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Posts tagged ‘Psychology’

Don’t Touch Me!

Circa 2004, I had the opportunity to design curriculum and present to students every aspect of massage therapy from the origin and history of massage, business, posture and proper body mechanics and practicum to sitting the state boards and everything in between. It was a complete massage therapy course as well a full 600 hour curriculum. As part of my interview for the “new” position I was required to instruct in front of an actual class. After a lot of consideration, I chose “touch” for my lecture.

I have always found it interesting how touch during our physical development ultimately shapes the “who” we become. It is now common knowledge that prenatal and postnatal, babies are much healthier and have a higher survival rate when receiving regular touch (massage) therapy. Throughout a person’s lifetime, continued touch promotes and encourages every single aspect of their existence.

Many studies have taken an interest on the effects of touch. The effects typically noted and researched are of course growth and development, ADD, immunity, cancer, chronic pain syndromes and many others that don’t necessarily respond well to traditional medical efforts. It should also be common sense that continued touch also creates a connection between the giver and the receiver.

Massage therapy reduces anxiety and is said to cause an increase in the neurotransmitter Serotonin. Therefore, in the sense that massage therapy, or touch therapy reduces stress and alleviates symptoms of depression, a mother who receives pregnancy massage is healthier and her baby is also less likely to suffer from premature birth or other complications during labor.


Criminal Genetic Predisposition

Criminal behavior is often the result of an interaction between genetic and environmental factors; however, many believe that one may be more significant. Perhaps one has a greater factor in determining criminal or abnormal behavior.

Genetic programming certainly isn’t something I think determines someone’s choices in life. I feel it’s more appropriate to attribute one’s actions to their personality, their character, their conscious preference, their choice. From prenatal to adulthood, there are other circumstances that may be outside of the genetic realm of causation. Some of these would be for example; substance abuse at any age, physical abuse at any age, or any kind of psychological trauma. There are many types of abuse that leave an indelible wound on a person’s psyche.

There is research to suggest that addicts who participate in counseling, in addition to other treatment methods, achieve a higher level of successful rehabilitation. (Durand, pg. 417) I feel this supports my opinion that it takes a conscious choice by the individual to make a behavioral change. Genetics play a large part in our appearance, makeup, and perhaps also our morbidity. But, I don’t think genetics has a lot to do with our overall brain activity. If this were a fact, then wouldn’t sexual choice also be genetic? Perhaps, since we have a genetic predisposition for physical size and anatomic structure, it can be argued that certain parts of the brain may be more or less developed in some than others. Then, yes, this would imply genetic influence; an inescapable fate.

Durand, V.M., and Barlow, D.H. (2007). Essentials of Abnormal Psychology (5th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.

Are you normal?

The “norm” is an invented ideal; a human invented ideal. Humans love the predictable. Change is stressful. Unexpected change is frustrating. The world is chaotic, stressful and frustrating. Drugs and research, processes and techniques are methods of dealing with abnormalities; gaining knowledge through collecting data in an attempt to understand the abnormal; medicating the abnormal in an attempt to neutralize the abnormalities.

I think that creating more labels creates more opportunity to diagnose more people with more abnormalities. Then, more drugs are created to meet the demand. I also think that OCD and ADD are products of our societal rituals. I say take that OCD and place them in a landfill without hand sanitizer. Take that ADD and put them in a stimulus rich environment, for an extended period.

It has been through media, advocacy, rallies, marches, and protests that homosexuality, transgendered, and intersexuals have gained tolerance and acceptance within society. A lot has been promulgated about the existence of 3 additional sexes, beyond only a male or female designation. (I won’t be going into detail describing the 3 others for it might distract from the point.) Imagine how difficult it would be to continue holding on to the ideal of what are perceived as the norms of male and female identities, with an additional 3 sexes. What then would become of the concept of homosexuality as being abnormal and unaccepted? Perhaps a drug would be developed to prescribe to heterosexuals in an attempt to help them get over their disorder.

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