Wednesday, January 30, 2019

An Ethiopian Planning To Visit Canada

“Aren’t you afraid to go to Canada, “ Beca asked her friend Solomon. They were sitting in an Adis Ababa coffee shop talking.  Both were in College. Solomon had told Beca he was off to Canada to take a course at UBC
“I’m going to Vancouver in western Canada. It’s not like I’m going to Eastern Canada or the north  where there’s people freezing to death. That’s where all the crime we hear on the news is from too. Quebec is ruled by  biker gangs and mafia.  Not  Vancouver.  All they have there is money laundering in all their casinos. I’m not going to the casinos. “ 
“But they have pit bulls running in the streets of Vancouver. I read that. ” Beca said.  She really liked Solomon but thought him too sensitive and naive. Beca was a model as well as studying fashion at the college.  She didn’t think westerners had any sense of colour.   
“I heard they’ve taken care of that problem.  I’m still worried about the Beaver Fever though.” Solomon said seriously. He planned to see a travel doctor too because he’d heard they had outbreaks of measles because of all the anti vaxxers.  It really wasn’t safe for an African to travel in Canada anymore. Tuberculosis, Syphilis  HIV in the Red Cross blood supply, Hep C. All the drug addicts dying from overdoses.  Hospitals completely turned over to Heroin injections sites.  He really wished he could have gone to another university but UBC  was the one offering the course he wanted counselling gay men. 
“Are their beavers running around the streets biting people? “ Beca asked. She wasn’t sure what a beaver was but thought it sounded rude for some reason. “There’s huge black bears in Vancouver . I read that. They’re on different streets than the pit bulls and beavers probably.   There are  big cats too they call cougars killing the children and dogs.  They say the cougars chase the young men too.  ”  Beca was horrified  just thinking about Canada. She really hoped that Solomon would change his mind and go some place civilized and fashionable. 
‘I think it’s okay if you only go out during the day.” Solomon said,  “ It’s just like here in the rural towns. . You only have to worry about the animals mostly at night.” 
“ I read the bears and pit bulls are out in broad daylight. Outside of the city they  have polar bears so the people living in the igloos can’t even go outside at night.” 
 “ I’m not going outside of the city, Beca.  It’s winter there now.   I don’t want to have to get the boards everyone wears on their feet there. I saw them on pictures in Whistler. It looks very awkward. I know it’s  a really backward uncivilized place  but I’m not going to take any risks.   It does look so pretty on the television. I just don’t know why all the  white women wear yoga pants, running shoes and  back packs. It’s like  they’re always ready for some emergency.   I think it must be the earthquakes or maybe a tsunami they’re afraid of. “ said Solomon thoughtfully. He was sipping his Ethiopian coffee and realizing how much he was going to miss real coffee. He couldn’t imagine what swill they served in such a place.  He’d heard they had an Ethiopian restaurant called Axum so he hoped he’d be able to get some decent food and maybe they’ve have real coffee.  He worried he was going to have to eat bannock and moose the whole time he was there, whatever bannock and moose was. . 
“I think it must be the poverty, why the women all have back packs.” Beca said. “  We have poverty in Africa but there’s way more poverty in Canada in the CBC news.” Since Solomon said he was going to Canada she’d downloaded some CBC news podcasts and thought the poverty must be awful especially since everyone was so old and no one took care of the old people but just euthanized them. “ I think the women are carrying food in their back packs.” She told Solomon.  ‘So many of them are obese. I don’t think they share their food with the children like we do.” She continued. .
“I don’t like the men, Solomon. You have to be careful.  On the feminist Utube channels all the men in Canada are violent rapists. Every woman in Canada is a rape survivor.    I’d never go there as a woman.  I’d rather go to Saudi Arabia.  Saudi Arabia was elected head of the Women’s Rights Committee for the UN. .   Canadian men are rapists and bullies.  It’s  no wonder all the Canadian women abort their babies. They’re trying to get civilized families now from Africa who like children to move there. I’d never move there. How can people hate children so much.? “ said Beca. 
“You know me Beca, I’d like to go anywhere else but that’s where the course on counselling   gay men is being held.   Gay men are in the government and heads of churches there. That’s better than here or anywhere else in Africa. When I graduate I want to help the gay men here. The Muslims are killing them but the Christians still lock them up.  I want to help them Beca.  At UBC the course I’m taking is about helping gay men. If I’m going to be a counselor I want to be able to help them. We have no courses at the university here about counselling gay men. We have gay men, even in government, but no one admits it.” 
“I know Solomon, you’re such a big heart.   But we don’t have as many gay men as Canada.  Look at their Prime Minister in the gay parade with his tongue out.  Ethiopian men are virile..   Ethiopian men love their children.  Canadians are gay.  They don’t have any testosterone in the west.  I think it’s their food.  Ethiopians who have eaten Canadian say the food is awful.  No spices.  And everyone eats with forks and knives like they don’t want to touch their food.    Ethiopian men,  since we got rid of the DERG Red Terror communists killers and pigs,   have all been really intelligent,  Ethiopian men are gentlemen. They love their families. I loved when we had  Emperor Haile Selassie.  Canada’s never even had an emperor. They haven’t even  had a king or queen. They’re as immature as the communists.  Everyone is a worker with only the elite having all the wealth like the DERG..Canada’s a backward country.   I don’t think you can learn anything about culture from them. They don’t even eat with their hands, that’s how backwards they are.  And don’t even think of going swimming in the bay there. I saw on the news they’ve got  sharks and killer whales right in their bay.  I worry about you, Solomon. This is a really bad idea to go to Canada. You should go someplace safe like South Africa. They’re only killing white farmers there and the universities are better than what Canada has, even this UBC you think is so good because of it’s medial school and counselling.”
“I’m going to be okay, Beca. . I’m just going for a few weeks. I’m going to do this one course for counselling gay people.  I’ll be right  back where it’s safe and people love each other, before you know it.” Solomon said , trying to reassure her all the while wondering what was he thinking when he thought he’d go to Canada. There were no courses at the University of Addis Ababa on counselling gay men, that’s for sure. But Beca was right he could have gone to South Africa. The universities were the best and it was a lot safer and more civilized than Canada.
‘I hope so, Solomon. I hate to think of you being bit by a beaver, gored by a pit bull,  attacked by one of their  bears or cougars or have those gangs of violent Surrey men  shoot you.  I hope you’re not travelling on a bus either.  I read a man was just sitting on a  bus when another Canadian passenger  chopped off his head with a machete.  They put him in hospital then let him out..  I don’t know what they did with the guy whose head went rolling down the aisle of the bus.  . Then I heard another story  a  terrorist who killed the American medic and  the gay clown Prime Minister paid him $10 million dollars. Our government leaders in Ethiopia wouldn’t  payAl Shabaab terrorists if they killed Americans.  Canada is  a terrible dangerous  place, Solomon.  .  I don’t care if they don’t care who you have sex with it’s not safe.  There’s too many Canadians there. I’d rather you come with me to Saudi Arabia or South Africa where it’s safe.  “ Beca was close to tears pleading with him then.
“I know all the whites in Canada  are racist and the men are all rapists and bullies but the UBC professor whose putting on the course is from India. He assured me  its safe for a black man in UBC. He told me that Vancouver isn’t like Toronto. Black Lives Matter was in Toronto demonstrating against the police which are the most racist police in the world apparently. The Toronto police and the RCMP who ride horses are worse than the Africaner apartheid police used to be.  But they’re all in the Eastern Canada.  The police in Vancouver don’t even have cars. They ride bicycles.   It’s not safe for a black man  in Eastern Canada  but Vancouver is mostly Chinese.  I’ll be okay Beca.” Solomon said.  “I ‘ll call you on my cell phone and send you pictures”
“Are you sure they have cell phones?” Beca said gathering up her lap top and finishing the last of her fine Ethiopian coffee.
“Yes, Beca, they have  cell phones.” Solomon wasnot completely certain but was hoping they did. .  

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Robbie Burns Dinner, SFU Pipe Band

What fun this was!  A Nicht wi Burns!  A beautiful Scottish Lass ,Anne,introduced me to my first Burns dinner on North Vancouver Island in the late 80’s when she was a social worker there and I was a doctor.  She’s now retired  back in Scotland continuing to fight the good fight.
I’m here in Burnaby down the street from  SFU and the North Road Executive Hotel. 
 There are other Robbie Burns Dinner’s and we’ve loved the dinner and dance many a year at the Scottish Cultural Centre.  The ladies are the best dressed there but at SFU I’d say the men are the peacocks. It helps that dozens of pipers are scattered about. SFU pipe band music is the finest in the world  so it’s like a night with Pavarotti or Gretzky.
Laura Murray, previously a Dunn, is my favourite guest enjoying everything but the haggis. This could well be seen as a nefarious plot of mine since I get her portion.  I am rewarded the year over with the spiritual wealth and genius all Scots  attain with even the tiniest portion of this blessed supernatural fair.  
The piping in of the Haggis was done to perfection.  Jim Gallacher, the night’s MC, (for the last 20 years), gave a toast to the Haggis that even the great Burns would have approved of.   All about me the lassies were flushing with ardour as his passion for this lowly creature was espoused with the greatest of vigour.  Terry Lee, Former SFU P/M delivered a fine Selkirk Grace known for it’s potency and brevity. 
Executive Hotel does a magnificent feast with this years haggis the sweetest I’ve tasted in years.  I’m not sure if this is good as quite possibly in the old country the more awful this food is to stomach the better it might be judged.  A bit like the fire of scotch to an innocent. Haggis is certainly an acquired taste. The roast beef with horse radish was nearly as scrumptious.  I was delighted that my friend Lorne Kay was able to join us as he too is a connoseiur of haggis and all things Scottish.
The Heather Jolly Highland Dancers were spectacular.  I am always moved by the sword dance. I remember as a young man, late after an evening at a Glasgow pub with my elderly great aunts, rather red faced and affectionate, pulling swords off the wall to teach me, the colonial,  sword dancing.  Much laughter, stumbling and scotch toasts by the whole ensemble went into my education. It was lucky no one was skewered and ambulances were not required at least until the  morning after.
The Robert Malcolm Memorial Bands were a delight. One child was smaller than the drum they carried. The music still was so rich.I’ve always loved the pipes but I was fascinated most this year by the complexity of the drumming with their baton twirling.
All the while the silent auction was taking place with the very best of swag.  Lots of ancient fine malt whiskey’s, no doubt  pried from the grasping hands of sotted academics, whose wife’s insisted they’d had enough. “Just give one bottle for the pipe band children!” They’d begged.  “Ach, it’s for Scotland,” he groaned,falling back planning on hiding future pricelesss bottles in more secret places. West jet as usual graciously offered flights.  Shannon crystal, exotic  weekend retreats,   golf and country clubs passes, nights at  fine hotels, ladies spa outings, chocolate and coffee baskets, Celtic jewelry, beautiful paintings, and Freyie Stainless Steel Steak knives which came home with me.  A Scottish Canadian can never have enough knives. 
The Simon Frazer University Pipe Band, six time world champion, then played to the awe and pleasure of all attending . What a joy to hear such blessed music so artfully coordinated and splendidly performed.  (Their next performance is at Vogue Theatre in April). 
The ladies demonstrated the Gay Gordon which Laura and I so enjoyed dancing at this years St. Andrews Ball.
The night closed with of us  standing and singing the great Robbie Burns traditional classic, Aud Lang Syne. 
What a wonderful moving evening!

Saturday, January 26, 2019

The Trews at the Commodore, Vancouver, Jan.25, 2019

The Trews were incredible. What a great band.  From Nova Scotia they’ve got all the blessings that glorious province of music has to give. I can’t think of Nova Scotia without thinking of Stan Rogers. Colin Macdonald, Trews lead singer has a unique voice that does hail from the east and share the heritage of that remarkable land of craig and crashing sea. 

I don’t listen to music much but every few years a voice or a group will catch me. I was spoiled by the 60’s and 70’s when every week another great band was breaking musical barriers. I grew up on the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Who, Guess Who, Eagles, Country Joe and the Fish, Dylan, Cohen, Hendrix, Santana, Van Morrison, Carly Simon, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Joni Mitchell, Bowie....the list goes on.  After that rush of adolescent and young man feast of musical genius I was carried along by the BeeGees, Beach Boys, Moody Blues, Pink Floyd and the whole disco era.  

All these groups kept churning out music too. Bachman Turner Overdrive peeled off from Burton Cummings with a heavier sound...and I got older.  Who needs new music when the great old guys are still producing , like Simon’s Graceland. Then there was Steve Matthews Band and John Maylor. And Archive 5. Bryan Adams and Sarah McLaughlin and KD Laing were enough.  Then there was Walk off the Earth.     

But I’d moved on to classical, The Vancouver Symphony and Early Music Society has seen more of me than rock bands  these last few years.  loved Bach and Handel as long as I can remember. .  I got a little turned off the lyrics of drinking , drugging and porn fucking AM/FM radio so turned to  gospel for a more uplifting purer sound.  Less  propaganda too.  Gospel music like Hillsong is unsurpassed. The greats like Elvis started in church.   The lyrical  depths and music of  Third Day and Newsboys is as meaningful to me as the acoustic sound of Steve Bell..

I figure with all these tunes in my head and my past,  all this  exposure to unsurpassed greatness, a band has to be something special to catch my declining ears. I’ve going deaf and have begun wearing hearing aids thanks to “Guns, Rock and Roll, Age and ex wife’s!”   I heard the Trews on the radio. They caught my attention. 

Colin Macdonald’s voice  remind me of Burton Cummings and Murray McLaughlin  at times  but mostly Mac Powell. There’s John Kay of Steppenwolf in that voice too.  It’s that good. He has that edge, raw power with his  unique signature.  I don’t know how he had a voice at the end of the concert.  Laura was deaf. Even though he blew out two microphones at the end  his voice was still pure and strong.  What a maste!  There was even a bit of  Willie Nelson  Gordon Lightfoot Anne Murray James Taylor vocal  workhorse about that voice.    True artist and true professional.   It was old Canadian.  A truly great voice that just got better with hard use.  Like the famed Canadian soldiers of yore. Or maybe a Duracell Rabbit Wookie. 

I’d not been in the Commodore in decades. I really think I was last there to dance jive and disco to some now forgotten band with some forever young and outrageously sexy gorgeous woman, probably a nurse.  Nurses are always outrageously sexy and gorgeous.  In those days there was always a contest between whether we could dance hard enough to dance off the booze and keep enough ahead to stay vertical till we got home horizontal. . Then we’d dance horizontally till dawn to hard rock headboard music   These days I insist that those latter memories were planted in my brain by some later CIA experiment. I was tired waiting in the line. It was long past my bed time when the opening guest band Chase the Bear came on. Lanky laughing delightful Bowie like entertainers.  Having such fun.  

Laura and I loved them but thought ‘these can’t be the Trews’.  At the U2 concert Laura had thought Mumford and Sons were U2 because they sounded so good and she couldn’t see the stage.  Altameda followed Chase the Bear and that tricked me. We could accept one opening band but not two. Antemida were really good. I go to a night of them alone. But when the Trews came on there was no doubt who they were. They exploded into the room.

I’d not seen the Trews but registered the group when I first heard “Tired of Waiting” years back. Then I was driving down the Highway of Hero’s and the Trews “Highway of Heros” song came on. I almost had to pull off the highway and cry. it was so moving and made me feel so good.  Patriotic songs haven’t been the stuff of Canada lately. The PM  denounces the nation. Guns and military and men aren’t in favour. Even the police are banned from gay pride.   To hear the young thanking and remembering hit me.Our men and women were still in Afghanistan dying. 

 I thought of Old Blind Dog and the songs of men lost through the centuries.  I grew  up during the Vietnam war to Pete Seegers, Where Have All the Flowers Gone and Kenny Rogers Ruby. Here was a group that wasn’t another  shallow  Kardashian’s frivolity.  They had history.   They were  original and deep. 

My father was RCAF. We’d walk through the Canadian War Museum and he’d talk of the men he’d known and friends he’d lost.  Huffington Post decries everything about him as ‘toxic masculinity’.  I miss his strength and protection and sense of humor. Dad would have liked the Trews.  Mom would have thought the boys in the band handsome, at least the ones with hair cuts.   When I was honoured to work with Veterans Affairs I was moved by the survivors and their pain old and young men, and now women too.  It’s hip to deny them now.  I liked the Trews even more then. 

I heard some love song of theirs played on the radio. Lyrics with twist like Downey’s songs.   Last year I  saw on  Facebook that  the Trews  were coming to Vancouver’s  Commodore.  I immediately ordered on line. 

“I”ve got us tickets to the Trews”, I said to Laura. 

 “That’s great. I love the Trews.”  She said. 

Laura amazes me. I’m in dusty old books or reading religion and neurochemistry texts while she seems to know everything going on that’s good in todays world.  She and her family, friends and sister talk about art and contemporary culture. I’m mostly talking politics and religion.  She loved the concert. She beamed throughout the show and was on her feet dancing when the Trews came on. 

I loved guitarist John Angus MacDonalds too. He and the bassist Jack Syperek were a pair on stage clearly having fun with harmonies and playing side by side. Jack Sperek has the funkiest base and seemed to be having the most fun on stage.  At times John though  would move over to playing guitar beside and with Colin. The crowd went wild then.  Some hundred or so had screamed when the band said they were from Nova Scotia. Everyone around us sang along with major favourites knowing all the words, clearly loyal fans. I think John and Colin must be  brothers. Not just the last name but they look alike.    They’ve both got that powerful compact body build common to the east coast fisherman where strength and agility were necessary to match the  sea and haul in the catch.  John is a great performer. In the middle of the show he took his lead guitar number and roamed around the audience as crazy as Keith Richards.  I hope he lives as long. The going joke among environmentalists is that they want to leave a better world when they go for Keith Richards.  Science tells us that music promotes longevity. Heavy rock is what makes plants grow best. While Ravi Shankar, Yehuddi Menuhin and Bach may soothe the soul it’s heavy rock that makes cells grow..

Chris Gormley is the drummer. I never appreciated the drummer so much when I was a roadie and envied  the limelight of the  front men. As teens we loved Iron Butterfly . As boys we did endless  drum  solos with pencils on our desks despite discouragement from Phillistine teachers.  Keith Moon, Ringo and  Bonham had nothing on us. It wasn’t till much later though  I really appreciated the drum’s  centrality.  My friends Ganesh and Anil have shared their love of Indian Tabl helping me appreciate the sophistication, subtlety and complexity of tabla.   I loved Fleetwood Mack’s drummer.  Carolynn who has been drumming with local Dirty White Collar band told me she finds drumming spiritual. . Rev. Vivian Seegers of Urban Aboriginal Ministry loves having native drummers at her services for the same reason. I can see the harp and violin and cello, strings and flute as spiritual but drums?  

This night Jan. 25, was Robbie Burns Day.  Each year, Laura and our friend Lorne and I  attend the Simon Frazer Pipe Band Dinner.  The pipes are so glorious and unforgettable. Truly as spiritual an experience as eating haggis. I’d thought the incredible drummers more  martial than spiritual especially played by strong little lassies.

Chris Gormley  is a consummate drummer.  He made me want to dance all night long. To the band hee’s like the Canucks goalie the  amazing Roberto (Lou) Luongo. He really holds up the team. The band’s sound and timing  was magical. I even loved the loud cow bell sound in one number,  It positively reminded me of the SNL skit ‘more cowbells’ ,  Chris Gormley played every drum just right with emphasis on loud and fast.   

I really liked the keyboardist in a group,  Jeff Heisholt    I loved Canada’s Robert Goulay so I’m  clearly I’m biased to keyboard.. The great  organist at Christ Church Cathedral was Mike Gormley  so maybe keyboard music is a Gormley thing.   Jeff really enriched the overall sound, the music of the group, that U2 ‘wall of sound’ Edge and Mullen thing   behind the Bono vocals. This was so very very good with the Trews. 

I loved “Sing Your Heart Out” and “Tired of Waiting.” Of course the acoustic Trews version of a Drunk Sailor song was a gift to the maritimes. I cried when Colin sang “Highway of Heroes” then danced standing discretely like no one was watching, to Vintage Love. Vintage Love in on their latest album Civilinaires. I’m looking forward to playing it loud wheeling down the highway on my Harley.  Their acoustic sounds might be easy listening music but the rest of their music is hopping dancing Harley driving heavy rock.  We loved it. Everyone did.  Great band. Great performance. Now lets just hope none of the band falls to Japanese female sirens. 

Leaving the Commodore everyone looked so fine. Normally a curmudgeon past my bed time with an intellectual critics surperior demeanour I loved seeing the girls with a skip in their step and the guys following along hoping to get lucky.  Granville street with the Roxy and other nightclubs still had lines ups.  It’s was 1 am. I’ve never up at 1 am let alone down town so I didn’t know how busy it gets. Police cars blocked off the streets.  

I was glad to get to my Mini drive Laura home then drive to my home, walk my dog, before falling into bed still vibrating just a little. Falling asleep I remembered  everyone singing and shouting “Sing Your Heart Out”. Thank you Trews. We all certainly did that for sure!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Work and Love

“The Master-Word is Work”. Osler.  I remember studying Buddhism where work was called Dharma.   Dharma was a central form of prayer. I struggled always in marriage with the balance of love and work.  I lost my first marriage in some part by choosing work as I lost my second marriage in choosing love..  I was lost when I found my work colliding outright with my third marriage. All the oaths I’d taken, now considered so out dated and quite silly by the ruling party set. 

“It’s just a job,” the police doctor said.

That’s when overnight the profession was destroyed. We were now just ‘health care workers’ .Government lawyers and beurocrats re wrote the codes that had once been part of the ancient order created by the Guild not by these Johnny Come Lately temporary masters.

I’d lost the love of my life because I couldn’t adapt to the plunge that came with the new government’s view of medicine as merely a ‘commodity’.  The patient  overnight became a client and now was but a  customer.  We were told to ‘act like doctors’ because that ‘sold’ the brand’. Not “be a doctor.”  The teachers were no longer wise but very clever and idealogical.  We were to be ‘posers’ 

I was afraid.  Old and out maneuvered.  My interest had been in developing a technique to address personality disorders. Personality disorders were my interest. Specifically borderline personality disorders. Then later PTSD, head injury and addictions.  Addictions were like a chemical head injury more subtle than the more obvious mechanical head injury.  The technique of therapeutic alliance and change had failed with analytic and cognitive processes, especially anything that suggested superiority.  

Freud postulated the disturbance lay in  the anal  developmental stage, what Erickson would associate with struggle for  autonomy.  Others felt the ‘fixation’ or ‘entanglement’ occurred later in  stages of adolescence:leaving home, forming same sex friendship, then mixed sex friends hip then  recreating a new home.  It was in those areas of development that emotional growth seemed to arrest.

Having musical training and experience I found I could hear the age of the trauma or the failure to develop in the tonal nature of the voice. A child like sound that was pained as opposed to pleasant.  Coupled with other indicators of behaviour exploration of this almost invariably disclosed what might be characterized as blockage. From there asking about ‘what when wrong when you were 12 or 15 or 17? would result in an outpouring. 

I early described insight psychotherapy as best described like addressing a log jam on the river. In northern Canada I’d seen a man dancing across the logs until he identified the key log.   Once this was moved it a allowed the whole collection of logs to flow on down to the sea.  Learning from my most adept mentors ,and I really was blessed to train with and observe some of the most gifted, I saw this image best described the process.  After, another  log jam might form further down the river but more often than not it just didn’t get that entangled. Perhaps the patient learned how to slow the stream or react more quickly to the beginning of the process. Yet it really didn’t matter.  Brief focal therapy spoke to the process. It also explained why some only needed a discrete psychotherapeutic intervention while others returned time and again. Some jams took longer to untangle.. The logs, of course, represented emotional baggage, in the parlance of the day.

The government mental health success rate even in engaging patients was less than 30%.  Having studied community medicine, public health and public health research, mental health services were decades behind the approaches used with physical health.  Cameron’s watershed book on psychotherapies documented the evidence based approaches in psychiatry  Still it  was utterly  by the single party insurance program of government funded medicine. 

Ultimately Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, a kind of crude education package coupled with mental massage took over from the standard Rogerian mental massage of the time. Both therapeutic strategies popular with generalists and counselors had the benefit that they were no more likely to do harm than physical massage however they were wholly unlike the advanced form of psychotherapies. The latter  carried with them the requirement for extensive training and the real prospect of causing harm.  

I trained in analytic approaches which  had proved, despite extensive trials,  inadequate in the treatment of addiction.  They had been beneficial for borderline personality disorder and PTSD.  Analytic therapy is the most passive therapeutic model. Frankly the best therapists are intensively aware while the worst are planning their shopping list. Supposedly outcome analysis should decide what a person was doing. However in government services there was really little accountability.  In private therapy the patient lacking change would wonder about the financial loss. Free psychotherapy was least likely to be effective as studied in Texas where the best results were achieved when patients had to pay a portion of the service.  The Canadian government has consistently remained unscientific and mired in ‘free stuff’ thinking for ‘vote buying’ which limits greatly the efficacy of medicine. The rate limiting step is the mediocre and most fearful, ‘people pleasers’ by definition.  

I trained as hypnotist and actually hypnotized people for surgery as well as doing extensive hypnotherapy at one time. This form of therapy has the therapist the exact opposite of the passive analytic therapist  The hypnotist is the most active of therapists.  As an analytic therapist.I had tapes in which I never spoke and  judged my therapy by the infrequency of my speech. The best therapy by this calculation was often only one line while the patient spoke freely.

I recently spoke with a government general practitioner who was utterly ignorant of ‘art’, ‘science’ , history, or ‘technique’ of psychotherapy. They were so ‘loud’ in their ‘counter transference, their ‘controlling fear based need’ and ‘dominance issues’ oozing out of them.  They had only  trained in the “Parent child” modality of counselling. In psychiatry which requires anywhere from 4 to 8 years of training in psychotherapy this monkey approach is called ‘me Tarzan you jane’ “My brain good. Your brain bad.”  “Me talk to you, make your brain good.” “Me feed you, give you pill.” 

 The pharmaceutical industry loved CBT or cognitive behavioural therapy because it fit this ‘parent child’  “doctor patient model’ in which the role of the doctor as parent feeds the child patient pills. I remember when I began as a family physician to do psychotherapy I had such difficulty dropping all the caregiver modality I’d learned for general medicine this ‘doctor child’ care giver modality to become a useful psychotherapist for my patient. The patient meanwhile wants to be ‘fed’ and to be fed in the ‘set’ way which they’re learned in a multitude of transaction. The Judgemental GP talked exactly as the ‘good mother’ to the patient having never been training in ‘counter transference manipulation’  The patient was adept at ‘seducing’ ‘good mothers and hated hers and his but the arrogant can’t learn from this. Not in their weeks or months of counselling training and their superiority due to ‘position prestige’.  Psychotherapy is humbling. It’s a struggle. The patient is sick and the therapist allies with the healthy ego to struggle with the behaviours , coping strategies, which the patient persists in clinging to despite these now threatening to kill them.  The GP had obviously only talked to a very few suicidal patients.  Among psychiatrists we judge each other by our ability to talk a patient off the ledge not just once but over and over and over again, like the cancer surgeon.  I doubt she’d ever lost one or accepted that her lack of skill had caused the death. As a junior clinician she’d not had the experience that humbles as truly as death.  Death is a numbers game, like gambling.  You can have a winning streak as a beginner then the suicidal change to impossible to reach or you get bored and move to the big stakes games. In psychiatry this is in the area of psychopathy with psychosomatic medicine complicated by addiction.  Three and even 4 dimensional chess at it’s finest.  Dancing with the devil.  Sailing in a storm, keeping the boat a float and edging out of the Center of the fury.   

There are great general practitioner psychotherapists just like their are great general practitioner surgeons but no general practitioner can be great if they don’t appreciate the experience and training that comes with specialization. Only the police doctors can have the arrogance of fools. 

Unfortunately in recent years the failure of the legal paradigm has lead to the increasing spread of the even cruder ‘arbitration model’ with the doctor who wants to be rich imitating the lawyer or beurocrat as carefully as possible so as not to threaten these characters despareate for control.  These arbitration models work for the in tact.  There’s a safety for all in the retreat to the rational space far from the centre of the psychotherapeutic encounter.

The psychotherapeutic encounter is every moment for the psychiatric psychotherapist.  In the medical model there is the aloof doctor observing the patient like the old physicists observed the experiment. But the psychiatrist patient is the experience.  From the moment of contact it’s a transference counter transference dance and the healing begins. My surgical teachers taught me that the essence of surgery was the holding of the scalpel just as my psychiatric psychotherapy treachers taught me it was the ‘greeting’, the ‘eye contact’ , the choice of ‘questions’.  Psychotherapy was sacred. It was zen. It was this living thing that is now packaged by a factor as a commodity and they want to sell it as a commodity. These very grandiose servants of the regime want power and power alone and want to destroy the guild so they don’t acknowledge the guild or experience of the guild or the rules of the guild. They aren’t even unionized and long stopped being professional in all but appearance. 

In contrast to the passive therapist model or the ‘counselling’ model which only worked when the patient was in the ‘action’ phase of therapy, as motivation therapy and prochaska showed, hypnosis actually ‘cured’ addiction and helped PTSD.”  Transactional analysis was indeed the only ‘group therapy’ model that really worked prior to DBT, which interestingly, is a ‘socratic’ model came along. In Transactional analysis and the DBT and indeed in the other successful model for addiction ‘motivational therapy’ the patient and the therapist are more closely aligned. The countertransference and transference is more brotherly or sisterly than parental.  Facilitate rather than directive but these words don’t catch the soul of the matter even. Reading Freud and Jung therapy notes in the original translations. Reading Ericksons case notes. This is where the understanding begins. These were the explorers.  The classic ‘the Discovery of the Unconscious’ speaks to the unknown and mystery that now is taken for granted peppered as the terrain is today with neon signs. 

The counter transference position of ‘parent child’ essential to surgeon and hypnosis and even with the ‘withholding observing frustrating ‘analytic therapist is more ‘brotherly or sisterly’ in the transactional, motivational and DBT.

The 12 step facilitation model which has had the greatest success of all the models is the most ‘equal’ of all , best described as a ‘peer support.

Interestingly the extensive work with PTSD showed that a person who had been in war was more able to help another vet than all the textbook gurus put together.  With addiction where the block may be in early adolescence the patient is very adept at ‘behaving ‘ and ‘apperances’ having long ‘concealed’ everything from parents, bosses and therapists.  They are the great chameleons.

The therapy of 12 step facilitation caries a ‘qualifying component’.  In meetings the night’s chair must self disclose sufficient to be accepted as ‘one of the group.  This is the same with PTSD otherwise the ‘defences’ or walls go up. One acutely suicidal patient walked into a visit with an addiction doctor who told him then that he’d shot both thighs full of opiates before medical visits. The patient walked out of that session and did not kill himself because the therapist had not judged or shamed him, which is an experience all addicts and trauma sufferers share.  The problem in PTSD is not the trauma but  the ‘failure’ and ‘guilt’ .Only when the ‘failure’ and ‘guilt’ are addressed can therapy be said to begin.  To even understand the idea of ‘therapy beginning’ a person really needs to read ‘portnoy’s complaint’. The therapist is engaged from the first second of encounter but the patient may only to appear to be in therapy while not at all being in therapy for weeks or months.  Prochaskas stages of change crudely but brilliantly breaks this up in greats swaths called pre contemplation, contemplation, determination and action. This occurs week to week between therapeutic sessions and depending on the length of time between visits, (original psychotherapy described daily therapy ,now only possible in inpatient laboratories) may begin again every psychotherapy sessions. Further today’s ‘team approach’ with the psychiatric psychotherapist’ being responsible for the ‘magic medicaiton’ while a host of others do other things , the real trick is to expose the wound in such a way that this abscesses can be drained by others who can triangular anger and fear to the psychiatrist but heal through the work of the team. Much of the entrenched illness noted in personality disorders and addiction was fear based rage and couldn’t be addressed in individual therapy at first but required group therapy to dilute the rage.  The trick here was to avoid the all to temping ‘divide and conqure’ and all the other ‘divisiveness’ in the modern team where so many members are themselves working out their own adolescent transference material. These were the Robert Graves Golden Bough sorts desperate to be the ‘activist’ all in favour of being an ‘advocate’ happy to climb over the dying body of the patient to gain their 20 minutes of Andy Warhol fame. The 4 dimensional chess board gets more intriguing. Even entertaining as the vetting of lesser and lesser trained care givers bring with them all the baggage of their log jams.  Gone are the days when I was the one who spent my personal hard earned cash to be in therapy for years so that I’d not sully the patients illness with my own.  This process of unpacking secrets and seeing the ‘shadow’ meant that in therapy one could hear the patient not the echo of your own insaneity.  Leadership and the rational and legal models and beurocratic models and counselling models have none of the ancient guildmanship. I was thought insane because I’d done years of therapy by the local thug business doctor with position power and grandiosity and arrogance that comes to every small fish in a small pond.  

It was further understood that 12 step facilitation therapy was fundamentally a ‘story telling’ therapy.  Those patients who were oppositional, non compliant to medical regimen or ‘resistant’ could be induced to do what was wanted by hearing the message indirectly.  Indirect communication is fundamental to ‘adolescent psychiatry’.  Paradoxical interventions are actually age specific ‘normal’ treatment. A toddler is never told not to go into a cupboard but rather given their own cupboard with old pots and pans like the puppy is given a bone if you wish to save your shoes.  

Spirituality of Imperfection by Ketchum and Kurts is a classic in the ‘wisdom’ literature and the technique of ‘story telling’ used  throughout history.  What couldn’t be learned by being told could be learned by hearing.  An uneducated doctor who proved the Peter Principle with his arrogance and grandisity once stated ‘a doctor must never self disclose’. Meanwhile that doctor was shouting everything about himself in his clothing, speech , cadence,  anger and sweat and odor.  Training with an analysit through a 2 way mirror I’d had to discard wedding ring, wear grey suits and grey ties to be non descript. Sometimes I even dressed as the patient to mirror them and reduce their fear. 

The patient is “taught” ‘free association’ .  Free association is not just something that happens.  Counselors don’t know it is first their job to teach ‘free association’ or else the patient will simply stay in the conscious realm and talk to the therapist like they would a shop keeper. It’s like any other general practice visit. Fix my boo boo.  Psychoherapy then follows after the patient has learned this meditation type technique of free association, after the patient has learned to still the critic.  A different cameron in Artists Way describes the technique well in ‘morning pages’.  Morning pages was what the therapeutic sessions began as .  It’s not something that’s possible in that form at monthly and six monthly visits. It’s hard enough when being done daily or weekly.  Only after the patient has learned that does  the therapist, observing and noting recurrent themes of the patients free association over the first 3 to 6 months without any ‘warmth’ or ‘sharing’ or self divulgence, only after all that does the therapist make an ‘interpretation’.  The state of free association had been learned by Freud after he stopped hypnotizing patients but the state is similiar. It’s not the ‘awake’ ‘counselling session.  It’s not the shop keeper mentality of the modern office encounter.  

This ‘hypnosis’ based therapy has for legalistic and ‘ beurocratic control issues” been all but removed the the therapeutic laboratory. It’s  used in much of the ‘boundary literatue’, more as a weapon than as a caress,  developed to ‘police’ rather that ‘free therapists and patients’. The police obviously along with Judge and lawyer and banker are the antithesis of the therapist.  They are opposites but can be complementary and historically there was a marriage before the vulgarity that is the abomination of the relationship today.  The feminine therapist like the feminine doctor has been all but raped and cannibalized by the vulgar with their dirty petty minds and gross ignorance of the light.  Lustful thugs dressed in stolen finery.  They steal words and use them as if they know the meaning.    

The Vorgon of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Gallaxy fame have simply mowed through with their hopelessness and fatalism, which is clearly evidenced by ‘management’ of patients ‘versus’ ‘care’’ of patients. Customer care is so much easier to manage.

There was further a distinction always made in psychiatry between ‘therapy’ and ‘managemenent’ exactly like the addiction medicine distinction between ‘harm reduction’ or ‘palliative care’ and ‘abstinence based tehrapy’/.

Government or single party insurance systems have chosen to emphasize abortion, euthanasia and harm reduction  along with ‘counselling’ or ‘ego massage’ and forego the ‘relationships’ that developed in the depth of  vulnerability. 

Long ago I wrote that the lights had been turned off in the operating theatres with only the surgeons being blamed for the outcomes.  Greed and lack of hope dominate the management style which is so popular today.   

In Holland where nearly a quarter of deaths follow euthanasia today, the mentally ill are a significant proportion and some hundred cases have been clearly identified as ‘forced’.  

In such a climate as that when Freud famously said, ‘maybe the paranods are right’ there is no support for quality in face of the demand for cheap quantity. Who wants a nun when a hooker can be had for thousandth the price.  The public sector now routinely pays doctors 2/3’s less than the private sector. Psychiatrists are the lowest paid and most abused and have the longest waitlists.  

In BC I attended my last ‘union’ meeting when the lawyer back pharmaceutical doctors , the ‘young Turks ‘ as they were called that day, won the day and  de factor set the course for the ‘relationship doctors’ ‘small “d” doctors to be paid 1/4 the big ‘D’ doctors who did ‘precedures’ ‘intervened on patients’”prescribing’ Maculinity prevailed! The animus was trampled and kicked and skewered.  

 The government fee guides have always been skewed to ‘intervention’ and ‘managment’.  Cure and tehrapy are not really that ‘enteratining’.  Acting like a doctor one is encouraged to see medicine as ‘entertainment’ rather than look at traditional outcome measures as morbidity and mortality, essential no longer valid when the Hippocratic Oath has been thrown out with the baby.  Abortion is so much more lucrative. It’s the natural outcome of the imbalance.  

Death pays more than life.   

I confess I became a doctor because the challenge of ‘cure’ was so exciting. As a biologically trained doctor, first fascinated by nests and rats, I knew that we were as intrinsically sell healing as all of the stem cell research has declared.  Advances in padigms, string theory and quantum physics have simply confirmed that when a doctor ‘cures’ a patient they have essentially by some witchdoctor magic induced the ‘self healing’ This is the essence of immunology. These are all self evident precepts but seem to have been missed by the technicians and wholly missed by the managers.  Active Abortion and  active euthanasia have no place in the traditional guild of medicine.  They’re alien.  The ideology that they bring, the emotional baggage, the hopelessness, the thrill, come from a different place. The judge and executioner have invaded the operating theater. The banker and insurance man in grandiosity having watched the game now insist they can play as well as those they once paid for. The piper’s tune was sweet but there’s is not so they change the language and insist that they are right. Control. Quick food. Lust is equal to love. 

Piaget’s work noted that development moved from concrete thinking to abstract thinking. Unfortunately he was studying his own gifted children and his assumptions of childhood development were only studied dccades later in the adult population to find that profoundly large component of society simply couldn’t abstract.  They could ‘manage’ and ‘police’ and ‘be technicians’ , they’re especially good at doing as they are ‘told’ but they lacked creativity and lacking it couldn’t recognize it in others.  Indeed their tendency is to ‘stifle creativity being comfortable in conventional spaces because they are out of control and need control, like James Taylor’s Bartender song.  “I need 4 walls to hold me.”

Psychiatrists were trained to walk a mile in the patients shoes down the rabbit holes and lead them back to the light.  Psychiatrists became comfortable with their insaneity and their patients insaneity through their own tehrapy and supervision. The 4 years of formal apprenticeship are meaningful even if the ignorant and arrogant police doctors can’t know this.  That was the essence of psychiatry.  Not this ‘Junior neuorlogy’ model so popular with the government single party cheap payer system.  

The research is still exciting but frankly academic models are a dime a dozen. I personally was interested in ‘clinical research’ as boring as that was and fascinated with the team model which worked so much more than the ‘laboratory’ model. Hospital psychiatriy is so basic and simple that foreign medical grads and students are licensed to practice in that “controlled” setting which appeals to police who love jails. By contrast ‘community psychiatry’ the Harley STreet model was without ‘force’. The key to success was therapeutic language and coaxing the patient to come to the light.  Come out and play. We ‘re see that you don’t get hurt this time.  

But now everyone is being hurt by the Vorgons destroying the earth to put in their 8 lane intergalactic space lanes and accompanying parking lot. New World Orders and Global Governments by leaders who can’t even keep their own hoses in order that really who would trust them to watch over ours. Thick skulled salesmen. Midas.

The model of therapy which was once a week or even twice a week is now once ever 4 to 6 months.  it’s not even a ‘consultation model’ because half the patients don’t have family physicians and more and more are ‘coeerced’ into psychiatric care by intrusive third party insurer’ managers’ who get gold stars for getting the patients back to work reagardless of their sanity.  

Freud described mental health as the ability to work and love.  The new term in psychiatry is ‘compassion fatigue’.  75% of doctors are burnt out in the US. In Canada the burn out ratio was only 45 % ‘Only”.  This figure is highly skewed and reduced from the American model by the privileged Quebec doctors and administrative doctors and salaried doctors in Canada who all do a  fraction of the work that front line clinicians shoulder while the administrations grow like cancer.  

I find myself considering that a person who worked in a lord co store as a parts department personnel would be better capable of doing the Electronic Data part of the “new doctor administrative model’  which has us never looking at the patient and squeezing our genius into little boxes made by the fellow who because he can’t make bicycles is given the task in china of writing in English the instruction on how to use them.  This Electronic record is alien to the processing of humans, like an early IBM program versus the Apple product. 

At the end of my career I am reduced to a ‘health care worker’ whose prime purpose is to gather information for the ‘state’ to be used against my patient who is cynically feeling as they tell me that they don’t ‘fit’ into a world where no one but the elite can afford to live. Where the middle class has no legal representation and the principle problem that the patient brings to the psychiatrists is that they can’t afford to live in this city.

When I began psychiatry none of my patients had financial complaints. If they did we’d say that was a social worker problems But more and more the shift has been to my patients to have legal and social work problems that they have no money to address and indeed if I wish to make the most money I can provide them ‘entertainment’ by selling products like the latest ‘as like’ drug or a bout of CBT.  Commodity sales are fine.  There’s just not fitting the shoes to the patient. It’s a communist/socialist model where these are the shoes the state decided on and you must fit them not the other way around.   

The problem for me and all the doctors and psychiatrists I know is that we ‘loved our work’. This thing gutted, raped  and ravaged and played with by lawyers and managers and beurocrats is no longer a doctor patient relationship.. It’s something that gives all those outsiders great pleasure but has sucked the health and life from the original pair.  The marriage is loveless and lifeless but the community is getting richer daily by the rising divorce rates. Divorce like abortion and euthanasia are the weeds that doctors don’t grow. Others do..  

“I feel suicidal,” the young man told me.  Politically correct, I answered ‘would you like physician assisted suicide?”  It’s good work if you can get it.  No wonder a person with 6 month training can replace a physician or surgeon with 12 or 16 years service.  Killing comes naturally. Healing, well, that’s something doctors were the best at, the more training and experience at least was associated with the best morbity and mortality stats.  But if abortion is as good an outcome for an obstetrician as a live birth, really, isn’t this communism or fascism, two sides of the same coin.  

In the old model the patient picked the doctor and picked what they wanted. This new communist model has one shoe fitting all and the customer is educated to what the company wants to sell, with death obviously being cheapest.  Indeed the autonomy of the physician is no longer a part of this model because the doctor is merely ‘salesman’ and the patient ‘customer’ so clearly the job in this corporate model (Dr. Robert Hare discussed the sociopathy of this in the marvellous film Coporations) is to maximize income, with as much unnecessary services as possible .  

Indeed the ‘cosmetic’ model is the most lucrative model . Though a far cry from the Christian Health Care model developed by Tommy Douglas a former minister this new improved model certainly has merit.  Just like the ‘free heroin’ model in addiction medicine versus ‘Betty Ford.’  

Love and work.  The system certainly works.  But is there love. Communist models have always failed as ‘souless’.  Where is there soul today.  


Sunday, January 20, 2019

Vancouver Motorcycle Show 2019 Tradex Abbotsford

The weather was so fine I could have motorcycled to Tradex Abbotsford, an hour’s drive out of Vancouver.  The Vancouver Motorcycle Show is a great event for all riders and wannabe riders.
Laura said, “I remember when we rode on the Harley here  years ago I was frozen when we arrived.” Many years there’s been snow and ice on the road making the trip on the bike out of the question. I’ve had my Harley Electroglide, which I rode across country and back  to Sturgis ,in storage at Trev Deely for the winter this year.  However  I”ve been enjoying the KTM 690 enduro which is lighter and handles better on the slippery roads in winter rains.
The Ford F350 truck,  feeling neglected since hunting season, was thankful for the drive. Gilbert could come along that way too.  It turned out to be the busiest show in years with trucks and cars backed up to the highway.
“Do you think the Seattle Motorcycle stunt riders were the draw this year?” Laura asked as we slowly moved along in the steadily moving line. There’s lots of parking at Tradex but the volume just has to get through the gates
“That probably has something to do it.  But I think the diabolical cost of gas taxation and vehicles has far more young people and women choosing motorcycles and scooters. Remember when we were in Italy and you commented on all the young women on scooters .” I said.
“The girls like the crotch rockets, too “ i said.
“They sound like bumble bees,” Laura said. “I’ve always like the rumble of the Harley.”
Motorcycling in America had once been for the fat old guys like me,  the stereotypical ‘bagger’  rider.  We’re still the Harley Davidson customers given the size of the bikes, the luxury cruisers and the prize tags associated with these high end machines. The HD Sportster Class has always been the attraction for the intro or  young rider. I liked when Bueill was designing the racers and the companies were linked .But now the girls are loving the 500 ccc and 800 cc Harley Davidson’s so suited to the city and surroundings.
"600 cc is all the bike you need even for the BC mountains," a lifelong motorcyclist friend told me years ago.  My brother Ron had ridden across Canada on a 150 cc back when the Japanese motorcycle invasion occurred at the same time as the British music invasion hit the west.  Yamaha and Honda bikes were all the rage with everyone wanting the big 250 cc’s.  I ‘ve loved the 250 cc’ motorcycles I’ve had and still think they’re the best off road size allowing you to take to the deer trails and go where no road goes.  The 600 and above makes a whole lot of sense when you want to take a passenger or some luggage.  I loved my Buell Blast 600 cc.  Suzuki’s 650 is the most popular in this range.  Kawasaki makes some nice bikes too.
My favourite bike was the Harley Davidson Roadster, one of Sporster class, 1200 cc , just like the WWII Harley and Triumph 1200 cc war bikes. I bought mine at Barnes.  That bike took Laura and me motorcycle camping all over BC and to round ups.  We road to Kamloops on the high way, did a hundred miles on logging roads to hot springs and ended up one time driving up to Alkali lakes for meetings, rodeo dances and sweat lodges. I loved camping near Powell river in the pup tent we took to put up beside the Harley,  calling Dad in Winnipeg on my cellphone with Laura beside me to have a chat while the rain was beating down on the tent outside.  Gilbert road on the back of my Electroglide to Sturges North where we camped in the pup tent and  loved hearing Burton Cummings in Merritt.
There’s a lot of truth to the saying that a man remembers his life by the vehicles he has . Women I know judge time by their children.   I bought my present  cruiser, 1600 cc Harley Davidson Electroglide to drive across the US and back thousands of km to attend the annual Sturges Motorocycle Ralley in North Dakota.
This years’ show was all about motorcycles.  Every shape and size.  Last year there’d  been a lot more quads.  The Slingshot three wheel car like a bat mobile though was all the rage.  I must admit I loved the Harley Fat Boy. What a beautiful bike.  The other one I truly loved was the new KTM 790 Adventure. I’ve got the 690 and love it but that extra hundred cc would be great on the highway. It’s heavier though so there’s a trade off. Last year the BMW and Triumph bikes stood out but this year the Ducatis were all the rage.  Aprilia bikes are becoming more popular too which isn’t surprising since they’re favourites in Europe.
I loved seeing the guys from the Christian Motorcycle Association and Gospel Riders. Both Laura and I loved meeting guys who had travelled around the world on their motorcycles.  Laura had read Jeremy Kroeker’s first motorcycle travel book and loved meeting him at the show.We got his latest book , Through Dust and Darkness, the stories of  his travels in the middle east.  I dream of riding my KTM down through South America liked my Turkish friends who rode their BMW’s to the southern tip and back.  They’re now having children in Germany but following their journey gave me a lot of joy that year. Right now I’m following Grace Macdonald’s Sidney to Paris journey on her KTM 690.  It’s an exciting fun read.  Vicarious enjoyment. Biker porn.
This year there was a lot of accessories as usual.
“It looks really good on you,” Laura said when I tried on a new leather vest.  When a beautiful girl says an article of clothing looks good on a fat old guy its a guaranteed sale.  I liked the neck closed protecting one from the wind compared to the standard v neck leather vests. The guy beside me getting one, said. “These are Vancouver Vests and those neck vests are  California weather .”  We laughed.
Laura and I had our standard hot dog and coffee at the show. We walked around and looking at the bikes and great people watching.    Then we were back with Gilbert.
On the way home we visited Victor  who showed us his continued work on changing his Sportster into a Trike to accomodate his hip injury. It’s an amazing skookum job.
Then it was back home for pizza night and TV.  Laura and I, a couple of wild bikers with Gilbert the biker dog, watched outlaw chases from the comfort of the couch. .