Raine, Samenow, Fallon: Neuropsychology & The Work

Aeneas

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Chu said:
Aeneas said:
As I see it then the approaches are different. Where Samenow doesn't give any room for excuses, NARM is much more gentle and non-intruding. But then they are also dealing with very different sets of people and one can seriously doubt if the NARM approach would have had any impact on Leroy which Samenow describes in the second last chapter. And in the same way, one could doubt if the Leroy-treatment would serve the kind of people who come to a NARM therapist. Larry Heller in HRT, gives an example in chapter 9 of how he is 'treating' Carla. Though Larry does correct the thinking pattern, it is more as if he elicits this understanding from the patient herself by a combination of bottom-up and top-down approaches, somatic experiencing and mindfulness, rather than telling her where her thinking is wrong.

The criminals that Samenow deals with do not come for treatment because they think that there is something wrong with them, but because they are forced to or mandated to, if they are interested in avoiding serious lifelong imprisonment. The clients of the NARM therapists are people who seek the therapists out because they wish to change as they have lives that are unfulfilled.

In terms of the Work, then it might well be a combination of both. We need to get the shock that we share (many) aspects of the criminal mind and how we lie to ourselves or make excuses due to hard wired thinking errors. Unlike the criminal we are here involved in the Work out of our own free Will, and our response to the shocks can help to realize for one self at least, if we are seriously interested in the Work or whether we just like to delude ourselves into thinking that we are doing the Work. Samenow is very practical and the part of no excuses might be what is needed for some of us, though for others among us, who are indulging in shame and guilt, such an approach might just encourage the Trappist monk in us, thus driving the essence part even further underground. In other words, for some, the stick is the most useful, most of the time and for others, the carrot is more effective. And for most a combination of the two.

Understanding the underlying causes as outlined in Healing Developmental Trauma is important to find a way out of it. And much as we on the surface might say "Yeah, just show it all to me, I can handle it. I want to know the truth at all cost!", then the truth might be that for most of us, that would cause a complete collapse and depression or a retreat into denial. So it is a process and continual shocks are needed. We, who are involved in the Work, don't necessarily work with a personal therapist, but that is where the network is very important, both to supply knowledge, but also to call out the lying to ourselves - and of course as a general support and encouragement. The dual track of growth in knowledge and growth in being comes to mind.
I think you made very valid points, Aeneas. It's a bit like the difference that George Simon explains between the approach to have with a neurotic person who blames themselves for everything, and a character disturbed person who thinks he or she is a perpetual victim and is entitled to more just because. The neurotic may benefit more from NARM, and the character disturbed from Samenow's approach. But both methods combined seem more appropriate, because most people are within a spectrum of those two extremes. We are complex beings. Doing the Work, we can create narratives about what it is what "it doesn't like", while in reality, we are afraid of facing the worse parts of ourselves. For those parts, nothing like shocks and Samenow. For other parts, who are really insecure, wounded, etc, then a NARM-type approach would be better. But they go hand in hand.

In the end, I think it comes down to what is needed in the moment, depending on how far each person is willing to go. Whatever helps create the right kind of friction towards more conscious suffering and growth, is good. Whatever helps us live more in the present, while at the same time being aware of the root, is good too. OSIT.
Thinking about this with respect to Jordan Peterson, then I think there is tremendous value in what Peterson is doing. For somehow the neurotic also needs to hear the message that Samenow is bringing across, but doing so face to face is entirely counterproductive. This is where Peterson comes in, as he can talk about these things, that we are monsters, and useless etc. as it is done in a non-threatening format such as through videos and books. It is non-threatening as the neurotic - thanks Chu for the apt description from Simenon - also can watch these videos in the safety of their own space and at their own leisure and not feel threatening directly as it is not addressed to them personally. In a therapy setting, Peterson would never use such language, but via youtube he can. At the same time, Peterson gives very practical hands-on advice and his way of describing the steps are also deeply compassionate and caring in more a NARM way. So one could say that Peterson is to some extent a bridge between the two, making clear the terror of the situation while at the same time giving practical steps grounded in the present moment to people of how to improve their lot and basically become better human beings to the benefit of themselves, those around them and society in general.
 

whitecoast

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I finished reading Whoever Fights Monsters by Robert K. Ressler about a week ago, about the FBI man who more or less single handedly invented the field of criminal profiling, mostly with respect to serial killers. Admittedly some parts of the book were hard to get through just because of how gruesome some crime scenes were, especially considering how Ressler was sharing this information to try and get us into the heads of these killers, some of which were utterly psychotic and disorganized. What I found especially impressive about the field was how much information a well-trained eye can surmise of a criminal's though processes and life history based on the details of the crime. Things like the criminal's age, race, mental health, work experience, scholastic achievement, and relationship/sexual history were capable of being profiled from observing the crime scene and others connected to it.

Such detail in analysis is not of course restricted to ghastly crimes. Toward the end of the book Ressler relates an anecdote in which a colleague of his who (iirc) worked in homeowners insurance. He wanted a second opinion on a crime scene so Ressler was asked to examine photographic and personal account evidence of a severe case of vandalism in a house. Things were turned over, paintings were broken, valuables were shattered, and graffiti with man obscenities were written all over the walls. Ressler did notice a few things out of the ordinary in that scene. One was that a lot of the obscenities were out of vogue among most teenagers and young men in their early 20's (the usual suspects who commit home invasions and vandalism). Most of these younger men in other instances of home invasions would write band names and use the actual swear words and slang terms in vogue. None of that was present. Another thing noticed was the lack of sexually explicit behavior outside of some swear words graffiti'd. In many burglaries and vandalism cases young men (especially in the days before widespread internet porn) would get into the underwear and other personal items of female residents for erotic/fetishistic purposes. None of that was observed. The third thing of notice was that, while most expensive items like TV's, audio equipment, kitchen dishes, etc. were destroyed, a lot of non-replaceable items, such as paintings of now-grown children, etc. were either left totally alone, or had their glass frames broken only. So the vandalism was highly selective. Ressler ended up profiling the vandal as likely being a female in her early middle ages who has no acquaintance with young teenage or adult males, meaning if she has children it's likely daughters only. Linking violent behavior to pre-crime stress indicators observed in other cases like relationship stressors, job loss, he considered it likely such an event would have preceded the violent incident. When Ressler sent his profile of the likely perpetrator back to his friend, the reply he got back immediately said the profile matched the homeowner of the house to a T: a woman in her late 40's with a single daughter who recently experienced the collapse of an interpersonal relationship. I suppose she thought she could vent by taking out her rage on her house, thinking the insurance company would buy her story cover the costs. :rolleyes:

I wanted to relate the story because it illustrates much of the point of the book, in how a person's effect on the environment can be tracked very reliably to their thinking patterns. It also stuck out for me as a case because it was almost comic relief compared to the various other gruesome scenes perpetrated by the psychopaths, schizotypes, and psychotics Ressler regularly profiles in the book.
 

Laura

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whitecoast said:
I wanted to relate the story because it illustrates much of the point of the book, in how a person's effect on the environment can be tracked very reliably to their thinking patterns. It also stuck out for me as a case because it was almost comic relief compared to the various other gruesome scenes perpetrated by the psychopaths, schizotypes, and psychotics Ressler regularly profiles in the book.
Actually I thought the main point of the book was similar to that of Samenow's book: about thinking errors and how far they can take a person out of reality. In other words, if you put the two books together, you can see how "there but for the grace of God..." And if it doesn't scare the hell out of you to realize that the same kinds of thinking errors these horrible criminals take to outside limits work in just about everybody, then you ain't seeing something!!
 

whitecoast

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Laura said:
whitecoast said:
I wanted to relate the story because it illustrates much of the point of the book, in how a person's effect on the environment can be tracked very reliably to their thinking patterns. It also stuck out for me as a case because it was almost comic relief compared to the various other gruesome scenes perpetrated by the psychopaths, schizotypes, and psychotics Ressler regularly profiles in the book.
Actually I thought the main point of the book was similar to that of Samenow's book: about thinking errors and how far they can take a person out of reality. In other words, if you put the two books together, you can see how "there but for the grace of God..." And if it doesn't scare the hell out of you to realize that the same kinds of thinking errors these horrible criminals take to outside limits work in just about everybody, then you ain't seeing something!!
No kidding. On that point, something that Ressler iterated continuously when it came to patterns of degenerating behavior was the formula of "stress + imagination x previous experience --> destructive acts". People don't suddenly wake up one day and choose to commit wicked acts. Usually fantasies about violent behavior (or some other non-optimal behavior) began early in their life, and stressful events would often make a person want to blow off steam by indulging in fantasy. For serial killers it was normally some terrible stress related to work or relationships that would cause them to finally indulge in a murder fantasy. Often the first murder was in a disorganized fashion, but since they're committed one murder it becomes easier to commit another, more carefully planned one, and often with escalating violence and fantasy enactments. This is the "previous experience" part of the formula, which feeds back into the original equation to expand the scope of deviant behavior. So some very nasty feedback loops can begin to occur. It doesn't even need to be about murder. It could just as easily be acting out resentment, anger, or lazy and self-destructive behavior. The tiny piecemeal ways where people compromise with their higher selves or their purpose in life. That's definitely something that I find particularly unsettling, on a personal note.
 

Laura

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I just finished Samenow's book "inside the criminal mind". I couldn't believe my eyes while reading the 2 last chapters where Dr Yochelson has succeeded in criminals' habilitation .
I wonder if it works for successfull psychopathes. If yes, I'll be pleased to send this book to Killary or May and Co. Or to my ex !! :lol:
I was actually a bit shocked with your response to reading this book. None of us can know what is in the head of another, that they suffer from such thinking errors, except when/if they reveal it to us directly or indirectly. Psychopaths are a completely other kettle of fish.

The main point of reading this book and the other related books was to be able to see our OWN tendency to thinking errors, even including the thinking error that you know what someone else is thinking such as "Killary or May or your ex."

In any such situation, such as with your ex, your FIRST question should be "what have *I* done" in this situation? Am *I* thinking in a wrong way, making wrong assumptions, doing things based on those assumptions that then elicit negative behavior toward myself?" Only AFTER you have done such a forensic self-examination and consulted with a network that has as much data as possible, can you then conclude tentatively that maybe the other person is operating on bad or limited information, i.e. thought errors.
 

genero81

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The main point of reading this book and the other related books was to be able to see our OWN tendency to thinking errors, even including the thinking error that you know what someone else is thinking such as "Killary or May or your ex."

In any such situation, such as with your ex, your FIRST question should be "what have *I* done" in this situation? Am *I* thinking in a wrong way, making wrong assumptions, doing things based on those assumptions that then elicit negative behavior toward myself?" Only AFTER you have done such a forensic self-examination and consulted with a network that has as much data as possible, can you then conclude tentatively that maybe the other person is operating on bad or limited information, i.e. thought errors.
Reminds me of a common saying in recovery; "It's not them!"
 

nature

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Of course the message is to see our own thinking errors. I just reacted to the possibility of habilitating a criminal (not all of them), as it is said that it's impossible to cure them.
 

Laura

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Of course the message is to see our own thinking errors. I just reacted to the possibility of habilitating a criminal (not all of them), as it is said that it's impossible to cure them.
Well, that makes sense. I was a bit alarmed for a minute there!

And indeed, it is very promising but I doubt it would work on psychopaths.
 

fabric

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Of course the message is to see our own thinking errors. I just reacted to the possibility of habilitating a criminal (not all of them), as it is said that it's impossible to cure them.

Perhaps maybe you were conflating 'criminal' with 'psychopath'? Although they aren't mutually exclusive. Yes, there is a possibility to rehabilitate a criminal, only in the sense that they themselves actually realize there is something wrong with them and want to change or else face the threat of jail or worse. Not so with a psychopath (and some criminals, even people in general). They see absolutely nothing wrong with themselves and thus no desire to address their thinking errors - they have none! - as far as they're concerned. And one simply can't go around telling people that they do because they'll think that you're the one with the problem! So I would say not impossible, but very unlikely, even for the average person. There has to be a real desire to do that and most don't want to go there.
 

nature

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Well, that makes sense. I was a bit alarmed for a minute there!

And indeed, it is very promising but I doubt it would work on psychopaths.
Thank you to make me think: It makes sense, in regard to Raine's scans (brain anatomy) where we see that successfull psychopaths have very different anatomy compared to non-succesfull's or to sociopathes. The former (successfull) has an anatomy that seems normal if we don't look at subtil differences, and they even got some advantageous schemes (for executive functions, for example). Their brain is not under-functional like the sociopath's. When a muscle is undeveloped or injured, one can develop it by training and motivation. So, I understand that Dr Yochelson's patient (a jailed one, not a successfull psycho) has succeeded. Because he sincerely choosed to change, and he really became aware of his thinking errors and bad behavior. It was not easy, Dr Yochelson had been very patient. A successfull psycho will not choose the option of changing.
 

nature

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Perhaps maybe you were conflating 'criminal' with 'psychopath'? Although they aren't mutually exclusive. Yes, there is a possibility to rehabilitate a criminal, only in the sense that they themselves actually realize there is something wrong with them and want to change or else face the threat of jail or worse. Not so with a psychopath (and some criminals, even people in general). They see absolutely nothing wrong with themselves and thus no desire to address their thinking errors - they have none! - as far as they're concerned. And one simply can't go around telling people that they do because they'll think that you're the one with the problem! So I would say not impossible, but very unlikely, even for the average person. There has to be a real desire to do that and most don't want to go there.
Not if it's an unsuccessfull psychopath? I must read the book again, as it seems I missed a point.
For your point about the real desire to do that: I agree. It's the same thing for us: with the capacity to see, admit our errors, question ourself, and with the real desire to adress them, we can succeed :-)
 

nature

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Add : Leroy (Dr Yochelson's criminal patient) gives us a good message, like : if I succeded, you can do it too! You have no reason to fail!
 

Turgon

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Hi nature,

I recently read In Cold Blood which is a novel about a murder investigation. I found it very revealing because it delves into the psychology of the two criminals that committed the murder and how they differed from one another in their outlook, yet were quite similar in other ways. He did extensive research for the book.

"He did months of research on the criminal mind and interviewed a number of death row killers. Before he began writing, Capote had gathered over six thousand pages of notes. All told, the project, which Capote regarded as the third phase of his writing development, took almost six years. In Cold Blood, published in 1965, became a bestseller."

And I was blown away by how similar some of his characters came to what was described in Samenow's book. I asked myself multiple times throughout reading if they could be redeemed, are they essential psychopaths or was there a path to redemption for either of them. I'd say one of them seemed like he had a choice, or maybe if he pulled himself up from his bootstraps, could have made a change. He had some redeeming qualities, not many, but also showed signs of paranoid schizophrenia and was very twisted in many other ways, although seemed haunted by his past and was determined to take revenge on the world for what happened to him. He very much lived in a fantasy world of his own creation and as a coping mechanism to his early traumas. I actually felt sorry for him because of it, and added to him qualities that may never have been there to begin with. There were a few times his sister and others through him a lifeline, and if he had any humanity left in him would have paused to reflect on and show remorse for what he did and seek out genuine change, only to see that assumption of mine negated by his response to their actions, which was egotistical and arrogant. Almost spiteful in a way, of anyone showing concern for the path he was on. Which actually made him more dangerous then the other one who seemed totally fine with what he was doing and glib and superficial about committing crimes, which seemed like an accurate portrayal of secondary and essential psychopathy. The C's once said the path of STS is either by choice or nature, and I get the impression that this book reflected that in its portrayal of the two criminals.

And so I agree with what's already been said, the same is true of those that aren't at the extreme end of the spectrum or average person. If they are unwilling or unable to 'go there' because they have an unrealistic and sometimes grandiose image of themselves, then it would be difficult to provide any sort of help. And if you did try to bring to light certain things, would have to tread carefully. Although Yochelsons approach was so well-crafted because he never demeaned Leroy, which would have set off his ego and caused him to get defensive and belligerent, but was respectful and simply stuck to the facts in order to provide that mirror so he eventually saw for himself the kind of person he was in order to make changes. It was impeccable.
 

Laura

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I read "In Cold Blood" years ago; it was a difficult book to read: harrowing.
 

loreta

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Hi nature,

I recently read In Cold Blood which is a novel about a murder investigation. I found it very revealing because it delves into the psychology of the two criminals that committed the murder and how they differed from one another in their outlook, yet were quite similar in other ways. He did extensive research for the book.

"He did months of research on the criminal mind and interviewed a number of death row killers. Before he began writing, Capote had gathered over six thousand pages of notes. All told, the project, which Capote regarded as the third phase of his writing development, took almost six years. In Cold Blood, published in 1965, became a bestseller."

And I was blown away by how similar some of his characters came to what was described in Samenow's book. I asked myself multiple times throughout reading if they could be redeemed, are they essential psychopaths or was there a path to redemption for either of them. I'd say one of them seemed like he had a choice, or maybe if he pulled himself up from his bootstraps, could have made a change. He had some redeeming qualities, not many, but also showed signs of paranoid schizophrenia and was very twisted in many other ways, although seemed haunted by his past and was determined to take revenge on the world for what happened to him. He very much lived in a fantasy world of his own creation and as a coping mechanism to his early traumas. I actually felt sorry for him because of it, and added to him qualities that may never have been there to begin with. There were a few times his sister and others through him a lifeline, and if he had any humanity left in him would have paused to reflect on and show remorse for what he did and seek out genuine change, only to see that assumption of mine negated by his response to their actions, which was egotistical and arrogant. Almost spiteful in a way, of anyone showing concern for the path he was on. Which actually made him more dangerous then the other one who seemed totally fine with what he was doing and glib and superficial about committing crimes, which seemed like an accurate portrayal of secondary and essential psychopathy. The C's once said the path of STS is either by choice or nature, and I get the impression that this book reflected that in its portrayal of the two criminals.

And so I agree with what's already been said, the same is true of those that aren't at the extreme end of the spectrum or average person. If they are unwilling or unable to 'go there' because they have an unrealistic and sometimes grandiose image of themselves, then it would be difficult to provide any sort of help. And if you did try to bring to light certain things, would have to tread carefully. Although Yochelsons approach was so well-crafted because he never demeaned Leroy, which would have set off his ego and caused him to get defensive and belligerent, but was respectful and simply stuck to the facts in order to provide that mirror so he eventually saw for himself the kind of person he was in order to make changes. It was impeccable.

I was very impressed, when young, when I saw the movie. It was maybe the first movie I saw that made me ask "how come there is people who do this type of crime?". Till I found this forum and read about psychopathy I did not had an answer. The movie made me feel insecure and scary because I did not have information. I will read the book, for sure.

I saw this little interview about the people who knew the family that was murdered and how they lived the situation. In this little documentary they talk also about Capote. It is a sad documentary, we can see how this multiple murder changed everything in their lives. But no one says the world "psychopath". We can see also the victims, and the 2 psychopaths. Interview with friends, people in the village, a judge, a sheriff... I like this documentary also because you see people of another generation and how, even after so many years, they remember the tragedy and the horror from their old age, their experience.

 
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