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29 Sep

Now you too can start a “Psychiatric ‘Lemonade’ Stand” Like Lucy in Peanuts.  Impress your friends and family, treat that obnoxious anxiety triggered by late night graduate school papers…


(Note: This product is meant for amusement only…not to be taken seriously.  Avoid counter-transference, multiple roles, and use at your own risk.)


Bullying: Mental/Physical Abuse and Harassment …

29 Sep

Bullying, in many ways, is the last “acceptable” form of mental/physical abuse.  Parents, eager to support a child as an adult against workplace harassment and discrimination, view that same harassment and discrimination IN the school system as “kids just being kids.”  Then, once those same children grow up, we as a society are shocked that these “now adults” expect to get away with harassment or assault for minor slights – club/college brawls, road rage, etc.  Moreover, victims of bullying have little recourse.  Reporting abuse/harassment to school administration may result in the perpetrators receiving “detention” or suspension (and possibly eventual expulsion); however, the initial perception of detention as a “slap-on-the-wrist” often causes the bully to retaliate later against the victim.  The victim, having not been protected by the system, resolves self to not report future incidents out of fear of escalation.

There needs to be extensive research into appropriate consequences/deterrents to Bullying behavior.  Some consequences such as involving authorities early on, may be seen as extreme by parents seeking to protect the bully; however, I personally feel that addressing the seriousness of such actions early may have 2 distinct benefits: (1) prevention of escalated retaliation/protection of the victim, and (2) emphasis on the seriousness of harassing/abusive behaviors in the public setting – behaviors that as an adult will not be ignored as “kids-being-kids” and could result in jail time.

The following are a series of resources for victims of Bullying:

  1. National Bullying Prevention Center
  2. Stop Bullying. Gov
  3. Resources to Help Stop Bullying by Ellen Degeneres – including The Trevor Project, Pacer Center, and GLSEN (among others)
  4. Free Anti-Bullying Lesson Resources – Power Points, Lesson Plans, etc.

The National Association of School Psychologists has the following to say about Bullying:

Bullying is a widespread problem in our schools and communities. The behavior encompasses physical aggression, threats, teasing, and harassment. Although it can lead to violence, bullying typically is not categorized with more serious forms of school violence involving weapons, vandalism, or physical harm.  It is, however, an unacceptable anti-social behavior that is learned through influences in the environment, e.g., home, school, peer groups, even the media.  As such, it also can be unlearned or, better yet, prevented. (Cohn & Canter, 2003)

(Click the Quote for the complete article by: Andrea Cohn, and Andrea Canter, PhD, NCSP)

Randomness and Life…Myfitnesspal, a tool 4 self-awareness

7 Apr

Ok, this has nothing to do with counseling in a traditional sense.  In counseling, the counselor seeks to promote “mindfulness” or awareness of cause/effect.  Awareness can relate to eating habits, sleep patterns  (as in the ZEO product I discuss HERE), and/or mental/emotional awareness (through meditation and reflection), etc.

My fitness pal is a website (and an Iphone app) that lets users keep track of caloric intake, nutrition, and water consumption.  It also calculates (based on height/weight/activity level) the suggested calorie consumption to promote weight loss.  It’s completely free.  I was not contacted to review their site, and am not receiving compensation.

Physical health is tied to mental health and can influence depression, high blood pressure, anxiety, and dysfunctional coping strategies.  Since joining I’ve lost 7lbs:) (and goodness knows I haven’t hit the exercising/dieting hard).  Having the Iphone app also makes it easier to make decisions when eating out at fast food places (as you can see the values and select one based on your plan).  Unlike other programs (that will not be named), it is free.  Which makes it not so much a diet, as a change in behavior/habit.  Lifestyle changes are sustainable.  Diets, are not.

Counseling is about making small lifestyle changes that build to make larger impacts.  For myself, this meant using an Iphone app as a tool for mindfulness.  It makes me wonder what other resources to promote mindfulness are available that could be used to support client/individual interventions.

Stress, Anxiety, and Health

6 Apr

Click HERE for a video by Dr. Manny on the effects of stress and anxiety on physical health.

According to WebMd, there are many different types of anxiety diagnoses.  Anxiety is a mental illness with physical, social, emotional, and psychological repercussions.  In high stress situations (such as work and graduate school), stress can trigger physiological reactions promoting anxiety reactions.

How do I deal with stress?  Well, making a list of things that decrease stress can be a start.  Hobbies, mini “breaks,” exercise, and proper nutrition can all aid in decreasing anxiety.  Moreover, small steps (such as decreasing caffeine consumption 4 hours before bed) can help improve sleep quality and enable the mind to manage stress productively.  If sleep quality is consistently low, you may want to go to a sleep center to see if you have a sleep disorder.  Sleep disorders have physiological and psychological consequences and can even mimic or cause symptoms such as: fatigue, depression, high blood pressure, etc.

The body is a complex system.  It is important to start with small interventions/actions to treat stress and anxiety and then build to more medical and/or psychological treatments.  Medical does not necessarily equal medicine.  It can mean discovering a sleep disorder – like sleep apnea – and using a machine to improve oxygen flow or REM quality.  There is even a product called ZEO that measures sleep patterns to help you improve sleep quality, and notice patterns that may be warning signs.  Click the picture to check out ZEO.  Click HERE to watch the video by Dr. Manny on the effects of stress.


Hysteria, Victorian Treatments and the Clit

4 Apr

One of the blogs I love to follow is called The Mary Sue, and it’s about geek stuff/coverage specifically geared to geek-ettes.  Normally, the facts/tidbits would not relate to counseling and psychology; but I HAD to repost this comic on the previous treatment of Hysteria.  Clicking the link in bold links to the source comic.  Please be warned, the drawing of the clitoris even in comic form may be NSFW – clicking the image will bring you to the original post.  All credit for the original coverage of this comic goes to The Mary Sue.

The comic itself is by Jess Fink at deviant art – Click HERE to view the artists comments and original posting of the art.

It covers how hysteria was used to label the female libido and the resulting “treatments.”

Graduate School Pursuits….to M.S. or go straight for the PhD.

15 Mar

Not everyone going to graduate school realizes that you do not necessarily NEED to pursue a Masters prior to going for a PhD.  In fact, in some cases (career goals etc.) the PhD may be necessary “end-goal.”  However, before you run straight to the college entrance people to see the requirements for your degree of choice, there are some pros and cons to bypassing a Masters.


1) Shorter time in school and therefore less debt

2) Higher pay due to level of education


1) Graduate work is VASTLY different than undergraduate (and this is coming from someone at the Masters level), don’t overwhelm yourself with too much too soon or you may not complete the degree.

2) A PhD or PsyD takes longer to complete than a Masters (4-5 years instead of 2-3).  Having the ability to sustain pace and to financially support the completion of the degree should be considered.  If you get halfway through the PhD and have to dropout due to a financial crisis, you will have no degree to show for it.  On the other hand, if you complete the M.S, some of your courses may transfer to the PhD (if they are in the same field).

3) If you are making a career change, it would be better to get a M.S. and work in the field for a year or two to be sure you enjoy the work.  No matter how much you think you know about a job, it never compares to actually doing the work.  It would be horrible to spend 5years (post undergrad) only to find you despise your new vocation.


Personal preference is to go for the Masters first.  The only instance in which I would have felt comfortable bypassing the M.S. would have been if money was no object.   The household would have to be 100% secure without the potential graduate student’s income so that if the student could not work the degree would not be at risk.  Additionally, the individual should have experience in the field he or she is pursuing, so there is knowledge about the career that will result from the degree.  Finally, the person bypassing the Masters must be prepared to work harder than ever and to play catch up on academic writing.  The PhD dissertation process is much more involved than simply writing a “long” paper.  Research that process before making a decision.