International Day of Happiness March 20, 2017

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International Day of Happiness is March 20, 2017.  In 2013, the United Nations (UN) established March 20th  as the International Day of Happiness.

This initiative’s goals are to “recognize the importance of happiness in the lives of people around the world.  In 2015, the UN launched 17 Sustainable Development Goals that seek to end poverty, reduce inequality, and protect our planet – three key aspects that lead to well-being and happiness.”

 

How to build a community

 

United Nations Website Resource

Documents and Resources

 

::::   Until Next Time:  à Donf   ::::

Dr. Lawana R. Lofton, PsyD –    Psychologist with one simple goal of making concepts of psychology accessible.

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Read latest book   Psychological Précipice:  The Psychological Pursuit To Find The Best In You.  If you have not read it yet, as you may guess, I highly recommend it.

Happiness on a small budget

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Whatever you are interested in, go for it.  Consider an overall plan to obtain it.  Do not over analyze how to tackle the highest hurdle first, but consider what must be done first to get your plan off the ground.

You may be familiar with the analogy, “There is always more than one way to scale the mountain” or some variation of this.  Its meaning applies here.  Some life pursuits and activities that people pursue because they believe it will bring them joy are sometimes viewed as insurmountable so the person never starts.  But, there is always more than one way to get what you want in life no matter how complicated it may appear at the moment.

For example, let’s say Camille desires more than anything is to become a pilot.  She could hyper focus on not owning an aircraft, no financing available to hire a trainer to obtain flight hours to quality for a Private Pilot’s License, or even the time to devote to her new passion because she has such a hectic schedule as it is.

Camille wants to be happy doing what she loves.

Not tolling away at a job just to make ends meet.

 

Her focus instead, may serve her best, if she starts  slowly by obtaining what is available and achievable first.  Not hyper focused on what is out of reach in the short-term.

 

 

 

How much does it cost to purchase the books they use in an actual Private Pilot Training course?

How much does it cost to have flight simulator training verses hiring an in-flight trainer?

How much does it cost to purchase flight training software simulator for the computer?

How much does it cost to check out a library book on Private Pilot Training?   Library books are free to rent.

Is there a local flight school in need of a volunteer?   Do they have any out-dated Private Pilot Training manuals to loan?

Are you aware of any agencies that train people for free?  [With some commitment]  The Air Force just to name one if you’re willing to join the military.

 

Then, while you are addressing the lower cost items, continue to brainstorm and save for the more difficult items on your wish list.

Money, whether you have too much, or not enough, should not be viewed as a barrier to accomplishing what you desire most, or some variation of it.   Having more money does not equal more happiness.  Activities that make people happy in small doses – such as shopping, good food and making money – do not lead to fulfillment in the long term, indicating that these have quickly diminishing returns (Myers, 2000; Ryan & Deci, 2000).

Turns out humans are not very good at gauging what will make them happy.  For years, researchers have operated under the premise we will be miserable if we don’t get what we want in life and this simply is not true according to Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, PhD., Psychologist and founder of Positive Psychology.

Most likely Camille will be just as happy if she obtains her Private Pilot’s License or not.  Her pursuit to achieve it will have lasting positive results on her levels of fulfillment felt.  Sense of accomplishment and the joy she experiences while pursuing her dream.

I love brainstorming and being creative with the projects I pursue.  My recent personal dilemma was to develop creative marketing for the upcoming Seminar, The Science of Happiness.  I wanted advertising, but ultimately I discovered a clever marketing video for $5.00  on   Fiverr .

 

Apparently, some dreams’ cost vary depending on level of effort one is willing to put forth to obtain them, not money spent.

::::   Until Next Time:  à Donf   ::::

Dr. Lawana R. Lofton, PsyD –    Psychologist with one simple goal of making concepts of psychology accessible.

Subscribe to this site so you’ll never miss a post.

Read latest book   Psychological Précipice:  The Psychological Pursuit To Find The Best In You.  If you have not read it yet, as you may guess, I highly recommend it.

Meet you in San Francisco

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Know the feeling?  You have a gut instinct and then ignore it.   As a result, you ask, “What if?”  It’s not just you. We’ve all been there, too.  It is called having regrets due to moments of indecision.

We believe in taking action when it matters most.   Specifically, when you sense the need to discover new skills and strategies for personal development and improve your life, or overall sense of wellness.  These are things completely in your control.

If you enjoy attending seminars and workshops take a couple of minutes to explore my new website where I explain the next seminar’s goals and details of how you can book a seat to attend.

 

 

 

Let’s meet in San Francisco.

The next seminar “The Science of Happiness,”  will be held in beautiful San Francisco, California, Saturday, April 29, 2017.

All are welcome from near and far.

Join us!

You’re in for an exciting learning experience.  I intend to show you exactly what you must know about the pursuit of happiness.

 

::::   Until Next Time:  à Donf   ::::

Dr. Lawana R. Lofton, PsyD –    Psychologist with one simple goal of making concepts of psychology accessible.

Subscribe to this site so you’ll never miss a post.

Read latest book  Psychological Précipice:  The Psychological Pursuit To Find The Best In You.  If you have not read it yet, as you may guess, I highly recommend it.

 

 

 

Why are we happy?

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Dr. Daniel Gilbert, PhD., Psychologist and author of Stumbling on Happiness, challenges the idea that we will be miserable if we don’t get what we want.  Our “psychological immune system” lets us feel truly happy even when things do not go as planned.   He also states our beliefs about what will make us happy are often wrong.

Here is a great TEDTalk VIDEO worth viewing and sharing.

About Dr. Gilbert

He may look familiar to you because he is on television a lot.  He’s completed several Prudential TV Commercials,  “Ribbon Experiment”  posted below,  is just one of many commercials featuring Dr. Daniel Gilbert.    In this one, the experiment was to ask individuals how much money they think they will need to retire.

Dr. Gilbert is currently a Harvard College Professor, Harvard University, since 2005.

 

 

::::   Until Next Time:  à Donf   ::::

ADD Upcoming Science of Happiness Seminar to your calendar!  Learn more here.

Dr. Lawana R. Lofton, PsyD –    Psychologist with one simple goal of making concepts of psychology accessible.

Subscribe to this site so you’ll never miss a post.

Read latest book   Psychological Précipice:  The Psychological Pursuit To Find The Best In You.  If you have not read it yet, as you may guess, I highly recommend it.

 

Benefits of Psychotherapy

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the-therapist

 

Individual change occurs by taking more responsibility over what the individual wishes to achieve.  Therapy is mentoring, providing opportunities to learn new skills, and maneuvering the patient with great finesse towards a direction more in line with what the patient has voiced they desire to attain.

Psychological Therapy also referred to as Psychotherapy is an important form of treatment for a host of psychological problems, including but not limited to symptoms of Depression, Mood Disorders, Anxiety Disorders,  Thought Disturbances, Personality Disorders, Eating Disorders, Substance Abuse Disorders, and even those conditions considered less chronic and clinical such as Interpersonal & Relationship difficulties, low self-esteem, social problems, feelings of sadness, grief and bereavement, stress management, to career and life adjustments.

But, is Psychotherapy effective for treating the Mental Health and general life stressors we face?

How effective is Psychotherapy?

 

Take any philosophical approach to treatment, and you will receive on average the same results.

For years, Clinical Psychologists have debated the assumed benefits of Psychotherapy.   Many studies have compared Psychotherapy to various Psychiatric drug treatments, compared to no treatment at all.   By statistically combining hundreds of these studies, researchers have confirmed that overall, Psychotherapy is better than no treatment at all.  These studies have shown that most patients who improve with Psychotherapy do so within six months of beginning treatment.

***  Psychotherapy is better than no treatment

***   With treatment most improve within 6-Months

 

In 1952, Psychologist Dr. Hans Jürgen Eysenck, PhD., published the first research paper based on Psychotherapy Outcome effectiveness.   His goal was to measure how effective receiving therapy is, and which one would have the best results when compared to the next alternative Psychotherapy approach.   It was concluded 2/3 of people in therapy get better.  Those in Substance Abuse treatment was the exception based on 1952 research findings.

Dr. Eysenck’s Treatment Outcome Research Review Paper concluded the following.

75% of people are better off with therapy.

Therapy works.  In general all therapies work the same.

Cognitive Therapy works best in treating four (4) areas:

Phobias

Compulsions

Controlling Childhood Aggression

Depression

 

Dr. Eysenck’s research prompted Mary L. Smith in 1976 to conduct Meta-Analysis Effect Size Research.  This involves combining multiple studies and polling the results of many studies’ research findings.  Then, all results from many studies are analyzed together.  The Effect Size is how much more superior, or better outcomes, one is over the other statistically when used in a Meta-Analysis.   In 1977, Mary L. Smith and Gene V. Glass worked together to conduct Meta-Analysis Effect Size Research.

Their findings concluded the following:

75%  of patients improve in up to 26 Sessions of Psychotherapy.

50%  of patients improve after 8 Sessions of Psychotherapy.

Beyond this there is no real significance on how a patient will benefit with continued treatment.

Categorically, Smith & Glass concluded  “………More generally, virtually no difference in effectiveness was observed between the class of all behavioral therapies (e.g., systematic desensitization and behavior modification) and the non-behavioral therapies (e.g., Rogerian, psychodynamic, rational-emotive, and transactional analysis).”   (PsycINFO Database Record 2016 APA, Meta-analysis of psychotherapy outcome studies.  Smith, Mary L.; Glass, Gene V. American Psychologist, Vol 32(9), Sep 1977, 752-760.)

 

Today, there are a few more facts based on Psychotherapy research efficacy we should be mindful of for those that seek help.   Therapy is effective and the components that contribute most to one’s success in treatment is what the therapist contributes or variables, the therapy process itself, patient variables, and multicultural variables.

Therapist Variables

Competence

Experience

Emotional Well Being

 

Process Variables

What happens in the therapy session?

Good working alliance involving the patient.  This is how much the patient talks in session.

Therapeutic involvement; Environment.

 

Patient Variables

Motivation

Anxiety over the presenting problem.  How much misery does the patient have about their problem?

Ego Strength.  Intelligence (IQ).   Ability to examine their problems, and have perspective on the problem.

 

Ethnic Matching

No main affect.   Makes no difference regarding how successful or not treatment will be.  But, it interacts with trust.

Therapist must be sensitive to cultural diversity.

 

These items listed below are NOT associated with therapeutic outcomes.  These items do not impact whether or not Psychotherapy will have good outcomes.  They have no significant impact on outcomes.

Age

Gender

Social Economic Status

Degree of Mental Health Disturbance.  A severe, chronic and clinical diagnosis, or a mild adjustment disturbance has no significant impact on therapeutic outcomes.

 

Surprisingly, these studies also indicate all major types of Psychotherapy, despite differences in theoretical orientations, or in techniques used, are about equally effective.  Psychologists theorize that despite surface differences, all Psychotherapies have in common three factors that help to promote change in patients.  The necessary components are that they have one, a supportive and trusting relationship with the therapist.  Two, patients are allowed an opportunity to open up and talk freely.  Lastly, the patient should possess a positive expectation for improvement.

 

::::   Until Next Time:  à Donf   ::::

Dr Lawana R Lofton, PsyDDr. Lawana R. Lofton, PsyD –    Psychologist with one simple goal of making concepts of psychology accessible.

Subscribe to this site so you’ll never miss a post.

Read latest book  Psychological Précipice:  The Psychological Pursuit To Find The Best In You.   If you have not read it yet, as you may guess, I highly recommend it.

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What is it like in the Mental Health Office?

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Poseidon Library Dr Lawana R Lofton, PsyD

 

Most of us experience times when we need assistance in dealing with problems and issues that cause us emotional distress.  When you are having a problem or dilemma that is making you feel overwhelmed, and especially when problems negatively interfere with activities of daily living, you may benefit from the assistance of an experienced, trained professional.

There are many types of Mental Health providers to choose from.  A Psychologist, and other Mental Health or Medical Professionals offer the caring, expert assistance that people need during stressful times.

There are also many types of settings in which to obtain help.   Settings vary from a traditional private practice office, a group therapy setting, inpatient hospital facilities, video conferencing sessions, seminars, and even retreat settings.   Each with advantages and disadvantages based on the individual’s personal preferences and severity of problem they wish to address while in treatment.

The advantage of seeking treatment in a private office setting is that the therapy will involve only the patient and therapist.  Patients are given the permission to freely express themselves and disclose anything and everything freely.   The experience feels extremely intimate, yet therapist is a complete stranger who traditionally never shares anything personal about themselves.  The meeting is about the patient, not the therapist.  Some therapist even have steely barriers about disclosing any personal information about themselves because it disrupts the therapy; disrupts focus on patient’s issues and progress of treatment.  But, when pushed to answer personal questions from a patient with trust issues will at least respond truthfully to maintain the trust of their patient.

This is an acceptable and appropriate hallmark in most therapy approaches with exception of a few, but we will discuss more about those in another article about therapy approaches.

The disadvantage to a private practice office setting for treatment, for some, is individuals report feeling uncomfortable by a perceived intense level of pressure to self-disclose sensitive emotions when they are not ready to.   As with most things in life there is a natural cadence to things and obtaining therapy is no different.   Either a person feels comfortable or they do not.  It is not good or bad, it is just for the person wanting to get some relief from a life stressor to decide based on one’s own comfort level and preferences.

Being in the company of others such as in a group therapy setting, seminar, or retreat, alleviates this concern of being alone one-to-one with a therapist.  In group settings two or more individuals participate in the therapy process at the same time.  The advantage is individuals are able to share their experiences with others and learn they may very well have the same challenges and problems as others and also learn from them.  This normalizes problems for individuals.  Feeling a sense of community; belonging, is also a large part of participating in groups, seminars, and retreats.

Settings matter and it would be wise to consider early how accessible the provider will be to you once you commit to treatment.  Will the commute to treatment be manageable or inconvenient?  Does the treatment setting feel safe, private, or not well insulated for privacy and confidentiality?

The most important thing is to select a professional who has the appropriate training in the area of expertise you are seeking help with to address your problem.

You should also choose someone with whom you can feel comfortable enough to speak freely and openly with.  Establishing an adequate level of rapport with another is a subjective matter.  It’s difficult to measure from a far.  It requires physical face-to-face time for anyone to measure how one will get along with another.  At least, to know whether or not this is the person you care to work with long term and share your problems, and often those which are extremely sensitive emotional concerns.

Three key points to consider.

Setting

Area of Expertise

Good Rapport

 

Next, let’s take a look at some actual Mental Health Office Spaces.

You’ll notice they vary.

Simply click on picture to enlarge for gallery view.

 

Golden Gate Bridge

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Dr Lawana R Lofton, PsyDDr. Lawana R. Lofton, PsyD –    Psychologist with one simple goal of making concepts of psychology accessible.

Subscribe to this site so you’ll never miss a post.

Read latest book   Psychological Précipice:  The Psychological Pursuit To Find The Best In You  on Amazon.   If you have not read it yet, as you may guess, I highly recommend it.

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What Is Solution-Focused Brief Therapy and How Does It Work?

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Jacarandas in full bloom Dr. Lawana R Lofton, PsyD

Most types of Psychological Therapy involve exploring feelings, being validated, finding explanations, exploring wishes and dreams, setting goals, and gaining clarity.  Every Psychologist or Therapist has unique ways of working with clients, based on their personality, training, and views of how people change.

In Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT), a Psychologist or Therapist, is likely to do the following:

  1. Instead of going over past events and focusing on problems, the clinician helps you envision your future without today’s problems.
  2. During the course of therapy (often as few as 3 to 6 sessions), the clinician helps you discover solutions.
  3. The clinician encourages you to identify and do more of what is already working.
  4. The clinician guides you to identify what doesn’t work and to focus on doing less of it. Brilliant, right?
  5. The emphasis is on the future, not the past.
  6. Those who use SFBT as a treatment approach believe that the client is the best expert about what it takes to change their life.
  7. The clinician’s role is to help you identify solutions that will remove the barriers to having the life you want.

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy is a process that helps people change by constructing solutions rather than dwelling on problems.   This type of therapy tends to be short-term in comparison to traditional Psychological Therapy approaches to conduct therapy.  Steve de Shazer, MS.,  and Insoo Kim Berg, MS.,  of the Brief Family Therapy Center in Milwaukee are the originators of this form of therapy.

The clinician helps the client identify elements of the desired solution, which are usually already present in the client’s life.  The client learns to build on these elements, which form the basis for ongoing change.  Rather than searching for the causes of the problem, the focus is on defining the changes and making them a reality.

The two key therapeutic issues are:  [1 ]  how the client wants their  life to be different, and [2 ]  what it will take to make it happen.

Creating a detailed picture of what it will be like when life is better creates a feeling of hope, and this makes the solution seem possible.   The clinician helps the client focus on the future and how it will be better when things change.   It is important to develop a set of specific, detailed goals.   These goals drive the therapy process and keep it focused and efficient.

 

Why SFBT Is Usually Short-Term

The clinician does not set out to artificially limit the number of sessions.   A good brief therapist will not focus on limiting sessions or time, but rather on helping clients set goals and develop strategies to reach those goals.

Focusing on the client’s goals and the concrete steps needed to achieve them usually takes less time than traditional therapy, in which the client typically spends many sessions talking about the past and explores reasons and feelings.   SFBT clinicians aim to provide clients with the most effective treatment in the most efficient way possible so that clients can achieve their goals and get on with their lives.  As a result of this focus, the therapy process often requires as few as six sessions.

In traditional Psychological Therapy approaches, Individual Therapy may last months, and in some cases, years.  Recent therapy outcome research on Psychological Therapy indicates 75% of therapy clients show marked improvement of symptoms after their 26th session.  50% improve after their 8th session.  Beyond this, there has not been any real significance found in the research on how one will benefit.  Therein is the dilemma.  Why would a person continue treatment if there is no marked improvement to be gained past session 26?  For maintenance?  Many continue in Individual Therapy if symptoms are due to a chronic disorder and maintenance is required so gains made as a result of treatment, do not worsen back to their original state.  Another reason maybe if the person experiences a new presenting problem.

If you are interested in learning more about Benefits of Psychological Therapy see Chapter 2, p.51.

 

Types of Problems  SFBT Addresses

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy is an effective way of helping people solve many kinds of problems, including Depression, Substance Abuse, Eating Disorders, Relationship Problems, and many other kinds of issues and presenting problems.  Since it focuses on the process of change rather than on dissecting the problem, more serious issues do not necessarily require different treatment.   The clinician’s job is to help clients transform troubling issues into specific goals and an action plan for achieving them.

In The Miracle Method, authors Scott D. Miller and Insoo Kim Berg describe how to create solutions with these steps:

  1. State your desire for something in your life to be different.
  2. Envision that a miracle happens and your life is different.
  3. Make sure the miracle is important to you.
  4. Keep the miracle small.
  5. Define the change with language that is positive, specific, concrete, and behavioral.
  6. State how you will start your journey rather than how you will end it.
  7. Be clear about who, where, and when, but not why.

Signs To Consider

There are several ways to know when you would be doing yourself a favor by finding a clinician to work with.

  1. You’ve tried several things on your own, but you still have the problem.
  2. You want to find a solution sooner rather than later.
  3. You have thoughts of harming yourself or others.
  4. You have symptoms of Depression, Anxiety, or another disorder that significantly interferes with your daily functioning and quality of your life. For example, you have lost time from work, your relationships have been harmed, or your health is suffering.  These are signs you may benefit from seeking treatment from a trained professional.

Jacarandas in full bloom Dr. Lawana R Lofton, PsyD

 

Please pass this article along to a friend.

 

 

 

::::   Until Next Time:  à Donf   ::::

Dr Lawana R Lofton, PsyDDr. Lawana R. Lofton, PsyD –    Psychologist with one simple goal of making concepts of psychology accessible.

Subscribe to this site so you’ll never miss a post.

Read latest book   Psychological Précipice:  The Psychological Pursuit To Find The Best In You  on Amazon.   If you have not read it yet, as you may guess, I highly recommend it.

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Santiago’s Resilience

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Ernest Hemingway with marlin. Havana Harbor, Cuba. Photograph in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library, Boston. July 1934

Ernest Hemingway with marlin. Havana Harbor, Cuba. Photograph in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library, Boston. July 1934

 

In a letter written by Ernest Hemingway to his father about his personal philosophy towards writing he states “You see I’m trying in all my stories to get the feeling of the actual life across – not to just depict life – or criticize it – but to actually make it alive.  So that when you have read something by me, you’ve actually experienced the thing.”  This letter is among an exhibition The Ernest Hemingway Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

 

ernest-hemingway-in-cojimar-cubaHis “artistic credo” he established for himself did manifest in his writing career in my opinion.  Especially if you reflect on his last published work “The Old Man and The Sea.”  Ernest Hemingway exhibited deep compassion for the subjects whose lives he wrote about.

 

 

 

 

This film is based on Ernest Hemingway’s novel “The Old Man and The Sea” written in 1951.   The story was published in 1952 and would be Hemingway’s last major published work.

In the film, Santiago, is an experienced fisherman.  He has even had many admirers over the years for his caliber of skill and strength.

But, he is aging and the conquest of catching large fish has become a bit of a battle at sea for him.  Those in his community mock him now about how many days have passed since he caught a single fish.  Fishing is one’s livelihood, substance for survival and for Santiago, a measure of how independent he can be.  Only further evidence to Santiago that he is aging; old, and as other men in his community are suggesting to him quite openly that perhaps Santiago is not the man he once was.

While out to sea on another fishing trip to brake his dry spell he drifts for days with extended time for personal contemplation on what he may view as personal failures.

 

He reminisces back to what he holds dear.  His bride.

ernest-hemingway-santiago-and-maria

 

On the wedding day of Santiago and Maria, immediately after their ceremony, Santiago takes Maria to see his fishing boat on the beach.  She’s overly concerned she’ll ruin her wedding dress running in the sand to which Santiago replies “You won’t need it again.”

He tells Maria he will love her and always bring fish from the sea.

“Love comes in many forms.  I’ll take it in any form.”  Santiago says to himself as he reflects on that part of his life and the reality of his present.

In the present, while out in the ocean, he regrets having gone out to sea so far.  His boat is only a one sail skiff.  The strength he will need to get back to shore tests him.  He wrestles with a large marlin for what seemed like days.  Just as round one was over catching a fish, the real fight begins.  The next fight just getting back to shore he realizes could be life threatening.

He feels tired, inside.

 

Ultimately, life is not always about being comfortable; safe but this is nice.   Life has obstacles and challenges we must balance and overcome along with periods of smooth sailing.  When life’s challenges come along and even if we feel “tired inside” whether from age or fatigue, these challenges present enormous opportunities to preserver.  In battle we come face to face with our instincts to fight.

Overcoming adversity or setbacks is being resilient.

The true definition of resilience is one’s capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.

Despite adversities, one can adapt to the challenges they face, and be successful going forward on their own steam.

Santiago does return to shore.

Santiago gained his dignity back.  Self-respect in proving to himself yes, he can be independent.  Still catch big fish.  His dry spell of not catching fish was over.  He was back!  The promise he made to Maria that he would “always bring fish from the sea” restored his dignity as a man and provider.  And, he knew all of this, and more were true for him because one of the men who had mocked his dry spell told Santiago upon his return to shore that he  “Caught a truly great fish.”

“You can be destroyed but not defeated. “

Resource:     The Ernest Hemingway Collection

::::   Until Next Time:  à Donf   ::::

Dr Lawana R Lofton, PsyDDr. Lawana R. Lofton, PsyD –    Psychologist with one simple goal of making concepts of psychology accessible.

Subscribe to this site so you’ll never miss a post.

Read latest book   Psychological Précipice:  The Psychological Pursuit To Find The Best In You  on Amazon.   If you have not read it yet, as you may guess, I highly recommend it.

Twitter Dr Lawana R Lofton PsyD

 

 

Have You Ever Seen The Rain?

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1964 new-york-worlds-fair-1964_winogrand Dr Lawana R Lofton, PsyD

 

Have you ever heard someone talk about a specific point in time when they realized the course of their life was about to change?   That is for better or worse.

This is a normal and natural thing we humans do if we are insightful about the predicaments we face.    We even have popular phrases to refer to them:

We use phrases such as  “It was the beginning of the end” to help describe how a terrible situation got worse.

And

“It was the best of times and the worst of times.”

I’d like to explain further, but an early observation first I have about this topic which is a word of caution.  When another takes charge over everything for another individual it ruins everything!   Individuals require autonomy over how they choose to live their lives, and especially over the direction they go about it.

 

Today, I listened to the song  “Have You Ever Seen The Rain,” because it reminds me of a life lesson I’ve learned over the years I wish not to forget.  It’s about the good and positive parts of life that happen at the end of experiencing a turbulent personal set-back due to an aggressive agenda to control another’s’ creative process.

It never ends well.

Have You Ever Seen The Rain” is the title of a hit song by Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Pendulum album from 1970.  In my opinion, their best brilliant song, yet to get it recorded and published was marred with inter-band personality battles over who would have dominance over what would be produced.  This song is a classic.  It’s the one song that  put the band on the national map!  The song is about life with an interesting overriding side story about the history of the band itself navigating their conflictual band relationships.

The back story of the individual band members is a never ending string of ongoing conflictual relationship dilemmas that played out impacting individual member’s creative process and would ultimately be their band’s demise.

The dysfunctional interpersonal relational dynamics that played out when recording “Have You Ever Seen The Rain” would produce a hit song we all recognize, but it would be their last hit as a collective unit.

Ode to what might have been if not for the infighting?  Who knows because with all their fame and being at the height of their recording history, after  “Have You Ever Seen The Rain,” the band dissolved.

 

Nob Hill and Pine Street San Francisco California Dr Lawana R Lofton, PsyDAccording to Christopher Mark a Freelance Music Journalist, it was  Autumn 1970, San Francisco, California.  “John Fogerty sits beside his Creedence Clearwater Revival bandmates, guitarist John Fogerty, bassist Stu Cook, and drummer Doug Clifford, as they express their discontent at the domineering role that John has taken in the band.   Feeling he has no other choice, John agrees to relinquish some of the blinding spotlight that up until [ then had ]  been thrust solely upon him, allowing a more democratic song-writing and management process to take shape.   As the band came near to putting the finishing touches on their 6th album, Pendulum, John pens one more song  titled Have You Ever Seen the Rain  that would become synonymous with the name Creedence Clearwater Revival, but also act as a premonition of the imminent dissolution of the group.”  [Source:  Christopher Mark a Freelance Music Journalist (2012) ]

 

Creedence Clearwater Revival Ref VIETNAM WAR US MARINES, SOUTH VIETNAM, 1968-69 Dr Lawana R Lofton, PsyDThe song was probably not about fading idealism of the 1960’s and 1970’s during the Vietnam War as many have written about, but rather about resilience; weathering the storms of life and ultimately the bands demise that was brewing in the background for some time.

 

It was only after they decided to work together, they would rocket to stardom yet the collaborating efforts among then came too late to salvage their working relationships.  Too much bad history to repair.  Psychological Therapy Treatments are designed for the sole purpose to repair conflictual disagreements so might there have been hope?

Do you believe a predicament such as this might have stood a chance of repair itself with a Psychological intervention to address their group  relationship conflict dilemmas ?

I heard this song today, again, anew.  I thought of spring and the typical rain patterns.  After a heavy spring time rain storm and the sun begins to shine through the clouds I recalled it is a common marker most recognize as a sign the worst of the storm has passed.  The sun usually shines brightest after the storm has passed.

In  “Have You Ever Seen The Rain” however it was just the opposite.  In the best of times is when everything continued to sour for the band Creedence Clearwater Revival.  For many reasons they were not ever able to recover.

It’s as if the person they are speaking to in the song is not only wanting reassurance the worst will end soon, but more than this, they seek the details, the story, how and when.  How did you weather the storm?  Tell me and tell me quick!

The waiting for brighter clear skies to come had become as unbearable as the storm itself.

The more I thought about it the more perplexing it appeared.  The song is about “weathering the storms of life?” Or something light hearted and whimsical befitting the era it was written in.  An optimistic view of life where storms did pass, but with full knowledge waiting out any storm can be fraught with a lot of unpleasantness.

 

 

Lyrics

Someone told me long ago
There’s a calm before the storm
I know
It’s been coming for some time.

When it’s over, so they say
It’ll rain a sunny day,
I know
Shining down like water.

[Chorus:]
I want to know, have you ever seen the rain
I want to know, have you ever seen the rain
Coming down on a sunny day

Yesterday, and days before,
Sun is cold and rain is hard,
I know
Been that way for all my time.

‘Til forever, on it goes
Through the circle, fast and slow
I know
It can’t stop, I wonder.

[Chorus:]
I want to know, have you ever seen the rain
I want to know, have you ever seen the rain
Coming down on a sunny day

Yeah!

[Chorus:]
I want to know, have you ever seen the rain
I want to know, have you ever seen the rain
Coming down on a sunny day
Creedence Clearwater Revival Dr. Lawana R. Lofton PsyD

Questions remain.

What do you think the song is about?

The problems of daily life?  Conflicts?  Relationships?   Fading idealism?

Are some relationship conflicts ever beyond repair?

 

What I ultimately concluded is we all need relationships for better or worst.  Seldom do we need reminders of the relationships that went sour because we are already aware of them.  When we lose significant relationships therein lies the grief, regret, and largest test for our capacity to be resilient.

 

::::   Until Next Time:  à Donf   ::::

Dr Lawana R Lofton, PsyDDr. Lawana R. Lofton, PsyD –    Psychologist with one simple goal of making concepts of psychology accessible.

Subscribe to this site so you’ll never miss a post.

Read latest book   Psychological Précipice:  The Psychological Pursuit To Find The Best In You  on Amazon.   If you have not read it yet, as you may guess, I highly recommend it.

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The Traveler: Captain Paul Cuffee and the First Back to Africa Campaign

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PAUL CUFFEE Sea Captain Paul Cuffee in the 18th Century. Ashanti || Dr. Lawana R. Lofton, PsyD

 

PART I:          Who was the first to lead a Back to Africa campaign?

 

In 1815, Captain Paul Cuffee, led the first successful effort to relocate African Americans back to Africa.

Free African Americans initially supported his effort, then there appeared to be opposition from the larger African American community that expressed fears of any involvement would prompt their slave holders to get rid of them  “……to make their property more secure.”

Slavery in America was legally abolished in 1865.  This would be 246 years after the first slave ship with captive Africans landed at Jamestown, Virginia, and were bought as slaves (1619).

According to what has been published by historian Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Paul Cuffee is the first free African American to visit the White House and have an audience with a sitting president.  Cuffee by profession, was a sea captain, entrepreneur, and considered the wealthiest African American of his time.

 

Quote

Paul Cuffee was born on Cuttyhunk Island, off Southern Massachusetts, on Jan. 17, 1759, and died on Sept. 7, 1817.   He was one of 10 children of a freed slave, a farmer named Kofi Slocum. (“Kofi” is a Twi word for a boy born on Friday, so we know that he was an Ashanti from Ghana.)    Kofi Anglicized his name to “Cuffee.”

In 1766, Kofi purchased a 116-acre farm in Dartmouth, Mass., on Buzzard’s Bay, which he left upon his death in 1772 to Paul and his brother, John.   When his father died, Paul changed his surname from Slocum to Cuffee, and Paul began what would prove to be an extraordinarily successful life at sea.

On Dec. 10, 1815, Cuffee made history by transporting 38 African Americans (including 20 children) ranging in age from 6 months to 60 years from the United States to Sierra Leone on his brig, SHIP NAME the  Traveler, at a cost of $5,000.00.    When they arrived on Feb. 3, 1816, Coffees’ passengers became the first African Americans who willingly returned to Africa through an African American initiative.

Cuffee’s dream of a wholesale African American return to the continent, however, soon lost support from the free African American community, many of whom had initially expressed support for it.  As James Forten sadly reported in a letter to Cuffee dated Jan. 25, 1817, a meeting of several thousand black men had occurred at Richard Allen’s Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, to discuss the merits of Cuffee’s colonization program and the work of the African Institution.   The news was devastating:    “Three thousand at least attended, and there was not one soul that was in favor of going to Africa.   They think that the slave holders want to get rid of them so as to make their property more secure.”   And then in August, Forten co-authored a statement that declared that “The plan of colonizing is not asked for by us. We renounce and disclaim any connection with it.”

When Paul Cuffee died just a month later, on Sept. 7, 1817, “the dream of a black-led emigration movement,” Dorothy Sterling concludes, “ended with him.”   However, the cause of black emigration would be taken up by a succession of black leaders, including Henry Highland Garnet, Bishop James T. Holly, Martin R. Delany, Bishop Henry McNeal Turner and, of course, Marcus Mosiah Garvey and his SHIP NAME the Black Star Line.Quote

[ Source:  Published work of Historian Henry Louis Gates, Jr.,  with reference to Historian Donald R. Wright.]

 

 

 

 

 

PAUL CUFFEEThere was great contemplation.  Wish I could have been privy to those discussions and hear what the arguments for and against the opportunity to escape slavery may have been at that time.  Perhaps many wished to stay because in their view they would be better off eventually with time, and be able to make a living; a vibrate livelihood with work and all the rights, freedoms, and benefits,  others had access to in America at the time.

Might it have been a discussion upon the fear of their own freedom?  Or, from yet another viewpoint, maybe the debate to accept a passage fare of $5,000.00 was too expensive a price to pay in the year 1815.

It would seem, based on the history, many resisted emigration efforts due to hopes a society of equality and freedom for all was on the horizon.  The hope was all would be fairly incorporated into an “American Dream” and the American laws would ensure a blinded embrace without bias of the countries past foundations from which it was formed.  They hoped.  Allegiance.   A unspoken loyalty with really little evidence to make it so.

Soon.

On the horizon.

They waited for this full legal and social embrace to be incorporated into America.

 

In reality, many generations lived through those 246 years with slow to little incorporation nor improvements.  Leap frog to 2016, while there have been substantive progress forward on issues of equality and rooting out institutional and cultural discrimination in America, it persists.

Today, discrimination persists against African Americans in the form of unequal incarnation rates under the Criminal Justice System, and the continued escalating arbitrary fatal use of force and violence directed towards African Americans by Law Enforcement.

Meanwhile a disproportionate number of African American males are being fatally shot at the hands of Police Officers, often there is video coverage of the event, and the officer does not receive any legal consequences for their actions.

In a modern society such as America, all have the right to due process under the law.   Everyone in the general public and Officers of the court including Police Officers are afforded due process.   Furthermore, I would add Police Officers do not have the right to withhold due process rights from the American citizens it is legally sworn to protect.  Police Officers are not allowed to dismiss a Criminal Justice System which has a process of a criminal arrest, hearing, convection, sentencing, etc.  What many are protesting in 2016 is just this.  This society has seen video after video of its young African American men shot to death before any other legal process can take place.  Many have made reference to the reality [a few] officers have misappropriated employment titles of lawyer, magistrate, juror, and executioner on citizens often for mild infractions or for doing nothing at all.

 

When do you know when it’s time to leave?  If, at all?

 

“We need more steam, more speed Captain.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., often talked about a concept; a call to action, often referred to as “the fierce urgency of now.”

In his time, and even now, Dr. King is widely quoted for his commitment to non-violence and our shared quest for equality under the law and humanity.  He spoke to the Civil Rights Movement occurring during his life, and constantly reminded leaders and supporters who fought for Civil Rights that they had a large battle.  In hindsight, the battle needed more speed because the movement lasted over 14 years.

This is a long time to suffer the injustice of inequality.  Oppressive even of one’s ability to live their life freely as they choose.  Wouldn’t it be apathetic to not seize an opportunity to divorce yourself from such suffrage?

After enduring several decades of not fully being incorporated into the idealism of an American dream, what would you do?

 

                                                    ***   ***

 

While visiting Louisiana some years ago for vacation, I toured two plantations.  The tour guide commented that in those days the plantation owners would invite visitors who would have to travel great distances and once there, it would be common for visitors to spent months.  And, when it was time to go; typically because the provisions were running low, the visitor would receive pineapple in their room in the morning.  The polite signal the visit had come to a close.

 

We, as American’s, have been active in debate for some years and recently the dialogue has escalated to heights not unprecedented, yet unexpected to many.  When I reflect on what’s occurring today it seems surreal.  As if history is repeating itself reminiscent to the Civil Rights Movement 1954 – 1968.

The goal of that movement was to end racial segregation and discrimination against African Americans.

Things are getting better but not solved.

Perhaps we [African Americans ] have over stayed our welcome and were never afforded the subtle nuances of being served pineapple to let us know.  There are other ways to make someone feel unwelcomed.

 

On my Twitter account I created a poll question:  “What’s the biggest challenge regarding violence and racial tensions in America?”

Choices:

Things are improving

Never ending struggle

No change

Not addressing core issue

 

Three responses total at the time of this article and all selected “Not addressing core issue.”

I’d love to hear your perspective on the question.  Leave me a comment.

 

With regards to the current level of police shootings and racial climate in America, President Barack Obama during a July 9, 2016, NATO Conference in Poland press conference was ask if he believed there was a divide in America.

The President replied the divide is not as great as many have suggested, and commented on the pace of change and progress.  He added, it’s like every generation plants seeds for the next generation.  Someone else down the line will benefit from the shade the tree provides that the previous generation planted.

 

 

                                                  ***   ***

 

Are there any 2016 Back to Africa Campaigns?

 

I was curious.  So, I did a bit of research and found three.  Perhaps there are more, but it really did not take me long to find these here.

 

[ 1  ]    Anthony, of United States.

 

 

[  2  ]  Larry Mitchell, of Indiana.

 

[  3 ]   Kyle Canty, of New York.

Kyle Lydell Canty, 30, has applied for refugee status in Canada, citing his fears of police brutalityKyle Canty, of New York, applied for refugee status in Canada, citing he has fears of police brutality.  This article was published by Jason Silverstein Nov 2015.   In 2016, we learned Canty’s claim was not approved reportedly because of pending legal proceedings in America he must resolve first.

 

::::   Until Next Time:  à Donf   ::::

Dr Lawana R Lofton, PsyDDr. Lawana R. Lofton, PsyD –    Psychologist with one simple goal of making concepts of psychology accessible.

Subscribe to this site so you’ll never miss a post.

Read latest book   Psychological Précipice:  The Psychological Pursuit To Find The Best In You  on Amazon.   If you have not read it yet, as you may guess, I highly recommend it.

Twitter Dr Lawana R Lofton PsyD