There is a concept in the psychological literature known as locus of control that is unfamiliar to most people, even though, once defined, is probably commonly understood. Locus of control is an individual's belief system regarding the causes of his or her experiences and the factors to which that person attributes success or failure.
This category contains all articles that have been sent out in our monthly Newsletter.
Filter by article categories:
…for every time a client apologized for saying something to me in a session that s/he thought was "weird", "odd", "nutty," "bizarre," "unacceptable," or "psycho," that was absolutely nothing of the kind…
A common and strongly held belief on the part of mental health professionals and others is that everyone needs to express their feelings following a traumatic event in order to recover from its effects. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 in New York City, many organizations urged or even required their employees to attend mandatory group sessions in order to help the healing process. Many found that sharing their feelings and listening to the feelings of others to be helpful. Some, however, found it unhelpful or, in fact, harmful in their efforts to cope with the event in their own way. Simply put, not everyone copes with the effects of trauma in the same way and so should not feel compelled to talk about it if they wish not to.
Several years ago, I was invited to teach a course in the doctoral program at the school of social work where I earned my own doctorate; an honor I was eager to accept. The course I was to teach was similar to one that I had taken earlier as a student in the program.
It is commonly understood in our society that depression is a disorder of epidemic proportions that too often is unrecognized, misdiagnosed, or improperly treated. The symptoms can run the gamut from headaches and chest pains to memory loss and extreme apathy. Many people with physical symptoms of one kind or another never realize that their complaints emanate from depression. As a result, many depressed people never bring their problems to medical attention and those who do typically see doctors who are not specialists in mental health.
Researchers have long been aware that happier people tend to be in better health than those who are persistently stressed, hostile, or pessimistic. In a study of nearly 3,000 healthy British adults, lead by Dr. Andrew Steptoe of University College London, researchers found that those who reported upbeat moods had lower levels of cortisol – a "stress" hormone that, when chronically elevated, may contribute to high blood pressure, abdominal obesity and dampened immune function, among other problems.
I recently volunteered at a local soup kitchen in New York City. This one is sponsored by a Unitarian Church and has had a weekly lunch program for the past twenty years. Each Friday, approximately 160 residents or "guests" from the local community come for an extraordinarily hefty lunch prepared by volunteers from throughout the City. While some guests are homeless, most are welfare recipients and people who simply have too much month left at the end of their money and who need most of their limited funds for rent.
Half of Americans surveyed in a recent poll said they or their families had suffered from depression and 43 percent say they believed depression is a personal weakness, according to the National Mental Health Association. The poll results suggest that too many Americans still do not realize that depression is a disease that can be treated.
As a clinical social work psychotherapist, I am often asked a number of very understandable and meaningful questions by clients: “How exactly do people change?” “How will I know when I am really different?” Questions like these often provide an excellent opportunity to clarify the objectives of the treatment. This will help both clinician and client keep a sharp eye on the process so that the goal of eventual change is not lost.
Discrimination: How well do you discriminate between fact and fiction?
Are you aware of subtleties or innuendos when communicating with others?
How correct are your perceptions?
Do you gather data before making a decision?