GREAT NECK, N.Y., March 5, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The new culture of violence has taken on epidemic proportions since two
While the profile of the school shooter has evolved over the last couple of decades, it's worth considering the behavioral patterns and psychodynamics that are significantly present in school shootings. For the mental health profession to increase its clinical efficacy with this very at-risk group, this consideration is imperative. The following can hopefully provide insight into this pathological scourge.
The Columbine assassins have become role models for organized pseudo-military revenge for the socially damaged. Shortly after Columbine, several of New York-based social anxiety therapist Jonathan Berent's young adult male patients with social anxiety said, in various ways, "I understand why those kids shot up schools." These individuals did not have the DNA for such behavior, but the reason they said what they did is important.
This reason is that these patients had experienced the painful experience of bullying and peer rejection; the emotional trauma of which created unresolved anger and rage. Berent's patients were communicating their understanding of revenge for bullying, which at the time was considered to be the primary motivation.
The Columbine assassins epitomized hatred for the social pecking order. Columbine represented the epitome of explosion and the power of revenge.
Research into the school shooter profile varies from articles claiming a "consistent profile" to a "differing profile from one another, in numerous ways." However there is a very strong correlation between aggression and the socially damaged who extract their revenge on peer groups.
Examples include the Sandy Hook shooter, who epitomizes a special needs- driven social disorder concurrent with sick parenting. The shooter at Virginia Tech displayed obvious concern with his anti-social behavior and selective mutism. The latest shooter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School personifies a socially and emotionally broken individual, and a broken system.
Despite educational campaigns that teach the positive power of introversion, human beings are social animals. When individuals are handicapped with social skills, social anxiety, and relationship development challenges, the result is often a void of pleasure and happiness. The sufferer may or may not be conscious of this void. The more this void of pleasure accrues, the more potential there is for anger and rage, which creates a myriad of physical and mental symptoms when recycled in the human psyche. For example, listen to Berent's patient "Eric" who was bullied as a child and hear the energy of rage.
The brilliant work of the late John Sarno, M.D. provides profound insight into the clinical realities of anger and rage. His thesis states that repressed anger and rage is so powerful that it inhibits the flow of oxygen into the bloodstream. This creates a condition known as Tension Myositis Syndrome, which is the etiology for physical symptoms not caused by biological organicity.
While the mainstream medical community questions this thesis, Berent has discovered that his clinical work with thousands of social anxiety sufferers using Sarno's clinical treatment architecture has proven to be extremely productive. Jonathan Berent's social anxiety patients has experienced this repressed rage. Bringing it to a conscious level and teaching channeling strategies has proved to be a primary dynamic for clinical success.
The school shooter has channeled accrued rage from social impotence into explosive aggression. To further complicate things: while it is the responsibility of the media to report the news, focusing so much attention on the criminal reinforces the narcissistic pathology of the shooter. They know they will become infamous for their evil. Their revenge gives them the power they never had. Many are driven by the compulsion to score the most kills. Just like in many video games, the individual with the most kills becomes the winner. This often becomes a compulsion and core activity within the alternate universe in which many socially challenged individuals exist.
It appears that pathology homeostasis has been achieved with school shootings, given the intensity of societal forces working against one another! These forces include the void of mental health background checks, the superabundance of assault weapons, and the lack of clinical acumen by the mental health community regarding the rage-filled socially impotent.
As society searches for answers to this epidemic, Berent suggests that the mental health profession increase its clinical acumen regarding rage and the socially impotent while working to increase awareness about the implications of the elusive avoidant personality.
Jonathan Berent, L.C.S.W. is the author of "Beyond Shyness" (Simon & Schuster), "Work Makes Me Nervous" (Wiley), and Social Anxiety: The Untold Story" (AKFSA). With 40 years of practice, Berent's clinical experience and success is unmatched. His work is showcased at www.socialanxiety.com. Berent is available to the media as a professional source on anxiety and mental health.
Contact: Jonathan Berent191330@email4pr.com, 800-248-2034
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