Author Archives: Asa Don Brown

New Year’s Resolutions

Posted by: Asa Don Brown on January 16, 2015 8:00 am

“Faith is not the clinging to a shrine but an endless pilgrimage of the heart.”  ~ Abraham Heschel

At this time of the year, we are encouraged to develop our New Year’s Resolutions. The resolutions may play upon our heartstrings, moral compasses, religious ideological viewpoints, or the need for physical and mental improvement. Resolutions are not only geared towards improvement of the individual, but as well as the improvement of societies’ moral and ethical compasses. While many may disagree, I unequivocally believe that the key to moving forward, as well as, establishing new pathways in this life, must begin by forgiving ourselves and forgiving others.

FORGIVENESS IS THE KEY TO MOVING FORWARD

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude.”  ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

A key to moving forward, is forgiving others, as well as your own person. Forgiveness is not only a state of mind, but it is a state of being. It is woven through the very essence of our being. Forgiveness is a constant attitude occurring through a purposeful action. As humans, we are instinctively designed to forgive. It is only when we choose not to forgive that our minds, bodies, and spirits begin to experience disrepair. Those who choose not to forgive; choose to harbor the wrongs of others and of their own person. Thus, frequently developing physiological and psychological signs and symptoms associated with stress, anxiety, and depression. Forgiveness cleanses the body, ridding it of the decay of negativity, disappointment, and heartache. It is through the act of forgiveness, that we can live a balanced and well-adjusted life. Forgiveness is the key to living life productively. Being productive enables us to be effective in this life, by producing the desires and intended results with which we may choose to acquire. Forgiveness is a purposeful action filtered through a permanent attitude.

WHAT IS A RESOLUTION?

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language And next year’s words await another voice.” ~ T. S. Eliot

The basic principle of a resolution is to be firm with one’s decisions, opinions, intentions, and expressions. It is through a resolution that we clarify our stance, becoming a decisive person. Being decisive is intent on settling an issue or a set of issues, by producing a definite result.

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*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

A Life Lived Without Forgiveness

Posted by: Asa Don Brown on October 28, 2014 1:52 pm

“A life lived without forgiveness is a prison.” ~ William Arthur Ward

forgiveA life lived without forgiveness is a life lived in the past. Living in the past is a conscious or an unconscious choice made through a connection to the past. In simple, the past is a time gone by and no longer exists in the present moment, but we choose to allow this past to occupy our minds, our bodies and our very existence. Living in the past is like choosing to cling to a chronic illness. Would you choose to be plagued with a chronic illness? Would you allow yourself to be
injected with a disease that could take your life? Why then, are you allowing yourself to be injected daily with the memories associated with the past? Why have you chosen to cling to the negative memories associated with your life? Have you found comfort with the negative memories, or do you feel incapable of letting go of the past?
Letting go of the past is through purposeful action. The action is the process with which we choose to rid the very essence of our person of the past. The past may be comprised of tragic events, thoughts, or circumstances. Whatever the case, the past is haunting you and it is denying you the freedom of moving forward in this life.
As a clinician and a person, I have been witness to countless individuals who have chosen to cling to the past. Clinging to the past is a purposeful action of recalling, remembering and harboring negative thoughts, deeds or actions. When we harbor the memories associated with the past, we are protecting the negative memories, rather than allowing them to exist no more. Moving beyond the past requires a combination of actions: letting go, forgiveness, and moving forward.

FORGIVENESS IS A STATE OF BEING

Forgiveness is not only a state of mind, but it is a state of being. It is woven through the very essence of our being. Forgiveness is a constant attitude occurring through a purposeful action. As humans, we are instinctively designed to forgive. It is only when we choose not to forgive that our minds, bodies, and spirits begin to experience disrepair. Those who choose not to forgive; choose to harbor the wrongs of others and of their own person, frequently have physical and psychological signs. Forgiveness cleanses the body, ridding it of the decay of negativity, disappointment, and heartache. It is through the act of forgiveness, that we can live a balanced and well-adjusted life. Forgiveness is the key to living life productively. Being productive enables us to be effective in this life, by producing the desires and intended results with which we may choose to acquire.

FORGIVENESS OF OTHERS

Forgiving others, especially our enemies, is a challenge indeed. What if, you had committed a wrong against another? Would you not have a deep desire to be forgiven? Have you ever experienced the denial of your repentance? What sort of effect did this have on your person? Were you shattered by the unwavering and unyielding of the person or persons you had wronged?
As a clinician, I have met a variety of patients / clients who’s hearts ache to be forgiven. As an individual, I too have had the experience of others denying the acceptance of my repentance. The denial of our repentance can have a penetrating effect, plunging like a dagger deep into the very core of our being. For so many, forgiveness and the lack of forgiveness, can prove a major stumbling block.
If we deny accepting the repentance of another, then we are intentionally and purposefully hanging on to the wrongs of the past. The wrongs of the past serve as a coat-of-arms. We identify our coat-of-arms as a shield of honor, but the reality is, our coat-of-arms is shielding the very nature of our person from allowing others to enter. It is serving as a warning sign, informing others to tread lightly because I will remove them from my life, if they wrong me.
For people who long for the acceptance of their repentance, they will continue to be haunted by their past wrongs as long as they choose to hang onto them.

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*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

The Loss of a Child

Posted by: Asa Don Brown on October 7, 2014 12:55 pm

“To lose a child is to lose a piece of yourself.”  ~ Dr. Burton Grebin

child lossThere is no greater grief, than when a parent losses a child. As a person, I had never truly experienced such a gut-wrenching heartache, until the day that my wife and I lost a child. As a therapist, some may think that I am trained to have “all the known answers,” but the truth is, there are no answers, quick fixes, or remedies to mend the heartbreak around the loss of a child.

The loss of a child is an inconceivable and it is an unimaginable experience. While my wife and I never had an opportunity to get to know our child by physical touch, perception, or smell; we had already bonded with our developing child.

MY DAUGHTER’S HEARTACHE

The day that we were told that our child had passed on, was the most egregious experience of my life. On this very day, not only had I lost my child, but my precious and tendered hearted Delilah experienced the loss of a sibling. At the time, my daughter was a mere 5 years of age, but her cry and her mournful spirit penetrated the very nature of my being. At that moment, I recognized not only the impact that this loss had on myself, my loving wife, but the dire impact that it had on my precious daughter. For me, the loss was like an ocean of emotions consuming my person, but it was further deepened by witnessing the breach of my daughter’s innocence. Furthermore, it was the tenderness of my daughter’s cry that pierced my heart and my soul. It was like I had experienced yet a second loss, a loss of my precious daughter’s innocence and my inability to protect her from harm that broke my spirit.

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*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Spare the Rod

Posted by: Asa Don Brown on September 26, 2014 8:24 am

“Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent then the one derived from fear of punishment.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

spare the rodThe argument for corporal punishment has been the longstanding acceptance by those who have endured this form of punishment. The debate for corporal punishment has varied from religious instructions to parental rights. Corporal punishment has not only been excused by religious texts, familial familiarity, and governmental avoidance of change; it has been made allowable because of its longstanding relationship with society. “My father did not spare the rod, therefore I won’t spare the rod either.”

Parents, teachers and school administrators have frequently argued that there are no, or limited, alternatives. For a number of parents, religious leaders, teachers, and school administrators the argument is corporal punishment will realign and adjust a child’s behavior.

THE ARGUMENT FOR CORPORAL PUNISHMENT

The Canadian Parliament has ruled in Section 43 of the Criminal Code that:

Section 43 of the Criminal Code reads as follows:

            Every schoolteacher, parent or person standing in the place of a parent is justified in  using force by way of correction toward a pupil or child, as the case may be, who is  under his care, if the force does not exceed what is reasonable under the circumstance.

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*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

A Father’s Love

Posted by: Asa Don Brown on September 12, 2014 4:00 pm

“The heart of a father is the masterpiece of nature.”    ~ Antoine François Prévost

fatherThe word “father” may conjure varying images and degrees of reference. A father is not a perfect vessel sailing alone on the seas, but is rather a small dinghy dependent upon larger vessels to cross the larger bodies of water.

Fatherhood is a privilege, it is a gift, and it is a sacrifice. As a father, you are unofficially sworn to protect, to educate, and to defend the honor of your children. Fatherhood may feel at times as a thankless job, but remember, fatherhood is your choice, not the choice of your children. Children have no choice to embark in this game called life, rather we subject them to this life and hope that they too will succeed. As fathers, we are not called upon to be perfect, but to strive to be the best that we are equipped to be.

“To be the father of growing daughters is to understand something of what Yeats evokes with his imperishable phrase ‘terrible beauty.’ Nothing can make one so happily exhilarated or so frightened: it’s a solid lesson in the limitations of self to realize that your heart is running around inside someone else’s body. It also makes me quite astonishingly calm at the thought of death: I know whom I would die to protect and I also understand that nobody but a lugubrious serf can possibly wish for a father who never goes away.” ~ Christopher Hitchens

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*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Protective Factors Around Child Sexual Abuse

Posted by: Asa Don Brown on July 8, 2014 4:01 pm

“The very first part in healing is shattering the silence.”~ Erin Merryn

While the awareness around Child Sexual Abuse, CSA has increased over the past decade; the prevalence of CSA continues to be a problem throughout our society.  CSA has no economic, political, religious, cultural, or racial preference.  CSA has, and does, occur in all aspects of society.  The effects associated with CSA most commonly have a profound impact on the physical, psychological and emotional and general wellbeing of the individual.  “The wounds arising from childhood sexual abuse take many forms, but they all represent profound changes to the individual’s experience and her (his) relationship to the world.” (Fisher, 2005)” (Brown, 2005, p. 21)  For children, distinguishing between those you can trust and cannot trust is challenging.  As parents, while we need to reinforce the goodness and purity of our children; we must also equip our children with effective tools to distinguish between good and bad behaviors, communications, and personalities.  It is never too late to teach our children to be his or her best advocate.

ACTIVELY COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR CHILDREN

“It is a wise father (mother) that knows his (her) own child.” ~ William Shakespeare

As fathers and mothers, we need to actively listen.  Active listening is the ability, the skill, technique, or an inherent trait whereby, a person is purposefully and intentionally focusing on the communications being sent by another person or persons.  An active listener not only listens and receives an intended message, but is capable of paraphrasing what messages he or she has received back to the communicator.  An active listener recognizes that not all communication is verbally spoken, but is often communicated through verbal and nonverbal transmissions.  It entails good physical posture, gestures, and purposeful eye contact.

As an active listener, you will align your body towards the intended recipient.  You may lean towards the sender or receiver, maintain active eye contact, posture your body in an open form, and be relaxed while nonverbally communicating.  Active listening is also being capable of reflecting any verbal or nonverbal communication that is communicated.

As fathers and mothers, our active listening should be purposeful in our actions, reflections, and all forms of communications.  We need to seek to hear the verbal and nonverbal communications being projected from the lives of our children.

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*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

The Beauty of Children

Posted by: Asa Don Brown on June 17, 2014 12:00 pm

“The soul is healed by being with children.”
~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I was completely unaware of the absolute beauty of life until I became a father.  Fatherhood has opened my eyes beyond my own imagination.  As a father, I have learned more about myself, life, and the meaning of life; simply by viewing the physical beings gifted unto me.  Children are the window to our futures and a beacon of light in a sometimes dark world.

As a father, I have learned to appreciate each moment that I am granted to spend with my children.  Whether they are happy or sad, full of energy or laying down for a nap; I am amazed by the life that radiates out of their little bodies.

THE GIFT

“With children the clock is reset.  We forget what came before”
~ Jhumpa Lahiri

As a father, we need to actively listen to our children.  Fathers who actively listen will be the recipients of an unbelievable education, going well beyond one’s wildest of dreams.  The gift of a child goes well beyond that most descriptive of words.  Children are the essence of life.  They are capable of proving resilient in the most troubling of times, and rebounding from the greatest of falls.  They have an ability of bringing a smile on the gloomiest of faces.   It is awesome how the very life of a child is capable of resetting our thought patterns, our mindsets, and our very outlook upon the world.  The gift of a child is capable of completely changing our worldview and perceptions of life. Continue reading




*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Marriage Is . . .

Posted by: Asa Don Brown on April 28, 2014 3:27 pm

“No sooner met but they looked; no sooner looked but they loved; no sooner loved but they sighed; no sooner sighed but they asked one another the reason; no sooner knew the reason but they sought the remedy; and in these degrees have they made a pair of stairs to marriage.”     ~ William Shakespeare

As a husband of 17 years, I can inform you that marriage is a lifelong education.  Marriage is the essence of life and it has an intrinsic way of wholly consuming every aspect of life.  While the consumption is likely, the type of consumption can be a profitable experience rather than a drudgery.

Furthermore, marriage is a lifelong commitment.  The commitment cannot solely be an individual endeavor, rather marriage is a joint effort.  As a clinician, I am always amazed that the assumption of marriage is viewed from a myopic perspective, rather than a hyperopic one.  Marriage is not a singular ideological framework, rather it devised of two perspectives uniting together to become one.  While you can rest assured that your ideological views surely will cross, it is always essential to come to a place to agree-to-disagree.  Moreover, while there are no perfect marriages, the highlight of every marriage is to strive for an unified best!

KEEPING THE LOVE LIGHT BURNING

“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.”  ~ Mignon McLaughlin

Marriage is an ultimate sacrifice of thyself and thy personhood.   It is through the sacrifice that we learn to serve and to be served.  Marriage is the best reminder of why it is important to love thyself.  While many utter words of love, few completely understand the roots of love.  Love is an intense feeling of deep affection, admiration, respect and warm approval.  Without love, there is likely no attachment or affection.  Nevertheless, you can be the best of friends and not be “in love.”  Moreover, love must begin within you before it can be expressed outwardly.

What does it mean to be in love?  Being in love is not a mystical experience, having hidden or esoteric meanings.  Rather, being “in love’ is within anyone’s reach and is a response to reactions in our brain, but connecting to the “right” person is often the challenge.  You cannot force a person to “be in love.”  If you partner is not “in love” with you, then the likelihood of making that connection is null.

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*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

The Psychology of Hate

Posted by: Asa Don Brown on April 9, 2014 12:55 pm

“Personal responsibility is the willingness to completely accept choices that we have made throughout our lives.”
~ Asa Don Brown, Waiting to Live

 
Hate has a pathological effect upon the psyche of the individual.  The pathology of hate is commonly linked to those that provide us protection and nurturing early in the early stages of our lives.  The nurturing of a parent or guardian can be the catalyst of a variety of psychological and psychiatric conditions.  It is not to say that hate cannot be spurred on by organic conditions of the mind, but we know that the greatest influence of hate is directly related to the nurturing received in our youth.

While psychological and psychiatric conditions of each individual may develop beyond the experiences per childhood; the presets surrounding the personal ideological viewpoints, theories,  ethical and moral compasses are undoubtedly influenced by those in direct contact with our own lives.

The makeup of hate is comprised of uncertainty, insecurity, loneliness, awkwardness, lack of confidence, self-doubt, unassertiveness, timidity, anxiety, instability, vulnerability, and defenselessness.  Whereas to love, a person has humility, security, assurance, acceptance, attachments, tenderness, patience, understanding, compassion and most of all, tolerance.

INTOLERANCE

The human race is an intolerable species.  We are seldom welcoming of varying views, belief systems, and behaviors.  We shun or outwardly reject those who differ from our own person.  As a species, we are more apt to disregard or completely ignore anyone we disagree with.  Such intolerance is no different than blatant acts of hate and discrimination.  You may be asking yourself, how can ignoring or shunning be as reprehensible as violent acts.  While the acts of shunning or ignoring lack the physical violence of the fist; shunning and ignoring are intentionally setting a precedent of intolerance and bigotry.  It is this sort of behavior, attitudes, and percepts that is directly linked to instilling negative emotions (i.e. fear, distrust, hatred, worry, and personal distress).  The prejudices of an individual can invoke rage, hostilities, and an overall spirit of negativity.

While the intolerance begins within the mind and psyche of the individual, seldom does the intolerance keep isolated within the mind of the individual.  Sadly, the venomous nature of intolerance is capable of creeping itself slowly into the minds of others who directly and indirectly interact with the ill mind.

The spoils of intolerance are capable of diminishing and destroying every thread of communication.  It is the egregious nature of intolerance that spurs on the prejudices and bigotry  developed within the minds of those effected by such hate.

HATE’S VICTIMS

The victims of hate may be your neighbor, your friend, your father, your mother, your brother, your sister, your grandparent, your employer, and/or your enemy.  While the victims may range in age, race, gender, and intellectual quotient (IQ); the desire of such discrimination is to reach  maximum proportions.

Hate has intentions on breaking down the unity of all humanity.  It does not cease with the individual, but seeks to infiltrate all aspects of personal and global thinking.  The injection of such venom penetrates each aspect of humanity whether on an individual scale or a global perspective.  It may include ethnicity, religion, national origin, genetic makeup, socioeconomic status, career choices and/or a personal disability.  The ultimate goal of all hate crimes is intended on reaching systemic levels, thus reinforcing the intentions of hate.

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*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

The Psychological Effects of Divorce

Posted by: Asa Don Brown on March 17, 2014 7:00 am

“When mom and dad went to war the only prisoners they took were the children.”
~ Pat Conroy

As a child of divorce, I can confer that the legal separation and dissolution of a marriage can have a profound effect. Even if, your parents are splitting amicably, having the greatest spirit of friendliness and acceptance; the separation of a set of parents has an effect. The level of the effect will and may differ, dependent upon the rationale behind the divorce, and the outcome of the divorce proceedings. While on the judicial side, divorce is the legal dissolving of a relationship; divorce from the perspective is the removal of one parent from another.

Divorce not only effects the children, the parents (the couple), but has an ability of effecting those beyond the confines of the immediate relationship. While divorce has an effect, it’s effect will vary dependent upon the family and the ultimate dynamics of the relationship .

THE EFFECT OF DIVORCE

Divorce can have a dire effect on all members of the family. The repercussions of a divorce can have an impact on the families financial stability, social environment, academic and employee performance, and the psychological and physical well-being of the family. Please understand, I am not criticizing divorce, rather it is important to recognize the possible and often frequent ramifications of divorce. While the ramifications and outcome of divorce are often egregious in nature; the ramifications and outcome of remaining in a negative, abusive, unaffectionate or undesirable relationship, can have a significantly greater effect.

“First, children who grow up in an intact, two-parent family with both biological parents present do better on a wide range of outcomes than children who grow up in a single-parent family. Single parenthood is not the only, nor even the most important, cause of the higher rates of school dropout, teenage pregnancy, juvenile delinquency, or other negative outcomes we see; but it does contribute independently to these problems. Neither does single parenthood guarantee that children will not succeed; many, if not most, children who grow up in a single-parent
household do succeed.” (Berlin, 2004, Online)

The Typical Concerns Associated with Divorce

1) What is the probability that my child will develop feelings of abandonment?
2) Does my child blame me for the divorce?
3) Will my child blame himself/herself for my divorce?
4) What is the probability that my child may develop psychological concerns because of the divorce?
5) As a parent, will I have the ability to have equal time and custody of my child?
6) How do I reassure my child that I will not abandon him/her?
7) How do I reduce the level of stress involved with the divorce?
8) How do I show respect for someone that I detest?
9) What is the probability that the disruption of the family routines will effect my child?
10) What if, my child show’s no signs or symptoms pertaining to the divorce?

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*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA