Reviewed Books & Films

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July 2009

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Is Suicidal Behavior Being Effectively Assessed and Managed?

APA In his review of Suicidal Behavior by Richard McKeon, Marc Hillbrand notes the call for "solid foundational training in the assessment and management of suicidal behavior, on-going continuing education on suicidality, along with supervision and consultation (Maris, Berman, Silverman, Bongar, 2000)."

In your opinion, what does "solid foundational training in the assessment and management of suicidal behavior" consist of? To what extent are PhD and PsyD programs preparing psychologists to address this issue in professional practice?

Read the Review
ReviewSaving Lives
By Marc Hillbrand
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2009 Vol 54(29)

Thursday, July 09, 2009

What Is Psychology's Role in Debates About Causes of and Treatments for Autism?

APA In Stuart W. G. Derbyshire’s review of Defeating Autism: A Damaging Delusion by Michael Fitzpatrick, he quotes the author's criticisms of the unorthodox biomedical movement that "seeks to redefine autism as an epidemic disease caused by vaccines or some other, as yet unidentified, environmental factor (p. xv)." Although the link between autism and vaccinations is presented as a controversial issue by some, there appears to be little controversy within the mainstream medical community. Mainstream physicians and scientists do not support the autism-vaccine link, or the use of unorthodox treatments on the grounds of insufficient empirical evidence. Derbyshire calls the unorthodox biomedical movement "a divisive and destructive force that threatens to derail autism research and undermine the quality of life that children with autism can enjoy." Furthermore, he describes a level of reluctance on the part of scientists to openly challenge pseudoscientific claims regarding the causes of autism because of "fear that a frank debate may not be effective, may alienate parents and patients, or may undermine access to funding."

Do you agree that there is reluctance among scientists to speak out against pseudoscientific claims related to autism? What may be the reasons for this reluctance, in addition to those cited by Derbyshire? What role should psychologists take in addressing claims of an autism-vaccine link and within the debate about unorthodox treatment?

Read the Review
ReviewUnorthodox Theories of Autism Are Wrong and Inhuman
By Stuart W. G. Derbyshire
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2009 Vol 54(24)

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Is Genius Mad?

APA One of the long-standing debates in discussions relating to psychopathology, clinical psychology, developmental psychology, and creativity surrounds the relationship between mental illness and creativity. Indeed, there is some connection but to what extent are they related? Is there a typical psychological makeup or certain diagnoses to which this link is most prominent? Which comes first: madness or genius? Does one cause the other? One individual that has forged ahead in examining these issues over the decades is creativity researcher and luminary Dean Keith Simonton. In his review of two documentary films that offer some insight on these issues, Between Madness and Art: The Prinzhorn Collection and Hidden Gifts: The Mystery of Angus MacPhee, Simonton begins the exploration with some questions of his own: "First, is genius born or made? Second, does a high IQ a genius make? And third, is genius mad?"

How would you respond to these questions? What research supports your perspective? Do you have any clinical case examples that support your views?

Read the Review
ReviewHow Thin Is the Partition? Where Does It Reside?
By Dean Keith Simonton
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2009 Vol 54(26)

Editor of PsycCRITIQUES

Danny Wedding, PhD

Chair of Behavioral Sciences,
College of Medicine,
American University of Antigua

Associate Editors of PsycCRITIQUES

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