World Notes

Deck the halls with Anxiety, Pain, and Loss


Credit_card_terminal Tis the season! Eating…buying….decorating! The cycle seems endless. First there was Halloween candy, then tom the turkey, and now the little man in the red suit.

The holidays in America represent capitalism in all its grandeur.

Most shopping connoisseurs and major retailers agree that the holiday shopping season officially begins with the day after Thanksgiving; notoriously called Black Friday. This year, Time Magazine, published several articles regarding the topic calling the binge of shopping “a carnival of capitalism.”

The National Retail Federation estimates that the average person spent $365.00 dollars during the Thanksgiving weekend. The scary part? It’s up six-percent from last year.

With all the busyness of the holidays, the anxiety, pain and loss that the season brings is easily overlooked and unacknowledged. For many, the holidays represent a time to spend with loved ones. But for others, memories linger of days past when loved ones were living. Often, this pain is only exacerbated by the expectations of the season of gift giving, cookie making and party-going; resulting in phone calls from the consumer credit companies.

With all the hecticness of the season, and its demands that you BE HAPPY, what can someone in anxiety and pain do?

Continue Reading

Carl Rogers' legacy of human dignity


Recently, Time Magazine compiled a list of the twenty-five most powerful and influenential women of the century. And, to no surprise, Mother Teresa ranks in at the top.

A Roman Catholic nun, known for her symbolic simple white garb with blue stripes, Mother Teresa brought the values of human dignity and intrinsic worth to one of the most impoverished places on earth, working with the sick and the dying.  Teresa, named at birth Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, undoubtedly revolutionized a world by her humble example and unselfish love to the dying, the sick, and abandoned in Calcutta, India.

As I read about Mother Teresa, I was reminded of another Nobel Peace Prize nominee, one who brought the values of human dignity and intrinsic worth to the psyche, bringing the idea of self-determination and presence into the both the therapists office and everyday life. 

Carl Rogers We are nearing what would have been the 108th birthday of Carl Rogers, and he deserves to be celebrated as much as Mother Teresa – and for many of the same reasons. 

Rogers, a true revolutionary and pioneer, looked at human nature through the lens of hope, promise, and positivism. Rogers was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize (an award Mother Teresa won) in 1987 for his work in South Africa and Ireland in conflict resolution. His scholarly work, nearly as influential as that of Sigmund Freud, introduced the concept of research to the world of psychotherapy and brought the revolutionary person-centered approach to psychology, education, organizations and communities.

Roger’s believed in affirming a person’s basic worth; without judgment, doing so in the form of unconditional positive regard. Perhaps nothing describes Roger’s and his theoretical work more than his renowned book, Client-centered Therapy: Its Current Practice, Implications and Theory. In this piece, Rogers describes the nineteen core tenets of his theory regarding the human person, their worth and the therapeutic environment.

Continue Reading

Prescription drug abuse is on the rise among teens. Why? Because they're prescribed so much more.


Hand o' drugs A legal high – there is a way to get one and most likely the teen in your life knows exactly how to do it and where to get their supply. Their doctor. 

A recent study states that the supply is increasing.

Young adults and adolescents are being prescribed more medications to deal with “ailments” like insomnia and anxiety that have been shown to be best managed with diet, exercise and lifestyle choices. But we all have the option of taking a pill instead of making these life changes ... at least that’s what the ads say.

As a result the types of prescriptions (also known as controlled medications) that are most commonly abused by teens include stimulants, opioid, sleeping aids, and sedative or anxiety medications. All of these are available via a doctor’s prescription for pain, insomnia and anxiety.

A study published in the November 2010 issue of Pediatrics found that between 1994 and 2007 the rates for prescriptions of controlled medication doubled from 8.3 to 16.1 percent for teens 15 - 19 years old, and from 6.4 to 11.2 percent for young adults 20-29 years old. The increase was across the board and not influenced by age or gender. Prescriptions were available at multiple medical setting, emergency rooms, ambulatory office and for physical or non-physical (psychological) visits.

Continue Reading

The psychological impact of suburban poverty could be big


Suburban home When we think of suburban areas of the United States, we think of white picket fences, generous green lawns and kids playing hopscotch. The suburbs aren’t always the richest areas of the country, but they’re the most elite:  inhabited by the people who rose above traditional neighborhoods and landed in communities of choice.

It’s an outdated notion, if it was ever true.  During the Great Recession things are quite different for many suburban families. “Suburban Poverty” is now a phenomenon commented upon in newspapers and magazines.  Food and clothing shelters have come to suburbs that never had them before, and existing ones serving suburban areas have seen exponential growth in places like the suburbs of Cleveland, Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, and Atlanta. 

In some ways, Suburban poverty is very different from what we still think of as “regular” poverty:  most suburbs aren’t walkable and don’t have effective public transportation, meaning the suburban poor must still have cars.  The schools are often more genteel.  But in other ways “suburban poverty” is just “poverty” with an adjective. 

The question no one has the answer to:  will suburban poverty have the same psychological impact on children and adults that urban poverty does? 

Continue Reading

Thanksgiving Gratitude 365 days a year


Obama_ThanksGiving_Turkey_Pardon_2009 This is a time of year when the word “gratitude” receives a lot of press, but if we’re honest about the way most of us spend the holiday, Thanksgiving is really all about the turkey, retail sales, and getting together with the family we hardly ever see. 

We’re selling gratitude short.  It’s not just a “feel good” measure – expressing gratitude actually does make you feel better.  It can also help you be healthier and live longer.  This Thanksgiving let’s walk through the scientific research and spiritual traditions that highlight gratitude’s importance.

Social scientists and psychologists have conducted research that supports the practice of gratitude. Robert Emmons has made it his professional life path to study the effects of living in gratitude. After interviewing over 1000 people who took part in the study by completing daily gratitude journals and by incorporating daily gratitude practices, Emmons found that there were overwhelming benefits for living in gratitude.

Continue Reading

Sanitation counts


Decorative_toilet_seat Be honest:  did YOU celebrate World Toilet Day on Nov. 19? 

This may be something that is off your radar, but there are billions of people without safe and clean toilets. Toilets are a bit of a taboo and ewwwww subject ... but this is a serious and dangerous issue that is linked to millions of deaths every year.  Worlwide Diarrhea is the second biggest killer of children under the age of five:  providing children access to sanitary, safe, facilities reduces such deaths by 40 percent. 

Continue Reading

High school's Faustian bargain: academic success can lead to lonliness


Girl reading Many youth make it through high school with a shelf full of trophies and awards. There’s not much that would make the average parent more proud of their child than to see their names listed on the honor roll at school or to be valedictorian.

For some youth - especially some minorities - being a shiny success in academics leads to many lonely days.

Continue Reading

Education doesn't start with teachers


Classroom_Urumqi_No_1_high_School It seems every week now, local school districts and state and federal governments are announcing cuts on educational budgets with the ultimate impact on our children and their greatest resource; their minds.

Some people think they have better ideas.  Bill Gates, founder and former chairman of Microsoft Corporation, has been one of the most outspoken critics on educational reform in the wake of budget cuts. In the wake of stimulus money running out in school district, Gates has urged school budget officials to compensate based on teacher excellence; not on seniority or education. And, more importantly, to reward teachers based on their ability to control classrooms, educate troubled children, and include families in the process of educating their youngsters.

This agenda for schools assumes, however, that teachers can control the most significant variables impacting a child’s performance in school.  Is this really the case? 

Continue Reading

The search for meaning is NOT a mental illness!


Something is wrong in the world of psychiatry. DSM 4

It’s not just that the new edition of the medical profession’s Bible, the DSM 5, was originally due to be released in 2012, but has now been delayed to 2013. 

It’s that the whole reason a new DSM is deemed necessary is that we’ve made recent advances in neuroscience, molecular biology, and brain imagining.  You CAN’T have a diagnostic manual that doesn’t represent brain imaging! 

The trouble with this rational is:  there is not a single biological test that will be included in the diagnostic criteria sets of the DSM-V. So we need a manual about mental illness that includes our knowledge of biology and neuroscience, but we’re not actually going to include these things in the final result.

It seems the methodology of the psychiatric Bible is not as seamless as its proponents would like us to believe.

Continue Reading

Do parents know that antibiotics for kids sometimes do more harm than good?


The last thing parents want to see is their child in pain – and the pain and discomfort of an ear infection is a time of sadness, sleeplessness nights and worry for everyone.  But it is possible to make a bad thing worse. 

Most of the time, the parents’ immediate response is to see a physician who will then make the make their own “immediate” decision for treatment – usually antibiotics.  For many years the first line of treatment for ear infections in children has been a full regimen of pills for 7-14 days. Children usually get better, but at what cost?  

A recent research study published in the November 17th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) explores the cost/benefit of using this traditional treatment method, and what the researchers found reinforced previous studies on antibiotic use for treating ear infections:  don’t do it.

Continue Reading

Share this


Don't miss a thing - follow Saybrook on social media

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn YouTube Google Plus