Tag Archives: Depression

Challenging Our Self-Destructive Thoughts

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

To fully comprehend the most effective means of challenging our self-destructive thoughts we need to set a couple of definitions. 

Situation is the set of circumstances ̶ the facts, conditions, and incidents affecting us at a particular time in a particular place. For social anxiety disorder, Situations are those that generate discomforting anxiety or stress such that it impacts our emotional wellbeing and quality of life. Examples range from restaurants and the classroom to job interviews and social events. The same is evident in the pursuit of goals and objectives. There are certain Situations that challenge our motivation and self-esteem.  

Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs)

ANTs are the involuntary, anxiety-provoking emotions or images that occur in anticipation of or reaction to the Situation. They are unpleasant expressions of our fears and apprehensions – manifestations of our irrational self-beliefs about 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; I’ll be rejected.)They are our predetermined assumptions of what will happen in a Situation. 

ANTs are the expressions of our dysfunctional assumptions and distorted beliefs about a Situation that we accept as true. For example, the Situational automatic negative thought ( I am ugly and fat and no one will like me ) might result from the core belief ( I am undesirable ), and intermediate belief ( I am unattractive ). This negative self-appraisal can elicit an endless feedback loop of hopelessness, worthlessness, and undesirability, leading to substance abuse, eating disorders, anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. 

ANTs are cognitively distorted and supported by maladaptive behaviors. 

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Cognitive Distortions

Cognitive distortions are exaggerated or irrational thought patterns involved in the onset or perpetuation of anxiety and depression. They are thoughts that cause us to perceive reality inaccurately. We all engage in cognitive distortions and are usually unaware of doing so. Cognitive distortions reinforce or justify our negative thinking and behaviors. We convince ourselves these false and inaccurate thoughts and reactions are the truth of any situation. 

Cognitive distortions define the ANT. I am ugly and fat and no one will like me is a distorted and irrational statement. It is Jumping to Conclusionsassuming that we know what another person is feeling and thinking, and why they act the way they do. There is also Emotional Reasoning, Labeling/Mislabeling, and Personalization distorting the statement. Cognitive distortions tend to blend and overlap much like the symptoms and characteristics of most dysfunctions. 

Maladaptive behaviors mean we adapt to Situations badly or wrongly. In psychology, experts present two forms of behavior – adaptive and maladaptive. Adaptive behavior is behavior that is positive and functional. Maladaptive behaviors are dysfunctional behaviors uniquely characteristic of social anxiety disorder. They distort 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. 

More About ANTs

Prevalent in social anxiety disorder, ANTs are irrational, perceptual, and self-destructive. To challenge them, we need to interrogate them to understand their structure. Why do we have these self-destructive thoughts and where did they come from? Without a clear inventory of the causes and consequences of our negative thoughts and behaviors, we do not have a chance of defeating them.

They originate with our Core Beliefs.

Core Beliefs

Core beliefs are determined by our childhood physiology, heredity, environment, information input, experience, learning, and relationships.

Negative core beliefs are generated by any childhood disturbance that interferes with our optimal physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development. Cumulative evidence that a toxic childhood is a primary causal factor in lifetime emotional instability has been well-established. Any number of things can generate a negative core belief. Our parents are controlling or do not provide emotional validation. We are subjected to bullying or a broken home. The disturbance can be real or imagined, intentional or accidental, A toddler whose quality time with a parent is interrupted by a phone call can feel a sense of abandonment, which can generate core beliefs of unworthiness or insignificance. This is important when it comes to attributing blame or accountability for our social anxiety disorder because of the possibility no one is responsible; certainly not the child. 

Social anxiety disorder senses our vulnerability and onsets at adolescence. A combination of genetic and environmental factors drive social anxiety disorder. Researchers recently discovered a specific serotonin transporter gene called “SLC6A4” that is strongly correlated with susceptibility to the disorder, but we are still not clear why some of us are impacted and not others. 

PROACTIVE NEUROPLASTICITY YOUTUBE SERIES

Core beliefs remain as our belief system throughout life. They mold the unquestioned underlying themes that govern our perceptions. Even if a core belief is irrational or inaccurate, it still defines how we see the world. When we decline to question our core beliefs, we act upon them as though they are real and true.

Core beliefs are more rigid and exclusive in individuals with social anxiety because we tend to store information consistent with negative beliefs and ignore evidence that contradicts them. Social anxiety disorder generates a cognitive bias—a subconscious error in thinking that leads us to misinterpret information, impacting the rationality and accuracy of our perspectives and decisions. 

Negative core beliefs fall within two categories: self-oriented (I am unlovable, I am stupid) and other-oriented (You are unlovable, you are stupid). Individuals with self-oriented negative core beliefs view themselves in one of four ways: 

  • Helpless (I am weak, I am incompetent)
  • Hopeless (nothing can be done about it)
  • Unlovable (no one will Ike me)
  • Worthless (I don’t deserve to be happy).

These beliefs can lead to fears of intimacy and commitment, an inability to trust, debilitating anxiety, codependence, aggression, feelings of insecurity, isolation, a lack of control over life, and a resistance to new experiences.

People with other-oriented negative core beliefs view people as demeaning, dismissive, malicious, and manipulative. We tend to blame others for our condition, avoiding personal accountability (I can’t trust anyone). This generates serious anxiety towards Situations we perceive as potentially dangerous, causing us to avoid them in anticipation of harm.

So, we accumulate negative core beliefs due to childhood disturbance and other early-life experiences. They heavily influence our intermediate beliefs which are developing our adolescence. These beliefs are negatively aggravated by the onset of social anxiety disorder, which generates our negative self-beliefs and image, which generate our fears and anxieties of a Situation, which generate our automatic negative thoughts (ANTs). A corresponding intermediate confirmation of the core belief,  I am undesirable might be,  I am unattractive and fat. A corresponding intermediate resolution might be, If I diet and have my nose fixed, I will be desirable

Intermediate Beliefs

Intermediate beliefs are the go-between our core beliefs and our automatic negative thoughts and image. Despite similar core beliefs, we have different intermediate beliefs because they are developed by our social, cultural, and environmental experiences – the same things that make up our personality.

Intermediate beliefs establish our attitudes, rules, and assumptions. Attitude refers to our emotions, beliefs, and behaviors. Rules are the principles or regulations that influence our behaviors. Our assumptions are what we believe to be true or real which, in social anxiety disorder, are irrational and cognitively distorted. Dysfunctional assumptions caused by our negative intermediate beliefs, and consequential to our negative core beliefs, generate our ANTs (automatic negative thoughts). Even when we know our fears and apprehensions are irrational, their emotional impact is so great, that our dysfunctional assumptions run roughshod over any healthy, rational response. 

How do we challenge our self-destructive thoughts?

Challenging and moderating our self-destructive thoughts is a process of revelation, evaluation, and implementation. ReChanneling has established Nine Steps to Moderate our Fear(s) of a Situation:

  1. Identify the Feared Situation
  2. Identify the Associated Fear(s)
  3. Unmask the Corresponding ANT(s)
  4. Examine and Analyze Our Fear(s) and Corresponding ANT(s)
  5. Generate Rational Responses
  6. Reconstruct Our Thought Patterns
  7. Create a Plan to Challenge Our Feared Situation
  8. Practice the Plan in Non-Threatening Simulated Situations (including Affirmative Visualization)
  9. Expose Ourselves to the Feared Situation

Identify the Feared Situation(s). Where are we when we feel anxious or fearful and what activities are involved (what are we thinking, what might we be doing)? Who and what do we avoid because of these insecure feelings? 

Identify the Associated Fear(s). One way to identify our anxiety is to ask ourselves the following: What is problematic for me in the Situation? How do I feel (physically, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually)? What is my specific concern or worry? What is the worst thing that could happen to me? What do I imagine might happen to me?

Unmask the Corresponding ANT(s). Determine how we express our anxiety? What are our involuntary emotional expressions or images?

Examine and Analyze Our Fear(s) and Corresponding ANT(s). Examine and analyze the origins and trajectory of self-beliefs underlying our fears and anxieties while rationally addressing their veracity.

Generate Rational Responses. Recognize and accept the cognitive distortions and irrationality of our fears and ANTs and create rational responses.

Reconstruct Our Thought Patterns. Through proactive neuroplasticity and supporting psychological approaches, restructure our neural network by changing our thought patterns.

Create a Plan to Challenge Our Feared Situation. Utilizing the appropriate tools and techniques to challenge our fears and ANTs, develop a comprehensive plan to challenge the feared Situation.

Practice the Plan in Non-Threatening Simulated Situations. Strengthen our rational responses by repeatedly implementing the Plan in practiced exercises including role-play and other workshop interactivities. Practice Affirmative Visualization.

Expose Ourselves to the Feared Situation. This should only transpire after a suitable period of graded exposure to facilitate the reconstruction of our neural network and a familiarity with the prescribed tools and techniques.

Converting ANTs to ARTs 

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 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. 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, utilizing the tools and techniques provided by a comprehensive recovery program, progress is exponential.

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 and Positive Behavioral Change

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

This is a general overview of Dr. Mullen’s 90-minute Academa.edu course titled Neuroscience and Happiness. Neuroplasticity and Positive Behavioral Change and a reprint of a guest post for a Canadian mental health website.

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. 

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Reactive neuroplasticity is our brain’s natural adaption to information. Information includes thought, behavior, experience, and sensation. Active neuroplasticity is achieved through 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 the brain’s restructuring. 

Neurons, the core components of our brain and central nervous system, convey information through electrical activity. The input of information causes a receptor neuron to fire. Each firing stimulates a presynaptic or sensory neuron that, depending upon the integrity of the information, forwards it via an axon or connecting pathway to a synapse. The signal is picked up by the postsynaptic neuron’s hairlike dendrites that forward the information to the nucleus of the cell body. Continuous electrical energy impulses engage millions of participating neurons, causing a cellular chain reaction in multiple interconnected areas of our brain.  

A Brief History

The science of neuroplasticity was identified in the 1960s from research into the rejuvenation of brain functioning after a massive stroke. Before that, researchers believed that neurogenesis, or the creation of new neurons, ceased shortly after birth. Our brain’s physical structure was assumed to be permanent by early childhood. 

Today, we recognize that our neural pathways are not fixed but dynamic and malleable. The human brain retains the capacity to continually reorganize pathways and create new connections and neurons to expedite learning.

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 called Hebbian Learning.

Hebbian Learning

Synaptic connections consolidate when two or more neurons are activated 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 receptor and sensory neurons. Repeated firing strengthens and solidifies the pathways between neurons. The activity of the axon pathway is heightened, causing the synapses to accelerate neurotransmissions of pleasurable and motivating hormones.

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. The more repetitions, the more neurons are impacted, creating 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. Energy is the size, amount, or degree of that which passes from one atom to another in the course of their chain reaction. The activity of the axon pathway is heightened, prompting the synapses to increase and accelerate the release of hormones that generate the commitment, persistence, and perseverance useful to recovery or the pursuit of personal goals and objectives.

The consequence of DRNI over an extended period is obvious. Multiple firings substantially 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. 

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 wellbeing 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 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. 

Proactive Neuroplasticity YouTube Series

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, and blood flow. It tells us when to breathe, stimulates thirst, and controls our weight and digestion.

Neurotransmissions

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’s 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 for euphoria, and serotonin for a sense of wellbeing. Acetylcholine supports our positivity, glutamate enhances our memory, and noradrenalin improves concentration. In addition, information impacts 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 benefits of DRNI cannot be underestimated. 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 differentiated 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? 

The process 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 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.

To quote Noble Prize-winning author, André Gide “There are many things that seem impossible only so long as one does not attempt them.”

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 an Online Recovery Workshop

Personal • Organization • Corporate
Seminars • Workshops • Groups

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

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. 

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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. 

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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 wellbeing.

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: Coping Skills (9/1/2022)

Workshop Components

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

Psycho-Education 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 or to request an interview, please fill out 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. Mental illness is not abnormal nor the consequence of the subject’s behavior, and there’s a clear demarcation between neurotic and psychotic. Even 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. Realistically, we cannot eliminate the term from current models of healthcare; efforts to amend the language are promising but inadequate.  

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. 

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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. Obviously, we are concerned with pathology here and not the state of someone’s appearance or our son’s bedroom. In such cases, we would have to prefix disorder and illness with a complementary clarification – preferably not mental.

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. 

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 types of disorders: 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 disordered to some extent. 

Research shows that 89% of disorder 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 some 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 a disorder results from 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 neurosis 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 our disorder. We did not make it happen; it happened to you. 

We are not our disorder; we are someone who has a disorder. The current pathographic process considers diagnosis over the individual. In groups, we learn to personify the disorder to distinguish it from the individual, so that the symptoms are appropriately assigned. A person who breaks his leg does not become the broken limb; she or he is 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 those 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 disorders are 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- 798 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.

Neuroscience and Happiness: Neuroplasticity and Positive Behavioral Change

This is a general overview of Dr. Mullen’s Academa.edu course “Neuroscience and Happiness. Neuroplasticity and Positive Behavioral Change.”

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

 Proactive Neuroplasticity YouTube Series

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

Thanks to advances in technology, researchers can get a never-before-possible look at the brain’s dynamic and malleable inner mechanics.

Three forms of neuroplasticity.

Reactive neuroplasticity is our brain’s natural and indeliberate adaptation to information. We react unconsciously to sensory information and insensible experiences: music, colors, sounds, tactile impressions, and phenomena. Whether it negatively or positively processes that information depends upon the content. Examples of positive reactions might be a warm bath, delightful company, or a child’s laughter. An adverse reaction might be rush-hour traffic, disappointment, or a hostile gesture

Active neuroplasticity is achieved through intentional cognitive pursuits such as learning, engaging in social interaction, teaching, creating, or listening to music—not just hearing it but actively listening to it. 

DRNI (deliberate, repetitive neural information) is proactive neuroplasticity—the deliberate repatterning of our neural network utilizing tools and techniques developed for the process. Proactive neuroplasticity through DRNI is the most potent and effective means of learning

(1) it alleviates symptoms of ‘mental’ disorders and general discomforts that impact our emotional wellbeing and quality of life. A regimen of DRNI can compensate for and overwhelm decades of irrational and harmful thoughts and behaviors.

(2) The calculated regimen of repetitive neural input accelerates and consolidates learning. It facilitates the pursuit of our personal goals and objectives—eliminating a bad habit, self-transformation—harnessing our intrinsic aptitude for extraordinary living. 

Recovering from psychophysiological dysfunction and discomfort and the pursuit of goals and objectives are facilitated through the same process of DRNI.

Our brain is in constant flux; it never stops realigning to new information. Connections strengthen and weaken, neurons atrophy and others are born, learning replaces unlearning, chemical and electrical energy dissipates and expands, and functions shift from one region to another. Proactively stimulating our brain with deliberate, repetitive neural information accelerates and consolidates the process; there is a correlated change in thought, behavior, and perspective, becoming habitual and spontaneous over time.  

Each neural input of information causes a receptor neuron to fire, transmitting chemical and electrical energy, from neuron to neuron throughout the nervous system. DRNI expedites the process. Multiple positive DRNI, such as a series of positive personal affirmations (PPAs), cause multiple receptor neurons to fire, dramatically amplifying learning through synaptic neurotransmission. 

Hormonal and chemical neurotransmitters

Our brain rewards us with chemical and hormonal neurotransmissions: GABA for relaxation, serotonin and dopamine for pleasure and motivation, and endorphins for euphoria. In addition, it supplies us with chemicals and hormones that facilitate learning, memory, and concentration. 

Life can be difficult; many of us are unsatisfied, unhappy, and nonproductive. When that information filters into our neural system, our neurotransmitters support that negativity. That’s why it’s so hard to break a bad habit and recovery difficult. Conversely, every time we provide positive input, our brain releases those same chemicals and hormones, generating feelings of self-worth and healthy productivity. It generates the motivation, persistence, and perseverance to achieve our potential.

Our brain is an organic reciprocator.

Our human brain does not think; it is an organic reciprocator that allows us to think. Its job is to provide the chemical and electrical maintenance that supports our vital functions: heartbeat, nervous system, and blood–flow. Neural messages tell us when to breathe, stimulate thirst, and control our weight and digestion. Our brain does not differentiate rational from irrational thinking, healthy from toxic behaviors. Instead, it reacts to the positive or negative energy of the information. 

Universal abundance

Our brain codes the health or toxicity of information into negative or positive electrical energy. That energy, duplicated by millions of participating neurons, is reciprocated in abundance because a single neuron receptor ultimately engages millions of participating neurons, each with its energy transmissions. Our human brain contains 86 billion nerve cells or neurons arranged in pathways or networks based on that electrical activity. The reciprocating energy from DRNI is vastly more abundant because of the repeated firing of the neuron receptor. Positive energy in, positive energy multiplied millions of times, positive energy reciprocated in abundance. 

Trajectory of Information

Neurons are the core components of our brain and our central nervous system. Inside each neuron is electrical activity. Information stimulates or excites a receptor neuron which fires, stimulating a presynaptic or sensory neuron via an axon or connecting pathway. Sensory neurons transmit the information to the synapse at the junction of the postsynaptic cell or relay neuron. The synapse permits the neurons to interact. The neuron’s hairlike tendrils (dendrites) pick up the synaptic signal and forward that information to the soma or nucleus of the cell body. Continuous electrical and chemical energy impulses engage millions of participating neurons, which transmit the electrical energy to millions of other neurons in multiple interconnected areas of our brain. Finally, the electrical energy converts back into information relayed by the motor neuron to its appropriate destination–our ears, bladder, muscles, and so on. Cognitive information is compartmentalized into the areas of the brain associated with the distinctly human traits of higher thought, language, and human consciousness.

Every input of information, intentional or otherwise, causes a receptor neuron to fire. Each time a neuron fires, it strengthens the axon connection and the neural bond. DRNI expedites the process through deliberate repetition. An increase in learning efficacy arises from the sensory neuron’s repeated and persistent stimulation of the postsynaptic cell. Multiple firings dramatically 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. BDNF or brain-derived neurotrophic factors are proteins that neurons need for survival. Deliberate, repetitive neural information generates higher levels of BDNF, which is associated with improved cognitive functioning, mental health, and memory. 

Onset

Combined statistics show that 89% of neuroses onset at adolescence or earlier. In the event conditions like PTSD or clinical narcissism begin later in life, susceptibility originates in childhood as a consequence of childhood physical, emotional, or sexual disturbance(s). Our self-esteem and image develop during childhood are modified by experience, and help form the foundation of our personality. We are who we are because of our core beliefs and the accumulation of our experiences. Since its onset, our dysfunction or discomfort has been feeding our brain irrational thoughts and behaviors. Irrational is anything detrimental to our emotional well-being and quality of life.

Simply put, it is not logical or reasonable to cause ourselves harm. These irrational thoughts and behaviors compel us to feed our brains harmful and self-destructive information. The purpose of DRNI is to replace those perceptions of undesirability and unworthiness generated by our childhood disturbance(s). 

Personal goals and objectives

The alternative utilization of DRNI is in the pursuit of our goals and objectives—improving life satisfaction, transforming ourselves, and becoming the best that we can be. We all know how difficult it is to change, remove ourselves from hostile environments, and break harmful habits that interfere with optimum functioning. We’re physiologically hard-wired to resist anything that disrupts our equilibrium. Our inertia senses and repels changes, and our brain’s basal ganglia resist any modification in behavior patterns. DRNI empowers us to assume accountability for our emotional wellbeing, productivity, and quality of life, by proactively controlling information input.

Hebbian Learning

Hebbian learning describes how neurons learn by responding to information. Hebb’s rule of neuroplasticity states that neurons that fire together wire together. In other words, the more neurons communicate with one another, the stronger the connection. When multiple neurons wire together, they create more receptor and sensory neurons. Repeated firing strengthens and solidifies the pathways between neurons. Synaptic connections consolidate when two or more neurons are activated contiguously. The more repetitions, the quicker and more robust the new connection. The activity of the axon pathway is heightened, urging the synapses to increase and accelerate the release of chemicals and hormones. Conscious repetition of information correlates to more robust learning and unlearning.

We are physiologically acclimated to our condition. It has been developing within us since childhood. This is why it is challenging to establish new habits or change our self-image and outlook. Let us use the example of someone with social anxiety disorder. The predominant symptom of SAD is intense apprehension of social interaction—the fear of being judged, negatively evaluated and ridiculed. This causes persistent, pathological anxiety in everyday situations such as dating, interviewing for a position, or even answering a question in class. 

Because our brain does not differentiate healthy from toxic information, each time a SAD person avoids a social situation or alienates someone out of fear of rejection, she or he is chemically and hormonally compensated. Self-destructive behaviors are rewarded with GABA for relaxation, dopamine for pleasure and motivation, endorphins for euphoria, and serotonin for a sense of wellbeing. We receive acetylcholine for our negativity, glutamate to support our selective memory, and noradrenaline to meddle with our concentration. Our brain says good job. Here is some more encouragement for your irrational behavior. 

Our neural network naturally adapts and restructures to information, whether reactive to unconscious experience or actively generated by our compulsion to engage and learn. Logic dictates that if our neural network learns from information, its deliberate, repetitive neural input enhances the process. If information naturally strengthens and consolidates neural connections to accelerate learning, then repetition dramatically expedites the process. 

Positive Personal Affirmations

Positive personal affirmations are rational, reasonable, possible, goal-focused, and first-person present time. Rational because the objective is subverting irrationality. Remember, it is illogical and unreasonable to cause ourselves harm. PPAs are fair and sensible reflections of our aspirations and intentions. The end goal must be possible, or the effort is counter-productive and futile. Goal-focused is self-explanatory; if we do not know our destination, our path will be purposeless meandering. First-person, present time affirms we are dealing with the here-and-now; DRNI is here-and-now activity. Brevity is also essential. PPAs should be unconditional and to the point.

DRNI

The information at the core of DRNI is calculated and specific to intention. Are we challenging the negative thoughts and behaviors of our dysfunction? Are we reaffirming the character strengths that generate the motivation and perseverance to accomplish? What is our end goal? What is the personal milestone we desire to achieve? The crucial element of DRNI is the content of the intention behind the information. The strength of the message correlates to its durability and learning efficacy. 

So, what is the content of deliberate, repetitive neural information, how is it constructed, and what materials are helpful to its construction?  CBT, positive psychology, and other positive approaches collaboratively work to develop the specific, intention-driven content of the positive personal affirmations at the core of DRNI.  

Cognitive-Behavioral

As light is the absence of darkness, so positive is the absence of negativity. Cognitive-behavioral therapy’s overarching objective is to replace irrational and unhealthy thoughts and behaviors with productive and emotionally affirming ones. 

As our understanding of behavioral neuroplasticity evolved, it became clear that the practice of cognitive-behavioral modification produces changes in human brain activity. Further studies revealed that an effective way to counter the negativity generated by our dysfunction or discomfort is through the cognitive aspect of CBM, the deliberate, repetitious input of positive information. Over time and through repetition, new thoughts and behaviors become habitual and spontaneous. Studies of CBM have shown it to be an effective treatment for various mental illnesses, including depression, social anxiety, generalized anxiety, panic, bipolar and eating disorders, PTSD, OCD, and schizophrenia. CBM’s mechanisms of change are formidable tools in behavioral modification when utilizing repetitive cognitive reinforcement in concert with other approaches. The behavioral aspect supports the process Positive personal affirmations, embraced by us for centuries, are the cognitive aspect of CBM.

Positive Psychology

Positive psychology is the most viable adjunct to cognitive-behavioral modification in the processing of DRNI. Although the program functions best in conjunction with other approaches, its focus on the positive aspects of human development and achievement not only improves our self-image and perspectives but greatly enhances overall psychological and physiological health.

Positive psychology describes the pursuit of recovery and goals and objectives as people determining their potential and purpose by constructing and reclaiming a valued and welcoming identity. Its emphasis is on recognizing and regenerating our inherent character strengths, virtues, and attributes, which underscore our creativity, optimism, resilience, empathy, compassion, humor, and life satisfaction. It facilitates this through mindfulness, autobiography, positive writing, gratitude, forgiveness, kindness, and other self-affirming techniques. The overarching objective of positive psychology is to identify our inherent assets and capabilities to achieve our potential to become the best that we can be.

Accepting scientific validity to approaches that support DRNI encourages us to control our dysfunction or discomfort and achieve our motivating personal concerns. Achieving recovery and motivating personal concerns are not overnight achievables, however. The process is simple in theory but challenging due to the commitment and endurance required for the long-term, repetitive process of proactive neuroplasticity. 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 some time at the keyboard. DRNI requires a calculated regimen of deliberate, repetitive neural information. We can have all the tools we require, but they need to come out of the shed. Not only is DRNI repetitious and tedious, but it also fails to deliver immediate tangible results, causing us to readily concede defeat and abandon hope in this era of instant gratification. 

Recommended Practice: Repeat three positive personal affirmations a minimum of 5 times daily. That is about five minutes of your time. 

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.

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

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 wellbeing of the victim.

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 positivity 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.

The Value of Mindfulness in Recovery

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

We share an intimate and unhealthy relationship with our emotional dysfunction that manifests in many ways. 

  • The tolerant relationship. We recognize our condition is detrimental to a healthy and productive lifestyle, but we are too lazy or apathetic to address it. 
  • The resigned relationship. We devalue our character strengths and virtues, convincing ourselves any attempt at recovery is futile. We have given up.
  • The self-pitying relationship. We wallow in our misery because it comforts us and confirms our victimization.
  • The assimilate relationship. We acclimate to our condition, adapting and incorporating it into our system. This is the odd relationship where we become our dysfunction.
  • The denial relationship. We refuse to acknowledge the problem, denying its existence, our dismissal so pervasive it subconsciously metastasizes, like unchecked cancer. 

Emotional dysfunction generates a correlated deficiency of self-esteem due to the condition and the corresponding disruption in natural human development. The overwhelming majority of dysfunctional onset happens during adolescence due to a toxic childhood environment caused by physical, emotional, or sexual disturbance. This disturbance manifests in perceptions of abandonment, exploitation, and detachment, engendering a disruption in natural human development which negatively impacts our self-esteem 

Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is mindfulness (recognition and acceptance) of our value to ourselves, society, and the world. Self-esteem can be further understood as a complex interrelationship between how we think about ourselves, how we think others perceive us, and how we process or present that information. 

Self-esteem deficits are the consequence of disapproval, criticism, and apathy of influential others—family, colleagues, ministers, and teachers. Any number of factors impact self-esteem including our environment, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, and education. 

Proactive Neuroplasticity

Proactive Neuroplasticity. The primary objective or consequence of recovery is the restructuring of our neural network. When neural pathways reshape, there is a correlated change in behavior and perspective. Our brain is not a moral adjudicator, but an organic reciprocator, adapting and correlating to stimuli. 

Every stimulus we input causes a receptive neuron to fire, transmitting a message from neuron to neuron until it generates a reaction. Neural restructuring is the deliberate input of positive stimuli to compensate for years of dysfunctional negative input. Deliberate repetitious stimuli compel neurons to fire repeatedly causing them to wire together. The more repetitions the quicker and stronger the new connection.

Neural restructuring is deliberate plasticity—functionally modifying our neural network through repetitive activation. Neuroplasticity is our brain’s capacity to change with learning—to relearn. Studies in brain plasticity evidence the brain’s ability to change at any age. Behavioral Plasticity is the capacity and degree to which human behavior can be altered by environmental factors such as learning and social experience.  In theory, a higher degree of plasticity makes an organism more flexible to change, whereas a lower degree of plasticity results in an inflexible behavior pattern. Behavioral plasticity enables an organism to change its behavior through learning.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the state of active, open recognition and acceptance of present realities. It is the act of embracing our flaws as well as our inherent character strengths, virtues, and attributes. Mindfulness is the key to re-engaging our positive self-properties that constitute healthy self-esteem 

True mindfulness of our dysfunction is more than recognition and acceptance; it is embracement. By embracing our flaws as well as our character strengths, virtues, and attributes, we embrace ourselves. Love is linked to positive mental and physical health outcomes. Love motivates recovery. Embracing our dysfunction or discomfort is an act of love.

Our condition is a natural component of human development. It is evidence of our humanness. Think of it as an emotional virus. We are not our dysfunction any more than we are an accidental broken limb. We are individuals with emotional dysfunction. Embracing it does not mean we don’t want to transform into a healthy and more productive individuals; it encourages transformation. 

Embracing is not acquiescence, resignation, or condoning. Acquiescence is accepting our condition and doing nothing to change it. Condoning is accepting it and allowing it to fester. Resignation is defeatism. Embracing is logically accepting ourselves for who we are—human dysfunctional beings abounding in ability and potential. It is embracing our character strengths, virtues, and attributes that facilitate the motivation, persistence, and perseverance to recover. It is embracing our totality. Healthy self-love is a fundamental component of self-esteem; we can never strive toward our potential until we truly learn to embrace ourselves. The value of mindfulness in recovery is immeasurable. 

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.

Recovery and The Willful Pursuit of Ignorance

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

The resistance to fully acknowledge our emotional dysfunction is a major impediment to our recovery. Many deliberately choose to remain ignorant of its destructive capabilities. We go to enormous lengths to remain oblivious to its symptoms and traits as if, by ignoring them, they don’t exist or will somehow go away. Despite these efforts, the aura of undesirability cannot be muted.

Emphasis must be placed on the importance of fully recognizing and accepting our dysfunctional idiosyncrasies and how they impact our emotional wellbeing and quality of life—mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Deliberate ignorance is tantamount to fixing a malfunctioning computer by ignoring the manual. This resistance, arguably justified by multiple attributions, is meant to protect us from our irrational self-beliefs, but the shield is unsustainable and counterproductive.

Attributions to Resistance

The attributions to resistance are correlated internal and external components. The former is implemented by the dysfunction, diagnosis, and disruption in natural human development. External resistance is generated by the stigma triad of ignorance, prejudice, and discrimination. 

The overarching attributions to internal resistance are personal baggage, mental health stigma, and the natural physiological aversion to change. External attributions fall within the following categories, each informing the others:

  • Public opinion
  • Media misrepresentation
  • Visibility
  • Distancing
  • Diagnosis
  • Mental health stigma

Physiological Aversion. We are hard-wired to dislike change. Our bodies and brains are structured to resist anything that disrupts our equilibrium. Our nervous system monitors our metabolism, temperature, weight, and other survival functions. A new diet or exercise regimen produces physiological changes in our heart rate, metabolism, and respiration, which impact these functions. Inertia senses and resists these changes, making them difficult to maintain. Our brain’s basal ganglia resist any modification in patterns of behavior. Thus, habits like smoking or gambling are hard to break, and new undertakings (e.g., recovery) are challenging to maintain.

Personal Baggage. Every physiological dysfunction and discomfort generates an emotional and behavioral identity due to childhood disturbance, and the corresponding disruption in natural human development. Most are more correlational than dissimilar and commonly comorbid. Their impact Is variable and distinguishable by human complexity. Many induce self-destructive decisions like substance abuse or emotional blackmail. Self-perceptions of incompetence, unattractiveness, and worthlessness are buttressed by guilt, blame, and shame. 

Public Opinion. Public aversion to mental illness is hard-wired. Individuals perceived as repugnant or weak in mind or body have suffered since the dawning of humankind. Psychological dysfunction and discomfort are components of natural human development. Scientific American speculates they are so common almost everyone will develop at least one diagnosable disorder at some point in their life. However, much of society views them differently because they see dysfunction in themselves, and it frightens them. That fear generates and is generated by prejudice, ignorance, and discrimination. 

Media Misrepresentation. TV, books, and films exaggerate the symptoms and traits of dysfunction, stereotyping the dysfunctional as annoying, dramatic, and peculiar. Portrayals suggest all persons impacted are unpredictable and dangerous. A 2011 comparative study revealed that nearly half of U.S. stories on mental illness explicitly mention or allude to violence. The media is powerful. Studies show homicide rates go up after televised heavyweight fights, and suicide increases after on-screen portrayals. 

Visibility is the public display of behaviors associated with dysfunctions. Not only are the recipients uneasy or repulsed by such behaviors, but the afflicted are vividly conscious of being observed, whether actual or imagined, and surrender to the GAZE―what psychoanalyst Lacan defines as the anxious state of mind that comes with scrutiny and unwanted attention.

Distancing is the public expression of contempt for the behaviors associated with dysfunction. Social distance varies, obviously, by diagnosis, but also by region, race and ethnicity, political persuasion, educational attainment, and economics. Distancing reflects the feelings a prejudiced group has towards another group; it is the affirmation of undesirability. In stigma research, the extent of social distance correlates to the level of discriminatory behavior. 

Mental Health Stigma is the hostile expression of the abject undesirability of a human being who has a mental illness. It is the instrument that brands the dysfunctional as socially undesirable due to stereotypes. The stigmatized are devalued in the eyes of others and thus in their own self-image as well. 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. 

Diagnosis. Diagnosis drives mental health stereotypes. Which dysfunction is the most repulsive, and which poses the most threat? People are concerned about the severity of the dysfunction, whether it is contagious, or whether the dysfunction was caused by certain behaviors. Will the symptoms worsen? Is the dysfunction punishment for sin, implying the more dangerous the symptoms, the worse the offense? Diagnosis is facilitated by the deficit disease model of mental healthcare via the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder which focuses on the history of harmful behavior.

The disease model assumes that emotional distress is merely symptomatic of biological illness. The Wellness Model of mental healthcare focuses on the positive aspects of human functioning that promote our wellbeing and recognize our essential and shared humanity. Positive psychologies and the Wellness Model emphasize what is right with us, innately powerful within us, our potential, and our determination. Rather than disease and deficit, they emphasize our character strengths, virtues, and attributes. Recovery is not achieved by focusing on incompetence and weakness; it is achieved by embracing and utilizing our inherent strengths and abilities. 

Benefits of the Wellness Model

  • Revising negative and hostile language will encourage new positive perspectives
  • The self-denigrating aspects of shame will dissipate, and stigma becomes less threatening. 
  • The doctor-client knowledge exchange will value the individual over the diagnosis.
  • Realizing neurosis is a natural part of human development will generate social acceptance and accommodation. 
  • Recognizing that they bear no responsibility for onset will revise public opinion that people deserve their neurosis because it is the result of their behavior. 
  • Emphasizing character strengths and virtues will positively impact self-beliefs and image, leading to more disclosure, discussion, and recovery-remission. 
  • Realizing proximity and susceptibility will address the desire to distance and isolate. 
  • Emphasis on value and potential will encourage accountability and foster self-reliance.

Resistance closes the door to possibility. Nothing comes in, nothing goes out. Nonresistance is a prerequisite for recovery. We cannot recover if we do not consider our options. Nonresistance opens our minds and broadens our perspective. Consideration of new possibilities is rewarding and productive; resistance is counterintuitive to recovery.

Resistance v. Repression

RESISTANCE is the deliberate or unconscious attempt to prevent something from happening for any reason whatsoever. REPRESSION is a defense mechanism that prevents certain events, feelings, thoughts, and desires that the conscious mind refuses to accept. It is the ‘stuff’ that permeates our brain that we cannot address because we have compartmentalized it and misplaced the key. 

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.

Healthy Philautia and Self-Esteem

Dr. Robert F. Mullen
Directo/ReChanneling

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

Philautia

Healthy philautia is an integrative platform specifically designed to address the deficit of self-esteem caused by our dysfunction or discomfort, and the disruption in human development. While healthy philautia is synonymous with self-esteem, it illustrates that narcissism and self-esteem are opposites on the same spectrum, which helps strategize recovery.

Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is mindfulness (recognition and acceptance) of our value to ourselves, society, and the world. Self-esteem can be further understood as a complex interrelationship between how we think about ourselves, how we think others perceive us, and how we process or present that information.

Self-esteem deficits are the consequence of disapproval, criticism, and apathy of influential others—family, colleagues, ministers, and teachers. Any number of factors impact self-esteem including our environment, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, and education.

  • Our negative self-image is generated by our deficit of self-esteem.
  • Self-esteem administers and is determined by our self-properties. Positive self-properties: self -reliant, -compassionate, -confidant, -worth, etc. Negative self-properties: self -destructive, -loathing, -denigrating, etc.
  • Our positive self-properties tell us we are of value, consequential, and desirable. 
  • Our intrinsic self-esteem is never fully depleted or lost; however, underutilized self-properties can be dormant like the unexercised muscle in our arm or leg.
  • Self-esteem impacts our mind, body, spirit, and emotions separately and in concert. Mindfulness of this complementarity is important to emotional and behavioral control as we learn to subvert the distress of one component by engaging another.
  • We rediscover and reinvigorate our self-esteem through exercises designed to help us become mindful of our inherent strengths, virtues, and attributes. 

We achieve this through an integration of historically and clinically practical approaches that serve as focused revitalization tools for self-esteem by recognizing and replacing negative self-perspectives and behavior. 

How emotional dysfunction impacts self-esteem. 

The vast majority of dysfunctional onset (or susceptibility to onset) happens during childhood/adolescence, negatively impacting the development of self-esteem. This is best illustrated by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which reveals how childhood physical, emotional, or sexual disturbance disrupts natural human development. The perception of detachment, exploitation, or neglect disenables the child’s safety and security as well as the sense of belonging and being loved, which impacts the acquisition of self-esteem. The adult symptoms and characteristics of the dysfunction continue or augment that deficit. 

Maslow’s Hierarchy

Illustrating how childhood disturbance subverts the satisfaction of self-esteem.

Why Healthy Philautia? The Greeks categorized love by its objective. For philia, the objective is comradeship, eros is sexuality, storge is familial affection, and so on. Philautia is the dichotomy of self-love: the love of oneself (narcissism), and the love that is within oneself (self-esteem). 

Narcissism is a psychological condition in which people function with an inflated and irrational sense of their importance, often expressed by haughtiness or arrogance. It is the need for excessive attention and admiration, masking an unconscious sense of inferiority and inadequacy. 

Healthy philautia is the recognition of our value and potential, the realization that we are necessary to this life and of incomprehensible worth. To feel joy and fulfillment at being you is the experience of healthy philautia, and such feelings cannot be boundAccepting and embracing our self-worth compels us to share it with others and the world, to love and be loved. 

The deprivation of our fundamental needs caused by our dysfunction detrimentally impacts our acquisition of self-esteem. It is not lost but hidden, undeveloped, subverted by our negative self-perspectives. The rediscovery and rejuvenation of self-esteem is an essential component of recovery. ReChanneling advocates and utilizes a Wellness Model over the etiology-driven disease or medical model of mental healthcare. The Wellness Model emphasizes the character strengths and virtues that generate the motivation, persistence, and perseverance to function optimally through the substantial alleviation of the symptoms of dysfunction. 

Among the integrative approaches utilized in the reacquisition of self-esteem are:

  • Positive personal affirmations and CBT. Positive personal affirmations and the cognitive aspect of cognitive-behavioral therapy utilize DRNI, the deliberate, repetitious, neural information input of positive thought and behavior to replace the toxicity generated by our dysfunction. Neuroplasticity increases activity in the self-processing systems of the cortex, which counteracts the negative input that threatens self-esteem. The behavioral component of CBT involves activities that reinforce the process.
  • Proactive neuroplasticity. Our neural network responds to stimuli by transmitting the hormones that sustain and provide us comfort and pleasure. Deliberate repetitious stimuli compel neurons to fire repeatedly causing them to wire together. The more repetitions, the stronger the new connections. Hormonal rewards of comfort and pleasure motivate us to continue the repetitive practice that, over time, reconstruct our brain’s neural pathways. 
  • Mindfulness is a state of active, open recognition and acceptance of present realities. It is the act of embracing our flaws as well as our inherent character strengths, virtues, and attributes. Mindfulness is the key to re-engaging our positive self-properties that constitute healthy self-esteem.
  • Abhidharma presents a clear system for understanding our psychological dispositions, processes, habits, and challenges. The Buddhist psychology of the eightfold path is a profile of the requisites for rational living. Right views, intention, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and concentration have an additional implicit component, that of making the right choice. Evidence suggests we experience a physiological reaction when choosing to do something irrational or self-destructive because it conflicts with our inherent awareness of what is beneficial to ourselves and our community.
  • Positive psychology can be defined as the science of optimal functioning. Its objective is to identify the character strengths and virtues that generate our motivation, persistence, and perseverance to recover. Mindfulness of our attributes generates the psychological, physical, and social wellbeing that buffer against dysfunction. The objective is to achieve our potential, becoming the best that we can be. Research shows that positive psychology interventions improve overall wellbeing and decrease physiological distress in persons with anxiety, mood, and depressive disorders.
  • Recovered memory process is utilized to recall hidden memories and the emotions they embrace. Our dysfunction sustains itself on our irrationality and negative self-perceptions. It encourages us to repress feelings, thoughts, and desires unacceptable to our conscious mind, storing them in the archives of our memory. It is useful to retrieve and address the emotions hidden in these repressed memories.

The rediscovery and revitalization of self-esteem is an essential part of recovery and cannot be second-tiered. Due to our dysfunction and subsequent disruption in natural human development, we are subject to significantly lower implicit and explicit self-esteem relative to healthy controls. One-size-fits-all methods are inadequate to a multiple-pronged approach. Our recovery practicum incorporates activities such as roleplay, interactive exercises, and games. Clinically proven self-esteem exercises, questionnaires, and scales are utilized. Utilizing the platform of methods outlined, we collaboratively create a blueprint that emphasizes our inherent strengths, virtues, and attributes to implement the crucial reacquisition of self-esteem and its positive self-qualities.

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.