Friday, August 31, 2012

Candice Pert Ph.D.'s "Psychosomatic Wellness" CD: A Review

by Timothy Wilken, MD

Candace Pert's Psychosomatic Wellness

I began using healing mediation to help my patients in the late 1970s. I created individual tapes for each patient, my scripts were based on a blend of breathing techniques, progressive muscular relaxation, autogenic training, guided imagery, and self-hypnosis. These tapes proved to be powerful tools for helping my patients heal both emotional and physical injuries.

In 2007, when I was personally challenged with a serious illness, I reached for them to help me heal myself. Since then I make it my practice to personally use healing meditation daily. While I have memorized many scripts, I am constantly searching for new healing meditations.
It was my great delight to discover Candace Pert’s Psychosomatic Wellness. She has wonderful meditations on this CD album. I try to listen to them daily. I keep them on my iPod so they are handy. There are five “songs” on the album.

The first “song” is Introduction, it explains the science behind her approach, you only need to listen to that once.

The second “song” is the healing meditation called Adaptation of Niels Bohr. I try to listen to this at least once a day. It is 25 minutes long.

The third one is also very good. It uses a series of powerful affirmations to program the subconscious with positive and healthy beliefs.  It is called Affirmations inspired by Belleruth Naperstek.  I listen to it whenever I have time. It's 16 minutes long.

The fourth “song” is a Musical Reprise. Very pleasant. It provides the perfect background for imagining your cells working to repair and heal your body. It is 7 minutes long.

The fifth and last “song” is a song. It is called Honor Who You Are. Very wise and very pleasant. It lasts 3 or 4 minutes.

I haven’t listened to any healing meditations that I like better than these. I have always known that meditating was good for me, but with practicing medicine 40 hours a week, and publishing three websites, I always had a bit of difficulty finding the time. Now, I actually look forward to listening to these. I awoke this morning at 5:30AM with need to start my day the right way. I listened to all four “songs” this morning, They were wonderful.

I am currently recommending the CD to all my patients. Take a listen, I promise that it will be good for you.

Relaxation Technique: Autogenic Training

From yee Wiki,

"Autogenic training is a relaxation technique developed by the German psychiatrist Johannes Heinrich Schultz and first published in 1932. The technique involves the daily practice of sessions that last around 15 minutes, usually in the morning, at lunch time, and in the evening. During each session, the practitioner will repeat a set of visualisations that induce a state of relaxation. Each session can be practiced in a position chosen amongst a set of recommended postures (for example, lying down, sitting meditation). The technique can be used to alleviate many stress-induced psychosomatic disorders.

Schultz emphasized parallels to techniques in yoga and meditation. It is a method for influencing one's autonomic nervous system. Abbe Faria and Emile Coue were the forerunners of Schultz. There are many parallels to progressive relaxation. In 1963 Wolfgang Luthe discovered the significance of "autogenic discharges", paroxistic phenomena of motor, sensorial, visual and emotional nature related to the traumatic history of the patient, and developed the method of "Autogenic Abreaction". His disciple Luis de Rivera, a McGill trained psychiatrist, introduced psychodynamic concepts into Wolfgang Luthe's approach, developing "Autogenic Analysis" as a new method for uncovering the unconscious.

Herbert Benson, MD, a Harvard professor also did significant research in the area. He called it the Relaxation Response and wrote an influential book with that same title.

Example of an autogenic training session

1. Sit in the meditative posture and scan the body
2. "My right arm is heavy"
3. "My arms and legs are heavy and warm" (repeat 3 or more times)
4. "My heartbeat is calm and regular" (repeat 3 times)
5. "My solar plexus is warm" (repeat 3 times)
6. "My forehead is cool"
7. "My neck and shoulders are heavy" (repeat 3 times)
8. "I am at peace" (repeat 3 times)

9. Finish Part One by cancelling

10. Start Part Two by repeating from step 2 on to cancelling

11. Start Part Three by repeating from step 2 on to cancelling

When you end your practice, it is a good idea to cancel, to avoid your thoughts from inadvertently materializing. To cancel say "arms firm," and move your arms vigorously; say "breathe deeply," and breathe deeply; and say "open eyes," and open your eyes.

Many practitioners will choose not to cancel between the three iterations, in order to maintain a deeper relaxation.

Quite often, one will ease themselves into the "trance" by counting to ten, and exit by counting backwards from ten. This is another practice taken from progressive relaxation.

Effects of autogenic training

Autogenic training restores the balance between the activity of the sympathetic (flight or fight) and the parasympathetic (rest and digest) branches of the autonomic nervous system. This has important health benefits, as the parasympathetic activity promotes digestion and bowel movements, lowers the blood pressure, slows the heart rate, and promotes the functions of the immune system.


Autogenic training is contraindicated for people with heart conditions or psychotic disorders.

Clinical evidence

Autogenic training has been subject to clinical evaluation from its early days in Germany, and from the early 1980s worldwide. In 2002, a meta-analysis of 60 studies was published in Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, finding significant positive effects of treatment when compared to normals over a number of diagnoses; finding these effects to be similar to best recommended rival therapies; and finding positive additional effects by patients, such as their perceived quality of life.

In Japan, four researchers from the Tokyo Psychology and Counseling Service Center have formulated a measure for reporting clinical effectiveness of autogenic training.

Autogenic training was popularized in North America particularly among practitioners by Wolfgang Luthe, who co-authored, with Schultz, a multi-volume tome on Autogenic Training. Luthe was a firm believer that autogenic training was a powerful approach that should only be offered to patients by qualified professionals.

Like many techniques (progressive relaxation, yoga, qigong, varieties of meditation) which have been developed into advanced, sophisticated processes of intervention and learning,

Autogenic training, as Luthe and Schultz wrote in their master tome, took well over a year to learn to teach and over a year to learn. But some biofeedback practitioners took the most basic elements of autogenic imagery and developed "condensed" simplified versions that were used in combination with biofeedback.

This was done at the Menninger foundation by Elmer Green, Steve Fahrio, Patricia Norris, Joe Sargent, Dale Walters and others, where they took the hand warming imagery of autogenic training and used it as an aid to develop thermal biofeedback."

In the News: New Software Can Diagnose Parkinson's Disease Simply By Listening To Your Voice

by David J. Hill
Contributing Writer, Singularity University.

Software like Apple's Siri that responds to your voice is convenient and incredibly cool, but what if a similar kind of voice analysis could diagnose disease? A new initiative aims to make detection of Parkinson's disease as easy as making a phone call. Computer algorithms developed by TED Fellow and applied mathematician Max Little can analyze vocal recordings for characteristic anomalies in an individual's voice brought on by the disease. The noninvasive method can detect Parkinson's with 86 percent accuracy in blind testing of 50 voices, and the rate increases to 99 percent when individual's have mid to late stage Parkinson's.

The Parkinson's Voice Initiative has been formed to create a database of 10,000 voice recordings from people all over the world to improve the algorithms. The goal is to make the technology available to doctors within the next two years.

As Little told the BBC, "This is machine learning. We are collecting a large amount of data when we know if someone has the disease or not and we train the database to learn how to separate out the true symptoms of the disease from other factors." The effort was announced at this year's TEDGlobal.

Here is Max Little presenting the Initiative:

Unfortunately, there are no known biomarkers for Parkinson's, so diagnostic testing focuses on evaluating degrees of tremors in the clinic. Along with these characteristic tremors, voice changes are common, such as whispering, breathiness, and a shift to higher tones. In fact, the voice can be weakened by as much as 10 decibels compared to an average speaker. Though these changes can go unnoticed by a person with a disease, relatives and friends more often pick up on it, but a computer algorithm that detects nuances of speech and subtle changes could detect abberations with much greater frequency.

The technology can scale easily as patients can do the tests themselves in minutes and are as cheap as making a local phone call. This could not only help screen people for early stages of the disease, but it could also allow doctor's to track the disease progression in patients and therapists to monitor the effectiveness of voice therapies without patients having to come into the clinic. This could save valuable resources and allow healthcare workers to have more frequent checkups on patient health remotely.

To get a sense of the change in voice that occurs, check out this video from the Parkinson Voice Project, a nonprofit organization that uses intensive therapy to help individuals with Parkinson's and other neurological disorders regain their voices:

The Initiative hopes to use the software to help with patient treatment, so that drug dosage and timing could be optimized. Additionally, clinical trials could benefit from classification methods more accurate than current methods that may fail to detect some with Parkinson's. With a database of recordings available for analysis, more sophisticated algorithms could also be developed that may lead to a scoring system for disease progression based on voice alone.
The potential of this technology goes beyond Parkinson's disease as voice changes can be caused by other neurological diseases, such stroke, multiple sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS), as well as cancer that affects the throat (larynx, esophageal, neck, and even lung cancer). Voice changes also occur with viral and bacterial infection, like the common cold or flu, and are one of the characteristics of heavy smoking. So if similar types of voice recording pools could be collected and analyzed with these algorithms, the potential to detect diseases and monitor their progression could be developed.

As Gizmodo suggests, voice-analyzing algorithms might someday be integrated into a smartphone app like Siri. Even a simple app that could monitor your regular voice commands or conversations on your smartphone and pop up an alert if a significant change is detected could be a valuable tool in the coming wave of healthcare apps aimed at preventative care.
(If you are interested in participating in the study, you can find the number to call at the PCI website.)

This material published courtesy of Singularity University.

"The Charlie Rose Show" The Brain Series Year Two Online

If you have the time, you can check out the Brain Series Year Two from The Charlie Rose Show online. If interested, click on the link below.

In the News: Genome Brings Ancient Girl to Life

This replica of a tiny finger bone from Denisova Cave yielded an entire genome. Photo: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

by Adrian Cho, ScienceNOW

In a stunning technical feat, an international team of scientists has sequenced the genome of an archaic Siberian girl 31 times over, using a new method that amplifies single strands of DNA. The sequencing is so complete that researchers have as sharp a picture of this ancient genome as they would of a living person’s, revealing, for example that the girl had brown eyes, hair, and skin. “No one thought we would have an archaic human genome of such quality,” says Matthias Meyer, a postdoc at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. “Everyone was shocked by the counts. That includes me.”

That precision allows the team to compare the nuclear genome of this girl, who lived in Siberia’s Denisova Cave more than 50,000 years ago, directly to the genomes of living people, producing a “near-complete” catalog of the small number of genetic changes that make us different from the Denisovans, who were close relatives of Neandertals. “This is the genetic recipe for being a modern human,” says team leader Svante Pääbo, a paleogeneticist at the institute.

Ironically, this high-resolution genome means that the Denisovans, who are represented in the fossil record by only one tiny finger bone and two teeth, are much better known genetically than any other ancient human—including Neandertals, of which there are hundreds of specimens. The team confirms that the Denisovans interbred with the ancestors of some living humans and found that Denisovans had little genetic diversity, suggesting that their small population waned further as populations of modern humans expanded. “Meyer and the consortium have set up the field of ancient DNA to be revolutionized—again,” says Beth Shapiro, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who was not part of the team. Evolutionary geneticist Sarah Tishkoff of the University of Pennsylvania agrees: “It’s really going to move the field forward.”

Pääbo’s group first gave the field a jolt in May 2010 by reporting a low-coverage sequence (1.3 copies on average) of the composite nuclear genome from three Neandertals. They found that 1% to 4% of the DNA of Europeans and Asians, but not of Africans, was shared with Neandertals and concluded that modern humans interbred with Neandertals at low levels.

Just 7 months later, the same group published 1.9 copies on average of a nuclear genome from a girl’s pinky finger bone from Denisova Cave. They found she was neither a Neandertal nor a modern human—although bones of both species had been found in the cave—but a new lineage that they called Denisovan. The team found “Denisovan DNA” in some island Southeast Asians and concluded that their ancestors also interbred with the ancestors of Denisovans, probably in Asia.

But these genomes were too low quality to produce a reliable catalog of differences. Part of the problem was that ancient DNA is fragmentary, and most of it breaks down into single strands after it is extracted from bone.

Meyer’s breakthrough came in developing a method to start the sequencing process with single strands of DNA instead of double strands, as is usually done. By binding special molecules to the ends of a single strand, the ancient DNA was held in place while enzymes copied its sequence. The result was a sixfold to 22-fold increase in the amount of Denisovan DNA sequenced from a meager 10-milligram sample from the girl’s finger. The team was able to cover 99.9% of the mappable nucleotide positions in the genome at least once, and more than 92% of the sites at least 20 times, which is considered a benchmark for identifying sites reliably. About half of the 31 copies came from the girl’s mother and half from her father, producing a genome “of equivalent quality to a recent human genome,” says paleoanthropologist John Hawks of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, who was not part of the team.

Now, the view of the ancient genome is so clear that Meyer and his colleagues were able to detect for the first time that Denisovans, like modern humans, had 23 pairs of chromosomes, rather than 24 pairs, as in chimpanzees. By aligning the Denisovan genome with that of the reference human genome and counting mutations, the team calculated that the Denisovan and modern human populations finally split between 170,000 and 700,000 years ago.

The researchers also estimated ancient Denisovan population sizes by using methods to estimate the age of various gene lineages and the amount of difference between the chromosomes the girl inherited from her mother and father. They found that Denisovan genetic diversity, already low, shrank even more 400,000 years ago, reflecting small populations at that time. By contrast, our ancestors’ population apparently doubled before their exodus from Africa.
The team also counted the differences between Denisovans and chimps, and found that they have fewer differences than do modern people and chimps. The girl’s lineage had less time to accumulate mutations, and the “missing evolution” suggests she died about 80,000 years ago, although the date is tentative, says co-author David Reich, a population geneticist at Harvard University. If this date—the first proof that a fossil can be directly dated from its genome—holds up, it is considerably older than the very rough dates of 30,000 to more than 50,000 years for the layer of sediment where the fossils of Denisovans, Neandertals, and modern humans all were found.

The team says the new genome confirms their previous findings, showing that about 3% of the genomes of living people in Papua New Guinea come from Denisovans, while the Han and Dai on mainland China have only a trace of Denisovan DNA. Furthermore, the team determined that Papuans have more Denisovan DNA on their autosomes, inherited equally often from both parents, than on their X chromosomes, inherited twice as often from the mother. This curious pattern suggests several possible scenarios, including that male Denisovans interbred with female modern humans, or that these unions were genetically incompatible, with natural selection weeding out some of the X chromosomes, Reich says.

The new genome also suggests one odd result. By using the detailed Denisovan genome to sharpen the view of their close cousins the Neandertals, the team concludes that living East Asians have more Neandertal DNA than Europeans have. But most Neandertal fossils are from Europe; paleoanthropologist Richard Klein of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, calls the result “peculiar.”

Most exciting to Pääbo is the “nearly complete catalog” of differences in genes between the groups. This includes 111,812 single nucleotides that changed in modern humans in the past 100,000 years or so. Of those, eight were in genes associated with the wiring of the nervous system, including those involved in the growth of axons and dendrites and a gene implicated in autism. Pääbo is intrigued in particular by a change in a gene that is regulated by the so-called FOXP2 gene, implicated in speech disorders. It is “tempting to speculate that crucial aspects of synaptic transmission may have changed in modern humans,” the team wrote. Thirty-four genes are associated with disease in humans. The list suggests some obvious candidates for gene-expression studies. “The cool thing is that it isn’t an astronomically large list,” Pääbo says. “Our group and others will probably be able to analyze most of them in the next decade or two.”

Back in Leipzig, the mood is upbeat, as researchers pull fossil samples off the shelf to test anew with “Matthias’s method.” First on Pääbo’s list: Neandertal bone samples, to try to produce a Neandertal genome to rival that of the little Denisovan girl.

This story provided by ScienceNow, the daily online news service of the journal Science.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Keep On Smirkin'!

In the News:Chocoholics Rejoice: Milk Chocolate May Reduce Stroke Risk in Men

Study confirms chocolate's benefits extend to men

Chocoholic men, rejoice—new research suggests that consuming chocolate could reduce the risk of stroke in men.

Researchers studied more than 37,000 Swedish men over the course of 10 years. Men who ate more than 2 ounces of chocolate per week had a 17 percent lower chance of having a stroke than men who ate very little or no chocolate. Previous studies have shown that chocolate can reduce the risk of stroke in women, but no research measured whether it reduced the chance of stroke in men.

"The association between chocolate consumption and stroke risk was similar in men and women," according to the report, which was published in the journal Neurology on Wednesday.

Previous research has suggested that chocolate can reduce blood pressure, stimulate brain activity, and even reduce pain associated with migraines. Susanna Larsson, of Stockholm's Karolinska Institute and lead author of the report, writes that chocolate likely reduces the risk of stroke because it contains flavonoids, which have similar properties to antioxidants.

"The flavonoids may reduce the risk of stroke through several biological mechanisms, including antioxidant, anti-platelet, and anti-inflammatory effects as well as by lowering blood pressure, increasing high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and improving endothelial function," she wrote.

According to the study, about 90 percent of all chocolate in Sweden consumed during the study was milk chocolate, so they were unable to determine if dark chocolate reduced the risk of stroke, though dark chocolate has more flavonoids than milk chocolate.

The caffeine in chocolate could potentially play a role as well, she speculates. Coffee consumption has been shown to similarly reduce the risk of stroke, though researchers aren't sure why. But there are likely other components of chocolate that reduce stroke risk more than caffeine.

"The amount of caffeine in chocolate is low and cannot fully explain" the stroke risk reduction, she writes.

Though Thursday's news is good for anyone with a sweet tooth, Larsson warns people not to go overboard.

"Further studies are required to confirm this finding before any recommendations about chocolate consumption can be given. Because chocolate is high in sugar, saturated fat, and calories, it should be consumed in moderation," she writes.

Jason Koebler is a science and technology reporter for U.S. News & World Report.

Roy Orbison "Oh, Pretty Woman" (from Black & White Night)

Pretty woman -- actress Leigh Snowden.

After my last book list post I realized -- it's time to get a life! I need a pretty woman!

My Obsessive Reading

I have an "indexing gene." I love checklists and reference data. I used to catalogue the creative credits for my favorite comic books, in pencil, on 3" x 5" index cards, during the Anchorage Fur Rendezvous dogsled races televised in the mid-seventies. I thought it was fun. Like most collectors, I would also make ultra-detailed "want lists" of missing, desired issues, and reading lists of favorite authors.

For a time in the nineties, I joined legendary comic fan Jerry Bails' indexing apa (amateur press association), apa-i. I 've contributed to the online Grand Comic Book Database., Askart, and other databases -- the ultimate versions of my old catalog card system.

These days, when I finish a nonfiction book, I write down the title and author(s) in a notebook. Sometimes I forget, but usually I record the books soon after reading. In true OCD fashion, I have to actually finish a book in order to record it. Partially finished books don't count. Believe it or not, just seeing the title/author information again helps me recall much of what I've read.

I originally read popular science and math books for the nonfiction genre, but after the 2008 financial crisis meltdown, I realized I knew nothing of business, and went on a business, economics, and investing book jag. Then in 2010, I shifted gears again to the current trend of mainly psychology and neuroscience reads. The "Behavioral Economics" business books made a nice bridge to these psychology books. I think my "psychology phase" is winding down now. What's next? Probably learning theory.

For "extra credit," I have typed out my list of my obsessesive fact-based reading conquests. You might enjoy reading a few of them yourself, so I have roughly categorized them. Frankly, after typing out this list, I'm a bit blown away at how much material I've consumed so far, and this doesn't even count all the comics, art books, magazines, and crime novels. I'm sure I've also missed a few books that I forgot to record. Here's the list, alphabetized by author.

Biography/Memoir/Military/Pop Culture
The Wire: Truth Be Told - Rafael Alvarez and David Simon
Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest - Stephen E. Ambrose
Citizen Soldiers: The U. S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany - Stephen E. Ambrose 
D Day: June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II - Stephen E. Ambrose
The Wild Blue: The Men and Boys Who Flew the B-24s Over Germany 1944-45 - Stephen E. Ambrose
Howard Hughes: His Life and Madness - Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele
Under Cover: An Illustrated History of American Mass-Market Paperback - Thomas L. Bonn ; Foreword by John Tebbel

Possible Side Effects - Augusten Burroughs
Running with Scissors: A Memoir - Augusten Burroughs
The Path to Power (The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume 1) - Robert A. Caro
Means of Ascent (The Years of Lyndon Johnson) - Robert A. Caro
The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York - Robert A. Caro
From Birdland to Broadway: Scenes from a Jazz Life - Bill Crow
Marine! The Life of Chesty Puller - Burke Davis
Miles: The Autobiography - Miles Davis and Quincy Troupe
Django Reinhardt - Charles Delaunay
I Feel Bad About My Neck - Nora Ephron
Rod Serling: The Dreams and Nightmares of Life in the Twilight Zone/a Biography - Joel Engel
Grant Green: Rediscovering the Forgotten Genius of Jazz Guitar - Sharony Andrews Green  

Searching for Robert Johnson: The Life and Legend of the "King of the Delta Blues Singers" - Peter Guralnick
Summer of '49 - David Halberstam
The Fifties - David Halberstam  

Howard Hughes: The Secret Life - Charles Higham
The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World - A. J. Jacobs
Kind of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece - Ashley Kahn
Too Marvelous for Words: The Life and Genius of Art Tatum - James Lester
Options: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs - A Parody by Fake Steve Jobs (Daniel Lyons)
The Terrible Hours: The Greatest Submarine Rescue in History - Peter Maas 
Underboss: Sammy the Bull Gravano's Story of Life in the Mafia - Peter Maas
Stan Getz: A Life in Jazz - Donald L. Maggin
Goodbye, Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War - William Manchester
Jim Thompson: Sleep with the Devil - Michael J. McCauley
Positively Fifth Street: Murderers, Cheetahs, and Binion's World Series of Poker - James McManus

Cornell Woolrich: First You Dream, Then You Die - Francis M. Nevins
Hardboiled America: Lurid Years of Paperbacks - Geoffrey O'Brien
Deep Blues: A Musical and Cultural History of the Mississippi Delta - Robert Palmer
Dance of the Infidels: A Portrait of Bud Powell - Francis Paudras 
Straight Life: The Story of Art Pepper - Art Pepper and Laurie Pepper
Bill Evans: How My Heart Sings - Peter Pettinger
Goodfellas - Nicholas Pileggi  
Savage Art: A Biography of Jim Thompson - Robert Polito
Fortunate Son: The Healing of a Vietnam Vet - Lewis B. Puller Jr.
Jelly's Blues: The Life, Music, and Redemption of Jelly Roll Morton - Howard Reich and William M. Gaines
The Making of the Atomic Bomb - Richard Rhodes 
A Bridge Too Far: The Classic History of the Greatest Battle of World War II - Cornelius Ryan 
The Longest Day: The Classic Epic of D-Day - Cornelius Ryan
Serling: The Rise and Twilight of Television's Last Angry Man - Gordon F. Sander
In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash - Jean Shepherd
Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories: And Other Disasters - Jean Shepherd    
Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage - Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drew
Between Covers: The Rise and Transformation of Book Publishing in America - John William Tebbel   
Off the Wall (David Berkowitz) - Charles Willeford
Something About a Soldier - Charles Willeford
Business/Economics/Finance/ Investment
The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More - Chris Anderson
Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions - Dan Ariely
The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home - Dan Ariely
Corporate Cults: The Insidious Lure of the All-Consuming Organization - Dave Arnott
Super Crunchers: Why Thinking-By-Numbers is the New Way To Be Smart - Ian Ayres
The Numerati - Stephen Baker
The Secret History of the South Sea Bubble: The World's First Great Financial Scandal - Malcolm Balen
The Cartoon Introduction to Economics: Volume One: Microeconomics - Yoram Bauman and Grady Klein 
Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes and How to Correct Them: Lessons from the Life-Changing Science of Behavioral Economics - Gary Belsky and Thomas Gilovich
Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk - Peter L. Bernstein
Capital Ideas: The Improbable Origins of Modern Wall Street - Peter L. Bernstein 
The Four Pillars of Investing: Lessons for Building a Winning Portfolio - William Bernstein
The Intelligent Asset Allocator: How to Build Your Portfolio to Maximize Returns and Minimize Risk - William J. Bernstein
The Investor's Manifesto: Preparing for Prosperity, Armageddon, and Everything in Between - William J. Bernstein
A Demon of Our Own Design: Markets, Hedge Funds, and the Perils of Financial Innovation - Richard M. Bookstaber
The Poker Face of Wall Street - Aaron Brown
Frozen Desire: Meaning of Money - James Buchan
Mean Genes: From Sex to Money to Food Taming Our Primal Instincts - Terry Burnham and Jay Phelan
Mean Markets and Lizard Brains: How to Profit from the New Science of Irrationality - Terry Burnham
The Whiz Kids: The Founding Fathers of American Business and the Legacy They Left Us - John A. Byrne
How Markets Fail: The Logic of Economic Calamities - John Cassidy
25 Myths You've Got to Avoid If You Want to Manage Your Money Right: The New Rules for Financial Success - Jonathan Clements
You've Lost It, Now What? How to Beat the Bear Market and Still Retire on Time - Jonathan Clements
The Perfect Store: Inside eBay - Adam Cohen
Extreme Money: Masters of the Universe and the Cult of Risk - Satyajit Das
Inventing Money: The Story of Long-Term Capital Management and the Legends Behind It - Nicholas Dunbar   
The Lazy Person's Guide to Investing: A Book for Procrastinators, the Financially Challenged, and Everyone Who Worries About Dealing with Their Money - Paul B. Farrell
The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World - Niall Ferguson
The Myth of the Rational Market: A History of Risk, Reward, and Delusion on Wall Street - Justin Fox
One Market Under God: Extreme Capitalism, Market Populism, and the End of Economic Democracy - Thomas Frank
Money: Whence It Came, Where It Went - John Kenneth Galbraith
The Age of Uncertainty - John Kenneth Galbraith
The Great Mutual Fund Trap: An Investment Recovery Plan - Gregory Baer and Gary Gensler
The Great Risk Shift: The New Economic Insecurity and the Decline of the American Dream - Jacob S. Hacker
The Reckoning - David Halberstam  
Rivethead: Tales from the Assembly Line - Ben Hamper
The Undercover Economist - Tim Harford
The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times and Ideas of the Great Economic Thinkers - Robert L. Heilbroner
The One Best Way: Frederick Winslow Taylor and the Enigma of Efficiency - Robert Kanigel
Code Name Ginger: The Story Behind Segway and Dean Kamen's Quest to Invent a New World - Steve Kemper
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything - Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance - Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
Liar's Poker - Michael Lewis
Moneyball - Michael Lewis
The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine - Michael Lewis
The Blind Side - Michael Lewis
Origins of the Crash: The Great Bubble and Its Undoing - Roger Lowenstein
When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management - Roger Lowenstein
Bull: A History of the Boom and Bust, 1982-2004 - Maggie Mahar
No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller - Harry Markopolos
More Than You Know: Finding Financial Wisdom in Unconventional Places - Michael J. Mauboussin 
The Trillion Dollar Meltdown: Easy Money, High Rollers, and the Great Credit Crash - Charles R. Morris
Die Broke: A Radical Four-Part Financial Plan - Stephen Pollan and Mark Levine
The Quants: How a New Breed of Math Whizzes Conquered Wall Street and Nearly Destroyed It - Scott Patterson
Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism - Kevin P. Phillips
Fortune's Formula: The Untold Story of the Scientific Betting System That Beat the Casinos and Wall Street - William Poundstone
Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of It) - William Poundstone
Winning the Cash Flow War: Your Ultimate Survival Guide to Making Money and Keeping It - Fred Rewey
The Madoff Chronicles: Inside the Secret World of Bernie and Ruth - Brian Ross
Company Man: The Rise and Fall of Corporate Life - Anthony Sampson
The Mind of the Market - Michael Shermer
Irrational Exuberance - Robert J. Shiller
Crashproof Your Life : A Comprehensive, Three-Part Plan for Protecting Yourself from Financial Disasters - Thomas A. Schweich
Trading Up: Why Consumers Want New Luxury Goods -- and How Companies Create Them - Michael J. Silverstein, Neil Fiske and John Butman
The Smartest 401(k) Book You'll Ever Read: Maximize Your Retirement Savings...the Smart Way! - Daniel R. Solin
The Smartest 401(k) Book You'll Ever Read: Maximize Your Retirement Savings...the Smart Way! - Daniel R. Solin
The Smartest Retirement Book You'll Ever Read - Daniel R. Solin
The Wisdom of Crowds - James Surowiecki
Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets - Nassim Nicholas Taleb
The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable - Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness - Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein
The Winner's Curse: Paradoxes and Anomalies of Economic Life - Richard H. Thaler
The History of Money - Jack Weatherford
What Goes Up: The Uncensored History of Modern Wall Street as Told by the Bankers, Brokers, CEOs, and Scoundrels Who Made It Happen - Eric J. Weiner
Wall Street Versus America: A Muckraking Look at the Thieves, Fakers, and Charlatans Who Are Ripping You Off - Gary Weiss
Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science - Charles Wheelan and Burton G. Malkiel
The Judas Economy: The Triumph of Capital and the Betrayal of Work - William Wolman and Anne Colamosca
The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power - Daniel Yergin  
Diet/Health/Medicine/Neuroscience /Psychology/Self-Help
Change Your Brain, Change Your Life: The Breakthrough Program for Conquering Anxiety, Depression, Obsessiveness, Anger, and Impulsiveness - Daniel G. Amen
Healing Anxiety and Depression - Daniel G. Amen and Lisa C. Routh
10 Simple Solutions to Panic: How to Overcome Panic Attacks, Calm Physical Symptoms, and Reclaim Your Life (The New Harbinger Ten Simple Solutions Series) - Martin M. Antony and Randi E. McCabe
Prozac and the New Antidepressants: What You Need Know About Prozac Zoloft Paxil Luvox Wellbutrin Effexor Serzone Vestra Celexa St. John's Wart and Others - William S. Appleton M. D.
Art and Visual Perception - Rudolf Arnheim
NeanderThin: Eat Like a Caveman to Achieve a Lean, Strong, Healthy Body - Ray Audette
The Imp of the Mind: Exploring the Silent Epidemic of Obsessive Bad Thoughts - Lee Baer  
Side Effects: A Prosecutor, a Whistleblower, and a Bestselling Antidepressant on Trial - Alison Bass
Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Science Reveals Our Extraordinary Potential to Transform Ourselves - Sharon Begley
When in Doubt, Make Belief: An OCD-Inspired Approach to Living with Uncertainty - Jeff Bell
Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment - Tal Ben-Shahar
Coping with Anxiety: 10 Simple Ways to Relieve Anxiety, Fear and Worry - Edmund J. Bourne and Lorna Garanao
The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook - Edmund J. Bourne
Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior - Ori Brafman and Rom Brafman
Getting Past OK: The Self-Help Book for People Who Dont Need Help - Richard Brodie
Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme - Richard Brodie
Feeling Good - The New Mood Therapy - David D. Burns
When Panic Attacks: The New, Drug-Free Anxiety Therapy That Can Change Your Life - David D. Burns
Syndrome X: The Complete Nutritional Program to Prevent and Reverse Insulin Resistance - Jack Challem, Burton Berkson and Melissa Diane Smith
On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not - Robert Burton
Overcoming Obsessive Thoughts: How to Gain Control of Your OCD - David A. Clark and Christine Purdon  
Nerve: Poise Under Pressure, Serenity Under Stress, and the Brave New Science of Fear and Cool - Taylor Clark
The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Foods You Were Designed to Eat - Loren Cordain
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain - Antonio R. Damasio
IBS For Dummies - Carolyn Dean and L. Christine Wheeler
The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science - Norman Doidge
Coping with OCD: Practical Strategies for Living Well with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder - Troy DuFrene and Bruce Hyman
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder For Dummies - Charles H. Elliott Ph.D. and Laura L. Smith Ph.D.
Overcoming Anxiety For Dummies - Charles H. Elliott Ph.D. and Laura L. Smith Ph.D.
Emotions Revealed: Recognizing Faces and Feelings to Improve Communication and Emotional Life - Paul Ekman
Telling Lies: Clues to Deceit in the Marketplace, Politics, and Marriage - Paul Ekman
Thanks: How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier - Robert Emmons
Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside - Katrina Firlik
Stop Obsessing!: How to Overcome Your Obsessions and Compulsions - Edna B. Foa and Reid Wilson 
The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety: A Guide to Breaking Free from Anxiety, Phobias, and Worry Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy - John P. Forsyth and Georg H. Eifert
Positivity: Top-Notch Research Reveals the 3 to 1 Ratio That Will Change Your Life - Barbara Fredrickson
Stumbling on Happiness - Daniel Todd Gilbert
The Sense of Order: A Study in the Psychology of Decorative Art (The Wrightsman Lectures, V. 9) - E. H. Gombrich
Freedom from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: A Personalized Recovery Program for Living with Uncertainty - Jonathan Grayson
Manufacturing Depression: The Secret History of a Modern Disease - Gary Greenberg
InsomniacGayle Greene
The Intelligent Eye - Richard L. Gregory
Mirrors in Mind - Richard L. Gregory
Odd Perceptions Richard L. Gregory
Why We Make Mistakes: How We Look Without Seeing, Forget Things in Seconds, and Are All Pretty Sure We Are Way Above Average - Joseph T. Hallinan
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die - Chip Heath and Dan Heath
On Second Thought: Outsmarting Your Mind's Hard-Wired Habits - Wray Herbert
Sleep Disorders For Dummies - Max Hirshkowitz, Patricia B. Smith and William C. Dement
Mind Wide Open: Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life - Steven Johnson
Sleep Apnea - The Phantom of the Night: Overcome Sleep Apnea Syndrome and Snoring - T. Scott Johnson, William A. Broughton, Jerry Halberstadt and B. Gail Demko
Man and His Symbols - Carl Gustav Jung
Apprentice to Genius: The Making of a Scientific Dynasty (neuroscience and neuropharmacology)  - Robert Kanigel
Who Switched Off My Brain? Revised: Controlling Toxic Thoughts and Emotions - Caroline Leaf Ph.D.
The Emotional Brain: The Mysterious Underpinnings of Emotional Life - Joseph LeDoux
Synaptic Self: How Our Brains Become Who We Are - Joseph LeDoux
How We Decide - Jonah Lehrer 
Proust Was a Neuroscientist - Jonah Lehrer
The Accidental Mind: How Brain Evolution Has Given Us Love, Memory, Dreams, and God - David J. Linden
The Compass of Pleasure: How Our Brains Make Fatty Foods, Orgasm, Exercise, Marijuana, Generosity, Vodka, Learning, and Gambling Feel So Good - David J. Linden
Of Two Minds: The Growing Disorder in American Psychiatry - T. M. Luhrmann
The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want - Sonja Lyubomirsky
101 Theory Drive: A Neuroscientist's Quest for Memory (Gary Lynch) - Terry McDermott
Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School - John Medina
The Society of Mind - Marvin Minsky
Psychology Today: Taming Bipolar Disorder (Psychology Today Here to Help) - Lori Oliwenstein
The Cult of Personality Testing: How Personality Tests Are Leading Us to Miseducate Our Children, Mismanage Our Companies, and Misunderstand Ourselves - Annie Murphy Paul
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders: A Complete Guide to Getting Well and Staying Well - Fred Penzel
Learned Helplessness: A Theory for the Age of Personal Control - Christopher Peterson, Steven F. Maier and Martin E. P. Seligman
The Boy Who Couldn't Stop Washing: The Experience and Treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder - Judith L. Rapoport
Shadow Syndromes: The Mild Forms of Major Mental Disorders That Sabotage Us - John J. Ratey M. D. and Catherine Johnson Ph.D.
Be Different: My Adventures with Asperger's and My Advice for Fellow Aspergians, Misfits, Families, and Teachers - John Elder Robison
Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's - John Elder Robison
Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment - Martin E. P. Seligman
Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being - Martin E. P. Seligman   
Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life - Martin E. P. Seligman
What You Can Change and What You Can't: The Complete Guide to Successful Self-Improvement - Martin E. P. Seligman
Brain Lock: Free Yourself from Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior - Jeffrey M. Schwartz and Beverly Beyette
The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force - Jeffrey M. Schwartz and Sharon Begley
Connectome: How the Brain's Wiring Makes Us Who We Are - Sebastian Seung
Wish I Could Be There: Notes from a Phobic Life - Allen Shawn 
The Other Side of Normal: How Biology Is Providing the Clues to Unlock the Secrets of Normal and Abnormal Behavior - Jordan W. Smoller
Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things - Gail Steketee 
The Impulse Factor: An Innovative Approach to Better Decision Making - Nick Tasler
Overcoming Health Anxiety - David Veale
Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America - Robert Whitaker   
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Dummies - Rob Willson and Rhena Branch
Don't Panic: Taking Control of Anxiety Attacks - Reid Wilson
A Tour of the Calculus - David Berlinski

Newton's Gift: How Sir Isaac Newton Unlocked the System of the World - David Berlinski 

The Advent of the Algorithm: The Idea that Rules the World - David Berlinski
First You Build a Cloud: And Other Reflections on Physics as a Way of LifeK. C. Cole
Mind Over Matter: Conversations with the CosmosK. C. Cole
The Universe and the Tea Cup: The Mathematics of Truth and Beauty K. C. Cole
Archimedes' Revenge: The Joys and Perils of Mathematics - Paul Hoffman
The Man Who Loved Only Numbers: The Story of Paul Erdos and the Search for Mathematical Truth - Paul Hoffman
The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius Ramanujan - Robert Kanigel
The Fractal Geometry of Nature - Benoit Mandelbrot
A Beautiful Mind (John Nash) - Sylvia Nasar
A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper - John Allen Paulos
Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences - John Allen Paulos
Fermat's Enigma: The Epic Quest to Solve the World's Greatest Mathematical Problem - Simon Singh and John Lynch
Bursts: The Hidden Patterns Behind Everything We Do, from Your E-mail to Bloody Crusades - Albert-Laszlo Barabasi
Linked: How Everything Is Connected to Everything Else and What It Means - Albert-László Barabási
Forward Through the Rearview Mirror: Reflections on and by Marshall McLuhan - Paul Benedetti and Nancy DeHart 

American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer - Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin 
Turbulent Mirror: An Illustrated Guide to Chaos Theory and the Science of Wholeness - John Briggs  
Ubiquity: Why Catastrophes Happen - Mark Buchanan
The Selfish Gene - Richard Dawkins
The Meaning of it All: Thoughts of a Citizen-Scientist - Richard P Feynman
What Do You Care What Other People Think?: Further Adventures of a Curious Character - Richard P. Feynman 
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking - Malcolm Gladwell
Outliers: The Story of Success - Malcolm Gladwell
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference - Malcolm Gladwell
What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures - Malcolm Gladwell
Chaos: Making a New Science - James Gleick
Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything - James Gleick
Genius: The Life and Science of Richard FeynmanJames Gleick
The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood - James Gleick
What Just Happened: A Chronicle from the Information Frontier - James Gleick
Alan Turing: The Enigma - Andrew Hodges and Douglas Hofstadter
Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software - Steven Johnson
Chances Are . . .: Adventures in Probability - Michael Kaplan and Ellen Kaplan
Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World - Kevin Kelly
Naked To The Bone: Medical Imaging In The Twentieth Century - Bettyann Kevles
John Von Neumann: The Scientific Genius Who Pioneered the Modern Computer, Game Theory, Nuclear Deterrence, and Much More - Norman Macrae
The Gutenberg Galaxy - Marshall McLuhan 

The Medium is the Massage - Marshall McLuhan, Quentin Fiore and Shepard Fairey
Feynman's Rainbow: A Search for Beauty in Physics and in Life - Leonard Mlodinow 
The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives - Leonard Mlodinow 
What the Numbers Say: A Field Guide to Mastering Our Numerical World - Derrick Niederman and David Boyum
Universal Foam: Exploring the Science of Nature's Most Mysterious Substance - Sidney Perkowitz
Labyrinths of Reason: Paradox, Puzzles, and the Frailty of Knowledge - William Poundstone
The Prisoner's Dilemma - William Poundstone
The Lady Tasting Tea: How Statistics Revolutionized Science in the Twentieth Century - David Salsburg
Fringes of Reason (Whole Earth) - Ted Schultz

Why Things Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended ConsequencesEdward Tenner

Philosophy/ Sociology
Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream - Barbara Ehrenreich
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America - Barbara Ehrenreich
The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements - Eric Hoffer
The Age of Alienation - Bernard Murchland

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

James Surls

The second annual studio exhibition hosted by James Surls, who has migrated from the thicket of East Texas to the high-altitude of Carbondale, Colorado.

Here's a recent photo of one of my first studio art professors from the long-ago SMU art years, sculptor James Surls. Surls looked like a deep woods mountain man in 1974, and he outraged the entire art faculty by announcing to his Materials and Concepts class, "Everyone in my class gets an 'A' whether they come or not, or what they do. You can even leave if you want to."

 Half the class never came back after that announcement. Most of the survivors didn't quite believe him. Surls made good on his promise and gave everyone an 'A,' much to the disgust of some of the more talented students who felt sleighted after they'd knocked themselves out cranking out superior sculpture projects. It never bothered me. I wanted to learn about art, and getting an easy 'A' wasn't so bad. The seventies was a really different time!

All Hands on Deck: How We Can Help Someone Who's Suicidal

With National Suicide Prevention Month starting this September, now is the time to raise awareness.

by Lisa Firestone PhD, psychology expert on relationships, parenting, self-destructive thoughts and suicide; author of 'Conquer Your Critical Voice'

The whole world has felt the impact of recent reports about suicide. The suicide rate in the U.S. military reached almost one a day this year, meaning more U.S. forces died by suicide than in combat in Afghanistan. A UK study published earlier this month showed 1,000 suicides to be linked to rising unemployment and the recession in Great Britain, while the rate of suicides in Greece has reportedly skyrocketed in a time of economic crisis.

Suicide is not just something we hear about in the headlines. It is something that affects us all on a personal level. Almost 1 in 5 people have been personally impacted by a suicide. You never know when someone you care about may become at-risk. It is, therefore, invaluable to gain a better understanding of what goes on in the mind of someone who is suicidal, so we can help them win their battle against the distorted perceptions that are leading them toward this ultimate act of self-destruction.

Taking an "all hands on deck" approach to suicide prevention can truly save lives. Knowing the warning signs for suicide and the helper tasks that can prevent a suicide equips us with powerful tools for assisting those at risk. It should give us hope to know that suicidal people are ambivalent. Suicidality exists on a continuum and is not a black-and-white subject. I recently attended a presentation given by psychologist and suicide expert Dr. David Jobes, when he was receiving a career achievement award. His talk focused on new studies regarding ambivalence in suicide. Dr. Jobes began his presentation by showing a stirring image on the large screen of a man standing precariously on the side of a bridge. Although his feet were mere centimeters from slipping from the ledge, the man's arms and hands gripped tightly to the railing, clinging on for dear life. Even as he stood on the verge of jumping, his grip showed the will and strength of a man who somewhere inside knew he was ambivalent about taking his own life.

This example reminded me of my friend Kevin Hines, who I got to know when making the documentary Understanding and Preventing Suicide. Kevin was 19 when he jumped from San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. He was one of only 28 people in history to have survived that jump, and, like all 28 of his fellow survivors, Kevin regretted his decision as soon as he leaped from the bridge. In an interview for our film, Kevin recounted, "At the split second I hit freefall, I didn't want to die. What did I just do? The voices were gone. I was right there, facing ultimate death... I said God, please let me live."

When a person is in a suicidal state, they are not acting in their own best interest; they are turned against themselves. They are operating in trance-like conditions, in which they are listening to the directives of a cruel, internalized enemy, what my father psychologist Dr. Robert Firestone has referred to as the "anti-self" or the "critical inner voice." We all possess an "anti-self," a self-destructive side that tells us we are worthless, undeserving, or even that we shouldn't exist. We formed this anti-self out of negative early life experiences, painful or traumatic events, and destructive attitudes directed toward us that we internalized. This "anti-self" can drive us to be self-critical, self-hating, or at its worst, self-destructive. However, each of us also possesses a "real self," a part of us that is goal-directed, life-affirming, and that wants us to thrive in our lives. The battle between our self and our anti-self is one we all must face when it comes to living our lives to the fullest and being who we have the potential to be. For a suicidal person, this battle can mean the difference between life or death.

In Dr. Jobes' presentation he described his research, in which he's found that there are three groups of suicidal patients that vary in the degree to which they want to end their lives. What Dr. Jobes found is that even for people who were at the highest risk and who fell on the extreme end of the suicidal spectrum, there were subtle signs of ambivalence in their actions.

Both Dr. Jobes' data and the research we've conducted at The Glendon Association supports that suicidality exists on a continuum. No matter where they fall on this continuum, there is hope that people can emerge from a suicidal state -- a state that has been proven to be, in most cases, both transient and treatable. When suicidal individuals are reached out to, when they've learned ways to be resilient in dark moments, to stand up to their anti-self, and to reconnect with their real self, lives can be saved.

When we go about helping a suicidal person, we always want to connect with the part of them that wants to live and do nothing to support the part that wants to die. We must look at any behavior or activities that have helped them feel better in the past and encourage them to engage in these when they start to have suicidal thoughts. It's important to help these people to remember the things that light them up, interests they still have and to pursue in these activities, even when they're critical inner voice is persuading them to do otherwise.

We must also make an effort to orient suicidal individuals toward the future. We can help them to create meaning out of adversity. For example, after having amazingly survived an almost certainly fatal method of attempting suicide, Kevin was able to reconnect with his desire to live and find purpose in helping others. Kevin is an advocate for mental health and spends his time educating people and speaking on suicide prevention. He has found meaning and fulfillment in his own life.

Just as Kevin realized he was operating under the influence of his "anti-self" when he made his attempt, people at risk can recognize that when they're feeling suicidal, they too are seeing the world through a negative and distorted filter. We can also think about our own ambivalence in relation to our lives and, even though not as serious, it can help us have compassion for the struggle this person is facing. An important question to ask them is how did you come to feel this way.

By taking time and showing that we care and that they're not alone, we can help people to feel connected. Two conditions that can lead to suicide involve a person feeling that they are a burden and that they are disconnected and alone. We can help someone immensely just by letting them know that they matter to us and that they are not on their own. As a colleague of mine, psychologist Dr. Sheldon Solomon, has said: Every person should feel that they are a "significant contributor to a meaningful world." And this is the truth. We all matter to someone, even when an inner critic convinces us differently. We all have the capacity to create meaning and to lead rich lives. This is a possibility that defies nationality, class, and culture. We can all get through dark times; we can choose life, and we can come out stronger in the process.

There are many helper tasks and techniques that can help prevent a suicide, which I've introduced on the website, along with the warning signs for suicide. This September, in honor of National Suicide Prevention Month, I'll be hosting a free Webinar for the public and a CE Webinar for professionals that will help educate attendees on how to identify and help suicidal individuals. You can learn more about these online presentations at

If you or someone you know is in crisis or in need of immediate help, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This is The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a free hotline available 24 hours a day to anyone in emotional distress or suicidal crisis.