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Ethics & Morality

Gunning for a Solution

“There will certainly be a time for that policy discussion to take place, but that’s not the place we’re in at this moment,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

And then she teared up at the horrific Las Vegas shooting.

I rolled my eyes--not because I am questioning Sanders’ sincerity. Like all of us, she is aghast at the latest senseless tragedy. But I roll my eyes--and chuckle ruefully--at the practiced condolences. American society: the equivalent of a Hallmark card.

We decry senseless gun violence in the most visceral of terms. Our Twitter feeds and Facebook post lament the latest tragedy. And following Vegas or Orlando or San Bernadino, we buy a cup of coffee for an appreciative stranger. We reaffirm -- at least temporarily -- our collective faith in humanity’s benevolence.
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Ethics & Morality

Pathologizing the President Reinforces Mental Illness Stigma

A large group of psychiatrists, psychotherapists, and other mental health workers have declared Donald Trump mentally ill and unfit to be president.

They don’t name the mental illness, or cite any specific behaviors that make him a threat to the country or constitution. They merely state that he is sick and call for his ouster.

“Duty to Warn” has the signatures of 60,000 mental health professionals, none of whom have assessed the president, on a petition calling for Trump’s removal due to “serious mental illness that renders him psychologically incapable of competently discharging the duties of President of the United States.” [Ed. - Actually, as we pointed out here back in August, this is simply a petition of 60,000 signatures -- NOT of ONLY mental health professionals. For context, there are 340+ million individuals in the United States. Psychology Today was pedaling its own version of "fake news."]

To take the petition at it’s word, it is not any deviant acts that disqualify Trump, but the mere fact that the undersigned believe he has a mental illness, and that alone disqualifies him. Many responsible people have serious mental illness that they manage, and they function very well. But they still have a serious mental illness. Would these doctors disqualify this group of patients from doing their jobs?
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Anger

The Las Vegas Shooting: A Therapist’s Perspective

In texting with my mother and sister about the mass shootings in Las Vegas, they shared their concerns, sadness and confusion. “Mental Illness?” my sister asked, as I am the professional… I suppose.

In my career I have worked with clients who have committed murder, who have had multiple cases of sexually assaulting young children or disabled victims, who have been witnesses to traumas of being held at gunpoint, sex trafficking, watching one parent shoot the other, incest by a parent. These are extreme cases and I wish I could say they are rare.

My reactions to mass shootings, the opioid drug epidemic, and other heart-wrenching situations that you wish were not reality, are extremely mixed. I have to react as a human being and as a therapist in the field. Maybe saying I “have to” is not accurate. In actuality, I am just internally torn.
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Anger

What You Can Do Before Anger Becomes Violence

When I heard about the violent attacks in Las Vegas, my heart sank. Why does this keep happening and what can we do to prevent it from happening again?

Awful things are happening with much more frequency. The sense of powerlessness with each tragedy can feel paralyzing. What can we do? Blaming and crucifying the perpetrator doesn't stop the violence. 

There are things that you can do. While you cannot control or prevent another person’s behavior you can help. First, pay attention to anyone in your life that's really struggling. Check in with them and listen. It's not your job to assess their mental state but notice what's happening. Not everyone suffering is in crisis, but don't be afraid to ask questions. If you have concerns, share them with their family. Don't stay quiet.
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Ethics & Morality

Living a Valued Life: 5 Steps to Clarify Your Values

Your life is important. We all have moments of doubt and fear that can make us feel small, inferior and unworthy. These thoughts do not control us and they have no power over us. We can choose to live a valued and purposeful life that has meaning and invigorates our spirit. Here are some steps that you can take right now to live in accordance with your values, goals and dreams.

What does it mean to live a valued life?
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Ethics & Morality

In Times of Tragedy — How Do We Cope?

While I try to keep up with current events in the United States and the world, I am the first to admit I often stay away from the news -- especially these days. If I pay too much attention to our country's problems and issues, it affects me to the point where I can't function well. And then what good am I to anybody? So I have chosen to pay attention to the news -- just enough to be informed, but not enough to interfere with living a good, productive life.

But lately I find myself glued to the television news reports about the disaster in Texas. I've never seen anything like it in my life -- flooding beyond belief -- with so many people displaced and in need of help. Devastation on so many levels.
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Ethics & Morality

The Acceptance of Group Mentality

The decisions a group accepts as a whole is not always reflective of the individual conscience of each member. Teenagers will often ‘go with the crowd’ regardless of their true feelings because the enormous pressure to be part of a group is overwhelming. As human beings, we are wired to connect socially and those that stand alone often suffer from psychological issues such as depression or anxiety due to isolation.

Groupthink occurs...
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Bullying

Millennial Men, Women and Casual Sex

The term "hookup" has been used widely to describe the romantic and sexual experiences of Millennials.

But according to a recent study conducted by Harvard's Graduate School of Education, Millennials aren't engaging in as much casual sex as we think they are. In fact, this study found that among the 2,000, 18-to-25-year-old heterosexual, cis-gender males from across the U.S. interviewed, the majority reported looking forward to having romantic and long-term relationships. These results can probably put our widespread hook-up culture concerns to rest.

Unfortunately, however, they reveal a different and more disturbing problem.
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Ethics & Morality

Are Psychiatrists Allowed to Publicly Diagnose the President?

As much as we’d like to believe that psychiatrists -- as well as other mental health professionals -- are above reproach, the truth is that they are people first. And people come with opinions, biases, and agendas. It’s because they are people first that governing bodies have come up with rules to govern their professional ethics.

Most of these rules are obvious and well understood. Psychiatrists aren’t permitted to date their patients, for example. But other rules aren’t as well known, such as the
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