It seems we are reminded every day about posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It reveals itself in soldier suicides, which are occurring in a way that is more than we can bear. Shootings continue. In one city (Chicago), one mother has been so badly traumatized: She has lost four children over the years to street violence. […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
More and more in our society, any kind of testing that compares people with each other is viewed negatively. Different kinds of testing: No Child Left Behind, End of Year testing, and Intelligence Testing are all types of testing that come under criticism. Here is a different spin on the kinds of tests given by […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
A new documentary film presents the emotional health history of a famous American family of artists—the Hemingways—according to CNN, whose sources we quote. This film, Running from Crazy, premiered last week at the Sundance Film Festival. Oprah Winfrey is executive producer. “‘Suicide has no rhyme or reason,’ [Mariel] Hemingway said. ‘Some people, it’s 20 dark […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Of the twenty-one films for discussion on this Web site, here is number six, which stars Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher in signature roles. Thus is the plot, in slightly condensed form, from Wikipedia: In 1963, Randle Patrick “Mac” McMurphy (Jack Nicholson)—a recidivist anti-authoritarian criminal serving a sentence on an Oregon-prison farm for statutory rape […]By: Evander Lomke
From Counseling Today, some recommendations of new books: *The Danger-to-Self-or-Others Exception to Confidentiality (C. Ahia, University Press of America) This topic has been one that has been in the news this past year with tragedies including the movie theater shooting, train deaths in NYC, as well as the Newtown tragedy. The subject is an important […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Word from ABILITIES FIRST in Poughkeepsie, NY October 5, 2012, Poughkeepsie, NY—As Dr. Lori Crispi’s term on the board of Abilities First, Inc., a Dutchess County based nonprofit that serves children and adults with disabilities, was coming to an end, she felt that she couldn’t just walk away. “I enjoyed being part of the organization […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Previously I’ve written about Recovery International, founded by psychiatrist Abraham Low in the 1940s in Chicago, Illinois. Dr. Low initiated a revolutionary brand of treatment that we now call cognitive therapy: by changing one’s thoughts, one could change troublesome feelings and through practice attain better mental health. Dr. Low used the word apprenticeship to denote […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Since the Supplement to the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report Mental Health: Culture, Race, and Ethnicity—A Supplement to Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General, several events have occurred. These, say Lonnie R. Snowden, have established a national commitment to understanding African American-White American treatment disparities, their consequences, and opportunities for their reduction. Snowden’s article, […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Although the therapeutic dimension of sports on the highest level, which is usually the professional, is well accepted, players are often assessed—or worse, judged—by club executives and fans alike based on issues or “characteristics” of mental health. This can be unfortunate. As the Major League Baseball Cy Young (for pitchers) and Most Valuable Player Awards […]By: Evander Lomke
Steven R, Lopez, Concepcion Barrio and colleagues address an important cultural topic in the October 2012 edition of American Psychologist: From Documenting to Eliminating Disparities in Mental Health Care for Latinos. The U.S. Surgeon General’s report from 2012—Mental Health: Culture, Race and Ethnicity—A Supplement to Mental Health: Report of the Surgeon General—documents significant disparities in […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
“Asian Mental Health” is a timely and important article by Stanley Sue and his colleagues, just published in the October 2012 edition of American Psychologist. This is one of three articles recently written that address mental health disparities occurring in cultural groups. Ten years ago the U.S. Surgeon General wrote a report Mental Health: Culture, […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
A few months ago I wrote about Marsha Linehan and Dialectical Behavior Therapy here on this blog. It is a creative and empirically-supported treatment that combines cognitive and behavior therapy as well as wisdom from philosophical and religious traditions. Last week, at the 120th Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association in Orlando, Florida, Linehan […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Edward Hallowell and John Ratey have published a follow-up to their successful book Driven to Distraction. On a hopeful note, it is titled Delivered from Distraction. The first book was written in the 1990s. It contains much good advice on ADHD: diagnosis, medications, telling it apart from other conditions as well as finding it in […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
On June 22 it was announced that Judith Wallerstein, 90, had died. Wallerstein is known for a 25-year longitudinal study about the effects of divorce on children. Her study examined the psychological impact of divorce on children, and her scientific findings cautioned against the too-ready “advice” of many mental-health professionals that divorce could be a […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Too many times we view medication and psychological therapies as either/or treatments. Many times people will try to avoid any medication for even a severe mental health problem. Their reasons are always worth noting: perhaps there is a realistic fear of side effects, or a desire to work things out in a trusting relationship. Perhaps […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
While confronting our fears, discerning our angers and resentments, or unloading on friends or a therapist may be helpful, there is another school of mental health thought emphasizing distraction and humor. Carol Tavris says one of the best antidotes to the kind of anger that sticks in one’s craw is to see a funny movie–explained […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Suicide rates are unacceptably high. A U.S. soldier, present or recent past, is said to kill himself or herself every eighty minutes. In countries suffering economic crises, the situation is in some ways even more tragic. Reuters reports that “behind every suicide in crisis-stricken countries such as Greece there are up to 20 more people […]By: Evander Lomke
Some occupations appear to put persons employed in them at risk for eating disorders. Flight attendants, dancers, actors—persons in these lines of work must maintain unforgiving standards of weight and general appearance in order to ply their trade. As such, they may employ tactics of severe calories-restriction or eating, and then throwing up. (Binging-and-purging as […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Antipsychotic medications have an interesting history. In the early 20th century, Thorazine was used as an anesthetic during surgery. In the 1940s, a patient with schizophrenia found that after surgery that the delusions and hallucinations had disappeared. Within a few short years this medication was being used for treatment of schizophrenia and two decades later […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
By all accounts Mary Todd Lincoln led a difficult and tragic life despite her early upbringing with material comforts and blessings. She married Abraham Lincoln when she was twenty three and was often alone rearing four sons while Lincoln embarked upon his upward political climb. Of her four sons, one died in 1850, another during […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
There’s something about the Deep South that inspires the writing of great literature (think William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote) more than, for example, North Dakota. Likewise, we think of “the grand diagnoses” in psychiatry more than we do, say, about Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Prince of Tides is a 1991 movie capturing the lowland beauty […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) lists conditions present in a child that can qualify him or her for special services in the educational system in preschool. These are: *Chromosomal Abnormalities (e.g., Down syndrome) *Syndromes (e.g., fetal alcohol syndrome) *Neuromuscular Disorder (e.g., cerebral palsy, spina bifida) *Central nervous system (CNS) abnormality (e.g., caused by bacterial/viral […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
The American Psychological Association has announced, in the January 2012 issue of American Psychologist, “Guidelines for Assessment of and Intervention With Persons of Disabilities.” This document lists twenty-two practice-guidelines for psychologists who work with persons displaying disabilities of various kinds. The task force for this report was chaired by Kurt F. Geisinger of the University […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Elaine Aron pioneered new ground over a decade ago when she wrote the trade book The Highly Sensitive Person; this was followed up by a workbook, a book on parenting children who are highly sensitive, and even a primer for therapists. Highly Sensitive Persons (HSP), in her view (which incorporates findings from important developmental psychologists […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Finally Hollywood has discovered a good man with the right stuff to play the part of an incredibly loving father who happens to be a graduate of the Bronx High School of Science, loves baseball, and who has just a enough of Asperger’s syndrome qualities (a mere scent) to bond closely with his nine-year-old, a […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
American Psychological Association Announces Guidelines for Psychologist Involvement in Pharmacological Issues
In the recent yearly “Reports of the Association” issue of the American Psychologist (December 2011), the American Psychological Association announced “Practice Guidelines Regarding Psychologists’ Involvement in Pharmacological Issues.” This report notes several factors that will make psychologists more involved in medication-management issues. One survey noted that the number of Americans using antidepressants increased from 6.7 […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Ann Carrns, writing in the January 11, 2012, New York Times, notes a new financial tool, one geared for families with individuals who have special needs: “Families with children who have special needs or disabilities face even bigger hurdles than most people when it comes to planning for their financial futures. Merrill Lynch Wealth Management […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
The December 22, 2011, edition of the New York Times brings out another article on the problems and abuses in New York State public groups homes where developmentally disabled persons reside. It is important to note that the focus of the NYT articles has been on “public” rather than private group homes. Many of the […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Here is a letter I received from Jesse Close: Dear William: Share your story with Bring Change 2 Mind. I was 47 by the time I was properly diagnosed with bipolar disorder. For most of my life, my illness went undiagnosed and untreated. Life is much better now. A proper diagnosis and treatment helped tremendously, […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
The following is based on interviews with Alexandra Styron. I first met Alexandra Styron at a reading of her new book, Reading My Father: A Memoir (Scribner, 2011). She was appearing at the Quogue Public Library on Long Island. It was one of those beautiful midsummer afternoons that remind one so much of Henry James’s […]By: Dr. Melissa Wanamaker