Sunday, September 9, 2018

Michael C. LeMay on Immigration Policy, Ethnicity, and Religion in United States History

In this interview, Michael C. LeMay talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by alvinwriter.com, about his book, U.S. Immigration Policy, Ethnicity, and Religion in American History.



“Immigrants bring a very hard work ethic.” ~Michael C. LeMay

Michael has a bit of a personal stake in writing U.S. Immigration Policy, as he comes from a family of immigrants and noticed how interested his students were in immigration in the context of a minority setting, which led to his writing at least a dozen books on the topic.

Michael coined the terms for the various eras of immigration policy, which are:

  • The Open Door era (1820 - 1880) - very little restrictions on immigration.
  • The Door Ajar era (1880 - 1920) - some restrictions placed on immigrants.
  • The Pet Door era (1920 - 1965) - most immigration blocked, save for a select few, mostly from northern Europe. Immigration quotas were implemented here.
  • The Dutch Door era (1965 - 1980) - immigration quotas maintained, while certain sectors were allowed in.
  • The Revolving Door era (1980 - 2001) - a period when illegal immigrants became a concern.
  • The Storm Door era (2001 - present) - immigration is highly restrictive due to security and health concerns.

The United States can exist without immigration, Michael notes, and he points out that, in the long run, immigration benefits the nation as a whole, as immigrants bring in new blood and new talent. Immigrants who enter the United States move out of their countries of origin because of economic reasons, such as a failed economy, religious oppression, natural disasters, pandemic outbreaks or failed agriculture, as was the case during the Irish Potato Famine of the 19th century. He also notes that the United States makes the most of what, in other nations, would be a brain drain, as highly trained professionals work in the United States because they can earn more there than they would in their native land, such as Irish nurses or Philippine medical doctors. A shift in national identity is also inevitable with immigration, and Michael speaks of the “browning” of America, pointing out the Miss America contestants and winners as an example.

Where Japan is concerned, Michael notes that immigration is tight because of their concern with cultural homogeneity.

He also notes that there are inevitable short-term concerns and tensions when immigrants enter, as the social and cultural balance is upset in the short term. The ones who would be most threatened by immigrants are those whose livelihoods might be affected by an influx of these, such as blue-collar, lower-skilled workers who would lose out to immigrants who would be willing to do the same kind of work they do for a lower pay level.

Immigrants, however, benefit the United States in the long run, as several of these are entrepreneurial in nature, creating businesses and companies in the long term, which create wealth, economic opportunity and jobs. Michael notes that the United States has, until recently, been the recipient of the “brain drain” that occurs in other countries, where the brightest, most skilled and entrepreneurial members of those countries choose to work in the United States rather than in their native countries.

With regard to present issues, Michael notes that the creation of a southern border wall is a useless and unnecessary policy. He opines that guest worker programs can be put into place to regulate entry and that entry be allowed only at particular points. He also notes that electronic surveillance and vetting are important, and that immigration needs to be tied up to foreign policy; after all, he notes, if the economies of Central American countries like Mexico improve, people would stay there because they have good-paying jobs. Michael notes that foreign policy and immigration have always been intertwined, giving the examples of the Burlingham Treaty with China in the 1880s, followed by the Chinese Exclusion Act a few years later, as well as Theodore Roosevelt’s “Gentleman’s Agreement” with Japan, where Japan was economically pressured to control their emigration to the United States.

Immigrants have served with great distinction in the military during such conflicts as World Wars One and Two, Michael remarks, which helped them gain citizenship faster. In his opinion, immigration isn’t being viewed historically or holistically by the present administration, and that immigration concerns should be viewed in the long term, rather than just over the next few years. Michael also notes that immigrating into the United States requires the would-be immigrant to pass through stringent vetting procedures.

Purchase from Amazon: U.S. Immigration Policy, Ethnicity, and Religion in American History by Michael C. LeMay


Monday, September 3, 2018

Saeeda Hafiz on Her Journey from Poverty to Inner Riches (The Healing)

In this interview, Saeeda Hafiz talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by alvinwriter.com, about her book, The Healing: One Woman’s Journey from Poverty to Inner Riches.



“Be as authentic as you can be in your journey.” ~Saeeda Hafiz

Saeeda initially intended The Healing to be a calendar to enable people to get in touch with themselves, but she then realized that, as she did so with other people, she found herself telling the same stories over and over again. It was because of this repetition that Saeeda decided to write The Healing as it has presently become.

Saeeda mentioned that, as she went along her journey of living healthy, she would occasionally get flashbacks of childhood traumatic events. She grew up in an environment of poverty and domestic violence, with her mother being the only parent who brought up her and her siblings. This upbringing permeated her life and the lives of her siblings, particularly when it came to stretching the money available.

Saeeda notes that, within the African American community, there is a conversation that getting an education ensures that one rises above the circumstances of one’s poverty, but that doing so isn’t easy if the community and environment don’t support that goal. She gives the example of her grandfather who claimed he was doing okay, despite getting only a junior high school education, and he then pulled her father into what he was doing. She notes that there are changes involved with assimilating into an environment different from the one that one grew up in, and that not everyone is comfortable with this. Saeeda thus used food and yoga to center herself as she underwent this kind of journey of curiosity and development.

Although friends had tried to get her to try out yoga during college, Saeeda became involved in it after she graduated. She acknowledged that she initially resisted going to yoga classes, particularly as she was the only black student taking up yoga and her classmates were twice her age and could hold yoga poses she couldn’t yet hold, and could hold their poses longer than she could. Saeda nevertheless felt that yoga was a calling for her, and that, at the end of the classes she took, she got a sense well-being and peace, as well as that healing was about to happen.

Saeeda remarked that the conversation of doing certain things will result in freedom from the past isn’t a truthful one. She notes that, in her experience, eating food that was “alive” helped her synthesize her childhood experiences. Yoga also helped her understand that there was a path of moving these experiences through herself to create a deeper sense of health. Saeeda also remarked that eating the proper kind of food and yoga helped to lift herself from those negative experiences, particularly any shame associated with these. She then points out that this can be useful when coming to terms with the parts of a family’s or a country’s history that were traumatic, as acknowledging and integrating these aspects is actually what enables one to move on. Saeeda also remarks that empowering one another is important to move on, and that people need to own their actions to allow forces to come into play, so everyone can move forward together.

Saeeda notes that there is always power in the present moment, where one can look where one presently is and realize that there is something one can do to help change one’s present direction. To those who may be struggling with the traumas of her past, Saeeda recommends that they try to connect with their own, inner voice, the voice of their true self, and see what it’s telling them, noting that it takes a lot of work to run away from oneself, which is easy to do with the distractions available today.

Purchase from Amazon: The Healing: One Woman’s Journey from Poverty to Inner Riches by Saeeda Hafiz

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Lisa Rehurek on How to Do Better in Business and Win More with RFPs

In this interview, Lisa Rehurek talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by alvinwriter.com, about her book, The RFP Success Book.



“Don’t try to do it all by yourself.” ~Lisa Rehurek

RFPs are Requests for Proposals, which are issued by organizations such as large corporations or the government, who look for contractors or vendors who can supply the needs of that organization. RFPs can be as short as a few pages or, particularly in the case of the United States federal government, can run into thousands of pages. The responding businesses need to submit their requirements and experience and solutions for the proposal seeker to then see how good the fit is with their needs.

Because of the occasionally detailed RFPs issued, Lisa’s present business is to aid small businesses, which would most likely not have the necessary manpower or competency to respond accurately to RFPs, do just that. The RFP Success Book was born out of Lisa’s realization that she kept on repeating the same themes over and over again with her clients and in her blogs, and as such it would probably be best to put all of these themes into a book for all and sundry to read and learn from.

Lisa notes that, in addition to the technical requirements and specifications, RFPs can also include such requirements at legal, insurance, price points, deadline for submission and even if the response needs to be printed on recycled paper and what the specific margins and font of the reply should be in. While big companies have an in-house RFP team which works solely on analyzing RFPs, small companies - who may receive only six to ten RFPs a year - don’t have such personnel and are likely will not have the competency to do so, as these small companies are likely to be staffed by people who are dedicated to the company’s core business.

Lisa points out that successfully responding to RFPs is important for businesses, particularly if the contracts are worth millions of dollars and can last years. She notes that those submitting proposals should meet the requirements and understand what the evaluation criteria are, and also remarks that one of the top mistakes that businesses responding to RFPs make is not answering the question that is asked for, such as giving a ten-page answer on their company’s history rather than explaining their methodology to complete a particular task. Lisa also remarks that the businesses responding to RFPs should take particular note of multi-tiered questions, such as asking for different kinds of pricing and then providing the details to these.

Lisa notes that businesses should take note of what the client needs and wants. She also notes that responders should remember that, at the end of the day, it will be a person who will be reading the RFP response, so it should appeal and maintain that person’s interest accordingly as well as ensuring that the proper solution can be provided. Based on her experience, Lisa remarks that around ten percent of all RFPs are rejected outright, and that around half fail to impress with the proper solution. Getting an RFP rejection does have an impact on a business, she notes, as a lot of time and effort would have gone into answering the RFP, which could be torpedoed by one, single mistake.

Businesses should also be aware that an RFP is also essentially a sales and marketing call, and that standing out from a bunch of other RFP responses will increase one’s chances of successfully getting the contract concerned, according to Lisa. It is thus important that companies be able to translate their technical speak into something the RFP evaluator can understand, as the latter might not have the same level of technical expertise as those responding to the RFP may have.

Businesses, particularly those who get RFPs from the government, may have to play a waiting game, as their potential clients may take months before finishing evaluating the RFP responses they get, and this does have a potential impact on a business, where staff and resources are concerned, as these might not be sufficient to cover all of the contracts awarded. Management of RFPs is thus a vital part of a company’s business.

To those who would respond to RFPs, Lisa would say to really pay attention to answering the question as it was asked, and then to be as simple and as succinct as possible in their reply, as a business has only two or three seconds to appeal to, and attract the attention of, the one reading the reply. She also advises that businesses not get intimidated by the RFPs they receive, and to get help from others to successfully respond to these.

Purchase from Amazon: The RFP Success Book by Lisa Rehurek


Sunday, July 29, 2018

Mia Tomikawa on Mater Ryuho Okawa's Art of Building Inner Strength to Overcome Life’s Difficulties - The Strong Mind

In this interview, Mia Tomikawa of Happy Science talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by alvinwriter.com, about Master Ryuho Okawa’s book,The Strong Mind: The Art of Building the Inner Strength to Overcome Life’s Difficulties.



“You already have inner strength within you, and all you have to do is to cultivate it; and it starts with believing that you can take control of your own life.” ~Mia Tomikawa

Master Okawa wrote the book to encourage everyone to get through the inevitable crises that pop up in people’s lives by cultivating a mind strong enough to manage these. Mia mentions that there are life crises that take place in particular in the decades of one’s life - in childhood, for example, there’s the family squabble or crisis; in one’s twenties, there’s the job crisis and in one’s eighties,there’s the coming to terms with destiny. Master Okawa notes that our minds and our souls are things which will last beyond death, and cultivating a strong mind enables one to handle the challenges that life throws one’s way. Mia also notes that, in Japanese, the word “mind” actually encompasses the mind, the heart and the soul, which are a person’s total being.

According to Master Okawa, who bases this structure on Eastern philosophy, there are three stages of growth for all human beings:

  1. Becoming a sharp, intelligent and capable person, which manifests when one is young.
  2. Becoming dynamic, which is necessary to become a leader who can work with and guide others.
  3. Becoming calmer and more profound, which is necessary for one’s old age.

To create a strong mind, one needs to believe and have faith in oneself, first off. This requires having faith that new paths will open up as one lives, and becoming more courageous and being forgiving are two ways by which one can cultivate a strong mind. Forgiving is a way to let go of resentment and hurt, for the grudge that one holds against another will torment one within, and thus weaken one. Taking responsibility for one’s life is another key to creating a strong mind, as blaming others or events for one’s lack of happiness removes one’s capability to be happy.

The fear of failure and making mistakes is ever present, and this is due to one’s desire to protect oneself or one’s ego. Overcoming this fear requires a change in mindset, where one sees the failures and challenges of life as lessons given and situations to be learned from, rather than the “bad” thing that these are commonly made out to be. Master Okawa notes Thomas Edison as an example of someone who never saw failures or mistakes but instead saw opportunities to learn from, and this is the perspective necessary to create a strong mind. Not having challenges in one’s life means that one will never grow or find true happiness, as growth enables that.

Parenting is important where giving a child the foundations necessary to create a strong mind are concerned. Parents need to enable and educate children to feel responsible for their own lives to create a sense of duty and responsibility, and Mia notes that kids in the United States are more responsible and independent when compared to kids in Japan. She notes that, in Japan, the parents make all the decisions sometimes to the point of spoiling them, so that they don’t take responsibility for themselves.

One’s accomplishments can create a bias against others, where one judges others by one’s own strong points. Master Okawa notes that people need to be more accepting of others who might seem weak from one’s point of view, as those others have their own gifts to bring. Praising others is part of having a strong mind, particularly as doing so enables others to become present to their own capabilities and to connect with one. This is, admittedly, hard to do where people who have hurt someone is concerned, but in the long run, according to Master Okawa, this will create a connection between the people concerned. This is not easy to do, where people who are hurtful are concerned, and Mia points out that practicing this is a process much like working out in the gym, where one’s muscles hurt the first few times but become stronger and more capable over time.

Purchase on Amazon: The Strong Mind: The Art of Building the Inner Strength to Overcome Life’s Difficulties by Master Ryuho Okawa

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Erica Garza & Her True Story of Getting Off from Sex and Porn Addiction

In this interview, Erica Garza talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by alvinwriter.com, about her book, Getting Off: One Woman's Journey Through Sex and Porn Addiction.

PLAY THE VIDEO AND LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW WITH ERICA HERSELF.

“Shame was the driving force in the way my addiction manifested.” ~Erica Garza

Erica decided to write Getting Off for several reasons, one of which was her using writing as a way to deal with difficult emotions and gain perspective on her life. It was because of this that she felt most at home with the Hoffman process (which is a seven-day retreat where writing is one of the methods involved) to help her come to terms with her own sexual addiction, and the seed of the book was an essay she wrote on the topic. Writing the essay was challenging for her, and after she posted it online, she received a lot of emails from people who felt isolated, alone and ashamed with their own sexual addictions. The responses encouraged her to write more and the result was book she eventually authored.

Erica grew up in a Catholic environment, and her family environment was one of love and support. She began the road to sex addiction when, at the age of twelve, she was diagnosed with scoliosis and needed to wear a back brace for two years. She accordingly felt very self-conscious, insecure and anxious about herself and her body, and had, by then, began masturbating and exploring pornography. She then began using masturbation and pornography as a way to get get a break from the insecure and scary thoughts and feelings that were her normal experience, noting that, when she was focused on achieving orgasm, that was the only thing she would think about.

Sex became an escapist crutch for Erica to lean on as she grew older, and her leaning on that crutch was enhanced by the growing presence and ease of availability of pornography on the Internet. Having sex with men also added to this crutch, and even then Erica used sex to help hide her emotions and self away from others, as she found connection and friendship to be challenging; and this made her lonely. This desire to shield her emotions was also what led her to sabotaging any relationships where she felt she was getting emotionally close to a man, so she could maintain her emotional distance.

Erica points out that women, just like men, can be sex addicts and watch and view the same kind of pornographic material that men look at, and a lot of her emails bear this out. Where conversation is concerned, however, women don’t speak publicly about this issue, which only adds to the layer of shame which sexually addicted women already feel. She points out that being told by others that something which one is experiencing “doesn’t exist” results in that person shutting down, and that this resulting isolation, silence and shame only fuels addictions even more, whereas bringing these issues out in a safe and supportive space results in healing.

Erica notes how sex addiction, and the drivers for this, vary from person to person, and the best indicator is to ask oneself the questions:

  • Am I using sex as a way to escape from problems in my life?
  • Am I using sex in a destructive way?
  • Am I putting myself into situations where I feel I’m not in control?

Erica also notes that, in her case, the kind of porn she watched was the extreme kind where she felt bad, disgusted and ashamed. Where relationships with men were concerned, she gravitated towards those where she felt used and unkindly treated, which she notes reflected the way she treated others. Somewhat ironically, Erica admits that she needed to feel turned off, bad and abused in order to feel the adrenaline rush of a sexual experience.

Isolation was a big result of her sex addiction on herself, which fed into her feelings of shame, worthlessness and self-loathing. Erica admits that the people around her, family included, most likely felt neglected, as she felt that they weren’t worth her time. She notes that other people can most relate to her experience of being lost and stuck in the kind of negative feelings she experienced.

Erica did not hit “rock bottom,” which is a common wake-up call for those addicted to drugs and alcohol, as she gradually realized her sexual addiction over time. That said, she finally realized what was going on after she deliberately sabotaged a relationship and also realized that she would be turning thirty soon, and she then decided to do things differently, which led her to her trip to Bali, where she began figuring things out.

Breaking her sexual addiction required Erica to break the patterns which enabled these, and one of the things which helped her do so was to create boundaries where she could still be sexually exploratory in a way that didn’t hurt those whom she loved. For her, moving on from becoming a sex addict was all about finding moderation and balance, as well as dealing with the feelings of shame and unworthiness that drove her sexual addiction in the first place. Telling the truth, for Erica, is the most powerful way to come to terms with her sexual addiction.

Erica notes that pornography isn’t the cause of sex addiction, noting that, if pornography didn’t exist, people would go to some other source of titillation, like strip clubs and peep shows. She also notes that, even if pornography didn’t exist, she would still have felt the same feelings and desires that had led her to becoming a sex addict.

To those in a similar situation that she was in, Erica recommends that they find someone to talk to, one who can listen from a space of non-judgement. Erica also strongly recommends that they go to a Twelve Steps meeting, where they can meet with like-minded people and talk about their concerns in a safe environment. She also notes that, for some people, a single method, e.g., just Twelve Steps or just yoga or just meditation, might not work, and that a combination of such methods may be needed to reclaim balance in their lives.

Purchase from Amazon: Getting Off: One Woman's Journey Through Sex and Porn Addiction by Erica Garza

Tan Liu on The Ponzi Factor as the Simple Truth behind Investment Profits

In this interview, Tan Liu talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by alvinwriter.com, about his book, The Ponzi Factor: The Simple Truth About Investment Profits.



“I want people to understand how this game really works.” ~Tan Liu

The Ponzi Factor was initially written out of anger in 2009, after Tan worked at a hedge fund where he realized that finance involves a lot of “tricky accounting,” where profits can be realized on paper without actually making these. He also learned of another company which ran a Ponzi scheme similar to Bernie Madoff’s, except it was legally done. This kind of scheme, Tan realized, involves all synthetic financial instruments, such as credit swaps and the stock market, as these actually have no real-world value. He decided to focus on the stock market to keep to a coherent subject matter, and while pointing out the Ponzi scheme nature of the stock market was easy, he needed to devote a lot of time addressing the side issues related to stocks which, he points out, are all hypothetical arguments.

Tan points out that “financial theory” is an unprovable idea, and that the arguments set forward by the academe to support these are unfounded and unproven hypotheses. He gives the example of a company’s stock equity value being equivalent to:

Price x The Number of Stocks a Company Has

and gives the example of Google, which has 348 million Class C stocks (wherein the stock owners have no voting rights and receive no dividends; and these stocks comprise half of their market capital - effectively, half of all their stocks) and which, based on an increase of $100 on a trade of 1.5 million stocks, increased its financial equity value by some $80 billion without needing to do anything or exert any effort to increase its profitability, as this increase would be applied to all of its stocks. Tan also points out that Google does not back the value of their stock and doesn’t issue dividends, which was the original way by which stocks earned money for their owners.

Tan remarks that, prior to the 1900s, stock was an instrument by which the person who owned that stock owned part of a company. That owner earned money from the dividends paid out on the stock, and the company tied in the value of the stock and any dividends paid out to how profitable the company was. The stock owner also had another, secondary way of making money from stocks, and that was by selling those he owned at a price higher than what he bought them, which is called capital gains. Capital gains, on the other hand, are presently the primary method by which people can, supposedly, make money on stocks, and Tan remarks that, with this method, stock prices move only when money comes in from another investor, thus creating a system where money is only shuffled amongst investors, rather than created through profits generated; and this is what makes it a gambling system and a de facto Ponzi scheme.

Tan notes that companies buying back stocks is very rare, and points out that such buybacks, where companies buy back stocks and thus take these off the trading floor, are scams of their own. He cites, as an example, a Google buy-back of 5 million shares in 2016 when, in that same year, their stocks available for trade increased by 3 million shares, indicating that, if Google did indeed, buy 5 million shares back, they also somehow released 8 million new shares for trading.

At present, Tan points out that there is no relationship between stocks and company profitability, citing Tesla, which issued 74 million shares in the past 7 years. During that time, its stock value rose from $20 to $380, while the company lost $4.7 billion, which indicates a disjunct between a company’s profitability and stock price, as a company’s stock value is supposed to rise if it turns a good profit and drop when it loses money. This behavior, Tan notes, is possible only with a Ponzi type scheme in play, one which is clearly observable and factual.

Tan remarks that, from an investment viewpoint, cryptocurrencies aren’t much different from stocks, in that these are as much gambling instruments as stocks presently are. There are many different kinds of cryptocurrencies, and the type which is most analogous to stocks are the Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), which are essentially tokens issued by companies to people with a promise that that person, at a future time, can redeem a company’s goods and services in the future. This makes ICOs somewhat more legitimate than other cryptocurrencies.

Tan remarks that academic institutions which teach finance are one of the major driving forces behind the present way stocks are being viewed and handled, and notes that his reaction to what is being taught is usually one of incredulous laughter. Academic institutions, according to Tan, teach unproven material which disconnects stocks from the money a company actually makes. He notes that academics have a vested interest in continuing to push their theories, as all of these would become meaningless in light of fact.

Tan points out the fallacy that a stock owner can “just sell my stock tomorrow,” as the money available to buy out sold stocks just doesn’t exist. He remarks that the total value of the stock market in the United States is $30 trillion, but that the most lenient measure of money supply in the United States is around $13 trillion, most of which is used in things other than stocks, such as infrastructure development and defense spending; and of this, only $1.6 trillion is actual, hard money in circulation. Thus, the value of a person’s stock isn’t effectively “cash in hand,” and that they actually hold $0, as they parted with their money, which is something tangible, can be possessed and can be handled, whereas the value of a stock portfolio is an intangible idea.

Tan recommends that stocks should be classified as gambling instruments, and to ground and connect stocks to company profits, Tan recommends that companies be required, by law, to pay reasonable dividends to all of their shareholders, rather than dividends just for compliance. For startup companies who choose to raise capital by issuing stocks, Tan recommends that the stocks of these companies not be traded until the companies themselves make enough money so they can issue reasonable dividends.

To would-be investors, Tan recommends investing in more solid assets, such as real estate, or investing in stocks that actually pay dividends.

Purchase from Amazon: The Ponzi Factor: The Simple Truth About Investment Profits by Tan Liu


Saturday, June 23, 2018

Dr. Michael S Scheeringa on A Parent's Guide to PTSD in Youth

In this interview, Dr. Michael Scheeringa talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by alvinwriter.com, about his book, They’ll Never Be the Same: A Parent’s Guide to PTSD in Youth.



“Parents, it’s up to you.” ~Dr. Michael Scheeringa


As a young, newly-trained doctor, Michael was interested in preventing child abuse, but found that field to be too ambitious to tackle, so he went into research into the effect of trauma on children - post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), in other words. He accumulated a lot of information from his research and clinical work had been spending time speaking about the matter to his colleagues as well as leading training workshops on the matter, but he felt that the word wasn’t going out as quickly as he felt it should. He thus wrote They’ll Never Be the Same in an attempt to let parents and the ordinary person know the symptoms and effects of PTSD on children.

Michael notes that PTSD springs from experiences which children consider to be life-threatening, rather than experiences which are stressful but don’t get up to the intensity of being life-threatening. The events are sudden, unexpected, sheer moments of panic, which can take place during such events as natural disasters, attacks by dogs (for young children), witnessing domestic violence and the like. That said, he agreed that not everybody reacts the same way to the same situation, due to the difference in the way children perceive things, with one child being in a car accident and getting traumatized and another child in the same accident not being traumatized, and he infers the possibility that this could be due to the way each individual’s brain is wired. Michael notes that, where the issue of being separated from parents is concerned, such an event isn’t necessarily life-threatening, although it is stressful, unless it’s done in a very frightening way.

Some of the myths that Michael points out about childhood PTSD are:
  • “Young children don’t remember what happened to them.” This is not true. Children as young as three can suffer from PTSD, and they will remember the traumatic event as they grow older.
  • “Kids grow out of it.” This doesn’t happen, so it is best to get help for the child as soon as possible - immediately, as much as possible, within a month at most.
  • “The parent - particularly the mother - is to blame.” This isn’t the case, and Michael points out that parents - particularly mothers - were blamed for autism in the 1950s, as they were blamed for schizophrenia in the 1960s. Granted, some parents might be using their children to get doctors to doing something which might not be proper or legitimate, and Michael does admit that therapists and clinicians are exposed, during their training, to populations which skew towards such behavior, but he also says that, in his experience, parents don’t lie where their children’s welfare is concerned.
Michael remarks that parents can tell if a child suffers PTSD by seeing a sudden change in a child’s behavior. PTSD is the only psychological disorder which manifests itself immediately, so something like a child being happy and expressive one day and literally withdrawn the next day is a symptom of PTSD. He also notes that there are twenty different diagnostic indicators for PTSD, which fall into three types:
  1. Re-experiencing - nightmares, thoughts that barge in.
  2. Avoidance and numbing - losing interest in things they previously liked.
  3. Increased arousal - difficulty sleeping and concentration, exaggerated startle responses (“jumpy”).
Therapies for PTSD will never enable the child to totally heal. The best that can be done is to enable the child to live with the event, similar to how people would live with diabetes or chronic back pain, for the rest of their life. That said, such therapies will enable those who are successfully treated to live out their live productively.

Michael remarks that psychotherapy is the first line of treatment for PTSD, as it has the best long-lasting effect. There are different types of psychotherapy for PTSD, and one of these, which Michael recommends and uses, is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This is a form of evidence-based treatment, which means that the therapy has been tested in randomized clinical trials and has been shown to work, unlike other therapies which have not been clinically tested at all. CBT consists of twelve to fifteen weekly sessions, with the patient learning new coping strategies at the start of the process, after which they need to start talking about their trauma in a gentle, guided way to enable them to gain mastery of the negative feelings they have about the event. Michael notes that up to 75% of his patients have had success with CBT, and the other 25% need help in addition to CBT, such as through medication.

Michael estimates that 90% of all children with PTSD aren’t so diagnosed, as most clinicians nowadays aren’t trained to recognize PTSD in children. For the moment, it is now up to the parents to seek help for their children by finding their own assessments, such as those on Michael’s website, and then looking around for therapists who can help them out. Some of the questions Michael recommends parents to ask, to find the right kind of therapist, are:
  • Do you use evidence-based therapy?
  • Have you seen a child like mine, with PTSD, before?
  • How many cases have you treated?
  • Have you treated children who are my child’s age?
  • What kind of psychotherapy do you plan to use?
He also says that parents should switch therapists if the therapist they are working with doesn’t seem to be effective.

On the subject of studies conducted on brains of people who suffered PTSD, Michael remarks that the present conventional wisdom is that those peoples’ brains have suffered changes due to PTSD but notes that most of this wisdom is based on studies which didn’t have a reference image of the brain prior to PTSD and those images after the event which triggered PTSD took place. He notes that some newer studies, which do use “before and after” imaging, indicate that the brain structure didn’t change before and after the event took place, and that it is likely that some people are more vulnerable to PTSD than others because of the way their brain is structured.

Purchase from Amazon: They’ll Never Be the Same: A Parent’s Guide to PTSD in Youth by Dr. Michael Scheeringa