Did Maslow get it wrong, or did we?

 

Maslow’s pyramid?
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Did Maslow get it wrong, or did we?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Counselor.

Does Maslow’s hierarchy of needs make sense today?

If you took a class in beginning psychology, you probably were taught about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It’s been a long time since I took that class, and I’m not sure if I remember what we were taught accurately, but I am starting to question some of the basic principles as I remember them. Some of the books I’ve been reading recently have made me think maybe that way of looking at things isn’t the final authority.

I first encountered these ideas back in the 1960s. When I went to college, I wasn’t sure what a major was, let alone what I should major in. My experiences as a professor at the local community college since 2008 have led me to believe that fuzzy majors continue to be a problem today.

I took some psychology and some sociology classes in my first year at the community college. Seems like everybody was a psychology major at some point in that decade. Psychology seemed to offer so much promise for helping you decide what the correct choices to make were. Unfortunately, classical psychology was primarily based on research on rats and female college sophomores. That research didn’t actually help most people figure out how to solve their problems. Or how to avoid mental illnesses that counselors and therapists are trained to treat.

Remember that Maslow wrote about a hierarchy of needs during World War II and directly after. His ideas and how psychology professors interpreted them were heavily influenced by their life experiences. Many of our teachers in school in the 1960s had lived through the Great Depression and then World War II. Some of my teachers can home from Europe or Asia and then went to school on the G.I. Bill. Those who taught us had to live through some pretty grim times.

We were taught that physiological needs come first.

Considering what Maslow and those who taught us his hierarchy of needs had lived through, the idea that meeting their physiological needs should come first and that people wouldn’t pay attention to those other “higher” needs would come later makes sense. There may be some reasons to question this notion.

Now I’m not saying that things are any less challenging today, at least for some people. I just think that the challenges the majority of Americans face are different. People who had to live with the possibility of imminent death or who went without food, shelter, or basic necessities of life were affected both physically and mentally by those struggles.

Many parents and grandparents, possibly great-grandparents of people reading this blog, concluded that what mattered in life was a secure job with a good enough paycheck that you would always have food to eat, clothes to wear, and a house to live in. If meeting your physiological and safety needs is what matters, why are there so many people who are depressed, anxious, and about to give up hope?

Is there a shortage of food, water, and shelter today?

Despite the phenomenal creation of wealth since World War II and our emphasis on having the latest technology at our fingertips, the truth is that there are still a lot of people in American society who worry about where their next meal will come from and whether their children will receive adequate healthcare. Our welfare programs and government subsidies provide some relief from the harsh realities, but we still have our homeless, our underfed, and those who can’t get reliable medical care.

From that perspective, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs makes some sense.

The way I understand his theory is that humans have certain basic needs. We need air to breathe, preferably healthy, unpolluted air. The human body needs food and water, but given the chance, most humans consume unhealthy food and water. The hierarchy of needs tells us that we need sleep, but more than one productivity guru tells us we can sleep less and produce more as if more were beneficial.

So how come highly paid tech people have so much anxiety and depression?

Meeting your physiological and safety needs does not result in happy people. Many people with a lot of material possessions are saying that life is meaningless and the money they are earning isn’t meeting their emotional needs.

Without meaning, purpose, and a sense of mastery, the rest doesn’t matter.

What I hear repeatedly from clients is if they are depression, anxiety, and other mental health challenges rarely come from a lack of food, water, or even adequate housing. Instead, what’s missing and so many people’s lives is a sense that their life has meaning.

Victor Frankel described this in his book Man’s Search for Meaning. His experience in the concentration camp convinced him that having meaning and purpose in your life was far more important than food, clothing, or other physical necessities. People who had a sense of purpose survived camps despite horrific conditions.

Today in a land that’s richer than probably any in the history of the world, we still have a lot of people who can’t find anything that gives their life meaning and purpose. When you’re overweight, more food won’t help. It’s very easy to be lonely in a house with dozens of bedrooms.

How come people are willing to trade sleep for video game time?

The primary benefit derived from playing video games is a sense of mastery. As we move farther and farther into an economy where work is disconnected from physical objects is harder to experience mastery. The inherent thing that video games can give people is a chance to master an environment, albeit an artificial one. In the videogame, every time you achieve mastery, you level up and have new challenges to face.

Maybe it’s not the physiological and safety needs that are the foundation of the human hierarchy of needs. People short of food and safety can find abstract principles they’re willing to fight and die for. People with lots of physical possessions may think of suicide and self-harm because they lack meaning, purpose, and a sense of mastery.

I’ve come to think that those things we learned as being necessary only after the baser needs were met are, in fact, the foundation needs that we all are looking for.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs was not a pyramid.

Just as a by the way. When we say Maslow, most people think of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as a pyramid. I came across an article about Maslow’s pyramid, which tells us that Maslow didn’t write about his hierarchy of needs as a pyramid. Nowhere that we have been able to find in his writing does that pyramid diagram appear. Where that came from, we can’t be sure.

But I think teaching Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as if it were a pyramid makes those abstract principles seem far less important and places too much emphasis on the needs of the body rather than the emotional needs of the person.

Does David Joel Miller see clients for counseling and coaching?

Yes, I do. I can see private pay clients if they live in California, where I am licensed. If you’re interested in information about that, please email me or use the contact me form.

Staying in touch with David Joel Miller.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For more information about my writing journey, my books, and other creative activities, please subscribe to my blog at davidjoelmillerwriter.com

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available on Amazon now! And more are on the way.

For these and my upcoming books, please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

For information about my work in mental health, substance abuse, and having a happy life, please check out counselorssoapbox.com

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Negative symptoms matter a lot

Picture illustrating negative symptoms.

Negative symptoms.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Negative symptoms matter a lot.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Counselor.

What’s the difference between negative symptoms and positive symptoms?

The terms negative symptoms and positive symptoms have a different meaning in mental health when applied to symptoms than in other contexts. Positive doesn’t mean good, and sometimes negative isn’t bad in this circumstance.

Positive symptoms are things someone experiences that we don’t expect other “normal” people to have. Experiencing hallucinations (all seven different kinds), delusions, or paranoia would all qualify as positive symptoms.

When someone starts hearing and seeing things others don’t, most people immediately think of schizophrenia. That’s not the only mental health diagnosis that involves hallucinations. But there are so many other possible causes of hallucinations, such as drugs, perception, or even religious experiences, that the presence of hallucinations alone does not always lead to a diagnosis in these cases.

Why negative symptoms matter.

Negative symptoms are identified when people begin to lose the skills they previously had. Those losses, or declining abilities, are more important for diagnosing some mental illnesses than any positive symptoms.

There are a lot more negative symptoms that a psychiatrist might consider that most people initially would recognize. Here’s a list of negative symptoms, most of which are prominent in schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders. The symptoms often come on gradually and may be hard to recognize until they have become severe.

A decrease in emotional expression.

There can be a lot of reasons why someone might become withdrawn and exhibit a narrow or decreasing range of emotional expression. Therapists and counselors would try to rule out things such as depression, anxiety, a reaction to trauma, or even a sudden change in environment. But if this declining emotional expression is prolonged or becomes more pervasive, it would be a good reason for referral to a psychiatrist. Here are some of the prominent signs of decreases in emotional expression.

Poor eye contact.

We must be careful with this symptom, particularly in young children or people with a history of being shy or introverted. Children may do this often, and anyone can develop poor eye contact in an anxiety-provoking situation. But if someone was previously outgoing but gradually withdraws within themselves and stops making good eye contact, especially with people they know, this needs further investigation.

Decreased emotional expression on the face.

The decrease in emotional expression that is seen in schizophrenia and other serious mental illnesses can sometimes be dramatic. In technical terms, it is sometimes described as a “flat affect.” Affect is the way that someone expresses their feelings or emotions. For example, when someone tells you that they are happy, but you can’t tell it from their face or behavior, think flat affect.

Speaking in a monotone.

When someone who previously had a range of intonations starts talking in a monotone, it’s reason for concern. We expect characteristic changes to happen to the patterns of speech when someone is happy, angry, or sad. When you can’t tell what someone is feeling from the way they are speaking, it warrants further investigation.

No longer using gestures to communicate.

A lot of human communication is nonverbal. However, even very reserved people still show some movement of hands, head, and face. If someone gradually gives up the use of gestures and you have no idea why, it warrants a referral to a mental health professional, probably both a therapist and a psychiatrist.

Avolition or low motivation.

Loss of interest in doing things that used to be pleasurable is a characteristic of depression. But when someone stops initiating all kinds of purposeful activities and begins to sit passively, it’s cause for concern. If you know they’re mad, or a child is pouting because they have been told no, that’s not what we are talking about here. The gradual onset of avolition, where the person you care about seems to be retreating into their shell, is a negative symptom that needs attention.

Loss of interest in work or social activities.

Some people lose interest in a hobby or give up an activity they used to enjoy. But when someone loses all interest in going to work or in children going to school and they previously had exhibited an interest in these activities, that’s a cause for concern. Of course, giving up one activity doesn’t constitute a pattern. But if someone gradually loses interest in all kinds of activities they used to participate in, it’s worth checking out.

Alogia – the loss of speech.

Another concerning negative symptom is a decline in speech output, using fewer words, responding less frequently, and having less content to the things they’re saying. Like the other negative symptoms I’ve suggested here, a mental health professional will first want to rule out common causes. If someone’s depressed, angry, or anxious, and that’s the cause of their not speaking, then we treat those conditions. But if they seem to be losing the desire and the ability to speak, that’s very concerning.

Anhedonia – when pleasure stops being pleasant.

Lots of pleasure is a characteristic of Depression. But except for the most severe forms of depression, most depressed people will still seek out pleasure. As a negative symptom of psychosis, pleasure-seeking behavior declines or disappears altogether.

Asociality

Not wanting to socialize can be a symptom of several mental health conditions. But the asociality we see in schizophrenia and related disorders is much more pervasive. It’s not simple anxiety or a reluctance to meet new people. It’s also stopping social contact with family and friends and preferring to be by yourself. This goes far beyond simply being an introvert.

What should you do if someone has these negative symptoms?

One or two of these symptoms, particularly in a mild form, might simply be someone’s personality or the experiences they’re undergoing right now. But if you see multiple negative symptoms or they are becoming more severe over time, this isn’t something to ignore. A screening by a mental health counselor or therapist might be helpful.

In young children, it’s even harder to be sure if these are really negative symptoms or if they are normal behavior for a child that age. I worry about the times when people, parents, teachers, and even medical doctors, adopt a let’s wait and see attitude. An early referral to a psychiatrist can alter the entire trajectory of a serious psychiatric illness.

So if you or someone in your family seems to be exhibiting negative symptoms, try to get an appointment with a therapist and a psychiatrist. For children, I suggest looking for a psychiatrist who specializes in working with children. I know they are hard to find and harder yet to get an appointment with. Still, it’s better to make that appointment now, even if it turns out it’s not a serious psychiatric illness, rather than wait until the symptoms are severe and the condition is harder to treat.

I hope you find this blog post helpful. I wrote it in response to a comment a reader left which made me realize I had not talked about negative symptoms in the past. If you have other suggestions for posts or questions for me, please leave a comment or use the contact me form.

Does David Joel Miller see clients for counseling and coaching?

Yes, I do. I can see private pay clients if they live in California, where I am licensed. If you’re interested in information about that, please email me or use the contact me form.

Staying in touch with David Joel Miller.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For more information about my writing journey, my books, and other creative activities, please subscribe to my blog at davidjoelmillerwriter.com

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available on Amazon now! And more are on the way.

For these and my upcoming books, please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

For information about my work in mental health, substance abuse, and having a happy life, please check out counselorssoapbox.com

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Every day is April Fools’ Day when you are fooling yourself

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Fool.

Fool.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Do you know what is real and what is a hoax?

Today is April First. In many places, people will be celebrating April Fools’ Day. This day is dedicated to a whole lot of fun practical jokes and good times. Not everyone should be laughing.

The challenge in life is to tell the difference between the truth and things that are not true, regardless of the label we choose to put on those less-than-true thoughts and comments. Today you may be able to get away with some untruths if you can tell the difference, but not every day.

The falsehoods told today in the course of the April Fools’ Day festivities are in the medieval tradition when Fools were jokesters, comedians and the like. When we know things are exaggerated and overblown they can be laughable and a bit of silly fun. Not all untruths are innocent.

The most dangerous types of lies are the kind we tell ourselves. People in recovery, from whatever they chose to call their problem, may find that they have been telling lies, giving people stories, so much they have begun to believe their own dishonesty. Substance abusers, required to be dishonest to continue their addiction are at special risk to have stopped seeing the distinction between the true and the false in their own minds.

If you have been telling yourself things that are not true and have started to believe those stories they can be a huge obstacle to overcome on your road to recovery.

People in recovery need to stop worrying about who they told what and begin to get honest with themselves. The most important person to tell the truth to is you.

Some recovering people have been told a lot of things that were not true. Those lies create a lot of pain and sometimes separating the true from the false can be a chore. When the addict starts to get honest the others around them are at risk to become confused about what is true and what is false.

Some people have families who have kept deep dark secrets. Those families can’t stand, to tell the truth. They pressure the other family members to deny things happened and to continue to rely on the make-believe family tale

Lie, falsehoods and the like are not the only untrue information that takes up residence in our heads. False memories and beliefs, delusions and hallucinations are also traps for the unwary.

There are technical distinctions between hallucinations and things that are really there. There is a realm of in-between things that the profession has to call in or out. Did you really see that or were you hallucinating? There are reports of things that look like a hallucination but are not.

People with addiction and mental illness may have seen and experienced things that other people tell you never happened.

Sometimes we see something and we decide what that means. If we are correct in our apprised that is all well and good. But what if you are mistaken in what you think this means or what has happened? We might call these false beliefs or even delusions.

It is likely that we can tell when someone else around us is delusional but can you tell when you are delusional? Are there things that kind of look like delusions but are not?

So while walking the road to recovery we need to take a look at hallucinations, false memories, and delusions and try to find ways to understand why our own mind may trick us into believing things that just are not so.

This whole area of what is true what is false and what you think you know is a lot confusing. In some posts over this month I want to explore delusions, hallucinations both true and pseudo and some other aspects of getting honest with ourselves. Since psychologists and therapists call some of these phenomena by different names and understand it differently I want to start by looking at how these two professions get such different answers and then proceed to some thoughts about why your brain and our survival may have benefited at times from believing things that turn out to not be true.

Stay tuned for more on the subject of the real and the false, truth and lies over the coming month. These posts will be interspersed with some other topics as they come up so as not to put all the readers to sleep at the same time.

Have a great day fooling around and we will return to the search for reality and recovery tomorrow.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

4 Steps to Take After Relapse

4 Steps to Take After Relapse

4 Steps to Take After Relapse.
Photo Credit: Pexels

4 Steps to Take After Relapse.

By: Jennifer Scott

No one wants to relapse. After all the hard work it took to get sober, the last thing you want is to go back to your old ways. However, relapsing is not all that uncommon. Actually, more recovering addicts relapse than not. And the odds are that you will relapse at some point on your recovery journey.

A significant reason for this is brain chemistry. Using addictive substances releases dopamine, a “feel-good” chemical, in the brain. This chemical can cause the brain to prioritize the drug over other necessities, which commonly leads to relapse.

Another reason involves stress and coping mechanisms. Many people use addictive substances to cope with external pressure. If new, healthier coping strategies aren’t developed, many recovering addicts can find themselves back using their old coping mechanism – drugs and alcohol.

If you’re stressed and feel anxiety at work, not only can it make you less productive, but it’s also linked to relapse. Without the correct coping mechanisms to deal with this stress, it is easy to fall back into drug abuse. Ways to cope could include starting a satisfying exercise routine, finding a hobby that helps occupy your mind in a healthy way, or boosting your mood at home by removing clutter and letting in more natural light.

Luckily, no matter what the underlying cause of relapse is, it is not a sign of failure. For many people, relapsing is merely a part of the recovery journey. There are some actions you should take after relapse, though, to get you back on the right track.

Contact a Professional

It’s important that you contact a professional. This step is essential for two reasons.

First, a professional can help you get back on the right track, whether that means changing your treatment program or help in developing healthy coping strategies. It is imperative that your doctors know about your relapse so they can adjust your treatment accordingly.

Secondly, relapse is dangerous. When you regularly use drugs or alcohol, your body develops a resistance to it. This development then causes you to use more and more of the substance to get the same effect.

When you stop using that drug for a while, your body’s resistance drops. If you suddenly begin using the substance in the same amounts as before, dangerous things can happen because you no longer have the same amount of tolerance.

Discuss It with Close Family and Friends

While it may not be easy, you’ll need to tell your family and close friends about the relapse. They need to know where you are on your recovery journey so that they can help you get back on your feet. Your family and friends can be critical individuals to lean on in this difficult time.

It can be painful and disappointing for your family members to hear about your relapse. But, it is vital that they know so that they can help you.

If you’re worried about their reaction, consider bringing them to therapy with you so they can understand just how common relapse is.

Forgive Yourself and Continue Forward

Remember, relapse is common.

Just because you relapsed doesn’t mean your recovery is doomed. You must forgive yourself so you can continue forward. By completing the steps outlined here, you can get yourself back on the right path to recovery. Complete recovery is possible, especially if you keep making the effort.

Adjust Your Strategy

Relapsing can be a sign that you need to adjust your treatment strategy.

This is not always the case; help from your doctors and your family members can help you decide if adjusting your strategy is a step you need to take.

If you do need to adjust your strategy, remember that there are many treatment options out there. There are usually many treatment options available in any given area. It might even be useful to combine different options to find just the right combination that works for you.

Relapse can be heartbreaking for everyone involved. But it is not the end of the world. The important thing is to take the necessary steps after a relapse to reorient yourself onto the path to recovery.

Photo Credit: Pexels

Jennifer Scott is a lifelong sufferer of anxiety and depression.  A single mom, she writes about the ups and downs of her mental illness on SpiritFinder.org. The blog serves as both a source of information for people with mental illness and a forum where those living with anxiety and depression can come together to discuss their experiences.

Does drinking alcohol to cope help?

Bottles of alcohol.

Alcoholic Beverages.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Have you ever told yourself, “I need a drink?”

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression a million times, more or less. When someone has had a rough day and is feeling anxious or depressed, their first reaction is often to reach for a drink of alcohol to cope. Humans have been saying this and doing it ever since alcohol was first packaged so it could be saved for later use.

People who use alcohol to cope rarely ask themselves if the alcohol is really helping. Most people simply assume it is helpful. If you’ve developed a problem with alcohol or if you’re one of those who work in the counseling field, you probably have a strong opinion about the dangers of using alcohol to cope with stressful situations. But until recently, there’s been very little scientific research into when alcohol is helpful and for what problems.

Now we have evidence about drinking to relieve stress.

A recent study by Andrea M Wycoff at the University of Missouri-Columbia, US, looked at the use of alcohol for coping and concluded that not only is it not helpful, but it can also make your symptoms worse.

The study compared two populations, the group drawn from the general population and another group who had been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). People with borderline personality disorder are known to be more likely to develop drinking problems. Some of the people with BPD had also been diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder.

One problem with other research of this nature has been the strong tendency to exclude from the research anyone with a substance use disorder diagnosis. Some studies also exclude anyone with a previous mental health diagnosis. Eliminating people who have developed an alcohol use problem from a study on alcohol use problems results in a study that doesn’t inform us much about the connection between using alcohol and the subsequent development of problems.

How were the effects of alcohol on stress measured?

During this study, participants were given an electronic journal. They received periodic prompts to write down in their journal what they were doing, any alcohol consumption, and what they were feeling. They were specifically prompted to report on negative, sometimes called unhelpful feelings.

Whenever someone reported using alcohol, they were asked if they had done this to reduce negative feelings such as anxiety and depression or to increase positive feelings such as feeling calm or relaxed.

Did the alcohol help reduce anxiety and depression?

People who reported drinking to reduce their anxiety, depression, or both did report that they were doing it to reduce those negative emotions. In addition, after drinking, those people were more likely to report that they felt the drink had relieved their anxiety or depression. Initially, the researchers took this as confirmation that drinking alcohol did relieve the discomfort of anxiety and depression.

The facts didn’t confirm the feelings.

Feelings are difficult to measure. There aren’t medical instruments that can directly measure how anxious or how depressed someone is. What researchers resort to are paper and pencil questionnaires. These assessment instruments ask a series of questions about anxiety or depression. Using the same scale at different points in time helps measure increases or decreases in someone’s anxiety or depression.

While many people expected the drink to reduce their feelings of anxiety and or depression, that’s not what happened. Scores on an anxiety inventory did not decline. Instead, scores on depression inventories actually went up, meaning that people who drink to cope with depression end up more depressed, not less.

Drinking to relieve anxiety and depression affects alcoholics more than others.

Even more striking is that many people with an alcohol use disorder, especially those who would call themselves an alcoholic, found that their scores for depression rose even higher than the scores for those without an alcohol use disorder.

Some of the likely conclusions from this research are that repeatedly drinking to control anxiety and depression can result in an alcohol use disorder and that those people with that disorder will find drinking alcohol makes the problem worse, not better. The ability of alcohol to help you cope with anxiety, depression, and stress declines the more you use alcohol and eventually reaches a point where another drink will make your anxiety or depression worse.

An even more important conclusion is that using alcohol to cope with anxiety or depression increases the risk of becoming an alcoholic.

We need to know more about drinking when anxious or depressed.

There are some limitations of this study. It wasn’t a huge sample. It might be possible to find people who were an exception to these results. The sample also had a large percentage of women. Much of the literature about alcoholism and how it develops tells us that women are more likely to develop alcoholism and develop it more rapidly than men if they drink heavily.

The authors note that previous studies limited to men tell us that men are more likely to drink to cope with negative emotions and more likely to develop alcohol problems than women. Presumably, a study of men only would have resulted in an even stronger connection between using alcohol to cope with negative emotions and a subsequent increase in anxiety, depression, and an alcohol use disorder.

What about alcohol and the mentally ill?

The sample had a large number of participants who had been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, which should underscore an extra warning for those people with BPD to avoid the use of alcohol to regulate their emotions. It’s extremely likely that people with other specific mental health diagnoses would see a similar or an even larger effect.

I’ll be on the lookout for research that studies the effects of using alcohol to cope on subjects who have other diagnoses. From my experiences working in the drug and alcohol counseling field, I would expect to see very similar results among clients diagnosed with mood disorders, anxiety, PTSD, and those suffering from the aftereffects of early childhood trauma. All of this tells me that the more someone believes they need to have a drink to cope with negative emotions, the more likely it is that drinking will lead to more severe and longer-lasting problems.

The takeaway from all this?

Drinking alcohol to cope with negative emotions and stress may feel like it’s working in the moment, but it is likely to make your problems worse.

For more on this topic, please see:

Wycoff, A. M., Carpenter, R. W., Hepp, J., Piasecki, T. M., & Trull, T. J. (2021). Real-time reports of drinking to cope: Associations with subjective relief from alcohol and changes in negative affect. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 130(6), 641–650. https://doi.org/10.1037/abn0000684

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now! And more are on the way.

For these and my upcoming books, please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Every day is April Fools’ Day when you are fooling yourself

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Fool.

Fool.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Do you know what is real and what is a hoax?

Today is April First. In many places, people will be celebrating April Fools’ Day. This day is dedicated to a whole lot of fun practical jokes and good times. Not everyone should be laughing.

The challenge in life is to tell the difference between the truth and things that are not true, regardless of the label we choose to put on those less-than-true thoughts and comments. Today you may be able to get away with some untruths if you can tell the difference, but not every day.

The falsehoods told today in the course of the April Fools’ Day festivities are in the medieval tradition when Fools were jokesters, comedians and the like. When we know things are exaggerated and overblown they can be laughable and a bit of silly fun. Not all untruths are innocent.

The most dangerous types of lies are the kind we tell ourselves. People in recovery, from whatever they chose to call their problem, may find that they have been telling lies, giving people stories, so much they have begun to believe their own dishonesty. Substance abusers, required to be dishonest to continue their addiction are at special risk to have stopped seeing the distinction between the true and the false in their own minds.

If you have been telling yourself things that are not true and have started to believe those stories they can be a huge obstacle to overcome on your road to recovery.

People in recovery need to stop worrying about who they told what and begin to get honest with themselves. The most important person to tell the truth to is you.

Some recovering people have been told a lot of things that were not true. Those lies create a lot of pain and sometimes separating the true from the false can be a chore. When the addict starts to get honest the others around them are at risk to become confused about what is true and what is false.

Some people have families who have kept deep dark secrets. Those families can’t stand, to tell the truth. They pressure the other family members to deny things happened and to continue to rely on the make-believe family tale

Lie, falsehoods and the like are not the only untrue information that takes up residence in our heads. False memories and beliefs, delusions and hallucinations are also traps for the unwary.

There are technical distinctions between hallucinations and things that are really there. There is a realm of in-between things that the profession has to call in or out. Did you really see that or were you hallucinating? There are reports of things that look like a hallucination but are not.

People with addiction and mental illness may have seen and experienced things that other people tell you never happened.

Sometimes we see something and we decide what that means. If we are correct in our apprised that is all well and good. But what if you are mistaken in what you think this means or what has happened? We might call these false beliefs or even delusions.

It is likely that we can tell when someone else around us is delusional but can you tell when you are delusional? Are there things that kind of look like delusions but are not?

So while walking the road to recovery we need to take a look at hallucinations, false memories, and delusions and try to find ways to understand why our own mind may trick us into believing things that just are not so.

This whole area of what is true what is false and what you think you know is a lot confusing. In some posts over this month I want to explore delusions, hallucinations both true and pseudo and some other aspects of getting honest with ourselves. Since psychologists and therapists call some of these phenomena by different names and understand it differently I want to start by looking at how these two professions get such different answers and then proceed to some thoughts about why your brain and our survival may have benefited at times from believing things that turn out to not be true.

Stay tuned for more on the subject of the real and the false, truth and lies over the coming month. These posts will be interspersed with some other topics as they come up so as not to put all the readers to sleep at the same time.

Have a great day fooling around and we will return to the search for reality and recovery tomorrow.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Your brain’s three competing emotional systems.

Brain circuits.
Brain. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Your brain’s automatic emotional regulation systems run constantly.

There’s a whole lot of things going on automatically in your nervous system. When I use the word brain here, I’m using it in the broad sense. More than half of all your nerve cells are not in your head. Some of these processes may be unconscious. Theorists believe we have two basic thinking systems. System one is that unconscious or barely conscious intuitive thinking system that is continually sending us feelings. Your life experiences can train your intuitive thinking system. Other times we use our slow thinking system, and it alters these emotional regulation systems’ settings.

Scientifically inclined people may think of this as the automatic process of moving electrical signals and chemical neurotransmitters throughout the nervous system. Some people will view this as emotions or feelings. I have seen systems that reduce all feelings to 3, 4, or 5 primary feelings. The English language has over 100,000 feelings related words. Each Sunday, I feature one of those words and some quotes about them.

Your threat system is continuously vigilant, keeping you away from danger.

Everyone has a threat system. Because of life experiences, some people have their threat systems turned up to the highest possible setting. If you’ve undergone a lot of traumatic experiences, your threat system is likely turned up high. Rumination and the worry method you adopt can keep your threat system running at maximum.

Threat systems are automatically biased towards seeing threats everywhere. Failure to detect a threat could be fatal. Unfortunately, detecting too many dangers, especially low probability threats, can interfere with having a happy or contented life.

A threat system set too high results in lots of fear, anxiety, and worry. If you’re in a dangerous situation, the threat system tries to protect you and may motivate you to change your circumstances. But if you’re not in a high danger situation, a threat system running on high can produce a lot of anxiety that interferes with your life.

Your threat system is responsible for the characteristic psychologists call a negativity bias. Your threat system sees danger everywhere. If you have an especially vocal inner critic’s voice, it can keep your threat system activated so much that it prevents you from acting.

Your threat system keeps you continually running away from things.

The drive system allows you to get your needs met.

The drive system pushes you forward to get your needs met. Those may be physical needs, emotional needs, or abstract needs such as accomplishment and status. The drive system is responsible for reducing hunger and thirst. Lack of food and water can be fatal. Too much food or unhealthy food can result in obesity and ill health. This points to a problem with the drive system. The drive system is easily turned on but often doesn’t shut off when a need has been met.

Your drive system also increases your interest in relationships. Too few relationships or poor-quality relationships can leave you feeling lonely. The drive system encourages reproduction. Too little sexual drive would have left the human species extinct. Some people get into problems when they try to use their reproductive system too often or to meet needs other than expressing love and affection.

Your drive system tells you that you must constantly chase after your desires.

The self-soothing system helps you adapt to changing circumstances.

The function of the self-soothing system is to produce positive feelings. For some people, it generates a sense of calm, comfort, and peace. Your self-soothing system can also increase resilience and help you cope with novel situations and setbacks. One way of looking at this is that most mental, emotional, and behavioral illnesses result from the threat and drive system’s overpowering the self-soothing system.

A well-functioning self-soothing system increases your sense of well-being and may result in an overall sense of happiness or contentment. Happiness is a complicated concept. Not everyone agrees on the nature of happiness or what you should do to maximize it. Throughout this year, I plan to write additional blog posts on happiness, its nature, and how to maximize it.

Running away from threats and chasing pleasure may not be the healthiest choices. Maybe it’s time you learned to like yourself and accept yourself the way you are. This year work on developing your positive emotions.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seems like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Learning to pay attention.

Attention. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Being stingy with attention is a natural human characteristic.

The brain is made up of two thinking systems, a rapid system we sometimes call intuition. This system makes decisions based on past experiences, hunches, and deep gut feelings. When you rely heavily on this system, it is as if you are on autopilot. You’re able to do a great many things without any effort at being mindful. Some people describe this as a “mindless” activity.

The other system is slow and laborious. It gathers information, analyzes things, and decides based on facts and stored blueprints on how to make decisions.

Deep analytical thinking uses up a lot of brain capacity, which is why the brain avoids it and makes use of the automatic decision-making system as much as possible. Modern life presents us with many of these conflicts. Video games and brief videos cater to our instinctive short attention span brains. Employment and advanced learning require us to override the fast thinking process, slow down, and restrict our thinking to one task.

An increase in technical material has made advanced education more and more valuable. On the one hand, slow technical thinking is valued with a premium. But on the other hand, your day-to-day life is probably organized around activities that require almost no thought. This heavy reliance on accomplishing tasks without thinking has made many people believe that they lack the ability for prolonged thinking. Hence the incredible expansion of the diagnosis of ADHD.

Your ability to pay attention can be improved.

Some people’s ability to pay attention is so impaired that it requires medication for them to be able to meet their job requirements. But the overreliance on a pill to improve attention has obscured the fact that paying better attention is also a skill you can learn. Young children learn to pay better attention when parents reinforce their attention skills.

Your brain decides what to pay attention to.

In deciding what to pay attention to, your brain will use a series of priorities. Anytime your threat circuits are activated, paying attention to that danger is likely to take precedent over all else. Your current physical states or drives will also elevate certain items in the environment to a priority status. When you’re hungry, the brain notices food, restaurants, or things that remind you of eating everywhere you go. Loneliness primed you to notice other people.

The same phenomenon, sometimes called salience, is at work when people who ride a motorcycle notice motorcycles everywhere they go. Dog lovers are likely to notice dogs everywhere. Even subconsciously, our brains are biased toward seeing what we want to see and ignoring the rest.

The brain also must decide how much attention to pay to that item.

Some things only require a minimum of attention. Other situations require prolonged and intense concentration. Learning to shift your attention and to focus it are skills that can be learned.

You need to recognize when you’re struggling to pay attention.

A prime reason why people struggle with paying attention is that they are distracted. If you try to divide your attention between two items, one of them will get neglected. The first step in improving your ability to pay attention is to recognize when your attention has drifted off an important task, like driving, and onto a task that should be a lower priority, like playing a videogame on your cell phone or texting. In this situation, the easiest way to improve your attention is to put that cell phone somewhere where you can’t see it.

Start paying attention to your attention focusing process.

Don’t get caught up using your poor attention focusing as an excuse for not strengthening your attention skills. Whatever you find your attention drifting, mentally step back, and look at what’s going on in your attention focusing process. Is there something more salient in the environment? Are you trying to pay attention to something you would prefer not to be focused on? Becoming aware of how you utilize your ability to pay attention can improve your attention focusing skills.

Practice redirecting your attention.

As you become more and more aware of what you’re paying attention to and why, and how you determine your priorities for attention, you need to practice redirecting that attention. The more rapidly you’re able to shift that attention, and the more often you do it, the better you will become at keeping your attention focused on one object or task.

Learning to focus your attention better is a skill that will provide you lots of benefits.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seems like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Do you trust your intuition?

Intuition. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Intuition makes up half the decision-making system in your brain.

People who study brain functioning have investigated two different ways in which people make decisions. This is sometimes called the dual-process theory. One system, the deliberate decision-making system, is slow and requires a lot of information to arrive at a decision. The other system, intuition, reaches a conclusion rapidly, often based on very little conscious information. Relying on only one of these two systems can get you into trouble. The challenge is to decide when to use the slow, deliberative decision-making model and when to use the fast, intuitive model.

When might ignoring intuition get you into serious trouble?

You’re in the big city, walking across the street. You glance up and suddenly realize a bus is speeding towards you and you are about to get hit. Which decision-making model do you think you ought to use?

If you’re a very logical person, you might want to think this over a bit. How many feet away as the bus? How fast is the bus traveling? You look ahead and see how many feet it is to the other side of the street to get out of the way of the bus. You might also want to look back to estimate if you turn around and jump back onto the sidewalk; how far must you go? While you’re gathering all this information, the bus driver is slamming on the brakes, and you are betting your life on whether he will stop before impact.

What if you decided to use your intuition?

People who use an intuitive decision-making model would leap one way or the other without thinking. If you pick the right direction, this improves your chances of survival. Of course, you could choose the wrong direction and run directly into the path of the bus. Or you might decide to turn around and run back for the sidewalk you just left. One of these decisions, maybe both, might save your life.

Are there other situations in which you might want to use your intuition?

Social situations are a time when you want to rely on your intuition. You meet someone, and they say hello. If you stand there too long thinking over what the proper greeting would be, you’re going to appear socially inept. In the pre-Covid days, if someone put out their hand, you wanted to put your hand out and shake. Now your automatic response might be to bump elbows or perform some other gesture. What you don’t want to do is stand there staring blankly.

Making good decisions in life involves using both decision-making systems.

Relying too much on one decision-making system and not enough on the other are characteristics of two specific mental illnesses. Research on decision-making tells us that people on the autism spectrum rely heavily on thinking things over. They are high on rational decision-making, but that leaves them unable to make automatic decisions based on their intuitive systems.

On the other end of the spectrum are people who make almost all decisions emotionally or using the intuitive method. Relying solely on the intuitive decision-making system is one of the characteristics of schizotypal personality disorder.

You can improve both decision-making systems.

Some people believe that they are using logic to make their decisions, but their decision-making is so full of logical errors and flaws that it’s not very useful. Studying logic and how to make better decisions can improve the slow, deliberative decision-making system.

Many people don’t realize that the fast, intuitive decision-making system can also be improved. In some upcoming posts, I want to talk to you about improving your intuitive decision-making and deciding when to trust those fast decisions and when to use the slower logical decision-making system.

Other posts on related topics can be found under the following categories.

Overthinking               Rumination                 Worry              Finding Yourself

Personality                  Inner Child                  Intuition             Personality Disorders             

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seems like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

What is good mental health?

Mental Health and Wellness. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Good mental health affects every part of your life.

Mental health has a significant impact on your thinking, your feelings, and your behavior. Impaired mental health damages relationships. While poor mental health is connected to specific illnesses such as depression and anxiety, good mental health is associated with positive feelings like happiness and contentment. It’s essential to learn to recognize the signs of good mental health.

Mental health lies on a continuum.

Just like physical health, mental health lies on a continuum. People can move from being physically or mentally healthy to less healthy before finally reaching unwell. A lack of wellness doesn’t necessarily constitute illness. But low mental wellness can quickly turn into a mental illness.

A mentally healthy person has a life that is in balance.

Life is challenging, and each person has many roles to balance. Keeping the various parts of your life in balance promotes both physical and mental health. Work is important, but it shouldn’t be the only activity you have time for. Relationships with family and friends impact your mental health as well. Physical health and mental health are not two separate things; they are interconnected. Good sleep and diet, along with exercise, promotes both physical and mental health.

Learning to listen to and manage your feelings can contribute to your mental health. For some people, their spiritual or religious beliefs are also a significant part of them feeling connected to something greater than themselves. Social relationships also factor into your well-being. During this time of Covid-19, many people have had to limit their face-to-face contacts. Maintaining those relationships by phone or the Internet can also have a positive impact on your mental health.

Good mental health improves relationships.

Positive relationships with family and friends, as well as with an intimate partner, promote mental health. Unhealthy relationships are likely to damage your mental health. This relationship works in both directions. Generally, people with many good relationships have better mental health. Working on your mental health through counseling or using self-help methods can also improve your close relationships.

Being mentally healthy means enjoying life, having fun, and being able to laugh.

Happiness can be elusive. Don’t mistake temporary pleasure for happiness. Become a happiness expert. Many adults don’t know how to have fun without alcohol, drugs, and sex. Learn to have fun in positive ways and to recognize when good things are happening. Don’t forget to laugh. Remember also that contentment is a sign of good mental health.

Mentally healthy people have a meaning and purpose for their life.

If you can’t readily identify things that give your life meaning and purpose, it’s time to search for your life’s meaning. Your purpose in life may be to be a good parent or spouse, or it may be to have a good work-life. Some people find their meaning in religious and spiritual practices and their relationship with their higher power. Even if a physical or mental problem prevents you from full-time employment, there are many volunteer opportunities or other ways to be productive.

Good mental health is characterized by hope.

Hold onto your hope for all it’s worth. Having hope powers the rest of your mental health. Hope consists of two factors. You need to believe that if you try, you can achieve some measure of success. Secondly, if one path you’re taking doesn’t help you reach your goals, hope tells you to look for other ways that you might find what you’re looking for. If you’re low on hope, please check out some of the other articles I’ve written about help.

Mentally healthy people are more resilient.

Resiliency is the ability to bounce back. Many people have been knocked down repeatedly. Those people who can bounce back are inspirations to us all. Study resiliency and how highly resilient people recover from life’s setbacks. Cultivate a resilient spirit. Resiliency is so important that I wrote a book on this topic, titled Bumps on The Road of Life.

Being flexible and able to adapt is a sign of good mental health.

Avoid the tyranny of the “musts” and the “shoulds.” Learn to be flexible and accept that sometimes things will turn out the way you want them to, and sometimes they won’t. Insisting that the world be the way you want it, can cause you a lot of stress and lead to poor mental health.

Good mental health leads to self-acceptance.

Stop comparing yourself to others and accept yourself, however you are. Working on yourself does not mean there’s anything wrong with you. We are all in the process of learning and growing. Don’t focus on what is wrong with you. Focus on life’s improvement opportunities.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seems like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel