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February 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Have Professional Schools Helped or Hurt Psychology?

APA Morgan Sammons compares the training of professional psychologists with that of other health professions, and notes that most students in professional psychology take five post baccalaureate years to complete the PsyD degree and over six years to complete the PhD. He suggests there is a fundamental misalignment between the goals of training programs and the goals of entering students: the former aim to train educators or investigators, while the latter are seeking training as clinicians. This misalignment has resulted in development of the PsyD degree and the proliferation of professional training programs.

Has the professional school movement advanced professional psychology by providing the kind of training clinical and counseling students desire and need, or has it hurt the profession by producing too many psychologists for the market to absorb?

Read the Review

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Curiosity in the Clinical Setting

APA Todd Kashdan dives deep into exploring the research and application of one of the key human character strengths, curiosity, in his book Curious? Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life. In his PsycCRITIQUES review of the book, Grant Rich notes that, according to Kashdan, "the 'big five' benefits of curiosity are health, intelligence, meaning and purpose in life, social relationships, and happiness."

Considering these enormous benefits and the significant potential of using curiosity in a more structured way in the clinical setting, why do you suppose this construct has not been more well researched over the decades? It is now in the wake of the science called "positive psychology" that curiosity is receiving wider study and more appropriate coverage. Curiosity seems to be a natural bedfellow with clinical psychologists who often query their clients with comments like, "I'm curious about the pain you experienced in that situation," and "I'll be curious to hear what happens with that homework exercise when we meet next week."

How could curiosity have flown so far under the radar of empiricists, scientists, and scholarly clinicians interested in formalizing interventions? Have you ever tried to directly increase a client's curiosity level? For what purpose?

Read the Review
ReviewNo Flotation Tank? Read This Book
By Grant J. Rich
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2009 Vol 54(48)

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Man, Woman, and Other: The Fluidity of Sex and Gender

APA The symbolic interactionist perspective has held that identity is fluid and in part based on how individuals or groups believe that they are perceived by others. We frequently discuss the creation of identity when considering race, ethnicity, nationality, etc; however, we seem to have only recently confronted the fluidity of sex and gender head on.

The discussion of sex and gender continues across the globe and in virtually every community, with different perspectives, attitudes, requirements, and levels of acceptance and practice created. In reviewing Allah Made Us: Sexual Outlaws in an Islamic African City, Sheilah F. Clarke-Ekong notes:

So we move 6,000 miles and find additional support, according to Gaudio, for the argument "that gender, sexuality, and other identities should be seen as practices rather than essences, as things people do (doing the deed) rather than things people are. The idea that identity is practiced, or performed encourages us to think about identities as fluid and variable, neither static nor fixed" (p. 65).
What does it mean to be a "real man" if your behaviors signal feminine to others?

As the preeminent behavioral discipline, have we as psychologists held the discussions and developed the evidence that allows us to speak on these issues with confidence? What is our role in assisting the public in understanding and accepting the fluidity of these constructs, as well as other constructed identities of the societies in which we live?

Read the Review
ReviewThe Dynamics of Identity and Maleness in an African City
By Sheilah F. Clarke-Ekong
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2010 Vol 55(3)

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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