Guess Who’s Taking Over Mental Health Care? / Your smartphone

From NIH, National Institute of Mental Health

Director’s Blog: Look who is getting into mental health research

By on August 31, 2015

In the U.S., biomedical research funding has been estimated at $117 billion, following a rough law of thirds: about one-third government (mostly NIH), slightly more than one-third pharmaceutical companies, and the remainder a mix of biotech, foundations, and philanthropy.1 Support for research on mental disorders looks a little different. As pharmaceutical companies invest less in this area, government (especially NIMH) has become a larger fraction of the funding pool. Now there is a surprising new player in mental health research that is just beginning to emerge from the private sector.This summer I was invited to Apple, Google (now Alphabet), IBM, and Intel.
Why are technology companies inviting the NIMH director to visit? At first, I assumed their interest was purely financial. It’s hardly surprising that companies with large cash reserves have discovered a trillion dollar market (health care is now approaching 20 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product and mental health care is a significant part of those costs).2 But I quickly discovered two other factors that are driving tech companies into biomedical and mental health research.
One is big data. As genomics, imaging, and large health care studies generate terabytes of data daily, companies that know how to extract knowledge from data have become essential partners for progress towards new diagnostics and therapeutics. The data analytics from tech companies are becoming part of the engine of biomedical research. The other is the promise of technology to change health care, shifting it from episodic to continuous, from reactive to proactive, from physician-centered to patient-centered. (No longer in the system only when ill, the patient delivers profit 24/7, from conception to death.)

Even beyond wearable devices and online cognitive training, technology can offer information and interventions where and when someone needs it. Tech companies are realizing that mental health is, in their parlance, an excellent “use case.” Just as important, online health care (especially mental health care) creates data that can serve to improve quality, including monitoring the fidelity of psychotherapy.3 In the future, when we think of the private sector and health research, we may be thinking of Apple and IBM more than Lilly and Pfizer.

Coming to you a future near you: Individuals will be branded as potentially “socially aberrant, mentally ill, psychotic etc.” or having something diagnosable, and will be tracked 24/7 under the “lie” of preventative services.
Here are two fascinating previews of this new world I noted during my travels last week.

One was the publication of results from a collaboration between Columbia University and IBM.4 The team, led by Gillinder Bedi and Cheryl Corcoran, was looking for a biomarker to predict which clinically high-risk youth would convert to psychosis over a two- to three-year follow up period from an initial interview. Rather than depend on a protein in blood or a brain scan, they used an innovative big data approach to analyze the speech from the initial interview. The approach, developed by Guillermo Cecci at IBM, maps semantic coherence and speech complexity as a window into the earliest stages of disorganized thought. While analysis of previous clinical features have yielded, at best, 80 percent prediction, this automated analysis of unstructured speech was reported to be 100 percent accurate for identifying who would convert to psychosis during the follow up period. This is a small study (34 participants with 5 developing psychosis), but it serves as a preview of what we might see as the power of technology is applied to provide objective measures of behavior and cognition.

If this doesn’t scare you about the abuse of technology, what will?

Also last week I visited, an internet start-up housed on the nineteenth floor of an office building in San Francisco. The founders, Anmol Madan and Karan Singh, took me on a quick tour of their smartphone app, which tracks mood and anxiety to “deliver support to the right people at the right time.” Already used by thousands of people and adopted by several research groups, looks at everything from sleep and activity to social interaction and self-report to quantify mood. Their approach has enormous potential not only for research on mood and anxiety but for the development of interventions that can be deployed globally. While the app has mostly been used to link patients to providers, imagine a future when the app will empower patients with tools to become their own providers.

My summer tour of tech companies, large and small, left me with one unexpected conclusion. While the focus of wearable technology and online apps has thus far mostly been for managing heart disease and diabetes, the tech approach may be best suited for mental health. The biomarkers for depression and psychosis and post-traumatic stress disorder are likely to be objective measures of cognition and behavior, which can be collected by smartphones. Some of our most effective interventions are psychosocial treatments that can be delivered or extended by smartphones and tablets. Most important, the sensors and the interventions can be integrated into a closed loop so that care is continuous and iterative. Increasing symptoms, suicidal impulses, and paranoid thoughts lead immediately to an intervention. (BY WHOM? – The police? That’s who “provides” much of America mental health services, including throwing MH individuals in jail and depriving them of medication or care.  Population-based studies have shown that less than half of people with mental illness seek care. And workforce studies have shown that 55 percent of counties have no mental health care provider. Technology is not the answer to all problems, but it may help those with mental illness even more than those with other chronic, serious medical conditions.


Cobra Gypsies / Live to Dance WOW!

I’m speechless. A feast for sensory “thinkers”

Eye Contact / Submit or Die

untitledcomOdd bits from: Psychologist

“Scotland’s University of Stirling found that, in a question-and-answer study among children, those who maintained eye contact were less likely to come up with the correct answer to a question than those who looked away to consider their response.” Eye contact, as a socialising device, can take a surprising amount of effort to maintain when this energy could be spend on calculating, as opposed to perceptive, tasks.”


A garment that conceals all but the eyes…what does that say?


It seems that females are all about control of the male animal. Testing, testing…


“I have nothing else to offer: will trade boobs for any attention that makes me feel less worthless.”


Nothing is more depressing than turning humans into robotic lab rats!

Wow! Could it be that Asperger children who don’t maintain eye contact, are not “psychopaths” as determined by Simon Baron Cohen, but are simply using their brains to process information – AND to conserve energy?  

Both Animal Behaviorists and Human Behaviorists study animal behavior, but there is little evidence that they share their work. Perplexing.

imagesIF3X5XC5 imagesPVTM2WJ9

When a parent forces a child to experience a direct and angry stare, he or she is not “bonding.” They are intimidating the child by letting them know, on an animal level, that the parent is the predator and the child is prey:  the challenge to the child is “submit or die.” The child experiences fear. Is that so hard to understand? This act of domination instigates competitive predatory behavior in some children (the parent – child relationship becomes a war), and the child will likely turn their aggression toward other children, but most children who experience “domineering parenting” become prey animals.

Human behavior is animal behavior; a culture “utilizes” and simultaneously condemns animal behavior, which is reserved for predators who dominate every level of the social pyramid. To forbid animal behavior in a human society is to maintain a prey population; obedient, tame, neotenic.




New Blog Subject? / Great Ideas that Stink

Asperger Human has grown to be so large that it’s become “unfriendly” to search engines; actually it passed that threshold long ago. The real problem is me; I’ve lost track of what individual posts cover, and my Asperger way of organizing information is not linear, categorical, branching, or file-based. Within-blog search works well, but I don’t know how many people use that function.  Being an intuitive visual thinker  serves ME well – it’s all in my brain, but in no way is information organized in the “typical” hierarchical framework.

Actually, at this point I doubt that the “typical social human” organizes information hierarchically either; it’s a convention taught in schools – what used to be called “making an outline” which forced children to read and think about the relative importance of ideas and facts in written documents and other types of communication. Decisions at all levels of social organization are now made based on “how people feel” moment to moment: an infantile state which decades ago was considered temporary. In fact, much of education was designed to get children beyond this infantile self-centeredness in order to help them become responsible adults, an archaic concept, the need for which has not gone away, however.

New blog? Great Ideas that Stink


I’ve been noodling over a topic for a new blog, which would be an extension of ideas in Asperger Human, but which will apply to all people: the most critical defect that I see in contemporary (western) cultures is the inability to form new ideas that will be effective in the 21st Century. A backlog of “good ideas that are no longer sufficient” drives “modern” choices; technology (as usual) is taking Homo sapiens into new arenas.

This is not new: exploration seems to be a given in human behavior. The cheerleaders for technical domination are presently in control, but (as usual) the business-technical cohort overestimates “progress” in human health and happiness. What good is that fabulous genetic medical technique when millions of humans don’t have clean water and sufficient nutrition? And countering the “new whizz-bang” medical devices are armed drones that shred individual “bystanders” in villages bereft of decent living conditions and the energy to overcome decades of trauma?

Ideas are not things; ideas drive behavior, and are “supernatural.” Ideas are formed by the human brain and exist nowhere else. This is a good thing, because unlike the Laws of Nature, ideas can be changed. There is one little nut that need’s to be “cracked” and it’s the illusion that the ideas we learn, mostly by absorption from the human environment, are essential to the universe, absolutely fundamental to the universe, and that every human being must agree on which ideas constitute this “absolutist” body of paper thin, ephemeral, supernatural regime of ideas. Terrible behavior follows on acceptance of “words” as the power that created the universe.

For now, let’s start with a simple definition of “idea” from Merriam Webster:

: a thought, plan, or suggestion about what to do (an idea is active): an opinion or belief (not all ideas are equal in fact or utility): something that you imagine or picture in your mind (supernatural)

Clip from an intro to The Great Ideas / Mortimer Adler:

What does it mean to be Good? How do we decide the Right thing to do? What is Love? The same question may appear to have different answers; the journey through the conflicting answers to a resolution is called philosophy. The Great Ideas are Art, Beauty, Change, Democracy, Emotion, Freedom, God, Good and Evil, Government, Justice, Labour, Language, Law, Learning, Love, Man, Opinion, Philosophy, Progress, Punishment, Truth, and War and Peace. (These aren’t “ideas” so much as Topics – so we’re in trouble already!) 
Although everyone has a basic grasp of these Great Ideas, not everyone understands them as well as he or she could or should. In “How to Think About the Great Ideas”, renowned philosopher Mortimer J. Adler guides readers to an understanding of these fundamental ideas and their practical applications to our daily lives.

There are thousands of books and articles written by historians, philosophers, and related “experts” about the stupendous course of western history, launched by POVs rooted in  tradition, revision, religion, technology, Great Men,  political and social ideologies, art, anthropology, and genetics / DNA, mostly upholding the supremacy or “march” of EuroAmerican males from the Ancient Greeks onwards. Not my intention to join the crowd! My approach will be much like Asperger Human: identifying the origin of an idea, the environment that encouraged it, its misplaced application today and why it is preventing individual “happiness” –

OMG! This is new blog will be as easy as shooting fish in a barrel.




PhD Dissertation / Asperger Syndrome Social Narratives

Dissertation for Dr. of Philosophy, Bowling Green State University, 2010 Neil Shepard


Scroll down to FILES / View or Download

imagesQTYDAM51 images94L4E8HC

From Introduction: This dissertation explores representations of Asperger’s syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. Specifically, it textually analyzes cultural representations with the goal of identifying specific narratives that have become dominant in the public sphere. Beginning in 2001, with Wired magazine’s article by Steve Silberman entitled “The Geek Syndrome” as the starting point, this dissertation demonstrates how certain values have been linked to Asperger’s syndrome: namely the association between this disorder and hyper-intelligent, socially awkward personas.

Narratives about Asperger’s have taken to medicalizing not only genius (as figures such as Newton and Einstein receive speculative posthumous diagnoses) but also to medicalizing a particular brand of new economy, information-age genius. The types of individuals often suggested as representative Asperger’s subjects can be stereotyped as the casual term “geek syndrome” suggests: technologically savvy, successful “nerds.” On the surface, increased public awareness of Asperger’s syndrome combined with the representation has created positive momentum for acceptance of high functioning autism. In a cultural moment that suggests “geek chic,” Asperger’s syndrome has undergone a critical shift in value that seems unimaginable even 10 years ago.

This shift has worked to undo some of the stigma attached to this specific form of autism. The proto-typical Aspergian persona represented dominantly in the media is often both intelligent and successful. At the same time, these personas are also so often masculine, middle/upper class and white. These representations are problematic in the way that they uphold traditional normativity in terms of gender, race and class, as well as reifying stigma toward other points on the autistic spectrum.


Having grown up with a family connection to Asperger’s syndrome, I can say that from my experience the truly challenging difficulties that emerge do so from encounters with the social world. I have never met a person with autism who is, in and of themselves, a “problem.” Problems come in the form of ignorance; the forms of this ignorance vary in range from inadequate educational resources to bullies. The sentiment that the problem is social rather than individual is something that I have seen echoed repeatedly throughout my research, whenever I have read of or spoken with people with autism, their parents, guardians, children, siblings and friends. Whatever Asperger’s or autism may be has, in my experience, been less important thanthe beliefs and practices that comprise it. The work of cultural studies, as I see it, is to interrogate those beliefs and practices. To talk about a condition such as autism as being socially constructed isn’t to deny the reality of the condition, but rather to call attention to those beliefs and practices that shape the consequences of that reality. Understanding Asperger’s syndrome as a social construction is not to deny the clear realities of a condition that is manifested in the body, but to recognize the accountability of culture’s role in that reality. A social model approach to autism means an acute awareness of those impairments and those disabling features that are a result of the surrounding culture.

Citation: Shepard, Neil, “Rewiring Difference and Disability: Narratives of Asperger’s Syndrome in the Twenty-First Century” (2010). American Culture Studies Ph.D. Dissertations. Paper 40.

Born Free Foundation Zoochosis / Symptoms of ASD

It may seem implausible to social typical humans, but many ASD symptoms are indicative of “zoochosis” that occurs when we are forced to inhabit social environments.

Go to: for videos of zoo animals and specific abnormal behaviors Videos are also available on YOUTUBE

We don’t care about animals or children; how many American kids live in neighborhoods that are no more healthy than zoos?


Zoochosis: Abnormal and Stereotypic behaviour in Captive Animals

Ensuring reasonable animal welfare in captivity is extremely challenging. Animal species have evolved over millennia and their physical, physiological and behavioural traits have developed in order to optimise their chances of survival in their natural environment.

In captivity, animals may face a number of challenges for which evolution has not prepared them. The climate, diet and the size and characteristics of the enclosure may be completely alien to the species as it exists in the wild.

Captive animals may no longer be able to have control over their environment, nor carry out evolved behaviours aimed at enhancing their welfare or survival prospects. Instead they must rely on humans to provide for many of their physical, social, biological and other needs.

If the captive environment does not cater for the species-specific needs of the animal, there can be a deterioration in both physical and mental health such as the development of abnormal behaviour, disease and even early mortality.

Similarly, invasive interventions such as the restriction of movement, training using negative reinforcement techniques, being trained to preform unnatural behaviours or making modifications to the normal physiology of animals to reduce risks when handling, can cause severe and lasting distress.

Abnormal behaviour can include stereotypic behaviours – repetitive behaviours which appear to have no obvious goal or function – such as repetitive pacing, swaying, head-bobbing or circling and bar-biting ‘demonstrably caused by the frustration of natural behaviour patterns, impaired brain function, or repeated attempts to deal with some problem’ (Mason, 2005); over-grooming, excessive licking and vocalisation are recognised as displacement behaviours, ‘arising out of conflict when an animal is driven to perform two behaviours at the same time’ e.g. conflict between the fear of the keeper and the desire to get food (Bacon 2011); apathy and redirected aggression.

Other forms of stereotypic behaviour seen in captive wild animals includes: Apathy, where an animal is abnormally passive and does not react to stimuli. Occurs particularly when social animals are separated from companions; Abnormal mother-infant relationship, where mothers attack, abandon or kill their offspring, or where mothers wean offspring too soon or too late; Prolonged infantile behaviour, where animals do not mature properly or acquire aberrant social behaviours e.g. excessive crying or vocalisation, lack of social confidence, lack of secondary sexual characteristics; Abnormal aggressive behaviour, where aggression is uncontrolled, in terms of intensity and frequency, or directed to the wrong individuals or objects. This can be the result of overcrowding, threats by social dominants, isolation from companions or pressure from zoo visitors.


In 1992, Bill Travers, co-founder of the Born Free Foundation, first coined the term ‘zoochosis’ to describe this obsessive, repetitive behaviour, and described zoo animals behaving abnormally as ‘zoochotic’.

In 1993, the Zoo Check Charitable Trust (now the Born Free Foundation), produced The Zoochotic Report,  video observations by the late Bill Travers, taken over 3 years in over 100 zoos in Europe, North America and the Far East. The Zoochotic Report raised serious concern about the effects of captivity on wild animals. The Report helped form the philosophies for our organisation and its animal welfare objectives.

“In every zoo I visited when compiling the Zoochotic Report, I witnessed some sort of abnormal behaviour” Bill Travers, Co-Founder of the Born Free Foundation.

Further explanation on abnormal behaviour and examples:


Sex in America / Obsessed by Control

Why are Americans obsessed with sex, not as a healthy (and private ) expression of reproductive instinct and as a source of physical health, but as one more opportunity to oppress other people?

Humans share sex with every life form except: Asexual reproduction takes a variety of forms. The simplest one-celled organisms may reproduce by binary fission, in which the cells simply divide in half. This form of reproduction creates a clone of the parent, and has the benefit of usually being very quick and energy efficient. For example, bacteria that reproduce by binary fission can give rise to progeny every few hours.

Some organisms, such as Cryptosporidium parvum, a sporozoan that causes traveler’s diarrhea, may utilize multiple fission, in which they split into more than one offspring simultaneously. In multicellular organisms, a similar tactic is called fragmentation. In this process, small pieces break off and grow into new organisms. Still other organisms reproduce by budding , in which a smaller copy of the parent grows on the body and eventually splits off to begin life on its own.

All these variations of asexual reproduction have one thing in common, the offspring is a direct clone of the parent. The purpose of reproduction is to propagate one’s own genes. Evolutionarily, asexual reproduction is a good deal for the parent. It is quick, simple, and the genes of the parent will not be diluted by those of another individual. In addition, an organism that reproduces asexually can reproduce about twice as fast as one that reproduces sexually. This has shown to be true with the whiptail lizard of the southwestern United States, which can reproduce both sexually and asexually under different conditions.


One suspects that sex surveys are most likely to be affected by lies.


The U.S. and Russia have something in common after all.

The U.S. and Russia have something in common after all.

Why is sex a subject of ceaseless voyeurism, criticism, examination, lies, judgment and (especially) religious fanaticism? Why do “social typicals” use sex to interfere in other people’s lives? Is there a “sexual social pyramid?” And what about porn becoming the most favored access to sex?

Why is sex so unnatural in the U.S.?


Can Sexuality Be Changed? Article, Olga Khazan

A trial in New Jersey this week will determine whether telling gay people that they can become straight constitutes consumer fraud. The ruling might mean the end of so-called “conversion therapies” for good.

For 17-year-old Chaim Levin, despair came in the form of a persistent attraction to men—largely because his Orthodox Jewish community rejected homosexuality. After Levin confided to a friend that he was not interested in women, he says he was thrown out of his religious school.

Levin and his family hoped an organization called JONAH, or Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing, could help him become straight. JONAH referred him to an unlicensed life coach named Alan Downing, who began treating him in weekly group and individual therapy sessions beginning in 2007 in Jersey City, New Jersey.

(Description of what went on in these sessions removed. Go to original article.)

Now Levin and two  other young men who also underwent JONAH-affiliated treatment are plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the organization. The case is being brought by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Alabama-based civil-rights group, which is arguing that JONAH-style treatment—and other “gay conversion therapies” like it—amount to consumer fraud. Quite simply, the SPLC argues, conversion therapy doesn’t work. People can’t become ex-gay, and making promises to the contrary is a false bill of goods.

“These were very young men,” SPLC senior staff attorney Sam Wolfe told me. “They were from communities where they didn’t know gay people, and they didn’t know that much about it.”

New Jersey’s “Consumer Fraud Act protects people from lies or misleading statements,” Wolfe added. “It doesn’t matter if our clients voluntarily signed up … it was like candy to them, so of course they wanted to sign up for it. They believed and trusted the words and promises of the defendants, which turned out to be false. The defendants sold them modern-day snake oil.”

SPLC lawyers hope that if they prevail, their victory will spur other states to crack down on gay-conversion therapies of all kinds for patients of all ages. Three states, Oregon, California, and New Jersey, as well as Washington D.C., have already banned the practice for minors. Ultimately, the SPLC hopes a court victory will herald the end of ex-gay therapies nationwide. Last month, Congressman Ted Lieu, a Democrat from California, introduced a bill to ban reparative therapy at the federal level. A map created by SPLC currently lists some 70 organizations across 20 states that practice conversion therapy in some form.

The defendants, meanwhile, have relied on an unusual twist of logic. Though most people remain gay or straight for life, sometimes, sexual preferences change. If sexual orientation is mutable, they say, why should it be unlawful to try to help a person change it? Conversion therapy, to JONAH and its supporters, is a matter of personal freedom and patient choice.

“I support the right of an adult to seek help from a licensed professional and to live their life as they choose and not as the SPLC says that they have to,” said Maggie Gallagher, the founding board chairwoman of JONAH. For some gay people, “their identity in their religious faith is more important to them than their putative sexual identity, and that’s a choice that people are entitled to make.”

At the trial beginning this week, a New Jersey jury will determine if she’s right.

* * *

One reason conversion therapy still exists, even in a time of tremendous progress for gay rights, is that the roots of sexual orientation—and of sexual desire in general—have proved devilishly difficult to uncover clinically. Conversion therapists have used this scientific gap to their advantage.

Nobody really knows how people become gay or straight. A complicated stew of genetics, hormones, upbringing, and environment compels a person to desire some humans over others. Lending some credence to the idea that people are “born this way,” Harvard neuroscientist Simon LeVay found that a region of the brain called the INAH-3, which helps to regulate sexual behavior, tends to be much larger in straight men than in gay men. Some studies have shown that men with older brothers are more likely to be gay. But as LeVay told Salon recently, “being gay or lesbian is not an isolated trait, but part of a package of gendered traits that go together.”

What mainstream experts agree on, though, is that homosexuality is perfectly normal. (Indeed, a New Jersey Superior Court judge has already granted the SPLC one victory, ruling that it is fraudulent to say that homosexuality is a disorder.)

It would also be tricky to gauge whether someone has truly become “ex-gay.” Experiments that measure desire only confuse matters further. In studies, straight women tend to get turned on by nude images of other women, and though men’s physiological arousal tends to more closely match their professed sexual preference, at least a small percentage of straight men watch gay porn. Furthermore, many conversion efforts fail because the mere presence of fire in one’s loins is far from the all-encompassing affection it takes to build a lasting romantic relationship.

“People’s sexual orientation is something that they feel is a very central part of their being,” said Gregory Herek, a psychology professor at the University of California in Davis. “When you have the idea of people trying to change it in therapy, it’s attempting to change something that’s a very core part of the person.”

Doctors’ groups have said repeatedly that conversion therapies don’t work—and that it’s rare for people to become ex-gay. The author of one of the few studies suggesting these treatments are effective, the psychiatrist Robert Spitzer, has admitted to major problems with his study and apologized for publishing it.

“Enduring change to an individual’s sexual orientation is uncommon,” the American Psychological Association wrote in a 2009 report on the topic after reviewing studies on the effectiveness of conversion therapies. “The participants in this body of research continued to experience same-sex attractions following [sexual-orientation change efforts]. Compelling evidence of decreased same-sex sexual behavior … was rare.”

The SPLC complaint, meanwhile, alleges that the JONAH co-founder Arthur Goldberg told one of the plaintiffs, Benjamin Unger, that “change is absolutely possible,” and that Unger could essentially stop being gay within two to four years.

Still, some people do experience sexual-orientation fluidity—a finding based largely on studies of women who have oscillated from lesbian to bisexual to straight—and some conversion therapists use this idea to bolster their claim that treatments can work for those who want to change. In its court filings, JONAH’s lawyers point out that the American Psychological Association’s own report on sexual-orientation change therapy says that, “for some, sexual-orientation identity is fluid or has an indefinite outcome.” They also argue that JONAH’s views on the changeability and causes of homosexuality are just opinions, and differences of opinion can’t be the basis for a fraud case.

But the fact that some peoples’ sexual preference fluctuates, mental-health professionals say, is not the point: People who seek out conversion therapy often do it because of extreme stigma in their communities, and not because of some intrinsic desire to be straight. The problem is the discrimination, not the sexuality.

“Do I think that I was “born gay”? I don’t know and I am not sure how important that is,” Levin wrote in an op-ed about his experience. “What is important is that it certainly is not something that I chose or had anything to do with. And I felt immense pressure to somehow change who I was.”

* * *

JONAH was formed in 1999 by Elaine Silodor Berk and Goldberg, a former Wall Street banker who served prison time in the 1980s for selling fraudulent municipal bonds. Both are practicing Jews who have gay adult sons.

They chose the name JONAH, court documents say, “in reference to the Jewish Prophet Jonah from Gath-Heper in Israel, who was sent by God to preach to the non-Israelites in Nineveh; the people repented and changed their ways, and the city was saved from destruction. They believe that the story of the Prophet Jonah will give their clients the hope they need to succeed as well.”

JONAH representatives say the group’s aim is not to criticize certain lifestyles, but they do say that “many Jews and other individuals cannot recognize all consensual sexual practices as … spiritually rewarding.” JONAH’s lawyers contend that New Jersey courts should not meddle in what is, in part, a religious matter.

Not all conversion therapies are religiously motivated, however. Nicholas Cummings, the chief psychologist for Kaiser Permanente from 1959 to 1979 and a former APA president, was one of the champions of the 1975 APA resolution that stated that homosexuality is not a mental disorder. However, he has also said his practice saw 18,000 gay patients over the years, and “hundreds” changed their sexual orientation. Downing, the life coach who allegedly forced Levin to strip for him, had a career in the arts, according to court files, before realizing “that he was particularly talented at various modalities within [sexual-orientation change efforts] due to his background in theater and music.”

“They want to be like regular guys, but they don’t feel like regular guys.”

Some conversion therapy practices appear to be driven by the (scientifically inaccurate) view that homosexuality is caused by overly strong attachments to women or insufficient platonic male friendships. In the complaint, Downing is accused of asking Unger to beat an effigy of his mother with a tennis racket, “as though killing her.” Unger was also allegedly encouraged to spend more time naked with his father. (Gallagher, JONAH’s chairwoman, would not comment on Downing’s tactics, saying she is not a therapist.)

Chris Doyle is a licensed counselor and the director of the International Healing Foundation, a Maryland organization that works on all issues related to sexual orientation, including conversion. He was also going to be an expert witness in the JONAH trial until the judge barred him and several others because they planned to bring scientifically refuted testimony, The New Jersey Star-Ledger reported.

Doyle said he uses mostly experiential, talk, and cognitive-behavioral therapies in his practice and doesn’t “necessarily” use the approaches Downing is accused of employing. It’s not the media’s place to analyze therapy techniques, he said, before adding that the undressing session “was actually fine for what [Downing] was trying to do.”

Doyle, who considers himself a former homosexual, is now married with children. He was a sensitive child, he said, and he had trouble bonding with his father. He was later abused by an older female cousin, and “that caused me have a disdain toward women because of the abuse.”

“When I resolved those issues in my early 20s … my same-sex attractions really went away,” he said. “I realized that for some people, this wasn’t simply just something that they had to accept, they could actually work through these issues if they wanted to and go on to live a heterosexual life. I don’t have any disdain for the LGBT community, but I chose a different path.”

Most of his clients who struggle with unwanted same-sex attractions are male, and are “almost always over-attached to their mothers. That’s created wounding for them. They want to be like regular guys, but they don’t feel like regular guys,” he said.

Doyle believes these men sexualize their need for friendship with other men, and that he can help them with this just like a therapist might help a patient overcome her depression. “We’re helping the client get those … unmet love needs and healthy same-sex relationships that aren’t sexual,” he said. “When they do that, they experience freedom, they experience who they really are.”

* * *

The medical establishment is not sympathetic to perspectives like these. In addition to the APA, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Medical Association, the World Health Organization, and other groups have all condemned conversion therapies. The APA encourages practitioners not to try to change their patients’ sexual orientation, “keeping in mind the medical dictum to First do no Harm”

Though its proponents boast success stories, conversion therapy can be extremely damaging: In videos about his experience, Levin has said that when he didn’t change, he blamed himself. Unger was later treated for severe depression, SPLC lawyers say. Levin attempted suicide by swallowing pills.

The fact that several states have curtailed the use of conversion therapies for minors suggests that officials are increasingly acknowledging the power of mental healthcare: that unproven psychotherapy techniques can be be just as injurious as untested blood-pressure pills.

“Never buy into the lie that God is angry with you. God is there for you; he loves you.”

“The reason these approaches went unnoticed for a long time was the belief that there was no harm in trying,” said Jack Drescher, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who helped write the APA’s reports on conversion therapies. But “if you talk to the so-called ex-gay survivors, they can tell you about the type of harm they experienced, the harmful things that the therapists say to them.”

Drescher’s view on JONAH is unambiguous: “They prey on desperate religious people. Their market [is] people who are confused, unhappy, and who will try anything because they are desperate.”

Herek said that some people who go through conversion interventions might be able to suppress their same-sex attraction, at least temporarily, but they generally aren’t able to make themselves long for the opposite sex. “They just lose their sense of sexual attraction to anyone,” he said.

He recommends that people who have trouble accepting their homosexuality instead work to integrate their true sexual orientation more fully into their overall sense of self.

Randy Thomas, a former executive vice president with the ex-gay Christian network Exodus International, now says he wished he had never tried to change his sexual orientation. Exodus disbanded in 2013 amid growing skepticism among its own leaders that sexuality conversion is possible.

After coming out as gay at 19, and converting to Christianity five years later, Thomas spent many years working for Exodus as a self-described “poster boy” for the idea that gay people can become straight. This past January, he came out as gay once again. (“I still love Jesus, and he still loves me,” he told me recently.)

To gay people who are considering conversion therapy, Thomas now says, “spare yourself the shame, pain, and condemnation. If you’re LGBTQ, never buy into the lie that God is angry with you. God is there for you; he loves you. You are beloved by him, and anyone who can’t see the inherent worth of who you are, just walk away.”

How this subject is “dealt with” in the U.S., is simply irrational and demonstrates that trying to build a modern culture using archaic ideas and beliefs DOES NOT WORK. 

Parasitic Capitalism / Parasitic Psychology

Some of psychology’s biggest success stories, the field’s outrageous economic success, as well as its extensive interlocking relationship to social engineering, from the bottom of the economic pyramid to  control at the very top , are apparent in the takeover of the average American’s life by advertising and marketing.

Marketing generates plans to manipulate humans for profit; advertising is one means to that goal. Psychology studies human behavior in order to divide human beings into useful “clusters” and categories of people; to define, catalogue and predict which manipulations will work to drive those “groups” to participate in addictive consumerism.

Marketing boils down to two models: diversity: divide and conquer- why we have thousands of shampoo and deodorant brands even though the ingredients are identical – your underarms are special! and unity-mass identity: patriotism, nationalism, globalism, youth-ism. If every person on the planet would drink Coca Cola, every day, humanity will be saved. If every child owns an iPhone or iPod, he or she will save humanity by being “inspired” to invent miracles.

It’s all BS of course, but tragically, the American economy is driven by these fictional, but real and powerful, “mind games”. We Americans are lucky if we can find a satisfactory product at a reasonable price, with sensible packaging and ingredients that don’t poison and make unlivable, not only our local environments, but land, water supplies, the atmosphere and the health and survival of all living things.

What is not talked about is the power to shape and coerce individuals into “objects” that FIT the social categories devised by marketing and advertising  psychology.


blog by:



Now that is an accurate description of psychology in action!

The Psychology Behind Consumer Behavior

Posted November 20, 2011 by carolaacosta

Every person has psychological needs; some are in the conscious mind while the majority lay on the subconscious. Being able to analyze, interpret and understand these needs is essential for any good marketing or advertising effort. Numerous studies have been made investigating the mystery behind consumer behavior and purchase decision and many have found that humans do have universal motivators or reasons for acting and behaving as they do. First, lets begin by stressing the importance of understanding the universality of the traditional Maslow’s Pyramid.

(Rather arrogant Western assumptions; unscientific assumptions, in orange.)

Here we can see the basic human necessities and motivators that are the foundation for the human existence. (Outrageous assumption!) We can also observe that the common purpose for every person is self-actualization, which is to fulfill one’s individual potential. This is important for marketers because this means that all of our efforts have to be aimed at improving people way of life and strive to make this personal self actualization process an easier journey for our customers. (HAH! “Improving” is simply a lie to cover the intent of manipulation for profit.)

According to 12 Tips for “Psychological Selling” by Dean Rieck marketing gurus tend to focus solely on the Maslow’s pyramid of needs but he insist that there is more to marketing psychology “People are highly complex and often mysterious, so we all struggle to understand our fellow humans”. Additionally, he states, “there is great benefit in knowing not only what people do, but also why they do it”. He then analyzes consumer behavior regarding purchase decisions by saying that “People make decisions emotionally, People justify decisions with facts, People are egocentric, People look for value, People think in terms of people, You can’t force people to do anything, People love to buy, People are naturally suspicious, People are always looking for something, People buy “direct” because of convenience and exclusivity, People like to see it, hear it, touch it, taste it, or smell it before they buy it and Most people follow the crowd.

Read full article at:


WOW! What we easily see is the justification for exploitive Capitalist actions “dressed up” by outrageously pretentious psychological jargon – jargon that claims to speak for all humanity.

Large Noses of the 16th C. / Hans Holbein


It drives me crazy: most art from the past doesn’t show us what people looked like. 

Hans Holbein the Younger (German) was hired in the 16th C. to document the court of Henry VIII. He was the perfect choice to fulfill the task and we have a superb resource in his work, which is close to photographic, and in fact psychologically superior to most photography.

Previously I posted the “funny noses” of Mycenaean soldiers depicted on vase paintings. Here, what I notice at the English court are very generous noses – on both male and female subjects. And low foreheads, not infantile dome heads.

Hans_Holbein_the_Younger_lady_Alice_More hans%20holbein%20lady%20with%20a%20squirrel%20and%20a%20starling_2 img-thinghoward

A few of these women, if wearing male costume, would have easily passed as young males.


Above: Male or female? My initial observation is that these faces are less neotenic than our contemporary range of adult faces. Some of these women were quite young at the time the portraits were painted. The extravagant male / female costumes may have been designed to increase gender distinction in a population in which there was less sexual dimorphism in facial features.

13939134559_b0a6849665_b 10477175535_176cf46537_bjane seymour

Fragile X, ASD and No Common Sense

13119 National Fragile x Foundation

I’ve decided to become familiar with the Autism Spectrum Disorder junk drawer of  “behavioral symptoms” knowing that several genetic disorders have been “tossed in” with non medical ASD symptoms / diagnosis. I should have known it would be irrational…

Aye, yai, yai!



Autism Spectrum Disorder and Fragile X Syndrome

Fragile X syndrome is the most common known single gene cause of ASD

What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a behavioral diagnosis. (True: it is not a medical condition.) The range of ASD ymptoms vary and are generally characterized by an impaired ability to communicate and interact socially with other people. Sometimes children will not meet the diagnostic criteria for ASD but will have autistic-like features. (Demonstrates that it is not a specific, but rather, subjective condition; those who are diagnosed may have little in common except “social problems” of unknown and unspecified characteristics and causes.)

The diagnosis of ASD is usually made by a developmental or general pediatrician, neurologist, psychologist, psychiatrist, or other specialist. A clinician may make a diagnosis of ASD after observing the behavior and language of a child and using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) criteria for their evaluation. In addition, the diagnosis may be made after evaluating the child using a number of testing instruments, such as the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule – 2nd edition (ADOS-2) or the Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised (ADI-R). These instruments are considered the gold standard – the most accurate instruments available – for a diagnosis and are often used in research.There is no blood test for ASD, and imaging studies such as MRIs don’t diagnose the condition – it is purely a behavioral diagnosis similar to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

What Causes ASD?

Much remains unknown about the condition—including what causes it in many individual cases. However, when a child is diagnosed with ASD, blood tests are often ordered to rule out the known genetic causes. Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the most common known single gene cause of ASD. Other genetic causes of ASD include deletions of chromosome 15q, tuberous sclerosis and other rare genetic conditions. (Common sense: If a child tests positive for a specific genetic condition, why is that then not their diagnosis? Why would individuals with genetic disorders be “lumped together” with individuals whose symptoms have a different or unknown source? Or only exist in someone’s imagination.)  

It’s as if a child who has a persistence cough, and is diagnosed with tuberculosis, retains the diagnosis “has a cough behavior” and shares that diagnosis with children whose coughs have unrelated causes. The positive result of a diagnosis is to narrow down and identify the cause of symptoms, in order to establish treatment. Why is ASD backwards?

Many times a child with ASD will be tested or evaluated for all the known genetic causes of autism but no cause will be found. However, family studies have shown that in families with one child with ASD there is an increased risk for another child to have the condition. (Or are they at higher risk of being diagnosed, whether or not they are ASD, due to bias?) This risk is not as high as in those families with an identified single gene cause, such as FXS. It is more in line with multifactorial risks, similar to heart defects or cleft lip. This leads experts to believe there is a genetic component even in those without a single gene identified cause. (Could we have a little more science and less belief?)

Relationship Between ASD and FXS

This is bizarre: Overlapping DIAGNOSIS with genetic disorders make ASD  (a purely behavioral mess of subjectively interpreted “symptoms” to begin with) into a bizarre product of human invention; a bureaucratic nightmare for parents and children, schools and insurance providers.

Whereas ASD is a behavioral diagnosis, FXS is a medical, or more accurately, a genetic diagnosis. When associated with FXS, ASD is caused by the genetic change or mutation in the Fragile X gene. If a child is diagnosed with ASD and then diagnosed with FXS, he or she still has ASD, it is just that the cause of their ASD is known. It is no different than someone with FXS also having ADHD or any other behavioral symptom of FXS.

The article FXS and ASD: Similar But Different highlights a well-attended panel discussion at the 13th International Fragile X Conference that addresses the topic: FXS and ASD: Clinical Insights into the Similarities and Differences for Diagnosis and Treatment.


How Many Children With FXS Have ASD?

Many studies have evaluated the FXS-ASD link over the past decade. Since many children with FXS are interested in social interactions, they may not meet the diagnostic criteria for ASD, even though they exhibit some features of ASD such as poor eye contact, shyness, social anxiety, hand-flapping and sensory issues. Autism is much more common in boys with FXS than in girls with FXS. According to the CDC, a national parent survey found that 46 percent of males and 16 percent of females with FXS have been diagnosed or treated for ASD. The FORWARD Registry and Database tells us that 40 percent of individuals with FXS are diagnosed with ASD by their doctor in the clinics of the Fragile X Clinical and Research Consortium (FXCRC).

How Many Children With ASD Have FXS?

About 10 percent of children with ASD are identified as having another genetic and chromosomal disorder such as fragile X syndrome. Given the possibility of a link, it is recommended that all children with ASD, both male and female, be referred for genetic evaluation and testing for FXS and any other genetic cause of ASD.

ASD’s Effect on Children With FXS

Studies show that individuals with FXS who have autism can have a more significant intellectual disability (lower IQ) than those with FXS who do not have autism. (Isn’t this backwards? “Autism” is not a “thing” – it’s a collection of variable behaviors. If a child has low IQ, there are behaviors that follow from that, which contribute to a diagnosis of autism or not.) 

For further reading on the relationship between autism and fragile X syndrome, see: