Reviewed Books & Films

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August 2014

Thursday, August 28, 2014

What Three Guidelines Would You Give Psychological Professionals on Social Media Use?


Like many others, I am intrigued with the amount and types of information that people, including psychology professionals, share on social media.  Of course, there is the usual professional information such as education, experience, skills, accomplishments, a photo in business attire.  But psychology professionals often post less professional material including vacation photos, party photos (including some very sexy photos), personal likes and dislikes, photos of their pets, their families...  Sometimes these professionals make this information available to their students and clients.

Karen Wilson reviewed Sandra M. DeJong's book Blogs and Tweets, Texting and Friending:  Social Media and Online Professionalism in Health Care, which discusses some of these issues.

What three simple guidelines would you give to psychology faculty, graduate students, consultants, or therapists on Internet and social media use with their students and clients?

Read the Review
ReviewCan I “Friend” My Therapist? The Ethics of Social Media Use in Health Care
By Karen Wilson
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2014 Vol 59(29)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Uncritical Critical Thinking


Among the frustrations of anyone who alleges to be a critical thinker are discussions that turn into arguments. During the discussion phase I may say, “well, the scientific evidence shows . . . .”  If open-minded discussion continues, my friend might counter with reference to other evidence, although neither of us may have documentation at hand or even in memory. We begin to argue, however, if my friend claims that those scientists I mentioned are biased liberals and refers to an article in the Wall Street Journal. I confess that in many discussions I have not read the “evidence” but only a review of research on, say, global warming. So, at best, we agree to disagree and order another round.

Critical thinking is hard cognitive work, and we can use help to keep it sharp, so it is disappointing to read about an apparently widely used book (in its 7th edition) on critical thinking in which the authors are “debunkers who fail to consider evidence and argumentation that are inconsistent with their beliefs” (last para.). In his review of How to Think About Weird Things: Critical Thinking for a New Age, Etzel Cardeña goes on to say the authors “offer an unscientific double-standard discussion instead of engaging in the difficult task of trying to think and argue about complex evidence that sometimes resists easy explanations” (last para.).

What we really need is a book on how to discuss weird things, or better yet, an Evidence App for our smartphone that will take us to reviews and meta-analyses on various topics with links to the original sources. Wouldn’t that make me popular as a dinner guest? Short of that, I could use some advice on evidence-based everyday discourse, including a better guide than How to Think About Weird Things.

Read the Review
ReviewDo as I Say, Not as I Do
By Etzel Cardeña
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2014 Vol 59(28)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

What's Your View of Heaven?


Heaven Is for Real is a film based on the true story of a 4-year-old boy who reported he visited heaven while under anesthesia during a life-threatening operation. The film has garnered a significant amount of media attention and popular interest. In his review, Edward Cumella reports that the film offers minimal insight into the phenomenon of near death experiences (NDEs) and misses opportunities to discuss scientific information and explore complex questions relating to NDEs. In addition, he reports that the film reinforces stereotypes of psychologists and of scientists.

What is your view about NDEs? Are they a connection with “something greater” (e.g., a heaven), are they merely an artifact of our brain processing material, or are they something else?

Is it possible for movies or books to convince consumers one way or another on the existence of an afterlife? Or, are they simply mechanisms that individuals ultimately use to support their existing bias?

Do movies that perpetrate misconceptions about scientists and psychologists do more harm than good for the field of psychology?

Read the Review
ReviewIs Heaven Real? Heaven Knows!
By Edward J. Cumella
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2014 Vol 59(32)

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Have All the Grand Masters in Psychotherapy Died?


Gestalt therapy is intimately linked to the life and work of Fritz Perls, and almost everyone in my generation of clinical and counseling psychologists remembers the iconic “Gloria tapes” in which the therapy styles of Carl Rogers, Albert Ellis, and Fritz Perls were juxtaposed.  In his review of Eleanor O’Leary’s Gestalt Therapy Around the World, Paul Priester asks,

What happens to a school of psychotherapy when its founder dies? Perhaps even more poignantly, what happens to a school of psychotherapy after the first generation of clinicians trained by the founders die? (para. 1)

Why aren’t there heirs apparent for Rogers, Ellis, and Perls? Did all three men fail in succession planning? Is there anyone today of similar stature to these giants in the world of psychotherapy? If not, why not?

Read the Review
ReviewWho (in the World) Wants to Work? The International Persistence of Gestalt Psychotherapy
By Paul E. Priester
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2014 Vol 59(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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