Siderea: How to Shop for a Therapist
1) Some patients present with a specific, well-bounded problem that they want addressed. Example: a patient presenting because they have panic attacks when they have to speak in public, and they now need to make a presentation for their job. They are looking for similarly specific, well bounded treatment for that specific well bounded problem; they see therapy as a project with a specific, short-term or medium-term goal.

2) Some patients want someone to talk to, thereby to hash out their inner conflicts and confusions, on an on-going basis. They're looking for emotional support and a space for self-confrontation as a kind of self-care. Example: a patient who presents self-describing as "having a midlife crisis" and "needing some help sorting something out". They see therapy as like going to the gym, only for the emotions: something you do on an ongoing, indefinite basis, to keep oneself fit, enhance wellbeing and functioning, and prevent illness.

3) Some patients present because they are embarking on a very specific psychological challenge, and want support and assistance through it. Example: a patient who is going through a divorce, or a protracted medical treatment. This is similar to #1 in being specifically bounded and well defined, but there is no more specific goal than "support me getting through this".

4) Some patients present because they feel something is wrong with them, something serious. This might be a felt sense of shame or worthlessness, or sense of one self as damaged, tainted, ruined, or broken; it might be a recognition that some sort of behavior of theirs has become uncontrollable, such as an addiction or a compulsion; it might be frightening emotional or sensory experiences; it might be a feeling that they can't keep important relationships; etc. Such patients present with a strong sense of needing help, but often the nature of what they need help with is not particularly bounded at all; they don't know what things about them need fixing and what is okay the way it is. These patients need, first of all, specific help to figure out what their specific problems are. They see therapy as treatment, and the therapist as like a physician, with whom they have an on-going relationship treating an on-going medical condition, which may be quite complicated and mysterious. They want to know that the therapist is going to stick around as long as necessary, which they expect is going to be many years.

5) Some patients present because they are dissatisfied with themselves and their lives in a vague way, and are seeking transformation by means of self-exploration and experiences of insight. They, too, are looking for something specific, but don't know what it is, and rely on the therapist to provide them with that information, or with experiences in which they might find it out. They see therapy as a process that they will go through for however long it takes, which they expect will not be fast.
23 days ago
What does a feminist business look like? Exploring 'abundance consciousness' - Little Red Tarot
So – how do I imbue my work and business with abundance consciousness?

Fair pay (of course). Not looking to the minimum, but to real compensation for the time and energy people put into Little Red Tarot projects. I don’t barter down the artists whose wares I retail so I can pass on cheaper prices to customers – instead, the prices of goods in my store reflect the price of everybody getting paid fairly – including artists, creators, myself and Hele, our shop assistant. Writers need fair pay for the diverse and brilliant articles they share on the blog. Tango must receive a reliable, nourishing wage for the commitment and growing experience she brings to Little Red Tarot, and that we rely on so much. The price of accessing paid-for parts of my business must allow for this nourishment. Capitalism advocates a race to the bottom, the lowest prices, the lowest wages, with a goal of ever-increasing profits for the very few at the top, but there are other ways, and other forms of nourishment.

Spaciousness. Whilst a quick turnaround is helpful for some types of project, I’m learning to allow much more breathing space for the new branches of my work to take shape. A big project I’m currently working on (an online community space) is growing richer and stronger foundations because I recently decided to slow everything right down and launch far later than I originally planned. The decision feels like a deep breath of air. It honours the energy of the project and allows for organic, soulful growth at its own pace. In allowing this space and time I’m able to really explore the nuances of what I’m creating, I’m able to have meaningful and thoughtful conversations with Tango, and we’re both able to bring this foundational work forth with care and ease. Though on paper less is happening, what is happening is richer, and feels more abundant because it has plenty of space.

Compassionate prioritising. I’ve spent years putting work above all the other things I love in my life. For the best part of five years, Little Red Tarot came above time in nature, exercise, cooking good food, seeing friends, even spending quality downtime with my love. I ended up with shoulder pains I’m still working to undo and a coffee habit that needs attention. It’s easy to become subsumed by a new or young business (or a mature business, I’m sure) – but in doing so, I’ve found I lose that sense of enough-ness, of abundance and flow.

Symptoms of abundance consciousness

My experience of abundance consciousness (with or without a matching material reality) is that it produces the following beautiful symptoms: Generosity, Ease, Resourcefulness and Gratitude (…all of which also appear as proposals in Jennifer’s diagram.)

When I feel supported and nourished, when I know in my bones that I have enough, that I am enough, that there is enough time, enough space, enough energy – I’m able to show up more for others, I have a sense of having enough to share. I donate, I sponsor, I volunteer. I take time off to serve friends in need. I care for the plants in my garden. And when our whole communities are nourished, fed, housed, filled with honesty and ease, we can work together, collaborating to transform society. I want my business to be a space where everyone feels they are receiving care and nourishment – readers, customers, students, writers, the team, and I.

Practicing gratitude creates a cycle. When we are consciously grateful for what we have, we feel richer. Cultivating gratitude leads to a greater sense of abundance, which leads to more gratitude. This is a beautiful thing and it works no matter how much or how little we have.

When I know that I am enough, I get creative. I become more aware of the powers I have to shape and change my world. I become more resourceful, I look to what I have available and use these tools to create.

What I’m most excited about is the abundance we create in the margins. I’m specifically excited about a shift of consciousness from lack to abundance when our communities grow stronger, when we give and receive support and care, when we commit to uplifting others alongside ourselves. Queer folks, people of colour, people with disabilities and others who are sidelined in the mainstream, capitalist economy are building new and beautiful spaces where we can be real, where we can expand, where we can give and receive. I want my business and my work to be part of this new economy, this new space of exchange.

I earnestly want to create a space in which the core message is ‘you are enough’. I want the spaces I create to demonstrate abundance through this message, encouraging each visitor or member to experience a sense of abundance, and through this, generosity, resourcefulness, ease and gratitude.

I want wherever possible for Little Red Tarot and the future community to help people feel more abundant. So that each of us will show up more. So that each of us will share more. So that we can keep that joyful economy, that energetic trade flowing.

This, for me, is what abundance looks like – both as a consciousness and as a tangible reality.
witchy  work  psychology  *  personal 
23 days ago
Narrative Devices and the Autism Voice
The distant voice in particular feels like an outside-in approach, and not an inside-out approach: it comes across as though authors focus on the way autistics present externally and extrapolate what they must feel and think like on the inside. Except—whose insides and outsides line up that neatly? Especially for autistic people, given that a common symptom is difficulty expressing emotions in ways that are recognizable (let alone acceptable) to neurotypicals? If an autistic person comes across as stilted, even robotic, it’s often because they’ve had to consciously learn how to express their thoughts and feelings. It doesn’t mean those thoughts and feelings themselves are robotic.
autism  writing  ! 
7 weeks ago
How to read a (good) book in one hour.
To read a book in one hour requires a particular kind of book. It works for most scholarly books, especially in history and social science, the denser the better. It works less well for books in philosophy or for heavily argument driven texts that require the reader to follow along (I would not recommend trying to learn calculus in this manner). More importantly, it requires the apparatus that a scholarly book gets when it is published– i.e. it does not work for dissertations, drafts, self-published works or poorly-published ones. Indeed, a well-crafted scholarly book is fantastic machine, one that can be readily approached, understood, extended and critiqued. In this era of the crisis of scholarly publishing, it seems to me that presses should be doing a lot more to indicate that they can turn an otherwise messy manuscript filled with hard-to-find but good ideas into a scholarly hot rod tricked out with everything necessary to teach generations upon generations, connect up scholarly communities, and parse out complex topics into loadable modules of delicious knowledge. Publishing a scholarly book is not about making it available– it is about making it readable, and this is what you pay for, or should be paying for anyways. If you can follow these steps, especially with a work of history or ethnography, then the book is a well-produced scholarly work.

How to read a book in 1 hour.

Read the whole book at once: Start by flipping through it, read the TOC, the preface and forward. if there are any, look for subheadings and for a general sense of whether the book has internal divisions (parts, chapters, subheadings that do not appear in the TOC), and whether it has a conclusion or other kinds of sections, interludes, or breaks in the text. Browse the notes to see if they contain merely references or extended parts of the argument. If the book does not contain an index, you can stop here: the only thing left to do is sit down and read from cover to cover, as slow or as fast as you permit yourself.
Turn to the index.
You will make two lists. Begin by looking for the largest entries, those indented with sub-headings, and lots of page references. Write them all down: people, places, things, concepts. In a normal academic tome (300ps) there should be anywhere between 10 and 30 pages of index, so this list can range from 5 terms to more like 100. But really, start with the longest and most detailed, which should yield a good list. This is your list of the main subjects and problems of the book.
Now go through the index again, and look for entries that do not have subheadings, but have more than 3-4 page entries. Some authors go crazy with the subheadings, so the first list might be a lot longer than the second, other authors (or index makers) are content to list everything once, with page refs. You have to exercise some judgment here. If your first list is very long, then for your second list pick out those entries which are not people, institutions or events, but analytic or conceptual designators– i.e. look for entries that are analytic sounding: “assemblages” “neo-liberal shenaniganism” “trading zones” “network forums” etc. If your first list is very short, it very well might already contain these terms, and the second list will be a list of people, places or things that reappear throughout the book.
Note at this point that you have two lists of terms which you can use in class to remind you of the details, even if you haven’t yet read the book. The index is the Platonic ideal of the text, use it.

With your lists in hand, turn to the Introduction. But don’t start at the beginning. Read the last few pages of the introduction, where most likely there will be a series of paragraphs here dealing with the content of each of the chapters. Read carefully, noting which chapters relate to which entries on your two lists. If your author has chosen to express their individuality here and forgo such a list, you can wing it by looking at the beginning and end of each of the chapters to see whether the author gives you a hint there.
Note that you still haven’t “read” very much yet, but that you should already have a deepening sense of the main themes of the book, and a map, complete with precise coordinates of where to find the main arguments and the main subjects of the book.

Now read the introduction carefully. Make sure you are clear what the author thinks the main arguments and sub-arguments are, and that you could reconstruct them if asked, even if you can’t offer any details or reasoning behind them.
If there is a conclusion, read that carefully too. I know this sounds like cheating, but it isn’t. It is a rare scholarly book that demands of its reader that they wait until the end for the argument to make sense. {Aside: Indeed, many graduate students make this mistake in writing, assuming that it is necessary to defer and defer and defer until you get into the very heart of the most detailed detailage before revealing the a-ha! of the argument. No no no, give it up, right at the beginning and let the reader work through your example to convince themselves you are correct!} Read the conclusion for how it tries to tie up the arguments presented in the text (which you haven’t yet read) with the promises made in the introduction. Note especially if the author makes clear what the significance of the argument is beyond the text, which will help you care about the details.
Now return to your two lists. The shorter of these two lists (the one with the analytic entries) should now give you a very good guide to where the theoretical meat of the book lays. Having read the intro and conclusion, you can now turn directly to each of those sections (you have the technology!) and “read from the inside out.” The longer list (filled with people, places and things) in turn gives you a good sense of where the data is, and how it is distributed across the chapters (if you go back and look at all the subheadings in the index). “Reading from the inside out” means literally starting in medias res, looking for the precise places where the author has made it a point to connect theory and data. Read the paragraphs leading up to it and following it. Note the references to empirical material marshaled or referred to, and decide which of those things you need to read more about– turn to list two, and find the places where you can follow up. After running through the entries of the shorter list, you will have read a fair amount of the most important parts of the book.
Note that this approach is fractal in nature: with a good index you can make progressively longer and more focused lists that give you “random access” to the text, and allow you to dig deeper and deeper until you approximate the actual cover to cover manner in which a text seems (wrongly I hope I have convinced you) that it was meant to be read.

Needless to say, this is a strategy that works only for good books, and for books that are primarily dense with detailed empirical material, which most histories, ethnographic and other forms of social science research usually are. It is less useful for philosophical works, completely useless for books that do not have indices (like much work in French! damn them!), and it will only confirm the badness of a bad book. However, if you are faced, as many students are, with reading as many as 4-5 books in one week, this is one way to avoid ending up in a class with a vague sense of what a book is about and a detailed understanding of only the first 30 or so pages. I am of course curious to hear from people how this approach fails.
academia  !  * 
7 weeks ago
The Great Passage Review (ANN)
In the end, The Great Passage is a simple, pleasant story about an awkward man finding his place, falling in love with a nice lady, and working hard to achieve his goals. While it's not saying or doing anything too complicated on a narrative level, it's bursting with love for its niche subject matter and the people who live in that world.
7 weeks ago
The lucid dreaming playbook: how to take charge of your dreams (Aeon)
In the study I published with colleagues at the University of Adelaide, the best technique turned out to be something called Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams (MILD), originally developed in the 1970s by the American psychophysiologist Stephen LaBerge. It involves the following steps:

1. Set an alarm for five hours after you go to bed.
2. When the alarm sounds, try to remember a dream from just before you woke up. If you can’t, just recall any dream you had recently.
3. Lie in a comfortable position with the lights off and repeat the phrase: ‘Next time I’m dreaming, I will remember I’m dreaming.’ Do this silently in your mind. You need to put real meaning into the words and focus on your intention to remember.
4. Every time you repeat the phrase at step 3, imagine yourself back in the dream you recalled at step 2, and visualise yourself remembering that you are dreaming.
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you either fall asleep or are sure that your intention to remember is set. This should be the last thing in your mind before falling asleep. If you find yourself repeatedly coming back to your intention to remember that you’re dreaming, that’s a good sign it’s firm in your mind.

We relied on data from 169 people from all over Australia, who kept a dream journal so we could measure the effect of induction techniques against their ‘baseline’ tendency. More than half the people who used MILD ended up having at least one lucid dream in the week they started practising; they also went from experiencing these dreams about one night out of 11 to about one night in six. These findings are very exciting, and are some of the highest success rates reported in the scientific literature.

Surprisingly, the number of times that people repeated the mantra about remembering that they’re dreaming, or even the amount of time spent on MILD overall, did not predict success. Instead, the most important factor was being able to complete the technique and then go back to sleep quickly. In fact, it proved almost twice as effective when people fell asleep within five minutes after setting their intention. If you want to try this for yourself, you’ll need to experiment in order to get the right level of wakefulness when the alarm goes off – enough to allow you to complete the steps, but not so much that you’ll struggle to doze off again. Doing the technique after five or so hours of sleep is important, too: most of our dreams occur in the last two to three hours before waking, and you want to minimise the time between finishing the technique and entering REM sleep.

You might also be able to use dreams to process trauma: confronting what’s haunting you, making peace with an attacker, escaping the situation by flying away, or even just waking up. Other potential applications include practising sporting skills by night, having more ‘active’ participants for studies about sleep and dreaming, and the pursuit of creative inspiration. With practice, our dream state can feel almost as vivid to us as the world itself – and leaves you wondering, perhaps, where fantasy ends and reality begins.
psychology  ! 
10 weeks ago
Reading (and Writing for) Science Fiction Magazines
Here’s a partial list of annual best-of-the-year anthologies that showcase science fiction:

The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy edited by John Joseph Adams
Best of British Science Fiction edited by Donna Scott
The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year edited by Jonathan Strahan
The Best Science Fiction of the Year edited by Neil Clarke (last year’s edition came to Audible.com)
Nebula Awards Showcase (editor changes each year)
The Top Ten Tales of Science Fiction edited by Allan Kaster (also at Audible.com)
Year’s Best Military & Adventure SF edited by David Afsharirad
The Year’s Best Science Fiction edited by Gardner Dozois
The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy edited by Rich Horton
writing  ! 
11 weeks ago
Self-Help Books Fail to Teach Us Self-Love (Rest for Resistance)
“I will love you whether you achieve your dreams or not, whether you decide to transition, or whether you decide to go back on all your decisions. I will love you not because of what you achieve or become, but for what you mean to me.”
intersectionality  personal  * 
11 weeks ago
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