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Clinically Psyched Redesign Phase

July 27th, 2010

We have decided that it is time to give Clinically Psyched a well deserved overhaul. For the next few weeks, we will be working behind the scenes on a total redesign for the website. All of the articles and areas will remain up in the current format until we are done with our BETA testing.

We started up Clinically Psyched back in 2005. Since then, a lot has changed in terms of what users expect from a website. While we will still be providing clinical psychology news, we will be moving away from the static website and onto bigger and brighter things.

We are looking to include a lot of new functions within the website, along with a total aesthetic make over. For starters, we will be including an onsite membership area, which will form our social network from now on. In addition to this, we will be adding groups, videos and Twitter functions, amongst other things, with hopes to make this website more interactive.

Our current social network, Socially Psyched, will also be getting a nice redesign within the next few months. We aim to make that website more general psychology news oriented than just a social network alone.

We ask our readers to please submit comments with regards to elements they would like included within the new Clinically Psyched.

Thank you all for your continued support and we look forward to you joining us with the brand new CP.

You Can Now Follow Us On Twitter

April 22nd, 2009

Calling all Clinically Psyched readers and Twitter users!

We have recently started a twitter account on which we will post links and responses to the latest news in clinical psychology. I you wish to add us to your twitter list and get the latest updates from us, our tweet space is Clinically Psych. We look forward to seeing you there.

Quitting Menthol Cigarettes Is Harder Than Quitting Traditional Flavored Cigarettes

January 17th, 2009

 

New research from the Tobacco Dependence Clinic at the Dentistry of New Jersey’s School of Public Health has gone to show why quitting smoking this resolution season might be harder for some smokers than others.

 

The study shows that people who smoke menthol brand cigarettes have a lower success rate at quitting the habbit than those who smoke traditional flavored cigarettes. This is particularly problematic for the African American and Latino communities, who prefer menthol cigarettes over full flavored brands.

 

Kunal Gandhi, the author of this new study and a researcher of addiction psychology states: “We previously found that menthol cigarette smokers take in more nicotine and carbon monoxide per cigarette. This study shows that menthol smokers also find it harder to quit, despite smoking fewer cigarettes per day,”

 

Researchers for this project believe that the cooling flavour of the menthol cigarettes makes it more easy to inhale more nicotine per puff. As such, smokers of menthols obtain a much stronger and more addictive dose of nicotine than smokers of traditional cigarettes.

 

Jonathan Foulds, the director for the Tobacco Dependence Program stated that more than 80% of African American smokers who attended his center smoked menthol cigarettes. Additionally, the menthol smokers demonstrate half of the quit rate of other African American smokers who prefer traditional cigarettes. The problems associated with the continued abuse of menthol cigarettes, coupled with the higher doses of nicotine could account for why African Americans have much higher rates of lung cancer, Foulds concluded.

 

Researchers were also concerned about the effects of smoking menthol cigarettes with a growing number of Latino smokers. They consider that the tobacco industry could be marketing menthol cigarettes to smokers of less affluent backgrounds as they consider they will become hooked on the habit by smoking less cigarettes per day.

 

The report will be published in next month’s edition of the International Journal of Clinical Practice.

Happy New Year From Clinically Psyched

January 4th, 2009

Clinically Psyched would like to wish all of our readers a Happy New Year and a prosperous 2009.

This year, we are aiming to make some significant change to our website. We are hoping to have a new website design up and running within the next few months and add more features to this website in order to make it more user friendly. We are considering including an education centre with some relevant psychology lectures, and ask users to contact us if they wish to use our site in order to post educational materials. Additionally, we are looking into adding podcasts and videos to the website.

We will also be looking to add new content writers to our staff within the next few months. If you believe you would be an asset to this website, we would love to hear from you and see examples of your work. While this is not an official call for new staff at this point in time, we would be more than happy to recieve resumes from content writers. If you believe you could be of benefit to our team, please email us with your current resume and links to field specific writing.

Happy New Year all. We hope that we can continue to grow over the next year and thank all of our readers for their support over the past four years.

The CP Team.

Clinically Psyched Store Updates

December 21st, 2008

If you’re still looking for the perfect psychology related gift for a loved one this Christmas, please check out our Clinically Psyched store. We have recently updated the content and have added new novelty gifts that any psychologist would love to find wrapped up and waiting for them under the Christmas tree this year.

In addition to our usual selection of Clinical Psychology books, journals and other psychology related books, we have added a gift section. The new psychology gift section included many unusual gifts and novelties including jewelry, clothing, posters and games. There really is something for everyone to enjoy.

Please take a moment to check our new section out. We would welcome any suggestions about other items that should be included in order to make this the most comprehensive psychology store online. Please feel free to leave us a comment below.

Pain Hurts More If it is Intentional

December 20th, 2008

A New Study Finds that Intentional Pain Hurts More Than Accidental Pain

By Victoria Powell

For a long time, it has been considered that a person’s mental state can alter their perception of pain. A new report from Harvard University has discovered that a person’s experience of pain is amplified if they consider that pain is caused intentionally by another party.

In a new study, participants who considered that they were receiving electrical shocks intentionally from another person experienced more pain than their cohorts who considered the electrical shocks they were receiving were accidental. Additionally, those who considered that the shocks were unintentional were able to physically accept the pain level more than those who considered the shocks as intentional acts.

The authors of this study have suggested that intentional and unintentional harm cause different pain reactions due to differentiated meaning. Kurt Gray, a graduate in psychology and lead researcher for this project gives the example: “Compare a slap from a friend as she tries to save us from a mosquito versus the same slap from a jilted lover. The first we shrug off instantly, while the second stings our cheek for the rest of the night.”

48 participants took place in this study. The participants were paired with a partner who could either administer an electric shock or an audible tone. Participants who were subjected to the intentional condition received electric shocks when their partners chose the shock option. Under the unintentional condition, participants were shocked when their partners chose the tone option. Under both conditions, the participants were made aware of their partner’s options via a computer display. They were informed of their partner’s choice prior to receiving the shock, this was to insure the electric shock was not more surprising to those under the unintentional condition.

The voltage of the shock was identical under both conditions. Those who participated in the intentional condition rated the shock as being significantly more painful than their counterparts who were under the unintentional condition. Additionally, those in the unintentional condition group reported to becoming more accustomed to the pain and considered it to decrease during the experiment.

The researchers have commented that the findings might have significant relevance to our evolution. When pain occurs as an unintentional act, one considers it to be a “one time” occurrence and believe there is no need to do anything about it. However, when pain is inflicted intentionally, one could consider the events to re-occur and take it as a cue to remove themselves from further harm. It could well be that the brain amplifies the experience of intentional pain to prevent further action and to insure survival.

These findings could have direct impact on understanding why certain negative experiences affect people in different situations. For example, it could unveil why the act of torture is far more painful to people than an unintentional car crash. They suggest that the torture techniques cause far less of a physical reaction to pain than the process of knowing that the torture is intentional. Those who test torture techniques would be far less likely to maintain a continuous reaction to the pain inflicted than those who are routinely tortured as an act of punishment.

Additionally, the perception of unintentional harm in an intended situation might go a long way to explain why people remain with abusive partners. If the injured party considers that their partner did not really mean to harm them, they are likely to consider the pain caused by abuse as far less painful than they would if they realized that the harm was caused intentionally.

Life With A Mentally Ill Parent - A Reader’s Story

December 2nd, 2008

We recently posted an article about the effects on a child growing up with a mentally ill parent. Within days, we received numerous emails from users wishing to share their own experiences of their lives with mentally ill parents, and the subsequent effects this has left lingering into their adult hood.

Posted below is the story of one user. She has asked for her name to be withheld.

“I remember a friend of mine showing a group of us that famous Larkin poem which starts “They f… you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to but they do.” We all laughed and shared comments about how much they do “f… you up”. While my friends were going through the trivial things their parents had done to mess them up… “They didn’t get me a bike that Christmas, so I felt left out” and “God, they always grounded me for not cleaning my room”, I sat there laughing along. I did not dare to tell them what exactly my mother had done to “f… me up”.

My mother is mentally ill. My mother has had problems, and has caused me problems for as long as I can remember. I hate the illness. I hate my mother for having an illness.

She was first diagnosed with what they then called “nerves” back in the 1960’s. At the tender age of 17, she was put on Valium and remained a slave to the drug until 40. My earliest recollections of her was as a zombie woman, half starved with anorexic tendencies and spending every day in the doctors office with some new, imaginary illness. She was always cold towards my father and I, refusing to give affection and refusing to do anything that would benefit us (even cooking food).

I remember I must have been about four years old when I first realized how hurtful she could be. I was sitting in the living room and playing with a plastic saucepan set. I asked her to play with me and her reaction was to stand up and walk into her bedroom, slamming the door behind her. I had no clue what I had done wrong, and I also never asked her to play a game with me again.

My childhood was mixed with fun, courtesy of my dad’s active interest in doing fun things with me, and pain, feeling like a burden to my mother. In front of her friends she would be overly maternal, but alone I would be ignored. Sometimes she would slip in front of others and show what she was really like. When I was 8, my friend was staying at my house and we were playing with our dolls on my bunk-bed. My mother walked into the room and slapped me for making too much noise. My friend didn’t know how to react as the bed shook from the force of the hit. I remember not crying because I was used to her slaps. My friend made some comment about how she would have cried if her mother did that and I was shocked. I thought that was the way all mothers acted.

Life with my mother always went this way. Daily trips to see her doctor took up all of my school holidays, unless she could palm me off on my aging aunt and uncle. When I got to be about 9, she would keep me out of school for days on end, forcing me to go to the doctors for illnesses she imagined me to have. I realize now that this was basically Munchausen by proxy.

Most of my formative years were spent, by my choice mainly, with other relatives. I grew very close to one aunt, whom I consider to be my mother more than anything. It would be a relief to spend time at her house, even though she was in her 60’s. We would spend hours cooking and she would tell me all about life during the second world war. I still love going to see her and would much rather spend time with her than with anyone else in my family.

I never really had a real relationship with my paternal side of the family. This is mainly because my mother didn’t like them. She would accuse my grandparents of hating me and, as I child, I believed her. It wasn’t until after my grandmother died and I had contact with other family members that I learned my grandparents wanted my father to remove me from my mother and to go and live with them. They saw what was going on, and let my mother know…that was their biggest mistake. The damage of knowing I had loving grandparents that wanted to protect me, but I was denied a relationship with them is irreparable. That’s just one thing I can never forgive my mother for (and trust me, there are a lot more.)

Around my 11th birthday, my mother was taken off Valium and put onto lithium carbonate. It was clear that doctors considered her to be suffering from Bi-polar disorder. The consequences of the change in medication spurred on the worst moments of my life. My mother changed from being the Valium zombie to an erratic monster. She would start fights with my father that were unbearable. Once she had him on the floor and tried to stab him in front of me. I tried to leave the house, but she dragged me back in and locked the doors. After that, she locked herself in the bathroom and shouted about how she was trying to cut her wrists. My father kicked the door in and it hit her in the face (accidentally, I should add). She then called the police and members of my father’s family, stating he was abusing her. All I really remember happening after is the psychiatrist arriving and refusing to take her away. He said she wasn’t a threat to anyone, despite being told the events.

Life continued with her crazy swings for a while after. Her behavior also became more and more bizarre. I remember coming home from school when I was about 12 and finding a note from her, saying she had gone to throw herself on the railway track because I had been a bad girl. She was nowhere to be found in the house. I got hysterical, calling everyone and desperately trying to get my dad home from work (he was in a meeting and had to rush out immediately). I went upstairs and heard her laughing manically in my wardrobe. In her insane mind, she thought it was a funny thing to do.

Not long after these events her medication was switched again. Although it curbed her more insane behavior, it brought out some very nasty sides of her personality that other medications had masked. She was extremely controlling, manipulative and a compulsive liar. All emotion towards us seemed faked and used to get her own way. She could turn on the tears and feign emotional hurt to get absolutely anything she wanted…those things were generally materialistic wants. Her main passion, as it turned out was hurting as many people as she could, and she genuinely enjoyed doing it.

When I was 17 she took me to see the doctor. I had a chest infection that would not go away. She insisted that she accompany me into the doctor’s room to tell him what was wrong. All I remember is crying in there. I was crying because I felt so sick. She convinced him I was crying because I was depressed, just like her. Hence my own trips to psychologists and psychiatrists stated…all because she wanted me to be mentally ill. It was hard trying to convince them that there was nothing wrong with me as she would always take them aside and make up stories about my activities. Of course, they always believed her over me. That’s the great thing about having a master manipulator and compulsive liar as a parent. Also, she reveled in the fact I was going to see these people. After all, she could play the “poor hard-done-by” act to her friends and get sympathy.

When I finally left home to start university, I thought I would finally have a chance to break away. How wrong I was! She would telephone everyday in tears about some made up hardship and force me to travel 200 miles home every weekend. When she came to visit me, she made sure to tell my friends a bunch of lies about me, insuring they began to ostracize me. Actually, she did this with every single friend I ever had and later even tried it with the man who is now my husband.

One day in my psychology class, we were discussing the diagnostics for being a psychopath. Considering all the characteristics my mother displayed, this is her most apt diagnosis. Out of the 21 common characteristics, my mother displays 17 in her regular behavior. The only ones she is lacking are : criminal versatility, promiscuous sexual behavior, sexually deviant lifestyle and abuse of drugs including alcohol, although she does have a very bad gambling addiction. So, that’s it, my mother is a clinical psychopath.

Over the past few years her problems have become a lot worse in regards to me. She has done things recently that have devastated me and I can no longer have a relationship with her, or with my father, who continues to support her and ignore the problems. For many reasons, I can not go into all the more recent events as there are other people involved.

The long lasting effects of growing up with a mentally ill parent are devastating. I have no friends and no confidence to hold a friendship based relationship. My mother constantly told me that no one ever liked me, so I find trusting the kind motives of people towards me a very hard thing to do. I also have a lot of anger for not being able to have had a “normal life”, and am extremely jealous of people who have great relationships with their parents. I am also scared of being a parent myself. My experience of mothering is very bad and I’m scared I’ll end up the same way.

One good thing that has come out of all of this is that, due to wanting to understand my mother’s behavior, I’ve entered into a career field I love. Clinical psychology is about the only gift my mother ever gave me that meant anything.

I guess Larkin was right. Some parents really do “F… you up”.”

Bridgend Suicides - An Ex-Bridgend Pat’s View

November 10th, 2008

Over the past six months, we have posted a number of articles concerning the increasing number of teenage suicides in the small Welsh town of Bridgend and its surrounding areas. As of Sunday, November 9th 2008, there have been 21 reported suicides within this region in addition to a number of attempted suicides. To fully understand these macabre events, it is vital to understand a little about the area.

Bridgend is a small, industrial based town located 22 miles west of Cardiff. It’s neighboring town of Pencoed lies at the foot of an off-ramp onto the M4 motorway, one of the main routes from the south to London and its surrounding port towns. Until the late 90’s the area had a steady growth of new industry with Sony, Ford, Bayer and other leading companies employing a large number of the population. By the early 2000’s, these industries started to decline and workers faced redundancies almost daily. Even the opening of the new Lloyds TSB call centre in Pencoed didn’t assist in elevating employment. With more and more families facing unemployment, it is clear to see that a social pathos hit the area as a whole.

Having grown up in Pencoed, it was always very clear to see that the future for many of my friends seemed bleak. Very few people left Wales to attend University or find employment. There is a big, underlying social phobia (or sorts) of many living within the area that life outside the box is better left to others. I remember discussing with friends where we would end up after school was over, most of them said Cardiff. Most of their parents were completely opposed to their children leaving the home land. One father even said that he would not visit his daughter, should she attend a non Welsh university. Out of my core group of ten friends, two of us ventured to England, and that was it. Since then, we have had no further communication with our old friends.

In retrospect, we were the lucky group (all ten of us). The majority of our contemporaries in school had life plans set when they were young and stuck to them. A number of girls in my year had children by the age of 16, and the majority of boys walked out of the school gate after their final GCSE exam, and straight into Sony. That’s the way things were. Education was a necessary evil until you were old enough to get a factory job. One day, should you attend Bridgend Tec to get a NVQ, you might be a line manager and buy a new house in Brackla.

Education aside, the teenage lifestyle in the area remains the same as it did back in the 90’s, and likely before. There is little to do in Bridgend itself other than to go drinking. The old cinema closed down in the mid 1980’s and a new one wasn’t built until the late 1990’s. That is in an out of town complex and buses run rather infrequently, so getting there and back takes up most of the evening. A bowling centre was established in the 1990’s, but that turned into just another teenage drinking den. A typical night out then, as is now, is one spent wandering from pub to pub. There is nothing locally to really stimulate the youth. While the younger teens hang around street corners begging people to buy them alcohol from the local Spar, the 16+ group hang out in various pubs known for lack of responsibility when it comes to underage drinking.

While compiling news for this website, I’ve noticed a number of suggested reasons as to why Bridgend has been hit so hard by these deaths. From internet groups to, in one case, power lines, the blame is coming thick and fast. My personal opinion is that it’s down to the socio-economic factor above all else. Children see little hope in obtaining decent employment in the area when all the major employers are cutting back. Children see their parents worrying about finances and wonder what it will be like for them.

It is unfortunate that more onus isn’t placed on education. It isn’t that Bridgend is victim to a terrible school system. Ysgol Pencoed School received a glowing OFSTED report in 2004 for its teaching standards. The crux of the problem seems to lie more with the overall environmental and social impact of the area. Many parents are apathetic to their children’s education because, as I was told “What good’s going to school when you could be earning money.” That seems to be a more general consensus.

So, what does the future hold for the youth of Bridgend? Back in May 2008, the National Lottery’s “Mental Health Matters” scheme provided a £1m donation to Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University NHS for the establishment of the “Let’s Talk” suicide prevention project. The project will “establish a network of specially-trained people who will be able to promote suicide prevention techniques both in the local community and across voluntary and statutory sector services.” While this will go to help, there is still much to be done to revitalize the general area and promote hope to our young.

Victoria Powell.
victoria@clinicallypsyched.com

Welcome to Clinically Psyched’s Clinical Psychology Blog

November 8th, 2008

Welcome to our new clinical psychology blog.

In addition to creating Socially Psyched,our new psychology social network, we have decided to include a blog function on Clinically Psyched. We hope that visitors to our website will leave comments in relation to posts we made on here.

Useful Links
  • Clinically Psyched
  • Neuroscience News
  • Socially Psyched - Psychology Social Network
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