Archive for the 'Ethics' Category

Dec 09 2014

A Review: Clearing the Path: Opening the Spiritual Frontier by Dr. Robert Mark

Summary: Dr. Mark gets an A+ for writing an interesting narrative of his personal and professional development. However, a diminished grade for encouraging people to dispense with their critical thinking to entertain the possibility of higher powers and alternative realities. Discouraging a belief in science is a surprising part of this book and therapists especially should not take this advice seriously, lest they begin to practice unethically.
My acknowledgement: I was involved in Dr. Mark’s men’s program and have insights about him and his work. Perhaps there is no good ending in a relationship with people or organizations. This was true for me, so any negative views I express may be colored by my ending experiences.

I was very curious about this book when I learned it had been written and recently had a chance to read it. I surprisingly enjoyed it, as an autobiographical account of the author’s development as a human being and professional therapist. In person, Dr. Mark is both impressive and charismatic.

As the depth of his book demonstrates, he’s intelligent and highly skilled as a therapist. You can tell he has an ease and comfort with traditional forms of therapy and having seen him in action, I can confirm he is an exceptional agent of change in people’s lives.

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Jan 08 2013

A Son Dies: Exploring the Personal Impact of Rick Warren’s Hostility to LGBT’s

One hears “where there’s smoke there’s fire” a lot when evaluating the religious leaders who stridently oppose LGBT rights, especially marriage equality.

These men seem to crave the attention of both their congregations and media. They are on tv, radio, and often run for the presidency of the United States.

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Dec 23 2011

Victory for lllinois Bloggers Further Legitimizes the Right of Free Speech to Blogs

In his website article, “Victory for Bloggers: Illinois Blog Wins Lawsuit”, Warner Todd Huston, reports:

“In a good sign for blogger free speech, a lawsuit against a high profile conservative blog in Illinois has just been tossed out. A political contributor brought the lawsuit over a story about property tax reassessments and political contributions. This is a victory for free political speech as well as a victory for the status of blogs in the world of “journalism.”

So, more evidence and close to home for all those Illinois bloggers who are reporting on controversial topics. They have the same protection as mainstream journalists.

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Nov 13 2011

Penn State and the Catholic Church

Examining the religious right wing activism defending catholic clergy sex abusers and the response of the church, it’s pretty easy to understand why Joe Paterno didn’t do anything to protect the children being raped by Jerry Sandusky.

He’s Joe Paterno and probably feels entitled to do whatever he wants, just like Bill Donohue, Bishop Finn of Kansas City, the catholic pope, and the entire catholic church hierarchy.
Bill Donohue, Executive Director of Catholic League Center for Religious and Civil Rights,

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Apr 16 2011

The Catholic Church’s 2,000 Year History of Sexual Abuse of Children and Others: Recovered Memories Series III

If you were raised a Catholic in the 50’s and 60’s as I was, you will also be shocked to find out the Catholic clergy have been sexually abusing children, adolescents and adults since the early days of the church.

The notion that sexual abuse by Catholic clergy is a modern phenomenon is the public relations and legal strategy used today to explain and defend against responsibility for this betrayal of children and families.

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Jan 20 2011

Memory Wars: Exploring the Science in the Recovered Memory Debate

Recovered memories refers to the phenomenon of human beings forgetting aspects of their personal history, then remembering it later, often decades later.

Although therapists have witnessed recovered memories of their clients in the sanctity of the therapist room, mistakes made by overzealous therapists, law enforcement officers and others evaluating possible abuse gave rise to research and legal advocacy efforts to cast doubt on the reliability of recovered memories.

The debate about the reliability of recovered memories became known as “the memory wars.”

I am dedicating the next series of posts to an exploration of this debate. There are many prominent researchers who you will hear about, especially Elizabeth Loftus, Bessel Van der Kolk, Jim Hopper, Ken Pope, Richard McNally, Ross Chiet among others, along with the “talking points” of the skeptics and deniers of recovered memory.
To start off, we need to understand the culture giving rise to this debate.

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Oct 29 2010

Anita Hill: I Will Apologize to You…

When Virginia Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, called and left a voice mail message asking you to apologize, I was shocked, but not surprised.

Like many others, I wondered what in the world she was thinking. Then I realized she probably believes what her husband testified under oath and then wrote in his book…that you are a liar.

Really, does anyone else believe Clarence Thomas besides his wife?

I know there were opinion polls showing that many people did believe Clarence Thomas at the time, but I understand how power works.

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May 27 2010

Ken Pope, Ethics and Research on the Impact of Dual Relationships in Therapy

Ken Pope, PhD is a widely respected psychologist and author. His website offers one of the best discussions of dual relationships and I highly recommend it.

To read it, click here.

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Nov 23 2009

The Neural Bases of Empathic Accuracy: An Article by Psychology Professors Kevin Oschner and Niall Bolger, graduate student Jamil Zaki, and Research Assistant Jochen Weber at Columbia University Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, June 2009

A Columbia University research project using functional MRI scanning has mapped the two brain systems responsible for empathic accuracy, the parietal and premotor cortex.

These two brain systems help humans understand the intentions of simple gestures, interpret the meaning of those gestures and place them into context.

The researchers used a group of volunteers (objects) to talk about emotional events in their lives while being videotaped. Later, these volunteers watched themselves on video and evaluated whether they felt positively or negatively while talking about these live events.

Then, a second group of volunteers (perceivers) watched the same videotapes and were asked to evaluate the positive or negative experience of the initial volunteers as they described their life events while also hooked up to functional MRI scanning devices to measure which brain systems were activated.
When the perceivers were accurate about the emotional experience, the same brain systems, the parietal and premotor cortex were activated.

Interestingly, when the perceivers were wrong, a third brain system was activated that involves the control and management of one’s own feelings.

This suggested to the researchers that a persons attention to their own feelings may cause them to miss the gestures and other behaviors linked to the feelings of others.

Read the summary of the study here.

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Nov 05 2009

Colleen Conaway: Committed Suicide While Attending a James Ray Seminar in San Diego

Read about it here.

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