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October 2012

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Helping Introverts Live With Extraverts

APA It's not easy being an introvert, at least not for me. Excess stimulation that disturbs the introvert's brain is difficult to avoid. Socially, people talk continuously and often simultaneously, and do not seem to listen to each other. Interruption is acceptable. "Extraverts seem to be everywhere," as Robert Furey says in his review of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. The book author, Susan Cain, estimates that one third to one half of the population are introverts, but that we (including me) think the proportion is smaller. We introverts are a minority and must either avoid social contract or cope with the noisy majority. When I confess my introversion, I am told that I really don't seem shy. I try to explain the difference, but do that quickly before the extraverts take over.

So what can we do? Furey suggests that we can mimic the style of extraverts, but that just adds to the noise, creating more stress. Confronting the extravert style also is stressful and not good for social relations. Are there suggestions for helping us introverts live with the extravert majority?

Read the Review
ReviewGentle Power: The Positive Psychology of Introversion
By Robert Furey
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2012 Vol 57(39)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Can Freud's Writings Contribute to 21st-Century Psychology?

APA Simon Boag wrote an enthusiastic review of The Letters of Sigmund Freud and Otto Rank: Inside Psychoanalysis, and the review will be read by thousands of psychologists and psychology students. However, it is probably safe to say that Freud's work is more influential in literature and history graduate programs than in mainstream psychology. In addition, overall interest in Freud and psychoanalysis is waning, as suggested by these two Google Books Ngram views:

Google Books Ngram — Sigmund Freud    |    Google Books Ngram — Psychoanalysis
Google Books Ngram — Sigmund Freud Google Books Ngram — Psychoanalysis

[Click on the images to see them full size.]

Do the 19th- and early 20th-century writings of Sigmund Freud contribute anything meaningful to the science and practice of psychology in the 21st century?

Read the Review
ReviewFreud, Patricide, and the Birth of the Hero
By Simon Boag
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2012 Vol 57(39)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Human Rights Violations and People With Mental Disabilities: Causes and Remedies

APA In the book International Human Rights and Mental Disability Law: When the Silenced Are Heard, author Michael Perlin makes a forceful argument that in spite of international agreements intended to ensure human rights for people with mental disabilities, these rights are routinely violated. Among the key factors, he points to social attitudes called "sanism" (an attitudinal bias like homophobia) and "pretextuality" (referring to the ways courts offer client representation without authentic implementation; for instance, a court may provide inadequate counsel to achieve a preconceived goal of confinement while appearing to meet legal requirements).

Reviewer Julian Rappaport discusses what Perlin views as the antidote for these damaging social attitudes and practices—"therapeutic jurisprudence"—which seeks to illuminate the importance of "voice, validation, and voluntariness" through appropriate legal representation in the courts and ultimately allows people with mental disabilities to actualize their basic human rights.

Do you agree or disagree with Perlin that there is widespread violation of the rights of people with mental disabilities? Have you seen the impacts of sanism and pretextuality in your work, and do you agree/disagree they are major contributing factors to the unfair treatment of the mentally disabled by the courts? How do you think that voice, validation, and voluntariness can be more effectively integrated into the legal process?

Read the Review
ReviewTapas for Dinner: Lots of Law, Little Psychology
By Julian Rappaport
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2012 Vol 57(36)

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Should Kids Have a Say in Their Psychotropic Treatment?

APA Kaitlin Bell Barnett, in Dosed: The Medication Generation Grows Up, combines professional literature with personal stories about the impact of psychotropic treatment on the children and adolescents who take them. Barnett argues that young people themselves should be consulted more often to gain a deeper understanding of what reviewer John Edward Ruark calls "an extremely challenging and ambiguous area of modern life." Through the personal stories of several children who have been medicated for mental health concerns, Barnett provides readers with a sense of both the risks and benefits of drug treatment from the perspective of those directly affected by this type of intervention.

Where do you stand on the "overmedicated kids" debate—in the words of Barnett, are you a "psychotropic true believer" or a "total skeptic"? How much weight should the beliefs, attitudes, and experiences as expressed by the young people themselves carry (versus expert opinion and the scientific literature) in the decision to medicate?

Read the Review
ReviewA Telling Glimpse Into the Complex World of Young People Taking Psychotropic Medication
      By John Edward Ruark
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2012 Vol 57(39)

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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