On this centenary of Mark Twain’s death, we look back at Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. While psychologists have written thousands if not millions of words on the effects of separation and loss in all our lives, Mark Twain taught about these powerful forces in the lives of two young boys growing up. Tom Sawyer […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
While riding the Lake Shore Limited–Ensconced in a small sleeping room, surrounded by a bag or two of books–I am sometimes reminded of Paul Theroux and his captivating books on Riding the Orient Express or going coast to coast on a train in Canada. In today’s New York Times, Theroux reflects on the Boy Scouts […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
As everyone is just beginning to sort out what exactly is in the new health-care laws, how they will apply, and whom they will affect, and when, AMHF is monitoring this legislation with a special interest with respect to mental-health care. More to come as the politicizing dies down and the implications become manifest.By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things, by Randy Frost and Gail Skeketee, is a book of interest to many, a cautionary tale in some respects, and a message of help for a group of others. The latter are those who suffer from one of the varieties of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): compulsive hoarding. For […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) now allows pilots to continue their in-air responsibilities if they are on certain antidepressants. Historically, pilots have not been allowed to fly while taking antidepressants as many of the original antidepressants had side effects which could be extremely serious if they occurred in flight. Side effects such as seizures or […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Emily White is a lawyer who lived alone for six years in her 30s and said those were years of “savage loneliness.” She has written a book about this, “Lonely: A memoir”, just published by Harper Collins. Ms. White describes many of the pop psychology attitudes that even serious therapists adope. “Living alone gives you […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
The New York Post recently hired Ashley Dupre to write a column on relationships, “Ask Ashley”, and it appears each Sunday. Recently, Cara, age 35, residing in Park Slope, asked Ashley the following: “My boyfriend and I recently moved in together. I’m anal about keeping a straight apartment. How can I approach this so I […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
This week brings an intriguing story from Germany that raises questions concerning the duty to warn others when there is imminent danger of behaviors such as child abuse, suicide, or violent behaviors. In a story reported by the New York Times, a German psychiatrist has made public allegations that he warned a Roman Catholic Archdiocese […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
How might the manner of treatment in which behaviors indicative of mental-health problems on campuses be related to violence? The recent murders by a professor who was denied tenure in Alabama bring the issue of FACULTY mental health to the fore. Heather Munro Prescott has some tantalizing ideas on the massacre that recently occurred in […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
The profession of psychiatry is now in the fourth edition of the book that classifies mental disorders: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV. The revised version will be published in 2013, and there continues to be debate about what will and will not be included. The New York Times brings this and a spirited discussion in […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Headlines everywhere proclaim sad news: *In 2009 alone more than 330 active servicemen and women have committed suicide *Shocking new figures show the number of soldiers who commit suicide in January could top the number of soldiers killed in Iraq *Tough old soldier battles new enemy: suicide *Every day, five US soldiers try to kill […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Too many US soldiers are attempting or carrying out suicide attempts; many succeed. One reason for this is the tremendous ambivalence over current military actions. This is not like World War II, a so-called good war, although this phrase also causes many to wince. Viktor Frankl, concentration-camp survivor, wrote in Man’s Search for Meaning that […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
There is a touching story in the news about Dr. Jeriyn Ross, a therapist who was especially helpful to those who had phobias, especially phobias involving the fear of heights. She was well known and esteemed for her compassionate accompaniment of persons with phobias as they faced their fears directly. This approach has now become […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
The following article by William Van Ornum appeared in the Hudson Valley News on January 19, 2010. RIVER REFLECTIONS ON PSYCHOLOGY AGING GRACEFULLY As a clinical psychologist, resident of the Hudson Valley, and recent member of the +55 Club, what might I offer to a subject that is on a lot of our minds—getting older? […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Time reports on the use of antidepressants as well as anti-anxiety drugs by our troops overseas. This brings up a question: Are these drugs a cure for something or a Band-Aid? The article is about how substances have been used to medicate soldiers in the past, in wars as diverse as the American Revolutionary and […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
This article appeared in the December 30, 2009 and January 6, 2010 editions of The Hudson Valley News DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED TO SUFFER FROM PROGRAM CUTS by William Van Ornum We are in a recession. There simply isn’t enough money to keep New York State running as it has in the past. Governor Paterson can’t be […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Sandy Sheller, coordinator of the Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia, tells of a client who wouldn’t go for treatment at a drug-treatment center. Her case worker simply labeled her as resistant and noncompliant, and closed the case. When Sheller worked with this client, she asked in s caring manner why it was that the client […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
There is an increasing awareness of the vulnerability of football players and other athletes to the serious possibility of concussions that have gone unrecognized. This means there is an interaction between the mental health and neurological domains. There is increasing evidence of brain damage caused by concussion in professional athletes within the NFL. This month, […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Winter, early winter, is especially dark. People become particularly isolated in Central Wisconsin during these months. Those who cope well, like my 87-year-old aunt, keep productively busy with a range of activities from walks, tending animals, baking, sewing, quilting, visiting, sending photos and messages to members of the family in far-flung places. Altruism abounds. My […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Sleep is essential according to the American Psychological Association. This professional group notes that “millions of people don’t get enough, resulting in such problems as daytime sleepiness, poor decision-making, interference with learning, and accidents.” One study, using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), suggested that CBT can do a better job of reducing anxiety than sleeping pills. […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.