Addiction, co-occurring conditions, and Humanity 101

The thing about open dialogue that is so simple and compelling is that it is the same model humans have used to cooperate, help each other, and progress throughout history. It’s getting all the stakeholders, the people who care, in the same room, on the same page. It’s putting the puzzle that’s fallen apart back together.

We all know how to do this because it is a human thing, not an “addiction” thing. Addiction is a proxy for meaningful relationship.

Dr. Nelson quoted in June edition (p. 27) of MKE Lifestyle Magazine

“What these problems all have in common is they restrict a person’s consciousness, shrinking their world, and closing them off,” says Dawn Nelson, a clinical psychologist and founder of the Centre for Human Flourishing. Managing these disorders can be hard work. “I try to counsel and facilitate their willingness to do something for themselves. My job is to help them develop the motivation and courage and willingness to help themselves,” she says.


Dr. Nelson's Tips for Dealing with Divorce

Latrice Knighton is a member of the Sterling Law Offices partner team and an award-winning divorce attorney, life coach, and speaker. She helps clients resolve their problems by using legal techniques and smart tactics learned through decades of experience.  She is able to help clients by offering the best practical advice.  by Latrice Knighton, J.D., May 15, 2018

Every person going through a divorce is experiencing some emotions about the process.  It could be fear, anxiousness, anger, relief, confusion, sadness, disappointment, etc.  You may benefit from having someone to talk to about how you are feeling so you can focus on getting the best resolution of your divorce case for both you and your family.

I interview Dr. Dawn Nelson of the Centre for Human Flourishing ( so you know how a psychologist can help you in a divorce, and coping tips for those going through a divorce.

What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness

What keeps us happy and healthy as we go through life? If you think it's fame and money, you're not alone – but, according to Zen Priest, Harvard Professor and psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, you're mistaken. As the director of a 75-year-old study on adult development, Waldinger has unprecedented access to data on true happiness and satisfaction. In this talk (12 minutes), he shares three important lessons learned from the study as well as some practical, old-as-the-hills wisdom on how to build a fulfilling, long life.

Is Addiction a Disease? The current medical consensus about addiction may very well be wrong

The prevailing wisdom today is that addiction is a disease. This is the main line of the medical model of mental disorders with which the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is aligned: addiction is a chronic and relapsing brain disease in which drug use becomes involuntary despite its negative consequences.  

. . . 

Yet, though there are positive aspects to seeing addiction in this light, it seems unduly pessimistic and, though no one will deny that every behavior has neural correlates and that addiction changes the brain, this is not the same as saying that, therefore, addiction is pathological and irreversible.

And there are reasons to question whether this is, in fact, the case.

Why are so many people dying from opiate overdoses? It’s our broken society Marc Lewis

Never mind the ‘war on drugs’ or laying all blame with pharmas, this epidemic exists because millions live in a world without hope, certainty and structure

• Marc Lewis is a neuroscientist and author of The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction Is Not a Disease


Dr. Nelson on the Dr. Breggin Hour, Archive

My guest Dawn R. Nelson has a PsyD as well as a Masters in Divinity, and comes from a rich background of thoughtfully providing human services.  She conducts her private practice based on principles similar to my Guidelines for Empathic Therapy and will inspire other therapists to practice true to themselves and their ideals.   She exemplifies a growing consensus that therapists should be genuine and caring, as well as informed about the importance of childhood and nurturing in respect to who we are as adults.   She renews my faith in the future of psychotherapy.

The DSM and the Medical Model: New Video

"It [this video] lays bare the counterproductive nature of the medical model and the pseudoscience and elitism that support it. . . . few people understand the World Health Organization definition of mental health as a social welfare issue of “well-being.  . . . emotional suffering (mental distress) is a natural reaction to distressful experiences, rather than a disease.  The social welfare narrative also advocates that physical health directly affects mental health: physical sickness, allergies, nutritional deficits, fatigue, and environmental toxins can all lead to mental distress."

Marriage and Couples, The Gottman Institute Research

the average couple waits 6 years before seeking help for marital problems

the Four Horsemen - criticism, contempt, defensiveness, stonewalling - predict divorce 5.6 years after the wedding

emotional withdrawal and the absence of positive affect - shared humor, affection, empathy - during conflict discussions predict divorce 16.2 years after the wedding

69% of all conflict in relationships is about unresolvable, perpetual problems - based on personality differences between partners.  16% of those perpetual issues involve gridlocked couple conflict.


Bad pharma and the canary in the coalmine for problems in modern medicine

“If we can’t get this stuff right for [statins] the single most commonly prescribed class of drug in the whole of the developed world – a tablet that is taken every day by 100 million people – then that’s a real window into our failures to do appropriate clinical trials throughout the whole of medicine.”