Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Teenage Brain

10/28/12. Abigail Baird, Ph.D. and actress Lisa Kudrow discuss the teenage brain at a recent Vassar alumni event.

The Benefits of Practice


"...Practice lets us execute a task while using less and less active brain processing. It makes things automatic. When performers master one aspect of their work, they free their minds to think about another aspect. This may be why many of us have our most creative thoughts while driving or brushing our teeth. Rote learning and conceptual thinking often feed synergistically on each other, freeing our brain capacity for those tasks that require the maximum amount of attention and creativity..."

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Hidden College Crises

10/24/12. The unintended side-effects of affirmative action --- a hidden problem in plain sight. When your temperament does not match your business --- life looks bleak.

"...years of 'happy talk' about the educational value of diversity have obscured a terrible fact:  If you place students who are less academically prepared in classes where most of the students are more academically prepared, the gap will be punishing and possibly humiliating to the less prepared students..."

Friday, October 5, 2012

Book Review: Systematic Psychiatric Evaluation

10/5/12. My book review on Amazon.

Pespectives of Psychiatry --- Don't Leave Home Without Them September 21, 2012

Format:Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase

If you are a mental health clinician - or a consumer - and you want to understand psychiatric disorders --- buy this book.

This book is based on the pioneering work "Perspectives of Psychiatry," by Paul R. McHugh, M.D. and Phillip R. Slavney, M.D. who inject conceptual clarity and the ingredients to understand how life alters minds in a field rife with beliefs, myths, opinions, cultural fads, and cockamamy theories. The core idea of the "Perspectives" is that one single method cannot explain all psychiatric conditions.

Margaret S. Chisolm, M.D. and Constantine G. Lyketsos, M.D. present "A Step-by-Step Guide to Applying 'The Perspectives of Psychiatry." In other words, these authors offer guiding receipes to understand individuals - not using checklists -- but by applying a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation and treatment recommendations from each of the four perspectives: how life can be altered by what a patient HAS (diseases such as schizophrenia), what a patient IS (dimensions that vary along personality traits and intelligence), what a patient DOES (behaviors such as drug addiction), and what a patient ENCOUNTERS (life-story such as grief).

Drs. Chisolm and Lyketsos discuss the concepts behind the "Perspectives" approach, and then present nine case histories, discussing evaluation, differential diagnosis and treatment strategies through the lens of each of the four perspectives.

I have applied this approach for many years in my psychology practice to the benefit of my patients, myself, and my students. I eagerly await the next volume of these guidelines that focuses on understanding the psychiatric disorders of children and adolescents.

Do yourself a favor and learn the ideas in this book --- mental health is a well-known area with much disagreement about what is known well. This book will do much to reduce the muddle-headed and simple-minded approaches to understanding the mind --- replacing this fuzziness with conceptual clarity, comprehensive understandings, and ideas to improve mental health treatments.

Steven J. Ceresnie, Ph.D.