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

Workplace: The Pathologically Obsessive Boss

Obsessive CEO’s are common since their orderliness and control foster authority and clear decision making. But an excessive need for order can strengthen bureaucratic elements, foster decision-making based on rules rather than staff creativity and autonomy. And while having clear, followed rules can protect against corporate political struggle, it  Read More 
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PTSD and Soldier Panic

The experience of panic, which often occurs in PTSD sufferers, is the feeling of confronting overwhelming danger even if none exists. The prototype for this is the infant’s state of helplessness when intense anxiety is experienced over which they have no control.
During development, the child learns to use their anxiety in a  Read More 
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How a New Teacher Tamed His Class or “George is humping Valerie’s doll!”

I recently heard this story from a relative. A twenty-two-year-old began teaching Earth Science in one of New York City’s most difficult schools. As the class began, fifteen-year-old George tore the clothes off his classmate’s doll and pretended to have sex with it. The class screamed, “Look, George is humping Valerie’s  Read More 
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Being Too Old to Work at Thirty-five

Once, at Columbia University’s Business School Library, I spied a notice on the bulletin board. It told of an upcoming meeting of the Gray Panthers, the organization for older workers seeking jobs. Here, at this Graduate School, the membership requirements were that one be a student and over thirty-five.
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On Anthony Weiner and Unconscious Motivation

Though knowing only published reports, Weiner’s self-defeating behavior has one positive element: it reminds people of the power of unconscious motivation. A gifted psychoanalyst once wrote of his patient, a surgeon, who repeatedly exposed himself publicly. This risky behavior ended after the doctor’s interpretation: the surgeon’s behavior lay rooted in early  Read More 
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On Donald Trump, Editors, and The Psychological Judgment of Politicians from Afar

It has long been accepted that it is improper for a mental health clinician to publicly express a judgment about a politician unless they examined them and had their consent to do so. Still, this disgraceful behavior is common.

And one must be especially careful when speaking with reporters though with some this doesn’ Read More 
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Police-Community Distrust, the Crisis in Policing, and Crime in America

An excellent review by Edward P. Stringham, a college professor, author, and economist, of four books on policing in America (July 30-31, 2016, Wall Street Journal) made the following points: (1) Citizen confidence among all Americans in the police is the lowest it has been in twenty years; (2) Being a police officer is no more dangerous, when comparing  Read More 
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Why People May Irrationally Fear That They Are “Going Crazy"

Psychologists describe the part of the mind which controls behavior as the “Executive Function” and there are few greater fears than its loss. Without a locus of control, no one can function adequately. While its loss is a common fear, this is almost always unjustified. When occurring, it is usually with those whose sense  Read More 
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Why Some Children Lack Psychological “Sturdiness”

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.  Read More 
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How Abuse Victims Fall Apart Psychologically (Decompensate)

Abuse victims fall apart psychologically (decompensate) in stages. The victim first denies the reality of imminent danger with a stubbornness bordering on the psychotic. When this defense against the reality of the situation fails, the victim tends to lose control of themselves and give up. As other people fail to help them, the victim feels given up on and enters a state of resignation. Finally,as all  Read More 
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