Therapy That Works...

Christian Grey's Childhood Trauma In "Fifty Shades of Grey" - By Chris Gearing

Friday, February 20, 2015

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing and Chris Gearing discuss the role of childhood trauma in the new hit film, "Fifty Shades of Grey" - click here.

The Psychopath In "Gone Girl" (SPOILERS) - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Who is the psychopath in "Gone Girl"? - click here.

PSYCHOPATHS - Is Louis Bloom In "Nightcrawler" A Psychopath? - By Chris Gearing

Friday, January 30, 2015

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing discuss whether or not Jake Gyllenhaal's character in the movie "Nightcrawler" is a psychopath - click here.

What do you think of when you hear the word “psychopath”?

Most of us think of characters in movies like Heath Ledger’s Joker or Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Hannibal Lecter. The word has become an umbrella term for describing those we view as violent, manipulative, and dangerous. However, the work of Theodore Millon and Roger Davis on psychopaths has discerned ten distinct types of psychopaths.

Jake Gylenhall’s unsettling portrayal of Louis Bloom in the hit movie “Nightcrawler” is a brilliant portrayal of the unprincipled psychopath.This psychopath lives to prey on the weak, influence others to execute their will, and do whatever it takes to advance their self-centered agenda. They aren’t afraid to take calculated risks, but they truly believe that consequences only apply to those too stupid to avoid them.

Predator or Prey

Highly narcissistic and lacking any conscience, they stalk the streets as a predator looking for an opportunity. Normal human emotions including empathy are discarded since they are deemed unbecoming of the unprincipled psychopath. Exploitative, arrogant, and immune to the pain of others, the unprincipled psychopath approaches the world as a zero sum game. Winning is always at some else’s expense. He considers himself superior, self-disciplined, and incredibly effective.

Friend or Victim

Interpersonally, the unprincipled psychopath is a disaster. They manipulate situations and motivations to seduce others into their exploitative schemes. Other people are interesting only as long as they are useful or exciting. They are often able to temporarily maintain a charming façade and can even be well liked by certain people. Once they have triumphed, people are discarded ruthlessly, quickly, and even sadistically.

Defeat Thy Neighbor

The unprincipled psychopath enjoys using humiliation as an instrument of revenge. According to Millon, their mantra is, “Do unto others before they do unto you.” They extract every useful resource from the other person, and then they sadistically enjoy watching the confusion and subsequent horror of others when they discover the true agenda. Contemptuously, he enjoys the process of seduction and the subsequent suffering of his prey as they struggle to escape his web of deceit.

Source:

"Psychopathy" by Theodore Millon, et. al.

"The Psychopath Test" by Jon Ronson

"The Sociopath Next Door" by Martha Stout

PSYCHOPATHS – Spotting The Psychopath Next Door, Part 4 - By Chris Gearing

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing share the final five signs of psychopaths and how you can spot the psychopaths in your life - click here.

Psychopaths live among us.

They can be found in prisons and the criminal organizations you would expect, but they also have a grip on many of the power centers of our society. They are quite common in the fields of politics, business, the professions (law, medicine, etc.), and in your neighborhood. They walk among us silently and without notice, and they are often difficult to detect due to their charming personalities and well-honed ability to manipulate and deceive us.

Despite the ten different types of psychopaths, there seems to be a very useful system for spotting them called the Hare Psychopathy Checklist—Revised.

Here are Hare’s final five common characteristics of psychopaths:

16. Externalizing Blame

Accountability is not in their vocabulary. They blame everyone else for what went wrong and deny their part in any wrongdoing.

17. Unable To Commit

Long-term commitment is difficult and avoided at all costs. Psychopaths may enter and exit many marriages without achieving a true attachment to any partner. People are objects to be used until a better, more alluring partner appears.

18. Juvenile Delinquency

They often get in trouble with the law early in life. Defiant to the end, they are not intimated by the legal system or any form of authority.

19. Rebuking Authority

A running theme, any form of authority is to be disobeyed and, if possible, undermined. Even with lesser forms of oversight like probation, they feel compelled to rebel and often commit yet another infraction that results in more severe consequences.

20. Opportunistic Criminals

Criminal activity can take thousands of forms and can be found at every level of society. Psychopaths are experts at finding illegal opportunities to engage in. The depth and range of criminal activity reinforces the psychopathic mindset of “the ends justify the means.”

Sources:

"Psychopathy" by Theodore Millon, et. al.

"The Psychopath Test" by Jon Ronson

"The Sociopath Next Door" by Martha Stout

PSYCHOPATHS – Spotting The Psychopath Next Door, Part 3 - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing share the third set of signs of psychopaths and how you can spot the psychopaths in your life - click here.

Psychopaths live among us.

They can be found in prisons and the criminal organizations you would expect, but they also have a grip on many of the power centers of our society. They are quite common in the fields of politics, business, the professions (law, medicine, etc.), and in your neighborhood. They walk among us silently and without notice, and they are often difficult to detect due to their charming personalities and well-honed ability to manipulate and deceive us.

Despite the ten different types of psychopaths, there seems to be a very useful system for spotting them called the Hare Psychopathy Checklist—Revised.

Here are Hare’s common characteristics of psychopaths, eleven through fifteen:

11. Sexual Promiscuity

Sexual gratification and promiscuity are a part of the psychopath lifestyle, and sexual partners are selected, used, and discarded on a whim. Psychopaths use coercion, exploitation, and even sexual assaults to meet their sexual needs.

12. Early Evidence

Many psychopaths portray these characteristics early in life, and they often demonstrate antisocial behaviors and interpersonal cruelty as a child or teen.

13. Stealing Dreams

Psychopaths are predators of the hopes and dreams of others. They have difficulty creating and executing goals and plans of their own, and they want quick wins with little work. They choose to excel by exploiting the labors of others and stepping in to take all the credit.

14. Impulsivity

Temptations are difficult to resist, and they recklessly pursue any pleasurable opportunity with little thought of the consequences. They feel that they are invincible, and they don’t need to worry about the consequences that normal people face.

15. Irresponsibility

Psychopaths fail to honor their obligations or their promises. They often betray the trust of others by repeatedly walking away from financial, social, and business agreements.

Sources:

"Psychopathy" by Theodore Millon, et. al.

"The Psychopath Test" by Jon Ronson

"The Sociopath Next Door" by Martha Stout

PSYCHOPATHS – Spotting The Psychopath Next Door, Part 2 - By Chris Gearing

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing share the second set of signs of psychopaths and how you can spot the psychopaths in your life - click here.

Psychopaths live among us.

They can be found in prisons and the criminal organizations you would expect, but they also have a grip on many of the power centers of our society. They are quite common in the fields of politics, business, the professions (law, medicine, etc.), and in your neighborhood. They walk among us silently and without notice, and they are often difficult to detect due to their charming personalities and well-honed ability to manipulate and deceive us.

Despite the ten different types of psychopaths, there seems to be a very useful system for spotting them called the Hare Psychopathy Checklist—Revised.

Here are Hare’s common characteristics of psychopaths, six through ten:

6. Lack of Remorse

Psychopaths experience no guilt or remorse when they witness the destruction that they cause in the lives of others. Why should they feel badly? You were simply out played.

7. Shallow Emotions

They may try to give the appearance of appropriate concern for the welfare of others, but they lack the empathy required to pull it off. Sooner or later, it soon becomes clear that their agenda is the only thing that ever mattered to them.

8. Cold As Ice

Psychopaths are ruthless and cold to the core. They have no tolerance for the emotions of others, and they do not regret or even think about the destruction and trauma they inflict upon others.

9. Parasitic Lifestyle

They regard the labors and resources of others as their property to be used for their own selfish gain. They are convinced that hard work is not required, and the ends justify the means without any thought of morals or decency.

10. Emotional Outbursts

Psychopaths lack the ability to control the expression of powerful and intense emotions that flare in reaction to the every day disappointments and frustrations of life. Even though they are emotionally abusive to those around them, they rationalize their impulsive verbal tirades and emotional assaults on others as deserved or justified.

Sources:

"Psychopathy" by Theodore Millon, et. al.

"The Psychopath Test" by Jon Ronson

"The Sociopath Next Door" by Martha Stout

PSYCHOPATHS – Spotting The Psychopath Next Door, Part 1 - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing share the first five signs of psychopaths and how you can spot the psychopaths in your life - click here.

Psychopaths live among us.

They can be found in prisons and the criminal organizations you would expect, but they also have a grip on many of the power centers of our society. They are quite common in the fields of politics, business, the professions (law, medicine, etc.), and in your neighborhood. They walk among us silently and without notice, and they are often difficult to detect due to their charming personalities and well-honed ability to manipulate and deceive us.

Despite the ten different types of psychopaths, there seems to be a very useful system for spotting them called the Hare Psychopathy Checklist—Revised.

Here are Hare’s common characteristics of psychopaths, one through five:

1. Superficial Charm

Hare says that the critical difference between normal charm and psychopathic charm is the utter absence of conscience. They glide through our society like a snake often giving the appearance of decency and decorum.

2. Grandiose Self-Worth

Psychopaths view themselves as better than those around them and they hold an inflated view of their intelligence and abilities. They live to exploit the gifts of others and then dispose of them in the blink of an eye.

3. Thrill Seeking

They seek out adventure and constantly search for the next task to give them that rush of adrenaline. They feel that ordinary lives are beneath them.

4. Pathological Lying

All forms of lying, everything from omission of details to deliberate misdirection, are acceptable to the psychopath in the pursuit of their goal.

5. Exploitation & Manipulation

They love to use deceit and trickery to fool you into doing what they want – no matter the cost to you. In addition, they expect you to always fall for their deception since they are convinced that you are too stupid to figure them out.

Sources:

"Psychopathy" by Theodore Millon, et. al.

"The Psychopath Test" by Jon Ronson

"The Sociopath Next Door" by Martha Stout

PSYCHOPATHS - The Ten Types of Psychopaths, Part 2 - By Chris Gearing

Monday, November 24, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing share the final five types of psychopaths and discuss examples using characters from Game of Thrones! click here.

A solid understanding of how psychopaths function can help you see them coming. However, psychopaths have individual characteristics central to their typology.

To give you a better idea of each typology, I’ve matched each type of psychopath with a character from Game of Thrones.

So, there are some light Game of Thrones spoilers ahead. (Spoiler Alert! Final Warning!)

Here is part two of the top ten types of psychopaths from psychologists Millon and Davis:

The Explosive Psychopath

The explosive psychopath has immediate and frequent access to their rage. Their emotionally intense outbursts are levied against those who are innocent or vulnerable or if that fails - just the closest target. They are differentiated from the other psychopaths by their tendencies to erupt instantaneously and to attack their foe savagely within second. They are sadistic and utterly savage when they lose their cool.

The eye-gouging, head-crushing unstoppable warrior The Mountain is a great example of the Explosive Psychopath. His fits of violence are explosive and devastating, and they are often tinged with cruelty and savagery.

The Abrasive Psychopath

Oppositional and surly, the abrasive psychopath resembles a rebellious teenager in the throes of separating and individuation. However, these enduring and defining personality traits make them difficult to deal with since they are unable to build deep relationships and they absolutely cannot be trusted. They always have a wicked insult ready to fire, but they will often complain that they have no wish to argue with others. However, the reality is that they relish their contemptuous stance and feel entitled to do and say anything that they please. They have no remorse for even the greatest cruelty.

Everyone’s favorite sellsword, Bronn, fits the Abrasive Psychopath typology. He will do whatever it takes to win an argument or a duel, and he is willing to sell his loyalty to the highest bidder – no matter what or whom he betrays.

The Malignant Psychopath

Driven by paranoid beliefs, the Malignant Psychopath follows power hierarchies and their distrust and envy of others frames their worldview. Unlike other psychopaths, they are often less effective and their efforts to inflict pain on others tend to backfire. They have endured terrible abuse from others, and they see the world as a very dangerous place. They resort to fantasy rather than action, and they invent scenarios that cast other people and the environment in dark and menacing tones. They ruminate on imagined malice from others and they project their own evil intentions onto those around them, whether they are innocent or guilty.

The last male heir of the House of Greyjoy, Theon Greyjoy fits the malignant psychopath typology both before and after his transformation into Reek. He is obsessed with power, and he uses violence to maintain control of any given situation.

The Tyrannical Psychopath

This cool and cunning form of psychopath seems to be stimulated by the vulnerability of others. They love to subordinate and even subjugate their victims, and often delight in their fear, humiliation, and intimidation. They will target those they predict will submit while avoiding those more likely to fight back. Violence is second nature and they use it willingly to fulfill their vengeful plans. They relish the memories of their victim’s suffering and they often review their conquests with great amusement and pleasure.

When it comes to the power game, few are more effective than Tywin Lannister. He dominates those he feels are weak, yet yields to the chosen few who have more power than him – for now. He also carries deep seated grudges against those he feels have wronged him or his family name, and he has no qualms with using violence and treachery to get what he wants.

The Malevolent Psychopath

Cold blooded and ruthless, the malevolent psychopath is usually what people think of when they hear the word “psychopath.” Typically found in sadistic and or paranoid personalities, they are intolerant of tender emotions and are convinced that such behaviors are manipulative and meant to hurt them. They love power and will demonstrate that power through the deliberate mistreatment of others. When frustrated or thwarted by their attempts to dominate, they will demonstrate raw cruelty and arrogant contempt. Many murders and serial killers fall in this category.

The sickest of them all, Ramsay Snow or Ramsay Bolton is a perfect malevolent psychopath. He delights in the torture and domination of others, and he uses emotions against his victims – giving them a glimmer of hope only to ruthlessly crush it. It’s also pretty clear that he loves to torture and murder people in his dungeon.

What do you think of all of the psychopath typologies and their Game of Thrones counterparts? Can you come up with better matches? Please sound off in the comments below or visit our Facebook pageto share your ideas and continue the discussion!

Sources:

"Psychopathy" by Theodore Millon, et. al.

"The Psychopath Test" by Jon Ronson

"The Sociopath Next Door" by Martha Stout

PSYCHOPATHS - The Ten Types of Psychopaths, Part 1 - By Chris Gearing

Friday, November 21, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing share the first five types of psychopaths and discuss examples using characters from Game of Thrones! click here

A solid understanding of how psychopaths function can help you see them coming. However, psychopaths have individual characteristics central to their typology.

To give you a better idea of each typology, I’ve matched each type of psychopath with a character from Game of Thrones.

So, there are some Game of Thrones spoilers ahead. (Spoiler Alert! Final Warning!)

Here is part one of the top ten types of psychopaths from psychologists Millon and Davis:

The Unprincipled Psychopath

The unprincipled psychopath is highly narcissistic and delights in wrecking vengeance through humiliation. They love to exploit and abuse other people, and they genuinely enjoy the anguish they create. People are used until they are no longer useful and then demolished and discarded with no guilt. Consequences and morals have no influence with them and their motto is, “Do unto others before they do unto you.”

Walder Frey’s ultimate betrayal of the Stark family is a wonderful example of an unprincipled psychopath. He delighted in his vengeance as he watched dozens of people murdered in front of him.

The Disingenuous Psychopath

The disingenuous psychopath enjoys popularity and a great social façade, and they are able to charm those around them initially. However, long-term intimate relationships are next to impossible due to their unreliability, seething resentment, and tendency to plot against others. They view life as a zero sum game—only one of us can win, and it’s going to be me. They will rationalize all of their heinous behavior, and they will expect others to appreciate their cunning schemes.

Cersei Lannister fits the disingenuous psychopath typology with her complex schemes, deep resentment, and commitment to victory at all costs.

The Risk-Taking Psychopath

These psychopaths live for the rush they get when they take risks and put their lives in danger. They thrive on a steady diet of dangerous and treacherous living. They are convinced that they are invincible and view others who will not take the same risks as weak and inept. Their lack of reliability and responsibility is central to their character, and they lack any understanding or concern for how their dangerous actions affect those around them. All that matters is the thrill of the game.

Khal Drogo is an unstoppable warrior and feared commander who is eventually killed by an infected wound. His risk taking, belief that he is invincible, and reckless attitude are all hallmarks of the Risk Taking Psychopath.

The Covetous Psychopath

Envy and revenge are the central characteristics of the Covetous Psychopath. They are exhibitionistic and self-indulgent, and they often have little concern for the people they deceive and exploit. They may become successful entrepreneurs who will do anything to succeed in business. All immoral and cruel acts are rationalized as being fair since all they are doing is taking what should have been theirs in the first place. Dr. Millon notes that their true sense of pleasure comes from taking what they want rather than earning it.

If you haven’t guessed already, Petyr Baelish aka “Littlefinger” is the quintessential Covetous Psychopath. He is a successful businessman due to exploiting and trading other people in his brothel, and his only true desires are what other men have and he is willing to do anything to get what he wants.

The Spineless Psychopath

Viewing themselves as defenseless and weak, the Spineless Psychopath will strike out first against others in a counter phobic effort to avoid the aggression of others. They project a false bravado and want desperately for others to see them as invincible and “not to be messed with.” Drawn to militaristic groups that prey on the innocent, they bully and victimize to soothe their own fears of inadequacy.

Everyone’s favorite person, King Joffrey Baratheon is a perfect example of the Spineless Psychopath. A sadistic and cruel bully who commands others to fight his battles for him, Joffrey is in fact a scared little boy who everyone hates.

Sources:

"Psychopathy" by Theodore Millon, et. al.

"The Psychopath Test" by Jon Ronson

"The Sociopath Next Door" by Martha Stout

PSYCHOPATHS – Psychopathy In Gone Girl (Spoilers!) - By Chris Gearing

Friday, November 14, 2014

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing discuss the psychopathic character in Gone Girl and highlights some psychopath red flags to watch out for - click here.

Last chance before any "Gone Girl" spoilers!

Rosamund Pike’s character, Amy Dunne, in the movie Gone Girl is another reminder that psychopaths walk among us in everyday settings. Harvard and Yale educated, Amy Dunne strikes a vivid chord as she details the heart stopping, passionate relationship with Ben Affleck’s character, Nick. We see them falling in love only to fall apart a few years into their diary chronicled marriage.

The relationship takes a dark turn as the couple loses jobs, income, and romantic momentum as they relocate from glamorous downtown New York City to the suburbs in Missouri. Despite the noble purpose of caring for Nick’s dying mother and the setting of a beautiful mansion, the couple descends into heartbreak, infidelity, and ultimately betrayal. Amy narrates her suspicions, her disdain, and eventually her accusation of murder toward the man who is now a shadow of the husband she once loved and adored.

However, the true story is quickly revealed.

Amy is a psychopath who has been meticulously plotting revenge against her husband for months. Little by little, she has assembled the pieces for a slam-dunk conviction for first-degree murder. Amy isn’t going to settle for life in prison either; her goal is his eventual execution for her very staged death.

As a psychologist, I found Amy’s biased version of events quite familiar since psychopaths are experts at presenting a convincing and stylized view of reality. It is as if they live in a parallel world from which they select only the facts that will favor their version of reality. They are masters at drawing us into a highly rearranged presentation of facts and events that make us question our own sanity. Good is bad, up is down, and black is white. It is incredibly easy to get lost in the labyrinth of lies and deceit.

The worst part is the eventual sacrifice of the welfare of those around them in the blink of an eye.

Without empathy, without regard for others, and (most importantly) without conscience, the psychopath seeks only an outcome that is singularly triumphant for them. Your complete and utter destruction is just collateral damage. They are psychological predators of the highest order and they are increasingly common in the business world, the professional fields, and even your neighborhood.

For more information, make sure to watch my upcoming Psychopath series featuring ten types of psychopaths and critical signs you can watch out for.

Sources:

"Psychopathy" by Theodore Millon PhD DSc, Erik Simonsen MD, Roger D. Davis PhD, Morten Birket-Smith MD

"The Sociopath Next Door" by Martha Stout

"The Psychopath Test" by Jon Ronson


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