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When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Do you see yourself close to how others see you, do you devalue yourself, or do you inflate your attributes more than is healthy?

Mirror mirror on the wall, am I the fairest one of all?

Authors of the study described below in the journal Personality and Individual Differences (2021) review the literature on narcissism and self-image. Narcissistic people rate themselves as more attractive than others. Not only that, but narcissistic people enjoy looking at themselves, experiencing self-confidence and self-admiration.

In spite of this pleasure in self-gaze, there is trouble below the surface. Brain scans of narcissistic people looking at their own images show increased blood flow consistent with inner conflict and negative feelings, betraying insecurity beneath a mask of self-regard. …


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According to a 2018 Gallup poll, pornography use is seen as morally acceptable among a rising percentage of Americans, moving from 30 percent approval in 2011 to 43 percent by 2018. This trend follows overall movement toward more liberal beliefs across the boards. When it comes to pornography, the biggest changes were seen among unmarried people and adult males under age 49. Factors such as religion and political orientation affect porn acceptance, with a far smaller percentage of conservative and religious people finding porn morally OK.

Despite growing acceptance, there is serious concern that pornography causes real harm: exploitation and risk to performers, damage to the capacity for healthy relationship and interfering with relationship and sexual satisfaction, addictive potential, illegal activity supporting human trafficking and child abuse, and contribution to the general societal trend to objectify and present unrealistic expectations for physical attributes as well as what healthy sexual behavior is. These are public health and human rights concerns, overlapping with moral concerns and calls for ethical porn, just as trauma and moral injury overlap, requiring greater attention and…


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How Inhibition May Be The Paradoxical Key to CreativityHow Inhibition May Be The Paradoxical Key to CreativityPhoto by Thomas Bjornstad on Unsplash

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” — Scott Adams

Grant H. Brenner

Creativity is a mysterious and coveted trait, the subject of much research and ongoing unclarity. When we talk about creativity, most often people are thinking about divergent thinking, the ability to generate many higher-quality ideas. Creativity is about quantity and quality, defined in relation to the task at hand. Sometimes the task is more open-ended, as it might be for an artist finding their own idiom.

When you collect shells and pebbles at the beach, how do you decide which ones to keep? The implication is that, all other factors being equal, there is a trade off between quantity and quality, but that optimizing both is ideal to come up with the maximum number of viable solutions. …


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According to data reviewed by C.J.J. van Zyl, author of a study in the journal Personality and Individual Differences (2021), the most common reason for breakups and divorce is infidelity. Betrayal wreaks the greatest damage on trust, striking love at its roots, undoing years of time spent building relationship, and casting a shadow on the future of shared satisfaction. While many couples weather the injury, many succumb.

Prior research shows that some factors protect against infidelity[1], while others make it more likely[2]. …


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According to the American Psychiatric Association:

“Personality is the way of thinking, feeling and behaving that makes a person different from other people. An individual’s personality is influenced by experiences, environment (surroundings, life situations) and inherited characteristics. A person’s personality typically stays the same over time. A personality disorder is a way of thinking, feeling and behaving that deviates from the expectations of the culture, causes distress or problems functioning, and lasts over time.”

How common are personality disorders? An estimated 9 percent of the general population has one or more personality disorders, a number approaching one-third (33 percent) in outpatient psychiatric clinical settings. …


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Trauma is all too common, and in spite of growing recognition, receives far less attention than deserved. Trauma affects not just individuals and families, but communities and society, defining the human experience over centuries.

While adaptive responses to trauma leave us with greater self-compassion, driving development to higher levels and creating wisdom and judiciousness, ultimately elevating ethics and morality, the path along the way can be fraught with moral hazards. Here is a partial accounting of some of the familiar ways in which unresolved trauma, with accompanying moral injury, may play out along the way to recovery.

1. Injustice Salience: People who have experienced maltreatment, abuse or neglect — and especially betrayal trauma — are prone to be acutely attuned to injustice. Actual injustices are often amplified by reactivated unprocessed trauma. In some cases, people may perceive unfairness or malfeasance where there is none. Betrayal trauma worsens sensitivity to victimization deepening mistrust, the consequence of perpetration by close others, typically family members or friends of the family, adding the violation of trust on top of the trauma itself. …


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As reported by the CDC (2017), research finds that black Americans are at risk for accelerated aging, higher disease burden, and increased death rates compared to matched white groups. The study authors note that blacks also have lower educational achievement, and nearly half of black households are below the poverty level.

Blacks and other affected groups are less likely to have good insurance coverage and receive substandard care. For example, “black Medicare beneficiaries were less likely than their white counterparts to receive any of the 16 most commonly performed hospital procedures” (2004). …


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by guest authors Joshua Stieber, Ph.D., Karen Estefane, Ph.D., Aleksandra Rayska, Ph.D., Jaleh Hamadani, Ph.D., and Jonathan DePierro, Ph.D.

Petition: Support Advocacy to Increase Disaster Mental Health Expertise to Biden Administration Covid-19 Advisory Board

Click Here to Read and Sign, and Please Share

What 9/11 Recovery Workers Teach Us About COVID-19 Coping

With barren city streets, cheers for frontline workers, wailing sirens, protective gear, and makeshift morgues, the images of the COVID-19 pandemic conjure up those of another New York catastrophe: September 11th. As psychologists who work in a clinic dedicated to the first responders of 9/11, we have developed an intimate view of how a disaster can reverberate through the lives of individuals from different walks of life. …


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Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease causing body-wide inflammation. The most familiar and visible symptoms of psoriasis affect the skin due to accelerated growth of skin cells, leading to red plaques, scaly, flaky skin, pitting of fingernails, and related changes. Psoriasis also affects joints, causing a potentially severe form of arthritis in 10 to 20 percent of affected people and leading to significant pain and infirmity.

Over 3 percent of people in the US (2014) have psoriasis, and an estimated 125 million are affected world-wide. Psoriasis is not just a skin and joint disease, however. …


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Dear President-Elect Biden,

Congratulations on your election victory. Your administration assumes authority in the United States at an unprecedented time in history, facing great challenges in reducing polarization in the context of a pandemic, accelerated by the as-yet poorly understood influence of social media and information technology.

Recent research in the journal Lancet Psychiatry (2020) looking at data from over 62,000 Covid-19 survivors within 3 months of infection find that rates of new psychiatric illness, predominantly anxiety disorders, insomnia, and dementia (in older patients) are double that found in survivors of a comparison set of other diseases, with nearly 6 percent reporting new-onset illness. …

About

Grant H Brenner

Psychiatrist, Psychoanalyst, Entrepreneur, Writer, Speaker, Advocate

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