connect us with others and the world. We fear the unknown and unexplored. We endure anxiety for weeks before an event and anticipate the worst. We worry about how others perceive us and how we express ourselves. We have tried everything to overcome our condition and have achieved little, which makes us incompetent and worthless. Why bother, we tell ourselves. 

Change is difficult for everyone; we are hard-wired to resist it. Our bodies and brains are structured to attack anything that disrupts their equilibrium. A new diet or exercise regime produces physiological changes in our heart rate, metabolism, and respiration. Inertia senses and resists these changes, while our brain’s basal ganglia gang up against any modification in our patterns of behavior. Thus, habits like smoking or gambling are hard to break, and new undertakings like recovery, challenging to maintain. The irony, of course, is that change is constant and inevitable. We shed and regrow fifty million skin cells daily. Our bones regenerate every few months, and our entire skeletal system in a decade. Our neural network continuously readapts and realigns to new information and experience. What we fear most is happening to us every second of every day.

We resist recovery because of our emotional baggage. Our inherent negative bias predisposes us to focus on unhealthy experiences. We feel inferior and abnormal, consumed by shame and guilt even though SAD is not our fault but the result of early developmental disturbance. Cumulative evidence that a toxic childhood is a primary causal factor in lifetime emotional instability has been well-established.

Any number of things can precipitate childhood disturbance. Our parents are controlling or do not provide sufficient emotional validation. Perhaps we were subject to gender bullying or a broken home. The disturbance can be real or imagined, intentional or accidental. A toddler who finds their parental quality time interrupted by a phone call can sense abandonment, which can generate core beliefs of unworthiness and insignificance. This is important when it comes to attributing blame or accountability for our SAD because of the possibility no one is responsible. Certainly not us as children. We are not accountable for onset, although the onus is on us to do something about it. While not liable for the cards we have been dealt, we are responsible for how we play the hand we have been given. In recovery, we focus on the solution; the cause, while not inconsequential, factors little. 

SEE Anatomy of Recovery and Empowerment Workshops

Yet we beat ourselves up daily for our perceptual inadequacies. We linger in depression, we drink or drug ourselves immoderately. We blame ourselves for our defects as if they are the pervading forces of our true being, rather than symptoms of our dysfunction. SAD does not define us. We are defined by our character strengths, virtues, and achievements. SAD is powerful, however. It compels us to reject our qualities, miring us in our self-destructive complacency.

We know in our hearts that recovery is the gateway to our emotional wellbeing and quality of life, yet we resist it. I am reminded of Al Pacino’s infamous film quote. “Now I have come to the crossroads in my life. I always knew what the right path was. Without exception, I knew, but I never took it. You know why? It was too damn hard.” Let me assure you, contrary to defeatist claims, recovery from SAD is not that difficult. It is boring and repetitive, but it is theoretically simple. 

So why do we resist? SAD sustains itself by convincing us we are unworthy and inconsequential. It is the enemy.

Society does not help. We are hard-wired to fear and ostracize anyone who hints at peculiarity. Individuals perceived as fragile or abnormal have suffered since the dawning of humankind. We fear emotional dysfunction because we see it in ourselves and scorn the reflection. And what do we often do when confronted by our weaknesses? We become the bully that hides the beast within. We prey on the vulnerable. 

We resist because society identifies us as weak aberrations and we accept the stereotype.

Our families share responsibility for our negative self-image. Parents and siblings hide their relationship with us or dispute our condition because they are ashamed. Throughout history, families have shouldered the blame for their child(s) emotional dysfunction because it is commonly accepted that it is either hereditary or the consequence of poor parenting.  Since the latter is likely, it is deemed unacceptable.

We resist because we cannot break the parental chain of emotional abuse.

The sensationalist media stereotypes us as annoying, dramatic, and peculiar. Films portray us as unpredictable and dangerous schizophrenics. Nearly half of U.S. stories on emotional dysfunction allude to violence. Now, of course, mean-spirited individuals anonymously spew their idiocies on social media. 

We resist because we have been inundated by hostile and ignorant personal attacks.

Finally, we are at the mercy of the pathographic focus on emotional dysfunction. The current psychological perspective focuses on our negative behavior rather than our positive achievements. Simply put, the disease model tells us what is wrong with us. Recovery is not achieved by focusing on our SAD-induced negative self-beliefs and image but on our character strengths and capabilities. 

We resist because healthcare experts emphasize the problem rather than the solution.

Our inability or unwillingness to fully embrace our emotional dysfunction is a major impediment to our recovery. Many of us deliberately choose to remain ignorant of SADs destructive capabilities or go to enormous lengths to remain oblivious to its symptoms and traits as if, by ignoring them, they do not exist or will somehow go away.

We are faced with a simple choice. We can do nothing and continue to live in fear, victims of our self-destructive thoughts and behaviors, or we can challenge SAD and take control of our life. If we choose the latter, then we must overcome our resistance. There is no other way. Only unequivocal acceptance of our condition and our willingness to change motivates us toward transformation.

The onus for recovery falls on us notwithstanding the causes of our condition. The perception of impotence–the belief that we are not the steward of our behavior is an unhealthy misconception that severely inhibits our potential for transformation. We are the agents of change, of personal evolution. Expecting anyone else to do it for us is foolhardy and futile. We are the captain of our ship; anxiety is just a passenger.

SAD thrives by our complacency and irrationality. Our SAD-provoking self-abuse is irrational.  We were not put on this earth to hurt ourselves. That flies in the face of universal law and common sense. Yet, we have stayed on our self-destructive trajectory since childhood. So where do we go from here? The first step is to overcome our resistance. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step and comfortable shoes. The single step is non-resistance; the shoes are self-reliance and self-appreciation.

Our resistance compels us to settle even though we are disillusioned by our toxic condition and secretly crave a healthy alternative. These dual modes of desperation manifest in an inner contradiction, pitting fear against desire, in essence, shutting us down. We close ourselves off to innovative ideas and concepts. We let nothing in. We stay embrangled in our perceptions of incompetence and inferiority.

Resistance is borne by childish intransigence and underscored by antipathy and dread. It is the dam that stems the river’s flow, counterintuitive to evolution and the natural order. The universe is fluid and constantly adapting. In the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu tells us “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Do not resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”

Motivational gurus describe non-resistance as surrender. In recovery, we embrace it. Surrender is submission or concession. Embracement is willing and enthusiastic acceptance. That is what we must have to get well. Proactive neuroplasticity is our deliberate input of positive information to counter our life-consistent negative self-beliefs. Half measures or capitulation subverts the self-reliance and appreciation necessary for transformation.

Why is proactive neuroplasticity the most efficient means of recovery? We dramatically accelerate and consolidate recovery by consciously telling our neural network to repattern its circuitry. Our brain responds in multiple, positive ways. The deliberate, repetitive, neural input

of information empowers us to consciously transform our thoughts and behaviors, creating healthy new mindsets, skills, and abilities. It powers us to take control of our recovery.

One more symptom of resistance is our tendency to attack the value and effectiveness of something without experiencing it. We refute ideas and concepts without intelligent consideration. To offer a common colloquialism, don’t knock it if you haven‘t tried it. Consider the possibility. The self-recrimination for not having the presence of mind to even try is far more destructive than any form of rejection or failure.

For those who dispute its effectiveness, doubt is another manifestation of resistance, and It will not serve you well in recovery. Remember, the truth does not care what you believe; the truth is the truth.

We are engaged in a war that is not easily won. It is a life-consuming series of battles. The process of proactive neuroplasticity is theoretically simple but challenging, due to the commitment and endurance required for the long-term, repetitive process. We do not don tennis shorts and advance to Wimbledon without decades of practice with rackets and balls; philharmonics cater to pianists who have spent years at the keyboard. Neural restructuring requires a calculated regimen of deliberate, repetitive, neural information that is not only tedious but also fails to deliver immediate tangible results, causing us to readily concede defeat and abandon hope. However, once we initiate the process of recovery, utilizing the appropriate tools and techniques, progress is exponential.

Our nonresistance is evidence of our willingness to accept what is fundamentally our inheritance. When we commit to recovery, a broader dimension of consciousness opens up and we merge into the orderly flow of the universe. We are no longer isolated but accept our inherent role as a creative force as both inlet and outlet. As receivers and givers, we become entangled with society. By recognizing our inherent worth and potential, we allow the transformation.

The negative cycle we find ourselves in may have convinced us that there is something wrong with us. That is too simple a rationalization. Perhaps we are viewing ourselves and the world inaccurately. That is not our fault. SAD sustains itself by feeding us life-consistent irrational thoughts and behaviors. When we break our leg do we become that injured limb or are we simply an Individual with a broken leg? We are not our social anxiety.

When we remain conjoined with our social anxiety disorder, we continue to view ourselves as helpless, hopeless, undesirable, and worthless. These are our core self-beliefs as a result of childhood disturbance, something we will cover in more detail in Chapter Five. By dissociating ourselves from our condition, we view things more rationally because it is our dysfunction that compels us to think irrationally.

We realize we are not helpless. There are multiple resources available to anyone with the motivation and commitment to improving their emotional wellbeing and quality of life.

We are not hopeless unless we chose to be. We capitulate to despair to justify our fears. Once we recognize they are intangible, existing only in our imagination, we see them for what they are – SAD-provoking abstractions, powerless without our participation. Feelings of despair are not concrete but emotional states or reactions under our control. If we were truly devoid of hope, we would not be investigating avenues of recovery. 

We are not undesirable. SAD compels us to view life inaccurately. It reinforces or justifies our negative thoughts and behaviors. It convinces us our perceptions are the truth of a situation instead of interpretations. Assuming we know what others feel and think, and why they act the way they do is self-centered and illogical. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and SAD’s vision is myopic and jaundiced.

We are not worthless, but integral and consequential to all things, the ultimate, dynamic, creative ground of being and doing. Our life is an exquisite, creative work-in-progress, an integral force of nature. We are an agent of all future becomings. We are creativity itself, responsible for capturing, preserving, and passing along the entire history of the Universe. 

We are unique to every other entity; there is no one like us. We are the totality of our experiences, beliefs, perceptions, demands, and desires with individual DNA, fingerprints, and outer ears—no one shares our identities. There is and never has been a single human being with our sensibilities, our memories, our motivations, and our dreams.

The more formidable the challenge, the greater the adversity. The only thing we have to fear is fear itself and the greatest is that of the unknown. SAD sustains itself by inflicting anxiety and fear, but they have no power on their own. We fuel them; we give them strength and power. 

How do we defeat SAD? We outsmart it. We overcome it. We refute its authority. We challenge its legitimacy. Any new pursuit is uncharted waters and that is, by nature, scary. But with significant risk comes great reward. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the shadow of the unknown until we expose it to the light of rational response. That is why we must know the enemy and know ourselves and use this information to prepare for all contingencies. Confidence and mastery come through knowledge and preparation.

Social anxiety disorder is comorbid with multiple emotional dysfunctions including depression, substance abuse,  panic disorder, ADHD, PTSD, generalized anxiety, issues of self-esteem and motivation, and half-a-dozen other disorders. Proactive neuroplasticity and subsequently this book addresses emotional dysfunction in general because each originates with childhood disturbance and benefits, dramatically, from neural realignment.

__________

Comments, Suggestions, Constructive Criticism.

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WHY IS YOUR SUPPORT SO IMPORTANT?  ReChanneling develops and implements programs to (1) moderate symptoms of emotional dysfunction and (2) pursue personal goals and objectives – harnessing our intrinsic aptitude for extraordinary living. Our paradigmatic approach targets the personality through empathy, collaboration, and program integration utilizing scientific and clinically practical methods including proactive neuroplasticity, cognitive-behavioral modification, positive psychology, and techniques designed to reinvigorate self-esteem. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.  

Proactive Neuroplasticity YouTube Series

Join 108 other followers

Dr. Mullen is doing impressive work helping the world. He is the pioneer of proactive neuroplasticity utilizing DRNI—deliberate, repetitive, neural information. WeVoice

NEW > Video Series #6: Affirmative Visualization

By visualizing a positive outcome prior to a feared situation, we experience behaving a certain way in a realistic scenario and, through repetition, attain an authentic shift in our behavior and perspective. It is a form of proactive neuroplasticity, and all the neural benefits of that science are accrued. Just as our neural network cannot distinguish between toxic and healthy information, it also does not distinguish whether we are physically experiencing something or imagining it. LINK

Video Series #5: Challenging Our Self-Destructive Thoughts

In this video, we focus on the trajectory of our self-destructive thoughts that impact our emotional wellbeing and quality of life. They originate with our negative core beliefs generated by our disorder which influence our intermediate beliefs from life experiences and form our ANTs or automatic negative thoughts that underscore our situational fears and anxieties. LINK

Video Series #4: The Power of Positive Personal Affirmations

We drastically underestimate the significance and effectiveness of PPAs because we do not understand the science behind them. PPAs are brief, individually focused statements that we repeat to ourselves to describe what and who we want to be. PPAs help us focus on goals, challenge negative, self-defeating beliefs, and reprogram our subconscious minds. Practicing positive personal affirmations is an extremely effective form of DRNI or the deliberate, repetitive input of neural information that supports proactive neuroplasticity. LINK

Video Series #3: Tools and Techniques

Proactive neuroplasticity is the process of deliberately and repetitively inputting positive information into our neural network to consolidate learning and unlearning. What is that information? How is it constructed? The objective is to ensure the information is of the highest quality to effect change. What are the best tools and techniques? What methodologies and psychological support systems are best suited to support proactive neuroplasticity – to help us unlearn the toxicity of negative self-beliefs, replacing them with healthy, positive ones. LINK

Video Series #2: Three Forms of Neuroplasticity

Reactive neuroplasticity is our brain’s natural adaptation to sensory information. Active neuroplasticity is neural information acquired through conscious activity, which includes all forms of deliberate learning. Proactive neuroplasticity is the conscious, intentional repatterning of our neural network utilizing tools and techniques that facilitate the process. The deliberate, repetitive, input of neural information empowers us to proactively transform our thoughts and behaviors, creating healthy new mindsets, skills, and abilities. LINK

Video Series #1: Introduction

Research has established that our neural network is a dynamic organism, constantly adapting and rebuilding to each new input of information. Scientists refer to the process of neuroplasticity as the structural remodeling of the brain. By deliberately enhancing the process, we can proactively transform our thoughts, behaviors, and perspectives, creating healthy new mindsets, skills, and abilities. All information notifies our neural pathways to restructure, generating a correlated change in behavior and perspective. LINK

Video Series #7: 10/15/2022

This series of videos will illustrate how information is algorithmically coded into positive or negative electrical energy creating the activity that modifies our neural network. How the deliberate, repetitive neural input of information, or DRNI, strengthens and solidifies the connections between neurons, dramatically accelerating and consolidating learning through synaptic neurotransmission. We will learn how the context, intention, and content of our information correlate to its effectiveness and durability.

We will discuss how the science of neuroplasticity evolved, differentiating reactive and active from proactive neural input. They will diagram the trajectory of neural information and how it impacts the various lobes of the human brain responsible for cognitive learning. How the neural input of information, coded into electrical energy, causes a receptive neuron to fire that energy onto a sensory neuron which forwards the information to millions upon millions of participating neurons. They will show how this cellular chain reaction reciprocates that initial electrical energy in abundance due to the amplified neural response. Positive information–in, positive energy multiplied millions of times, positive energy reciprocated in abundance. Each neural input of information impacts millions of neurons as they restructure our neural network to a form conducive to a positive self-image. 

Subsequently, the natural hormonal neurotransmissions reward our activity with GABA for relaxation, dopamine for pleasure, endorphins for euphoria, serotonin for a sense of well-being as well as hormones that support our motivation, enhance our memory, and improve concentration. However, since our brain doesn’t distinguish healthy from toxic information, the neurotransmission of pleasurable and motivational hormones happens whether we feed it self-destructive or constructive information. That’s one of the reasons breaking a habit, keeping to a resolution, or achieving our desired goal is challenging and why positive informational input is crucial for recovery and self-transformation.

Contemporary wisdom disputes the effectiveness of one-size-fits-all approaches to behavioral modification, so these videos will show how the integration of science and east-west psychologies is best suited to positive modification of our thoughts and behaviors. Science gives us proactive neuroplasticity; cognitive-behavioral modification and positive psychology’s optimal functioning are western approaches; eastern practices give us Abhidharma psychology and the overarching truths of ethical behavior. 

Our neural system has been conditioned by our core and intermediate beliefs. Dysfunction and experience negatively impact these beliefs, generating automatic negative thoughts called ANTs – that impact our emotional well-being and quality of life. These individuated perspectives illustrate the need for personality-targeting to support the diversity of human thought and experience. 

The mechanics of Hebbian Learning will be defined—how the repeated and persistent proactive input of information correlates to more robust and more effective learning. Hebb’s rule states the more repetitions, the quicker and more robust the connections. Harmful behaviors are unlearned, and new ones are adopted through deliberate and calculated activity. Negative core and intermediate beliefs are challenged and replaced by healthy and life-affirming ones. Videos will demonstrate how deliberate, repetitive, neural information not only alleviates the symptoms of physiological dysfunction and discomfort but empowers us, generating the motivation, persistence, and perseverance to achieve our goals and objectives.

The process of proactive neuroplasticity is theoretically simple but challenging, due to the commitment and endurance required for the long-term, repetitive process. We don’t put advance to Wimbledon without decades of practice with racket and balls; philharmonics cater to pianists who have spent years at the keyboard. DRNI requires a calculated regimen of deliberate, repetitive, neural information that is not only tedious but also fails to deliver immediate tangible results, causing us to readily concede defeat and abandon hope in this era of instant gratification. 

Fortunately, the universal law of compensation anticipates this. The positive impact of proactive neuroplasticity is exponential due to the abundant reciprocation of positive energy and the neurotransmission of hormones that generate motivation, persistence, and perseverance. Proactive neuroplasticity utilizing DRNI dramatically mitigates symptoms of physiological dysfunction and discomfort and advances the pursuit of goals and objectives.  

__________

WHY IS YOUR SUPPORT SO IMPORTANT?  ReChanneling develops and implements programs to (1) moderate symptoms of emotional dysfunction and (2) pursue personal goals and objectives – harnessing our intrinsic aptitude for extraordinary living. Our paradigmatic approach targets the personality through empathy, collaboration, and program integration utilizing scientific and clinically practical methods including proactive neuroplasticity, cognitive-behavioral modification, positive psychology, and techniques designed to reinvigorate self-esteem. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.  

Services Offered by ReChanneling

Join 108 other followers

WHY IS YOUR SUPPORT SO IMPORTANT? 

ReChanneling develops and implements programs to (1) moderate symptoms of emotional dysfunction and (2) pursue personal goals and objectives – harnessing our intrinsic aptitude for extraordinary living. Our paradigmatic approach targets the personality through empathy, collaboration, and program integration utilizing scientific and clinically practical methods including proactive neuroplasticity, cognitive-behavioral modification, positive psychology, and techniques designed to reinvigorate self-esteem. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.

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Please contact us if you are considering a donation so we can credit you and discuss how we can better reach the millions of adults and adolescents with emotional dysfunction. Contact Matty at rechanneling@yahoo.com

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Affirmative Visualization

Dr. Robert F. Mullen
Director/ReChanneling

Dr. Mullen is doing impressive work helping the world. He is the
pioneer of proactive neuroplasticity utilizing DRNI—deliberate,
repetitive, neural information. — WeVoice

Affirmative Visualization

Affirmative Visualization is another viable tool in recovery from social anxiety and its common comorbidities, including depression and substance abuse. The neural benefits of visualization are scientifically supported through studies and the neuroscientific understanding of neuroplasticity. Like positive personal affirmations (PPAs), the graded exposure or systematic desensitization of Affirmative Visualization (some experts call it imaginal exposure) alleviates anxiety in a structured, unthreatening environment. PPAs are concise, predetermined, positive statements. Affirmative Visualizations are positive outcome scenarios that we mentally recreate by imagining or visualizing them. Both are underscored by the Laws of Learning, which explain what conditions must be present for learning (or unlearning) to occur and how to accelerate and consolidate the process through proactive neuroplasticity

PROACTIVE NEUROPLASTICITY YOUTUBE SERIES

We label the process as Affirmative to emphasize the positivity of the visualizations to counteract our natural negative bias and the predisposition of the emotionally dysfunctional to set negative outcome scenarios due to life-consistent negative self-beliefs and images.

Through Affirmative Visualization, we envision behaving a certain way in a realistic scenario and, through deliberate repetition, attain an authentic shift in our behavior and perspective. It is a form of proactive neuroplasticity, and all the neural benefits of that science are accrued by visualization.

As we know, our brain is in a constant mode of learning; it never stops realigning to information. It forms a million new connections for every input. Information includes experience, muscle movement, a decision, a memory, emotion, reaction, noise, tactile impression, a twitch. With each input, connections strengthen and weaken, neurons atrophy and others are born, learning replaces unlearning, energy dissipates and expands, beneficial hormones are neurally transmitted, and functions shift from one region to another. Proactively stimulating our brain with deliberate, repetitive neural information utilizing Affirmative Visualization accelerates and consolidates learning (and unlearning), producing a correlated change in thought, behavior, and perspective. These changes become habitual and spontaneous over time.

Our brain provides the same neural restructuring when we visualize doing something or when we actually do it; the same regions of our brain are stimulated. Just as our neural network cannot distinguish between toxic and productive information, it also does not distinguish whether we are physically experiencing something or imagining it.

The thalamus is the small structure within our brain located just above the stem between the cerebral cortex and the midbrain. It has extensive nerve connections to both. All information passes through the thalamus and onto the millions of participating neurons. By visualizing an idea or performance repeatedly for an extended period, we increase activity in the thalamus and our brain responds as though the idea is a real object or actually happening.

Our thalamus makes no distinction between inner and outer realities. It does not distinguish whether we are imagining something or experiencing it. Thus, any idea, if contemplated long enough, will take on a semblance of reality. If we visualize a solution to a problem, the problem is systemically resolved because visualizing activates the cognitive circuits involved with our working memory.

Research reveals that visualizing an event in advance improves our mental and physical performance. When we visualize what we want to achieve, we consciously source information that will improve our performance outcomes, dramatically improving the likelihood of success in the real situation.

We can visualize mitigating anxiety and comfortably interacting, or we can envision being a more empathetic or competent individual. Our neural repatterning will help us achieve those goals. The more we visualize with clear intent, the more focused we become and the higher the probability of achieving our goal. It activates our dopaminergic-reward system, decreasing the neurotransmissions of anxiety and fear-provoking hormones, and accelerating and consolidating those that make learning more accessible. In addition, when we visualize, our brain generates alpha waves which, neuroscientists have discovered, can dramatically reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression.

__________

WHY IS YOUR SUPPORT SO IMPORTANT?  ReChanneling develops and implements programs to (1) moderate symptoms of emotional dysfunction and (2) pursue personal goals and objectives – harnessing our intrinsic aptitude for extraordinary living. Our paradigmatic approach targets the personality through empathy, collaboration, and program integration utilizing scientific and clinically practical methods including proactive neuroplasticity, cognitive-behavioral modification, positive psychology, and techniques designed to reinvigorate self-esteem. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.  

DRNI: Proactively Restructuring Our Neural Network

Dr. Robert F.Mullen
Director/ReChanneling

Dr. Mullen is doing impressive work helping the world. He is the
pioneer of proactive neuroplasticity utilizing DRNI—deliberate,
repetitive, neural information. WeVoice

DRNI

The deliberate, repetitive neural input of information

Neuroplasticity is scientific evidence of our neural network’s constant adaptation to learning. Neuroscientists refer to the process as structural remodeling of the brain. It is what makes learning and registering new experiences possible. All information notifies our neural circuits to realign, generating a correlated change in behavior and perspective. 

What is significant is our ability to dramatically accelerate learning by consciously compelling our brain to repattern its neural circuitry. Deliberate, repetitive, neural information (DRNI) empowers us to proactively transform our thoughts and behaviors, creating healthy new mindsets, skills, and abilities. It is the most effective means of learning and unlearning.

Reactive neuroplasticity is our brain’s natural adaption to information. Information includes thought, behavior, experience, sensation, etc. Active neuroplasticity is cognitive pursuits such as engaging in social interaction, teaching, aerobics, and creating. Proactive neuroplasticity is the most effective means of learning and unlearning because the regimen of deliberate, repetitive, neural input of information accelerates and consolidates restructuring. 

Neurons do not act by themselves but through neural circuits that strengthen or weaken their connections based on electrical activity. The deliberate, repetitious, input of information impels neurons to fire repeatedly, causing them to wire together. The more repetitions, the more robust the new connection. This is Hebbian Learning.

Hebbian Learning

Hebbian Learning

Synaptic connections consolidate when two or more neurons activate contiguously. Neural circuits are like muscles, the more repetitions, the more durable the connection. Hebb’s rule of neuroplasticity states neurons that fire together wire together. When multiple neurons wire together, they create more pre- and post-synaptic neurons. Repeated firing strengthens and solidifies the pathways between neurons. The activity of the axon pathway heightens, causing the synapses to accelerate the release of hormones that generate the commitment, persistence, and perseverance useful to recovery or the pursuit of personal goals and objectives.

We not only prompt our neural network to restructure by deliberately inputting information, but through repetition, we cause circuits to strengthen and realign, speeding up the process of learning and unlearning. 

What happens when multiple neurons wire together? Every input of information, intentional or otherwise, causes a receptor neuron to fire. Each time a neuron fires, it reshapes and strengthens the axon connection and the neural bond. Repeated neural input creates multiple connections between receptor, sensory, and relay neurons, attracting other neurons. An increase in learning efficacy arises from the sensory neuron’s repeated and persistent stimulation of the postsynaptic cell. Postsynaptic neurons multiply, amplifying the positive or negative energy of the information.

The consequence of DRNI over a long period is obvious. Multiple firings accelerate and consolidate learning. In addition, DRNI activates long-term potentiation, which increases the strength of the nerve impulses along the connecting pathways, generating more energy. Deliberate, repetitive, neural information generates higher levels of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factors) proteins associated with improved cognitive functioning, mental health, and memory. 

PROACTIVE NEUROPLASTICITY YOUTUBE SERIES

We know how challenging it is to change, to remove ourselves from hostile environments, to break habits that interfere with our optimum functioning. We are physiologically hard-wired to resist anything that jeopardizes our status quo. Our brain’s inertia senses and repels changes, and our basal ganglia resist any modification in behavior patterns. DRNI empowers us to assume accountability for our emotional well-being and quality of life by proactively controlling the input of information.

Neural Reciprocity

Neural restructuring does not happen overnight. Recovery-remission is a year or more in recovery utilizing appropriate tools and techniques. Meeting personal goals and objectives takes persistence, perseverance, and patience. Substance abuse programs recommend nurturing a plant or tropical fish during the first year before contemplating a personal relationship. The successful pursuit of any ambition varies by individual and is subject to multiple factors. However, once we begin the process of DRNI, progress is exponential. Our brain reciprocates the positivity of our efforts in abundance because every viable input of information engages millions of neurons with their own energy transmission. 

DRNI plays a crucial role in reciprocity. The chain reaction generated by a single neural receptor involves millions of neurons that amplify energy on a massive scale. The reciprocating energy from DRNI is vastly more abundant because of the repeated firing by the neuron receptor. Positive energy in, positive energy multiplied millions of times, positive energy reciprocated in abundance. 

Conversely, negative energy in, negative energy multiplied millions of times, negative energy is reciprocated in abundance. 

Neurotransmissions

Our brain does not think; it is an organic reciprocator that provides the means for us to think. Its function is the maintenance of our heartbeat, nervous system, blood flow, etc. It tells us when to breathe, stimulates thirst, and controls our weight and digestion.

Because our brain does not distinguish healthy from toxic information, the natural neurotransmission of pleasurable and motivational hormones happens whether we feed it self-destructive or constructive information. That is one of the reasons breaking a habit, keeping to a resolution, or recovering is challenging. The power of DRNI is that a regimen of positive, repetitive input can compensate for decades of irrational, self-destructive thoughts and behaviors, and provide the mental and emotional wherewithal to effectively pursue our personal goals and objectives. 

We receive neurotransmissions of GABA for relaxation, dopamine for pleasure and motivation, endorphins to elevate our mood, and serotonin for a sense of well-being. Acetylcholine supports our positivity, glutamate enhances our memory, and noradrenalin improves concentration. In addition, information reduces the impact of the fear and anxiety-provoking hormones, cortisol and adrenaline. When we input negative information, our brain naturally releases neurotransmitters that support that negativity. 

Conversely, every time we provide positive information, our brain releases hormones that make us feel viable and productive, subverting the negative energy channeled by the things that impede our potential. 

Definitions

Dysfunction and discomfort are conditions that can result in functional impairment and impact our quality of life. The difference is in severity. A dysfunction is a diagnosable condition that psychiatrists label a mental illness or disorder. Discomfort does not rise to the level of diagnosability but is holistically disruptive, nonetheless.

Personal goals and objectives are those things we want to change about ourselves: eliminating a bad habit or behavior, improving life satisfaction, and revitalizing self-esteem. The deliberate, repetitive, neural input of information significantly improves the probability of recovery. Likewise, it empowers us to pursue those personal goals and objectives that make our lives more viable and productive. 

Constructing the Information

Deliberate neural, information is structured by context, content, and intention, which determine the integrity of the information and its correlation to durability and learning efficacy. The most effective information is calculated and specific to our intention. Are we challenging the negative thoughts and behaviors of our dysfunction? Are we reaffirming the character strengths and virtues that support recovery and transformation? Are we focused on a specific challenge? What is our end goal – the personal milestone we want to achieve? Content is the actual phrasing of our intent; words have meaning.

The process is theoretically simple but challenging, due to the commitment and endurance required for the long-term, repetitive process. We do not put on tennis shorts and advance to Wimbledon without decades of practice with racket and balls; philharmonics cater to pianists who have spent years at the keyboard. DRNI requires a calculated regimen of deliberate, repetitive, neural information that is not only tedious but also fails to deliver immediate tangible results, causing us to readily concede defeat and abandon hope in this era of instant gratification. Fortunately, the universal law of compensation anticipates this. The positive impact of proactive neuroplasticity is exponential due to the abundant reciprocation of positive energy and the neurotransmission of hormones that generate motivation, persistence, and perseverance. Proactive neuroplasticity utilizing DRNI dramatically mitigates symptoms of physiological dysfunction and discomfort and advances the pursuit of goals and objectives. 

__________

WHY IS YOUR SUPPORT SO IMPORTANT?  ReChanneling develops and implements programs to (1) moderate symptoms of emotional dysfunction and (2) pursue personal goals and objectives – harnessing our intrinsic aptitude for extraordinary living. Our paradigmatic approach targets the personality through empathy, collaboration, and program integration utilizing scientific and clinically practical methods including proactive neuroplasticity, cognitive-behavioral modification, positive psychology, and techniques designed to reinvigorate self-esteem. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.

Anatomy of Recovery and Empowerment Workshops

Recovery: regaining possession or control of something stolen or lost

Empowerment: becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights.

Neuroplasticity: the ability of the brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections in response to learning or experience.

Proactive: controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened.

Proactive Neuroplasticity: defining our emotional well-being through DRNI – the deliberate, repetitive, neural input of information.

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Emotional Dysfunction
Goals and Objectives

Self-Esteem and Motivation
Social Anxiety Disorder

Dr. Mullen is doing impressive work helping the world. He is the
pioneer of proactive neuroplasticity utilizing DRNI—deliberate,
repetitive, neural information. — WeVoice

Register Below

ReChanneling researches and develops methods to (1) alleviate symptoms of dysfunction (disorder) and discomfort (neurosis) that impact an individual’s emotional wellbeing and quality of life, (2) pursue personal goals and objectives—eliminating a bad habit, self-transformation—harnessing our intrinsic aptitude for extraordinary living. Its paradigmatic approach targets the personality through empathy, collaboration, and program integration utilizing scientific and historically, clinically practical methods including proactive neuroplasticity, cognitive-behavioral therapy, positive psychology, and techniques designed to compel the recovery and reinvigoration of self-esteem disrupted by the adolescent onset of dysfunction.  

CONTACT US

The suspension of on-site workshops due to pandemic restrictions compelled ReChanneling to focus on online recovery groups and workshops, broadening its outreach from local to national participation. Our social anxiety group, for example, includes persons from SF, Vancouver, NYC, Riverside, Taos, Tracy, Los Angeles, and Houston. Although we will be reinstituting on-site workshops next year, we will continue our online recovery work with persons nationally. 

ReChanneling’s focus on recovery from anxiety and depression has expanded to their comorbidities including PTSD, OCD, ADHD, and substance abuse. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America and other expert organizations report multiple dysfunctions related to social anxiety including major depression, panic disorder, alcohol abuse, PTSD, avoidant personality disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, substance abuse, eating disorders, schizophrenia, ADHD, and agoraphobia. Well over 60% of individuals with anxiety also have depression and both can lead to substance abuse. Anxiety-related comorbid disorders with similar emotional issues are treatable with the same paradigmatic approach that fosters self-reliance, determination, and perseverance. This overview focuses on social anxiety and, by design, its multiple comorbidities.

Cumulative evidence that a toxic childhood leads to psychological complications has been well-established, as has the recognition of early exploitation as a primary causal factor in lifetime emotional instability. It has been determined that the onset of dysfunction ostensibly occurs in adolescence or earlier due to childhood physical, emotional, or sexual disturbance. This disturbance can be real or imagined, intentional or accidental. This causes a disruption in natural human development, negatively impacting the natural development of self-esteem.

The Online Recovery Group

A group provides support and information. It is a safe and confidential space where participants can share experiences in a collegial and supportive environment.

The Online Recovery Workshop.

The ultimate objectives of a Recovery Workshop are:

  • To provide the tools and techniques to replace years of toxic thoughts and behaviors with rational, healthy ones, dramatically alleviating the self-destructive symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other dysfunctions
  • To compel the rediscovery and reinvigoration of the individual’s character strengths, virtues, and attributes.
  • To design a targeted behavioral modification process to help the individual re-engage their social comfort and status.
  • To provide the individual the means to control their dysfunction, rather than allowing it to control them.

Logistics. A targeted Recovery Workshop is most effective with a maximum of ten on-site participants, and eight participants for the current online workshops. 

YouTube Videos

Proactive neuroplasticity is supported by DRNI – the deliberate, repetitive, neural input of information. What is that information? What goes into manufacturing that information? The objective is to ensure the information is of the highest quality in order to effect change. How do we expedite this? What are the best tools and techniques? There is no one right way to recover or achieve a personal goal or objective. So also, what helps us at one time in our life may not help us at another.

It is myopic of recovery programs to lump us into a single niche. Individually, we are a conglomerate of personalities―distinct phenomena generated by everything and anything experienced in our lifetime. Every teaching, opinion, belief, and influence develops our personality. It is our current and immediate being and the expression of that being. It is formed by core beliefs and developed by social, cultural, and environmental experiences. It is constant and fluid, singular yet multiple. It is our inimitable way of thinking, feeling, and behaving. It is who we are, who we think we are, and who we believe we are destined to become.

The insularity of cognitive-behavioral modification, positive psychologies, and other approaches cannot comprehensively address the complexity of the personality. It requires an integration of multiple traditional and non-traditional approaches, developed through client trust, cultural assimilation, and therapeutic innovation. Environment, heritage, background, and associations reflect an individual’s wants, choices, and aspirations.

An integration of science and east-west psychologies captures the diversity of human thought and experience. Science gives us proactive neuroplasticity; cognitive-behavioral self-modification and positive psychology’s optimal functioning are western-oriented; eastern practices provide the therapeutic benefits of Abhidharma psychology and the overarching truths of ethical behavior. Included are targeted approaches utilized to help the individual rediscover and reinvigorate their self-esteem.

Each integrated approach collaborates with and supports the others.

I’ve lived with social anxiety for decades. I spent many years (and thousands of dollars) on conventional talk therapy, self-help books, and medication, without experiencing any real change or relief. ReChanneling’s Social Anxiety Workshop produced results within a few sessions, with continuing improvement throughout the workshop and beyond. I’m now much more at ease in situations that were major sources of anxiety and avoidance for me just a few months ago. The shared experience of working through social anxiety with other people who “get it” is powerful, and I’ve felt Dr. Mullen is truly committed to our growth and recovery. — Liz D. 

More Testimonials

Proactive Neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is evidence of our brain’s constant adaptation to learning. Scientists refer to the process as structural remodeling of the brain. It is what makes learning and registering new experiences possible. All information notifies our neural network to realign, generating a correlated change in behavior and perspective. 

What is significant is our ability to dramatically accelerate learning by consciously compelling our brain to repattern its neural circuitry. Deliberate, repetitive, neural information (DRNI) empowers us to proactively transform our thoughts and behaviors, creating healthy new mindsets, skills, and abilities. 

Reactive neuroplasticity is our brain’s natural adaption to information. Information includes thought, behavior, experience, and sensation. Active neuroplasticity is cognitive pursuits such as engaging in social interaction, teaching, aerobics, and creating. Proactive neuroplasticity is the most effective means of learning and unlearning because the regimen of deliberate, repetitive neural input of information accelerates and consolidates restructuring. 

Cognitive-Behavioral Self-Modification (CBSM), is an adaptation of cognitive-behavioral therapy, one that reshapes the program, rather than subverts it by emphasizing the self-reliance and personal accountability demanded by proactive neuroplasticity.

Cognitive-behavioral self-modification supports our efforts to recognize and replace our automatic negative thoughts with healthy rational ones (ARTs). It is most effective when used in concert with other approaches. Like its elemental predecessor, CBSM is structured, goal-oriented, and focused on the present solution.

That focus on the individual’s current condition is important because proactive neuroplasticity is a here-and-now solution. This does not devalue psychodynamic or regression therapies, but they are not front and foremost in proactive neuroplasticity.

Roughly 90 percent of therapeutic approaches involve cognitive-behavioral treatments. However, critical studies dispute its efficacy, claiming it fares no better than non-CBT programs. They argue its effectiveness has deteriorated since its introduction, concluding it is no more successful than mindfulness-based therapy for depression and anxiety. Despite these criticisms, the program of behavior modification fostered by Beck in the 1960s is still useful in modifying our irrational thoughts and behaviors when used in concert with other approaches.

Positive psychology emphasizes our inherent and acquired character strengths, virtues, and attributes that help us achieve optimum functioning – in this case, recovery and transformation. PP’s mental health interventions have proved successful in mitigating the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other self-destructive patterns, producing significant improvements in emotional well-being.

Positive psychology’s objective is to encourage us to shift our negative outlook to a more optimistic view to support the motivation, persistence, and perseverance important to recovery and the pursuit of our goals and objectives. 

Abhidharma psychology explores the essence of perception and experience, and the reasons and methods behind self-analyzation and awareness. It presents a clear system for understanding our psychological dispositions, processes, habits, and challenges. Its emphasis on probity over immorality is evident in the eightfold path of positive and constructive activity.

Western teachings tell us what to avoid—envy, gluttony, greed, lust, hubris, laziness, and rage. Buddhist psychology tells us what to embrace—a valuable life, good intentions, tolerance, wholesome and kind living, productive livelihood, positive attitude, self-awareness, and integrity – all things that facilitate the neural input of healthy and productive stimuli. 

Addressing self-esteem is an essential part of recovery and transformation. A fusion of clinically proven exercises helps us appreciate our value and potential – to realize that we are necessary to this life and of incomprehensible worth. Due to our disorder and our life experiences, we are subject to issues of self-esteem and motivation, assets vital for the positive restructuring of our neural network.

To comprehensively address the complexity of the personality, we must create individual-based solutions. Training in prosocial behavior and emotional literacy are useful supplements to typical approaches. Behavioral exercises and exposure consolidate our social skills. Positive affirmations have enormous subjective value. Data provide evidence for mindfulness and acceptance-based interventions. Motivational enhancement strategies help overcome resistance to new ideas and concepts.

Each approach provides an integral link to the quality and intention of our neural input of information via proactive neuroplasticity.

Proactive Neuroplasticity YouTube Series

Next: Video Series #7: 10/15/2022

Workshop Components

The main components utilized in our Recovery Workshop include psychoeducation, cognitive comprehension, roleplay, exposure, and homework.

Psychoeducation involves teaching individuals about the relationship between thoughts, emotions, and physiological reactions. Complementarity is the inherent cooperation of our human system components in maintaining physiological equilibrium. It is mind, body, spirit, and emotions working in concert. The sustainability of our dysfunction, as well as recovery, is supported by simultaneous mutual interaction.

Cognitive Comprehension involves correcting negative or inaccurate cognitions by identifying distorted thoughts and developing rational replies. It is based on the premise that dysfunction compels individuals to avoid the reality of their symptomatic negative self-image and beliefs, generating inaccurate, biased processing while in social situations.

Roleplay. Participants act out various social roles in dramatic situations that, through comprehension and repetition help us learn how to cope with stress and conflicts.

Exposure. By utilizing graded exposure, we start with Situations that are easier for us to manage, then work our way up to more challenging tasks. This allows us to build our confidence slowly and to practice learned skills to ease our situational anxiety. By doing this in a structured and repeated way, we reduce our fears and apprehensions. In vivo exposure allows us to confront feared stimuli in real-world conditions.

Homework consists of self-evaluating exercises that help us identify and address our distorted thoughts and irrational behaviors.

Recovery Workshop Strategies May Include:

Positive Personal Affirmations
Character Resume
Distractions/Diversions
Vertical Arrow Technique
Shame, Guilt, Blaming
Persona
Complementarity
Positive Autobiography

Deliberate conversations
Affirmative Visualization
Slow-talk, slow thinking
Cognitive Distortions
ANTs (automatic negative thoughts)
Moderating Exposure Situations
Coping skills

These are active, structured Recovery Workshops for people who are willing and motivated to address the symptoms of their dysfunction. This means we can only work with self-motivated and committed individuals. We cannot accept people or continue to support them unless they are willing to participate in the discussions and exercises. While progress is exponential, goals are not met overnight. Recovery is a lifelong work-in-progress.

The current workshops consist of ten online weekly sessions, meeting in the evening and lasting roughly 1-1/2 hours. There is minimal homework (approximately 1 hour weekly). At the conclusion of the ten weeks, we conference monthly for the following year, at no cost, to support the recovery process. 

The cost of the workshop is on a sliding scale:

  • $40 per session if income is $100,000+
  • $35 per session if income is $75,000 – $99,999
  • $30 per session if income is $50,000 – $74,999
  • $25 per session if income is less than $25,000 – $49,999
  • $20 per session if income is under $25,000.
  • Scholarships are available for those who have difficulty meeting these thresholds.

On-site workshops will resume post-pandemic. Individual recovery support is available to a select few. 

For further information, to register, or to request an interview, please complete the following form.

WHY IS YOUR SUPPORT SO IMPORTANT?  ReChanneling develops and implements programs to (1) moderate symptoms of emotional dysfunction and (2) pursue personal goals and objectives – harnessing our intrinsic aptitude for extraordinary living. Our paradigmatic approach targets the personality through empathy, collaboration, and program integration utilizing scientific and clinically practical methods including proactive neuroplasticity, cognitive-behavioral modification, positive psychology, and techniques designed to reinvigorate self-esteem. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.  

Why the Term ‘Mental Illness’ is Unhealthy

Dr. Mullen is doing impressive work helping the world. He is the pioneer of proactive neuroplasticity utilizing DRNI — deliberate, repetitive, neural information. — WeVoice

Forget most of what you have been told. We have been poorly informed by the disease model of mental healthcare and influenced by mental health stigma. The utilization of the term mental illness is problematic. Its negative perspectives and implications promulgate perceptions of incompetence, unworthiness, and undesirability. It is the dominant source of stigma, shame, and self-denigration.

One only needs the American Psychological Association’s[1] definition of neurosis to comprehend the mental health community’s pathographic focus. The 90-word overview contains the following descriptors: distressing, irrational, obsessive, compulsive, dissociative, depressive, exaggerated, unconscious, conflicts, anxiety, and disorders

The word mental defines a person or their behavior as extreme or illogical. In adolescence, anyone unpopular or different was a mental case or a retard. The urban dictionary defines mental as someone silly or stupid. It is often associated with violent or divisive behavior. Add the word illness or disorder and we have the public stereotype of someone dangerous and unpredictable who cannot fend for themselves and should be isolated. 

To the early civilizations, mental illnesses were the domain of supernatural forces and demonic possession. Hippocrates and diagnosticians of the 19th century favored the humours (bodily liquids). Lunar influence, sorcery, and witchcraft are timeless culprits. In the early 20th century, it was somatogenic. The biological approach argues that mental disorders are related to the brain’s physical structure and functioning. The pharmacological approach promotes it as an imbalance in brain chemistry. The first Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (1952) leaned heavily on environmental and biological causes. 

Proactive Neuroplasticity YouTube Series

The term physiological disorder distances itself from the hostility of mental illness but even that is inadequate, as is psychophysiological or the Bio-Psycho-Socio-Spiritual model. A disorder is the consequence of the simultaneous mutual interaction of mind, body, spirit, and emotions – a complementary condition which, in lesser severity, is discomfort. They are, for all intents and purposes, emotional dysfunctions.

Disorders and discomforts can result in functional impairment which interferes with or limits one or more major life activities. Both are what used to be called neuroses, and both are correctible through the same basic processes. It’s a matter of severity. Discomfort is a condition that impacts our quality of life; a disorder is a diagnosable condition that impacts our quality of life. The disease model of mental healthcare labels the latter a mental illness or disorder. 

Emotional dysfunction is not abnormal but a natural consequence of human development. A recent article in Scientific American speculates they are so common almost everyone will develop at least one diagnosable disorder at some point in their life.[2] There is nothing abnormal or unusual about them. They are normal facets of human development – evidence of our humanness.  

There are two measures of emotional dysfunction: neuroses and psychoses. When someone sees, hears, or responds to things that are not actual, they are experiencing a psychotic episode. 3% of Americans have or will experience a psychotic episode in their lives, and less than 1% have a psychotic disorder. The rest of us are neurotic. Everyone has moderate-and-above levels of anxiety, stress, and depression. We are all emotionally dysfunctional to some extent. 

Research indicates roughly 90% of onset happens in adolescents due to heredity or experienced detachment, exploitation, and or neglect. In rare cases of narcissism and PTSD where onset happens later in life, the susceptibility originates in childhood due to physical, emotional, or sexual disturbance. 

Anything that interferes with a child’s social development is detrimental to adolescent and adult emotional health. Childhood/adolescent abuse is a generic term to describe a broad spectrum of experiences that interfere with optimal physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development. It could be hereditary, environmental, or due to some traumatic experience. The cumulative evidence that childhood and adolescent occasions and events are the primary causal factor in lifetime emotional instability has been well-established. 

Any number of things are instrumental. Our parents were over-controlling or did not provide emotional validation. Perhaps we were subjected to bullying or come from a broken home. We must recognize that it is never our fault and possibly no one is intentionally responsible. A toddler who senses abandonment when a parent is preoccupied can develop emotional issues

Those who believe emotional dysfunction is a result of some behavior or is god’s punishment for sin are misinformed. Behaviors later in life may impact the severity but they are not responsible for the condition itself. We are not accountable for the cards we have been dealt; we are responsible for how we play the hand. We cannot be held accountable for the childhood disturbance that precipitated the onset. We did not make it happen; it happened to us. 

The current pathographic process focuses on diagnosis over the individual. In groups, we learn to personify the dysfunction to distinguish it from the individual, so that the symptoms are appropriately assigned. An individual who breaks their leg does not become the broken limb; she or he is simply an individual with a broken leg. 

Carl Roger’s study of the cooperation of human system components to maintain physiological equilibrium produced the word complementarity to define simultaneous mutual interaction. All human system components work in concert; they cannot function alone. Integrality describes the inter-cooperation of the human system, environment, and social fields. A disorder is not biologic, hygienic, neurochemical, or psychogenic. It is a collaboration of these, and other approaches administered by the simultaneous collaboration of the mind, body, spirit, and emotions.

There is no legitimate argument against mind-body collaboration in disease and wellness. Spirit is both the core and fluid character qualities of an individual, emotion is the expression of these qualities, both in collaboration with and responsive to mind and body.

Eliminating the prefix mental will help alleviate the deficit and diagnosis focus of the healthcare system. Changing negative and hostile language to embrace a positive dialogue of acceptance and appreciation will open the floodgates to new perspectives and positively impact the subject’s self-beliefs and image, leading to more disclosure, discussion, and recovery-remission. The self-denigrating aspects of shame will dissipate; mental health stigma becomes less threatening. The concentration on character strengths and attributes, propagated by humanism, positive psychology, and other wellness-focused alliances, will encourage accountability and foster self-reliance, leading to a confident and energized social identity. 

SAMHSA defines mental illness as a “diagnosable mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder of sufficient duration to meet diagnostic criteria” that can “result in functional impairment which substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.” This ‘defective’ emphasis has been the overriding psychiatric perspective for over a century. By the 1952 publication of DSM-1, the focus had drifted from pathology (the science of the causes and effects of diseases) to pathography (the breakdown of an individual’s problems, categorizing them to facilitate diagnosis). Pathography is the history of an individual’s suffering, focusing on a disease model of human behavior, whereas wellness models emphasize the positive aspects of human functioning. 

Undoubtedly, this sociological model conflicts with moral models that claim emotional dysfunction is onset controllable, and the disordered are to blame for their symptoms, or that mental illness is God’s punishment for immoral behavior. Again, it is crucial to recognize we are not responsible for our disorder. Playing the blame game only distracts from the solution: What are we going to do about it?

[1] APA Dictionary of Psychology. (2020.) Neurosis. American Psychological Association. https://dictionary.apa.org/neurosis

[2] Reuben, A., & Schaefer, J. (2017). Mental Illness Is Far More Common Than We Knew. Scientific American. Retrieved from https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/mental-illness-is-far-more-common-than-we-knew

WHY IS YOUR SUPPORT SO IMPORTANT?  ReChanneling develops and implements programs to (1) moderate symptoms of emotional dysfunction and (2) pursue personal goals and objectives – harnessing our intrinsic aptitude for extraordinary living. Our paradigmatic approach targets the personality through empathy, collaboration, and program integration utilizing scientific and clinically practical methods including proactive neuroplasticity, cognitive-behavioral modification, positive psychology, and techniques designed to reinvigorate self-esteem. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.

The Hostility of Mental Health Stigma

Dr. Mullen is doing impressive work helping the world. He is the pioneer of proactive neuroplasticity utilizing DRNI—deliberate, repetitive, neural information. — WeVoice

Mental Health Stigma (MHS) is the hostile expression of the abject undesirability of a human being who has a mental illness. It is the instrument that brands the mentally dysfunctional (victim) defective due to stereotypes. MHS is purposed to protect the general population from unpredictable and dangerous behaviors by any means necessary. MHS is fomented by prejudice, ignorance, and discrimination. The stigmatized are devalued in the eyes of others and subsequently in their self-image as well.

Between 50 and 65 million U.S. adults and adolescents have a mental illness; 90% of those will be impacted by mental health stigma, a presence that elicits unsupportable levels of shame and jeopardizes the emotional and societal well-being of the afflicted.

Trajectory

The Signaling Event. MHS is triggered by a set of signals or a signaling event, i.e., an occasion, experience, news story, or encounter where the visibility of behaviors and mannerisms associated with mental illness elicit a reaction.

The Label. Labeling defines the signaling event and distinguishes it from other labels. ‘Woman’ is a label; it is specific, restrictive to gender, and says certain things that distinguish it from other labels. A successful label elicits a strong public reaction. The defining characteristics of the label become the stereotype. Labeling is subject to the labeler’s belief system and, like stereotype and stigma, is reliably inaccurate because of implied expectations of behavior. 

The Stereotype. Labeling gives the signal a moniker for identification; the stereotype defines it and gives it meaning. Stereotyping is a cognitive differentiation of something that piques one’s interest; everyone stereotypes. Mental health stereotyping is distinguishable by pathographic overtone that identifies the victim as unpredictable, potentially violent, and undesirable. 

Ironically, 14th-century asylums in Spain and Egypt were built to protect the mentally afflicted from the dangerous and violent members of society.

Mental health labeling and stereotypes support and collaborate with preconceived notions of mental illness, generated by the natural aversion to weakness and difference. This is supported by an ignorant and prejudicial belief system and, on occasion, personal experience. Labels and stereotypes are unbound by truth or evidence; believability is the ultimate criterion.  

Stigma. A stigma is a brand or mark that negatively impacts a person or group by distinguishing and separating that person or group from others. The branding concept originated with the ancient Greek custom of identifying criminals, slaves, or traitors by carving or burning a mark into their skin. Stigma is identified by three types: (1) abominations of the body, (2) moral character stigmas, and (3) tribal stigmas. The first refers to physical deformity or disease; tribal stigmas describe membership in devalued races, ethnicities, or religions; and moral character stigma refers to persons perceived as weak, immoral, duplicitous, dishonest, e.g., criminals, substance addicts, cigarette smokers, and the mentally ill. 

Mental Health Stigma. The objective of MHS is the perceptual protection of the general population from the unpredictable and dangerous behaviors associated with mental illness by any means necessary, including deception, misinformation, and fear-baiting. Its ultimate goal is to negatively impact the social reintegration of the victim. 

  • Anticipatory stigma is the expectation of a stigma due to behavior or diagnosis, and subsequent adverse social reactions. This causes resistance by the potential victim to disclose any physiological aberration.  
  • Stigma-avoidance identifies those who avoid or postpone treatment fearing the associated stigma will discredit them and negatively impact their quality of life. Studies indicate almost one-third of the potential victims resist disclosure, impacting the potential for recovery.
  • Family stigmatization occurs when family members reject a child or sibling because of their mental illness. Throughout history, it was commonly accepted that mental illness was hereditary or the consequence of poor parenting. A 2008 study found 25% to 50% of family members believe disclosure will bring shame to the family. (Courtesy-stigma denotes a supportive family member.)

An active stigma is a parasitic one. If it finds enough suitable hosts, the parasitosis can spread rapidly by traditional means. Studies show the aversion to mental illness is prosocially hard-wired which provides an abundance of hosts.  

Proactive Neuroplasticity YouTube Series

Contributing Factors to MHS. The stigma triad of ignorance, prejudice, and discrimination is generated and supported by preconceived notions, general obliviousness, a lack of education, and society’s deep-rooted fear of its susceptibility. The primary attributions to MHS are public opinion, media misrepresentation, visibility, diagnosis, and the disease or pathographic model of mental healthcare. 

How MHS Impacts the Victim 

MHS impacts the victim through a series of stigma experiences:

  • Felt stigma. The anticipated or implied threat of a stigma.  
  • Enacted stigma. The activated stigma. 
  • External stigma. The victim holds the perpetrator responsible for the stigma. 
  • Internalized stigma. The victim assumes behavioral responsibility for the stigma.
  • Experienced stigma. Victim’s reaction to the stigma.

The victim anticipates their mannerisms, behaviors or diagnosis will generate a stigma (felt stigma). When the stigma is realized it becomes an enacted stigma. The victim blames the person who originated the stigma (external stigma) or assumes responsibility due to behavior (internalized stigma). When the stigma impacts the victim’s wellbeing, it becomes an experienced stigma

MHS Impact. Mental health stigma can negatively affect the victim’s emotional wellbeing and quality of life by jeopardizing their:

  • Safety, health, and physiological wellbeing 
  • Livelihood
  • Housing
  • Social Status
  • Relationships

Solution

Mental health stigma will not be mitigated or eliminated until the mental healthcare community embraces the wellness model over the disease of mental health. The disease model of mental health focuses on the problem; creating a harmful symbiosis between the individual and the diagnosis. The wellness model emphasizes the solution. A battle is not won by focusing on incompetence and weakness but by knowing and utilizing our strengths, and attributes. That is how we positively function―with pride and self-reliance and determination―with the awareness of what we are capable of. 

Establishing new parameters of wellness calls for a reformation of thought and concept. In 2004, the World Health Organization began promoting the advantages of a wellness over disease perspective, defining health as a state of physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. The World Psychiatric Association has aligned with the wellness model and it has become a central focus of international policy. Evolving psychological approaches have become bellwethers for the research and study of the positive character strengths that facilitate the motivation, persistence, and perseverance helpful to recovery. Wellness must become the central focus of mental health for the simple reason that the disease model has provided grossly insufficient results.

A WORKING PLATFORM showing encouraging results for most physiological dysfunctions and discomforts is an integration of positive psychology’s optimum human functioning with CBT’s behavior modification, neuroscience’s network restructuring, and other personality-targeted approaches. including affirmations, autobiography, and methods to regenerate self-esteem and motivation.

This new wellness paradigm, however, should not be a dissolution of medical model approaches but an intense review of their efficacy, and repudiation of the one-size-fits-all stance within the mental health community. 

WHY IS YOUR SUPPORT SO IMPORTANT?  ReChanneling develops and implements programs to (1) moderate symptoms of emotional dysfunction and (2) pursue personal goals and objectives – harnessing our intrinsic aptitude for extraordinary living. Our paradigmatic approach targets the personality through empathy, collaboration, and program integration utilizing scientific and clinically practical methods including proactive neuroplasticity, cognitive-behavioral modification, positive psychology, and techniques designed to reinvigorate self-esteem. All donations support scholarships for groups, workshops, and practicums.