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Preview: Angelo Subida

Dr. Angelo O. Subida, Psychotherapist

REVOLUTION PSYCHOTHERAPY, Innovative. Individual. Inspirational. International. * 24/7 Therapy InfoText Hotlines: +63 9090833374 ; +63 9055206951 *

Updated: 2017-10-20T04:47:17.457-07:00


The Psycho-pathology of Pornography


"What love? We just have sex," Melanie cried during a session. Melanie, whose husband is heavily into pornography, experiences no tenderness in their marriage. Everything is done so fast. She just feels so used.

Pornography damages. Psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually. It enslaves addicts in sexual activities and fantasies that destroy their personhood. Far from making a man or woman a better lover, pornography poisons relationships and sexual enjoyment.

Author Victor Cline, in his book "Pornography's Effects on Adults and Children," wrote:  "Pornography contains much scientifically inaccurate, false, and misleading information about human sexuality, especially female sexual nature and response."

Once, Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner (who died recently) compared himself to Jesus Christ. He said he was a "missionary" whose important achievement was "liberating people from sexual hang ups" through his worldwide pornography business.

If Hefner is right, wouldn't the porn addicts find themselves happy, fulfilled, with a strong sense of psychological identity? If Playboy pornography aids great sex, wouldn't you expect that married partners will have a good sense of love and real mutual pleasure in sex?

Brenda Mackillop, a former Playboy bunny, model, and prostitute, who worked with Hefner frequenting his mansion from 1973-1976, confided, "I lived the Playboy philosophy. I felt worthless and empty. Out of my despair, I attempted suicide on numerous occasions."

Not too long ago, a patient was telling me that watching porn on the internet during bedtime puts him to sleep. He "fantasize" first before going to bed to put himself to sleep. The pornography he watches appears to alter his mood.

Psychotherapist Dr. Mark Laaser writes, "Fantasy can be addictive. It stimulates chemical reactions in the pleasure centers of the brain. The addict then uses these effects to escape other feelings, to change negative feelings to positive feelings, and even to reduce stress. Given the chemical changes it creates, sex fantasy addicts are, in reality, drug addicts."

Evidently, pornography only produces psychopathology. It destroys self-worth, dignity, and mental health. It not only stimulates sexual coercion or predation, it encourages rape, promiscuity, and other forms of sexual addiction or sociopathy. Rather than enhancing love and great sex, pornography destroys marriages and relationships.

If you believe a pornographic video, film, or magazine cannot affect you, then you must also believe that the Bible, advertising, or theatre have no effect on readers or watchers!

"The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your entire body will be full of light; but if your eye is unsound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then, the very light in you is darkened, how dense is that darkness!" (Matthew 6: 22, 23)

When Your Adult Child Makes You Feel Unhappy (Part 3)


Therapy for both parents and adult child can be useful. It often is. It may be a first step to help us understand ourselves, our adult children's problems, and the family system or culture that contributed to the problems we face.

If you're a parent who is unhappy about your adult child's choices in life, you need a safe place. This is especially so when your mental or physical health and overall well-being is already being affected. In many cases, therapy becomes an only way to get support to cope with the feelings of shame and embarrassment inherent in the situation.

Shocked, stunned, and scared! That's how a mother and father reacted when they knew of their 35-year-old son's addiction to drugs. When I asked them, what they did, they said they immediately rushed in to "rescue." They brought him back home, provided for him and his family, and reverted back to treating him like a child.

Well-meaning as it was for them, the parents' over-involvement with their addicted adult son came close to sabotaging his rehabilitation. Only after a week back home, his son got arrested by the police for using and selling shabu in the neighborhood. The son is now in jail, awaiting a program of drug rehabilitation.

I can't imagine the deep emotional pain these parents are going through. While they had their best intentions for their son's good, they're just really "enabling" his addiction. Taking control over their son's out-of-control life took away the responsibility to solve problems that rightfully belongs to him. Instead, they put that responsibility, on them.

The truth is, our adult children have the right to live their own lives. Whether to save or squander it, it's up to them. As Simone de Beauvoir tells us, "we must recognize their liberty, even in failure." We are not the source of that right. It's one we can not take away from them.

No matter what happens to our adult children, we parents need to take care of ourselves. We may always offer help to them that's wise and appropriate. But in most cases, our self-care and "doing nothing" seems best. It may be all we need to do.

As we take care of ourselves as parents, when and if our adult children become ready to receive real help, we're capable of giving the right kind.

When Your Adult Child Makes You Feel Unhappy (Part 2)


An important way for us parents to understand how our adult children turned out is to examine first the part we played. Ours, before theirs. One we can control. Then, learn and improve thereon.

Some parents do too much for their adult children. And some do too little or don't do enough. Two extremes. A case of "sparing help" vs. "spoiling the child."

The call is always for balance.

Antonio, now a senior citizen, never held a job all his life. He's always given allowances by his prosperous mother. Even while married and raising four children, Antonio asked for everything from his Mom, from basic expenses such as food and house payments to kids' tuitions and car gasoline.

As a result, Antonio never found reason to be self-supportive and responsible even for his own family. He's always in a state of limbo. Even at old age, still a "baby" being fed. Antonio's days as a perpetual freeloader have not been corrected.

Does his Mom's giving him so much help destroy his motivation to help himself?

Parenting psychologist, Dr. Jane Adams, writes:

"Parents who give too much do so out of their own needs, not their children's. They give out of unmet desires for love, attention, or self esteem; they give to compensate for early deprivation (in either generation); they give to change their adult children's behavior or fill up the emptiness inside."

At times, we parents must rescue ourselves first! While we cannot rescue our adult children from the dysfunctions and troubles of their own making, we do need to save ourselves from the habit of trying to rescue them all the time.

Otherwise, our "adultolescent" children will never be able to manage appropriate to their age and life stage without us. Time for growing up ... and not to wait too long before it becomes too late.

When Your Adult Child Makes You Feel Unhappy (Part 1)


Donald's young adulthood, like his teen years, has been a constant source of misery for his parents. He's always been into drugs, gambling, promiscuity and sex addiction, drinking, and endless debts. After years of his parents spending for his therapy, he still chooses to live a life of mess.

His mother, in session, was telling me that she wanted to believe him that he means it this time - to change his life. But she added, "How can I believe him who's been lying to me all his life? I know I can't!" 

Are you a parent who has grown up children who makes you feel unhappy? Does your adult child disappoint you because ....

*  he/she has a problem with addiction (eg. drugs, alcohol, sex)?
*  he/she can't get or hold a job?
*  he/she is chronically depressed and isolated?
*  he/she can't or won't leave home?
*  he/she is estranged from family and friends?
*  he/she is mentally ill or suicidal?
*  he/she is in trouble with the police or law?
*  he/she is incapable of supporting himself/herself?
*  he/she is excessively dependent?
*  he/she is aimless and can't face responsibility?
*  he/she is disrespectful and disconnects from you?
*  he/she becomes brainwashed by a cult or criminal gang?
*  he/she gets enmeshed in immoral or unethical relationships
*  he/she has confessed being gay?
*  he/she commits domestic abuse and violence?

As a psychotherapist and a parent myself, I've been listening to people talk about their children for many years. They want perspective and support for the fears, worries, resentment, impatience, and frustration they experience as parents to their adult children who fail to thrive.

Behind every one of these failing adult children is a parent who feels his/her life may also be falling apart. The parent's heart is breaking. The Mom may be crying herself to sleep in the privacy of her bedroom. The Dad could be scratching his head in confusion.

Parents who feel unhappy about their adult children often wonder, "Where did we go wrong?"

Better Life Through "Manufactured Risk"


In the 70s, a psychology research project was done on the subject of "human wholeness." In the interview of subjects, this question always came up: "What ingredients of wholeness would be common to anybody in any culture or society of the world?"The responses were varied but implied that normalcy depends considerably from culture to culture. However, when pressed more deeply, the experts found a common key. In unique ways they heard: "A healthy person is someone who can choose risk and danger."I've known of a wealthy CEO of a large food company who loves riding his motorcycle, even commuting through it every so often. Once told that his main problem is a psychological "midlife crisis," he was advised by his doctor to be careful and take it easy.He decided not to take his doctor's advice. He didn't believe in middle age. If he avoids anything new or risky, he claimed, it would only hasten his whole aging process. No matter how stressful or boring his days at the office, his motorcycle drives gave him more energy and excitement.Mother Teresa in India is another example. She chose a life of risk and danger in the worst slums of Calcutta. As a result of her adventures, she blessed her life as well as the lives of countless others all over the world, even for generations to come.Once, I visited a patient and his family in Mindanao for sessions. After our family sessions, we went roaming, ending up in Lake Sebu of Cotobato City where they had Southeast Asia's highest "Zipline Adventure" - 600 feet above the ground, 700 meters long.I went through the "Zipline Adventure!" I've experienced. I've conquered my fear of heights. Why did  I do it, even spend money, to be scared to death? Well, as author Dr. Bruce Larson put it, "Somehow life is heightened by being scared to death some of the time!"To be whole means to be open to creative risk. Outside of our comfort zone. Beyond our unrelieved boredom. Freeing ourselves from dull routine. When life is crushing you with boredom or routine, are you able to manufacture risk, adventure, and excitement to heighten your life?Many years ago, I made a radical work change. I had safety and comfort where I was working. Then I accepted the call to be an independent practitioner, an entrepreneur, in my own field and passion. From there on, the risk and uncertainty of daily life in my "adventure" have made life exciting and stimulating for me. As former world chess champion Gary Kasparov put it, "Attackers may sometimes regret bad moves, but it is much worse to forever regret an opportunity you allowed to pass you by."[...]

The Big R


The famous psychologist, Dr. Carl Jung, once wrote that resistance makes us unfocused, restless, and apathetic, which in turn "begets meaninglessness." When the Big R (resistance) has us, we cease to live or work at all. We avoid being responsible and finding any meaning in life.

Resistance is an escape. It's a form of war against or running-away from what needs to be done. In psychotherapy, a patient who rejects recovery, too tired or lethargic, and unable to focus on any of life's courses, is a resistant person.

A young woman, Nicole, was smart enough to hold a high-paying position in her company. Yet she wouldn't go for it. She's always heard giving her self and others varied reasons why she's "incapable" of doing where she's seen to have great potential. One day, to the shock of those around her, she resigned her job.

Nicole went back to her mother's care. For years, she withdrew from applying for a new job and just stayed with her Mom. She felt helpless and hopeless. She avoided even the simplest tasks of self care. In the depths of her growing depression, she missed life's opportunities. 

I've been reading parts of author John Sanford's book, "The Transformation of the Inner Man." I discovered he describes a condition he called psychological "amniosis," which seems to apply perfectly to Nicole's state, her Big R. 

Sanford writes that "amniosis" means an "inability to come out of the amniotic fluid and be born, or flight by regression to return to the safe hiding place of the womb ... Amniotic people want to be taken care of. They want to find strong people - ones in whom they can nestle, upon whom they can be dependent..."

People with the Big R usually experience a damaged self esteem. And people with a damaged self esteem often avoid being powerful, responsible, and well-adjusted. Or, they become addicted to temporary sources of relief, such as drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling etc, that prove life-damaging in the long run.

It's a good thing Nicole is becoming increasingly aware of her Big R in our sessions. She's now being "reschooled" away from her earlier programming, inappropriate cultural or society values and biaes, and other influences that have damaged her own self, her own uniqueness, her own interior wisdom.

Is The Money Following You?


One of the things I often hear women in our society say is to find and marry a rich man. And indeed men often receive extra attention from women because they're wealthy. It appears to matter less for a lot of these women if these rich men are corrupt, addicted, or abusive in some way.

I've heard of a Mom recently who wished a high paying job for her son. And it stopped there. She didn't mention intrinsic values such as passion, fulfillment, or satisfaction. Her point for her son seemed to be to simply get a job that pays well, whatever it is.

I have no fight with making money. In reality, it's a need we all have as part of our definition of adulthood. Making money is having the means to provide for our selves and families. It's freedom from having to depend on others at least for our basic needs.

However, I've seen too many people wound or defeat themselves with money disorders. Their emphasis is wrongly placed. Either they focus too much on money that they compromise their health and values. Or, they just do what they enjoy but they couldn't earn enough to support themselves and those who depend upon them.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote that "we are all born to grow rich through the use of our faculties."   Money is likely to follow the person who works with the natural talents, gifts, and passions given him. That frame allows him to make healthy choices, sound timing, and superior energies.

I have Bachelor's, Master's and Doctorate degrees in the fields of psychology, counseling, and divinity. Once, I had false starts receiving offers to engage in other professions that pay much. Despite my investment, time, and effort, money did not follow. They were not meant for me.

Eventually, I chose to do work I love which focuses on helping people heal. I took my chances to go into private practice as a psychotherapist. How I discovered how so good and excited I am at this work! It turns out to be the right choice. The money followed, flowing naturally in abundance.

What I especially like is that I call my own shots ... and branch out into cyberpreneurship leveraging what I already love doing! Rather than being intimidated by a culture that equates lots of money with worth as a person, my focus was on helping people and not making money.

Is the money following you?

As long as you have the right focus and proper use of your in-born talents, it will. People who could handle the issue of money could manage their mind. A key to your success is not to make everything revolve around making money.

Can You Be A Filipino Millionaire? Find out!

What Is The Best Psychotherapy?


Recently, I read of this article by a psychiatrist who was critical and disappointed of his own profession. He found from his research that as much as 95% of depressed people who consulted psychiatrists were so minimally or not helped at all.

Interestingly, he noted from his study that over 80% who consulted a minister gained significant relief. Such particularly disturbed the psychiatrist for his profession was into helping people and yet it's not making a desired difference.

One middle-aged single woman's depression and addictions drove her to psychotherapy. Her previous years of psychiatric drug use and hospital confinement were so ineffective that it made things worst for her. Lately, she became promiscuous and had sex with different men within just a month.

When she came to me, she was overwhelmingly depressed. She's attempting suicide. She's not only depressed but staggering under an overburden of guilt. In addition, she was pregnant. For the years of psychiatric treatment, she should buy drugs and pay other services to house her?

There must be a better way!

While we may not hesitate to go to a cardiologist or surgeon for our physical ailments, a "doctor of the mind" is something else. The meaning of the word "psychotherapy" comes from the original Greek roots "psuche" and "therapepuo" which means "mind/soul healing."

God's ways are not man's ways (Isaiah 55:8,9). In the real healing of mind and soul, only God's ways apply. Therefore, we should not be surprised when the theories of Freud, Skinner, Adler, Yalom, and others are diametrically opposed to God's ways as stated in Scripture.

Humanistic psychologists or drug-based psychiatrists have no or little to offer by way of genuine psychotherapy. They're committed to helping people with only the humanistic or physical tools/concepts available to them. Both humanism and science (man-centered) try to solve mankind's problems independent of God.

What is the best psychotherapy? Jesus said, "Without Me, you can do nothing." (John 15:5) If you're healing in the areas of mind, emotions, and soul, particularly those that spill over into life values, you'll have to know God and His healing principles.

What To Do When A Loved One Is In Denial About Needing Help


When Maria found out that her husband Jason was having an extramarital sexual affair, Maria wanted to seek professional help. Jason refused. He reasoned that he didn't want to expose himself and their marriage to a stranger. He didn't see the problems that serious. He didn't like the costs involved.

That was the situation until Maria threatened to leave him and bring the kids with her. He finally agreed to go for individual and marital therapy and counseling. He did, even amid his mind's many "excuses," because he didn't want the natural consequences of his actions.

Unfortunately, Jason's denial and attitude is pretty common among men. Many men, when confronted with severe or obvious problems in their family or even themselves, refuse to see the issue. They often don't seek help until their loved one can no longer tolerate the pain they caused.

What do you do when your loved one - spouse, child, parent, relative, friend etc - is in denial or resisting help that's obviously needed?

Here are some of my suggestions that can be helpful ... before more damage is done!

•  Be straightforward to your loved one about behaviors that concern you in a kind, respectful way.

•  Give your loved one good access and information about recovery and therapy in a positive, life-enhancing manner.

•  Protect your relationship with your loved one and work on gaining his or her trust over the long run. Avoid nagging and belittling.

•  Plant seeds about getting help and water them regularly.

•  Make sure you're interested in your loved one's whole life, not just his or her potential rehabilitation.

•  Give hope.

•  Know when enough is enough. You can do only what you can do.

•  Threatening to leave or separate is not a first approach. But after time, it can be the best approach. Staying in a toxic relationship is harmful to your health, and enables your loved one to stay sick.

Healing Your Mental Images


Images in our minds are powerful. In fact, to the self, they can speak louder than words. Images are often "concealed" within our feelings.

I'm reminded of a a middle-aged woman I worked with. She'd burst into tears when speaking of her husband. The constant image in her mind was her husband having sex with another woman.

The great psychoanalyst, Dr. Carl Jung, once observed and wrote that he became "inwardly calmed and reassured" whenever he uncovered his mind's images underneath his feelings.

Therapeutic imagery. That's how Dr. Jung put it. You do your therapeutic imagery at your point of trouble, as Jung did.

In therapeutic imagery, you take time to let your mental image take its shape. A person, place, a tactile image, an image of your self - even though exaggerated in some ways. You develop and refine the image until it engulfs you. Your really feel it.

To actively work on the developed image (a movie, not a snapshot!), you nudge your self along it. You become the director of your image. The goal is for you to direct the image organically from negative to positive.

In psychotherapy, our imaginations can do anything. With our imaginations, we can perform cathartic acts of self destruction or self renewal. It's essentially an exercise of choice.

Tend to your imagination. From it springs your life and wholeness.

"As a man thinks in his heart, so is he." (the Bible)


The Art of Being More Active To Become Less Depressed


When you're psychologically depressed, you're behaviorally depressed. Your mind expects more pain than gain. Life doesn't excite you any more. You feel you're unfit for life. That depresses you even more.

One solution is pretty simple. Direct.

When you find your self - whether consciously or subconsciously - in a vicious cycle of depression and inactivity, keep moving.

Be more active! That's the antidote. A proven prescription.

Cognitive behavioral therapies all teach the art of being more active to become less depressed. Among clinical psychologists and their dozens of studies, they're convinced that a most powerful antidepressant is "successful performance."

Christina had trouble being active again after suffering losses. Employments. Relationships. During our therapy sessions, its tremendous hard work for her to defy her depressive inertia, with its self doubts and crying spells.

After developing an inventory of activities, scheduling them, and working on her resistances, i stumbled upon a "vehicle." Together, Christina and I experimented on launching a new business where she could be motivated to be active.

Having a strong desire to help people, her new business that does help people took off! She realized how it gives her purpose seeing others happy after she helps them with the product of her business. With her loved ones cheering her on, she became so active each day, knowing she's making a difference.

Christina is one good example of "being active" in order to beat depression. Discovering her right niche and activities is the secret. That led Christina to her "successful performance" which gave her rewards and meaning to move on.

Patting her self on the back at every turn - learning to schmooze with her self big time! - Christina experienced the essence of a very effective cognitive behavioral therapy for depression.

Master Your Brain Health Without Drugs!


"The first wealth is health." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)You won't find natural health nutritional supplements in the bag of most psychotherapists, psychologists, or psychiatrists. It seems, the drug-free, nutritional treatment of mental disorders are often missed.Yet many doctors are "orthomolecular." They believe that a big part of psychological healing is to supply the brain with optimal ("ortho") doses of natural nutrients it needs.The brain picks up essential nutrients from the bloodstream. It's done by way of "special carrier molecules" passing through its BBB (blood-brain barrier).In a seminal paper on orrhomolecular psychiatry, Dr. Linus Pauling discovered that faulty transport of  nutrients to the brain could result in localized brain deficiences. These then, Dr. Pauling wrote, could be a cryptic cause of mental illness.Researchers have consistently found that clinical nutritional deficiencies in the brain promote depression. Some people have genetic defects that exaggerate their need for certain nutrients for their brain and immune system.The distinguished British psychiatrist Dr. Alec Coppen and his associate MT Abou-Saleh conceptualized "a nutritional deficiency model for the psychoses." They suggest that disturbed, stressed out people deplete themselves of adaptive neurochemicals and nutrients. These deficiencies "provoke, predispose, and promote" or aggravate psychopathology.Natural brain nutrition is essential for our mental health. Healthy foods and supplements protect us from nutritional deficiencies, even hidden deficiencies, in our brain. They have a positive effect on the serotonin and dopamine levels needed by the brain.Serotonin used in the brain is known to affect mood and social behaviors. It also moderates appetite and digestion, sleep, memory, and sexual desire/function.Dopamine, on the other hand, functions as a neurotransmitter (a chemical released by nerve cells or neurons to send signals to other nerve cells). Dopamine affects way we perceive pleasure/rewards.Mental disorders, such as clinical depression, addictions, or personality maladjustments, partly stem from a relative deficit in serotonin and/or dopamine levels.Natural foods to keep our brain "healthy and happy" - counterbalancing serotonin and dopamine levels - include oily fish, whole grains, blueberries, tomatoes, leafy green vegetables, eggs, chickens, brocolli, nuts, among others.It's interesting to note that, in two studies in the American Journal of Psychiatry, it's found that the highest suicide rates are found among those with the lowest protein levels. Proteins are building blocks of brain neurotransmitters.Natural brain supplements are especially helpful. They are known to have a positive effect on serotonin, dopamine, and protein levels of the brain.I often recommend Transfer Factor Plus and Brain Recall brain natural immune system supplements, which balance serotonin and dopamine levels as well as increase blood flow in the brain. Countless people around the world report how these supplements strengthen their focus, impulse control and overall immune system.Nowadays, our common diet is filled with fast-food meals and harmful ingredients. This modern-day food "norm" has a negative, even a toxic effect, not only on our physical health but also on the brain and our overall mental health.The way to go is natural brain nutrition through healthy foods and supplementation. When psychopathology symptoms are present, natural brain nutrition is often life-saving.Don't forget it! allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="300" src="" width="400">Master Your Brain Health With Natural TF, Not Drugs! allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="300" src="[...]

Revolution in Psychotherapy


I'm not a traditional psychotherapist. I lament the routinely wretched treatment of mental patients throughout the world. Instead of drugs and chains of the old traditional system, I offer a loving innovative system of support and deep process healing.

I value humanity. And I act as a fellow human and traveler to those who seek help to heal.

In my sessions, I drink coffee, walk and talk, with clients in normal life-spaces. Only a few times do I see clients in a confined cubicle or fixed office space. Mostly, I'd rather bring life recovery to a therapeutic space where client and I process while we "soak in humanity" around us.

For me, this is most effective and humane than psychiatric incarceration, forced hospital or facility confinement. It's least costly. The hurting person is freed from the zombie-like effects of brain drugs. And it's based on empowerment of family responsibility/support as well as faith of the individual.

Working with his parents and sister, I once delivered intensive psychotherapy services to Mark into their family home. He's 25 with a history of manic depressive episodes, depression, and severe dependency to psychiatric drugs, who might otherwise be institutionalized.

Echoing themes of my revolutionary psychotherapy, I bypassed traditional mental health approaches and invited the family, including Mark, to see me first in a coffee shop. Having been into brain drugs and in and out of facilities for years, it's his family's last-ditch effort to get through Mark's hard-core.

The personalized direct involvement of the therapy hour in a casual space proved effective for Mark. It did him a lot more good and a lot less harm. He shared he felt "normal." The nontraditional, non-invasive intervention calmed both Mark and his family.

For the first time, unencumbered by psychiatric institutional red tape, ideology, and pharmacy, Mark expressed how he felt differently. It avoided unnecessarily humiliating him and his family.  He functioned better enough to think through his deeper issues without costly medication/confinement.

Revolution in psychotherapy!

Time for change.

No more drugs. No more forced hospital/facility incarceration. No to dehumanization. No to shame. No to incomplete, invasive treatment. No to abrogation of family responsibility and connection.

We say "Yes!" to the Total Person deep process. Physical, Mental, Emotional, Spiritual. Natural mental health. Drug-free. Brain Health and neuroimmunology. Going to the roots, not mere fruits. Family and community.

Moving Bodies, Thinking Brains


Dr. Debbye Bell, in a US television show on CBS, reported that exercise can make you brain-healthy. As she interviewed many fellow doctors, researchers, and educators in the field, she concluded that there is such a strong link between exercise and increased brain function.

In my practice, I've noticed that clients who took physical exercise workouts during the period of their psychotherapy sessions tend to have faster improvement compared to those who preferred to skip activity. When bodies are moving and brains are thinking together, that spells real-time recovery.

Therapy and counseling involves a lot of brain work. Relearning. Learning. As psychiatrist Dr. John Ratey put it, "Exercise optimizes the brain for learning. It creates the right environment for all of our 100 billion nerve cells up there." Yes, our brains change when we exercise.

Dr. Ratey, who teaches at Harvard Medical School, further explains the value of exercise for brain health: "It produces these growth factors ... and I call it miracle grow for the brain or brain fertilizer which helps the brain cells stay alive, live longer, and it helps the learning process."

We are not total victims of our genes or lifestyle. Even our age! Research shows that older people who exercise are less likely to experience cognitive decline. We hear it again and again. Exercise controls cardiovascular risk factors and gives new life to our body's organs.

That definitely includes brain health.

It's never too late to begin taking advantage of "moving bodies" to improve our thinking brains. It not only delays mental decline. It also improves our moods and control over our response to stress and life's circumstances.

Life's Goals That Heal


Once, I was speaking to one self-pitying woman who wails during each one of our sessions, "I have no point waking up. I have nothing at all to look forward to." Clearly, she's spending too much time focusing and thinking only about her self.

Human beings are naturally goal-driven. We all need worthwhile goals to fuel or drive us to continue living our lives. That's the way our minds are created. Thus, I've come to believe strongly that much of human misery is really one of weak or unworthwhile goals.

A gifted businessman client, who sold millions-worth of rice bags, remarked that money never brought him happiness. Inspite of reaching his material goals - cars, houses, vacations, bank accounts - he had many times of feeling emptiness and depression.

Earl Nightingale was a writer who helped millions of people around the world motivate themselves. He advised that people who want success in life should never try to get rich. He said, above all, set goals for yourself that help people, the riches will follow.

As Dr. Luke stated in Scripture, "Give, and it will be given to you." (Luke 6:38)

Last year, I bought a condominium property, which proved to be special to me. It was so for its with money purely coming from helping other people heal in their lives. Instead of being a status symbol, my new condo was an expression of how much help I'd been to my fellow humans.

Happy people have worthwhile goals. The richest people we can know have given themselves unselfishly to other people. That affected the way they sell, relate, drive, cook, teach, or conduct their career or businesses.

Life's goals that heal are totally unrelated to money or material reward. In fact, as Dr. Tim LaHaye put it, "If you earn money without helping people, your money will not contribute to your happiness." A world full of problem-laden people validates the fact of widespread absence of real goals amid us.

It looks like this is a hidden secret we all need to learn about human happiness.

Do You Need Financial Therapy?


Everyone of us has a psychological and spiritual relationship with money.

This relationship is not born. It’s bred. Beginning from childhood, the source of our beliefs and “scripts” about money developed over time in our minds.

The relationship we have with money is a result of slow, significant accumulation of lessons we absorb from the adults around us.

If our experiences of money are not healthy but rather painful or traumatic, they easily become the foundation of our financial struggles in adulthood.

Unconsciously, when wounds are left unprocessed, we may come to associate money with anxiety, crisis, or void in relationships.

Albert’s confusion over money persisted for many years during his adulthood. Until he got bankrupt. Zero. Nothing, even the basics.

Borrowing millions from his family, relatives, and friends, he pursued a business to earn big money. He did so for he needed to be independent of his parents.

But as soon as he earned profits, he spent it as fast as he earned it on women, drugs, and gambling.

In my work with Albert, we touched on his money “script.”

He didn’t see the connection then but his mother had serious issues with money when he was growing up.

His father, on the other hand, was hands off her mother’s financial habits even if he disagreed with her.

Albert remembered how his mother would always complain about not having enough money. But then, he’d watch her spend like crazy, go on shopping sprees, traveling overseas, and buying expensive stuff.

So here, as a result, Albert grew up having no real concept of finances. The discipline of wise spending, saving, making money work for you, or knowing how to manage it …that was beyond Albert.

Maybe you see a bit of your self in Albert. Maybe not.

But all of us have early life event or series of events associated with money. They leave “scripts” or imprints that can last into adulthood.

Do you see some of your own money “scripts” or imprints?

If you struggle with spending, saving, budgeting, paying off debts, severe luxury or frugality, gambling, or other money “scripts,” financial therapy could help.

Financial therapy can help you recognize and change psychological, emotional, and spiritual patterns you have about money that aren’t serving you.

Are Psychiatrists Qualified to Be Psychotherapists?


A few years after going into my private practice, I asked my former and current clients what they found most gainful about our work together. Some of them, you can read up in the "What They Say" section of this blog.

I expected them to describe mental or emotional insights and discoveries. Or, a few things about the wounds healed from their childhood. But all of them got personal to me, saying in effect, "Doc, you were so understanding and cared much about me so I recovered."

Psychotherapy comes from the two Greek words: "therapeutikos" and "psyche." "Therapeutikos" means one who takes care or serves another, while "psyche" means soul or being. Based on these original meanings, psychotherapy means ministering to the soul or being of another.

Psychiatry has medicalized psychotherapy. And as a result, it has corrupted the meaning and essence of psychotherapy by ascribing a foreign meaning to it - the "treatment of mental illness."

Psychiatry is the only branch of medicine that prescribes drugs without objective, clinical basis. Sadly, as Dr. Matthew Dumont put it:  "In bed together at the market: psychiatry and pharmaceutical industry."

Substantial research and statistics show that drug-dependent psychiatry seldom heals wounded thoughts and emotions. In fact, it often kills any chance of significant, permanent improvement on the soul and wellbeing of a hurt person.

Dr. Peter Breggin, in his book "Toxic Psychiatry," writes:

"Psychotherapists are a very broad group which includes helping people with problems by talking with them ... Not all psychiatrists are Psychotherapists or 'talking doctors' ... Many psychiatrists have little or no training in how to communicate with people about their problems. Instead they're trained in making 'medical diagnoses and giving drugs and electroshock.' "

Person Is Not The Problem


Problems do affect people. And it's common sight how people convince themselves that their self-identities are bound up with their problems.I'm reminded of Connie. He is like a lot of people who express the nature of their selves in terms of externals. He is fast losing his health and engaged in varied addictions, such as drugs, gambling, alcohol, and nicotine.In our sessions together, he kept describing himself, "I'm useless. I'm an addict. I'm depressed and hopeless." Rather than seeing his addictions as separate from his person, he embraces them as his globalized identity ("I am my addictions!").Interestingly, Connie has good things in his life that he is unable to see.  His degree in a top university. His computer programming skills. A mother who cares and is supportive of him. A young, innocent daughter who looks up to him.The  person is not the problem. Rather the problem is the problem. In the case of Connie, the way to healing his damaged self and life is to regard his addictions as an "entity" in itself apart from him. Instead of saying "I am," he says "I have." He has addictions, with which he has a relationship that has taken over his life.That's the problem, not him.When Connie gets that, he can begin to work through his addictions more accurately. The problem invaded his person, which can now be reserved or protected or retrieved from the problem of addictions.If this sounds too fanciful for you, you may try such a conversation your self.  Think of some problem you have. Think of it not as an identity characteristic but as an entity outside of your self. Discover then the fact that you are not your problem, but that you have a relationship with it!And within that relationship to the problem, you have responsibilities and possibilities for your life that the problem has not removed. The problem has only succeeded in obscuring those possibilities and oppressing the potentialities of your self.Remember again, your problem is "not-me." Your problem is the problem![...]

Attacking Panic Anxiety


Anxiety and panic always take over Nicolas. It's been two years now. Each time, whenever he's in public with lots of people, such as in the malls, trains, or car during traffic, the more nervous he is. His heart pounds. Sweaty palms. Tingling of his extremities. Shortness of breath.

Because of this, Nicolas has difficulty concentrating to contain his anxiety panic attacks. This makes him always carry with him a bag filled with medicines and other "crutches" in case he finds himself out of control. The condition renders him disabled to work and do daily normal functions.

Understandably, Nicolas feels embarassed when attacked by his panic anxiety. He is ashamed that he has to be accompanied by his wife or children whenever he goes out. Dissatisfied with the effectiveness of his brain drugs, he sought psychotherapy and spiritual therapy.

Dr. Elmer and Alyce Green, who practice at Menninger Clinic, once wrote in their book "Beyond Biofeedback," that "every change in the mental emotional state, conscious or unconscious, is accompanied by an appropriate change in the physiological state."

In his therapy sessions, including exposure therapy and exercise, Nicolas' evolving self awareness and new habits caused an mental/emotional change deep inside him. And each progressive healing of his long suppressed wounded emotions, hidden even from him, caused improved physical changes.

Nicolas discovered in his psychotherapy and spiritual work strong conflicts about his parents and his marriage long unprocessed. He now realizes that his buried anger and other feelings had been built up so much that they can't be expressed except through his anxiety or panic attacks.

As a result, Nicolas' "weak links" in his physical makeup that make him susceptible to panic anxiety attacks begun to disappear. He is now able to take things easier and travel alone, one step at a time. His prognosis and progress is bright.

Of course, besides psychotherapy and spiritual therapy, Nicolas utilizes all possible medical, nutritional, and alternative natural treatments to cure his anxiety panic attacks as well as prevent reoccurrence. It's holistic treatment - body, mind, emotions, soul.

Self-Saboteur, Co-Saboteur


 You may have people close to you, such as family or spouse, who exerts a powerful influence upon your life. They want a good relationship with you as much as you want one with them. Their opinions, however, may be sabotaging or not be in your best interest.

Patricia, for example, is an independent career woman. She loves to work and can live alone away from her husband. Despite her busyness though, she balances it with enough time and care for the needs of her husband and only daughter.

Yet, Patricia shared during a session that she couldn’t understand her husband’s treatment of her. Even out of nowhere, tactless remarks, jokes, criticisms, or silences will come from him. Times when she finds herself reacting to his behavior with depression, self-blame, or anger.

In my work with Patricia, she becomes more aware how her man’s disapproval or negativity can cause her to sabotage her self. When she gets too near to her success in her work, she tries to play it down since that’s the time she notices her husband becoming aloof or critical.

Knowing how to detect signs of a “co-saboteur” in your life is essential to your self growth and mental health. In that way, when the warning signals come, you can be prepared for what hits you! You can know how to understand and deal with them.

In the case of Patricia, it’s possible that her man may be unconsciously sabotaging his wife’s progress because of feelings of insecurity. He could mean well for he just wants more of Patricia’s attention, and broadening of her life and passionate interests to include him.

Often, a “co-saboteur” is not aware that he is sabotaging or being destructive towards one he cares about. He is not doing it on purpose. He simply needs help to see how he is impulsively responding to deeply buried feelings about himself.

Patricia meanwhile should never “self-sabotage” and diminish accomplishments in order to keep her husband from being jealous, critical, or withdrawn. Instead of avoiding/circling around it, she can choose to directly process it with her husband.

She could respond to her husband with something like, “I feel hurt when you’re not telling me how great I am with my achievements. I’d like you tell me that instead of acting on your irritation or anger. I love you, and nothing will change between us because I’m expanding.”

With that, the precious parts of the marriage will thus be salvaged especially when her husband responds positively. And Patricia will have eliminated him as a “co-saboteur!”

Remember the nature of the Saboteur and the work needed. As author Mat Hudson put it, “How has your Saboteur become so powerful? It’s because your unconscious mind is like a wall that’s been built up brick by brick, minute by minute, month by month, year after year, for decades.”

Growing Through the Seasons of Life


"Our lives are a journey. As we move forward, we will not only figuratively experience the geography of life: the exhilaration of high mountains, the tranquility of calm meadows, the isolation of treacherous canyons, but we will also experience the seasons of life: the hope of spring, the abundance of summer, the harvest of autumn, and yes, the darkness and depression of winter.” --Seth Adam SmithWhile dining in a restaurant recently, I noticed a cute, little 5-year-old girl looking at me a few feet away. She was smiling, playing cheerfully with her Mom who was stroking her cheeks and making funny faces. I smiled back at her and waved my hand.I enjoyed the moment. With wide-eyed wonderment. But also with a soft touch of memory of my youngest daughter, Angel, at that age. And how I wished I could bring back the season that has passed me by!I think it's natural to remember sweet times in our lives with longing. Like me thinking of my daughter when she was once a little girl. Yet, as King Solomon said in the book of Ecclesiastes, "There is a time for everything under the heavens."A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to uproot. A time for war and a time for peace. A time to work and a time to rest. In all the seasons of our lives, the self is in a journey of development in the limited time and opportunity given to us.A patient once told me, "Doc, my life is over. I lost my job. I lost my family. I want to die." He lost energy and purpose for waking up in the mornings any longer. His emotions were aggressively sabotaging and dictating on his thoughts and body reactions. Painful though it may be, imagine him without the "gift" of this season of his life? Only when he learns to see that this was just a phase and that life is a continuum will he be able to move beyond his present pain and rebuild to a better life. Without a season of pain, there would be no healing. Without the sorrow, there would be no joy. That's exactly where lasting, authentic beauty comes in. It comes in through the fruit of the seasons passing by.[...]



Are you a cheating husband or wife?If you are and you want to heal yourself and your marriage/relationship, here's a sneak preview of some therapy steps generally prescribed by clinicians and therapists:* Abstinence 100% from all contacts and communications with the OP (other person) or adultery partner;* Take responsibility for your behaviors and misbehaviors;*  Show sincere evidences of remorse and repentance, relationally and spiritually;*  Realize that there is never an excuse for adultery;*  Be sensitive and patient when your spouse/partners suffers from triggers out of the infidelity wound;*  Check your anger and resentment at the door;*  Acknowledge the depth of the pain and wounding that your affair brought to the marriage and family;*  Admit mistake committed and avoid all excuses and rationalizations to deflect attention to the adultery;*  Stop blaming your spouse/partner for your affair;*  Repent of and stop recruiting the children to be "partners in crime" in the adultery;*  Be truthful from here on - no secrets any more;*  Get your personal healing of emotional wounds with a professional therapist;*  Get marital healing with your spouse/partner only through increased structure of professional psychotherapy and counseling sessions, especially in the beginning stages;*  Stop being defensive;*  Be trustworthy;*  Renew your mind and stop thinking that the grass is greener somewhere else;*  Figure out the "roots" of your unfaithfulness to your spouse/partner;*  Check what your spouse/partner needs on a regular basis;*  Expand your circle of support - safe friends, therapist, community etc.;*  Educate your self about affairs and infidelity treatment;*  Listen - really listen;*  Seek help from God as your best source of strength, healing, and life recovery.Adultery is treason to marriage, family, and society. In the Philippines and in some places, adultery is a legal crime punishable by imprisonment. In the time of the Old Testament of the Jews, adulterers were stoned to death.For those who persist in adultery or cheating, the costs are so high -- psychologically, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Marriage and children are casualties. Mental illness or addictions can develop. The Bible says that God may choose to discipline them or take them away from earthly life. Indeed, cheaters can choose what they want to do but they cannot choose their consequences.Adultery or cheating is not an unforgivable crime or sin. It can be healed. With the right heart and actions, one can be whole again - and even the best person one can be in this life and beyond. [...]

Emotions and Self-Sabotage


Depression and anxiety overwhelm Linda. Pounding heart. Sweaty palms. Shortness of breath. Crying spells. Stays in bed too long. Obsessed about her appearance and weight.

She feels blown off course, much like a small bird coming against big winds.

The normally difficult challenges of life, such as losses in relationships or finances, easily knock Linda flat. Her depressed and anxious feelings then make her feel inferior to and withdrawn from others. Such responses feed her cycle of feeling hopeless or helpless.

Depressed and anxious feelings, in and of themselves, are generally not harmful. These emotions are a natural part of our humanity. It's what makes us unique as persons. It's actually better that we experience these temporary emotions than pushing them away.

But for some people, natural emotions such as these lead to self-sabotage. The emotions become a constant disabling presence in their lives rather than momentary. As a result, they sabotage their own selves and energies for success, love, and happiness.

Linda did go through a rough year in therapy. But, along the way, she has learned to come out of it. Her darkness begins to brighten. She recognizes her childhood and attachment roots. She becomes more deeply aware of the nature and dynamic of her thoughts, and acquired skills to reframe them.

She manages to understand her feelings and control them. She nurtures her passions at work. She goes to the gym and works out or takes brisk walks outdoors when she feels down. She reassures her self that her family is just waiting if she wants to talk about problems.

I'm reminded of Dr. Karen Horney, a psychoanalyst, who once wrote: "Concern should drive us to action and not into depression."

Fortunately for Linda, taking the appropriate action steps leads her to win over her emotional self-sabotage.

She remains an emotionally sensitive person though and that's good. It's now an asset, not a liability, since her emotions no longer rule over her.

Therapy of "Right Work"


Work where one gets lifeless, bored, and sick is work one is not suited for.

Once in college, I went door to door selling encyclopedias along with a superstar salesman and several youth OJTs. I needed money for personal and school expenses, so I applied and interned.

Now there’s nothing wrong with that job. In fact, a number of those with us excelled and earned a lot.

But my problem was, for me, knocking on doors in strange neighborhoods and offices is an unnatural act. The work does not fit my personality.

Yet I decided to do it anyway and somehow I made it look right because of the money. I lasted less than one month. My heart was not in it.

Looking back on that experience (and yes, I committed other mistakes like it!), I realized I am not cut for some occupations. I have a specific set of gifts/talents, dispositions, and attitudes that require a specific type of work.

As a psychotherapist and mental health caregiver, I have come to believe that this is true for every person.

Dr. Marsha Sinetar once wrote:

“Right livelihood is an idea about work which is linked to the natural order of things. It is doing our best at what we do best…Some of us are uniquely equipped for physical work, athletics, or dance; some of us have special intellectual gifts that make possible abstract or inventive thinking; some of us have aesthetic abilities and eye-hand coordination that enable us to paint, sculpt, or design.”

I want to call it the “therapy of right work.”

Right work is just as important to personal health and wholeness as the right foods and nutrients are for our physical bodies.

Healing From Unconditional Hugs


Terry is like many single-agains. He is unhappy about his recent place in life. Being lumped into the category of maritally "divorced," he feels uneasy, embarrassed, and unsettled.He shares his feelings during session and they're all reflective of how his marital failure affected the way he thinks about himself. He has begun to think more that he's no-good, dirty, a rotten bum.Because of what he thinks about himself, Terry notices that others begin treating him that same way he treats himself. Every signal he sends them asks for that kind of treatment and perception.Yet Terry can't help but continue in the same unhelpful pattern, which only leads him to deeper loneliness, depression, and denial.Does any of these sound familiar to you? I am imagining that you reading this post is right in the thick of it!  Like Terry, you've probably never been hurt more than you hurt right now. Things that once made sense in your life are spinning out of control. In the midst of the failure, loss, or stress you feel, your world comes crashing down.I want you to understand that you are not alone in your feelings. All of us experience embarrassing or painful slices from life's journeys. No one is exempted. Life is real and can take different turns. And if we're not adequately prepared, we may find ourselves beating ourselves up instead of accepting and encouraging ourselves to move on!So how do you find hope in the midst of hard times? How do you work on your wounded self that's badly beaten by circumstances? How do you stop allowing your self an unhealthy view from the other extreme?  I think these are essential questions each one of us must address. And I believe one answer is found in unconditional hugs.One of the things I do with my three children is giving them hugs. It's a type of hug that conveys the message of unconditional acceptance. It doesn't matter if they earn good grades in school, score wins in the job market, or gain success earning money. I love them forever! It's another way of saying to my kids, "I love you. You don't have to earn that with performance. Nothing can take that love away."A lot of us need hugs from our self. I mean, we all need unconditional love and acceptance from our self. Even when we suffer pain, loss, or failure in life. Even in the midst of our mistakes and imperfections. Only when you have this unconditional hug, acceptance and love from your self can you move forward and accomplish great things, turn ashes into gold, in your life.Have you been hugging yourself? All of us need unconditional acceptance from our self.[...]