Congress & Policymakers: Stop Scapegoating Mental Illness in Mass Shootings

It's time that the United States Congress and national policymakers stop scapegoating mental illness for mass shootings in America. It's a simplistic -- but entirely wrong -- answer to mass shootings and gun violence in the United States. And it's also time that we hold our representatives in Congress accountable to have them stop shamelessly using another violent shooting to push their own agenda -- and blaming mental illness as the cause.

Mass shootings are generally not committed by people with a mental illness. People who commit violent acts with a gun are far more likely to have no history of mental illness. This includes the nearly-daily mass shootings we've experienced in the past three years.

It's time to have a serious, nuanced conversation about this issue -- and stop the simplistic fear-mongering that politicians and policymakers with their own agendas to push seem to revel in.

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Brainwashing in Abusive Relationships

Being in an abusive relationship often feels like torture. Sometimes that's because your partner's behavior feels like the torture techniques used by mortal enemies instead.

Brainwashing is defined in the Psychology Dictionary as that which “manipulates and modifies a person’s emotions, attitudes, and beliefs.” It reduces a person’s ability to mentally defend themselves and makes it easier for another person to control them.

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Why Gun Laws Targeting ‘Crazy People’ Would Have Little Benefit

Two days ago, according to FBI crime statistics, approximately 38 murders took place in the U.S. Most of these murders were completed with a gun between two or more people who knew one another.

But people are only talking about two of them -- the deaths of TV reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward by Vester Flanagan (aka Bryce Williams). Flanagan was a disgruntled former worker at the local TV station where the three of them briefly worked at the same time for about 9 months in 2012.

And one of the victims' fathers -- Andy Parker -- has now made it his mission in life to increase common sense gun control laws in the U.S. Targeting "crazy people."

Unfortunately, had his laws been in place, they likely wouldn't have prevented this tragedy -- or most tragedies like this.

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How to Eliminate Recurring Nightmares

All of us have nightmares. Maybe in your nightmare you’re being chased by some terrifying but unknown entity. Maybe you’re surrounded by bloodthirsty vampires or hordes of zombies. Maybe you’re trapped in a room with snakes or spiders or any other animal you fear. Maybe you or a loved one is involved in a car wreck or a violent assault.

Maybe you keep having this nightmare over and over. And it’s so real, so vivid, so frightening that the last thing you want to do is fall back asleep.

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Ethics & Morality

The Hoffman Report: After Years of Lies, Who Holds the APA Accountable?

After years of lying to its members, the public, and other professionals, the American Psychological Association (APA) finds itself in the awkward position of being a professional organization that no longer has a moral or ethical leg to stand on.

According to a new report by independent investigator David Hoffman, not only did individual APA members lie and cover up their extensive involvement with post-9/11 torture. But on behalf of these members, the entire APA organizational structure colluded to keep these lies going.

And not just a decade or more ago. No, the lies and justifications for the lies continued right up until last year. After a book critical of APA's stance on torture was published last year (Risen, 2014), did the APA suggest the book had merit? Nope, instead the APA kept making excuses, discrediting the author and the book saying it was "largely based on innuendo and one-sided reporting" and "a thorough review of these public materials and our standing policies will clearly demonstrate that APA will not tolerate psychologist participation in torture."

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Debunking 11 Domestic Violence Myths

Know the facts.

"If anything is truly equal opportunity, it is battering. Domestic violence crosses all socioeconomic, ethnic, racial, educational, age and religious lines." - K. J. Wilson, author of When Violence Begins At Home.

Sadly, a US Department of Justice study indicates that approximately one million violent crimes are committed by former spouses, boyfriends, or girlfriends each year, with 85 percent of the victims being women.

For domestic violence to be defeated, it must begin with information. Here are eleven myths and facts about domestic violence.

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How a New Hobby Helped One Woman Leave an Abusive Relationship

I was 19, and I thought my love would change him.

I’m lying on the bed with my knees up, pushing him away with my feet.

Ross has the fishing knife at my throat. It has a bright orange handle, and has never been taken fishing. Once we took it camping and used it to shuck fresh oysters, but neither of us knew how. And we were too embarrassed to ask, so we smashed them.
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Does the Subway Spread Crime?

Most people probably don't give much thought to the subway. You ride it every day to get into and back from work, and to move around the city to visit friends, grab a drink, or go shopping. Subways are clean, affordable transportation used by millions in many big cities around the world.

And because they're so affordable and reliable, they're used by criminals, too. How much are they used by criminals and exactly what kind of impact they may have on the crime rate is, however, largely an open question. Could subways help explain why the crime rate is higher in urban areas?

So researchers in Washington, D.C. decided to find out.

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Love Gone Awry

"It began as the love of my life; it ended up with a restraining order."

Celeste was trying hard to keep it all together. "He was so loving and attentive. I thought I had hit the jackpot. How could a girl ask for anything more?"

When you’re young, naïve and have a low opinion of yourself, nothing says I love you like "I want to be with you every moment of the day. We were meant for each other. We will always be together as one." Are these Hallmark sentiments, or control masquerading as love?
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Brain and Behavior

Differences Between a Psychopath vs Sociopath

Society has conspired with Hollywood to put two seemingly-sexy psychology terms into our collective consciousness -- psychopath and sociopath. Psychopath and sociopath are pop psychology terms for what psychiatry calls an antisocial personality disorder. Today, these two terms are not really well-defined in the psychology research literature.

Nonetheless, there are some general differences between these two types of personality types, which we'll talk about in this article.

Both types of personality have a pervasive pattern of disregard for the safety and rights of others. Deceit and manipulation are central features to both types of personality. And contrary to popular belief, a psychopath or sociopath is not necessarily violent.

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Best of the Web

Top 10 PTSD Blogs of 2014

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often is linked to military veterans, but it can affect anyone following a traumatic event. There are five subtypes: normal stress response, acute stress disorder, uncomplicated PTSD, comorbid PTSD and complex PTSD. Sleep disturbances and flashbacks, where the sufferer relives the trauma, are hallmarks of the disease.

PTSD has several other symptoms, some of which overlap with other disorders. These include a loss of interest in regular activities, feeling depressed, anxious and difficulty concentrating. A person with PTSD may find it difficult to relate to loved ones. Instead they are emotionally distant and consumed with a sense of dread.

These blogs have been selected because they contain links and strategies specifically for people with PTSD in its various forms.

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A Brief History of Humor’s Power and Danger

An understanding of the power and concomitant danger of humor has never been as necessary as it is today. Humor was the impetus for the brutal slaying of 12 employees of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, and for threats of violence from North Korea over the release of the U.S. comedy movie "The Interview," but these recent events are far from unique in humor’s complex history.

The fear of the weapon of humor was alive and well in Nazi Germany. The legal code of the time reflected Goebbels’s interpretation of the political joke as “a remnant of liberalism” that threatened the Nazi state. Not only was joke-telling made illegal, but those who told jokes were labeled “asocial” -- a segment of society frequently sent to concentration camps.
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