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Doctors need empathy, STAT!

01/26/2011

Stethoscope A recent study out of the University of Toronto videotaped session with oncologists and found that only 22% showed empathy at times when patients needed it.  

That’s too bad, not just because it’s cold and cruel – but because a large body of evidence is showing that empathy in conventional medical settings can make a big difference in patient outcomes. 

In 1997 Dr. Art Bohart and Dr. Leslie Greenberg published a book entitled “Empathy Reconsidered.” This text presented research that supported the theory that empathy in therapy room can aid in improving outcomes for individuals. Since then additional research has shown that empathy can promote healing on the physical level, as well as the psychological.  Now the new University of Toronto study has shown that clinical empathy (empathy within the confines of traditional clinical setting like hospitals and doctors’ offices), can improve a patients’ satisfaction with their care and encourage them to follow through with their treatment plans. Hospital administrators would be most interested in an additional fact the study found:  increases in patient empathy lowered malpractice complaints.

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University

The dangers of "second hand" media - why what your friends watch is more important than what you do

01/25/2011

TV set with internet in it If you’re the kind of person who’s “plugged in” to culture, chances are you know what’s so controversial about Skins.

A program on MTV that debuted January 17, Skins got three million viewers and launched six million arguments with its depictions of wealthy suburban teenagers who engaging in illicit drug use, sexually mature behavior, and violence.  Emotions run high as the characters deal with divorced parents, substance abuse, and one night stands—while facing grave consequences from their actions.

The cast consists of teens, some as young as fifteen, who are portrayed in sexually explicit ways; the premier also contained over forty references to street drugs and alcohol. The Parents Television Council is among many who are protesting the show claiming that it violates anti-child pornography laws in the United States.   

As of today, six major retailers have yanked their sponsorship of Skins including: Subway, H&R Block, Taco Bell, and GM. The show’s racy content has even reached capital hill; with the Parent Television Council asking the Senate, House Judiciary Committee and Department of Justice to open a federal investigation to evaluate if the show violates laws.

Behind the stormy debates, lies the real question:  do shows like Skins actually affect teenage development?  Is it just a show, or does it become real life? 

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University

The couch is not where healing happens

01/24/2011

Yoga group picture In the 20th century the popular metaphor for therapy was “the couch” – the therapist’s couch, Freud’s couch.  What did you do when you went to therapy?  You lay down on the couch.  It was almost a cultural cliché.

It won’t work for the 21st century.  More and more, psychology is telling people to get off the couch and get moving. 

That’s because mind-body therapies, especially with a humanistic emphasis, are increasingly being shown to have a significant positive impact for people with a range of problems – including not being able to get off that couch.

Yoga, in particular, has recently been shown to have a host of benefits:

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University

90 percent of us have big regrets: dealing with it is a crucial skill for healthy living

01/20/2011

Maybe an unexamined life is a little more worth living than we thought:  recent research has shown that wallowing in regret can lead to feeling stressed, anxious, unhappy about life … and even impact physical health.

A study in the recent issue of the  Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin shows that about 90 percent of adults have deep regrets about their lives, and that the more they dwell on it the worse their quality of life tends to get.  If we all have big regrets – and it looks like we virtually all do – then managing regret is a crucial life skill.

How do we do that?

Current research in psychology and sociology has begun to focus in on self-regulation processes – a person’s ability to come up with ways to manage how they feel at any given moment. For example, someone may self regulate, ease their pain, about losing a job by thinking about the homeless person on the street.

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Alumni Messenger

Alumna Rivka Bertisch-Meir, PhD '05 Shares Recent Accomplishments

01/20/2011
Alumna Rivka Bertisch-Meir, PhD '05 Shares Recent Accomplishments 1) Awarded Fellow Eastern Psychological Association. 2) Awarded Fellowship from the APA 3 times by Division 1-49 and 52. 3) Appointed: Co-Director of Multicultural Activities in the Speaker Bureau of Fordham Institute for the Media 4) Chairperson at the 22 Greater New York Conference of Behavioral...

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University

Psychology still needs to take Martin Luther King Jr.'s advice

01/19/2011

Martin Luther King Jr speaking In 1967, as black communities in Detroit and Newark were still picking up the pieces after rage had exploded onto the streets during the “Long, Hot Summer,” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addressed the American Psychological Association in Washington, D.C.. 

From the podium, Dr. King offered his vision for how psychology and sociology could help pull us all towards humanity’s highest potential.  “You who are in the field of psychology,” he said, “have given us a great word. It is the word maladjusted. This word is probably used more than any other word in psychology. It is a good word; certainly it is good that in dealing with what the word implies you are declaring that destructive maladjustment should be destroyed. You are saying that all must seek the well-adjusted life in order to avoid neurotic and schizophrenic personalities.”

Today psychology is still very focused on maladjusted individual.  But King’s vision went beyond neurosis or what we think of as “mental illness.”  What, he wondered aloud, does psychology have to say to the average person who supports the status quo, who remains blind or chooses to ignore the ills that plague or society?  

 

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Alumni Messenger

An Invitation to Publish in the Neuroquantology Journal

01/18/2011
Dear Saybrook Alumni, Recently, Stan Krippner and I were invited to help coordinate a special issue for the Neuroquantology Journal on the topic of "Telepathy, Alternate States of Consciousness, and Dreaming." The journal founder and editor, Sultan Tarlaci, MD, is requesting 7 or 8 high-quality, publishable contributions for the June 2011 issue of the journal and thought that alumni Saybrook...

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University

America is great at creating the kind of peole who can solve its problems, and terrible at letting them

01/18/2011

Dollars Social mobility is the engine that powers the “American Dream” – the idea that all it takes to reach the top is hard work and talent. 

Maybe America needs a new engine.  Social mobility doesn’t seem to be taking us anywhere anymore. 

If you want to work for a top level investment bank, law practice, or consulting firm, a study out of Northwestern University shows,  there are only five colleges you can graduate from.  Nobody else is even considered. 

Forget prestigious:  if you want to be a well compensated lawyer at all, an article in the New York Times explains, you’d better have graduated from a law school in the top quartile.  Otherwise, most firms will touch you. 

In fact, The Atlantic has gone so far as to suggest that the “new rich” are pulling further and further away from the rest of us ... not only in terms of wealth, but in the way they live, the rules they live by, and the opinion they have of “the rest of us.”

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Alumni Messenger

Saybrook Alumnus, Gary Greenberg, PhD '92 Critiques DSM V

01/16/2011
From Executive Faculty Member, Tom Greening: "Essential reading for all Saybrook psychology alumni, faculty, and students." See article below by Saybrook Alumnus Gary Greenberg and Al Frances, one of the editors of DSM-IV, and what they are saying about DSM -V and the whole issue of "mental disorders": Every so often Al Frances says something that seems to surprise even him. Just now, for...

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Alumni Messenger

Alumna Rebecca Smith Orleane, PhD Releases Three New Publications in 2010

01/16/2011
CONVERSATIONS WITH LAARKMAA: A PLEIADIAN VIEW OF THE NEW REALITY by Rebecca Smith Orleane, Ph.D. and Cullen Baird Smith Reviewed in the January issue of Journal for Humanistic Psychology, this book has been written to assist the evolution of humanity. New science and heartwarming wisdom about our emotions, the power of our thoughts, and our ability to communicate through water. Available on the...

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