As therapy progresses and other members gain from the experience, relationship between pre-therapy adjustment and quality of activity as a therapist disappears. However, throughout the course of therapy, the members who are initially most anxious and most hostile, as determined by Rorschach records, use criticism, evaluation, and disapproval to a greater extent than initially less anxious and hostile members, who tend to use such techniques as simple acceptance, clarification of feeling, restatement of content, approval and encouragement, and reassurance. Whatever the explanation, it seems certain that group members become more able to respond to the feelings of others in a manner likely to assist them to explore these feelings further. Gorlow also found significant and interesting relationships between gain in therapy and the assumption of the role of therapist. We don't always get what we want or deserve. Life would be overwhelming if we didn't come well-equipped with regulatory mechanisms to manage the stress thrown our way. Fortunately, our bodies are biologically wired for survival. The human survival response spans a wide range. If the stressor is physical--say, an oncoming car that bolts out as you're crossing the street--your body will be flooded with energy, kicking your muscles into high gear so you can scramble to the curb. If the stressor is social--say, getting picked last for the dodgeball team--it can protect you from immediate pain by dampening your emotions. To protect against future stress, it can also increase your alertness, making you vigilant and more aware of your circumstances. While those are valuable tools on occasion, the stress response can become maladaptive and hair-trigger in damaging ways. It may be hard to find the off switch. Dampened reactions can devolve into chronic depression, while alertness can escalate into chronic anxiety and hypervigilance. Breakthrough nutritional science has revealed simple, comprehensive guidelines for making smart food choices, which Dr Adam reveals below. Knowing these guidelines changes the process from What do I feel like having? When we approach our menu that way, we have the win-win of tastes good and does us good. Dr Adam's Prescription for Eating Smart Keep an eye on the calorie count and quality. While you don't need to track everything that goes into your mouth, you want to have a general idea of how much you're eating and make sure that the calories you're taking in are nutritious.

Omit the whites. Carbohydrates help your brain produce the calming and mood-boosting neurotransmitter serotonin, but not all carbs are created equal. Complex carbs, such as those found in whole grains, are a better choice than simple or refined carbs (white sugar, white flour, and the like), because they are good sources of vitamins, fiber, and minerals. Avoid fried foods. The people who gained most from therapy were also those who most frequently employed, in their responses to members presenting problems, the kinds of therapist-statements believed to be most healing. When the use of nondirective behavior by member-therapists is plotted against time, the curve for those who were judged most profited rises sharply, while the curve for those judged least profited follows a level course. A two-way possibility is evident here. The achievement of greater personal integration may make it possible for a person to be more helpful to others. On the other hand, the very giving of help may be beneficial. Or both may be true. We are sure only of the relationship, not of the source or direction of causation. SELECTION OF GROUP MEMBERS Two sets of probabilities are involved in the question of who should enter group therapy. One is the likelihood that the individual will gain from the experience; Hundreds of other disorders and diseases can also result. In this article, we'll dive into biochemistry to understand our survival system. We'll look at how this system gets hijacked by chronic stressors and hard circumstances like oppression. You will become knowledgeable about how your brain works and understand how our unjust culture gets coded inside of our bodies, leaving us vulnerable to a range of ills, from chronic depression to diabetes to drug abuse. Later in the article we'll build on this scientific foundation, putting our focus on rewiring your brain for optimal resilience, health, well-being, and connection with others. Throughout, we'll make the connections between how social systems affect brain development--and how you can change those social systems.

THE STRESS RESPONSE Stress is like a toxin that some of us chronically bathe in. It changes the chemistry of our brains and our bodies. If you bear the shame of feeling that something is wrong with you, or you're not good enough, it wears on you. These are loaded with unhealthy fats that contribute to heart disease. Skip the soda. Soda is wasted calories (sparkling water and seltzer are okay). And studies have proven a correlation between soda intake and type 2 diabetes. Pack your plate with color. Aim for a colorful assortment of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. The more variety, the better. Go lean on the protein. Cut back on red meat, and include more cold-water fish in your diet, like salmon. Slash the salt. Both considerations are important, but we do not know how to write an equation that will express their subtle interrelationships, nor can we identify the personality variables that should enter into such a calculation. All that we have to go on are certain rules of thumb. These have been derived not from research but from our conspicuous failures, and they thus mark outside boundaries in a very loose fashion. But this is the kind of problem that can be pinned down by research, and in time we can anticipate increased effectiveness of group therapy as we know how to choose people for participation and how to match groups for optimum interpersonal accord. On the positive side, we can apply the same criteria that have been developed from experience in individual client-centered therapy, as described on articles 228-230 (article 5). From the standpoint of the individual, the only criterion that seems consistently applicable is whether or not he chooses, without pressure, to join a group and work on a problem of concern to him.

One can think of many kinds of people who would not be expected to profit from a group experience: the extremely shy person, the overly anxious person, the intensely hostile person, the deeply disturbed person. But our predictions in individual instances, based upon these reasonable assumptions, have been defeated as often as they have been sustained. A person racked by guilt over profoundly disturbing sexual experiences is able to clear away much of her anxiety and lay substantial plans for rebuilding her life. A teacher so shy that she could hardly talk in the group writes voluntarily a year later that the experience meant more to her than she could express, that for the first time in years she was really enjoying her work. If you struggle financially, it wears on you. If you've experienced abuse or neglect, it wears on you. If you've experienced a traumatic event, it wears on you. If you're otherwise treated poorly, it wears on you. Scientists use the term allostatic load to refer to this cumulative wear and tear on the body. The growing nervous system is particularly vulnerable during childhood, which means that hard times when you were a kid--childhood abuse and neglect, parental substance abuse, and family violence, for example--permeate particularly deeply, especially in the absence of positive, supportive relationships. The concept of allostatic load helps us understand how the stress of hard life circumstances (such as discrimination or poverty or limited work options), coupled with the feeling that you have no control over these adversities, disrupts your internal survival system. The result is decreased resilience, disrupted well-being, and increased risk for disease. It's the primary reason why, in every country, people at relative social disadvantage suffer from more disease and die earlier. It also drives higher rates of suicide and alcoholism. Use spices instead; Avoid partially hydrogenated oils. Read labels and steer clear of these unhealthy fats. Make it easy on yourself. Clear your shelves of the junk food that you tend to crave, and replace it with healthier alternatives, such as whole-grain snacks, fruit, and yogurt. Create portions.

Divvy out your meal or snack ahead of time. Sitting down with an open bag of chips or a box of chocolates only tempts you to keep on eating. Read labels. It's important to know what's in the food you're eating. A very withdrawn person, diagnosed as schizophrenic, who has been incapable of keeping appointments with his individual therapist, attends his group regularly and sits there quietly, with possibly little gain, it is true, but with some evidence of greater social competency than he had shown previously. Boys from a gang in Harlem, tough as society can make its outcasts, and by best prediction poor bets in therapy, come regularly -- and regularly use the first three-quarters of their hour in bitter mockery of one another, only to use the last few minutes each week in an intimate exploration of their consuming hatred of their parents and of all authority. We simply don't know how to say who will gain and who will not, and sense no better way of answering this question than to leave it up to the individual. On the other hand, we do have some tentative hypotheses concerning individuals who tend to disrupt a group, and concerning the composition of groups with reference to the relationships of the people to be included. Several groups in our experience have had the going made rough by disturbed but psychologically sophisticated persons who can use their knowledge of psychodynamics cruelly on others. Members of the group seem less able to protect themselves from this kind of knowing hardness. If a person has been in therapy for a year or two, with uncertain gain, we are beginning to think it best for him to continue to work in individual therapy, rather than in a group. We have had unhappy experiences of men with anxiety state diagnoses in groups where one of the members had psychotic tendencies. Unable to respond to the feelings of others, these deeply disturbed people have occasionally said things that could not be tolerated by their anxious and still sensitive fellow group members. In general, we feel it best not to include in a group the extremely hostile and aggressive person, whether psychotic or not, because he makes it difficult, if not impossible, to achieve the atmosphere of acceptance and freedom from threat that is essential to the success of the group. The false belief that you do have control* and that your circumstances are your own fault leads us to internalize the cultural ideology, feel shame, and become our own oppressor--all of which heightens the stress response. If you're going someplace where you anticipate being treated poorly, if you're constantly scanning your environment to see if there is a wheelchair ramp or to gauge whether your fat+ body will fit in a seat, or if you're feeling isolated as the only Person of Color in the room, then that hypervigilance, however necessary and useful, can also induce further stress. When we're quick to anger or we dive into depression, it can feel like something's wrong with us. It's better conceptualized as the way we embody our world. There are smart reasons you do the things you do--it's about a self-protection system that sometimes goes awry. So much of our response to our day-to-day lives is rooted in brain chemistry, which adapts in response to coping with stressors like trauma, inequity, and hard circumstances.