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

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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The Need for Publicized Psychological Autopsies in Mass Killings

Some years ago there was a particularly egregious incident in my area when a retired police officer killed himself and his children. Soon after, I asked a police official whether the results of the investigation would be made public. I was assured that it would be but never saw it.
Serving more than mere interest,  Read More 
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How I Became an Author and the Two Crucial Lessons That I Learned

Years ago, after leaving a stressful job which I loved, I was at loose ends. Not knowing what to do next, I first decided to write a scholarly paper but then a book.
Now, I knew nothing about writing a book. The only thing that I had written was a dissertation which likely few  Read More 
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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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