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The Misuse of a Biblical Doctrine

Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

The History of Christian Counseling and General Revelation

Samuel Stephens
Feb 23, 2018
Source: Biblical Counseling


A movement cannot be rightly understood unless it is placed in the context in which it began and how it progressed – what we call history. History allows us to trace threads of ideas and themes through time. Within the movement and practice of Christian Counseling, a line of division surfaces as we look at sources of authority upon which counselors have depended through the years. This division occurs between biblical conviction and counseling practice. In this essay, I suggest that the integrative model of counseling, namely Christian Counseling, misses the mark concerning the search and identification of truth by abusing the biblical doctrine of general revelation. The field of Christian Counseling has consistently demonstrated a historical misrepresentation and biblical misapplication of this doctrine in an effort to provide a justification for the utilization of secular psychology.

What is Christian Counseling?

It is important to note that as a label Christian Counseling can refer to a wide spectrum of counseling approaches.1 A unifying drive of this counseling approach, however, is the effort “to integrate psychology and Christian theology.”2Everett Worthington defined Christian Counseling as:

[An] explicit or implicit agreement between a counselor who is a Christian and a client for the provision of help for the client, in which the counselor not only has at heart the client’s psychological welfare but also the Christian spiritual welfare.3

As a formative influence in the Christian Counseling movement, Clyde Narramore noted that “wise counseling requires that evangelical faith be carefully integrated with the theories, therapeutic methods and professional roles of the modern psychologies [emphasis added].”4 In his book Psychology and Theology, Gary Collins added, “The Christian who wants to understand and help change human behavior must have a good understanding of psychological techniques and knowledge in areas such as biological, cognitive, affective, social, and individual bases of behavior [emphasis added].”5 A theme found throughout Christian Counseling literature is an emphasis on the importance of professional credentials, the reliance upon social science, and a focus on assisting clients in overcoming spiritual maladjustments on their own.6

Integration: An Idea and Process

Christian Counseling cannot be fully understood without highlighting the concept and method of integration. According to John Carter and Bruce Narramore, Christian social scientists who study human behavior through the scientific method use the term integration to show a correlation between professional and scientific fields with Christian theology. They stated, “Most of these efforts are based on one essential philosophical underpinning—the belief that all truth is God’s truth, wherever it is found. This proposition is frequently referred to as ‘the unity of truth.’”7

Collins defined truth as “an abstract idea, a universal reality that exists and can be grasped by analysis or experimentation.”8 In the inaugural edition of the Journal of Psychology and Theology, Bruce Narramore argued that “the minister and psychologist are not the only ones caught up in this conflict. The theologian, the physician and the student of psychology and scripture all share concerns for the whole man. They know they cannot minister effectively if they neglect the contributions of related disciplines.”9 Within Christian Counseling, integration provided a clear path to discovering truth in which psychological science, in conjunction with Scripture, could present a “cohesive approach to the problems that confront us.”10

The Doctrine of General Revelation

Within the context of the broader Christian Counseling movement, general revelation has been used in such a way as to make available “pieces of truth that cannot be found in the Bible.”11 According to Bruce Demarest, general revelation had traditionally been “mediated through nature, conscience, and the providential ordering of history” for the sole purpose of providing “a universal witness to God’s existence and character.”12 Demarest continued, “Through the modalities of general revelation, man at large knows both that there is a God and in broad outline what He is like” (14). In the first volume of his Systematic Theology, James Leo Garett clarified, “‘General’ revelation is that disclosure of God that is available to all human beings through the created universe (nature) and in the inner nature of human beings (conscience).”13

Christianity has been recognized as a revelatory religion and some have gone as far as to say that Christian faith necessitates revelation. The doctrine of revelation distinguishes Christianity from pseudo-religions which have more in common with pagan philosophies.14The very concept of revelation also assumes the sinfulness of man and the fact that man is in spiritual bondage apart from God’s activity and self-disclosure. In Revelation and Reason, his landmark treatment on this subject, Emil Brunner noted that biblical revelation, both general and special, did not disclose “facts” or “something” but it unveiled and disclosed God himself.15

A Brief Biblical Witness

Psalm 19 and Romans 1 demonstrate the doctrinal significance of general revelation.16 In Psalm 19, King David exclaimed, “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1).17In his commentary on this psalm, John Calvin noted:

Scripture, indeed makes known to us the time and manner of the creation; but the heavens themselves, although God should say nothing on the subject, proclaim loudly and distinctly enough that they have been fashioned by his hands: and this of itself abundantly suffices to bear testimony to men of his glory.18

Not only did the heavens and sun address the glory of God, but each also revealed truth (Psalm 19:3). Peter Craigie noted that “as mankind reflects upon the vast expanse of heaven, with its light by day and its intimation of a greater universe by night, that reflection may open up an awareness and knowledge of God, the Creator, who by his hands created by glory beyond the comprehension of the human mind.”19

The New Testament contains a biblical witness to the doctrine of general revelation as well. Thomas Oden stated that a majority of theologians in the early years of Christianity agreed with the concept of general revelation as seen from the perspective of Paul in Romans 1­­–3 as the “universal revelation in the cosmos and human nature—along with a corresponding affirmation of human suppression of this revelation.”20 Romans 1:20 states that God’s divine characteristics “have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made . . . .”21See W. E. Vine and F. F. Bruce, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1971), 168. According to Vine, the Greek word translated understood (νοέω noeō) meant “to perceive with the mind, as distinct from perception by feeling.” The emphasis on understanding with the mind seems to demonstrate the clarity and purposefulness of God within the revelation of himself vis-à-vis creation.In his explanation of this verse, Dunn expounded upon the potential influences on Paul’s observations regarding revelation and truth:

[Paul] draws principally on influential Stoic ideas: that there is an innate rapport between the divine and the human because the divine logos immanent throughout the world is immanent also in man as the power of reason . . . however, it is Paul’s more Jewish perception of this divine relation which remains primary: what is known is an act of revelation personally willed by God (v.19b) in relation to a created order (v.20); and man is recognized as a responsible agent in face of this revelation . . . .22

Another New Testament scholar, Douglas Moo, generally agrees with Dunn’s assessment that general revelation was directed by God, revealed by God, and purposed to convey the glory and power of God. However, he viewed Paul’s presentation of truth in this passage, while derived from general revelation and accessible to both Jews and Gentiles alike, was still limited in scope. In itself, general revelation cannot provide salvation to sinners.23

Historical Perspective of General Revelation

The doctrine of general revelation has undergone scrutiny, served as the topic of debate, and has been used as a foundation for other church teachings.24Originating with Thomas Aquinas, theology came to be known as the queen of the sciences. Millard Erickson noted, “Until the thirteenth century, the term science was not applied to theology. Augustine preferred the term sapientia (wisdom) to scientia (knowledge).”25 As a scholastic theologian, Aquinas focused much of his philosophical musings on the idea of truth and knowledge, which included its definition, source, and purpose. He categorized truth in two realms one lower (nature) and one higher (grace). During the medieval period the church was in a unique dilemma where paganism and secularism, threatened the status of Christianity in the eyes of the common man. Instead of relying on Scripture as the authority of what is necessary for faith and practice, Aquinas chose instead to appeal to reason for an adequate defense of Christianity.26

From this effort, Aquinas formulated the concept of natural theology, which he later refined in his Summa Theologica. As defined, natural theology “is the attempt to attain an understanding of God and his relationship with the universe by means of rational reflection, without appealing to special revelation such as the self-revelation of God in Christ and in Scripture.”27Aquinas’ conclusion concerning natural theology was essentially a misguided attempt to create an apologetic from general revelation. This effect led the Catholic Church to place “Scripture and tradition next to each other” instead of recognizing the different natures, yet identical purposes, of special and general revelation.28Aquinas’ emphasis on the capability of man’s reason led theologians to view revelation as only necessary to explain “what is above reason.”29Therefore, Aquinas’ re-tooling of general revelation rested on two assumptions: first, that nature was wholly intact and yet only partially marred by the Fall of man (Genesis 3), and secondly that people had retained an integrity of reason and perception untouched by sin.

The Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century brought more developments to the doctrine of general revelation. However, instead of the parameters of this doctrine being expanded, it was narrowed. There was general consensus among Protestant theologians that man’s reasoning abilities were tainted and skewed by sin and thus were susceptible to error.30As early at 1524 A.D., Balthasar Hubmaier, a German Anabaptist theologian, published Eighteen Dissertations in which he included a section refuting a widely accepted view of general revelation. He wrote, “All teachings that are not from God are in vain and shall be rooted up. Here perish the disciples of Aristotle, as well as the Thomists, the Scotists, Bonaventure, and Occam, and all teaching that does not proceed from God’s word.”31This bold representation of general revelation was echoed by another well-known reformer, John Calvin. Calvin’s doctrine of sin, like that of Hubmaier, was sophisticated and took “into account that sinful men corrupt the gifts of understanding and scholarship God gives.”32The rationalism of natural theology committed error in that it denied man’s “dependence in our present state of sin upon God’s past revelations of himself.”33

While the Protestant Reformation brought about many positive changes, the adverse impact of natural theology continued on through the nineteenth century. In 1870 the Catholic Church “announced that God could be known with certainty from that which had been created through the natural light of reason.”34 The modern era of theological deliberation, from the late eighteenth century through the mid-twentieth century, was characterized as having combined the man-centered philosophies of the previous century with a broad interpretation of general revelation.

Theological Implications of General Revelation

The first theological implication regarding general revelation is in the categorization of theology as a “spiritual science” as opposed to a man-centered social science. By the late nineteenth century, the definition of science began to shift from an orderly, systematic study of a particular topic to becoming almost synonymous with the discovery of truth. Writing prolifically on the topic of science and spirituality, Abraham Kuyper noted that due to man’s sinful nature, the scientific method imposed upon the study of theology would invariably lead to error. In his Principles of Sacred Theology, he wrote:

Science is entirely different from truth. If you imagine our human development without  sin, the impulse to know and understand the cosmos, and by knowledge to govern it, would have been the same; but there would have been no search after truth, simply because there could have been no danger of relying upon falsehood as a result of investigation.35

Kuyper defended an idea of truth that inherently pointed to non-truth, while modern science depicted a “thirst after knowledge” which attempted to know everything that existed.36 Commenting nearly a century later on this topic, Carl F.H. Henry noted that it is hypocritical for modern science to demand that religion fall in line when the hard and social sciences constantly re-evaluate and re-assess the veracity of previous conclusions. A consistent characteristic of modern science is that it was always “subject to ongoing revision of its judgments.”37 Erickson agreed with Henry that sciences not based on biblical revelation could indeed err. As such, general revelation can only be accurately understood when held in distinction from man-centered disciplines. Millard Erickson stated, “In an attempt to be regarded as scientific, disciplines dealing with humanity [e.g. psychology] have tended to become behavioristic, basing their method, objects, and conclusions upon what is observable, measurable, and testable, rather than on what can be known introspectively.”38

A second theological implication behind general revelation is that it is distinct from the process and idea of scientific discovery. The Greek word ἀποκάλυψις (apokalypsis) is used throughout Scripture and is most often translated as revelation, which denotes “an ‘unveiling’ and hence a disclosure.”39 Despite this connection, general revelation has been consistently subsumed under the pursuits of modern scientific exploration. Regarding the use of general revelation by the Christian counselor and psychologist, Gary Collins stated, “He [God] has revealed this truth through the Bible, God’s written Word to human beings, but he also has permitted us to discover truth [emphasis added] through experience, through research investigation, and through the insights that come through reflection, observation, and the words of books and sermons.”40 David Penley disagrees with Collins’ conclusions citing that this is an inaccurate view of general revelation. Christians cannot justify utilizing the social sciences by claiming they fall under the category of general revelation. He noted, “General revelation is not God revealing new things to us. He is revealing things about Himself that He also has revealed through special revelation in the Scriptures.”41 A correct understanding of general revelation precludes that God is infinite and man is not. To know God, He must make himself known.42

Christian Counseling: Context and Ideology

In one of the most comprehensive texts in the field of Christian Counseling, Gary Collins mentioned that man’s discoveries of “truth” in general revelation must be consistent with the Bible as revealed truth; however, he did not concede that psychological theory and methodology were based on anti-biblical presuppositions. He further concluded that counseling becomes ineffective and limited when counselors “pretend that the discoveries of psychology, neuropsychology, psychobiology, human genetics, and related fields have nothing to contribute to the understanding and solutions of problems.”43In this final section of the essay, it will be demonstrated that Christian Counseling has adopted an unbiblical concept of general revelation in order to justify attempts at integrating secular psychological models with Christian theological approaches to soul care.

A Modern Approach to Soul Care

The endeavors of philosophy and psychology have, in many ways, intersected with theology and the Christian church regarding the dealings, purposes, nature, and solution to the “basic problems of human nature.”44The early integration of philosophy with theology culminated in pastoral counseling becoming dominated by a scientific and psychological model. Modern trends in pastoral counseling have set it apart from its foundation as the biblical care of souls. In 1956, William Hulme stated, “In former days, the pastor’s counseling was oriented in pastoral theology [anchored in Scripture]; today it centers on pastoral psychology. The impetus for this new movement has come more from the laboratories of the psychological sciences than from the scholarship of theologians.”45

Among Protestants, practical theology no longer covered matters related to soul care and counseling but focused only on topics including preaching, missions, evangelism, and church government. When faced with issues that practical theology did not answer, pastors referred their congregants to the “secular experts” for help and counsel.46Carter and Narramore noted that while liberal pastors functionally abandoned theology for psychology in this area of ministry, conservative pastoral counselors, who were in the minority, were unaware of “the contributions of psychology to the understanding of personality” and therefore lagged behind their counterparts.47 Soon a small number of Christian psychologists began calling all evangelical pastors and counselors to embrace one another’s methods, both biblical and psychological, in an effort to construct a holistic integrative approach to soul care that would be acceptable to clinical psychologists and psychiatrists, efficacious to patients who were emotionally, mentally, and spiritually ill, while still remaining unapologetically Christian.48 Eric Johnson considered the 1960s and 1970s the “golden age of integration” where many Christian psychologists, mental health workers, and counselors largely favored the integration of faith and psychology. The key figures at the forefront of the Christian counseling movement held to a strong conceptual view of integration. Johnson noted that the task of what he labeled as interdisciplinary integration “ostensibly involves reflection of the propositions of modern psychology and the propositions of theology (and the Bible) in order for Christians to end up with discourse that includes both theological and psychological propositions and that is logically consistent with Christian faith.”49In an attempt to integrate, those who held to this approach divided the “revelations” of the Christian faith into two distinct categories. Special revelation involved theology as disclosed in Scripture while general revelation allowed for the study of sociology and psychology by humans in order to “discover” truth.50. Others affirmed that psychology, as a “scientific discipline,” not only had more impact on the church than any other theory, except perhaps Darwinian evolution, but that as a human-centered field of study similar to theology, psychology could “offer a great deal toward an understanding of the human race.”51 In identifying the objective of Christian counseling, Collins stated, “As a counselor, you are a change specialist. Your job is to help people deal with the changes that come into their lives and make changes that will improve their lives.”52However, this change is inconsistent to the concept of “change” as presented within the Bible.

The Search for Truth

The question of the nature of truth serves as the impetus behind the psychologically-informed Christian Counseling movement. The goals and methods of Christian Counseling are concerned with both psychological and spiritual matters. Christian counselors and psychologists hold that the Bible, however useful for spiritual matters, never claims “to be a textbook on counseling” and “never was meant to be God’s sole revelation about people-healing.”53The logical conclusion of this claim on the nature and source of truth was expressed by Stanton Jones when he suggested that Christian counselors had a duty to their clients to share any knowledge of psychological theory they had in their possession. He also seemed to suggest that to withhold such knowledge would make the counselor not only irresponsible, but even negligent.54

Two related assumptions are shared by those who engage the integrationist approach to Christian Counseling. The first assumption is that God is the source of all truth. Carter and Narramore defend this assertion by stating that all disciplines share a basic unity of truth and this unity serves as the legitimate basis for all attempts at integrating the Christian faith with professional, clinical, and theoretical psychology. The view that Christian theology shares subject matter and philosophic jurisdiction with secular psychology leads them to conclude that God is the source of the truth found in these two often opposing sources. They claimed, “If we believe that God is the source of all truth, we assume that there is no inherent conflict between the facts of psychology and the data of Scripture [emphasis mine].”55

The second assumption generally held within Christian Counseling is that man is able to know/discover all truth. According to Collins, science serves as the vehicle for studying and making sense of the natural world (via general revelation). In essence scientific methodology provides an illumination into the teachings and truths of Scripture in a way that man can grasp. A Christian psychologist must be a solid student of both general and special revelation and “continually test his scientifically derived facts against the revealed truth of the Bible.”56 Larry Crabb conceded this point by stating, “The Two-Book View (which is the implicit view behind much current thinking on integration) elevates the conclusions of empirical research to the same level of decisiveness as the conclusions of biblical study.”57

Historical Misrepresentation

Christian Counseling perpetuates the historical misrepresentation of general revelation by equating scientific studies and empirical data with God-given revelation. Concerning the use of general revelation in related literature, Deinhardt noted:

The importance and theological soundness of the stance taken on it is virtually ignored in the Christian counselling [sic] literature, in spite of the fact that it has a key role in determining what materials are to be included in theories of counselling [sic] and what methodologies will be employed in counselling [sic]. Moreover, to the extent it is mentioned, it is typically done so in a manner not representative of traditional evangelical theology. Instead, “all truth is God’s truth” is often used as a theological catch clause so-to-speak whereby one can uphold biblical authority, while in good conscience adding in whatever other “truths” one might deem worthy from other sources.58

In agreement with this assessment, Jim Owen stated, “Although ‘Christian’ psychology claims to integrate Scriptural truth with ‘discovered’ (i.e., scientific) truth, integration is not occurring; Integration is virtually impossible. ‘Christian’ psychology sets aside the historical-grammatical method of interpreting Scripture and replaces it with a hermeneutic centered on pathology.”59Jones views special revelation as an exalted gift; however, it is insufficient in providing what counselors need to fully understand human beings. Modern psychology, provided to man through general revelation, offers “legitimate and strategic” aid in helping the Christian therapist better understand human nature.60

Admitting that not all Christian Counselors and integrationists have adequately represented general revelation, Mark McMinn and Clark Campbell stated that this doctrine was “more authoritative on issues left unaddressed in the Bible” including examples given such as “constructing microprocessors or treating bacterial pneumonia.”61However, general revelation, as previously mentioned, is never referred to as an ambiguous truth that was to be discovered by “reasonable” men.62 General revelation was provided to man by God for the purpose of revealing man’s inherent sin, guilt, and need for reconciliation to His Creator. Scripture, as special revelation, brings explicit clarity to this relationship.63Henry, Revelation and the Bible: Contemporary Evangelical Thought, 19. See also, Packer, Ferguson, and Wright, New Dictionary of Theology. Pinnock stated, “The two species of revelation stand together in a complementary relationship. We should not forget that God is the source of revelation in both cases, and that two types of revelation work together to the same goal” (585).

Theological Misapplication

Collins reimagines not only the historical but the biblical definition of revelation. His model “begins with the assumption that God exists and is the source of all truth. This truth is revealed through the Bible (disclosed truth) and nature (discovered truth).”64The biblical definition of truth is re-framed by Collins and Crabb in the form of expanded empiricism. Collins noted, “I would agree with Crabb that the Bible is our primary source . . . But the Bible does not claim to be a textbook on psychology. We can and must draw from nonbiblical sources if we want to intervene to bring about maximum change through counseling.”65

In his book, Psychological Seduction, sociologist William Kirk Kilpatrick argues that the good intentions of Christian integrationists often leads to the secular overtaking the sacred. He stated, “True Christianity does not mix well with psychology. When you try to mix them, you often end up with a watered-down Christianity instead of a Christianized psychology.”66 In differentiating Christian counseling from biblical counselors, Ed Bulkley noted that the “controversy centers on the issues of authority and the source of truth.”67 As has been shown, the misapplication of general revelation in order to affirm extra-biblical sources of truth is not a new concept when the Christian counseling movement was first conceived; regardless, as a movement, this approach was widely applied.68 Years earlier, Abraham Kuyper noted that truth that is scientifically established has come to be known as universally valid. However, Scripture never presents truth as a force that depends upon corporate agreement in order to retain its validity.69


While it is a vitally important biblical doctrine, general revelation has been at the center of theological debate throughout church history. Unfortunately, this doctrine has been often misrepresented leading to error regarding the nature, source, and application of truth itself. Through this essay, I have argued that those adhering to an integrationist approach to Christian Counseling have perpetuated an incorrect understanding of general revelation in an effort to utilize both secular psychology and Christian Scripture. Ultimately, integrative counseling functionally identifies and utilizes two different types of wisdom: one found in the Bible and one found in secular psychology.70 At the same time, modern soul care practices pay lip-service to the sufficiency of Scripture while simultaneously denigrating the inherent authority of the Word of God. A proper historical and theological understanding of general revelation recognizes not only its place as subservient to special revelation, but also that revelation is not synonymous with empirical inquiry, incidental discovery, or truth-making but instead demonstrates an active and purposeful unveiling of God’s nature and plan to those who are made in His image.

<a href="">Samuel Stephens</a>
Samuel Stephens

Samuel Stephens serves as the Director of Training Center Certification at ACBC.

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Therapist found guilty of sexually assaulting Marlington student

Ed Balint The Repository
Source: Canton Rep

John Sohar, 52, of Lexington Township, reacts to a guilty verdict late Friday afternoon in his sexual battery trial in Stark County Common Pleas Court. Jurors convicted Sohar of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in his job as a school-based therapist at Marlington High in 2019.
Source: Canton Rep
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

CANTON John Sohar bowed his head in visible anguish when he learned jurors had found him guilty of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl during his job as a school-based therapist at Marlington High last year. 

A jury of seven women and five men took roughly 90 minutes to reach the verdict late Friday afternoon on a third-degree felony count of sexual battery.

The charge stemmed from sexual touching and conduct the student said occurred during multiple counseling sessions at the school office Sohar kept while employed as a counselor for an outside agency.

The girl, huddled in the back of the courtroom, and her parents shared hugs and expressed quiet emotion following the verdict in Stark County Common Pleas Court.

Judge Chryssa Hartnett scheduled Sohar’s sentencing for 11 a.m. Tuesday. The 52-year-old Lexington Township man faces up to five years in prison.

Testimony ended earlier Friday with Sohar repeatedly denying he sexually assaulted the girl or convinced her the sexual conduct was part of her therapy.

Defendant’s words

Sohar testified his frequent and sometimes two to three-hour counseling sessions and repeated text messages and phone calls with the girl were an effort to help her cope with depression and mental health issues and not hurt herself.

Sohar’s testimony, coming the day after his accuser took the witness stand, preceded closing arguments.

“My goal was always the same,” Sohar said. “To keep my clients alive.”

And under intense questioning from Stark County Assistant Prosecutor Daniel Petricini, Sohar continued his denials.

Petricini had told jurors Thursday that Sohar manipulated a “lonely teenage girl” who had become infatuated with him. 

The girl had pre-existing mental health issues and a strained relationship with her mother prior to enrolling in therapy, he said during closing arguments Friday.

Petricini asked Sohar if it was proper for a therapist to exchange more than 300 text messages over the course of three days with a student client outside of their regular therapy sessions.

The defendant admitted he communicated with the girl “above and beyond” what he did with other patients.

Closing arguments

Following Sohar’s denials, the prosecution and defense made impassioned arguments to jurors.

Citing the earlier testimony of Carrie Schnirring, a mental health professional with Lighthouse Family Center, Petricini said the girl’s testimony was convincing because of details unique to the sexual abuse from Sohar.

Petricini called Schnirring as a witness in making pyschological asessments of children who make allegations of sex abuse. 

He said the details and sequence of events were consistently told by the girl multiple times and were not “the things you would expect from someone making up a story.”

Schnirring testified Friday that following multiple sessions with the girl, she found her account to be credible.

Petricini said that during her testimony on Thursday the girl sometimes took deep breaths, closed her eyes and paused to recall details of the sex abuse as if she was reliving it in her mind.

Petricini said the girl’s testimony, phone call and text records and Schnirring’s testimony combined to give jurors ample evidence to convict.

Defense attorney George Urban, however, told jurors Sohar was a professional, dedicated and caring therapist who didn’t stop trying to help the girl when regular therapy sessions were over.

Urban emphasized the student had twice become upset when Sohar stopped being her therapist, referring to it as “detachment.”

And although the prosecution cited records of more than 300 text messages between the student and Sohar over the course of a few days, Urban said that only about 10 or 12 texts were produced at trial through cellphone screen photos the mother had taken.

“He’s no groomer,” Urban said of Sohar. “He’s trying to help this young girl. As repayment for that — here we are.”

Prosecution questioning

Sohar was not an employee of the Marlington district; at the time of the allegations in the fall of 2019, he was an employee of Child & Adolescent Behavioral Health, also referred to during testimony as Child & Adolescent Services.

Asked by Urban about the amount of time he spent texting and talking on the phone with the student outside of scheduled counseling sessions, Sohar responded: “It’s difficult to put a timeline on trying to save someone’s life.”

During testimony, he usually spoke in a firm, direct voice but displayed visible emotion when telling his attorney that three of his clients over the years had committed suicide.

In October 2019, the girl wrote a 12-page letter in which she described Sohar’s sexual misconduct, prompting an investigation by the Stark County Sheriff’s Office.

The girl had given the letter to Sohar at school in front of another counselor, according to testimony. Petricini told the defendant that Sohar had turned over the letter only because the school employee inquired about it.

Sohar denied that was the case.

Urban said in the letter the girl sought revenge because she didn’t want Sohar to stop being her counselor permanently. “She wanted to zing Mr. Sohar,” he said in closing arguments. “This was her way.”

Petricini said that Schnirring found the letter not to be written by someone seeking revenge.

“She blames herself,” the assistant prosecutor said, referring to the writings in the pages of her school notebook as a love letter from a girl infatuated with the adult counselor. “This is a cry for help,” he said.

Petricini told jurors Sohar clearly groomed the girl for his own sexual gratification, playing on her vulnerabilities, gaining her trust and pitting the teenager and mother against one another.

He cited the girl’s testimony of how Sohar began by rubbing her shoulders during a therapy session before fondling and sexually assaulting her at later appointments.

More testimony

Under direct questioning, Sohar described the girl’s letter as “the ramblings of someone with some serious mental health issues.”

He also said he still wanted the girl to receive the mental health help she needed.

The student also testified on Thursday that she had seen two tattoos on Sohar’s body during therapy, a cross on his chest and song lyrics on his stomach area.

The defendant said on Friday that his tattoos would have been known to some of his clients, including high school students.

Petricini countered that the defendant’s explanation was not believable, calling it “totally inappropriate to talk about your body tattoos to relate to your teenage clients.”

Also during his testimony Friday, when explaining his educational background and employment history in counseling, Sohar noted that in addition to having a degree in pastoral counseling, he’s a former councilman and mayor of the village of Marshallville in Wayne County.

Reach Ed at 330-580-8315 and

On Twitter @ebaintREP

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McKinsey to pay $573 million to settle claims over opioid crisis role: source

FEBRUARY 3, 20218:33 PM
By Nate Raymond
Source: Reuters

(Reuters) – Consulting firm McKinsey & Co has agreed to pay at least $573 million to resolve claims by 40-plus U.S. states related to its role in the opioid epidemic and advice it gave to OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, according to a person familiar with the matter.Slideshow ( 2 images )

The settlement is with 43 states, the District of Columbia and three territories, the person said on Wednesday. Several attorneys general said they planned announcements on the opioid epidemic on Thursday.

They included Vermont’s attorney general, T.J. Donovan, whose office said it would announce its participation in the first multi-state opioid settlement “to result in substantial payment to the states to address the epidemic.”

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said he had reached a separate, $13 million settlement with McKinsey that was on top of the reported multi-state agreement.

McKinsey did not respond to requests for comment.

McKinsey previously came under scrutiny for its role advising Purdue Pharma and the wealth Sackler family that owns the drugmaker.

A lawsuit by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey alleged McKinsey advised the Sacklers on how to “turbocharge” opioid sales.

Purdue filed for bankruptcy in 2019 as part of a proposed settlement it valued at $10 billion to resolve lawsuits alleging its painkiller marketing helped fuel the epidemic.

More than 3,200 lawsuits are pending, seeking to hold drug makers, distributors and pharmacies responsible for an opioid addiction epidemic that according to U.S. government data resulted in 450,000 overdose deaths from 1999 to 2018.

The lawsuits accuse drugmakers of deceptively marketing opioids and distributors of ignoring red flags indicating the prescription painkillers were being diverted for improper uses. They deny wrongdoing.

The states and local governments have been also in negotiations for settlements with drug distributors Cardinal Health Inc, McKesson Corp and Amerisourcebergen Corp and drugmaker Johnson & Johnson.

Reporting by Nate Raymond, Rama Venkat and Eric Beech; Editing by Leslie Adler and Raju Gopalakrishnan

Indeed we have heard many stories of patients being mis-prescribed and over-prescribed leading to poor health outcomes and in this case a crisis of addiction and the surrounding poor health outcomes that ensue often because of health care fraud. Do you know someone struggling with an addition? How did they become addicted? What are your perceptions and why? Would you recognize health care fraud if you saw it?

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Michigan tackles compulsory microchip implants for employees with new bill

Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

RFID implants for workers are not an issue now, but the state wants to get ahead on what could become a huge privacy problem in the future.

Charlie Osborne

By Charlie Osborne for Zero Day 
June 29, 2020 — 11:09 GMT (04:09 PDT) | Topic: Innovation
Source: ZD Net
Featured Photo Source: Unsplash, Owen Beard

The state of Michigan has introduced a bill designed to prevent employers from forcing their staff to accept microchip implants.

It might seem that the prospect of a company demanding that workers accept a tracking chip under the skin is something more suited to an episode of Black Mirror than our current reality, but the concern that this will become a common scenario in future workplaces is prevalent enough that the Michigan House is aiming to proactively stop such practices from gaining a foothold. 

Known as biohacking, the merge of technology and human physiology for the sake of augmentation or improvement has grown as a movement in recent years. 

While the term can apply to nothing more than safe ways to improve your physical or mental wellbeing, in more extreme scenarios, it can also be used to describe implants that monitor your vitals, chemical injections, advanced hearing aids, and bionic eye implants. 

In relation to biohacks, Tesla founder Elon Musk has said in the past that the human race needs to become cyborgs in order to enhance our natural capabilities and remain relevant in the future world of AI.

However, on the worker’s front, the adoption of RFID-based chips able to track and monitor employees — and their productivity — is a more present concern. 

How do you know if you’ve been hacked? Watch this live demonstration where we’ll hack into a network and you’ll see the action firsthand. You’ll learn: The 5 phases of an attack How to recognize IOCs (indicators of compromise) Red team/Blue team p…Videos provided by ITPro.TV

As reported by ABC News, the bill, accepted Wednesday and due to head to the State Senate to be considered and potentially passed into law, prevents employers from mandating that staff must accept a microchip implant. 

These chips, roughly the size of a grain of rice, are based on radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology and once inserted in the skin between a thumb and forefinger, can replace mobile applications and services we commonly use today. In the workplace, this could apply to ID checks, timecards, security checks, payments, and building access control. 

However, there is concern that moving these applications from device to skin could compromise individual rights to privacy — in or out of the office. 

The “Microchip Protection Act,” registered as House Bill 5672, was sponsored by Rep. Bronna Kahle who says that it is important for “Michigan job providers [to] balance the interests of the company with their employees’ expectations of privacy.”

“Microchipping has been brought up in many conversations as companies across the country are exploring cost-effective ways to increase workplace efficiency,” Kahle commented. “While these miniature devices are on the rise, so are the calls of workers to have their privacy protected.”

The trend is not widespread yet, but according to Kahle, many companies may end up exploring the possibilities of implants in the near future.

A business in Wisconsin, 32M, previously made the headlines for holding a “chip party” to implant roughly half of its workers with RFID chips for use in opening doors, purchasing food at the workplace cafeteria, and to log into computers. 

The firm’s microchipping party was voluntary. This does not mean, however, that consent would always be required by companies in the future unless legally enforced. 

“Despite this type of technology not quite making its way into our state yet, I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes a standard business practice statewide within the next few years,” Kahle commented. “We should absolutely take every step possible to get ahead of these devices.”

Ask the average person and they are aware of chip implants but know little about them and what is unfolding in this industry and sector. Companies are already pushing employees to get chips and some legislators have already begun to enforce some protections. Elon Musk, the co-founder of Nueralink has strongly encouraged the regulation of such industries warning about the dangerous of such technology in the wrong hands. How do patients protect themselves against doctor retaliation (a documented occurrence), hackers and general criminals who make use of these technologies such as pedophiles? Should people be allowed to use such technologies without proactive legislation? What happens when they do?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

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Temperature Check & Your Health Care Information

Shidonna Johnson Garden and Cook

Featured Image Source: Unsplash, Mufid Majnun 

In an era where companies such as Facebook and Cambridge Analytica was involved in one of the largest privacy and data breaches of Facebook members and hospitals are placing patient information on the internet in unprecedented amounts and ways giving access to patient information typically without their awareness of: who and how much access people have to their medical information. And with organizations like Google seeking to monetize this information. Within this context, one must ask, where has privacy gone in this rising surveillance world.

In the face of the pandemic we struggled as a country to grapple with the pandemic and to move past it as soon as possible. You have likely had your temperature checked at the unlikeliest of places recently from dealerships to beauty supply stores as companies sought to protect their employees and their customers from infection of the COVID 19 virus. In addition to a temperature check you likely have answered a series of questions and health information was collected about you. These companies and organizations are not health professionals and do not readily have the same protections that health care professionals had or used to have in the post freedom of information world.

So where does your information go? Who sees it? How is it protected? How does HIPPA apply? How should the government respond? Where is your health care information? Who can see your health care information and how are they using it? And are you okay with that?

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States are cracking down on companies microchipping their employees — how common is it?

Published: Feb. 4, 2020 at 9:33 a.m. ET
Source: Market Watch 
By Andrew Keshner

Some businesses have said they let employees implant microchips to get media attention

A pending Indiana bill wants to ensure no one is ever forced to have an implanted microchip. There are already 11 similar laws, by one count. MARKETWATCH PHOTO ILLUSTRATION/ISTOCKPHOTO
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Indiana is a step closer to forbidding companies from forcing workers to implant microchips in their bodies, following the state House of Representatives’ unanimous passage of a bill last week that could make it the 12th state with such a law.

Is this just a bill to protect against the stuff of science fiction?

Not at all, say experts on workplace law and technology, who worry the rice-sized microchips can open up massive questions about worker privacy and company surveillance.

“I would definitely not call it far-fetched,” said Ifeoma Ajunwa, a Cornell University labor and employment law professor focused on the ethical use of workplace technology. It’s been three years since workers at one Wisconsin company voluntarily had microchips inserted in their hands, and it’s likely there are “more companies out there, but they are probably not advertising it,” Ajunwa said.

In the same way certain smartphone users arrange to get work emails on their personal phone, some chipped workers use their chip at the office so they can, for example, open up doors without company badges or key fobs.

In some cases, it’s tech-savvy workers who bring the chips to their bosses’ attention, said Amal Graafstra, CEO of Dangerous Things, a Seattle, Wash.-based implantable chip manufacturer and distributor, and VivoKey Technologies, a chip manufacturer

Those workers — typically on the IT side of a business — get an implant for personal use. The microchip is typically inserted between the thumb and index finger. The chips Graafstra’s company sells start around $50, plus an optional $50 for insertion with an affiliated doctor or piercing expert.

In the same way certain smartphone users arrange to get work emails on their personal phone, Graafstra said some chipped customers use their chip at work so they can, for example, open up doors without company badges or key fobs. In Sweden, people have been using microchips to store their emergency contact information, and pay for train rides and gym memberships.

Many pro-port how Artificial Intelligence, Human and Computer interfacing can improve ones mental capabilities and ability to keep up with Robots and Artificial Intelligence. Could this not be achieved naturally and since when did the creator have to keep up with the creation.

Graafstra thinks the implanted chips could potentially eliminate all sorts of lost productivity from lost key badges, but he says many of the current orders could be motivated by something else.

“I would say it’s probably out of the cool factor,” he said. A handful of businesses told Graafstra they were implanting the chips for media attention, he added. “There’s definitely a marketing angle for some.”

The use of microchips on employees doesn’t appear to be spreading fast in corporate America, as far as he can tell. His companies received approximately 100 orders for various amounts of chips from American businesses between 2015 and 2018. For context, his chip manufacturing company Dangerous Things has sold between 150,000 and 200,000 chips domestically and abroad, mostly to individuals, since it launched in 2013.

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“I wouldn’t say there are businesses going hog wild with chip implants,” he said.

Seven states have banned mandatory microchipping of humans

Nonetheless, lawmakers in Indiana and other states stand ready to legislate on the issue.

‘Employers cannot go to employees and say ‘We’re doing away with name badges and microchipping you all.’— — Indiana state Representative Alan Morrison

“What we’re trying to say is employers cannot go to employees and say, ‘We’re doing away with name badges and microchipping you all,’” the Indiana bill’s author, Rep. Alan Morrison, a Republican, told MarketWatch a week after the 96-0 vote.

Employers cannot condition a job offer on chip insertion and if workers lose their job for allegedly refusing to implant one, the bill lets them sue for damages.

Morrison said he was not aware of any companies in Indiana that have attempted to microchip employees. The only instance he knew of was the Wisconsin-based tech company Three Square Market, where approximately 50 workers voluntarily had chips inserted in 2017. (The company did not respond to a request for comment, but has previously said it has “zero interest in tracking anyone.”)

If the bill passes, Indiana would join four other states that outlaw mandatory microchipping for employees, said Pam Greenberg, a researcher on privacy and technology policy issues at the National Conference of State Legislatures, a resource organization for state governments.

Seven other states ban mandatory microchipping for any human, Greenberg said. Pending bills in Iowa and New Jersey would ban the forced microchipping of workers and another in Tennessee would ban mandatory microchipping for anyone.

Wisconsin started the trend, enacting its law against forced microchiping in 2006. That’s two years after the FDA approved implantable chips for humans, and long since veterinarians started using them on animals to help lost pets find their way home.

Yet even as more lawmakers worry about implantable devices, people keep getting more enmeshed in technology — and possibly Big Tech surveillance — without any sort of surgically inserted chip. Smartphones now unlock with a face scan or a thumbprint, and consumers can carry out financial transactions with biometric mobile wallets. Workers are also more accepting, or at least more aware, of the possibility their company is monitoring their moves.

Morrison acknowledges companies already have ways to track workers and there are no state laws laying ground rules on the issue. But there’s a difference with microchips, he said. “You can’t ever walk away from that. The company knows where you are 24/7.”

Graafstra, the owner of the chip companies, says it’s not that cut and dry. If a chip opens a simple device — like a door lock — there’s no data created or stored, he said. But if a person uses it with devices that create and store data, like a security system backed by cloud computing, they are giving up more information about themselves.

“It really depends exactly on how you are using it and what you are using it for,” he said. There’s a parallel with the trade-off between the anonymity of cash and the ease of a credit card, Graafstra added. “If you choose a credit card over cash, you’re telling lot of people, a lot of companies, where you were and what you were spending on one day.”

Nevada wanted to ban voluntary microchipping at one point

Ajunwa, the Cornell professor, says laws banning workers’ forced microchipping are necessary, but there’s a weak spot.

The overwhelming majority of American workers are hired presumably “at will,” which means they can be fired any reason — except for factors including pregnancy, race and gender.

What if subtle hints about job security influence someone into having a microchip? ‘Then consent is not really meaningful in that case.’— — Ifeoma Ajunwa, a Cornell University labor and employment law professor

Suppose a worker gets subtle hints they’re not a part of the team and perhaps putting their job on the line if they don’t have a microchip, Ajunwa said. “Then consent is not really meaningful in that case.”

Graafstra said workers would get the protections they needed under the various microchipping laws.

In fact, he thinks state legislators can sometimes go too far. A Nevada bill at one point would have banned voluntary microchipping, but it was amended and passed last year to only apply for involuntary implants.

Graafstra — a man with four chips implanted in his left hand and two in his right hand — understands when people take a dim view of microchipping. “I’d say you’re acting like regular human who’s skeptical of something they are unaware of. … With any technological change, there’s always a ‘this is crazy’ crowd.”

Morrison, the Indiana lawmaker, wants to draw a boundary now regardless of what happens with microchipping in the future.

“Sometimes it’s a slow drip into the marketplace,” Morrison said. “I think it’s good to be out in front on this thing.” State senators could vote on the bill by February, he said.

Elon Musk is on the verge of a brain chip. Indeed unethical experiments on brain chips are likely well on the way without the participants authorization or the public’s awareness. Where you aware that companies were asking employees to get chimp implants? Why? Would you work for a company that asked you to get a chip implant? How voluntary do you think it was for these employees who got chip implants? What are the health, privacy, life and human implications of getting a chip implant?

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Fact check: Americans won’t have microchips implanted by end of 2020

The claim: All Americans will receive a microchip implant by the end of the year

Source: USA Today

A viral article from the website My Healthy Life Guru claims that all Americans will receive a microchip implant by the end of the year.

“Some people are concerned that the federal government will be very influential with this revolutionized RFID Microchip,” the article states. “They could see every move we make.”

The article also asserts, “Your food and money will be also managed with these microchips.”

It attributes the claim in part to NBC News, and links to a two-minute clip on YouTube of a technology report on “Life in the U.S. in Ten Years Time” from May 2007.

“The year is 2017,” intones reporter Tom Costello. “You’re rushed to a hospital unconscious with no ID or medical history. But thanks to a microchip under your skin it’s all there. Science fiction 20 years ago but a biometric reality today.”

In fact, 2017 has come and gone — and this “biometric reality” has yet to occur. Is it imminent in 2020?

The reality of microchips in 2020

Radio-frequency identification technology — or RFID — has been commercially available in various forms since the 1970s. It refers to a wireless system of tags and readers that communicate via radio waves.

Readers have one or more antenna that emits radio waves and receives signals back from tags in the vicinity, per the Food and Drug Administration. The tags may contain information ranging from one serial number to several pages of data.

The technology appears throughout daily life, including in car keys, employee identification, medical billing, highway toll tags and security access cards, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Chris Diorio, the CEO of Impinj, the world’s leading supplier of RAIN RFID, told USA TODAY that some of the fear and confusion about RFID technology stems from the fact that “saying RFID is about as broad as saying radio.”Get the Checking the Facts newsletter in your inbox.

Fact or fiction? Find out the truth about news stories you see online.Delivery: Mon – FriYour Email

Various types of microchips with specific capabilities are suited for different purposes. 

RAIN RFID allows about 1,000 item tags to be read per second at a 30-foot range, Diorio explained. That’s why it is primarily associated “with traceability of items through the supply chain,” where it improves retailers’ ability to quickly and accurately inventory their products.

That’s different from the type of near-field communication RFID that’s in an iPhone, for example, and allows monetary transactions with a single tap at a very close range — the technology behind Apple Pay.

And those are both different from the low-frequency RFID that is used for animal identification purposes, including for livestock and pets.

A hand, wearing a medical glove, holds several RFID tags.
Source: USA Today
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Implantation in humans remains uncommon, unpopular

In 1998, Kevin Warwick, a British scientist known as “Captain Cyborg,” became the first human to receive a microchip implant, according to The Atlantic.

Two decades later, though, the technology is still far from common.

In 2018, its most widespread use was in tech-forward Sweden, where an estimated 4,000 citizens use microchips implanted in their hands to store emergency contacts and enable easy access to homes, offices and gyms, according to NPR.

There are also no reported instances of involuntary microchip implantation.

“It’s just never hide-able,” Diorio said. Microchips implanted in pets are the size of a pill capsule, and that’s “about as small as you can get it.”

Even if chips were implanted, Diorio said there’s little reason to fear covert tracking, since the read-range of RFID in humans is limited by the amount of salt water in our bodies. (Radio signals die rapidly in water.)

“The idea of any kind of surreptitious implantation into a human is not really possible, and if you could get something, the ability to read it would be severely constrained,” Diorio said.

For that same reason, he said the microchips in pets are “really hard” to read. They are implanted in the neck, and the reader has to come “right on the neck” to extract any information from the chip, Diorio explained. 

It’s certainly invasive enough that a human would notice it. 

There’s also already been pushback against chipping in the United States.

Indiana, Nevada, Arkansas, Missouri, and Montana prohibit employers from requiring chip implants, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as reported in State Net Capitol Journal. Laws passed in California, Maryland, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Utah prohibit the required implantation of a microchip in any person, not just employees.

Heightened suspicions in recent months

This is not the first time misinformation about microchips and RFID has proliferated online in the past few months — from claims that the federal governmentBill Gates, and schools will use a vaccine for COVID-19 as a vehicle for microchips, to fears about the presence of RFID chips in bras and tires.

Fact check:Yes, there’s a national coin shortage. Here’s why

Recent posts questioning the legitimacy of the very real national coin shortage even link it to the powers that be “wanting us to have a chip in our hand.”

Fact check:A cashless society isn’t imminent and wouldn’t mean total end of cash.

Elise Wang, a lecturer at Duke University and an expert on conspiracy theories, told USA TODAY that she believes microchip conspiracies are trending because they are “far more manageable than the real fears we have right now, like coronavirus and our economy collapsing.”

“The idea of fear of a specific, small device being implanted in you — that feels almost manageable. It’s physical, it could be removed,” she said. “We can grasp that actually better than we can grasp the effect that this disease is going to have on us or the way the economy is going to go from here.”

Fact check:Though nasal test for COVID-19 swabs deep into the nose, nothing is implanted

Fear of tracking is also common, though unfounded, when it comes to RFID.

“It’s a long-standing trope that people think they’re being spied on, followed, traced,” Joseph Uscinski, a political science professor at the University of Miami who studies conspiracy theories, told USA TODAY.

Most microchips are also not constantly transmitting information and do not perform real-time “tracking.”

Take the example of the bras that contain microchips on their tags or care labels, which viral posts claimed were linked to sex trafficking. 

Fact check:Victoria’s Secret’s RFID tags do not track customers

“The only time you can read it is when you have a reader nearby that can read the tag,” Diorio explained. Readers must have antennae, which he said are “reasonably sized” — at least big enough that within a 10-foot read range, they’d be easy to spot, preventing surreptitious scanning.

Even if a bra’s tag was scanned, though, the only information likely to be available would be a product code — not personal information.

Speculative reports on RFID have also fueled conspiracy theories

Rob Brotherton, who wrote a book on conspiracy theories, told USA TODAY that suspicions about microchips have also been fueled by reports about potential future capabilities of the technology.

For example, in 2017, USA TODAY wrote “You will get chipped — eventually.” In 2018, The Atlantic also published the headline “Why You’re Probably Getting a Microchip Implant Someday.”

Fact check:No, schools will not require a COVID-19 vaccine, with RFID chip, for students

“If you’re inclined to suspect that someone might want to track you using some kind of secretive technology and might use the current pandemic as cover to instigate their plan, you don’t exactly have to look too hard to find stories in reputable news sources — not some shady fake news sites — that seem to lend an element of plausibility to your hunch,” Brotherton wrote in an email.

Fact check:Feds buy syringes that may have RFID chips, but no evidence COVID-19 vaccination required

Neither USA TODAY nor The Atlantic suggested that implantation would occur without consent, though, and USA TODAY noted that RFID technology lacks GPS capabilities at this time.

The claims can also be difficult to fact-check because they often point to the future — which is unknown.

“We can’t really say that it’s false because the future hasn’t happened and we don’t know,” Uscinski said. “It may very well happen in the future that we may get chipped, but that doesn’t mean it would be part of some malevolent plot or have anything to do with COVID or Bill Gates or anything like that.”

Why do you think chip implants are unpopular? Would you get one? What are the health, privacy and human concerns regarding chip implants? Why? Why not? Can chips be protected completely from hacking? How are people protected from criminals and criminal activity via chip implants? How should the industry be regulated? Do you know how a chip works? What should you and do you want to know?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

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Dawn of the bionic age: Body hackers let chips get under their skin

By Tim Johnson
AUGUST 03, 2017 06:16 PM, UPDATED AUGUST 04, 2017 04:52 AM
Source: McClatchy

If you’re prone to forgetting your card key for the office or your computer password, here’s a solution: Get a microchip implanted in your hand.

That’s what Brian McEvoy has done multiple times. He’s got five implants, mostly for functional reasons but one just for fun.

“There’s a glow-in-the-dark implant on the back of my right hand,” said McEvoy, a 36-year-old electrical engineer from St. Paul, Minnesota.

For years, owners have implanted microchips in their pets to recover them if they go astray. Farmers use them in cattle. Now, humans are experimenting with subdermal microchips, which are the size of a large grain of rice, to make modern life easier.

Ever so slowly, a trend that began in the hacker community is moving toward the mainstream. A Wisconsin firm that specializes in designing company break rooms, Three Square Market, announced last month that it was offering implanted chips to all its employees.

The chips will allow employees to “make purchases in the company’s break room market, open doors, log in to computers, use copy machines, among other things,” it said in a statement.

Many hackers gathered here for a recent global hacker conference, DefCon 2017, view implants as a way to interact seamlessly with a technological world and to enhance human senses. They await the day when microchips give humans the ability for echolocation, and to see infrared and ultraviolet light, enhance the capacity to smell, sense direction, even feel vibrations that reveal movement in the stock market.

It is a sharp departure from the use of implants, like pacemakers and insulin pumps, to restore function lost through impairment or ill health.

Tim Cannon, a software engineer who co-founded a company that sells implantable chips, Grindhouse Wetware, said some critics believe tinkering with the body’s capabilities is improper, even unethical.

“It tends to be viewed as something like hubris,” Cannon said.

But he doesn’t care. The coming years will be “about breaking through that barrier and saying it’s okay to want to be more than what biology offered you,” he said.

Dozens of hackers lined up on a recent night at the DefCon conference to have microchips installed in the fleshy web between thumb and index finger of their hands.

The biohackers call themselves “grinders,” a term taken from a comic book by Warren Ellis. The technology they implant is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Most opted for a small radio frequency identification (RFID) or a Near Field Communication (NFC) chip suitable for subdermal use.

“This is my train ticket,” said an Australian hacker who goes by the name Meow-Ludo Meow-Meow, pointing to a spot on his hand where a chip containing a rechargeable rail token was implanted. He said he just swipes his hand, rather than a ticket, over a rail sensor.

Implantable chips will soon carry out the functions of credit cards and keys, he said.

“It can emulate every card in your wallet, so you can chuck your wallet away,” he said.

Some consumers fear that an implanted microchip will allow greater government surveillance, and only advances that “are spectacular can overcome that queasiness,” he said.

“If Johnny Depp puts one of these in his hand, they’ll be everywhere,” he added.

The public is certainly not there yet. A 2016 survey by the Pew Research Center found that seven in 10 Americans were “somewhat” or “very” worried about implanting a computer chip in the brain to improve concentration and the processing of information. The more religious the respondent, the less likely they were to favor such an implant, it found.

Cannon said the melding of technology and physiology can improve human experience.

“We need to stop pretending that we are perfect and the pinnacle of evolution,” he said.

Implanting a chip can cause discomfort.

“There will be some blood, some pain,” said Doug Copeland, who works with one of the handful of companies that offer implants, Dangerous Things, based in Seattle, as he implanted a chip in a client’s hand.

“A lot of people frown on this kind of thing but it’s really not anything much different than getting a body piercing or a tattoo,” said a California man, giving his name only as Keith.

Others asked if the implanted chips could allow government surveillance (they contain no GPS, so no), or cause problems if a patient undergoes an MRI test in a hospital (maybe not advisable).

Copeland said he’d been through airport checkpoints numerous times and never been flagged: “Unless you show it to them, they don’t know it’s there. And if you show it to them, they say, ‘What the hell?’”

Some high-profile proponents of implants include Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla cars and SpaceX, who said last year that humans must reach greater symbiosis with computers in order to stay relevant in a world of artificial intelligence.

But the trend toward implants carries risks, warned Walter Glannon, a Yale-trained bioethicist who teaches at the University of Calgary, Canada. Studies have not yet determined “whether implants are safe,” he said. Even if safe, a social minefield may lay ahead.

“They would raise ethical questions about fairness and unequal access to devices that could give some people a competitive advantage over others. Unlike the drugs used for cognitive enhancement, implants would not be so accessible over the internet and would not be cheap. Many people would not be able to afford them,” Glannon said.

“This could be an unfair advantage.”

The threat that microchips could be hacked, possibly monkeying with people’s cognition or perception, is also a latent threat, he added.

For now, though, experimenters like McEvoy see no harm in what they do. The shielded tiny tube with a phosphorescent layer that he had implanted on the back of his hand is just for fun. It works like the dial of a watch that glows in the dark.

“There is no battery or switch so it is continuously bright. It’s possible to see in a dark room and I have shown it to people while at bonfire parties,” McEvoy said.

Manufacturers say implantable chips with greater memory and more “out of the box” functionality – such as starting a car, or measuring body functions such as blood sugar and oxygen levels – may be in the offing soon.

Eventually, said Meow-Meow, an implant could save lives.

“It can call an ambulance for you before you have a heart attack,” he said.

Tim Johnson: 202-383-6028@timjohnson4

Many say the chip is coming? It remains very unpopular and many people warn there are any things to b concerned about regarding chips. What are your concerns? Would you get a chip? Why or why not?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

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It’s essential to understand why some health care workers are putting off vaccination

Early data on why health care workers are delaying the Covid-19 vaccine could help us end the pandemic sooner.
By Katherine Harmon Courage  
Jan 11, 2021, 5:40pm EST
Source: Vox

Physician heal thyself comes from the Bible. Specifically, it can be found in Luke 4:23 where Jesus quotes a common Jewish phrase of the time, saying, “Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal thyself’.” (KJV).

an environmental services provider cleans the room of an ICU Covid-19 patient
A housekeeper cleans and sanitizes the room of a COVID-19 patient in ICU at Providence St. Mary Medical Center amid a surge in Covid-19 patients in Southern California on December 23, 2020 in Apple Valley, California. So far, about 53 percent of health care workers have gotten the vaccine when it was offered to them, according to a December survey.
Source: Vox
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Some hospitals around the country are reporting that 40 percent or more of their health care workers who could be getting a Covid-19 vaccine are not immediately signing up for it. Other health facilities have had so many extra doses from employees who declined the vaccine that people outside the first priority group — including a sheriff’s deputy and a Disney employee — have ended up getting shots.

It’s a troubling development, especially since health care workers are at higher risk of contracting the virus and are essential in our efforts to treat record numbers of Covid-19 patients. Some public health experts also hoped this group would be relatively easy to vaccinate— and could help pave the way for broader vaccine acceptance.

“I am definitely concerned that health care workers are electing to wait to get vaccinated,” Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a briefing last week. “We want them not only to protect themselves, but we also want them to be educating their patients so that everyone across the United States understands that these vaccines are available, that they have a good safety profile, that they are working.”

December survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found health care workers overall were about as likely to be hesitant about getting the vaccine as the general population (29 percent and 27 percent, respectively), with these respondents saying they would probably not or definitely not get the vaccine.

Another December survey of workers in the Yale Medicine and Yale New Haven Health systems described in a commentary in NEJM Catalyst found that of the 3,500-plus respondents, 85 percent said they would be “extremely likely” or “somewhat likely” to get a Covid-19 vaccine. But so far, about 53 percent of their workers have gotten the vaccine when it was offered to them.

Understanding what’s holding this group back could help us improve vaccine uptake in the wider population later. What’s clear is that we will need the vast majority of people in the US to get vaccinated against Covid-19 in order to stop the pandemic.

But we also have to be careful. Using the wrong language or approachto encourage vaccination could backfire, increasing hesitancy overall, says Alison Buttenheim, a faculty member at Penn Nursing and the Perelman School of Medicine, and scientific director for the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics. “If we go about it in the wrong way, we could miss the window and blow it,” she says.

Here’s what we know about vaccine hesitancy among health care workers — and what we can learn from it.

3 big reasons health care workers are putting off the vaccines

In addition to preventing infections, serious illness, and even death, vaccinating health care workers first provides an opportunity to gather a wealth of information we won’t get later fromthe general public. That’s because health care providers have the data not only on how many people were offered and got the vaccine, but also on their demographics.

It’s a diverse group: People working in health systems include not just nurses and doctors, but also those who move patients, work in food service, serve in administrative roles, and keep facilities clean and operational. And the people in these many roles span ages, races and ethnicities, educational attainment, income levels, and many other categories.

“In the United States, it’s our best shot at really understanding vaccine hesitancy and the populations we need to be considering for getting the most vaccine coverage,” says Whitney Robinson, an epidemiologist at the Gillings School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina.

From very early trends, some key lessons about why some health care workers are putting off the vaccine are already emerging.

1) Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy may not be the same as other vaccine hesitancy

The experts we spoke with noted that most of the health care workers who are reluctant to get the Covid-19 vaccine immediately are not necessarily refusing it indefinitely. Many nurses, Buttenheim says, “are in a wait-and-see mode: ‘I wouldn’t mind if a few more million people got it before I did.’” Despite robust safety and efficacy data, they want to see more real-world proof first.

That’s a very different stance from people who refuse — or refuse for their children — vaccines that have been around and proven safe for decades. This means “you can’t necessarily just apply what we know about vaccine hesitancy for childhood vaccines and other vaccines,” Robinson says.

Why the Covid-19 vaccines may feel different from other routine shots

As the Yale study found, among those 15 percent of workers who said they were less likely to get a Covid-19 vaccine now, many wanted a year — or at least six months — of follow-up data on recipients. About 11 percent of these reluctant people said that nothing would make them comfortable getting it; and fewer than 1 percent said they were “anti-vaccine” overall. Still, as Vice reports in a new feature, health care workers are vulnerable to both believing and disseminating the Covid-19 vaccine misinformation circulating via social media.

“Accounts with names like The Holistic Nurse are proclaiming that they won’t get vaccinated, and strongly implying their followers should do the same,” Vice’s Shayla Love and Anna Merlan write. “It’s a uniquely risky situation, where people claiming medical expertise are working to undermine trust in a vaccine, just as it becomes clear that a majority of the population worldwide will need to get it in order to keep us all safe.”

2) Covid-19 hesitancy among health care workers likely is linked to education

Of the 15 percent of adults in the Kaiser survey who said they would “definitely not” get a Covid-19 vaccine, more than half of those (53 percent) had not received education beyond high school. On the flip side, those who reported they would get the vaccine “as soon as possible” were most likely to have at least a college degree.

These patterns track with reports from health systems so far. For example, groups getting the vaccine at higher rates also are those most likely to have among the highest education.Brita Roy, of the Yale School of Medicine, where she is also director of population health and co-author of the Yale NEJM Catalyst study, notes that about 90 percent of medical residents have chosen to get the vaccine right away, compared with about 20 to 25 percent so far for those working in environmental services, food service, and transportation (who are likely to have lower overall education attainment).

Other striking demographic patterns have emerged in general population surveys, including that 35 percent of rural residents and Black respondents are hesitant about getting the Covid-19 vaccine. Tracking similar patterns in health care workers could help figure out how to bestaddress concerns about getting vaccinated.

3) There are historical reasons for health care workers of color to be skeptical about getting an early health intervention

About 40 percent of health care workers in the US are people of color. A deep history of institutionalized medical racism means that people of color have frequently been subjects of unethical experiments in the US, often sowing justified mistrust in the medical establishment. Unfortunately, due also to centuries of systemic racism, many of these groups have also been among those hardest hit by the pandemic.

Covid-19’s stunningly unequal death toll in America, in one chart

“I want these populations that have been burdened so badly with Covid-19 to be prioritized” for the vaccine, Robinson says. But, she acknowledges that even that ethos could make people suspect. “That’s so unusual with how health care usually operates in the United States, people might have pause,” she says.

And while some workers who haven’t gotten a vaccine yet might be prompted to sign up through simple reminders or other behavioral nudges, overcoming mistrust due to systemic racism, “this is not a nudgeable problem,” Buttenheim says. “That set of concerns and history isn’t going to be solved by a ‘mythbusters’ fact sheet or another study. It’s about really frank conversations about what you need to feel comfortable about this vaccine.”

Another step in addressing this, she says, would also be for health and medical institutions to clearly communicate and own up to past wrongdoings and indicate their goals for equitable medical treatment now and in the future.

Now is the time to address vaccine hesitancy

The rate at which health care workers are declining or delayingCovid-19 vaccines is, to many experts, unfortunately not a surprise. “I’m on record banging my head against the wall for several months that we need to be prepared for this, to have a vaccine acceptance strategy,” says Saad Omer, an infectious disease professor at the Yale School of Medicine and director of the Yale Institute for Global Health.

Although some were optimistic that health care workers would have a particularly high uptake of the vaccine, Robinson was also skeptical. “Everybody saw this coming who works in this field,” she says. “This is one of my frustrations: We know things that we haven’t been acting on.”

And there is a vast amount of research on the best ways to help people feel more comfortable getting a vaccine in general, which we can borrow from to some extent for the new Covid-19 vaccines.

For starters, we know what not to do when approaching people who are reluctant to get a vaccine. “‘You’re wrong’ — that doesn’t tend to work,” Robinson notes. “It’s a delicate thing.” She has found that among the most effective techniques is understanding where people are coming from and what their hesitations are. Acknowledging the vaccines’ newness will likely be important in addressing people’s concerns — both in this first priority group and likely those to follow, as well.

Also, giving people incentives — financial or otherwise — can actually discourage them from getting vaccinated, especially if they already have concerns about side effects.

Many health systems are already working hard to ramp up communications strategies with workers, provide peer-to-peer discussion opportunities, and even talking to their employees outside of work.

“Health care workers are also community members, so reaching them through social media and our local media outlets, as well as internal communications, has been key,” Mike Dacey, president and chief operations officer at Riverside Health System in Virginia (where they have had about 60 percent uptake among workers), wrote to Vox in an email. “We are encouraging team members who are eligible to receive the vaccine to do so within their designated phase to best support the safety and health of our team and community.”

In a December JAMA viewpoint, Buttenheim and her co-authors also suggested five behavior-based strategies for getting more people to get the Covid-19 vaccine:

  • Have community and public leaders endorse the vaccine
  • Frame vaccination as a “public act” that benefits others; maybe even hand out stickers
  • Make getting the vaccine free and easy
  • Give people early access to the vaccine — if they sign up early
  • Eventually make vaccination a requirement for entry, such as to schools, workplaces, and even restaurants, gyms, or airplanes

Other experts note that being transparent about any potential side effects, small and large, will help engender trust. For example, some people balked at a January 6 report from the CDC that noted several severe allergic reactions — anaphylaxis — following Covid-19 vaccinations, at a rate of about 11 per 1 million doses, about 0.001 percent of people who get the vaccine, and haven’t caused any deaths (unlike the virus itself). But these events would have been unlikely to surface in the trials of tens of thousands of people, which is why the government keeps careful record of all vaccines after they go to market.

Lesser side effects are also important to communicate clearly to improve trust and transparency now and in the future. “Planning to survey the population on mild side effects experience and share those data with our health care workers will also be useful for the community and [larger] population,” Brita Roy wrote to Vox in an email.

“The sooner we can get more people vaccinated, the sooner we can get back to some semblance of normal,” Buttenheim says. And we have to get a whole lot of people vaccinated. Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci (after revising his public immunity estimations upward) says we’ll need 70 to 90 percent of people immune to the virus to squelch the pandemic.

For health care workers who refuse their first chance at a vaccine, getting back in line could be tricky. There’s no guarantee of when people will be able to get a vaccine if they wait past their designated phase — until more doses are available to the general public. And even more immediately, some states, including Connecticut, are resupplying facilities based on the number of doses they were able to give the week before. So if uptake is chronically low, availability could dip, too.

That many health care workers are not refusing the vaccine outright and, instead, planning to wait and see provides some small glimmer of hope. Acceptance of the vaccine“is likely to grow as the social norm is established,” Omer says, with the result of more people getting it when they can.

For now, many advocate using the science and information we already have to meet people where they are, and help them feel comfortable getting the shot. “We just need to get ahead of it,” Robinson says. “So much of the response has been reactionary when it comes to Covid-19. I just hope we can break that cycle.”

Why do you think medical professionals are vaccine hesitant? What are your thoughts on taking the vaccine? Why or why not?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

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COVID-19 Health Care Workers at High Risk for Mental Health Issues


Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

January 14, 2021
Killian Meara
Source: Contagion Live

Physician heal thyself comes from the Bible. Specifically, it can be found in Luke 4:23 where Jesus quotes a common Jewish phrase of the time, saying, “Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal thyself’.” (KJV).

Frontline workers are a critical aspect to a community’s ability to manage crises and disasters.

Source: Contagion Live
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

A recent study investigating the mental health of frontline health care workers has found that more than half of doctors, nurses and emergency responders that are involved in the care of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are potentially at risk for one or more problems like depression, insomnia, anxiety and acute traumatic stress. Findings suggested that the rates of mental health conditions were comparable to rates that have been observed after natural disasters.

The study was conducted by investigators from the University of Utah Health, in collaboration with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; University of Colorado, Colorado Springs; Central Arkansas VA Health Care System; Salt Lake City VA Healthcare System; as well as the National Institute for Human Resilience and was published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research.

“What health care workers are experiencing is akin to domestic combat,” Andrew J. Smith, a corresponding author on the study said. “Although the majority of health care professionals and emergency responders aren’t necessarily going to develop PTSD, they are working under severe duress, day after day, with a lot of unknowns. Some will be susceptible to a host of stress-related mental health consequences. By studying both resilient and pathological trajectories, we can build a scaffold for constructing evidence-based interventions for both individuals and public health systems.”

Investigators collected surveys from 571 health care workers, which included 473 emergency responders and 98 hospital staff. The findings showed that 56% of the participants screened positive for one or more mental health disorders, with the prevalence of each ranging from 15% to 30%.

At the top of the list was insomnia, depression and problematic alcohol use. 36% of the health care workers reported risky alcohol use, with those in direct patient care or supervisory positions at the greatest risk. The authors suggested that offering preventative education on alcohol abuse treatment was a vital aspect needing implementation.

“This pandemic, as horrific as it is, offers us the opportunity to better understand the extraordinary mental stress and strains that health care providers are dealing with right now,” Smith said. “With that understanding, perhaps we can develop ways to mitigate these problems and help health care workers and emergency responders better cope with these sorts of challenges in the future.”

The ‘mental health’ industry historically is unrecognized as a legitimate branch of medicine in the health care industry. The diagnosis are made by and based on subjective votes rather than science. The medications the use to justify their ‘branch of medicine’ is admitted not to cure the disease the are prescribe to treat. What are your thoughts on this article? What are your thoughts on medicating health care professionals who have been on the front line of the pandemic? Why or why not?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.