The Meadows Blog

Monday, 19 September 2011 20:00

Jerry Boriskin: PTSD treatment goals

The Meadows, one of America's oldest and most respected centers for the treatment of addiction and trauma, is pleased to present a 10-part video series featuring Dr. Jerry Boriskin discussing post-traumatic stress disorder and complex PTSD.

In the sixth video of his 10-part series, Dr. Boriskin, psychologist and senior fellow at The Meadows, talks about his 30-year career working with victims of PTSD and his goals for treating the disorder.

"The goal of therapy is not to fix what's broken," he says. "It's to help define and reframe what hurts and managing it in a way that contributes and gives purpose to one's injury."

Dr. Boriskin adds that his goal is not to 'make people different,' but rather to encourage people with PTSD to recognize it, demystify it, materialize in the here and now, and find peace within.

"It's about finding meaning in things other than self-destructive, repetitive, and invalidating behavior," he explains. "Finding meaning from one's own misery is part of what works."

In other videos featuring Dr. Boriskin, he discusses long-term treatment for complex PTSD, the relationship between addiction and PTSD, and evidence-based treatment methods.

Jerry Boriskin, Ph.D, is an author, lecturer, and clinician with expertise in trauma, PTSD, and addictive disorders. He is the author of several books, including PTSD and Addiction: A Practical Guide for Clinicians and Counselors and At Wit's End: What Families Need to Know When a Loved One is Diagnosed With Addiction and Mental Illness.

Other videos in The Meadows' series include interviews with prominent figures in the mental health field, including John Bradshaw and Maureen Canning. To view, visit

To learn more about The Meadows' innovative treatment program for PTSD and other disorders, visit or call The Meadows at 800-244-4949.

Published in Blog

The Meadows, America's premier center for the treatment of addiction and trauma, is pleased to present an 11-part interview with John Bradshaw, senior fellow, world-famous educator, counselor, motivational speaker, author, and
leading figure in the field of mental health.

In the fifth video of his series, Mr. Bradshaw talks about the importance of inner-child deep feeling work as a therapeutic tool.

"One of the things I like about The Meadows is the deep feeling work. It's uncanny," he says.

Mr. Bradshaw explains that many therapists and psychologists he works with around the country can't practice the technique.

"It's frightening to them," he says, stressing that deep feeling work is often necessary in order to get recovering substance abusers to address their 'addictiveness.'

"That addictiveness is like a hole in the soul that has to be grieved. And without that grieving process, the addict will simply go from one addiction to another."

Mr. Bradshaw has enjoyed a long association with The Meadows, giving insights to staff and patients, speaking at alumni retreats, lecturing to mental health professionals at workshops and seminars, and helping to shape its cutting-edge treatment programs. He is also the author of several New York Times best-selling books, including Homecoming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child, Creating Love, and Healing the Shame That Binds You.

In other videos in this series, Mr. Bradshaw discusses such topics as Survivor Week, the importance of after-care facilities, and the relationship between shame and depression. To view all the videos in this series, visit

For more about The Meadows' innovative treatment program for addictions and trauma, visit or call The Meadows at 800-244-4949.

Published in Blog

p> Phoenix Free Lecture Series June 27, 2011 7:00-8:30pm
Chaparral Christian Church
6451 East Shea Blvd.
Scottsdale, Arizona 85254
For more information, call The Meadows 800-632-3697

Wrestling with the Teenager Within presented by Ben Galloway, LISAC, CSAT

In this presentation, Ben will discuss the family roles, rules and styles of dysfunction that create different types of wounding and defenses. The Adapted Self becomes normalized and bound to these defenses and can even be bound to powerful addictions or relational dysfunctions. Many individuals have difficulty with ongoing recovery and successful healing in therapy due to the normalized survival extremes and defenses of the Adapted Self. While the child within gets a lot of needed focus, this lecture will focus more on the developmental issues of the Adapted/Teenager within. We will review recovery tools and the continuum of care in therapy. Who's driving your bus?

Ben Gallaway has worked in the field of Addiction and Trauma Treatment since 1989. He is a Certified Sex Addiction Counselor and a Licensed Independent Substance Abuse Counselor. Ben is in private practice in Phoenix Arizona and the Director of Enchantment Workshops where he designs and facilitates Customized Intensives. Ben is PIT trained through extensive trainings with Pia Mellody since 1995.

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 28 December 2010 19:00

Home for the Holidays

Admittedly, I have never met Jerry Siegel, co-creator of Superman, the fictional comic book superhero. Had I been granted the opportunity, I first would have thanked him for the borrowed Superman metaphor I often employ in therapy with my clients. Then I would have asked him if Krypton, Superman's native planet, held any resemblance to Mr. Siegel's own homeland of Cleveland, Ohio.

As it was written, Superman was jettisoned to earth in a rocket ship only moments before Krypton exploded into smithereens. Krypton's demise was due to its unstable radioactive core, perhaps a deliberate tribute to Cleveland's Cuyahoga River, infamous for its frequent fires on the water caused by pollution slicks.

I mean no disparaging sentiment for the Clevelanders reading this, but I can't but help wonder: What did Mr. Siegel have in mind when he decided that the one and only element that can strip Superman of his superhuman powers - and perhaps even kill him - is the element that comes from his home planet? The reference is too obvious for this therapist to ignore. Better yet, it's too beautiful a talking point to overlook.

I want to know how Mr. Siegel felt about his family of origin. Was the family contentious and dysfunctional - or warm, connected, and validating? Was Krypton like the home of Mr. Siegel's own family of origin? I'll never know, because Jerry Siegel died in 1996, and his co-creator, Joe Shuster, died in 1992.

Were it not for holiday family gatherings - and oftentimes destructive family feuds - I wouldn't need to employ my cautionary but appropriate reference to Superman. Every year, as Thanksgiving approaches, not a week goes by that I don't pull Superman out of hiding and speak of his comic-bound strength and invulnerability. I ask, "What is the one thing that renders Superman powerless?"

I'm often met with a bewildered look. Those clients old enough to remember mumble, "Kryptonite?"

I quickly exclaim, "Kryptonite! Exactly!"

"And where," I ask, "does Kryptonite come from?"

"Krypton?" they ask more enthusiastically.

"Right again!"

I confess to my clients that I cannot say what Jerry Siegel had in mind, but it is ironic that Superman could be stopped by only one thing: an element from his homeland. Even the most therapy-savvy among us, those who have risen out of dysfunction and family disorientation, are rendered powerless while returning home for the holidays. It can seem as though time has stood still, waiting for our return to fill the family roles-of-old.

As much as we'd like to think we've arrived at therapeutic transcendence, returning to our families of origin during the holidays often challenges our ability to maintain self-care and personal boundaries. It takes mindful awareness to remain immune from family havoc, and such success is not always achievable.

By way of my comic book metaphor, I remind my clients that even the strongest among us is susceptible. Even though a luscious glance from Lois Lane couldn't bring Clark Kent to his knees, Superman was susceptible to the destabilizing effects of Kryptonite. So we seek progress, not perfection. And as the holidays approach and we find ourselves facing a trip to Krypton or Cleveland we have choices: Stay home, or go visit the family. Just take along your favorite superhero for protection.

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 03 March 2010 19:00

Whores & Madonnas

Note: This article was first published in the Winter 2003/04 issue of MeadowLark, the magazine for alumni of The Meadows.

Whores & Madonnas
By Maureen Canning-Fulton, MA

A friend of mine, who knows about the therapy I do with female patients in the area of sexual dysfunction, had sent me a movie review. He wanted to know how I would react to it. The review was of The Magdalene Sisters, a film by Scottish director Peter Mullin that had debuted in London in February 2003 and opened in New York in August. The review by Mary Gordon, a distinguished essayist and novelist, ran under the headline, "How Ireland Hid Its Own Dirty Laundry."

The film follows three young Irish girls who, in 1964, are sent to one of the Magdalene Asylums, institutions founded in the 19th century, primarily in Ireland, and run by nuns. They housed girls who got pregnant outside of marriage or who were considered too sexual, too flirtatious or even too active. With the legal consent of their fathers, they were incarcerated in these asylums, which doubled as laundries.

The kind of outrageous injustice that sent the women there is shown in the opening scene at a raucous Irish wedding. A young woman named Margaret is lured away from the party by a cousin who rapes her upstairs. He returns to the festivities and continues to drink with the other men.

When Margaret comes down, she is flushed and disheveled and so clearly upset that a girlfriend shows concern. We see their lips moving as Margaret tells her what happened. The friend accosts the young man, shouting at him, and then goes to an older man for help.

Margaret just sits there, her eyes darting as the gossip makes its way around the room. It becomes increasingly obvious that Margaret, rather than the young man, is being singled out as the problem. She's the one who will be punished, not the rapist. The next day, Margaret is packed up and shipped off to one of the Magdalene laundries.
Always exploited and, in many cases, sexually abused, Margaret and the other victims work, unpaid, seven days a week, 364 days a year, with only Christmas off. Most of the laundries had closed by the 1970s, but the very last did not close until 1996; 30,000 women had passed through their doors.

In her review of The Magdalene Sisters, Gordon writes, "Didn't any of the women who escaped or left legitimately (any adult male relative could rescue them) tell anyone - a family member, a friend, a sympathetic confessor - what they had endured? The answer seems to be no, and the explanation lies in the particular flavor of Irish shamed silence. The moral horror of the Magdalene laundries is that the abuses perpetrated were not the outgrowth of simple sadism or even of unmindfulness, but of the belief that they were intended for the victims" own good."

The grotesque and terrible injustices suffered by these women, while all different, reveal that they were victims not so much of deep, unflinching religious beliefs, but of a deep-seated contempt for and fear of - female sexuality.

When I read this article, I was personally touched. It reminded me of my own Irish Catholic heritage, and how my mother was so ashamed of her sexuality. On another level, I was reminded of the widespread malaise in our country that makes women either whores or Madonnas; it is one of the poisonous results of America's shaming of female sexuality.

I remember when we were growing up in the ´70s, all of the girls were getting bikinis, wearing halter tops and baring their midriffs. I really wanted to be part of that scene and to be part of my peer culture. My mother absolutely refused. I had to beg her to get a two-piece swimming suit, because, for my mother, bad girls do those kinds of things - good girls don't.

Speaking to my mother's history and culture, the review of The Magdalene Sisters addresses the Irish belief that women's sexuality is shameful, and the fact that men control the issues of women's sexuality. They control it to the exclusion of a woman's own humanity.

In America today, women's sexuality is afflicted by what I call the "Madonna-Whore Split." There are good girls and bad girls; and sinful girls should be shunned. The Madonnas are the childbearing wives and daughters. We put them on a pedestal, and we can't think of them as being sexual and "sexy," because we need them be pure and virginal like the Madonna herself. Then we have the whores: the girls "we can play with." These girls are promiscuous and sexual, and we think of them as wrong and bad. And by calling them wrong and bad, we make them scapegoats and transfer our sexual shame to them. We think they are kinky curiosities, seducers and nymphos. These labels dehumanize them. Our contact with them is physical only or based in pornographic imagining - there is no intimacy. We think they are beneath us, while it is we who have paid the price of grandiosity by denying their humanity and our own lust. We cannot have them in our everyday lives. In our everyday lives, we want Madonna, and our women have learned to be Madonnas - all at a terrible cost.

In other words, we have J-Lo and Britney Spears acting that out for us, becoming sexual caricatures. In our culture, they become icons, but we do not let the sexuality that they imply, and which we affirm with their celebrity, take place in our own bedrooms. That would be shameful.
In our culture, the burden of sexual shame is most brutal to the women whose Madonna-hood has been forced upon them by the male dominance of sexual mores, as so vividly portrayed in The Magdalene Sisters.

I see this all the time in my practice; women come in who have the "Madonna-Whore Syndrome." I ask them if they have ever had an orgasm, and they tell me they never have. I ask why. They tell me they don't enjoy sex. I ask if they have ever masturbated, and they tell me no. They don't know how to masturbate, and the idea sounds dirty and shameful. They tell me they are afraid to try.

Some women who come in are the other extreme: women who have acted out and are the bad girls. They feel shamed and dirty. Often they are depressed because of this shame, because of their inability to embrace the human reality of their sexuality and to know how they have been abused.

We have been conditioned to deny the human totality of our sexuality. This is no less a delusion than denying our reason, compassion, hunger or need for friendship and intimacy. So sex becomes this horrible split between the pure and the sinful. Why is it that many women cannot have fun with their sexuality? Why is it they cannot freely orgasm? Why is it they cannot feel good about their bodies? It is because of the shame. Because good girls don't do that.

We Americans are not really looking at this cultural shame; we are not really addressing what goes on in women's bodies, minds and souls, and what they want sexually. Because most women don't know. They have been shamed out of their sexual gift, and this shaming away of female sexuality is epidemic.

Certainly the women I treat are not getting a sexual education rooted in the fullness of their perfect-imperfection - that acceptance of the truth about their humanity that enables self-esteeming sexual vitality. I don't think we are aware of how we have scapegoated women and how we have not allowed them to be the full sexual human beings they were created. The Magdalene Sisters will powerfully compel us to such necessary reflections.

Published in Blog
Page 3 of 4

Contact The Meadows

Intensive Family Program • Innovative Experiential Therapy • Neurobehavioral Therapy

Invalid Input

Invalid Input

Invalid Input

Invalid Input

Invalid Input

Invalid Input