07 Mar Interview with Dr. Peter Breggin
I was honored to be a guest of Dr. Peter Breggin on his radio show Wednesday February 20th, 2013 at 4pm Eastern Time. Please go to www.breggin.com and click on “live radio” for a link to the “Progressive Radio Network” which aired the show. Dr. Breggin is one of the most influential and respected psychiatrists in America. He has written over 16 books and numerous articles on the field of psychology. Please go to www.breggin.com to see his extensive resume which includes speaking before Congress as a medical expert.
Below is a transcription of our radio show which highlighted my life as well as my two books published this year. “Emotional Core Therapy” and “Emotional Core Therapy for Adolescents”Intro:Are you ready for the conscience of psychiatry, for the best-selling author of Talking Back to Prozac, Medication Madness and now Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal? It’s the Dr. Peter Breggin Hour with guests unafraid to speak the truth about psychiatry and psychology and about how you can make the most of your own life.Dr. Breggin:This is Dr. Peter Breggin. Don’t forget that in addition to all the marvelous information that you get on this radio show, you can always go to my website Breggin.com, B-r-e-g-g-i-n.com. I don’t remind you enough about that. That will get you to the archives of this radio show. It will get you to our video archives; it will get you to my latest blogs about violence and psychiatric drugs and the school shootings. It will just get you tons of scientific articles and scientific information. My wife, Ginger, has created ToxicPsychiatry.org, which is a treasure chest of scientific articles by other people and other resources, in particular concerning the damaging effects of psychiatric drugs, shock treatment, lobotomy and so on. There is a lot going on around us right now, and for whatever reason, I am doing more media than I can remember. This week, I think I am doing maybe five different kinds of radio shows other than my regular shows that I do where I appear for five or six minutes and talk to a couple of million people, up to 4 or 5 million people, on a couple of radio stations. Just a lot of media. Canadian TV down here to talk to me in four hours with me, yesterday. A lot of stuff going on. I think the world is getting much more interested in the problems with psychiatric drugs and psychiatric approach, and much more interested in empathic therapy approaches, which brings me finally to our conference.It’s rushing through time and collides with us, April 26 through 28, in Syracuse, New York, the Third Annual Empathic Therapy Conference. We nearly filled last time, and we might despite the economy fill this year. Check us out.You can get to me from Breggin.com, to the conference from Breggin.com. It will go right to it: EmpathicTherapy. Org. EmpathicTherapy.org, learn about the conference, sign up for it. It’s a tremendous event. People love it. They feel inspired by it. They not only hear critiques of biological psychiatry, they hear about the latest cutting-edge, most marvelous empathic approaches to therapy.I am going to do a master class for three hours, probably on Sunday with Burt Carrin [phonetic], a great psychotherapist. It is just a really marvelous event. You get to meet me and Ginger, and lots of other terrific people. It is really a great, great conference. Again, it is coming up April 26 through 28. Get to it on EmpatheticTherapy.org.Enough about me. That was four minutes about me. I have got a really interesting guest. I am actually looking forward to this session in part because, like going to a fireworks display or some other event, I am not sure what’s going to happen, other than this is a really interesting human being. This is a very thoughtful, creative, special human being indeed.My guest is Bob Moylan. When he comes on … are you there, Bob?
Bob Moylan: Yes, I am.
Dr. Breggin:Did I pronounce your name right, Moylan?
Bob Moylan: Yes, you did.
Dr. Breggin: Bob and I, we first got acquainted indirectly. He got in touch with us, and I got two of his really interesting-looking books. They are sitting right in front of me. One is Emotional Core Therapy. That is for adults, and one is for adolescents, Emotional Core Therapy and then a follow-up, Emotional Core Therapy for Adolescents. Bob’s background is really interesting. He grew up under very unusual circumstances, on the West Side of Chicago. A single mother raised him and 12 siblings … God, that makes her a hero of motherhood … after his father passed away, very tragically in a fire. He says that motivated him a great deal. He went on to really put himself through school with scholarships and hard work and, I guess, probably loans. He started out by getting a B.A. in economics. Anybody who gets a B.A. in economics strikes me as too intelligent to bear … that is tough stuff … at Northwestern, which is a tough school. Through the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern Bob received a High School Teaching Certificate which is probably a little softer than economics. Then he got a Master’s degree(first MA was in History) at Loyola, another good school, in the Counseling and Psychology program. He practices counseling, and I think it is going to be interesting to talk to him. Hello, Bob.
Bob Moylan: Good to hear from you, Dr. Breggin. It is a privilege to speak with you. I read a lot of your work, and to me you are not only the conscience of psychology, you are the Wyatt Earp of psychiatry. You are a hero for fighting the fight you fight.Dr. Breggin:Thank you so much. This comes up so often when I have people on the show that I have never met. It is just, in my older years here, deeply gratifying to me to hear how many lives I have touched. I know that you said you have read my books, and they influenced you, and I am really glad to hear about that. Just tell us about yourself, Bob. Maybe start with this incredible childhood and how you surmounted it or grew from it. Talk to us about it.
Bob Moylan: Sure. Whenever I talk, I feel like I am always protected anyway. I feel like a god has protected me. Actually, I grew up Christian Catholic, but I think over time somebody has been helping me out, but I think it is more of a universal God that loves all people … black, white, rich, poor, regardless of sexuality, religion, et cetera. That is, I grew up one of 13 kids in a small family. My father was an alcoholic growing up, so I never had a relationship with him. I was very scared as a kid. He used to yell at my mother, and I used to, believe it or not, pee in my pants until I was 12 years old. That is how much anxiety I had, growing up.I grew up on the streets of Chicago. I was arrested a couple of times before the age of 13. What happened was, fortunately for me, I was kind of bright so I used to study a lot too. I got a full scholarship to Lake Forest Academy, a prep school, and I learned from some good people out there, from diverse cultures and ethnicities, et cetera, and I was very nurtured with my mind and my body. I was an athlete. I was actually the number-one ranked boxer and wrestler. Growing up in Illinois, I wrestled Big Ten in Northwestern University where I received a scholarship over there, to go, but I think, for me, growing up quite alone … I didn’t have a close relationship with some of my brothers, so I grew up on the streets, so to speak … I often suffered debilitating anxiety, depression, some anger issues, some addiction issues, but no one ever taught me … I was never really loved, so I had to kind of learn love for myself. This took time and years. Fortunately for me, a therapist helped me, my high-school guidance counselor. He was my high-school principal and was actually a trained counselor. At Northwestern, I got help with counseling, so all throughout my adult life I learned from mental health professionals. Even psychiatrists, by the way, that did one-on-one counseling actually helped me over the years because when you have nothing, you reach out to good people.You know what’s funny, Doc? I don’t like to suffer. I hate the feeling of being depressed, anxious, angry, addicted to anything. I am 51 years old now, and I am trying to turn pro as a golfer(local pro only) this year. I am working hard. I am in the best shape of my life. I work out every day. I exercise, do elliptical and things like that, and I feel great with my life and mind, and I am only 25 years younger than you. We talked yesterday about your age, and I think you have lived a noble life. Well, I hope, in the next 25 years, I can give back to the world and help them, show them how to empower their mind.Speaking briefly, we talked about two books that I have written here. My next book is going to be for kids because I am certain that my process works, and I am certain that my process can help empower people, so the next approach would be to help young kids, from 5 to age 14, how to really live a life without drugs and alcohol, true to their spirit, how God made them, so to speak.That is a key thing, and I have had great success and feedback with my books. They are well received because they are very easy to read. If you can read Harry Potter, you can read my Emotional Core Support Therapy for Adolescents or my adult book. It’s funny because, you know why, Harry Potter is meant to kind of bring you strong feelings of fear in the movie, and grief, arise to test your emotions. Well, that is what my book does. My books are very completely open about the pain and loss in life, and when you are open about it and honest about it, and exact about the root cause of it, then you can finally get better.My books talk about the cases that I have treated over the years and how people get better, how they get empowered through their relationships. The key is how they learn from relationships. I am very empathic, so I talked to you. Yesterday, we spoke on the phone, and I you just seem like such a kind man, but I know you have a good strong spirit, and it is not easy for you to fight the fight every day that you have to, to reach out to people to say that there is danger out in the world with drugs and alcohol, and even pharmaceutical drugs.But, for me, I am certain there is an approach out there that can help people. That approach is really to do what all people have in common. All people, regardless of race, culture, ethnicity, et cetera, when they were young … two , three, four and five years old … they had a peaceful, reflective, daydream state of being. I think the key to my approach is to do that throughout your life. Just like you brush your teeth every day, you brush your teeth to get your teeth whiter, you need to stay in a peaceful, meditative, reflective state of being, for part of your day.Then the next key approach, my approach, which is unique … it’s different than the other self-help books out there …, is that I come up with the idea that there is four true feelings. When you go towards something you like, there is joy. When you leave it, there is grief. When you go towards something you don’t like, there is fear. When you leave that, there is relief.The key is, for any of our loved ones, they go out in the world. Like my daughter is 16, and she goes on to college in another year. I know that there is going to be pain where she goes to school. I know that there is going to be fear, and there is going to be grief, so I gave her my teen book as a way to protect her. My books are really about protecting people in the sense that I am very open about feelings and how they occur. When you are open and honest about them, then you can finally get better and deal with them.These four feelings, by the way, they are temporary states of being, so I don’t want anybody to feel like they can’t get over pain and loss in life. Dr. Breggin, sometimes it takes six months to a year. I have a client right now. She lost her husband after 25 years, and that is a sad thing. It might take a couple of years to get over it, if ever, but the key is to learn to release that feeling. There is different ways to do it.My books talk about journaling, music, using … how should I say it? … movies, role-playing, different ways to get it out of your system, out of your body. The key is catharsis, to cathartically release your feelings. That is what my books talk about. It is a key component of Emotional Core Therapy.Sorry, I was long-winded there, Doc.
Dr. Breggin:You are doing fine. I interrupt when I think anybody is going on too long, or when I want to have something to say. I think you are doing great.I would like you to solve, help solve, look at, at least examine, the problem that continues, I think, to just mystify all of us therapists. That is how does someone with such stressors, difficulties, et cetera, et cetera, so many difficulties in childhood, how does he become such a creative, good and responsible human being? How does this happen?In the therapy field, there is a tendency to have empathy for the person who does wrong in terms of look at what they went through, endured, and so on. But I find among my clients, they don’t want to hear anything like that. They don’t want any excuse-making. They want to … you have to encourage them to even, usually, look at the vulnerability of childhood because they don’t want it to be an excuse.How in the world … what did you learn about yourself that got you through this? Now, you mentioned a lot of good people who came through your life. Heck, what about when you were four?
Bob Moylan:You know what it is, Doctor? It’s this. I grew up Catholic, and I have got to tell you, I used to pray a lot as a kid. I would say the Our Father, and I meant those words when I was younger.I would say, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” That would allow me to cathartically release the pain I caused on people on accident and the pain the people caused on me. But it wasn’t enough, Doc.I used to box in the city. I was a city boxing champion. I would get my brains beat in sometimes. I had three nose surgeries by the time I was 25, three nose surgeries
Dr. Breggin:What weight were you boxing at?
Bob Moylan:I was boxing at 100 pounds, but actually I beat two Golden Glove Champions, the last year I boxed, but I was a Big Ten wrestler, so I wrestled national level all over the country for Northwestern University.
Dr Breggin:You were a powerful man, but small.
Bob Moylan:Right, right. You know, the thing about is, there is a lot of pain there, Doctor. There is pain in losing, and I learned a great deal there. But your point is … you made a great point … where I got better and some people don’t, is that I would love to blame other people for all my problems, the way I grew up, et cetera, and I have had some terrible things that I won’t even discuss with you on the phone here, but I have had just debilitating … for example, I had bouts with depression that lasted months when I was losing matches and overwhelmed with relationship stress.But the thing is, these all occurred when I was younger. What I had to do, Doctor, was not blame anybody else, but I had to take responsibility for all my relationships. My books examine the root cause of stress. The root cause of stress is when relationships grow together and come apart, and they evoke one of those four feelings. What happens is … over the years, I have done this with my clients, over and over again. I have said, “These are relationships you are choosing. Now, what feeling is that going to bring you?” Let’s take a look, Doctor.
Dr. Breggin:I got that. I think you are making a really clear point about that. I want to bring you back because your life is so interesting, and it’s interesting to me. I actually took out some of my feelings too.When I was young, I was a really good runner, and I played football, but when I reached about 16 or 17, I wasn’t like a star anymore. I went through being the fastest runner in many schools in our town, in Nassau County, and then had to deal with not being allowed to go in that direction. I think God said, “No, you’re not going in that direction. I have other plans for you.”But we have a lot in common. I wasn’t a big guy, but I was bigger than you. I was probably running at 130 pounds and playing football at 140. You said that you took responsibility. Where do you think you got any idea? Where did that come from? I look into my own self, and I say, “Where did I decide so early to be a certain way?” Can you describe that, deciding early, being responsible?
Bob Moylan:Yes. You know what I think it is? I think it goes back to when I was very, very little. I used to play with toy soldiers when I was little. I would daydream a lot. I had a lot of time alone, so for me the real answer, Doctor, is that I was very comfortable, at like four, five or six years old, daydreaming.All my life … I have had my brother die tragically, three years before my wedding. I fainted three times in one day, and I was depressed for six months. This is in my early 30s. I have lost loved ones. When you don’t have anything, you grasp onto things that are not very stable.I have had such loss in my life … even when I went down to the University of Pennsylvania for a Ph.D. in my 20s, and I didn’t finish. I got robbed three times in West Philadelphia. I came back home with my tail between my legs. It was a big loss, but throughout, what happens is, when you realize …I guess, you know what, the real answer is … to go back to your question … I like being in a comfortable state of being. I love the feeling of my mind relaxing and wandering. What I have learned is that these states are all temporary. It goes back to my approach. I read everything out there, Doc.I used to sit in Barnes & Noble. I read your book, 18 to 20 years ago, Toxic Psychiatry. I have been referring it to people for years.
Dr Breggin:Did you buy it, or did you leave it in Barnes & Noble?
Bob Moylan:Oh, no, I loved it. Are you kidding me? Eight months ago, one of my clients was able to get off his medications and start working out again, thanks to your book.But getting back to the topic at hand, when you are comfortable … we have to teach our young this, okay? The prayer in school was not right. Why? It was Christian-based, and if you are sitting there as a Muslim or, excuse me, as a Buddhist or whatever, that is not right, for you to be outcast.My approach is for everyone, Doc, because everyone can have a peaceful reflective state of being. When they are younger, they have to, so I teach people in my book how to have it. There is different ways to have it.Most people get confused with medication because you don’t
Dr. Breggin:Yeah, let me bring you back. I really would love to talk more with you about yourself. Can I do that, for just a few minutes?
Bob Moylan:Sure, sure.
Dr. Breggin:Then I will let you go, and we can talk more about your current theories. I think folks are getting a really good idea that you are interesting and that your books are going to approach some interesting ideas. I think you are making those really clear, but I want to come back. If you don’t mind.
Dr. Breggin:What is your earliest memory of wanting to be responsible or wanting to be idealistic? You are in this chaos; you are growing up with chaos. You are creating like a bubble, you are describing, for yourself of a kind of meditative state, a meditative world. As a little kid, you find this yourself, and that is giving you strength and peace, is part of what you are saying, but you are contending with an alcoholic father. When does he die or leave?
Bob Moylan:He died when I was 13, but actually, he started our house on fire with smoking and drinking, and we kicked him out. About a month later, he died in a fire. He was 46 at the time, and there was a 22-year-old man that died in the fire along with a bunch of people, displaced.
Dr. Breggin:Your father did?
Bob Moylan. My father died, yeah, in that fire.
Dr. Breggin:He created this fire?
Bob Moylan: No. I don’t know that he created it. I was 13 years old at the time, but the idea was that I never had a relationship with him. My only relationship with him was being terrorized many a day because I used to feel like he would yell at my mother, and I remember … I still remember to this day what he would … the swear words he would yell at my mother when he was drunk. I had a close relationship with my mother, somewhat. I dreamed/thought of her all the time. She was working as a waitress while I was growing up, but still, she was my protector, so for him to yell at her made me very uncertain and unstable as a kid, and that is no way to grow up.
Dr. Breggin:Sure. What number were you among these 13 kids?
Bob Moylan:I was the ninth boy in a row. We had nine boys, then three girls and a boy, and 12 kids in 14 years.
Dr Breggin:Oh, my gosh. Is your mom still alive?
Bob Moylan:Yes, she is 81 years old.
Dr Breggin:Do you have some sense of deciding you would be different than your dad or deciding that … I am listening to the story. You get the courage to box; you get the courage to wrestle; you get responsible. Where does that begin?
Bob Moylan:I think that is why I can relate to a lot of your viewers, is that it wasn’t easy, for a long time. I relate my early childhood to the character Nell in the Jodie Foster movie where she grew up in the woods all alone. I had years and years of suffering, and it was very hard. To be lonely, in despair, and … even when I went to prep school, I used to wash the dishes at wealthy Lake Forest Academy, which is the most expensive prep school in Illinois, and I felt inferior to those kids a lot of places, but over time I got to know them. They were friendly kids, and I enjoyed spending time with them, and I was a good athlete, so that helped me. But pain and isolation and loneliness and despair were my constant companion as a kid and young adult. What happens is, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. You have had it so much, you hate that feeling. You know what it is? Here is your answer, Doctor. It is that that is a place I don’t want to be, so I am going to do all I can to build support and healthy relationships and good things in my life.I work every day empowering my clients to have them bring joy in my life, and that is the only way out of this besides being peaceful, is to build open, honest relationships with people that can bring you joy.You know what’s funny, Doc? I love a lot of life. I have got to tell you, I love my golf right now. I am looking forward, in the next five to ten years, playing competitive golf and helping … I love my life. I love people. I love to connect and help people, and that is a good thing.There is a lot to live for: the trees, the water, the memories of your past, and it is not only about me. It is about the loved ones in my life. A lot of times, my clients are suffering, and I have them take a picture of their family. Somebody has been depressed for six months, and I say, “Bring a picture of your kids in here. We have to fight to get your healthy. We have to support you in this process, but think of your kids. They need you.”I just ran a group today of 15 women, all addicted to heroin. I ran down to the inner city to do this group. I gave them all a copy of my book. They were all on methadone as a way to maintain their sense of balance, but the key about them is that they all were inquisitive about the approaches that I used to get them better.They were all suffering, and two of them brought in their children. One was this cute little girl who was one-year-old, and I said, “Look at that beautiful girl. She is a reason to live.” To that lady, I said, “Wouldn’t you do all you can, to get yourself better?” The mom said, “Oh, yes, sure.” There was another little child in that group too. The mothers were carrying them. I said, “You know what? Belonging to people is a good reason to be.”For me, my own self, I have a daughter. I will bag groceries for my daughter. I will shovel snow. I will do whatever it takes to raise my kid because that is a connection I have in the world, but I think human relationships can motivate us too.My book really talks about that. Sometimes those human relationships go sour. People get sick, ill, lose their jobs, finances, loss of life, and we have to release those feelings of despair and fear and grief. My book talks about how to do that over time.Dr Breggin:I love your enthusiasm, and I love how you work with your own life and the lives of other people. Do you talk much about this core … what I think is this core issue of deciding to master your life, deciding you can actually make it into something?A lot of people who come to therapy really don’t have that concept that they can take charge of their lives, master their lives, make it into a life that they want, make it into a good life.Bob Moylan:That is a great point. It is the power of empathy. The power of empathy is to have the client get back to when they were peaceful. Some clients, it might be when they were in eighth grade. Some, when they were in high school, they had a peaceful couple of years, but to sit and help them, give them the strength.One of the key things about my approach, Doctor, is this. The therapist should never give advice, and that is because … you know why? … we can’t control future relationships, so all I tell them is, “This is a relationship you chose. What feeling is it bringing you? Is it bringing you a lot of fear and grief or a lot of joy?” Then we explore what’s going on. I let them choose the next relationship.That is a key component that empowers people. I am all about autonomy, getting people stronger. I joke with people that my book is like a quick self-help book like one of those books you used to read in high school with (Cliff Notes), but it’s like a do-it-yourself, like you could read it in a week, so to speak. In other words, most psychology, if you read it, Doctor, most people can’t read it or understand it. My approaches are so simple that they can use it, and when they use it, they can transfer it over to other issues.For example, let’s take one of my clients now. She is seeing me for drinking. She had a little bit of an alcohol issue because her husband is neglecting her, because he is drinking a lot too. Once I help her with this approach of emotional core therapy, which is to help her honor her feelings, empower the relationships that she has, and learn to be more assertive with her husband, different techniques that she picks up from her own world, she can then use this in different areas of her life … at her job, with her girlfriends. In other words, once you learn the basic techniques of emotional core therapy, which is to really stay in a peaceful meditative state of mind, to honor those four core feelings that are temporary in nature … joy, grief, fear and relief … identify them, release them and come back to a peaceful state, you can use it in other areas. That is very empowering for the client.First, let me go back to, let’s take a look at a guy online, Heinz Kohut, a great psychoanalyst from the University of Chicago. He has written three books, but nobody (correction, very few people)could read them. Nobody (very few lay people) could understand them, so what good is it, to teach somebody something that they can’t use every day?My approach is something that empowers the client by helping them use it every day, in all their life, so they don’t need to come back to the therapist. You see?
Dr. Breggin:Thanks, Bob. Before we go to break, in about two minutes, how do people get in touch with you?
Bob Moylan:I have two websites: www.robertmoylan.com and then www.IllinoisDUICounseling.com. My books are available on Barnes & Noble.com, and mostly on Amazon.com. They can call me at (630) 788-1100. I am very approachable. I deal all day long … I am like you. I am a very busy person, but to me our job is about service. When we serve, we are free, Doctor. That is a Hermann Hesse quote. The idea is that I am here, by the grace of God. He wants me to help people, the same as you.You know what’s funny? As I talk to you today, our journey is not done. See, I know your work, Doctor, is to help empower kids who are basically taking medicines and drugs that they don’t need. One of the things that we can do later on is, if I write a book for kids on this approach … I used to be a school counselor for ages 5 to 12, so it wouldn’t be hard to do. I used to work as a school counselor, too, as a director … I have a license to oversee school psychologists, nurses, counselors in schools, and one of the things I have seen over the years is that they aren’t proactive about having the kids, the young kids, learn from their behaviors, learning to soothe themselves and take responsibility.These are learned behaviors that we can teach the mental health professionals, the medical field also, to protect our kids. I think that is where … I hate to say it, Doc, but I am a little Wyatt Earp myself, and that is I am fighting just like you are fighting. My fight is to help anybody, whether it is a psychiatrist, a psychologist, anybody on the street pushing drugs or alcohol, bartenders, et cetera, to show that those things are not healthy for people. Those are relationships that are likely to cause you grief and fear. Let’s try to work slowly, over time, in a compassionate manner, to bring you things that bring you joy, like my book talks about. I would say yoga, Pilates, weight-lifting,etc …Dr. Breggin:Bob, we are going to go to break in a minute, and hear the music, whenever my engineer feels like starting it. This is very interesting to me, that you go back to a source of strength in these periods when you had this quiet. I think I go back to early decisions about how the world was wrong, bad, mistreating people, and I wanted to make it better. I think that it’s funny, we have these early ideas. I came much later to the idea of finding peace, much later to the idea of finding peace. Very interesting.We will go to break, and then we will be returning with Bob Moylan,M-o-y-l-a-n, a counselor with a lot of good ideas.
Dr. Breggin:It is Dr. Peter Breggin, and, of course, you are listening to the Dr. Peter Breggin Hour. My guest is a very interesting and inspiring man, Bob Moylan. Bob has gotten me thinking. This week, the TV was in here filming me, and one of them wandered over to my wall. I have only the required diplomas on my wall, required by law, which is my medical license and my DEA prescribing license, because I am not here to impress patients with authority. I have a very home-like office. He wandered over there and came back, and he said, “My God, Doc, do you know, in a few months, you will have had your medical license for 50 years?”Talking with Bob Moylan gets me thinking about the trajectory of a life. All right, I have had the medical license for 50 years. What am I going to do with the next 50, with that medical license? I look forward to advice and guidance.Don’t forget our conference, April 26 through 28. It is generally one of the best conferences people have ever, ever gone to, in their lifetimes, and generally inspires people for the rest of their lifetimes. It is a lovely conference. It is fellowship; it is inspiration; it is scientific; it is moral; it is spiritual. Not flaky, just good solid, solid relationship, which I think Bob and I agree about, is the essence of life.Bob, I hand the mike back to you. Anything really unusual, special, exciting that you would like to explore, not just teach about, but explore? I think you are a person who must do a lot of exploring.
Bob Moylan:Sure. I think a couple of things too. I would go back to your journey and our journey. As a therapist … you are in the medical profession, and I am a therapist … our creed is to be just and fair and do no harm for our clients, and that means how can we do that.I think the answer is to be as non-medicinal as possible, like you, and that is to try every way we can to have people get better from their emotional pain … for example, anxiety, addictions, anger, narcissistic personality, obsessive-compulsive, et cetera … without drugs, versus drugs.That is where I think yours and my journey is going to be in the future, is to help people understand that. I am going to give you an example, which I explained to you yesterday. Say a golfer … I deal with professional golfers, amateurs, and give them advice on golf. Not advice, but I help them with master their mind on the golf course.Let’s take a golfer that is hitting all of his shots really good. His drives are going good. His iron shots are going good. His chipping is going good. His putting is going good. He has one part of his game that just absolutely stinks, and that is his sand shots when he’s in the bunker. He cannot get it out of the bunker if his life depended on it.Now, say there is two people standing by him. One is a swing coach that can help him change his grip, his stance, his posture, help him with releasing his feelings. There is another person over there with a medical license that can give him medication. Okay? Well, who do you think that person should go to? Most golfers would tell you, “I think I will try the non-medicinal approach because if I take any drugs or alcohol, I probably have to report it. Illegal prescription drugs, I have to report it to the PGA, but the idea is that those drugs could also numb my feelings, the rest of the golf round.”In other words, medications numb/alter the four senses. The four feelings, the four true feelings, are joy, grief, fear and relief. Your senses, also the five senses … hearing, touching, smelling, tasting, seeing … are numbed, which in turn numbs the four feelings, so the rest of your golf round, you will likely be not played well. You will be affected one way or another.Not only that, your life can be affected at home, with your friends, et cetera, so why wouldn’t that golfer do all he can to get better in a … how should I say it? … in a non-medicinal approach? Whether it’s legal prescription drugs or illegal ones, like alcohol and drugs like, say, for example, John Daly used, the idea is, then, why isn’t that occurring on all levels, and I think … I am very compassionate with people whether it’s a psychiatrist or whether it’s school counselors, et cetera, why is there not a push towards that? I think the answer, as my book talks about, is education. We have to teach people how to properly learn from emotions, and my whole books talk about that. That takes time, so I don’t ever get angry at anybody because they don’t learn. I am compassionate to everybody. I am very inclusive of every medical professional and mental health professional, and it just takes time. I give them support and time.Now, to learn my approach it is sort of like taking a driver’s ed class. It is going to take some time and work to learn this approach.Let’s go back to what the process really is. It is going to take usually a few months to practice this and learn this approach, how to manage your feelings, identify them, but usually when people learn, Dr. Breggin, they learn, they go A, B, C, D and back to C; C, D, E, F, G, H and back to C. People regress from time to time, and that is where they need the support.I would tell anybody that is struggling with emotions to be kind to yourself. Be nice to yourself. For example, a woman, why not go to the spa and get your nails done, why not do a foot massage, or basically treat yourself to whatever you like. If you are trying to learn something, don’t be hard on yourself. Anger is never an approach that works well with trying to get somebody to change what they are doing. Compassion and empathy are, which is what your approach is about.That is the key thing. At the core, I am all about loving and respecting yourself because when you can do that, you have more power, and you can love other people, which is what we are all about.
Dr Bregin:Isn’t it amazing that all over the world human beings are going with these kinds of issues, for help, and they need exactly what you are describing, and they are getting drugs instead? They are ruining, in effect, their golf game.Did I hear you say that getting out of that sand bunker involved releasing emotions?
Bob Moylan:Oh, certainly. See, you know what it is, Doctor?
Dr. Breggin:But is that what you said? Is that … ?
Bob Moylan:Well, what it is, it could be this, it could be anything. You have to assess the situation properly, but what happens to people when they are … like, for example, the game of golf and getting out of the bunker, you can learn from your emotions there.See, the person that didn’t hit his bunker shot the right way, before, he probably had the right way. He probably forgot it. People forget the right way to do things, so you have to get help. You have to get coaching.
Dr. Breggin:They get stuck, as you would say, in fear.
Bob Moylan:Right, exactly. It could be fear. Yeah, it most likely is fear. People do have panic attacks on the golf course. I have seen it. A couple of weeks ago( correction, last year), a guy who won the tournament … he won $1 million … he almost landed in the hospital, he had such a panic attack. He bent over. He was almost throwing up. This is a pro golfer that this happened to.
Dr Breggin:This was after he won, or during the game?
Bob Moylan:It was during the round, but he bent over on his knees, almost throwing up but he picked himself up and went on to win the tournament. (Charles Beljan is the name of the PGA Player)
Dr. Breggin:Oh, my gosh.
Bob Moylan:He still won $1 million. It’s very real. Do you know what it is, Doctor? Golf is … I have a 16-year-old client that I helped with golf psychology last year, and he wasn’t dating at all. He didn’t have a girlfriend. He is still young, but he loved his golf.Golf is a relationship. Each shot is a relationship. He hasn’t dated yet, but just like a 16-year-old boy would go through normal emotions with a girl, it’s the same thing. Golf is a relationship just like dealing with the emotions of a woman is a relationship.Some are hard to deal with; some are not hard. But you can learn from your emotions. My book talks about different sports but especially golf, where you can learn from your emotions rather than run away from them.Staying on the topic of golfers, I just got off the phone with a top pro in Illinois. He is a friend of mine, and he is a good man. I mentioned to him that you can always learn from your emotions. You can learn from them. If you run away from them, through alcohol or drugs, or denying your feelings or getting angry, you are not going to be effective.How do you be effective? You learn from them. For example, let’s take that sand trap you are talking about. I am not going to get mad at myself for missing that sand shot. Anger is just grief anyway. It is one of the four true feelings, grief, so I am really grieving, myself. I knew that I had a loss. I knew this at one time, so I will step back, and I will reflect. I will try to get help, and I will try to remember how to do it right. If I don’t know how to do it right, I will take a lesson on how to do it right.That is the same thing as anything else that people suffer from. Now, an example, let’s take a young man who is eating too much. I had a man(former client) who is drinking two or three, four beers a day and eating fast food all the time. They are going to come to me for help. I am not going to get angry at them, say, ”Get better in a month.” I am going to say, I usually say, “How long have you been doing this?” They will tell me, “Four or five years,” and they might be 40 pounds overweight, middle-aged, with two kids or something. I would say, “Why don’t you give yourself a couple of years to get better? Be kind to yourself.” Why? Because if somebody learned something over three, four or five years, it is going to take … it might take that, a couple of years to get better. You have to give compassion to people. Let them go at their own pace, and that goes back to my Eight-Step Process. It is really a five-step process, but it is eight concepts. You have to be kind to yourself when you are learning this. You have to have support when you are doing this. You have to allow yourself to make mistakes, and then, when you do that, you can finally get empowered and live a healthy life.Dr. Breggin:I think your next book should be something like Out of the Sand Trap.Bob Moylan:I have an article on golf psychology. I have an article out there called “Succeeding on the Golf Course by Managing Your Emotions,” which is online, but I think my next book … after talking with you, I am called to do it … is one for ages 5 to 14. It will probably be Emotional Core Therapy for Kids, and that is because I have worked 30 years as a teacher, coach and counselor. I have seen so many kids. Just recently, last year, there was a situation down in California. This young five-year-old was on three different medications. Now, did that medical professional try to use approaches like I use in my book, try to teach this kid how to soothe himself appropriately, meditate, relax, learn about his emotions, take responsibility for his actions?These things are best done before medication treatment. I think that is where I am motivated. That is where my heart is. I think it’s a calling, so to speak. That way, I can stay close to you, but I think you will like that approach too. I like being around you.
Dr. Breggin:That’s cool. I am enjoying you very much too. One of the points I want to make about this whole issue of medication I make occasionally, but I really need to remember that people don’t listen to every show or go to every one of my lectures or read all of my books. I think that the therapist who finds that he is not helping his patient, the counselor, the psychiatrist, should never then say, “Therapy is not working. You need medication.” This is an arrogance. This is an arrogance that pervades the profession, the helping professions. Here we are, we are working in a relationship with somebody. It’s not going as well as we want. We think the person should be getting better, faster. That is our judgment. Or maybe they are feeling that they are not getting better fast enough. We say, “Therapy is not working. You need medication.”That is utterly false. There is nothing in heaven or earth that says that therapy with you or me or Jim or Jake or Jane is the only therapy there is, that it represents all therapy. That is like dating someone and saying, “This isn’t working. You don’t like me,” and giving the person a roofie.The fact that, as a therapist, we are not able to help one or another person is a part of life, because it’s about relationship, and all relationships obviously don’t work.If you are somebody’s patient or client, and the therapy is not working well, never let them tell you that, therefore, you need medication. If anything, therefore, your therapist needs a reanalysis of what they are not doing for you, or you need a reanalysis about going to a new … seeking out a new therapist.
Bob Moylan:You know what it is, Doctor? Therapy is all work. I am working. I have known that, my whole life. I work; my client’s work. It is very exhausting work.I will tell you one thing. No one has ever come to me because they are happy. No one has ever said, “I will pay you $100 an hour because I am joyful.” It’s always debilitating feelings.Now, that being said, a therapist … to answer your question … should never … I don’t use the word should. I love Albert Ellis and cognitive behavior. Ellis says we don’t use language like “should”. … or, excuse me REBT, REBT therapy. A therapist is never to give advice because if you give someone advice, you are altering a relationship that they have. The client needs to choose what relationships he brings in and out of his life. That is where the real power is given back to the client.You would never hear me say … I am not a medical doctor, but I never even tell my clients what to do. I help them search through their own world about what to do. I don’t have the power.I will give you one example, Doctor. I will joke with you so you understand this, so you will see this in a humorous light. What if a medical doctor said, “Take this medication. Therapy is not working,” and what if the client took it, went to the pharmacy to take it, but in the meanwhile he went to the … by the cash register, there is a lottery ticket, and he won the big lottery, he won $5 million? In that case, going to take the medication might have been beneficial. He has got $5 million, or, let’s say, $100 million. It’s a hypothetical question. The idea is, but what if he went down the same street, took the medication and got deathly ill from it? As a therapist, we are not to give advice to our clients. Why? Because it takes away their power. We want the clients to gain power by choosing their relationships and then learning how they feel from those relationships. Do you see what I’m saying?One of the questions, really, with … you and I know the dangers of medications, for example. In some ways, it can be like going into traffic. Sure, we don’t want our clients to do it, but our job is to inform them. What do medications do? Medications alter the five senses, which alters the four feelings. Typically, in your field, people come to you because they’re depressed. There is not a medication out there that will not only cure the depression but also not deal with the joy, because medications are taken through the central nervous system.Medications, in general, just like drugs or alcohol or marijuana, they are going to alter your five senses and your four feelings. You are not going to learn as much about the human relationships that are causing stress. My answer, in a roundabout way, or really in a direct way to you, is this. Why not learn from emotional stress?My book talks about 30 examples of debilitating stress. It could be loss of finances, a jail term. It could be loss of a spouse. It could be losing a job, et cetera. These are all day-in and day-out tragedies that happen to people, losses in life, fearful events. Okay?Sometimes these events take a year or two to get over. Sometimes they take two years. Sometimes they take six months. Okay? The most important thing for a client, in my eyes, to do is to try, in a non-medicinal way, to learn from these emotions. Why? Because, when you learn from your emotions, that is how you get better.Let’s stay with this just for a second. The 22-year-old girl with a golden heart dates a boy that is on drugs. You know? She is with him, and he is not paying attention to her. I would tell her, when I am talking with her, “I hear your emotions. You have a lot of grief and fear over this relationship.” I don’t tell her to stop dating that boy. I would say, “How do you feel about this,” and she would explore her feelings.Isn’t that going to be much more powerful with the next person she meets? You can truly learn from all your relationships. My book, again, talks about that, the idea that when you learn from your emotions, that is the real power. Okay? That is where you can really get stronger in life.Now that I am 51 years old, as I said, I feel as vibrant today with no medications or drugs, for the last 20 years. I have tried those things, to get better, but I think people have to get their own experience, to have their own experiences with whatever they use.I see people from time to time that are saying, “I like smoking marijuana. I smoke three days a week.” It is not my role to judge them. That is where they are, at their stage of life, you know? It would be intrusive for me to say anything unless they ask for my opinion in a professional capacity. You see?
Dr. Breggin:But what would you do if that person was coming to see you as a client? If you knew they were smoking dope three times a week, would you say anything to them?Speaker 2:Oh, yes, that’s what we do. We take our time. I let people know right away. I say, “You are here. That is a great thing. It is a great day when you come for help. Why are you here?” We talk about it. You are smoking. If you are numbing yourself with marijuana, you are not being as authentic as possible. … you are numbing your five senses, which in turn numbs your four true feelings.
Dr. Breggin 1:You would be direct about that?
Bob Moylan::No, no, it takes time. I just let them explore. You have to let clients go at their own pace, or else it’s intrusive. We let them share their stories. From time to time, you interject, just like I am doing with you.
Dr Breggin:First of all, you have a very strong personality. I suspect that people kind of know what you think, even if you are not saying it. My own approach … I hardly ever mention this. I have got an empathic therapy training film. You can get the empathic therapy training film by going to Braggin.com.
Bob Moylan:I’ve seen it. Very nice …Speaker 1:I sell it much, much cheaper. Training films usually are $200 or $300. I think we sell it for $35 or something like that, barely above what it ultimately cost to have it made, reproduced and so on.I am pretty direct with patients. I think that over the years I have become … first of all, people kind of know what I’m thinking anyway, because I don’t try to keep a straight face. The other thing is that I think a lot of times it does help people, to get a little guidance.A lot of folks have never had the experience of someone caring enough about them, to say, “I get scared for you when you tell me about being alone with that guy,” or, “I think you can do a lot better in your life.” I am a lot more direct than you are describing, but I agree with your fundamental principle, which is that the really core learning is when people are helped to see their feelings about what they’re doing and why they’re doing it and how it harms or helps them. But, especially as I have gotten older, as you will see in the training film, I think, I tend to be pretty direct with people about what I think, because in a lot of ways I think that that is more adult and respectful, to tell somebody what you think, when it really matters in their lives. But, on the other hand, I also can understand not doing that and taking the approach you are describing. I think it is a lot about what you are comfortable with as a person, as a therapist, as well as what you think helps or what helps in your hands.We have got about five or six minutes left.Bob Moylan:I will say this. You make a great point. Irvin Yalom is a great therapist out of Stanford, a psychiatrist, and he talks about the here and now. It is really important to sense how you as a therapist are feeling, because I think other people can sense that too.But I think that’s a key point, is you can monitor your own feelings in therapy, and then you check from there, after your feeling, will that help or hurt your clients. I think the key thing, again, goes back to relationships. If I had the power to prognosticate or predict the future, I would tell my clients exactly what is going to happen, but I don’t have that power. I just don’t know.
Dr. Breggin:I think that’s true. That’s very true, but I might tell somebody, “Since he beat you up three times, I think we can expect he is going to do it a fourth. Take care of yourself. Take care of yourself, my friend.”
Bob Moylan:Right, right, right. That is what I talk about. I talk about learning.
Dr. Breggin:There is a lot of room for variations and approaches, and I like your enthusiasm and your caring, and I like that you are not standing off in some world of your own, in evaluating people. I love how many different things you are doing.I think this whole idea of sports medicine is a wonderful thing. I worked with a golfer, many years ago, who was a very big amateur and who wanted, before he died, to become a pro. We talked a lot about the … they were right on the surface for him, the emotional issues that interfered with how he swung and whether he was trying to make the best swing or swing from his own nature, or whether he was trying to hit the hole, and how when he tried to hit the hole, that did not work for him, that he had to have another approach to the swing. It was all very interesting, and it is all about life, everything we do. Everything we do is all about life.
Bob Moylan:I think, to make a point, Doctor, last year, the top golfer in the world was Rory McIlory. Before he won, last year, he was leading a major tournament, and he had a meltdown. He had basically a panic attack, which is basically excess fear, and some grief there, and he basically collapsed at the end and didn’t win the major tournament. Then, later on, he ended up winning a couple of tournaments, so he recovered.But let’s skip over from golf to real life. Life is like that. We all go … you know what it is? We all need resources to live, so we are always taking on responsibilities, like jobs and relationships, boyfriends, partners, husbands, wives, et cetera. In doing so, we all can get overwhelmed from time to time, just like Rory McIlroy, the professional golfer.The idea is how to release that. Good golfers, when they hit a shot, whatever they’re feeling … anger, which is just grief or fear … they release it before their next shot, and it doesn’t affect them, so that it doesn’t affect their next shot, and that is the whole key of my approach.Then let’s transfer that to real life. Your boss is mean to you; for two months, he’s driving you nuts. I talk about some of these cases in my book. He is overwhelming you. Don’t let that affect your whole life for a long time. Learn to identify it and release it, so then you can go to your next relationship, strong, just like Rory McIlroy did.You can do that when you realize the temporary state of the four true feelings of joy, grief, fear and relief. You don’t get overwhelmed as much. This is a temporary state of being. Loss is a part of life. I am going to work through it.I have got to tell you, Doc, having been through it.
Dr. Breggin:We are going towards the end. I want to thank you, Bob. This has been really interesting to me. Bob Moylan, M-o-y-l-a-n. Don’t forget the Empathic Therapy Conference coming up in April. Just plug into Google, Breggin Empathy. You’ll find it. Hey, thanks for listening. Thanks very much.