Mar 05

Not the Oscars: Most-Searched MT Movies of 2017

The following movies of 2017 were the most searched on “Minding Therapy.” Post excerpts reveal key elements of interest to my readers. Click on the links for further details.

I. “The Last Word”: A Shallow View of OCPD

…OCPD is different, by the way, from OCD, obsessive-compulsive disorder. As Jenny TurnerThe Guardian, stated as “the single most useful fact” she gleaned from David Adam‘s book about OCD, The Man Who Couldn’t Stop (2014):

OCD is completely different from OCPD, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, which is simply to be a person with an unusually low tolerance for mess and imperfection – joke-anal people, like Monica from Friends. The need for order and ritual in the lives of OCPD people is ‘ego-syntonic’, odd and possibly anti-social, but simply part of who they are. In OCD people, on the other hand, the thoughts are ‘harrowing, ego-dystonic’, in endless, exhausting conflict with the person’s other drives and hopes. It’s like having a phobia, but worse, in that you can’t avoid it just by avoiding planes or spiders. The stimulus is internal. You generate it yourself.

II. “Gifted” Child: What Happens When She Grows Up?

…As JR Thorpe recently outlined in Bustle, there are several ways giftedness does “change the game a bit.” Click on the link for details.

  • You May Be More Likely To Have Specific Emotional Problems…
  • You May Be More Likely To Choose Your Path According To Social Pressures…
  • You May Have More Difficulty Picking Between Passions…
  • You May Have A Hard Time Turning Giftedness Into Adult Achievement…

Gail Post, PhD (Gifted Challenges blog), on what’s often seen, particularly with females: “Gifted girls…may hide their abilities, ‘dumb themselves down’ and avoid traditionally masculine fields of study to remain popular.”

III. “To the Bone”: Intensive Treatment of Anorexia

Hadley FreemanThe Guardian…:

…[Dr. Beckham] proves his unconventionality by swearing occasionally and insisting his methods are totally different from anyone else’s (they’re not: they rely on therapy and healthy eating, as almost all eating-disorder treatments do). He also clearly enjoys his power over his mainly female patients and a braver, less conventional film would have explored this more. Instead, To the Bone merely accepts the doctor’s version of himself as the brilliant, patriarchal medical professional who can fix women.

IV. “Phantom Thread”: Some Psychology

…(P)sychiatrist Marc Feldman…the author of an upcoming book on various types of medical deception, told [Anna] Silman (The Cut) he sees in Alma “’Munchausen syndrome by adult proxy,’ a form of abuse in which a caregiver artificially induces illness in someone he/she is caring for.”

On the other hand, adult-to-adult cases are apparently very rare, and “Feldman says he has never seen a case where (à la Phantom Thread) the victim colludes with the perpetrator to achieve some sort of gratification. That’s because in most cases the victims tend to be unable to comprehend the abuse they are undergoing or unable to resist, often because they are physically or intellectually disabled.”

Well, it turns out that director Paul Thomas Anderson had Munchausen on his mind too in preparing to make Phantom Thread

V. “Ingrid Goes West”: Social Media Obsession to Extreme

Sheila O’

‘Ingrid Goes West’ is a biting expose on How We Live Now: sitting on our phones, rote scrolling through someone else’s online life, clicking ‘Hearts’ without even taking a moment to absorb the image. The film lampoons stuff that didn’t even exist 10 years ago but has now become such a part of our everyday lives that no one takes a second to consider the potential negative effects. If everything is public, then where is the Self? Is turning yourself into a ‘brand’ really a good idea? If you don’t take a picture of it and – crucially – share it with the world, did it really happen?

Sep 18

“Almost Anorexic”: Just Short of Standard Diagnostic Criteria

Psychologist/professor Jennifer J. Thomas, PhD, and author/public speaker Jenni Schaefer have co-authored the new Almost Anorexic: Is My (Or Loved One’s) Relationship with Food a Problem? This book belongs to a series from Harvard Medical School’s The Almost Effect (“ALMOST is too close to ALWAYS”), which recognizes that many people could benefit from care before certain conditions become full-blown. From the book’s excerpt posted on the Today Show website:

The truth is that the majority of people with eating disorders do not fulfill anorexia nervosa’s diagnostic requirements, nor do the countless others who loathe their bodies and struggle to eat normally. We know from clinical and personal experience that the gray area between normal eating and anorexia nervosa is home to a great deal of pain and suffering for many people. Their lives can be just as out of control, unmanageable,and miserable—if not more so—than those with anorexia. That’s why we wrote this book: to identify and provide guidance for people who struggle with forms of disordered eating that are not officially recognized and often go untreated—what some clinicians have termed ‘diagnostic orphans.’ We call this once-overlooked category almost anorexic.

Recovered sufferer (and co-author) Schaefer states in The Huffington Post: “When I was lost in my eating disorder, I waited many years in the purgatory of almost anorexia before finally getting help, which I did only when my symptoms finally met obvious diagnostic criteria.”

The “almost anorexics” are usually assigned EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified) per DSM-IV or OSFED (Other Specific Feeding or Eating Disorder) per the new DSM-5. These “other”-type categories often serve as barriers to getting the treatment individuals need in order to normalize their relationship with food.

The video below introduces the book:

Selected Reviews
Kitty Westin, advocacy director, The Emily Program Foundation (for eating disorder-related support): “I wish Almost Anorexic had been written when my daughter was ‘almost anorexic.’ This book might have given us the information we needed to intervene before our daughter moved into full-blown anorexia, and it might have helped us save her life.”

Leigh Cohn, coauthor of Current Findings on Males with Eating Disorders: “Eating problems are often ignored by assessment tests, health care professionals, media coverage, insurance companies, and even the person who is suffering. This book will help millions—including men!”

Evelyn Tribole, coauthor of Intuitive Eating: “Health practitioners and clients alike will appreciate the useful tools, charts, and case studies…Ultimately, this is a guide that will help you (or a loved one) get your life back.”

Nov 28

“Sophie” (Dying To Be Like All the Other Girls)

It surely goes without saying that Thanksgiving is frequently associated with overindulging in food and drink. But the holiday is over and what I’d like to focus on today is underindulgence.

For the first time in years, I recently heard the song “Sophie”—released on Eleanor McEvoy’s album Snapshots in 1999—and it really caught my attention. First, it’s so achingly poignant. “A Customer” on Amazon, for instance, called it “… the saddest song I’ve ever heard.”

Second, I wondered if it had ever found an audience among a certain population, namely those with eating disorders. Because this track by McEvoy, a 44-year-old Irish singer/songwriter, is the tale of a young female’s anorexia nervosa and its effects on her family.

What I discovered was quite an awesome revelation. As McEvoy’s Amazon bio states, this song “…has touched the hearts of people around the globe who suffer from eating disorders, thus leading to over one million hits on YouTube.”

Although it had apparently taken a while to catch on, by 2009 an article in the U.K.’s newspaper The Observer was able to report, “…in the era of the internet “Sophie” has been rediscovered and grown into a sleeper hit, an anthem that is touching, inspiring and consoling thousands of anorexic girls around the world.”

Indeed, go to YouTube and you’re faced with choices: many uploads of various little films set to the song’s music and lyrics—by those for whom the meaning of “Sophie” is all too personal. I’ve chosen the one below—one of the most popular—for you to sample:

 And her sister won’t stop cryin’
’cause her father says she’s dyin’
Sophie says she’s really tryin’
Problem is, Sophie’s lying.