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posticon Interesting Opinion Column about Mental Illness from New York Times, March 15, 2019

A mental health diagnosis is just a label but doesn't really explain all of the biological, psychological, social, and cultural factors which contribute to the suffering described as a "mental illness." In this New York Times column (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/15/opinion/preventing-mental-illness.html), author Lisa Pryor writes "when something is wrong we would do well to ask not just, 'What is my diagnosis?' but instead, 'What is my formulation?'" A case formulation reframes the diagnostic label as a story that explains the unique "predisposing, precipitating, perpetuating and protective factors" and points to what kind of treatment can be helpful to alleviate the suffering.

posticon We won GENDA in New York!

Great news just out on January 15, 2019: the New York State Legislature passed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) as well as legislation protecting LGBTQ youth from the dangerous and debunked practice of so-called "conversion therapy." You can read more about this in an article on the Human Rights Campaign's website here: https://www.hrc.org/blog/historic-ny-legislature-passes-gender-expression-non-discrimination-act-ban?link_id=0&can_id=de48490b5d8d8145035a6faecc9e5c84&source=email-update-we-won-genda-in-new-york&email_referrer=email_481175&email_subject=update-we-won-genda-in-new-york

posticon Statement of APA President in Response to Shooting at Pittsburgh Synagogue

Following is a statement by Jessica Henderson Daniel, PhD, president of the American Psychological Association, in response to the shooting on October 27, 2018 at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh.

“We are horrified and heartbroken by this terrible crime and send our thoughts of compassion to the victims, their families and first responders, several of whom were also injured, and to the larger Jewish community.

“Hate crimes are the most extreme expression of prejudice. Compared to other crimes, hate crimes have a more destructive impact on victims and communities because they target core aspects of our identity as human beings. 

“People victimized by violent hate crimes are likely to experience more intense psychological distress than victims of other violent crimes. These can take the form of post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety and anger.

“Hate crimes also send the message to members of the victim’s group that they are unwelcome in the community, decreasing feelings of safety and security. Furthermore, witnessing discrimination against one’s own group can lead to psychological distress and lower self-esteem.

“The American Psychological Association urges those who are experiencing trauma in the aftermath of this tragedy to take care of yourselves. Connect with family and friends, talk about your feelings and limit your exposure and that of your children to news media. Remember that professional help is available.

“As always, APA supports the efforts of researchers, law enforcement, clinicians, teachers and policymakers to reduce the prevalence of hate crimes and to alleviate their effects upon victims.”

posticon Trans people #WontBeErased

Today is October 29, 2018, so it's already over a week since the U.S. presidential administration released its proposed rule for legally defining sex as biological under Title IX. I know this has many trans people and allies worried, and for good reason--but I also want to share some hope from Mara Kiesling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality.
"In the name of preempting some misinformation, let’s talk about what this proposed rule would not do. It would not eliminate the precedents set by dozens of federal courts over the last two decades affirming the full rights and identities of transgender people. It would not undo the consensus of the medical providers and scientists across the globe who see transgender people, know transgender people, and urge everyone to accept us for who we are. And no rule—no administration—can erase the experiences of transgender people and our families. While foolish, this proposed rule deflates itself in the face of the facts, and the facts don’t care how the Trump administration feels."
Here's a link to her full statement: https://transequality.org/press/releases/in-response-to-the-new-york-times-october-21-story-trump-administration-eyes-defining?fbclid=IwAR3dDuK5mEVMv-STijY2jqOFRA4rBCoMFqEMO3W9ODeI9BeLfijkVpwlT3M

posticon Dangers and Pitfalls of Online Therapy -- Posted September 6, 2018 in Vice News

Since you're looking at my website, you may be considering therapy and trying to choose between getting therapy in person, and getting therapy online. Here's an excellent article written by Boulder, CO psychologist Dana Charatan that explains the dangers and pitfalls of online therapy, and published in Vice News: https://tonic.vice.com/en_us/article/gy344w/a-psychologists-take-on-why-online-therapy-isnt-as-effective-as-the-real-thing

posticon Men Won't Talk About Depression, But Will They Use Apps? -- posted September 6, 2018 by CNET

Here's an interesting article in CNET that talks about men's hidden depression, and about the pros and cons of available mobile apps that could help. "Men are less likely than women to discuss mental health issues and far more likely to attempt suicide. Can mobile apps help men save their own lives?" You can read the article here: https://www.cnet.com/news/men-wont-talk-about-depression-and-its-literally-killing-them/

posticon Joint Public Statement by Psychology Groups on U.S. Immigration Policies and Practices, July 3, 2018

I'm appalled at the current U.S. immigration policies on so many levels. I'm proud that many psychology organizations have taken a strong stand against the policies, and pleased to bring to your attention one such statement, which is very powerful. Here are the first two paragraphs of the statement:
As psychology groups committed to social justice, we find it necessary to comment on the ongoing and ever-changing policies that serve to dehumanize immigrants, asylum-seekers, and their families in the U.S. Although the June 20, 2018 executive order halts the unconscionable practice of separating immigrant children from their parents, it is critical that the current Administration take the necessary steps to expeditiously reunite those families that have already suffered separation, and acknowledge and respond to the pain and suffering these cruel immigration practices have created on families and communities.
At the core, we strongly stand against any policy that criminalizes parents fleeing poverty, violence, and political persecution in search of a safe and better life for their children and that is more frequently resulting in immoral “zero-tolerance” practices.
You can read the whole statement here: http://helenneville1.wixsite.com/website-1.

posticon Registration is Now Open for the Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference

The Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference will take place August 2-4, 2018 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Center City Philadelphia. Registration is now open and the registration deadline is July 31, 2018. This is a wonderful conference for trans people, allies, and providers, so if you are anywhere on the spectrum of gender queer, or if you love or work with someone who is, I highly recommend going to this conference. This is the 17th year of the conference, which strives to educate and empower trans individuals, allies, and providers on issues of health and well-being. Click here to learn more and register: https://www.mazzonicenter.org/trans-wellness?utm_source=transphlorg&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=2018

posticon The "dominant biomedical narrative of depression" is based on "biased and selective use of research outcomes"

I have long held the perspective that psychological distress comes more from environmental factors such as maltreatment, abuse, oppression, victimization, etc, than from biological factors such as brain chemical imbalances. And I also practice Nonviolent Communication, a philosophy that everyone's needs matter (and distress arises from unmet needs). So I enjoyed reading this article from The Guardian titled "Is everything you think you know about depression wrong?" by Johann Hari: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jan/07/is-everything-you-think-you-know-about-depression-wrong-johann-hari-lost-connections. Here's his concluding paragraph: "If you are depressed and anxious, you are not a machine with malfunctioning parts. You are a human being with unmet needs. The only real way out of our epidemic of despair is for all of us, together, to begin to meet those human needs – for deep connection, to the things that really matter in life."

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