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

Adding to the Terror of PTSD Symptoms

While nightmares and flashbacks are frightening enough, another symptom is worse: agitated (anxiety-laden) depression which can seem never-ending. This feeling of being alone and helpless arouses from infancy, a period when the child is completely dependent on their parents for survival. Gradually, the child's mind creates an image of an all-nurturing parent who, when  Read More 
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On The Kavanaugh Hearing, Memory, and Adolescent Development

While concerned with some political issues, I try to ignore the froth. I have several times recommended (without effect) that it would benefit psychologists if our professional organization moved its headquarters to a less insular setting than Washington, D.C. Despite this, I was captivated by the Kavanaugh Hearing for it raised questions in  Read More 
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Explaining the Fear of Flying and other Phobias

Though varying in type and severity, fears (phobias) are a universal human condition. They are how the unconscious mind enables a too-stressed person to function. Their stress is caused by a psychological conflict or feared insight which disturbs the person's ability to function normally on the job or at home or in school.

For  Read More 
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Why Do Patients Lie to Their Therapist?

A prevalent belief is that a patient always tells the truth to their therapist but this isn't true.
1. A woman was referred by her internist to a psychologist for "counseling," the unspoken motive being that she was a continuing, troublesome presence in the doctor's office. That the patient was seriously ill was obvious  Read More 
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Six Basic Rules for the Newbie Public Speaker and TV Guest

1. Over-practice your talking points. This will reduce the likelihood of you being tripped up when facing an unexpected question. If not on-the-air (before a live audience) and you're unsure what to respond, turn the question back to the audience by asking, "What do you think?"
2. Don't have long pauses before answering a question. Nothing  Read More 
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When Is A "Sexual Assault" a "Sexual Assault"?

Like all who read the news, I was shocked to learn that a former head of the Center for Disease Control, an eminent public servant, had been charged with sexual assault in New York City. What equally surprised me were the details as reported.

The doctor had allegedly squeezed the buttocks of a woman  Read More 
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What Made a Brilliant, Decorated Soldier Go Off the Rails?

I can't help wondering what made Reality Winner, the NSA leaker & former highly decorated soldier and brilliant linguist, go off the rails. Projective psychological testing (Rorschach, Thematic Apperception Test) might give the answer but I doubt this was done. Being a loner and quirky (as described in the news article) doesn't add up to  Read More 
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Explaining Clinical Depression Briefly

Depression is the "depressing" of feelings and reflects: (1) conflict about an issue, the person being torn between choices; or (2)having been unable to reach their parents emotionally when young and later tending to give up on important goals, believing they will fail again; or (3) the sense of having deep problems; or (4) a combination of  Read More 
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Reflections on the White House Firing or When to Fire Yourself

After experiencing several highly stressful jobs, I came to an important conclusion: That while choosing the right job is important, it's even more important to know when to leave it. My suggestions follow.

Quit your job, if you have the economic freedom to do so, of course:

(1) When the political infighting has become intolerable.  Read More 
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The Most Difficult Factor in Treating Children in Psychotherapy

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  Read More 
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