Professional Articles

CIA Torture Report: A Sad Day for Psychologists

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

CIA Torture Report: A Sad Day for PsychologistsThis week marks a low point for U.S. psychologists. Two psychologists were responsible for devising the CIA program that uses “enhanced interrogation techniques” — what the rest of the world calls torture — on certain detainees after 9/11.

It also took the American Psychological Association years to clarify its ethical policies on how psychologists could be involved in the torture of suspects. (In contrast, the American Psychiatric Association — representing U.S. psychiatrists — simply invoked an outright ban for its members from being a part of any torture interrogation.)

One of the two psychologists — who were paid handsomely ($81 million) for their program development — even had the audacity to defend his work to the Associated Press yesterday.

Are You Working for a Psychopath?

Monday, December 8th, 2014

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Every boss has his or her moments when grumpiness or a negative attitude takes hold, causing them to lash out. Our superiors are human, after all, and they are entitled to bad days just like anyone else.

But have you ever worked for someone who seemed to constantly run hot and cold: charming and funny one second, then vicious and manipulative the next? If a power-wielding bully dominates your workplace, you could very likely be working for a psychopath.

7 Signs Your Workplace is Toxic

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

toxic office

For many people, the office can feel like a second home. You spend the majority of your waking hours there and your co-workers may likely be the people you interact with most in your life, after family or a spouse.

If you’re not happy with your work environment, that dissatisfaction can carry over into your personal life, damaging everything from your self-esteem to your friendships. Toxic workplaces also can have an impact on your health: the increased stress of working in a dysfunctional office can lead to job burnout, fatigue, listlessness, and depression.

If any of the above symptoms ring a bell with you, it’s time to take stock of the dysfunction in your workplace in order to evaluate if the situation is fixable — or decide if it’s time to move on with your career.

Therapists 2014: The Intersection between Clinician, Business Savvy & Personal Brand

Friday, September 26th, 2014

Therapists 2014: The Intersection between Clinician, Business Savvy & Personal BrandIn October 2009, I wrote my first piece in a series for Psych Central on the changing landscape of therapists online. Psychotherapists Unmasked on the Internet reflected upon a conversation I’d had with my psychiatrist father five years prior, who gave me an earful around the ethics of having my picture up on my website.

What he didn’t realize at that time was that websites were becoming an important marketing tool in our profession and that a move toward therapist demystification was occurring. A hearty discussion among many in our field around how to navigate it all was under way.

Introducing Private Practice Kickstart

Monday, September 8th, 2014

Introducing Private Practice Kickstart

As the online world has grown, so have the potential pitfalls a psychotherapist can make while navigating this increasingly interconnected landscape. But with pitfalls also come wonderful new opportunities to grow and market your private practice online.

There are so many business and marketing aspects to your clinical private practice, but few of them are discussed in much depth in most graduate school programs. This leaves new practitioners searching for the basics of business and marketing on their own.

But search no more. We’re happy to be bringing two of the pros in this area to the Psych Central family with a new blog called Private Practice Kickstart. If you’re a clinician or professional psychotherapist, you’re going to want to put this blog on your “must read” list.

Why Do Therapists Summer in Cape Cod?

Friday, August 1st, 2014

Why Do Therapists Summer in Cape Cod?Cape Cod is a wonderful summer destination for hundreds of thousands of people each year. Some of those thousands are therapists.

But unlike most vacationers, the therapists don’t head to the Cape for just the beaches and sun. They’re coming to hone their therapeutic skills, while maintaining their license.

One of the ways to do that is to attend the Cape Cod Institute, the successful continuing education program for mental health professionals run by my friend and colleague, Gil Levin, Ph.D. The Boston Globe (Sunday) Magazine recently featured him and his ground-breaking Institute.

How to Be More Assertive at Work

Sunday, July 20th, 2014

7 Tips for Setting Boundaries At WorkWe’ve all had days or weeks or months at our jobs where we feel like we’re being taken advantage of. You know the feeling: if it doesn’t come in getting passed over for an opportunity, it comes at the hands of either your boss or coworkers not giving you the respect you think you deserve.

You’ve also come up with reasons why these things happen. Sometimes it’s because Jerry from the art department is a brownnoser. Sometimes it’s because of your bad luck and the notion that you just can’t catch a break. Overall, though, you just wish you could be more assertive.

Help Support TILT Magazine

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

Help Support TILT MagazineA longtime colleague of mine, DeeAnna Nagel, has asked for my help, and I’m glad to oblige. She and co-founder Kate Anthony started a beautifully produced publication called TILT Magazine to help mental health professionals and students better understand how technology impacts their profession. Where does a therapist go to learn about online interventions? How is cyberculture impacting the way people get help for a mental health issue?

Now they need your help in crowdfunding the continued production of the magazine through 2015 — and I hope you’ll take a moment to consider their plea.

The Lie of Focusing on Those with Serious Mental Illness

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

The Lie of Focusing on Those with Serious Mental IllnessI’ve long scratched my head at one of the arbitrary political lines drawn in the sand in the world of mental health and mental illness advocacy — “serious mental illness.” (Some people refer to it as “severe mental illness,” but the correct term is “serious.”)

Focusing on this division is a lie. It is a lie told to Congress and to the public with earnest testimonials. But also with little evidence that it represents a valid — or meaningful — scientific distinction.

Why No One is Talking About the Possible Overdiagnosis of Autism

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Why No One is Talking About the Possible Overdiagnosis of AutismWith the latest CDC figures out, it appears autism is now appearing in about 1 in 68 children in the United States. The disorder — now officially known as autism spectrum disorder — is being diagnosed at a rate that represents a 30 percent increase from 1 in 88 two years ago.

What’s amazing to me is that I couldn’t find a single media report that floated the idea that this increase represents an overdiagnosis of the disorder. While “overdiagnosis” seems to be the first thing suggested when the topic is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder’s (ADHD) huge jump in diagnoses over the past two decades, it’s not mentioned in any description of autism’s increase.

Why the double-standard?

Help Us Win This Design Challenge in Mental Health

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Help Us Win This Design Challenge in Mental Health

It’s not everyday I turn to our readers for their help, but I’m going to do so with the first design challenge Psych Central has entered. Along with my colleague and regular Psych Central contribute (and an “Ask the Therapist”) Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D., we’ve submitted an entry we’d like you to vote for.

Your vote matters, so please, take the 20 seconds it takes to vote for our entry now (sorry it’s not obvious, but the voting form is at the very bottom of the entry… so keep scrolling!).

If you’d like to read more about our thinking and entry behind the challenge, click through…

Why Getting Good Mental Health Treatment is Complicated

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Why Getting Good Mental Health Treatment is ComplicatedAs long-time readers of World of Psychology know, there’s no easy fix to the convoluted, second-class mental health care system in the United States. People with mental disorders — like depression, anxiety, ADHD or bipolar disorder — are shunted away from the mainstream healthcare system into a patchwork quilt of “care” that varies greatly depending upon where you live, what kind of insurance you have (if you have any), and whether you want to pay cash for treatment instead of using your insurance.

It shouldn’t be this way. It shouldn’t be so hard to find a good treatment provider. It shouldn’t be so complicated to get integrated care from a single practice.

Why is it so hard to get good mental health treatment in the U.S.?

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