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A Psychologist's Thoughts on Clinical Practice, Behavior, and Life

The Unspoken Unavoidable Pain of Psychotherapists

A psychotherapist's work is catalytic, fostering the patient's unconscious mind in its quest for greater emotional health and improved functioning. While this cannot be guaranteed, it usually happens and patients leave therapy satisfied. Likely without achieving as great joy as they wished but that is not a reasonable goal since life gets in the way.

 

But there is also sadness for the doctor who, with rare exception, never learns how their patient's life progresses, like reading a novel with missing chapters. Unlike parents who, after surrendering their grown-up child, do learn of their offspring's continuing life.

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The Feared Unacknowledged Reasons for School Discipline Problems

Students misbehave for one or more of three reasons:

(1) A child's ability to control their thinking and behavior derive from basic ego capacities which form within the first three years of life. Their adequate development derives from a healthy interaction with their parents. Inadequate parenting causes weakness of these crucial abilities and the later inability to function in line with chronological maturity.

2. Students with emotional problems will be intermittently uncooperative. Schools, with exception, are clueless about coping with their difficulties and for good reason: teachers are trained to teach, not to operate a therapeutic environment.

3. School principals who do not take discipline seriously, by quickly intervening against bullying or other uncivil behavior, send the implicit message that these are not serious issues. Both students and staff soon get this message and student achievement deteriorates.

While these issues are not easily addressed, ignoring them by adopting the false explanations of prejudice or inadequate school funding will make this impossible.

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Online Moderation Can Lead to Problems

For years I contributed to a professional psychology site, eventually leaving it because it provided me with unneeded angst.

(1) The moderator threatened to remove me from the website because I disagreed with the clinical position of another psychologist and "hurt her feelings." My sense was that if her feelings were hurt (she later told  Read More 
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