icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

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

´╗┐Instant Analyses of the Alleged Idaho Killer's Personality

Published comments from those having earlier interactions with the alleged Idaho killer of four youths, Bryan Kohberger, are similar to those arising after other mass killings in which common behaviors are considered to have foreshadowed violence. These, for Mr. Kohberger, included student criicism of his harsh grading (which lessened as did his apparent teaching motivation following student protest), and talking down to a fellow graduate student. A quickness of temper was also noted by past acquaintances. All of which can be said of virtually every college teaching associate. For most this task is their first teaching assignment which can be frightening. Losing job motivation and easing grading when confronted with student protest would not be unexpected develpments.
Perhaps part of the human need to quickly comment is our horror at the crime and desire to distinguish between the criminal and ourselves, to emphasize that we could never commit such heinous act.Which is true for virtually all unless addled by drugs or alcohol. Yet this attitude also reflects the widespread ignorance of child development, ego psychology, and especially the powerful influence of early parenting on a child's immature mind, the years when beliefs and impulses are created which become the bedrock of adult personality. And as I never tire of stating, the unconscious is very powerful and one must respect its power.

Be the first to comment

Assessing Dangerousness in Buffalo

After every multiple murder there is the usual criticism of why it wasn't prevented, particularly when the danger seemed so clear as with the recent murder spree in Buffalo. But, as has been said, everyone has twenty-twenty vision in hindsight.
Predicting suicide or homicide is not easy for, despite headlines induced popular belief, it is rare. While virtually all consider homicide or suicide at some point in their life, exceedingly few do, the risk factors being seriousness of intent, degree of control over behavior, the realism of the plan, and the availability of lethal means.


During my career, in a range of clinical settings, I have advised hospitalization for a literal handful of patients though witnessing many being hospitalized inappropriately, which can have a devastating personal effect. How is risk determined? By asking questions of the patient and family member(s), the doctor's conclusion deriving from their knowledge of human development and behavior. But the accuracy of this conclusion depends on the doctor's talent and knowledge, which varies greatly.


Once, while working in a general hospital, I spoke with a worried psychiatrist. His patient spoke seriously of killing the American President and the doctor didn't know what to do since the hospital was equipped for only short-term psychiatric stays so the patient must soon be discharged. I advised the doctor to phone the Secret Service. He did and they whisked the patient to another hospital. But these mental health decisions are not always so clear-cut nor are the appropriate facilities always available.

Be the first to comment

Stephen Paddock's Motives for his Mass Murder in Las Vegas

My hypothesis is derived solely from news reports. Several explanatory factors seem significant to this mass murder. The killer, Stephen Paddock, was sixty-four, an age when one begins to sense their mortality if they haven't earlier. Despite his two brief marriages and paramour later, Paddock was basically a loner and might have resented never  Read More 
Be the first to comment