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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

Growing Kids Strong - How To Use Masterful Action - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing describe how you can use "masterful action" to help inoculate your child against depression and anxiety - click here.

Have you ever wanted to boost your child’s self-confidence?

Since unwarranted praise and rescuing can have other negative effects, many parents wonder how they can help their children feel better about themselves while also keeping them grounded in reality. Masterful action is one of the most effective ways to teach your child to believe in themselves and to be effective in any situation.

Masterful action is when your child engages with a problem and overcomes obstacles to find a solution.

Whenever they encounter adversity, they must strategize how they will solve the problem and plan the steps they will take to do it.

Here are some important points to keep in mind about Masterful Action:

Progressive Positivity:

Teaching your child to be a resilient, optimistic problem solver doesn’t just happen overnight. It builds over time and hundreds of successes and failures. Each success builds their self-confidence, their perseverance, and their spirit for adventure.

Framing The Outcome:

One of the most important parts of masterful action is how your child thinks about the success. Was it pure luck or some external force that made them succeed? Or was their success driven by their hard work, intelligence, and perseverance? Framing the outcome as a result of their own actions further bolsters their belief in their ability to improve their lives and achieve their dreams.

Resist The Urge To Rescue:

Let’s face it – your child isn’t always going to win. In fact, most children will face failure regularly and they may often experience anxiety, anger, and sadness. However, negative feelings are not always a bad thing since they can be used as motivation for hard work and practice for the next time. You shouldn’t always feel the need to “rescue” them from bad feelings. Instead, try to talk to them about what happened and help them understand how they can change the outcome next time.

Teachable Moments:

You should try to teach your children how to think about and experience failure. Instead of them “just being stupid,” they may just not have studied very much for the test and they can improve their grade with a little extra hard work. If they regularly dread gym class or recess, they can always become stronger and faster through practice and discipline.

Create Opportunities:

One of the best things you can do for your child is create opportunities for masterful action. Solve math problems together, hold batting practice every weekend, or even play a video game together. Not only will you spend more time with your wonderful child, but you’ll also be teaching them valuable skills to overcome obstacles and to believe in themselves.

Source:

"The Optimistic Child" by Dr. Martin Seligman

Generation Me - The Downsides of Taking Selfies - By Chris Gearing

Friday, August 09, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing describe how taking online self-portraits, or "selfies," could be bad for you - click here.

With the advent of social networks like Facebook, “selfies” have become increasingly popular with American children and adolescents. The Millenial generation is already changing the world and at eighty million strong, they aren’t going anywhere any time soon.

However, “selfies” are not always a good thing. Here are some things to think about:

Signaling Your Priorities:

Taking pictures of ourselves can be wonderful but only within certain limits. Creating an endless online photostream of yourself may appeal to some, but it can border on self-involved for the rest of the world. While we love to see occasional shots of you and your life, selfies can become a daily reminder of what you value (a.k.a. what you look like in the mirror). When you spend so much time posting pictures of yourself online, your priorities are not where they should be—out in the world contributing, learning about new things, and connecting to other people who would love to get to know you.

No Substitute:

“Selfies” are a one-way street. They cannot take the place of conversations, spontaneous interactions, and intimacy with others. They also tell us very little about who you are and what kind of person you want to be. Those can only be shared in person.

Lack of Learning:

One way we learn about ourselves is through being around and relating to other people. We learn about our strengths and weaknesses, practice relating and empathy, and learn how we can be a better friend when we are actively socializing and talking in person. Too much time staring at a computer screen prevents us from learning how to effectively relate and connect to others.

Greater Expectations:

Too much emphasis on how we look in our pictures online can create unrealistic expectations of ourselves that can prove difficult to sustain over the years. We need to find a balance between enjoying how we look while retaining a genuine sense of who we are. We need to define ourselves based on our strengths as people, not as pictures on the internet.

Source:

"Generation Me" by Dr. Jean Twenge

Generation Me - The Benefits of Taking "Selfies" - By Chris Gearing

Monday, August 05, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing discuss why posting self-portraits, or "selfies," online could actually be a good thing - click here.

With the advent of social networks like Facebook, self-portraits, or “Selfies,” have become increasingly popular with American children and adolescents. The Millenial generation is already changing the world and at eighty million strong, they aren’t going anywhere any time soon.

So, what are the upsides of taking “Selfies?”

Adventures In Real Time:

Selfies can be used to share who we are with the world. These spontaneous pictures can broadcast our sense of humor, our serious side, or even a flattering physical shot. They are meant to give a fleeting glimpse of our life and our adventures to our friends and family in real time.

Cutting Loose:

Sometimes, we just need to have some fun! Selfies give us a way to play and forget our responsibilities and worries for a few minutes. We can have our own personal photo shoot with just ourselves or we can bring in friends to spice things up! Either way, it’s fun to cut loose for a little while and be silly and spontaneous.

Capturing The Creative:

Using services like Instagram, “Selfies” can be shot in a million different ways and they allow us to express and develop our unique personalities and creative perspective. We can share who we are at this moment in time without limiting who we want to be.

Source:

"Generation Me" by Dr. Jean Twenge

Growing Kids Strong - Are We In The Middle Of A Childhood Depression Epidemic? - By Chris Gearing

Friday, August 02, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing discuss some of the statistics of childhood depression and why the problem is getting worse with each generation - click here.

One out of every four children will experience severe anxiety before they graduate high school.

One out of every ten teenagers will experience an episode of major depression by the time they go to college.

In addition, about half of teens diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, and the average age of onset for an anxiety disorder is now six years old. However even with all of these terrifying statistics, only eighteen percent of anxious or depressed teens ever see a professional psychotherapist.

Psychologists and government officials have been warning for years that childhood depression and anxiety are reaching epidemic levels, and the numbers are not encouraging. However, very few parents are seeking out professional treatment for their children.

Here are some important points to keep in mind about child and adolescent depression:

Lifetime Effects:

Depression can be a lifelong struggle. Severe depression reoccurs in about half of those who have had it once in their lifetime. Once your child experiences a depressive episode, they will battle more frequent and severe depression for the rest of their life.

Rise In Suicide:

In 2012, American teenagers were polled on mental health issues. Sixteen percent of teens reported seriously considering suicide, thirteen percent created a plan to commit suicide, and eight percent had attempted suicide and failed. Suicide is now the third leading cause of death for ages 10 to 24, and it is responsible for thousand of deaths every year.

Generational Snowball:

Researchers have been interviewing previous generations for years to investigate their rates of depression throughout their lives. They asked if they had ever experienced at least two weeks of depression or anxiety symptoms during their lifetime. For those who were born before World War I, only one percent experienced an episode of depression. For those who were born in the mid 1920’s and faced the Great Depression and World War II early in their lives, only four percent ever experienced an episode of depression. For those who were born in the 1950’s and grew up in the political and social turmoil of the 1960’s, seven percent had experienced depression by the time they were 30. Currently, ten percent of children and adolescents experience a major depression before they graduate high school. The rates of depression are growing with each generation, and our young children are experiencing more depression than ever.

Childhood rates of clinical depression and anxiety have grown exponentially over the past century and can have devastating lifelong effects. If you are worried about a child or teen you know, please seek the assistance of a clinical psychologist.

Sources:

"The Optimistic Child" by Dr. Martin Seligman

Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (www.CDC.gov)

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH.NIH.gov)

Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA.org)

My, My-Selfie, and I - CW33 Appearance - By Chris Gearing

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia on the CW 33 News discussing the detrimental effects of "selfies" and Generation Me - click here.

The Allure of Bad Boys - By Chris Gearing

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing describe why bad boys are so tempting and how to know if you're bad boy has a heart of gold - click here.

It’s a question as old as time. Why are bad boys so irresistible?

This kind of situation can be a parent’s worst nightmare – even if they don’t own a motorcycle. So, why are bad boys so attractive?

Viewed from afar, these guys can seem very attractive. They are often glamorous, soulful, artistic, romantic, and they ooze self-confidence. He’s spontaneous, lives for today, and is full of adventure. Unfortunately, most bad boys see you or your child as the next target. They are often hoping to use you today and be gone tomorrow.

But it’s not all bad. There are some good men in bad boy packages. Think of Johnny Cash, Brad Pitt, Jay-Z, or David Beckham. They were wild when they were younger, but they became dedicated husbands and fathers down the road.

Here are some signs that you may have landed a keeper in a leather jacket:

Live By A Code:

If your bad boy is controlling or regularly cheats, he’s a poor bet for a sudden reform. However, if he is conscientious, values family and other people around him, and genuinely cherishes you or your child, you might give him some time. He may just be growing up.

Longer To Mature:

Recent research found that the male brain doesn’t fully mature until men are forty-three years old. That’s eleven years more than their female counterparts! Again, try to cut him some slack. See if he is willing to meet you in the middle and act like an adult.

Watch For Warnings:

Always be aware of the warning signs that it may be time to leave. Men who use intimidation or violence to get what they want usually end up turning on you at some point. When they start trying to frame the world as “us against them,” that’s a red flag that they may want you to be dependent on them. Also, don’t let them radically change your life. If it’s meant to be, they love you for who you are today and they don’t need you to change.

Source:

"The Primal Teen" by Barbara Strauch

The Higher Risk of Suicide In The Baby Boomer Generation - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing on KTXD 47 discuss the recent teen suicides in Rockwall, TX and why suicide is more common in the Baby Boomer generation - click here.

Violence Prediction and Narcissistic Decline - By Chris Gearing

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing describe how certain perceptions of the world can push vulnerable minds to violence - click here.

The Internet is filled with theories about the recent Boston Marathon bombings.

Doctors, journalists, and bloggers are focusing on the psychology of terrorism or the role of siblings in violence. However, perpetrators of such violent crimes often come with unique warning signs. If we know what to look for, it may be possible to prevent future tragedies. Here are some of the reasons that someone you know may be prone to violence:

Inflated Self-Image

Many perpetrators have grandiose opinions of themselves. They expect the world to recognize how special they are and reward their talents and abilities at all times. They are shocked when they do not receive the acclaim that they expect and they struggle to understand the reasons for it.

“Me Against The World”

The trouble begins when the world regularly frustrates and deprives them of the recognition they feel entitled to receive. Due to their exceptionally high opinions of themselves, the perpetrator develops elaborate explanations and conspiracies for these setbacks. They find somewhere to place the blame for their negative feelings and they may begin to plan their revenge.

Losing Their Grip On Reality

Once their negative feelings reach a tipping point, their thinking may become actively delusional as they slip deeper into disappointment. They become convinced that they have been robbed of the rewards they justly deserve. They find evidence all around them of a person or force determined to suppress their greatness.

Breaking Point

This type of thinking can often provoke a more anti-social perspective that starts to incorporate desires for revenge and payback. Each mind has its own threshold for violence, but their thinking may begin to fragment and allow irrational thoughts and justifications for violence.

If you are worried about someone you know, please seek the assistance of a clinical psychologist to help you understand the signs of violence and what you can do to help.

Sources:

The work of Gavin de Becker

The work of Dr. John Exner


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