The Meadows Blog

Be sure not to miss John Bradshaw's interview this coming Wednesday, July 14th on 11 AM (Pacific Time) on VoiceAmerica Variety Channel.

Second Chances host Susan Armstrong will interview John about his latest book, Reclaiming Virtue: How We Can Develop The Moral Intelligence To Do The Right Thing, At The Right Time, For The Right Reason.

You can also check back here on the AAR blog after. We'll be posting a link to the recorded program!

Published in Blog

John Bradshaw, MA, Fellow of The Meadows, was mentioned in a recent article in the Sudbury Star. In "Different Views on Ethics", librarian Kaija Maillloux rounds up eight books with unique perspectives on ethics. From the article:

"Reclaiming Virtue: How We can Develop the Moral Intelligence to do the Right Thing at the Right Time for the Right Reason, by John Bradshaw, shows that each of us has what he calls an inborn moral intelligence, an inner guidance system that can lead us - if we know how to cultivate it in ourselves and others. His fascinating discussion ranges from the ancient Greek philosophers to modern explorations of emotional development, from provocative historical insights to the recent discoveries of neuroscience."

To learn more about Reclaiming Virtue, see this interview with John Bradshaw from earlier this year. For more information about Bradshaw and The Meadows, visit www.themeadows.org.

Published in Blog

Note: this article was originally published in the Cutting Edge Spring/Summer 2009 Newsletter.

John Bradshaw's latest book, Reclaiming Virtue: How We Can Develop the Moral Intelligence to Do the Right Thing at the Right Time for the Right Reason, released April 28, 2009.

Reclaiming Virtue is a very ambitious book. I originally conceived of it as part of my own Stage Four recovery work, but I later came to the realization that the book is more like a record of my own struggle over the past 50 years.

Many people say that the answers to all of our moral problems involve going back to traditional values - although no one ever defines exactly what "traditional values" means. They would benefit from a book by Stephanie Coontz titled The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap, which shows that the American family has changed many times throughout our history.

Early history supports Coontz's thinking, as Boston's most influential Puritan clergy from the Synod of 1679 included in their list of sins teenage pregnancy, drug abuse, frivolous lawsuits, greed and excessive profit taking, and women in lewd clothing. Worst of all, the family was breaking down - a complete loss of discipline. For those who use the family systems model to understand addiction, trauma and neuroses, it seems as though some of today's problems are a collective repetition compulsion from the past. We know that families become dysfunctional because they use faulty solutions to solve distress. Mom's a prescription drug addict, so Dad tells the kids to take over her chores and keep her problem a secret. Everyone in the family overfunctions to help Mom's problem and, low and behold, it gets worse. The solution becomes the problem. Traditional values, as many understand them, are part of a solution that has become the problem.

As Reclaiming Virtue is more than 500 pages long, what follows is a brief summary of major elements of prudential ethics. They are based on the Greek tradition of Heraclitus (who was called the first moralist in Western philosophy) and include the virtue that Aristotle called "phronesis" (prudence). Prudence was later incorporated into the work of Thomas Aquinas (called the universal doctor of Catholic theology). These men saw prudence as the governing virtue of all virtues. They understood prudence to be a fully practical knowledge - the "know how" to make the right moral judgment in the right context at the right time! They believed that it is far better to be just and honest than to merely know how to define these virtues.

Studies in evolutionary psychology, clinical psychology, and the neuroscience of the brain support the fact that the mind (Dan Siegel) and free will (Jeffrey M. Schwartz) are distinct realities in relation to the physical brain. Studies of Silvan Tompkins, Allan N. Schore, and Joseph LeDoux point to affect (or feeling) as the primary motivating factor of human behavior, giving the prudential ethics of Aristotle and Aquinas a solid grounding in modern thought. Here are some of my ideas for new prudential ethics:

  • We are born with a raw moral intelligence, evidenced by our nine innate affects (especially shame, which distinguishes us from other animals) and our attachment program, which is activated in the nondominant hemisphere of our brain by our feeling interaction with our mothering sources.
  • The last act of a fully moral judgment is based on affective inclination - a right appetite (good will), informed conscience, and contained feelings.
  • The virtue of prudence - the "know how" in making good, balanced, moral choices - is the perfection of moral intelligence.
  • The virtue of prudence is the engine of our moral life, but love and justice are our highest moral virtues.
  • The virtue of love transcends morality and leads us to ethical sensibility.
  • A person can be moral but not ethical. (For instance, our founding fathers were slave owners.) Ethical consciousness is always reaching new levels. Many of our parents, thinking they were doing the right thing, abused us.
  • The studies of Hartshorne and May at the University of Chicago show that teaching obedient morality is similar to teaching table manners! They also show that people who rant against cheating and lying cheat and lie to some degree.
  • The ultimate ethical problems are unconscious dishonesty, self-aversion, and toxic shame. Carl Jung called this unconscious part of our psyche "the shadow" and believed that "no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort."
  • Our shadow also includes our carried and toxic shame, which will not go away because of moralistic "right practices."
  • The best preparation a parent can make for raising children is to do his or her own original pain feeling work. In his collected works, Carl Jung suggests that a parent's unlived life is the most damaging thing to a child's psyche. When a parent has unresolved issues that have caused him or her to stop growing, to be intimidated by fear, and to be unable to take risks, the child will internalize the parent's constriction and denial of soul. Finally, I hope Reclaiming Virtue will appeal to what Abraham Lincoln called "the better angels of our nature" and will serve as a concrete guide for building a virtuous life, step-by-step.
Published in Blog

The Spring/Summer 2009 edition of The Cutting Edge, The Meadows' official newsletter, has just been published. Highlights of the issue include three feature articles and information on upcoming events offered by The Meadows.

Claudia Black, a Clinical Consultant for The Meadows, is the author of Deceived: Facing Sexual Betrayal, Lies, and Secrets. Says Claudia, "Nearly a decade ago, I began to work with women confronting sexual betrayal. It was this professional experience that inspired me to write Deceived: Facing Sexual Betrayal, Lies and Secrets, a book for female partners of sex addicts. Much of this article is excerpted from that book, published by Hazelden in April 2009."

Another Meadows author, John Bradshaw, discusses his new book, Reclaiming Virtue, in Author to Reader. According to John, "Reclaiming Virtue is a very ambitious book. I originally conceived of it as part of my own Stage Four recovery work, but I later came to the realization that the book is more like a record of my own struggle over the past 50 years."

In Twisters & Roller Coasters: Living with Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Arizona licensed therapist Debra L. Kaplan discusses her work with CPTSD patients, its history, treatment options and prognosis.
You'll also find information on The Meadows' new Integrated Evaluation program; a list of upcoming workshops and seminars and symposiums; and details on The Meadows' free lecture series. The Cutting Edge is available in both HTML and PDF formats.

Published in Blog

John Bradshaw, MA, a best-selling author and senior fellow of The Meadows, was recently interviewed on Bradley Quick's self discovery radio talk show, Quick Fix.

In the segment, John and Bradley discuss John's new book, Reclaiming Virtue: How We Can Develop the Moral Intelligence to Do the Right Thing at the Right Time for the Right Reason, and the idea of being virtuous and good in modern times. Reclaiming Virtue was written "for the millions of decent, caring people who are struggling every day with painful choices, who are appalled, as he is, by the greed and shamelessness that plague our society, and who long for guidance for themselves and their children in this increasingly complex world."

You can listen to an audio recording of this interview, as well as previous interviews with John Bradshaw, at the Bradley Quick website.(website no longer active)

Published in Blog

Contact The Meadows

Intensive Family Program • Innovative Experiential Therapy • Neurobehavioral Therapy

(*)
Invalid Input

Invalid Input

(*)
Invalid Input

(*)
Invalid Input

(*)
Invalid Input

Invalid Input