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Rethinking Complexity

Valuing Diverse Personality Types in Workgroups

10/21/2013
Valuing Diverse Personality Types in Workgroups
Today’s workgroups are made up of people from a variety of cultures, ethnicities, ages, and backgrounds. They also include different personalities. High performing workgroups are those that embrace and leverage these personality differences in order to achieve outstanding results. In my line of work I use many diagnostic tools and assessments to help evaluate clients in the environment where they work. These can be useful as they provide valuable insight into how individuals differ from the people they work with most closely. Each of these tools and assessments typically involve a four-...

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New Existentialists

R. D. Laing and Anti-Psychopathology: The Myth of Mental Illness Redux

10/21/2013
R. D. Laing and Anti-Psychopathology: The Myth of Mental Illness Redux
The theme of this blog concerns R. D. Laing’s conception of psychopathology. This is not an easy topic to explore, in part because Laing was somewhat ambivalent about the concept and avoided even using this term. In The Politics of Experience (1967) Laing famously questioned whether schizophrenia, the form of psychopathology he is most identified with, even exists! Yet, many of the people Laing saw in therapy suffered terribly and saw him in therapy in the hope that he could relieve their anguish. But what, precisely, was it that Laing was helping them be relieved of, if not a...

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New Existentialists

What’s In A Name?

10/18/2013
What’s In A Name?
For nearly two decades of my professional life, I worked with junior and senior high school age youth. Of all the different duties related to this work, my favorite task was training peer counselors. The individuals chosen to be peer counselors were kids passionate about helping others. They took their training seriously and worked diligently to develop the appropriate skills to be exceptional peer counselors. One of the first activities in the training was each participant sharing their name and an explanation of how they got their name and/or what their name meant. Some knew very little...

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Mind-Body Medicine

What Only You Can Share: School of MBM PhD student completes practicum at Cardiac Treatment Center at Scripps Memorial Hospital

10/17/2013
Tamami Shirai Leads Meditation at Scripps Memorial Program

 

Tamami Shirai is a PhD candidate in the Saybrook University School of Mind-Body Medicine (www.mindbodygrace.org), specializing in healthcare research.  Tamami has just completed a clinical practicum at the Cardiac Treatment Center at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, CA.  Scripps Memorial Hospital is the leading Cardiac Treatment Center in San Diego, and a variety of participants have benefited from its rehabilitation programs, not only cardiac patients but also pulmonary rehabilitation patients, post-cancer patients, individuals with Parkinson’s disease -- even family members of rehab participants and employees. 

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New Existentialists

The Eyes Have It

10/17/2013
The Eyes Have It
“The eyes are the window to your soul.” Variations of this quote have been attributed to Shakespeare, Cicero, and Matthew in the New Testament. But no matter who said it first, this quote has found its way into common parlance, and has almost become a cliché, at least as far as barroom pick-up lines are concerned. But we perceive and indeed communicate so much of our world through our eyes that psychology researchers are now using both high- and low-tech methods to see what the eyes can tell us. Back in 2007, when high-tech was really all the rage, researchers at...

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Rethinking Complexity

Shopping with Awareness and Interconnection

10/16/2013
Shopping with Awareness and Interconnection
The holidays are around the corner, and I just read that Macy’s will be open on Thanksgiving for the first time in its history. The leaders of the chain of retail stores want to capitalize on the market demand for holiday shopping as much as they can, following the lead of retailers like Wal-Mart and Target, among others. By extending the shopping season by even one night, they are able to increase revenue substantially. Many stores kick off the holiday season with black Friday deals so that they can increase income throughout the season during the time of year that they make the most....

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New Existentialists

Why I No Longer Trust Research—Part 2

10/16/2013
Why I No Longer Trust Research—Part 2
In part one of this blog, I discussed the beginning of my loss of faith in research, particularly psychological research. As I noted, I began my career interested in being a researcher. I conducted a number of studies, some of which I never sought publication for because of my own loss of faith in research. In part one, I focused a good deal on the limitations of quantitative research that I learned experientially. In particular, I discussed how there was much more subjectivity in research than what is often acknowledged. In this part, I will focus more on the political influences on research...

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New Existentialists

Why I No Longer Trust Research—Part 1

10/15/2013
Why I No Longer Trust Research—Part 1
The second statistics book I ever read was How to Lie With Statistics by Darrell Huff (1954/1982). If any statistic book could be considered a classic, it should be this book. At the time, I found it amusing, but did not really take it to heart. I learned that in order to get two out of three dentists to recommend almost anything, all you had to do was ask enough sets of three dentists a question. Eventually, you will likely get two out of the three to recommend it. I knew such tactics were really just the tactic of marketing and assumed this had nothing to do with scholarly research,...

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Rethinking Complexity

It’s A lot Like Synchronized Swimming

10/14/2013
It’s A lot Like Synchronized Swimming
As a teenage, Christine LeGarde, the current Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) competed as a member of the French national synchronized swimming team. In an interview with National Public Radio, the reporter pointed out that LeGarde had often compared her IMF role with being a member of her synchronized swimming team. I found the incongruity of the comparison striking. I first thought about the human capacity to make connections; it’s almost like the set-up of a joke: How is international monetary policy making like synchronized swimming? Then I thought about...

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New Existentialists

Education and Conformity

10/14/2013
Education and Conformity
I worked a few years at our state mental institution on a unit for people with chronic problems and especially problems of violence, escapism, and sexual predation. Most of these men were relatively low-functioning, and the longer they had been on the unit, typically the lower their level of function: years of isolation and drug treatment made them “safer.” Sometimes we would get a patient as a transfer who did not quite fit the usual bill. We once received a young man apparently because he was large and Black. He never threatened us or tried to run, was compliant, recovered well...

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