Near Huntington, Long Island's railroad station is a lovely, condo-like, low-income housing development. A young teacher, walking to the home of a student for a parent visit, saw three teenagers sitting on a stoop and became frightened (everyone knows how dangerous teenagers are!). As she nervously walked by, one teenager asked the others, "Do you think she sells vacuums?"
A Psychologist's Thoughts on Clinical Practice, Behavior, and Life
In a dream yesterday, I held hands with a long-past lover in school and felt the warmth of her hand on mine. Upon awakening, that wrist was painful. Now, this discomfort might have derived not from the dream but from having pulled too heavy a load in a cart that day or holding a tablet for too long while watching a movie. Which got me thinking.
Some people dream in color but for me this occurred only once and then momentarily. A coworker of years ago suffered nightmares from which she awoke screaming several times a week, then bearing marks on her wrist where, in the dream, her mother held her down while sexually abusing her. She had experienced this during childhood.
Dream content has inspired art and presented the solution to scientific problems. "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." (Shakespeare/Hamlet)
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.
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.
(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
Serving more than mere interest, Read More
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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