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

Psychosomatic Disorders and Anxiety

The human organism was once an undifferentiated mass from which subsystems developed: the enzymatic (hormone) system; the nervous system; the psychological system; and the organ system. Their boundaries are imprecise with activity in one being continuously communicated to others. A change in one that is caused by stress causes changes in others with their normal smooth integration being affected. Stress initially arouses helpful body defenses but too great stress causes a breakdown between system boundaries, a de-differentiation in which energy is discharged through violent fighting activity or running movements.
Mild anxiety is experienced as a signal of danger and can result in more efficient action or thought. But if the anxiety is too intense, with psychological means or behavior being unable to reduce it, primitive psychosomatic defenses attempt to replace the unsuccessful psychological maneuvers, stirring up harmful organ or system effects that can persist after the anxiety disappears.

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Why Nurses Leave VA Hospitals

Research on why nurses leave VA hospitals, by Dongjin Oh' and Keon-Hyung Lee, was reported in the October, 2022 issue of Armed Forces and Society (pp. 760-779). The biggest factor was emotional burnout and stress caused by the sense of loss, grief, and powerlessness over the frequent deaths of patients who they had long cared for. Far more patient deaths occur after VA hospitalization than in civilian hospitals since VA patients are older with many having been exposed to harmful environments during their military service. An excessive workload from the VA's policy of having nurses work overtime because of staff shortage reduced their ability to recover from grief. Being ordered to do time-consuming non-nursing tasks, and the lack of flexibility in work scheduling which would enable a healthy work/personal life balance, were other factors.
The same could be said of nurses who struggled through the COVID crisis at other hospitals where patient workloads were high and critical medical equipment and masks were often lacking.

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Why Many Children Can't Read

That many children can't read shouldn't be happening since this ability is innate and learning it presents no greater difficulty than learning to eat with a spoon. Why it does is the unacknowledged "Elephant in the Room," and not the fault of teachers but of parents.
A child naturally learns the language of their country of birth. Thus one born in the U.S.A. learns English and one born in Germany learns German and the same for other countries. They accomplish this not by memorizing all combinations of words which is impossible, but by inducting the grammatical structure of their language, a task for which the human brain is genetically programmed at birth.

Thus if parents first read to and then with their toddler beginning at two years of age, aiding the reading learning process by moving their finger along the printed line, their child will read simple books upon beginning kindergarten. Not all children but nearly all, provided that they are experiencing a "good-enough" parenting since its lack can create psychological difficulties affecting learning.

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