Archives for May, 2011

General

Affirmations for Pessimists

Many years ago, my husband got a whopping case of poison ivy. It covered his entire body. Yes, all of it. And it lasted for months. In the summer. In sweaty Texas. It was horrible. He lost 15 pounds he couldn’t spare, lost sleep, and no lotions or shots helped. Finally (and scientists will roll their eyes but what can I say?) homeopathic pills* knocked it out.

Ever since then, when life is difficult...
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Cognition

Remember “False Memories”?

Comments on my last post about therapy revealed some really lousy therapy experiences. Shocking even. And sad. For all my blind faith in therapy, I’m not blind to the fact that there are crappy therapists out there—some merely ineffectual, some downright dangerous.

Thinking about this brought me back to the the 1990s, when bad therapy was a big topic of discussion surrounding recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse.

Recovered memories are previously repressed memories of...
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Communication

Therapy Dropouts: What We Don’t Know, Why We Should

In the course of looking for research to back up my blind faith in psychotherapy, I came across all sorts of interesting this and that, not all of which put the field of psychotherapy in the best light.

For example, an article titled Negative Effects from Psychological Treatment: A Perspective addresses the fact that while positive effects of therapy have been thoroughly studied:
The study of negative effects—whether due to techniques, client variables,...
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Friends

Worshiping at the Shrine of a Really Good Shrink

I put myself into psychotherapy for the first time when I was a teenager, and have returned at various times over the years when I’ve been overwhelmed by whatever.

But when a friend compared my attitude about therapy to a fundamentalist’s attitude towards religion—implying that it is unyielding and intolerant of questioning—my feelings were hurt.

Eventually, though, I had to concede that she had a point.

My belief in therapy, as long as the therapist is worth a...
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Body Image

When Teens Can’t See Who They Really Are

Sociologist Robert Crosnoe has written a book called Fitting In, Standing Out: Navigating the Social Challenges of High School to Get an Education. The book looks at kids who don’t fit in in high school and the effect that has on their later success. His research found that kids who feel they don't fit in are less likely to go to college.

I heard Crosnoe on a local radio show recently (look for the podcast...
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Personality

Why Does Criticism Carry More Weight Than Praise?

I’m not starved for praise. I do a few things pretty well, and enough people have told me so to keep my ego reasonably healthy.

Why is it, then, that ten instances of praise can be completely canceled out (in my head) by one good criticism?

And by good, I mean on the mark and not stupid. Because, of course, the criticism that hurts the most is the criticism that we know, deep down, is accurate.

Praise is...
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Autism

Women in the Sciences: Fire Up Your Inner Dilbert

Dilbert lives.

The socially awkward engineer is turning up in research labs—and not only as the guy in the lab coat.

Research out of Cornell University and published in the journal of the International Society for Autism Research found that in male university students, systemizing (the skills of math and science) and empathizing (including such social skills as reading nonverbal signals) are on one scale: if they’re good at systemizing they’re not so good...
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