24 October 2010

Psychotherapy, Buddhism, Personality, Self

“To study the buddha way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be actualized by myriad things. When actualized by myriad things, your body and mind as well as the bodies and minds of others drop away. No trace of realization remains, and this no-trace continues endlessly” (Dogen Zenji 1200-1253).
How does one “study” or “forget” the self?
How does the self study and forget it-|…|-self?
How is one “actualized” by “myriad things”?
Who is the “one” asking the question?
Both Buddhism and psychology attempt to grasp the nature of mind, consciousness and the self, to alleviate suffering and to foster greater capacity for happiness and compassion. We all are prewired to develop a “self”.  Human brain and nervous system have evolved to “have” consciousness and an embodied, pertinacious sense of “I / me” as a phenomenological center of our own subjectivity.
Along with the “language instinct” and its semiotic function(s), the capacity to “have” (an experience of) mind, consciousness and self are uniquely human, reflective of our evolutionary moment in space and time.  As humans, we are also hardwired to organize our genetic endowment and all personal experiences into a personality - a neurocognitive (brain-mind) system regulating the enduring patterns of our internal experience and behavior.
As we mature and transition from infancy to adulthood, personality eventually becomes central in making each of us unique among others and consistent in time and across different situations. In the course of our psychological development, all events in our lives, every interaction, sensation, thought, internal experience or overt behavior leave a permanent trace on our brain-mind (memory) and make us who we are in the present moment.
Given “good enough” conditions, life, self, identity and personality develop relatively intact. When the hereditary and / or situational conditions are not wholesome enough, specific problems known as “disorders of personality” may develop.
A disorder of personality (and a personality disorder) can be thought of as “an enduring disturbance of the neurocognitive system regulating patterns of internal experience, behavior and interpersonal adaptation“. It can become a life long psychological and psychiatric affliction permeating all aspect of life, interpersonal relations with other people in particular.
Buddhism and psychology in general, and Buddhist meditation training and psychotherapy in particular, are two distinct yet overlapping ways of healing and mending hurt selves, ruptured identities and maladaptive personalities.

www.twardon.org ~This website is a forum where psychotherapy, Buddhist meditation and disorders of personality are explored and discussed within a multidimensional,  multivariable, psychodynamic neurocognitiveparadigm.~

General symptoms of a personality disorder
Personality disorder symptoms include:
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Stormy relationships
  • Social isolation
  • Angry outbursts
  • Suspicion and mistrust of others
  • Difficulty making friends
  • A need for instant gratification
  • Poor impulse control
  • Alcohol or substance abuse
Specific types of personality disorders: The specific types of personality disorders are grouped into three clusters based on similar characteristics and symptoms. Many people with one diagnosed personality disorder also have signs and symptoms of at least one additional personality disorder.
Cluster A personality disorders: These are personality disorders characterized by odd, eccentric thinking or behavior and include:
Paranoid personality disorder
  • Distrust and suspicion of others
  • Believing that others are trying to harm you
  • Emotional detachment
  • Hostility
Schizoid personality disorder
  • Lack of interest in social relationships
  • Limited range of emotional expression
  • Inability to pick up normal social cues
  • Appearing dull or indifferent to others
Schizotypal personality disorder
  • Peculiar dress, thinking, beliefs or behavior
  • Perceptual alterations, such as those affecting touch
  • Discomfort in close relationships
  • Flat emotions or inappropriate emotional responses
  • Indifference to others
  • "Magical thinking" — believing you can influence people and events with your thoughts
  • Believing that messages are hidden for you in public speeches or displays
Cluster B personality disorders: These are personality disorders characterized by dramatic, overly emotional thinking or behavior and include:
Antisocial (formerly called sociopathic) personality disorder
  • Disregard for others
  • Persistent lying or stealing
  • Recurring difficulties with the law
  • Repeatedly violating the rights of others
  • Aggressive, often violent behavior
  • Disregard for the safety of self or others
Borderline personality disorder
  • Impulsive and risky behavior
  • Volatile relationships
  • Unstable mood
  • Suicidal behavior
  • Fear of being alone
Histrionic personality disorder
  • Constantly seeking attention
  • Excessively emotional
  • Extreme sensitivity to others' approval
  • Unstable mood
  • Excessive concern with physical appearance
Narcissistic personality disorder: Believing that you're better than others
  • Fantasizing about power, success and attractiveness
  • Exaggerating your achievements or talents
  • Expecting constant praise and admiration
  • Failing to recognize other people's emotions and feelings
Cluster C personality disorders: These are personality disorders characterized by anxious, fearful thinking or behavior and include:
Avoidant personality disorder
  • Hypersensitivity to criticism or rejection
  • Feeling inadequate
  • Social isolation
  • Extreme shyness in social situations
  • Timidity
Dependent personality disorder
  • Excessive dependence on others
  • Submissiveness toward others
  • A desire to be taken care of
  • Tolerance of poor or abusive treatment
  • Urgent need to start a new relationship when one has ended
Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder
  • Preoccupation with orderliness and rules
  • Extreme perfectionism
  • Desire to be in control of situations
  • Inability to discard broken or worthless objects
  • Inflexibility
Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder isn't the same as obsessive-compulsive disorder, a type of anxiety disorder.
When to see a doctor- If you have any signs or symptoms of a personality disorder, see your doctor, mental health provider or other health care professional. Untreated, personality disorders can cause significant problems in your life, and they may get worse without treatment.
Helping a loved one- If you have a loved one who you think may have symptoms of a personality disorder, have an open and honest discussion about your concerns. You may not be able to force someone to seek professional care, but you can offer encouragement and support. 

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