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Each Day I Like It Better: Autism, ECT & the Treatment of Our Most Impaired Children

October 31st, 2014
Say "shock therapy" to most people and what comes to mind? For many, it is some version of Jack Nicholson’s experience in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: a patient writhing on the table as a crazed doctor sends waves of electricity through his brain, all with disastrous consequences. Even during my psychiatry clerkship as a ...

Integrative Team Treatment for Attachment Trauma in Children: Family Therapy & EMDR

BOOK REVIEW.
Meltdowns are common in young children of a certain age. But did you know that meltdowns and emotional outbursts are even more common among children who struggle with attachment issues and traumatic pasts? Many parents — and even some mental health professionals — are uninformed about the particular effects that traumatic experience can have on ...

The Anger Management Workbook: Use the STOP Method to Replace Destructive Responses with Constructive Behavior

BOOK REVIEW.
The Anger Management Workbook is not for sissies. It is a complete manual to help you evaluate whether or not you have an anger problem — and then, to learn about different types of anger and how they surface, ways to analyze one’s own anger experiences, and methods to bring about change to stop them. ...

Book Review: The First Interview

BOOK REVIEW.
“Hi. I’m Dr. Riddle,” I say, pulling a chair up next to the gurney. “I’m one of the psychiatrists in the emergency department this evening. Would you have time to chat for a few minutes?” The young woman on the gurney tries a half smile. I take that as consent. “What brings you into the ...

Is it Possible to Teach Your Asperger’s Syndrome Child to Love?

Is it Possible to Teach Your Asperger’s Syndrome Child to Love?“Mommy, I don’t know what love is.” Many parents who have children with Asperger’s Syndrome experience devastating moments like this and are uncertain as to how to reply. Love seems such a natural part of our lives. ...

Put Your Phone Away and Pay Attention to Your Kids

Put Your Phone Away and Pay Attention to Your KidsThis psychologist is worried. It seems that everywhere I go a sizable number of the parents are ignoring their kids. At the grocery store: Mom is pushing one child in the cart. Two others are hanging onto the sides ...

Affair Recovery: Jealousy, Forgiveness and Building Trust

Affair Recovery: Jealousy, Forgiveness and Building TrustWhat warrants a permanent breakup? What set of rules has to be breached and how badly, for two people, formerly attached to each other, to decide to part for good? The answer is different for every couple, but the only other emotional ...

OCD and Values

OCD and ValuesWhen I talk or write about my son’s journey through severe obsessive-compulsive disorder, the topic of values often arises. Values are the things that are very important and meaningful to us. Examples include the people whom we love, our favorite activities, important experiences, and guiding ...

Acceptance and Rewriting Your Life Story

Acceptance and Rewriting Your Life StoryWe grow up with certain beliefs about ourselves and our lives and expectations that things should work out a certain way. Then, we change, our lives change, and we start to realize that things aren't going as we had expected. This ...

When You Don’t Like Your Teen’s Friends

When You Don't Like Your Teen's FriendsWhen I was in high school, I found a friend my parents couldn’t stand. Shy, introverted, studious, and fashion-impaired, I found someone as opposite to myself as my folks could imagine. My new best friend knew the fashion trends, wore her sweaters ...

Helping Women Cope with Infertility

Helping Women Cope with InfertilityI use various techniques when counseling women and couples during infertility. I begin by gathering information about the history and current status of infertility and treatment. I also gather personal and family history, and talk about the marriage and sex life of the ...

What to Do When ‘I’m Sorry’ Doesn’t Work

What to Do When “I’m Sorry” Doesn’t WorkWe all mess up at times with our spouses, kids, and others important to us. Misunderstandings and empathic failures cannot be avoided in close relationships, but aren’t necessarily detrimental. In fact, the ongoing climate of relationships is typically affected ...

Love, Lust or Addiction?

what-it-means-to-be-in-loveWonder whether you’re in love or in lust? Whether your obsession about someone is a sign of love or addiction? Whether you’re staying in a troubled relationship because you’re addicted or in love? It’s complicated, and lust and love and addiction don’t always exclude one another. ...

A Daily Plan for Overcoming Agoraphobia

A Daily Plan for Overcoming Agoraphobia Agoraphobia narrows your world, literally and figuratively. People with agoraphobia avoid certain situations or places that may cause them to panic or feel trapped. This may include standing in line, driving on a bridge, being in open or enclosed spaces ...

Therapists Spill: When Being a Therapist Was Especially Hard

Therapists Spill: When Being a Therapist Was Especially HardWhen we’re going through something difficult or stressful at home, it often spills into our workplace. This can get especially tricky when your work is being a therapist, an already-demanding job emotionally and mentally. In this month’s “Therapists Spill” ...

Can Babies Be Made into Bullies?

how-a-bully-is-made Molly Skyar, in open conversation with her mother, Dr. Susan Rutherford, a clinical psychologist and expert in human behavior, view parenting decisions through a psychologist's perspective. MOLLY: If your baby didn’t develop a secure attachment to a parent, how might you see that child acting in preschool and ...

5 Myths about Parenting

10 Fantasies to Examine before Deciding on ParenthoodParenting tips are aplenty. It can seem like there’s a new trend every week boasting about the best way to raise your kids or warning about the worst. With so many prescriptions for good parenting, naturally, it can quickly ...

The Stop-Drop-Roll Method of Managing Infidelity

bandaid-for-marriage-in-crisisOften, the most seemingly unrelated day-to-day events give us opportunities to learn from our mistakes and help keep us from repeating them. Our local fire station recently conducted their annual fire safety lesson for my son’s third-grade class, complete with the shiny red pumper truck and fun ...

Depression Kills

Depressed manLast month, I was sitting on my sofa with my laptop when I saw the headline “Robin Williams Found Dead.” I was shocked and deeply saddened by the news and the loss. It seemed like such a conundrum as to why someone with his persona ...

African-American Women and Depression

listening skillsDepression is a huge health concern among African Americans -- particularly women -- but mental health is often stigmatized in the Black community. Although it can impact people from all walks of life, cultural habits and historical experiences can cause depression to be expressed and ...

Marital Rape

crying woman upset googleAs an advice columnist, I receive too many letters like these (names have been changed): Anna is a woman in her 40s. She has been in a conflicted marriage for years. Her husband insists on morning sex, even though he knows it will make ...

OCD vs. Eating Disorders

OCD vs. Eating DisordersThere was a time when my son Dan would go days at a time without eating. When he did eat, it would have to be a specific food at a specific time in a specific place. There was no negotiating with him, and, ...

How to Change Your Attachment Style

How to Change Your Attachment StyleWe’re wired for attachment -- that's why babies cry when separated from their mothers. Depending especially upon our mother’s behavior, as well as later experiences and other factors, we develop a style of attaching that affects our behavior in close relationships. Fortunately, ...