Human Being vs Human Doing: Which One Are You? by Joan E. Childs


Joan E. Childs, LCSW & Inspirational Keynote Speaker presents “Human Being vs. Human Doing: Which One Are You?” Image provided by

There is something scary about a baby who knows how to navigate a computer at 8 months of age and prefers playing with it over her new doll. There’s something scarier when a 10-year-old doesn’t give you eye contact, when coming into her home with gifts for her birthday, because she’s staring at her mobile phone. As a grandmother to these aforementioned young people, my fear is that the human being that was once part of our culture and era is slowing disappearing and morphing into a new species of evolution that I call the “human doing.”

What’s to blame? A lot. Social networks are probably the best and worst invention of this new generation, not excluding the present one, which are all infected by the plague of the 21st century. The danger of these phenomena is that what we once knew as socialization is morphing into the world of cyberization; my own word that imbibes the world of today. It seems that we have lost the art of being present: We are no longer present in the interaction between others and ourselves.

Technology’s Effect on Human Beings
Sitting on a back porch, taking walks with great talks and enjoying a family dinner is no longer a significant part of our culture. It has been replaced with super-sized HD television screens, computers, iPads, iPhones and a dozen other creatures of technology that have interrupted and interfered with the human being in us, transforming us surreptitiously into human doings. According to a recent study from Pew Research, “67% of cell phone owners find themselves checking their phone for messages, alerts, or calls — even when they don’t notice their phone ringing or vibrating” and 29% of cell owners describe their cell phone as ‘something they can’t imagine living without.’”

Today, couples lie in bed holding their laptops or iPads rather than each other. Moms use computers to help their children with their homework, rather than working on problem solving by speaking to one another. Libraries are obsolete, as are books to hold and feel in your hands. Encyclopedias have been replaced by Google and Bing for instant gratification. It’s not that all technology is bad; it’s the abandonment of the human being-ness that it’s replacing in us as we slowly disappear into the “Brave New World.” Balance is key!

The Future of Human Doings
Human beings are wired for connection. When we disconnect, we go into crisis. What I see in my practice as a psychologist is that human interaction as it was once known will no longer be part of our civilization. The depth and wisdom of knowing each other will vanish with pushing fingers on a keyboard as opposed to looking into the eyes of each other and seeing the soul of a human being. Instead, conversation will be looking down onto a keyboard void of feelings, touch and love.

The scariest part of this, as a mother who’s daughter suffered and took her life due to mental illness, is that mental illness can no longer be ignored. There isn’t a person who doesn’t either have a family member or knows someone who suffers from mental illness. In my own practice, it has become clear to me that much of anxiety and depression is a result of loneliness and especially, human touch. It has become pervasive not only in our country, but worldwide. The loss of this magnificent part of our being a human being, is that we may never know the inner part of our beautiful essence and authenticity.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.



In light of the recent anniversary of 911, Joan E. Childs, LCSW shares her take on “How Terrorism Terrorizes US” Image provided by


In light of the recently passed anniversary of 911, I felt compelled to share my take on how terrorism terrorizes us.  Terrorism is about psychology…It is about making ordinary people feel vulnerable, anxious, confused, uncertain and helpless (Philip Zimbardo, 2007).

New York, September 11, 2001: The Day That Changed the World

Nearly four years after September 11, 2001, an abstract was published online.  Its title: The Impact of Terrorism on Brain and Behavior: What We Know and What We Need to Know.  This abstract was based on papers presented by Paul Slovic, Rachel Yehuda, Edna Foa, Daniel Pine, Matthew Friedman, John Krystal, and Robert Ursano at the ACNP meeting in December 2003 (Yehuda & Human, 2005). This article draws attention to how terrorism continues to terrorize us so many years later.

Waking in the morning a bit stiff and sitting down with a cup of coffee not yet showered or perhaps already out the door to the office, one would expect the day to begin as it did the day before.  First the familiar taste of the coffee, then the dog walk, perhaps still in pajamas, to be followed by a morning shower, teeth brushing and shave.  After dressing in the clothes thoughtfully decided the night before, you hear your wife scream, scaring you half to death.  What follows after that was incredulous and forever changed all our lives.

Fifteen Years After

Fifteen years have passed since that eventful day.  Fourteen years filled with acts of terrorism too frightening for the American mind to conceive and explicate.  Three thousand people from many nations are trapped, crushed or burned to death as the Twin Towers disintegrate on the streets of lower Manhattan.  How is this deleterious event possible?  For days, weeks and months most of us are in shock, disbelief, scared and feeling perhaps an alien feeling that was never felt before.  The threat of terrorism coursed through our arteries, biology, psyche and neurology changing the colors of our mind forever.  How was something so unexpected, so inexplicable, incomprehensible going to affect our innocence? How would we ever get over this tragedy?  Well, in fact, most of us did, not however without a new paradigm shift installing into our psyche a new experience of fear never before known.

We had not yet recovered from the events of 9/11, when just four months later, Daniel Pearl, a Wall Street Journal reporter had been kidnapped and murdered by terrorists in Pakistan, his throat slashed, and videotaped for the world to view.  The decapitation of Daniel Pearl left us paralyzed with fear that the world had gone mad and nobody was doing anything about it.

The Boston Marathon bombing was the 59th publicly known terror plot against the United States since 9/11 (Inserra & Walters, 2015). This brought terror back on our soil and it continued. The beheading of innocent men by some ominous figure disguised in black gear, displaying a machete, speaking with a barely audible English accent, delivering threats, created a visceral and guttural sensation throughout the civilized world.  We watched daily in shock and disbelief, this hideous event delivered by the media worldwide. The young women kidnapped and sold into slavery added to our tensions and fears of the insanity being perpetrated in a country unknown to many of us. These events were no longer just “over there”.  They were here in our homeland as well.  The threat of Isis had reached our nation as daily television reporting drowned our minds with inexplicable acts of terror.

Last week we learned of the 65th Islamist terrorist plot or attack intended for the US since 9/11. (Terrorist Plots Since 9/11: Lessons in Domestic Counterterrorism) Between 9/11 and last week our country suffered and will continue to be subject to ongoing violence and threats to annihilate us just because we are Americans. This is a value system that opposes everything our country imbibes and holds sacred to our beliefs. A life that is so precious to us holds no value to terrorism.

The Impact of Terrorism on our Psyche

So, the question is, how does the chronicity of threats and attacks impact our psyche?  Our country was designed and created on the principles of freedom; freedom of religion, freedom of speech and the Bill of Rights.  The foundation of our country was built on these principles; that all men are created equal; that we have an inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness.  As children, we learned the pledge of allegiance, the Star Spangled Banner, and America the Beautiful.  We grew up on a legacy given to us by our founding fathers.  When an outside force perforates our system and tries to take away what we hold true to our heritage and hearts; what our soldiers fought and died for, we experience trauma as a nation that had never before existed.

How does terrorism affect us personally and as a nation?  We know that psychological effects wield strong and pervasive effects on the neurobiological systems.  Our reptilian brain goes into fight or flight when we feel fear.  It trumps our neocortex and frontal lobes.  Fear dominates reasoning.   We know too well that PTSD is a common response to something we either witness and/or experience physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually that assaults our essence as human beings and as a country.

Too often the violence perpetrated on us creates a state of shock and grief that may linger for weeks, months and years.  Some never recover.  Those closest to the events will, of course, have the hardest time to recover.  Those of us who are more directly affected by a terrorist act, have a far greater the risk of developing psychopathology.  The rippling effects of terrorism manifest in various ways, depending on the genetic/nature and life experiences of each individual.  Our heightened awareness of these attacks and impending disasters coupled with the sensationalism of the media has kept us anxious, restless and apprehensive.

There is a collective unconscious as a people that swell with fear, anger and inconsolable grief and plays out differently for each of us depending on our personal history and biology.  Regardless of these factors, we all feel the tragedy to a greater or lesser extent in our bodies and minds.  Each of us has different coping styles and levels of tolerance.  Following terrorist attacks, many Americans reported symptoms of fatigue, poor concentration, sleeping disturbances, depression, and anxiety.  Anger, loss of appetite, loss of libido and a general apathy were also noted.  It was as if the country numbed out in order to survive these unfathomable experiences or obsessed about these acts of violence, often spawning feelings of hopelessness including suicidal ideation.  Aberrant behaviors are not uncommon.   Addictive behaviors in alcohol and drug abuse increased.

Parents became frightened for their children’s safety in school and at events.  A healthy paranoia developed that infiltrated and disrupted our sense of peace of mind.  Hyper-vigilance permeated airports as well as air travel. The obvious precautions taken at sports events, concerts, and shopping malls were visible to the public changing the landscape of our country.

Home security made us more aware that times had changed forever.  We were at war with an enemy that could no longer be recognized.  Homegrown terrorists were out to destroy us as we innocently left our homes each morning heading to work, taking our kids to school, running marathons and sitting in coffee shops with our friends, computers, and colleagues.  The terrorists were accomplishing their goals; to terrorize us, make us vulnerable, and create a climate of fear never before experienced.

As Europe was being attacked, our awareness of the possibility of the same intensified.  Racial profiling was not even necessary anymore because we did our own racial profiling as a self-protective response to the terrorist’s attacks. There was an escalation in prejudice against Islam.  Our trust and innocence were compromised and our nation became cautious and guarded.  Many people were fearful of air travel and traveling outside of the country.  As these acts of terrorism continued abroad we became reluctant to visit countries that once were on our wish lists. We became confused and fearful of the unknown.  The terrorists were accomplishing their goals.

A New Landscape: The Good News

Just as we survived Viet Nam, Pearl Harbor, Hitler, Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden, we will find ways to survive this crisis.  Just as we mourned the murder and loss of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Bobby Kennedy, we will recover and rise above these atrocities. Just as we endured the Cuban Missile Crisis, the race riots, and the war on drugs, we will persist with the war on terrorism.  Not unlike children, we too are resilient.  We have always faced adversity head on with defiance, hope, and faith.  We are a nation of fighters and survivors and will determinedly battle the war on terrorism.


Brown, L. M., Beutler, L. E., Breckenridge, J. N., & Zimbardo, P. G. (2007). Psychology of terrorism (pp. 3-12). New York: Oxford University Press.

Inserra, D., & Walters, R. (2015) 65th Islamist Terrorist Plot or Attack Since 9/11: Persistent Terrorism Requires Constant Vigilance, The Heritage Foundation, Issue Brief #4378

Yehuda, R., & Hyman, S. E. (2005). The impact of terrorism on the brain, and behavior: what we know and what we need to know. Neuropsychopharmacology, 30(10).







Joan E. Childs shares her interpretation of “The Kiss by Klimt” and blogs “Losing yourself to another” Remember that a kiss is just a kiss… Image provided by The KISS by Klimt


RELATIONSHIPS are full of conundrums.  The challenges that relationships face can be difficult without tools and resources that can promote and sustain a healthy, adult relationship.  It takes two “grown up” people with a mature understanding of their partner’s world to be able to resolve issues that arise during the course of their relationship.  It takes a willingness to extend oneself to nurture the other.  This takes two evolved individuals willing to stretch their emotional muscles for the sake of loving and respecting one another.  More than that, it takes a commitment to honor and protect the relationship as your most precious investment.

It has been said by Lori Gordon (PAIRS) that “ love is a feeling; marriage is a contract, but a relationship is work!” The essential ingredient of a good relationship is to have two healthy, mature partners that are committed to moving the relationship forward.  If one partner depends on the other to feel whole, the relationship is doomed.

In many relationships one partner can lose their identity without consciousness.  They give up who they are to satisfy the needs of the other.  They don’t feel whole without the other, so they hook themselves emotionally to their partner and lose their authenticity in the process.  They become whatever they feel will keep their partner happy.  This NEVER works!  It becomes a parasitic, pathological relationship.

Intimacy cannot exist without autonomy.   Two halves have never made a whole. Multiply ½ x ½ and you will get ¼.  Each partner must feel independent in order to have healthy interdependence.  Each must be a whole individual to maintain a healthy relationship.  The chief cause of losing oneself is low self- esteem.  The patterns that develop in a relationship are codependent and eventually cause irreparable damage.

It has been said by the great philosopher, Martin Buber that we are wired for connection.  When we dis-connect, we face a crisis.  When one loses their self to please another, disconnect is the result.  No one can be responsible for another all the time.  Each individual must take responsibility for themselves.  Without a positive sense of self, a relationship cannot flourish.

We know that 90% of what is happening in the now is dragged in from the past.  Only 10% has to do with the present.  The chronic arguing about the way she irons his shirts has very little to do about the shirts.  It’s more about his past and the way the shirts trigger what is unresolved from his family of origin.  The past is always present until it is extinguished through self- exploration, self-examination, recognition, acknowledgment and most important, owning it!  Until this is accomplished, partners will be fighting over the same things “until death do us part.”  To extinguish the shadows of the past, we must first embrace them.  Therapy is essential.  No one can do it themselves.  Not unlike casting your own broken arm or doing brain surgery on yourself, people need a trained therapist to work through the issues they carried from the past into the present.  Their history will color the present and be unloaded on an innocent partner who does not deserve it.

Almost 60% of all marriages end in divorce.  The reason: read the above paragraph once more.  We unconsciously choose a partner that will bring us our worst nightmare in order that we learn what we need to know.  We usually end up firing them for the very reason we hired them; that being to clean up the past so that the relational space between them is no longer polluted.  (Hedy Schleifer, Encounter Centered Couples Therapy).

There are many modalities that are very successful in achieving the desired outcome goals.  The object is to find an approach and therapist that works for you.  Often experiential couple’s therapy can heal the wounds of each partner.  Sometimes individual psychotherapy is the answer.  Most important, is being open to the unacceptable behaviors that keep us stuck.  It’s not the adult in us that is holding us back.  It’s the little wounded child that is driving the bus and pushing us tenaciously to discover who we are and who we want to become.  The goal in life is to be free from the past and the shame that binds us so we can make choices that work.  The discovery of our authentic selves will release us to become the person we were meant to be.  Our essence is our path to a healthy relationship not just to another, but to discover ourselves as well.

Discover what is keeping you stuck.  Learn to acknowledge the pain you have repressed.  Share your feelings with a trained counselor who can help you reclaim your essence and authenticity.  Only then will you never lose yourself to another!


Please check out Darline Pistocchi’s article as posted by the Hollywood Gazette

2011-11-26 07-42-11.293

Darlene Pistocchi Community Correspondent at Hollywood Gazette Darlene is a professional writer, voice-over and performing arts specialist Image provided by Hollywood Gazette

Joan E. Childs has been in private practice as a psychotherapist (LCSW) for nearly 40 years in Broward and Dade counties. She is also a resident of Hollywood for the past fourteen years living in West Lake Village and the mother of five. Sadly, she lost her eldest daughter, Pamela, when she was just 34 years old.

“On July 2, 1998, my beautiful, brilliant daughter, Pamela Ann Glassman, a clinical psychologist and social worker, leaped to her death from her father’s 15th story window.  She battled bipolar disorder for ten years,” shares Childs. “When in a delusional state, the disease pushed her out the window.  I don’t believe my daughter committed suicide; it was her illness that was her executioner.”

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. for all ages, ahead of homicide which is ranked 17th, and takes the lives of over 38,000 Americans every year and 800,000 worldwide according to the World Health Organization.

 “As a child, Pam was precocious, lovable and adored by her family,” recalls Childs. “She did not exhibit any mental disorder until she was in high school; however, it went completely unrecognized as a mental disorder for many years.”

Childs says Pam appeared more like a typical contrary teenager with bad habits that included sloppiness, haughtiness, being confrontational and telling lies.  Her behavior became intolerable and after a confrontation between the two, Pam picked up and left home in November of her junior year to live with her father.

“There was no way I was able to convince her to stay and complete her junior year. She was a cheerleader, in Thespians and had many friends who tried desperately to convince her to stay and work it out with me.  But we were all powerless and in a split decision, she left her siblings and me. It was a shock to all of us and my heart was shattered when she refused to reconsider.”

Depression affects 20-25% of Americans ages 18+ in a given year; with suicide as the 2nd leading cause of death in young people from the ages 15-25, according to the CDC.

“It takes about 10 years to make a differential diagnosis for Bipolar Disorder,” explains Childs. “There are no tests to determine a diagnosis.  Today there is a spectrum.  We know of Bipolar I and Bipolar II, but now are convinced that there is a spectrum including I, II, III and IV depending on the symptoms and interview.  It is a very difficult diagnosis to determine because it mimics so many other psychiatric disorders.  Obtaining a differential diagnosis takes a skilled psychiatrist and a lot of time.  It’s a treacherous mental disorder often causing suicide in very violent fashion.”

Pam did move on with her education and graduated from University of Missouri, then attended Adelphi College where she received her Masters in Social Work and later a PhD in Clinical Psychology in L.A.   She was extremely successful as a psychotherapist where she worked for the John Bradshaw Institute in L.A.

“John referred to her as ‘a wizard therapist’,” shares Childs, “drawing the lightening to herself to help her patients who were there due to childhood traumas that were interfering with their lives as adults.  Many had been using drugs and alcohol as a way of self- medicating.  When they were sober, Pam would do the Inner Child work and teach them new ways to define themselves.  Her work was transformational.”

At 24, Pam came back to South Florida for a short time to be hospitalized.

“Her roommates contacted me to advise me that her behavior had been inappropriate and frightening.  They were extremely worried about her and could not continue to live with her due to her messiness and rapid mood changes.  They suggested she come home to be treated.”

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, only half of all Americans experiencing an episode of major depression receive treatment.

“Depression is a very devious disorder,” shares Childs.  “It comes in many different forms. Looking back through a rear view mirror, it was easy to recognize that something was not right.  Even in her therapeutic modalities, Pam was extreme, taking chances that most therapists would not do.  She broke down her patient’s defense mechanisms while drawing out the trauma that was stuck inside their brains. Fortunately, they were in a safe environment while she performed miracles, as they would say.”

What are Some Warning Signs?

“Watch for grades sliding, social changes like a loss of friends, not wanting to attend school or work, drug and alcohol use and abuse to numb out and self-medicate,” explains Childs. “Suicidal ideation, cutting, loss of appetite, staying in their rooms too much, isolating, lack of hygiene, overt sexuality, changes in their personality from vivacious to sullen.  Listen to their tone and attitude. Any changes from their normal behavior that sustains itself for a long period of time is suspicious.”

“I saw my daughter change from a beautiful, intelligent, successful woman into a regressive, frightened little child fearful that the devil was going to take her soul. She was hallucinating and fearing for her life that would be taken by the devil.”

These additional signs may mean someone is at risk for suicide, according to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves.
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online or buying a gun
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
  • Talking about being a burden to others.
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
  • Sleeping too little or too much.
  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves.
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
  • Displaying extreme mood swings.

Pam passed when she was 34 years old.  She was born in North Miami Beach on October 1, 1963, and appeared to be a normal, healthy, engaging, bright and precocious as a child.

“She had a charismatic personality,” shares Childs. “She was adored by her father, her siblings, her teachers, friends, grandparents, and of course me. I survived every parent’s worst nightmare.”

Childs says she had to make a choice. “Was I going to become a victim of this tragedy?  Would I simply survive and move on?  Or would I choose to take this loss and turn it into something that would make my daughter’s life and death meaningful and raise the conscious awareness of mental illness?”

Childs chose to be a PHOENIX, “not unlike the mythological bird that rises from the ashes to become stronger and more empowered.”


“This has become my mission,” she states. “To share my story and help others who have suffered similar tragedies, whether from mental illness or any other loss of a loved one caused by any other reason.”

After seven years, the culmination of Childs’ anguish became a book, Why Did She Jump? My Daughter’s Battle with Bipolar Disorder, which can be purchased at Health Communications, INC,   or ordered in any Barnes & Noble.  For more information visit Child’s website.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255). Use that same number and press “1” to reach the Veterans Crisis Line. You’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area,anytime 24/7.



INTERESTED in becoming a MEMBER of my NEW PROCESS GROUP? ADD TO YOUR CALENDAR OF EVENTS!!! CONTACT  (954) 568-1004 and sign up today!!


Anyone interested in becoming a member of my new process group that will begin in October, please contact me at (954) 568-1004. The group will run for 6 months, two hours each session and the fee is $85.00 per week. It will be held in the Hallandale office.  Apply only if you can commit to six months weekly. Space in limited to 8 persons and I already have one member committed.


My next group process will begin on Monday, November 7, 2016.  It is comprised of eight members who are stuck in behaviors that are interfering with the quality of their lives and are looking for growth and change.  The group will be maintained for six months, meeting every Monday for 26 weeks.  It requires a six-month commitment for each member.  Each member will be asked to read Schopenhauer’s Cure by Irvin Yalom.

The group is based on Irvin Yalom’s theory using his 10 curative factors for change.  It requires members with ego strengths able to tolerate non-judgmental, non-shaming confrontation.  It requires that members can be self-reflective and able to own their own shadow side.  It will be both experiential and didactic using Cognitive Behavioral and experiential modalities.

The cost of the group is $85.00 per week.  Each member will be responsible for the fee regardless of any absences, not unlike tuition.  The group begins precisely at 6:30 and ends at 8:30.  Anyone interested in joining can call for an interview.

Anyone active in any substance addiction would not be a candidate for this group.  Members are requested not to drink or use any drugs prior to any sessions.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.


“Honor to have attended some of Joan E. Childs’ presentations” Review by Eileen J. Cohen, LMFT, CAP

Eileen J. Cohen, LMFT, CAP National Clinical Outreach Director Elements Behavioral Health provides

Eileen J. Cohen, LMFT, CAP
National Clinical Outreach Director
Elements Behavioral Health
shares “Honor to have attended some of Joan E. Childs’ presentations.”


As a clinical professional in the mental health field, I have had the great pleasure and honor to have attended some of Joan E. Childs’ presentations. She is a successful mental health professional, author, and lecturer who, through personal tragedy and challenges of her own, has become a remarkable role model and inspiration to others who have experienced similar situations. I have had contact with some of the attendees of her presentations who have shared how profoundly moved they were by her. Ms. Childs’ broad knowledge and passion for the subjects on which she presents is vast, and her beauty, grace, and humor contribute to an entertaining yet informative and powerful experience.

Best Regards,
Eileen J. Cohen, LMFT, CAP
National Clinical Outreach Director
Elements Behavioral Health

Eileen Cohen, LMFT, CAP is a regional outreach director who can serve as a liaison during the admissions process, throughout the treatment period, and for the transition back to your practice.

Elements Behavioral Health provides the following at

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