Archive | April, 2013

“The universe is made up of stories, not

29 Apr

“The universe is made up of stories, not atoms.” (Poet Muriel Rukeyser)

Children and Divorce

26 Apr

The good news is that only a small minority of children have serious problems after parental divorce and become troubled adults as a result of it, according to Scientific American Mind (2013, 24, 1, pp 68-69), Those who have experienced psychological damage have probably been exposed to high parental conflict and poorer parenting during and after the divorce as well negative post divorce outcomes such as decreased economic stability and social support. 

ADHD Epidemic

23 Apr

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the diagnostic rate for ADHD has increased by 41% in the USA over the last 10 years. One explanation is that physicians too freely prescribe for mild behavioral and concentration problems. (The Week, April 19, 2013, p.21)

Another possibility was presented in the April 12, 2013, conference at the University of Indianapolis: “Because your mind has a brain of your own.” It seems that many young animals display behaviors similar to children with ADHD when they are play deprived. Perhaps the long hours spent sitting in the schoolroom plus the time spent studying at home plus the time spent in front of computer and TV screens at home are contributors. Outside play time, especially rough and tumble play for boys, might help.

Mind-Brain Connection

19 Apr

Last Friday, April 12. I attended a day’s workshop entitled “Because your mind has a brain of its own: The relevance of neuroscience for psychodynamic theory and practice.” It presented the latest information and speculations about the relationships between brain, mind, and emotional problems. Most interesting to me was the growing evidence that psychotherapy, more specifically psychodynamic and cognitive behavioral therapies, can change the brain itself.

More about teens in Casual Vacancy

16 Apr

In J.K. Rowling’s Casual Vacancy (2012), there are five major adolescent characters. There is Andrew who is physically abused by his father and unprotected by his mother’s denial of the brutality. His best friend, Fats, leads him astray by his seemingly sophisticated cynicism and intellectualized underestimation of the pitfalls of real life, which he pursues in the name of authenticity. Fats grew up without challenged by peers and parents. His peers were too impressed and intimidated by his biting tongue; His overprotective mother blocked his emotionally ill father’s attempts to set limits. Gaia is left out by her social worker mother’s devotion to rescuing others and efforts to hook a husband who doesn’t want to be hooked. Her cry to her mother,” What about me?,” said it all. Her beauty is both and asset and liability with peers, especially boys. Sukhvinder’s lack of beauty is a definite hindrance, especially with Fats, who turns his virulent wit relentlessly toward her. His verbal abuse and the coldness of her parents, her mother in particular, were instrumental in her self-injurious cutting.

The most central teen is Krystal, who is trying to find ways to grow up under the influence of her drug- addicted , promiscuous, and abysmally inadequate mother. In spite of her valiant attempts to save herself and her little brother and connect, however marginally, with others, she fails and commits suicide after her brother drowns. He dies after wandering off while she was trying to make a baby with Fats so that she might receive community financial support to make a home for herself, her baby, and her brother.

What came of the deaths of Krystal and her brother were turning points for the other teenagers. Gaia’s mother finally paid attention to her. Fats found out the real life could be cruel and was able to use his father’s parenting.   Anthony found hope for the future .Sukhvinder , who had dived into the water to try to save the little boy, gained status with her mother and peers because of her courage and attempts to follow through with tribute to Krystal’s strengths. 

Too bad it had to happen that way.

Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy

14 Apr

J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy (2012) is her first novel for adults and has been well received. Again, she shows an impressive grasp of adolescent psychology. Her most fully realized characters in this novel are five teenagers. Trying to grow up, they struggle with their severely flawed parents as well as one another’s inabilities to give full mutual support, mostly because they are too busy with their own attempts to find ways to develop and because they are very young.


11 Apr

“Studies on placebos for depression show … that they can reproduce more than 80% of the positive effects of antidepressants.” (Scientific American Mind, 2013, 24, 1,  p. 34.)

Perils of Divorce for Kids

8 Apr

Researchers have consistently found that high levels of parental conflict during and after divorce are associated with poorer adjustment in children. (Scientific American Mind, 2013, 24, 1, P. 68)


5 Apr

“Mindfulness is a mental mode of being engaged in the present moment without evaluation or emotionally reacting to it. Hundreds of articles lay out evidence showing that training to become more mindful reduces psychological stress and improves both mental and physical health.”  Scientific American Mind, 2013 , 24, 1, P. 28)  Mindfulness is often achieved through meditation.

More about Sleep

2 Apr

The average time it takes most people to fall asleep is 15 minutes. (Scientific American Mind, 2013, 24, 1, p. 12.)