Sunday, May 30, 2010

Adult ego state strengthening - Part 2 **

As mentioned in the previous post the Adult ego state is in the here and now whereas the Parent and Child ego states are living in the past. This diagram shows how one can avoid the here and now (H&N).

One way to strengthen the Adult ego state is to practice being in the H&N. The more one gets used to it and the more one does it the more habitual it will become and thus easier to access.

First one does a H&N diary. One gets a note pad and then goes about their day to day business. One can feel bad (angry, scared, depressed, despairing, shame and so forth) because they are reacting to something in the H&N. These are healthy Free Child feelings. One can also feel bad by doing what the diagram shows. They remove self from the H&N by thinking about the future, thinking about the past or thinking about another place. These are considered neurotic feelings because they are not relevant to the H&N. They are self manufactured angst.

Now that is what you call H&N Free Child anxiety!

Every time one feels bad during the day they are to see if they are in the H&N or they have moved out of the here and now in time or place. This is then diarized such that patterns can be identified after a few days or a week of doing this.

When one realises they have moved out of the H&N they then practice moving back into the H&N and thus into their Adult ego state again. This can be done one of two ways.

1. Acknowledging Adult facts. One simply continues to do what they are doing and brings it into the conscious mind.

“I am sitting in my blue chair at work. It is 1.33pm and I had a pie for lunch. I am looking at my computer and it is asking me if I want to buy porn. My co-worker Jimbo is sitting in the next cubicle and is in the process of buying internet porn. I am writing a report on my last client who tried to sell me a years subscription to Readers Digest magazine. ....”

One simply moves into their Adult ego state and observes what is in their current environment and makes note of it in their conscious mind. Some will find this easy to do and can do it for long periods of time. Others will have considerable difficulty maintaining this and will continually slip back into a different time or place and then usually back into some feeling and out of their Adult ego state.

The more one gets used to being in Adult in this way the the more familiar and habitual it will become and thus it is strengthening the Adult ego state. Once done the person diarizes their success or failure at the task and feelings that happened. These are then reported back to the counsellor where patterns are identified.

2. Acknowledging Adult facts about their own Child ego state. In this case the person observes from their own Adult ego state their own Child ego state. For some this will be quite hard to do as it requires the person to get into their Child ego state and their Adult ego state at the same time. In the exercise above the person was only required to be in their Adult ego state and the Child ego state was being ignored.

Instructions for this can be, “Observe and diarize the current state of your body in terms of sensations, soreness, temperature, etc starting from your toes up to your head”.

Or, “Look at the feelings chart and what are you feeling now, what have you felt in the last week and in reaction to what?.

Or, “What makes you feel sad, happy, scared, sexual, angry and so forth?”

In each of these the person is required to firstly get into their Child ego state and then make Adult ego state observations of it and bring those observations into the conscious mind and diarize them. Those with a weak Adult may find this hard but the skill of being able to think (Adult) and feel (Child) at the same time is a most important one to learn and is one of the key factors of a strong Adult ego state.

One would only tend to use this exercise of acknowledging Adult facts about their own Child ego state (exercise 2) when they have shown that they can successfully acknowledge just the Adult facts (exercise 1).


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Adult ego state strengthening **

This post is on the Adult ego state for my Serbian friend Mirko.

This will be a work in progress. I will write some now and then add to it as the days go by and I think of things to say.

The Adult ego state is suggested in many psychological theories as the state of psychological health. In the Adult ego state the person sees the world as it is in the here and now and the person is not reacting to the world as they did when they were a child. (i.e. not in the here and now but reacting in an archaic fashion).

Living in the here and now

As a result many psychotherapies are designed to give the person more access to their Adult ego state. They aim to assist the person to get into their Adult ego state and to stay there. In these approaches awareness is seen as facilitating cure. The assumption is awareness is cure, and thus some fall down a bit on this assumption.

The first and most obvious example is Freud and psychoanalysis. One of the main goals in psychoanalysis is to make unconscious material conscious. For instance through dream interpretation one can access the client’s unconscious. Once done the client can become aware of it (i.e. make it conscious ) and then they will be cured because they will understand the unconscious and can act in a conscious way (the Adult ego state).

CBT is the same. You seek the irrational thoughts or thinking errors and once discovered the person then can think about them and then use certain strategies to nullify them so as to remain in a rational state of mind. With feelings in CBT one thinks about them. What lead up to me feeling this? What irrational thought is underlying the feeling? And so forth. Once discovered one can be in the Adult ego state and fix things and avoid such situations in the future.

Classical TA is all about Adult awareness as well. One analyses games and scripts. Once understood one is more aware of them and thus can choose to stay out of games and so forth.

Whilst there are some significant difficulties with the idea that Adult equals health or cure without a doubt the more one has access to their Adult ego state and can stay in their Adult ego state when under stress the more they are going to deal with difficult situations in a productive way.

People can move out of their Adult ego state in two ways because there are only two other ego states. The Parent and the Child. If the person stops thinking in Adult and moves into the Child ego state that is called regression. The person regresses to an earlier state of being. They start to think and feel like they did when they were 7 years old. They will adopt their old problem solving styles from those early years which most often are not effective and lack logical problem solving.


The person may also move out of their Adult ego state by moving into their Parent ego state. This is sometimes known as crystallisation, because the persons thinking and problem solving becomes crystalline and thus lacks any flexibility which the Adult ego state think has.

For example, the person may say we drive this way to work because we always drive this way to work on a Monday. This is a Parent ego state solution to the problem of which way to drive to work. It has no flexibility. The Adult ego state solution is, “We drive this way to work today because the man on the radio said the other way has a traffic jam.” It is flexible depending on the current environmental conditions.

In older age when one starts to loose the Adult ego state functions with a bit of dementia people will go either into regression or crystallisation. With crystallisation they can be quite infuriating to debate with because they will not be willing to see any new information or other ways of thinking.

Which ego state?

Of course some people will move out of Adult thinking much earlier in life and start problem solving with regressive or crystalline thinking. This can occur for many reasons and what is required is Adult ego state strengthening exercises. That is ways and means of strengthening the Adult ego state such that the person can maintain it better under stress.

I will outline various ways of doing these over the next few days as I add to this post. But for starters one would usually begin with awareness of the ego states and that can be done with the “Parts Party” exercise.

One gets three pieces of paper and writes Child, Adult, Parent on one of them each. They are placed on the floor. The therapist gets the client to stand on the piece of paper with Adult written on it. They are given something to talk about such as a person, a relationship, a difficulty they are currently having at work. Usually it is related to the reason why they came to therapy in the first place.

I think they are fairly sure to get their wish

When standing on the Adult ego state paper they can only say things from their Adult. If they start talking from their Parent or Child ego states the therapist brings this to their attention and they move to that bit of paper and speak from that ego state that they moved into. They move to the various bits of paper as the exercise goes on and are allowed to only speak from that ego state.

This lets the client get some idea of what the various ego states are like and is allowed to begin to differentiate the three. They start to experience what it is like being in Adult, then Child and then Parent. They get a first hand experience of each ego state.

In addition they may have thought they were being in Adult when in fact they were in Child or Parent. So this can be an ego state decontaminating exercise as well. It will also show the client and the therapist what ego states they are most comfortable with and know the best. If they move onto the Parent piece of paper and find it very difficult to say anything one knows they spend little of their time in that ego state. If they move to the Child ego state and speak freely they are comfortable in that ego state.

After time as the client gets used to this exercise they can begin to correct self. If they are talking in Adult and feel self slip into Child then they can self correct which is the whole idea of Adult ego state strengthening. They begin to get an understanding of what it feels like to move out of Adult into the Parent or the Child and thus they can then self correct. Thus if they are in discussion with someone they can do the same and thus avoid communication difficulties.

One can do this exercise with other ego states like, NP, CP, FC, RC, CC & A.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Personality and dissociation **

Kenoath states, “ it necessarily the free child part of personality which splits off in dissociation?”

That is the way I would theoretically explain it and my reasons are as such.

Dissociation in essence uses the censorship model of personality development. It works in the same way as the government censorship of our movies does. Why does government make it illegal for a young child to see a violent, horror movie? It is assumed that it would be damaged psychologically. The government hides the movie from the young child.

The Free Child ego state is that part of the personality that is conceptualised as being the most sensitive and vulnerable. It is where we can have the most intimate and sensitive contact with others. It allows us to meet with others and understand ourselves in the most sensitive and vulnerable ways. It is where we have a true understanding of who we are.

If a youngster is subjected to very adverse parenting styles then it is the same as the child seeing the horror movie, it will be damaged. One solution is to use a self censorship model. The child thinks, “I can deal with the physical and verbal abuse by hiding from it. If I hide from it then it does not really matter or it cannot really hurt me”. The child then sets about hiding the sensitive part of itself, the Free Child ego state. And this works at least to some degree.

I would suggest there are two different levels of this self censorship by the youngster that both use the same model of survival. First there is desensitisation which could be diagrammed as such:

The person sets up a kind of psychological barrier that isolates the Free Child and this results in desensitisation. This allows the child to receive abuse but it has less impact because the child has adjusted psychologically such that it gets used to it. When a child sees mother bashed for the first time it has a big impact, when it sees mother bashed for the 20th time the impact is less. It has adjusted by partitioning off the Free Child. The censorship is working.

If the abuse is more severe then censorship by desensitisation is not enough and the child has to take more drastic action. One solution is to dissociate. And this is shown as in this diagram.

This is more severe censorship in the desire to hide from the ‘horror movie’. The Free Child is split off from the personality. This hides the sensitive aspects of the personality and the person gets a sense of, “That is not me”. The person reports that when they were being abused it was kind of like they were standing separate and watching a stranger being abused. Torture victims often report this when recounting their episodes of torture as do bulimics some times as they vomit into the toilet bowl. It feels like they are standing back and watching this stranger vomiting.

This is a main difference between desensitisation and dissociation. With desensitisation there is not a sense of “That is not me”. With dissociation there is a sense of self alienation. And the censorship works at least to some degree. The Free Child is protected from future assaults. The problem is the censorship continues into adulthood and humans can not survive psychologically without reasonable access to the Free Child part of the personality. If the Free Child censorship continues then some symptom will develop whether that be depression, anxiety, substance abuse, insomnia, OCD, eating disorders, sex problems and so on endlessly.

With such symptoms the Free Child is simply shouting out loudly that they are still here and they want to be allowed back in. If the therapy assists the Free Child to be allowed back in then the symptoms will subside.


Self harm in a wider context **

The 8 most common motives for self harm

1. Self harming as part of gang tattooing behaviour.

2. Self harming to make self feel real which can be found in those who dissociate.

3. Self harming to make self feel something.

4. Self harming used as a means of tension relief and to release pressure build up.

5. Self harming as a physical expression of emotional pain. Self harming is seen as providing concrete evidence of the pain.

6. Self harming as a means to self nurture. It allows the person to care for self as can be found in Munchausen Syndrome.

7. Self harming as a means to punish self and an expression of self hatred.

8. Self harming as a means to manipulate others or as a cry for help.

In dissociation the Free Child aspect of

the personality is split away from the rest of the personality

Some self harmers will report an addictive quality to their self harming. They find it hard to resist these actions as does one who has an addiction to drugs. In these cases the self harming serves some important psychological function for the individual. This is mostly found in those who self harm to:

Make self feel real which can be found in those who dissociate.

Make self feel something.

As a means of tension relief and to release pressure build up.

In each of these cases the self harming provides some kind of psychological gain which the person can not obtain by other less damaging means. To feel something and reduce a sense of numbness, to reduce the dissociation and to provide a way of releasing a sense of tension or pressure build up. They achieve these through self harming and thus become addicted to it as it is their only way they know how to.

Take a minute to reconsider self harm. To cut self or burn self one could say is an intense physical, emotional and psychological experience. It slaps the person in the face and they have strong physical feelings, possibly a sensation of adrenaline and often feelings of secrecy, shame, and a sense of what will happen to me in the future and so forth. The person certainly has a sense of aliveness. It seems reasonable to suggest that this physiological state would counter a sense of numbness or dissociation and possibly provide a sense of release from tension when the experience subsides.

If self harm is seen in this light one finds that humans can achieve this same kind of intense physical, emotional and psychological experience in a whole variety of ways. Indeed any activity that creates such strong emotions and psychological experience could be psychologically equivalent to self harming for the three reasons cited above.

Activities which create intense fear would include dangerous sporting pursuits such as BASE jumping, caving, mountain climbing, race car driving, surfing huge waves and so forth. Such fear could be achieved in the business world when one risks everything in a business deal or on the stock market. When one makes brazen political decisions. Involvement in criminal activity could also result in the same intense emotional and psychological experience. Involvement in some sections of the military or police could also serve the same function.

All these will result in an intense physical, emotional and psychological experience, just as cutting self can. Indeed the other human activity that can create such intense feelings and experience is sex. It seems plausible that the sex addict maybe doing the same as the ‘cutter’ who reports a sense of addiction to the self harming. The intense feelings allow a reduction in tension build up, reduces the sense of numbness or allows the dissociation to be temporarily relieved.

When viewed in this wider context those who self harm by cutting or burning are not all that odd after all. In fact a significant section of the normal community may be doing exactly the same using more socially acceptable means than by cutting ones arms with a razor blade. Indeed our friend Tiger who is purportedly a sex addict may psychologically be doing the same as the 20 something girl who burns herself with cigarettes.

Through the intensity of the sexual experience he could have found a way to relieve a sense of dissociation or numbness temporarily. Of course I have no idea if our man who put his putter where he shouldn’t have is doing this. However it seems that some could use sex for such a psychological purpose and hence the addiction.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Love and marriage

I thought everyone knew this but I was supervising the other day and this issue arose. So I told her I would write it down.

Marriage is not about love, marriage is about friendship. Marriage in western cultures is about two people living in close quarters for a very long time and endeavouring to maintain a friendship that is of a good quality. Not an easy thing to do.

Marriage is about this.

If two people are compatible at least to some degree in their Parent values that is a good start and one reason why cross cultural marriages can be a hazardous venture.

If two people can at times be caring and considerate of the other party that is a really good thing in a long term friendship (marriage). Random acts of kindness, unsolicited, can generate so much good will.

But probably most important of all is the Free Child contact. Two people who like each other, enjoy each others company and want to spend time together because its fun for them is doodle dandy thing to have in a long term relationship.

None of these have anything to do with love. I am using love here in the sense of a man and a woman falling in love romantically. What I have described above can happen in any relationship.

Love happens when a man and woman meet and fall in love in what is called the honeymoon stage of the relationship. The romantic stage when one gets all those good feelings about the other. This usually lasts 6 to 18 months. From a psychological point of view this is where the attachment between two people develops exponentially. As they fall in love romantically and add sex in there as well two people can develop a very strong attachment, one of the strongest that can develop between two people. Probably only surpassed by the mother - child attachment.

However as I keep banging on about, with attachment comes the desire to maintain proximity. With a strong attachment there is a very strong drive to seek the other out and be with them. People will expend tremendous efforts to maintain proximity with another where there is a strong attachment.

Of course the best situation is if a couple fall in love, develop an attachment and they are also good friends as I described with the FC contact and so forth. Then they have the desire to maintain proximity because of the attachment and also they like and enjoy each others company. Perfection!

Sometimes that does not happen. People who enter couples counselling often have an attachment. Thus they are very reluctant to leave each other because of the desire to maintain proximity (plus all the societal pressures), but the FC contact and NP caring of the other is a very distant memory. They may not even like each other, in fact they may actively dislike each other but they can’t leave because of the desire to maintain proximity. But there is no FC to FC contact left.

Marriage is about friendship and love is about attachment.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Attribution. What’s in a name? - Part 3.

The last two posts on this topic has now allowed one to arrive at a discussion of the psychological process of attribution. This is an interesting process relating to child development and how a child ‘acquires’ its personality. It is interesting in that most environmental effects on the child subtract from it whereas attribution is an additive process.

A good example of attribution at work is with the naming of a child as I have described previously. Using myself as an example. I was named after my grandfather and this may have attributed some of his qualities to me. If the parents tell the child who they are named after and what that person was like the child can then take that as a directive that they are like that person. The qualities are attributed to the child by the parents story behind the naming. Perhaps my life script was to work in helping people in psychological distress like my grandfather’s work was to help people in physical distress? This may have been attributed to my life script by my mother’s naming of me.

Most theories of child development including Transactional Analysis tend focus on what is subtracted from the Free Child of the youngster. This is reflected in script injunctions as shown below

Don’t exist

Don’t be you (sex you are)

Don’t be a child

Don’t grow up

Don’t make it (succeed)


Don’t be important

Don’t be close

Don’t belong

Don’t be well (sane)

Don’t think

Don’t feel

Parents demand these of young children for various reasons and each one of these subtracts from the Free Child. Each time the child accepts the injunction part of its Free Child is inhibited in the way described.

Attributions do not work in the same way. Instead of demanding that a child not be a certain way an attribution gives a child some idea of how to be. It adds to the child rather than subtracts from it. When a parent delivers a “Don’t” the child feels pain whereas an attribution through a name does not result in that same painful process.

A man can become a drunkard because he has been given the injunction, Don’t feel. He stops himself having feelings by numbing himself with alcohol. As a young boy his father hit him when he cried and called him a sissy. The boy thus felt pain as he learnt not to have feelings.

A man can become a drunkard because he was named after his uncle Harry who was a drunkard and a womaniser. There is no pain or subtraction in this socialisation of the child. The parents are not hitting the child nor are they demeaning it and thus it is not painful in the same way.

When a “Don’t” injunction is imposed on a child it is forced to move into its Conforming Child ego state and conform to the directive not too feel. There is much less conformity involved in the attribution process. Uncle Harry may also have been a successful business man. Which characteristics the child selects is really up to it and thus not a similar conforming process.

One could say attributions are more of a passive scripting or personality formation process that is directed more by the child than the parents.

Parents can deliver attributions by other means. They can say things like

“She is the pretty one”

“He’s the little scientist”

“He’s the sporty one”

Or giving the child a telescope for christmas.

Or by taking it to museums.

All these are not done out of the need of the parent’s own Child ego state. If that happens it is more of an injunction and a “Don’t”. It is a much kinder type of scripting that the parents do out of fun and simply noticing characteristics of the child. Parent’s cannot not give attributions. Every time they comment on attributes of the child it maybe happening in the child’s mind.

Sometimes however parents may be feathering their own nest. In many families one child is often groomed by the parents to look after them in their declining years. In a family of three sons and one daughter it is usually the daughter who gets the job. Attributions can be used in this way.

“She’s the little nurse”

“She is so kind and caring”


Monday, May 10, 2010

What’s in a name? - Part 2

In the Transactional Analysis world over the years there has been sort of a tradition or cultural norm to change one’s name. Many have changed their name - christian name and/or surname, some have done it a number of times. I never have but at times it has been a bit of the thing to do.

However there is a theoretical basis for this tradition evolving. Eric Berne in his book, “What do you say after you say hello” talks about names and the role they can play in determining a persons life script. In therapy groups sometimes you get people who want to do some work on their name.

Over the years in many workshops and therapy groups I have begun with the round question for each participant - What is the story behind your name? Who named you and why? What does your name mean to you, your mother, and so on? Nicknames also can be very important, how they got them and what they mean to the person.

One never ceases to be amazed at some of the answers you get. Some people have whole elaborate stories or information that they know about their name and how they became named what they did. Some people come to realise that they know all this stuff about their name that they did not know they knew.

A man may report that he was named after uncle Harry and then describes how uncle Harry was a drunkard and a womaniser. As a 6 year old boy learns this what sort of impact is that going to have on his script. Or a woman reports that she is named after grandma Merle who was a spinster who spent her life doing good work in sub Saharan Africa. What sense is a little 6 year old girl going to make of all that?

Then there is the whole area of sex role scripting when a father wanted a boy and got a girl so he gives her a name like Kim. That type of thing can often result in a sense that there is something wrong within the child. In one sense your name is your public signature and thus it is seen as having some importance in one’s sense of identity as Eric Berne described.

My name is actually, Anthony Gilbert Browning White. Gilbert comes from my grandfather on my mother’s side - Gilbert Troup. What I have been told about him is that he was a very learned doctor and anaesthetist in this state for many years. My mother had a special attachment to her father and in one way revered him. When he died they created an award named after him that is given each year to the most successful student of anaesthesiology at a medical school here. On a side note about 5 years ago at a dinner function I attended, I discovered that the woman sitting opposite me had actually won it. Bit of an odd situation really.

I have spent my work life in the helping professions. Is this my life script from my naming?

However it is not all cheese and biscuits I may add. Whilst she revered him and felt a special connection to him I have learned over the years from her that he had a tendency to neglect his domestic duties. Whilst he was much loved by his patients he at times would tend to them before he tended to his own family. This as one can imagine resulted in some disquiet amongst family members including my mother who named me after him. Has this had an impact on my life script? Such are the vagaries of child development.


What's in a name?

This came from a recent discussion with a FaceBook friend. Name has been changed.

Mya: And I like how you always (ALWAYS) say the name of person in your reply to this person!

Me: Yes I do mention peoples names as you say. I am not too sure why I do that. It has never been a conscious decision or thought out thing to do. I just do it Mya. Maybe you could help me and tell me what it feels like to get your name mentioned in a reply. Then I may know why I do it.

Mya: It's hard to believe you're not sure why you say other people's name. I thought you're doing this deliberately. I think by saying their name, you show them that you respect them, no matter who they are and what they do. I think it's a deeper type of respect. It's not just respect for something certain they've done, it's an acceptance of them as they are. And also you might intuitively feel that people like to hear their name and sometimes it has quite a strong effect. It's more direct and personal. It feels like by this you're saying "Yes. I'm talking to YOU". And if you go to the supermarket and on checkout say "Thank you Rebecca" instead of "Thank you" to the sales assistant, there's a high chance it will make her day! She might stop feeling being a part of a furniture for a while.

Me: Regarding saying people’s names Mya, you are the first person who has ever brought it up with me, so I have not really thought about it much before. It has just been a natural thing for me to do. As I think about it now if you say someones name they probably notice it more as you say with the shop assistant.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

I never know what to say.

Here is the picture of my first born.

He lived six and a half months and then died.

It happened again yesterday and it is a bit of a dilemma for me. Someone asked how many children do I have. I have 3 sons like on the TV show, My three sons! One is deceased and two are alive and well.

What do I answer to that question of how many children do I have. I most often say two but on occasion I will say three. I feel that to say I have two children is very dismissive of my first born. He was conceived, born and lived on this planet, not for very long but he did live on this planet. To say I only have two children in my mind completely ignores him and that he did live his life. I don’t want to do that to him. I want to honour his life.

But if I say I have had three children then that usually leads to supplementary questions that require explanation. If I have just met an old friend in the street and having a brief catch up conversation one does not really want to get into such matters on the kerbside.

So, I never know what to say.

At his funeral there was a bit of a heart starter situation as well. As we arrived in the car at the chapel the funeral guy following asked if I wanted to carry the coffin into the chapel. It was only two foot long. This was not planned and surprised me but I said yes. I picked up the coffin and as I walked up the few steps I tripped on one of them. The coffin almost fell out of my arms. If it had it is quite possible he would have rolled out along the floor!

After it is all over you go back two days later to pick up the ashes from the crematorium. They come in this grey plastic box which I thought was a bit drab. They could at least put them in something swish. Later on my wife and myself separated and we had to decide what to do with the ashes. We thought about taking half each, but there is something not quite right about that.

Anyways I let her have them and tells me that she still has them. She has promised not too do anything with them without consulting me and I trust her to do that.

Well that was a brief wander down memory lane


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Drugs and the public truth

Notes from a drug use workshop I am running tomorrow

At some point one needs to remove your Parent ego state and have a Adult ego state look at drugs. There is nothing intrinsically wrong or bad about drugs. It is fine to have your Parent ego state views but one must be very careful not to have an Parent contamination of the Adult when working with drug users.

Drug policy and law in Australia is based on political decisions not health reasons. As a result of this the government has to then go about demonising drugs so as to pretend that they made drug laws based on health reasons and not for political expediency.

This results in public health officials stating that drugs are bad and dangerous. As they are on the government payroll at least to some extent they have to give the government line rather than the cold hard facts. They most often do this by telling the truth but not the whole truth.

For instance they will say that taking XTC is dangerous because you are taking something that you have no idea what is in it and it is made in backyard labs. All this is true but it is not the whole truth. What they don’t say is that taking XTC is rated low risk.


This comes from Newcombe and Woods (2010), from the Centre for Applied Psychology at Liverpool John Moores University have been developing a risk assessment model. Mortality risks in the United Kingdom in the 1990s.

A summary of their risk assessment model is shown below.

Very high risk

Tobacco, methadone, injecting drug use, BASE jumping, grand prix racing, cancer, heart disease, space travel

Quite high risk

Heroin, Morphine, barbiturates, alcohol, hang gliding, parachuting, motorbike racing, sudden infant death, working in mining, asbestos poisoning, strokes, prostrate cancer, shaking of babies, off shore oil work

Medium risk

Solvents, benzodiazepines, motor sports, water sports canoeing, diabetes, skin cancer, influenza, suicide, giving birth, helicopter travel. liposuction. working in farming, being in police custody, working in construction

Quite low risk

Ecstasy, MDMA, speed, cocaine, contraception pill, GBH, fighting sports, snow sports soccer & rugby, Asthma, AIDS. meningitis, cervical cancer, food poisoning, air travel, being murdered, chocking on food, electrocution, drowning, passive smoking, factory work

Very low risk

LSD, magic mushrooms, viagra, fair ground rides, swimming, riding sports, food allergies, syphilis, malaria, appendicitis, pedestrian crossings, clothes catching fire, falling out of bed, vaccination, abortion, storms, terrorism

Extremely low risk

Marijuana, cannabis resin, indoor sports, playgrounds, peanut allergy, measles, insect stings, copulation, starvation, dogs, lightening, nuclear radiation, police shootings

Negligible risk

Caffeine, nitrous oxide, ketamine, computer games, masturbation, small pox, leprosy, sharks, cats, meteorites, executions, volcanoes


This comes from the official Australian Government website called the National Drugs Campaign. Its gaol is to inform the public about the facts on drugs, licit and illicit. It would have been put together by scientists who are researchers on drugs most likely from universities. They would be paid by the government

“Problems using Ecstasy

In the short term, ecstasy can produce increased heart rate and blood pressure, overheating, jaw clenching, teeth grinding, tremors, nausea, enlarged pupils and anxiety.

Taking ecstasy in a hot or humid environment, like a dance party or nightclub, can also cause dehdydration and raise the body’s temperature to dangerous levels. This increases the risk of the body heating up to levels that cause organs to fail, breakdown and eventually causing the heart to stop.

There is also a risk of serotonin syndrome or toxicity, which is an excess of the neurotransmitter serotonin (brain chemical) typically caused from mixing ecstasy with various, but not all, antidepressants or simply taking an overdose. The symptoms include agitation, confusion, headache, tachycardia, hypertension, hyperpyrexia, muscle twitches through to coma and death.

There are a number of psychological problems associated with ecstasy including the ‘hangover effect’, depression that can last for days after using ecstasy. This is because serotonin in the brain is reduced by ecstasy use. Research in animals shows that this serotonin loss is long lasting (up to 3 years) and may even be permanent.

There is a greater risk of physical and psychological harm as a result of taking ecstasy for those with the following conditions: heart disease, diabetes, epilepsy, liver problems, hypertension, panic attacks or a history of mental illness.

At this stage longer-term effects of using ecstasy are inconclusive, but potential problems include cracked teeth through clenching and grinding, high blood pressure, memory and attention impairment, lethargy, decreased emotional control, severe depression and possible nerve cell damage.” (end quote)

The first thing that is interesting is there is no mention of a XTC induced psychosis. This must mean that the research is now that conclusive that the evidence for XTC inducing a psychosis simply is not there. If there was any there they would certainly mention it.

The other thing about it is I could not write it. My conscience would not let me. Yooohooo! I have discovered I do have a conscience. In the statement they talk about XTC possibly causing death. That is the truth but not the whole truth. No where do they say that the risk of death by XTC is low. On a par with death by food poisoning or being blown up in an aeroplane by a terrorist. They simply omit to say it and in my view it is a significant fact for the public to know.

If a politician got up and said it or even the press say it then that is OK because they are being honest about who they are and one then knows the facts will be modified to suit their agenda at the time. However this is produced by people who consider themselves scientists who claim to deal in the cold hard facts. They present themselves to the public as that and they know the public will assume they will tell them the facts and ALL the facts. They haven’t. They have lied to the public by omission.

I couldn’t do that. It may even make me have trouble sleeping at night because I have misrepresented myself in a way which fools the public. Surely the truth and the whole truth still has some meaning to some one.