General

Can Therapy Help for Self-Harm?

The problem of self-harm is growing, especially among teens and young adults. People engage in self-harm -- such as cutting, self-injury, or even self-poisoning -- for a wide variety of reasons. But the real question is how to help a person who is self-harming.

Self-harm also hurts the family, friends, and other people around the person who is engaging in the behavior. Friends and loved ones don't understand self-harm, and they don't understand what they can do to help. People who self-harm are themselves sometimes unable to express their reasons, or the kind of relief it brings to their emotional hurt and pain.

Psychotherapy has long been used to help people with mental illness and mental health issues. Can it help a person who self-harms?

Continue Reading

Disorders

Another Step to Unlocking the Genetic Secrets of Schizophrenia

An interesting new study has found four specific genetic variants that suggests that schizophrenia may not be a single disease, but rather a group of distinct disorders that have similar outward symptoms.

Researchers discovered the importance of coding variants of these four influential genes that may suggest different schizophrenia subtypes. That is, schizophrenia may be a complex constellation of symptoms that vary based upon the underlying gene variant.

Continue Reading

Disorders

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy: A Misunderstood But Effective & Powerful Treatment

Today, psychodynamic psychotherapy tends to get dismissed or outright rejected. It’s seen as ineffective, unscientific and archaic. It’s associated with Freud and some of his “outlandish” theories -- many of which have become caricatures. If you’ve ever learned about psychoanalysis or psychodynamic psychotherapy in college or even grad school, it’s likely your professors got it wrong.

Psychodynamic psychotherapy arose out of psychoanalysis, but it’s since evolved. A lot. As psychologist Jonathan Shedler, Ph.D, writes in this fantastic, myth-busting piece: “The development of psychoanalytic thought did not end with Freud any more than the development of physics ended with Newton, or the development of the behavioral tradition in psychology ended with Watson.”

Psychodynamic psychotherapy is depicted as inferior to other interventions, namely cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Continue Reading

Anger

Spanking: 50 Years of Research Shows How Detrimental It Is

Children who were spanked are more likely to defy their parents, exhibit antisocial behavior and aggression, and experience mental health problems and cognitive difficulties, according to a recent study from the University of Texas at Austin which analyzed 50 years worth of research involving more than 160,000 children. (Researchers defined spanking as an open-handed hit on the behind or extremities.)

The use of spanking to discipline children had the opposite effect.

"Our analysis focuses on what most Americans would recognize as spanking and not on potentially abusive behaviors," Elizabeth...
Continue Reading

Addiction

Psychology Around the Net: May 7, 2016


As I mentioned last Saturday, I had a pretty stressful last week of April. I was crunched for time to meet an important deadline, and it looked like I was going to fail.

I did -- fail, that is -- but fortunately, my boss was completely chill about it. So, I spent this week finishing up and, given how tightly wound I've been for the past, oh, five or so weeks, I am absolutely ecstatic about today (well, "today" if you're reading this on Saturday).

Why, you ask?

Continue Reading

Brain and Behavior

The Making of a Happy Mind

The mind, just like any other entity in nature, follows some specific laws. The mastery of these laws can be immensely helpful in improving mental health and generating happiness.

Long before the discipline of psychology was established, philosophers started providing answers to the question of how to reach happiness. Tested by science, some their claims have been refuted, while others were confirmed, such as the following statement made by Epictetus in The Art of Living:
Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control and some things are not. It is only after you have learned to distinguish between what you can and can’t control that inner tranquility become possible.
Continue Reading

Addiction

Psychology Around the Net: April 23, 2016


Earlier this week, a recently unemployed friend of mine began a round of several interviews for a new job that, if all goes well, potentially could be the perfect fit for him. During the first interview he was asked, "What is your strongest attribute and how would it benefit our company?"

My friend is a quick thinker and delivered an answer that, after talking about it later, we both decided indeed summed up his strongest attribute; however, the interviewer's question made us both start thinking more deeply about our attributes -- especially as they relate to employment and personal relationships.

Continue Reading

General

Mental Health Courts: Does Coercion Add Anything of Value to Treatment?

Mental health courts are America's sad, broken way of dealing with people who have mental illness -- who also happen to have committed a crime. Even something as small as a misdemeanor. I mean, what better way to treat a person's mental illness than to send them to a court tailored for their mental health needs?

The truth is that if a person is receiving adequate care in the community through the public mental health system, there'd likely be far fewer people who get involved in criminal justice system to begin with. People with mental illness get involved in the court system for a wide variety of reasons (psychosis, drugs, mania, etc.). Such involvement is usually just a side effect of a person who isn't getting any kind of decent treatment.

So do mental health courts work? Or could you offer the same services to people without the coercion and get similar results? The long-term data is in.

Continue Reading