A Psychologist's Thoughts on Clinical Practice, Behavior, and Life
June 26, 2018
Almost paradoxically, what can be most difficult in treating a child is not the child but their parents' resistance to their treatment which derives from misconceptions: that long-term problems can be eliminated quickly; that the therapist will try to control their lives; or simple jealousy, as when the child values their therapist, or a (more…)
May 7, 2018
The Problem That Children Suffering With Cancer Have With Friendships
Experiencing cancer is difficult at any age but is particularly difficult for children. So much of how children relate depends on appearance, that a potential friend seems like them, and some medical treatments impact how one looks. Even to the degree that a child (more…)
April 30, 2018
Newspaper and other reports often indicate high rates of autism among children. One, in South Korea, asserted a huge rate of one in thirty-eight, it also including some "highly functioning children."
These provoke understandable alarm for autism is probably the most devastating of all the mental health disorders. It cripples childhood and later adult (more…)
January 6, 2018
In a well-received book some years ago, a psychiatrist described his mother’s naked body being used as a card-playing table by his father and cronies. In a paper by a psychoanalyst-psychiatrist (Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, “The Sad Soul of the Psychiatrist,” early 1970s), it was stated that clinicians who treat children do (more…)
September 11, 2017
The (September 9-10, 2017) Wall Street Journal's article, "Why American Students Need Chinese #Schools," makes several points: that, in China, the teacher rules supreme over the parent, and that effort and drill are considered the educational pathway to success. There, teachers engage in behavior which would cause their arrest for child abuse in America. Yet, (more…)
August 22, 2017
Though all agree that bullying is bad, its complexity and that of the victim are often downplayed. In fact, bullies may primarily be sadistic, depressed, or anxious; and victims may primarily be submissive, provocative, or masochistic. Varying teacher and family dynamics exist for each, ranging from fear and helplessness, to parents who gain vicarious (more…)
December 1, 2016
While parents rarely feel guilty when their child becomes physically ill, this is not true when they develop emotional problems.
Autism is perhaps the most affected disturbance by this attitude for, in its severest form, it devastates family life. Recent infant research has confirmed what clinicians have long known: that the parent-child interaction plays (more…)
July 18, 2016
Parents know that infants vary greatly in their “sturdiness,” their ability to tolerate separation from them. Children with extreme responses to separation are buffeted by panic after instances of parental “abandonment” that is manageable for less vulnerable youngsters.
Parental unavailability is devastating for them, promoting clinginess and a desperate need to ensure parental proximity. (more…)
June 2, 2015
As a psychologist, I've long found that parents complain most about schools. They are, as institutions, hermetically sealed, uninterested in any opinion that doesn't agree with their own and, when their efforts with troubled children fail (as almost always happens), the parents become termed expert and the school demands that they resolve their child's (more…)
May 25, 2015
President Obama's proposal to provide free E-books reflects naive psychology since there are already free books available through school and local libraries. What is needed is for parents to read to toddlers and to speak with rather than to their children (i.e., explain why something shouldn't be done rather than saying, "Do (more…)
May 8, 2015
It is both clinically and logically incorrect to diagnose a child or teenager as suffering from Bipolar Disorder since this diagnosis is classified as a personality disorder and requires an adult mental structure which youth, by definition, do not possess.
May 8, 2015
The problem with holding teachers largely responsible for their students' learning is that many learning difficulties derive from emotional and family issues that are uncontrolled by the teacher. Teachers teach--with greater or lesser knowledge and creativity--and can be a catalyst for a child's learning but they do not control most elements of a (more…)
May 8, 2015
While no one can dispute the value of most education, the cheapest and most effective early intervention “program” would be for parents to read to their children from 2 years of age onward, and to speak with rather than to them (as by explaining why something should be done rather than merely saying, “do it (more…)
May 8, 2015
ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and AD/HD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) have been widely used terms to diagnose children's problematic behavior for the past fifty years though the particular symptoms that they comprise have been noted for two hundred years ("mental restlessness").
Fifty years ago the symptoms were believed to reflect MBD (Minimal Brain Dysfunction). Yet rather (more…)
May 8, 2015
Several years ago The Wall Street Journal published an article by a financial columnist on how to discipline children, using his experience with his teenage son as an example.
Basically, his advice was to take away something which the child likes but not something which would impact their future ( (more…)