Wife Demonstrates How to Leave Husband in 2018 Watchtower of Jehovah's Witnesses Worldwide Summer Convention video
Psychology, Religion

The Mental Health of Jehovah’s Witnesses

Spencer, John. “The Mental Health of Jehovah’s Witnesses.” British Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 126, no. 6, 1975, pp. 556–559., doi:10.1192/bjp.126.6.556.

The function of religion in human society is complex. The part played by religion in psychiatric disorders is even more obscure. Previous literature and theories are divided into two groups: one school believes that intense religiosity is a symptom-complex indicative of psychiatric disorder, while the opposing view is that religious belief in some way acts as a defence mechanism protecting the individual and his psyche.

The present study of 50 Jehovah’s Witnesses admitted to the Mental Health Service facilities of Western Australia suggests that members of this section of the community are more likely to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital than the general population. Furthermore, followers of the sect are three times more likely to be diagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia and nearly four times more likely from paranoid schizophrenia than the rest of the population at risk.

#braindamage

These findings suggest that being a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses faith may be a risk factor predisposing to a schizophrenic illness. Further studies would be interesting in investigating whether pre-psychotic people are more likely to join the sect than normal people and what part (if any) membership has in bringing about such a breakdown.

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Psychology, Religion

Wifely Subjection—Mental Health Issues in Jehovah’s Witnesses Watchtower Women

Wifely Subjection: Mental Health Issues in Jehovah’s Witness Women

Kaynor J. Weishaupt, M.S., M.F.C.C.
San Rafael, California
Michael D. Stensland
Athens, Ohio

Abstract

The Watchtower Society, commonly referred to as Jehovah’s Witnesses, exerts a great deal of control over the everyday life of its members. Women, in particular, suffer from psychological stresses in this high-control environment, as it is also a culture where patriarchal attitudes limit women’s personal power and predominate in their relationships with men. A group of women responded to a questionnaire about their experiences during membership in the Watchtower Society and after leaving. The results indicate that while in the Watchtower Society, women experience a higher degree of mental health problems than they do after they leave the group. They also report experiencing more egalitarian attitudes in their relationships with men after exiting the group.

Little research has been done focusing on the experience of women in “high-control” or cultic groups, despite the fact that women make up a large proportion of the membership of such groups. The type of group referred to here as high-control is defined by the degree of control and restriction the group exercises over the everyday life of its membership. Such a group can be focused on religion, politics, militarism, psychotherapy, meditation, commercialism, or simply a “special” leader (Tobias & Lalich, 1994). A high-control group differs from other groups in that individual behavior is excessively limited by rules and regulations, access to information is restricted or managed (especially information critical of the group), pressure is high to conform in thought and behavior to group norms, and members must put the group’s interests before their own. The leadership in this type of group is absolute and considered infallible; outsiders are generally viewed as dangerous or evil; and members leaving the group are generally punished or shunned. While all members of such groups pay a psychological price (as well as reap certain psychological dividends, such as a sense of belonging and purpose), women often face particular difficulties in groups that are patriarchally based.

This article explores the relationship between women and the high-control social climate of the Watchtower Society (WTS), commonly referred to as Jehovah’s Witnesses. The article reviews literature bearing on the Watchtower Society’s control practices and patriarchal organizational structure, analyzes psychological implications of WTS’s social climate, and reports on the results of a survey of 20 female former members of the Watchtower Society. The survey explored three areas: (1) the degree of patriarchal versus egalitarian attitudes subjects felt existed while they were members of WTS compared to what they experienced after having left the group, (2) subjects’ perceived psychological distress while in the group and after exiting, and (3) subjects’ perceptions of the degree to which the group controlled everyday life and isolated members from outsiders. The latter area included a comparison group of women from other religious backgrounds.

The Watchtower Society as a High-Control Group
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Angela Glass SxSW 2009 (Photo Credit @JayZombie)
Are You There God? It's Me, Gidget, Neuroscience

Hyperthymia != Bipolar

It was the use and consequential paradoxical effects of Clonazepam—suffering from drug induced episodes of hypomania—which lead to the discovery that I am what they call “a hyperthymic temperament”.

While it is true that patients who experience hypomania as a side effect of Clonazepam may prove to have a form of bipolar disorder that has previously gone unrecognized, drug-induced hypomania is not invariably indicative of bipolar affective disorders.

It’s frustrating because suddenly I’m facing the woes I wrote about in college regarding labeling mental illness, and the impact of the use of labels, such as “creative” or “over-achiever”.

Label it or Leave it?

Happy Hyperthymia and Hyper Hypomania

Hyper Hypomania vs. Happy Hyperthymia

Some people would include in the Bipolar Disorder category a consistently elevated mood called hyperthymia. Being constantly upbeat and always enthusiastic is not unheard of, but it is not the norm in the general population. It is more common to experience a fairly steady, neither-too-high-nor-too-low mood characterized by some contentment, some discontentment, some happiness, and some sadness — usually associated with external events such as receiving good news, problems with personal relationships, etc.

Does a long-lasting, exuberant mood that causes no problem need to be placed on the spectrum of mood disorders? In a clinical sense, no. If it poses no threat to anyone’s health, it is not a concern for psychiatrists. Cataloging and understanding a mental state like this, however, may help us better understand the full spectrum of emotional states related to mood disorders and provide clues about what can go wrong when moods become extreme.

Happy Hyperthymia

Some people always seem to be upbeat and energetic, trying new things and initiating new projects. This trait, which is sometimes called hyperthymia, is not unlike being on a “permanent high.” Some people argue that hyperthymia is a type of mood disorder that results in high activity and inflated sense of self-esteem — something like living with constant hypomania but with the crucial difference that it is not as clearly episodic. Instead, it seems to last and is without any associated depression.

While observations of many people indicate some of them have this mood trait, hyperthymic disorder is not recognized as a mood disorder by either of the two mainstream authorities, the American Psychiatric Association and the World Health Organization. It appears in neither of their diagnostic manuals, the DSM IV and the ICD-10.

On the surface, people with hyperthymia seem optimistic and full of energy. They radiate self-confidence and self-reliance; they seem to believe they can do whatever needs to be done. They thrive on new experiences that promise variety, intrigue, and novelty. Usually, they have a great many personal interests, as well as plans for the future. They also can be articulate and witty.

It might be most accurate to think of hyperthymia as a temperament or personality trait rather than as a marker of a mental disorder. Of course, if this trait causes problems, then it becomes a legitimate subject for psychological or psychiatric care.

In fact, criticism of mainstream psychiatry is often directed at its alleged predisposition to label people with problems that don’t exist. The inclusion of homosexuality in earlier editions of the DSM IV — an error since corrected — is a frequently cited example. The reality is if someone is not unhappy, suffering, or a threat to themselves or others, psychiatrists have no reason to intervene. They are busy enough treating people with serious mental problems. It is only when complaints or serious problems appear that the labels of the DSM IV are applied as part of the process for providing effective treatment. A hyperthymic personality can be satisfying, productive, and creative. But if for some individuals it is a manifestation of a part of a spectrum of mood disorders, it could be problematic. For example, some people later diagnosed with bipolar disorder first seek help with depression after they have experienced a set-back in their lives. A close look back over their lives may reveal that they have been hyperthymic. Rather than having easily recognizable mood swings, these people may have been experiencing years of constant emotional elevation and enthusiasm along with a long history of uncompleted endeavors.

Also, the lack of a healthy response to the full range of life experience might cause problems for some people who always seem to have elevated spirits. A full, healthy life for most people includes periods of elation and introspection, action and reflection. If only one pole of our emotional lives is present, we may miss the benefits of the counterbalancing half of our responses to events. Consequently, we may lack understanding and empathy in the way we interact with people and respond to events in our lives.

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Neuroscience

My Momma: Arlene Jean Schaadt Baxley

I was talking with my momma this morning about orthomolecular medicine, and all the work she’s done to help people achieve better health over the years. Most often when I’m thinking about my momma in this regard, I think of how it is that she’s responsible for bringing life to families struggling to have children. What more beautiful work can there be as a humanitarian than to care for the quality of human life, and it’s propagation through it’s generations of families? Continue reading

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Psychology, Technology

Studying Science

Sea Kelp at Windansea

Sea Kelp at Windansea

I am interested in a few things that are in my local micro-environment:

  1. uses for sea kelp washed ashore, and scientific research on enviro benefits for manipulation or recycling
  2. ditto for the brown stuff that is sort of like sea mulch (can I use it as mulch in my garden?)
  3. what to do with the sandbox sand on my patio, illegal to put on beach? affect? effect?
  4. the benefits of THC slow extraction from fat cells
  5. psychoactive/metaphysical space, disassociation, symbolic modeling and therapy
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Culture, Religion

Feminism: Accessible and Actionable

“Feminism is anti-sexism.” — bell hooks

Feminism is a dirty word, or at least that’s what you’d believe from the reactions you get from people if you mention it. It conjures up images of radical women or lesbians with unshaved legs and armpits rallying outside abortion clinics, fighting domestic violence and rape, or gender equality. It is an image of a woman who you can’t relate to, she is one that you don’t know what to do with, and she is one whom you shy away from. Continue reading

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Culture

Seductive Habits: Building Reality

“White privilege is best understood as a constellation of psychical and somatic habits formed through transaction with a racist world. As such, it often functions as unconscious: seemingly invisible, even nonexistent, and actively resisting conscious efforts to know this.” In Revealing Whiteness: The Unconscious Habits of Racial Privilege, Sullivan is trying to get us to think about and understand how white privilege can be unconscious when it is transactional because of the means by which that unconsciousness is formed through seduction by transference of enigmatic (meaning unknown to or hidden from both sender and receiver) messages from parent to child. Continue reading

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Culture

Sociology of Family: Toys R Us—Engendering Children Are Us.

When you walk into a Toys R Us store you can quickly see how toy stores teach gender through messages sent as an agent of socialization for children. The boy’s section of toys is separate and distinctive from that of the girl’s toys. Model cars, trucks, trains, building blocks, sporting goods and action figures stock the rows of boy’s toys and are brilliant and bold in their highly saturated colors of blue, red, and green. Meanwhile, Barbie’s, dress up dolls, house play sets, hair salon setups, stuffed animals and art & crafts supplies are flirty in pink, purple and passive pastel hues that cleanly segregate out the girl’s section. Continue reading

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Culture

ENFJ: a.k.a an Idealist Intuitive Feeler

Go to www.keirsey.com and take the Keirsey Temperament II Sorter.  You will be asked to identify yourself with a name and an email account.  For those worried about being spammed, you may choose any name and any email. Please be sure to take the Keirsey Temperament II Sorter assessment—there are several offered at this website. Continue reading

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Health

The DSMIV: Labeling Mental Illness

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSMIV) is not used to categorize or label people, but rather conditions or disorders that people have. If I said my friend Barbara is breast cancer, you would laugh at me, right? No, silly, you would say, Barbara has breast cancer. Well the same is for another friend. She isn’t a manic-depressive, she has manic depression. While it maybe true that labels may burden a patient with the stigma surrounding it, finally having something concrete to learn about, to understand, to fight against and to conquer can be such a relief. Labels provide patients with a means of communicating about what is going on with their body or psyche with others. It helps them identify and to find support. Continue reading

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Culture

Spanking Children

I believe spanking should be a last resort in disciplining a child, but not out of the question. I agree with Dr. John Rosemond, To Spank or Not to Spank: A Parents’ Handbook, that are more effective means of disciplining a child, but that when done properly spanking is a viable option that can benefit an errant child. Dr. Larzelere (Combining Love and Limits in Authoritative Parenting: A Conditional Sequence Model of Disciplinary Responses; 1998) contended that “optimal disciplinary responses begin with less severe tactics, such as reasoning, but proceed to firmer disciplinary tactics when the initial tactic achieves neither compliance nor an acceptable compromise.” Continue reading

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Psychology

A Beginners Cheat Sheet to Psychology

Psychology

  • The scientific study of mind and behavior
  • Social/Behavioral sciences
  • Principles are based on research
  • Psychology has its foundations in philosophy and biology
  • For tips on how to study and other information about the field of psychology, visit http://www.psychwww.com
  • Psychology is a behavioral science
  • Because it is a science, all of the principles of psychology are supported by someone’s (or several people’s) research. Continue reading
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Things to do in an elevator when you’re bored

  1. When there’s only one other person in the elevator, tap them on the shoulder and then pretend it wasn’t you.
  2. Push the buttons and pretend they give you a shock. Smile, and go back for more.
  3. Ask if you can push the button for other people, but push the wrong ones.
  4. Call the Psychic Hotline from your cell phone and ask if they know what floor you’re on.
  5. Hold the doors open and say you’re waiting for your friend. After awhile, let the doors close and say, "Hi Greg. How’s your day been?"
  6. Drop a pen and wait until someone reaches to help pick it up, then scream, "That’s mine!"
  7. Bring a camera and take pictures of everyone in the elevator.
  8. Move your desk in to the elevator and whenever someone gets on, ask if they have an appointment.
  9. Lay down a Twister mat and ask people if they’d like to play.
  10. Leave a box in the corner, and when someone gets on ask them if they hear something ticking.
  11. Pretend you are a flight attendant and revue emergency procedures and exits with the passengers.
  12. Ask, "Did you feel that?"
  13. Stand really close to someone, sniffing them occasionally.
  14. When the doors close, announce to the others, "It’s okay. Don’t panic, they open up again."
  15. Swat at flies that don’t exist.
  16. Tell people that you can see their aura.
  17. Call out, "group hug!", then enforce it.
  18. Grimace painfully while smacking your forehead and muttering "Shut up, all of you, just shut up!"
  19. Crack open your briefcase or purse, and while peering inside, ask,"Got enough air in there?"
  20. Stand silently and motionless in the corner facing the wall, without getting off.
  21. Holler "Chutes away!" whenever the elevator descends.
  22. Wear a puppet on your hand and use it to talk to the other passengers.
  23. Listen to the elevator walls with your stethoscope.
  24. Make explosion noises when anyone presses a button.
  25. Stare, grinning at another passenger for a while, and then announce,"I have new socks on."
  26. Draw a little square on the floor with chalk and announce to the other passengers, "This is my personal space!"
  27. As you are walking out, push as many buttons as you can.
  28. Tell a stupid OJ knock, knock joke & laugh at it.
  29. Stare at your thumb and say "I think it’s getting larger."
  30. Pull your gum out of your mouth in long strings.
  31. Announce in a horror-movie voice: "I must find a more suitable host body."
  32. Carry a blanket and clutch it protectively.
  33. Wear "X-Ray Specs" and leer suggestively at other passengers.
  34. Say "I wonder what all these do" and push the red buttons.
  35. Bring a chair along.
  36. Take a bite of a sandwich and ask another passenger: "Wanna see wha in muh mouf?"
  37. Blow spit bubbles.
  38. Walk on with a cooler that says "human head" on the side.
  39. Stare at another passenger for a while, then announce "You’re one of THEM!" and move to the far corner of the elevator.
  40. Burp, and then say "Mmmm…tasty!"
  41. Leave a box between the doors.
  42. Ask each passenger getting on if you can push the button for them.
  43. Wear a puppet on your hand and talk to other passengers "through" it.
  44. Start a sing-along.
  45. When the elevator is silent, look around and ask "is that your beeper?"
  46. Play the harmonica.
  47. Shadow box.
  48. Say "Ding!" at each floor.
  49. Lean against the button panel.
  50. Whistle the first seven notes of "It’s a Small World" incessantly.
  51. Sell Girl Scout cookies.
  52. On a long ride, sway side to side at the natural frequency of the elevator.
  53. Offer name tags to everyone getting on the elevator. Wear yours upside-down.
  54. When arriving at your floor, grunt and strain to yank the doors open, then act embarrassed when they open by themselves.
  55. Lean over to another passenger and whisper: "Noogie patrol coming!"
  56. Greet everyone getting on the elevator with a warm handshake and ask them to call you Admiral.
  57. On the highest floor, hold the door open and demand that it stay open until you hear the penny you dropped down the shaft go "plink" at the bottom.
  58. Do Tai Chi exercises.
  59. When at least 8 people have boarded, moan from the back: "Oh, not now, darn motion sickness!"
  60. Sing "Mary had a little lamb" while continually pushing buttons.
  61. Meow occasionally.
  62. Frown and mutter "gotta go, gotta go" then sigh and say "oops!"
  63. Give religious tracts to each passenger.
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Psychology

Laws of Lasting Love: Written by Paul Pearsall, Ph.D.*

During my 25 years as a therapist, I have seen hundreds of people disappointed
over unfulfilling relationships. I have seen passion turn to poison. I
have grieved with patients for the love they lost or never found.
"We seemed to love so much, but now it’s gone," one woman lamented
to me. "Why do I feel so lonely every night even when he is right there
beside me? Why can’t a relationship be more than this?"
It can. I was once invited to the 60th anniversary celebration of a remarkable
couple. I asked the husband, Peter, if he ever felt lonely and wondered where
the love between him and Lita had gone. Peter laughed and said, "If you
wonder where your love went, you forgot that you are the one who makes it.
Love is not out there; it’s in there between Lita and me."
I know we can love deeply, tenderly and lastingly. I have seen such love,
and I have felt such love myself. Here are the laws I have discovered for such
lasting and loving relationships:

Put time where love is. A fulfilling relationship begins when two people make
time together their No. 1 priority. If we hope to find love, we must first
find time for loving.
Unfortunately, current psychology rests on the model of the independent
ego. To make a lasting relationship we have to overcome self-centeredness.
We must
go beyond what psychologist Abraham Maslow called "self-actualization" to "us-actualization." We
have to learn to put time where love is. Many couples have experienced
a tragic moment that taught them to value their time together.
In crisis, become as one. Just after a couple left my office
one evening, I heard what sounded like a gun-shot. I looked out the window
and saw the couple
backing toward their car, and the shadow of a large figure near a street
light. Clinging together, they couple kept backing away. The figure quickened
his
pace toward them. The couple joined hands and ran to their car. As I dialed
security, the figure came closer, and I saw it was one of our guards. I later
discovered that the "shot" was a noise that had nothing
to do with my couple, but they didn’t know that. Like herd animals, they had
reacted to danger by coming together, in a "couple caution circle." Threatened,
they had become one.
Take a loving look. How we see our partners often depends more on how we
are than how they are. The loved-ones in a relationship are not audience,
but participant
observers in each other’s lives. Author Judith Viorat once wrote, "Infatuation
is when you think he’s as gorgeous as Robert Redford, as pure as Solzhenitsyn,
as funny as Woody Allen, as athletic as Jimmy Connors, and as smart as Albert
Einstein. Love is when you realize he’s as gorgeous as Woody Allen, as smart
as Jimmy Connors, as funny as Solzhenitsyn, as athletic as Albert Einstein,
and nothing like Robert Redford in any category–but you’ll take him
anyway." This law of lasting love instructs us to look with instead
of for love.
Try another perspective. This law illustrates how some people spend their
relationships struggling to change a partner’s mind. People in lasting-love
relationships begin with the premise that there are many realities. They
learn to accept different points of view. When a couple breaks free of
their one-reality
trap, their problems are solved. The lasting relationship is never sure
of the seperate "selves" that
make it up. But it has complete confidence that the relationship will grow
in a never-ending process of learning.
Look out for No. 2. There is a power healing energy that emanates from loving.
Lasting love can learn to sense it, send it and make it grow. We are energized
by love if we put our energy into loving. Bad energy springs from conflicts
that arise when two egos collide. When I watch couples argue with each other,
I want to shout: "Grow up, stop fighting, start loving!" It is better
to learn how to love than how to fight. Don’t try to win in your relationship,
win for your relationship.

Relationship is designed primarily for giving rather than taking. It is meant
to be a permanent union of two unselfish people. As one person told me, "The
old saying was look out for No. 1. But we’ve learned to look out for No. 2.
If you fight for yourself, only you can win. When you fight for your relationship,
you both win."
* Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at Wayne State University School of Medicine
and former Director of Professional Education at The Kinsey Institute for Research
in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction.

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