Stress Anxiety Depression Sleep Problems Anger Feeling Helpless Tension Panic Attacks Fatigue Worry Fears Feeling Hopeless Recovery InternationalProven Help for
Abraham A. Low, MD1891 to 1954 • Viennese Trained Psychiatrist -1919. • Taught at the University of Illinois Medical School, eventually Associate Profession of Psychiatry – 1925 to 1942. • Head of staff at the Psychiatric Institute of the University of Illinois Medical School – 1931 to 1942. • Assistant Director at the Psychiatric Institute – 1932 to 1942. • Acting director of the Psychiatric Institute and acting Illinois State Alienist – 1940 to 1941. • Avid reader in seven languages; particularly loved philosophy, medieval theology, medieval mystics, and Shakespeare. • Abandoned Freudian psychoanalysis – 1927.
Beginnings of Recovery • Shock therapy relieved symptoms, but did not change behaviors and thoughts.– early 1930. • Dr. Low established and led group classes at the Psychiatric Institute to teach the patients skills to change those thoughts and behaviors. Relapses decreased – 1935. • 1937 – Recovery established with 30 former patients from these classes. Dr. Low envisioned similar groups and classes at all psychiatric hospitals.
The 1940s • Dr. Low branded as a “quack.” • Recovery separated from the Psychiatric Institute - 1941. • Developed “panels” which enable patients to teach other patients the Recovery Method. • Recovery, composed mainly of Dr. Low’s patients, spread to several cities. • Except for Dr. Low, Recovery was led by former patients.
The 1950s and beyond • Dr. Low died - 1954. • Recovery continued to spread. There are now over 600 groups in the US alone and groups exists in five other countries. • Low’s books and tools have been translated into Spanish and French. • There is even at least one Recovery group among the Pennsylvanian Amish! • Former Patients and Medical Professionals familiar with Dr. Low’s method form the Abraham A. Low Institute to explore other applications of Low’s method.
The 50s and Beyond • Recovery is now recognized by the medical profession as a valid therapeutic option. • The American Psychiatric Association presented Recovery, Inc., with its 2000 Arnold L. Van Ameringen Award for Excellence in Psychiatric Rehabilitation. The award recognized the extraordinary contribution Recovery, Inc., is making to the field of psychiatric rehabilitation. • Recovery reestablished in Steubenville – 1995. • In 2008, the Abraham A Low Institute and Recovery International combine to form the Abraham Low Self-Help Systems.
The Recovery Method The Recovery Method is a compilation of many simple yet practical coping techniques. To gain inner peace, members learn how to change the way they react to the people and situations they have no control over. Members also learn how to identify and manage negative thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and behaviors that can lead to emotional distress and stress related physical symptoms. The techniques are learned through regular attendance at meetings, studying the Recovery literature, and daily practice.
What happens at a Recovery Meeting? • The Recovery Method is taught via • Reading Recovery Literature. • Panel examples. • Individual members are encouraged to overcome the stigma associated with their symptoms. • Individual members see that they are not alone with their difficulties.
What Doesn’t Happen at a Recovery Meeting? • Making Diagnoses. • Making Prognoses. • Counseling. • Replacing a member’s medical professional. • Contradicting a member’s medical professional.
Recovery Language Angry Temper –– negative judgments (resentment, impatience, indignation, disgust, hatred) directed against another person or situation.Fearful Temper––negative judgments (discouragement, preoccupation, embarrassment, worry, hopelessness, despair, sense of shame, feelings of inadequacy) directed against oneself. Averageness—most of the things we experience, including nervous symptoms, are average - most people have experienced them. Only our tendency to work them up makes them seem exceptional to us.Self-endorsement—self-praise for any effort to practice the RI method. We recognize the value of every effort we make regardless of the result.
Recovery Language continued Sabotage—when we ignore or choose not to practice what we have learned in RI. When we do not do what is best for our mental health. Triviality— the everyday events and irritations of daily life. Compared to our mental health, most events are trivial. Inner Environment—everything inside your self: feelings, sensations, thoughts, impulses, and muscles. Outer Environment—everything outside your self: places, people, events, and the past. Spotting—identifying a disturbing feeling, sensation, thought or impulse, previously unseen…then applying the right Recovery tools.
Recovery “Tools” • Treat mental health as a business and not as a game. • Humor is our best friend, temper is our worst enemy. • If you can’t change an event, you can change your attitude towards it. • Be self-led, not symptom-led. • Symptoms are distressing but not dangerous. • Comfort is a want, not a need. • There is no right or wrong in the trivialities of every day life. • Don’t take our own dear selves too seriously.
Tools continued • Feelings should be expressed and temper suppressed • Helplessness is not hopelessness • Temper maintains and intensifies symptoms • Do things in part acts • Endorse for the effort, not only for the performance • Have the courage to make a mistake • Feelings are not facts • Do the things you fear and hate to do
Tools continued • Fear is a belief - beliefs can be changed. • Every measure of self-control leads to a measure of self-respect and ultimately self-confidence. • People do things that annoy us, not to annoy us. • Lower your standards and your performance will rise. • Anticipation is often worse than realization.
Panel Examples • Step 1 – the situation. • Step 2 – the symptoms. • Step 3 – the spotting. • Step 4 – before Recovery.
Barbara’s Example The Situation I saw this big piece of chocolate cake in the store and I really wanted to eat it, but I had already eaten my meal. Since I'm recovering from an eating disorder, I don't eat in between my three meals. I wanted the cake and began to work myself up.
Barbara’s Example The Symptoms I had racing thoughts..."I have to have that cake now" ...my imagination was on fire..."oh my God, I'm going to die if I don't have that piece of cake, I need to leave my friends and go and have that cake now. That cake is calling my name...". I felt my heart pound and the energy began to rise inside of me. I feared the permanent handicap (I'll always be this way)--I'll have the cake and then I'll have 10 others.
Barbara’s Example The Spotting I spotted that every act of self control leads to self respect. I didn't have the piece of cake and then consequently the whole cake and felt good that I didn't because I would've binged. I spotted it's distressing but not dangerous -- I can have it in my future. I had the will to bear discomfort. I changed my thoughts and controlled my muscles--I didn't have the cake and I thought of something else
Barbara’s Example Before Recovery Before my Recovery training, I would have had that piece of cake and probably 20 more. I would've left my friends and binged for the next 5 days, not doing my work or anything. I would have been very depressed and stopped my life just to eat and hide out and feel terribly ashamed and isolated, fat and lonely. I wouldn't have been able to stop myself from having the cake.
Barbara’s ExampleFurther Spotting • Lee -- Barbara's imagination was on fire when she said, "I'll have the cake and then I'll have 10 others." She spotted her fearful temper and dropped it. • Diane -- Barbara should endorse herself for controlling her muscles and not eating the cake. • Anne -- I liked how Barbara spotted about her self control can lead to self respect. It's hard when we are under the tyranny of our symptoms to take control of our thoughts and impulses, but it is possible with practice. • Pat -- I agree, and as Diane said, she really needs to remember to endorse herself, so that self approval will slowly start to build.
Curt’s ExampleThe Situation This triviality happened a few weeks ago in my C++ programming class. I could not understand what the instructor was trying to get across. Furthermore, I was so confused I did not know what to ask. This is when I began to work myself up.
Curt’s Example The Symptoms I thought that I was the only one that must be confused otherwise how come no one is asking questions. I was angry at the instructor for not writing things down and giving examples. Also he seemed to get off the subject often. My temper was causing lack of concentration which made matters worse. I was thinking of dropping the class. I thought that this instructor does not want to teach this class and doesn't care about whether the students learn or not.
Curt’s ExampleThe Spotting Then it occurred to me that I must begin spotting. I realized that it's average to not understand something and to be confused. I realized that I'm not wrong for being confused. I lowered my standards for myself and realized I didn't have to be perfect. I also lowered my expectations of the instructor realizing that he is average and it's also his first time teaching this class.
Curt’s ExampleSpotting continued And it could be that the reason other's didn't ask questions is that they were just as confused and just like me could not think of what to ask (or perhaps had some fearful temper as well). I know that I do not know what the instructor's attitude was and that I did not need to know. I saw this triviality as a chance to practice my Recovery techniques. My mental health is a business compared to this triviality for without it I could not do anything else.
Curt’s ExampleBefore Recovery Before my Recovery training, I would not have spotted my temper and would have given it free rein. I would have worked the temper up into a vicious cycle and then I would have felt down because I could not control myself. Now I know that it is merely temper that causes me to feel the way that I do and that I can control my temper by spotting it when it occurs...thanks to Recovery.
Further Spotting • Ann--I spot fearful temper when Curt said he thought he must be the only one that was confused in the class. I also spot that he had angry temper at his instructor for the way he was teaching the class, but he was able to spot his temper and drop it. • Bob--That is so important too, since then he can prevent that vicious cycle from starting up, as it did in his former days. This is hard to do because at that moment I'm sure Curt was feeling pretty strongly about the whole thing. • George--I liked the way he lowered his standards. That doesn't mean we have to be extreme in this, it just brings us down to a manageable level of expectations which are not looking for perfection or having things the way we at least think they should be.
Recovery in Steubenville • Recovery meets most Monday at 7 PM in room 300 of Cosmas and Damian Hall. • If anyone wishes to attend, please contact me at 284-5278 (office), 282-1402 (home) or email@example.com. • Recovery pamphlets and books are available. • http://www.recovery-inc.org Recovery’s official site and the source of much of this presentation.