388  Creating Psychological Flexibility in Children

388 Creating Psychological Flexibility in Children

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Counseling Connoisseur: The Gift of Community for Counselors — An Interview with Thelma Duffey

Take the time to seek out a community that will ignite you and your clinical practice. It will not only inspire you– it will also benefit your clients.

The post Counseling Connoisseur: The Gift of Community for Counselors — An Interview with Thelma Duffey appeared first on Counseling Today.

Continuity of Future Self Tied to Being Happier in Later Life

New research finds that while some people believe they will change in the future, expecting ourselves to remain mostly the same over the next 10 years is strongly related to being happier later in life.

Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) discovered that when thinking about the future, some people think they will change, and others expect they might remain the same.

In the new study, investigators found that expecting ourselves to remain mostly the same over the next ten years is strongly related to being happier later in life. The research appears in Social Psychological and Personality Science.

Researchers have consistently found that people who are connected to their future selves are better able to save for the future, delay gratification, and take care of their health, compared to people who feel less connected to their future selves.

Therefore, one would assume that if people make optimistic predictions about the future, such as “thinking they will become more compassionate and intelligent in the future,” as Dr. Joseph Reiff (UCLA) suggests, “they would end up becoming happier in the years that follow.”

Surprisingly, this is not what Reiff and colleagues discovered.

“The more people initially predicted that they would remain the same — whether predicting less decline or less improvement across a number of core traits — the more satisfied they typically were with their lives 10 years later,” says Reiff.

Reiff, Drs. Hal Hershfield (Anderson School of Management, UCLA) and Jordi Quoidbach (ESADE) analyzed a ten-year longitudinal dataset (N = 4,963) to estimate how thoughts about one’s future self in an initial survey predicted life satisfaction 10 years later.

They found that people who expected to be better off in 10 years and those who expected to be worse off both reported less satisfaction 10 years later. However, people who expected to remain the same typically were the most satisfied 10 years later.

Their research builds on a growing body of psychological literature suggesting that perceiving similarity to the future self is generally beneficial for long-term decisions and outcomes.

When it comes to future research, “We are now interested in understanding why some people think they will remain the same and why others think they will change,” says Hershfield.

“What life events, for example, cause people to shift the way they think about their future selves?”

Source: Society for Personality and Social Psychology

Noninvasive Brain Stimulation May Reduce ADHD Symptoms

A new study suggests that trigeminal nerve stimulation (TNS), a noninvasive electrical stimulation treatment, may reduce symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children.

“Many parents are hesitant to give strong medications like stimulants to young children, so there has been a lot of interest from families in non-pharmacological alternatives for ADHD,” said lead study author James McGough, M.D., a professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

The trigeminal nerve, the largest of the cranial nerves, connects sensory cells on the head with several brain regions involved in attention.

For the study, researchers at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the UCLA randomly assigned 62 children ages 8 to 12 with ADHD to receive four weeks of nightly stimulation with either a TNS device or sham device.

The research was designed to specifically test the effects of TNS, so all the children were medication-free during the study and at least 30 days prior.

The TNS and sham device looked the same — a small box with wires for placement on the forehead via an adhesive patch. The only difference was the sham devices produced no electric current.

While both groups of children experienced symptom improvements after one week, the children who received the active TNS showed continued improvements over the next three weeks. In contrast, symptoms among children in the placebo stimulation group plateaued after the first week.

At the end of four weeks, symptom scores in children in the TNS group dropped an average of 9 points (using the doctor-administered ADHD-Rating Scale) compared with a reduction of scores by about 4.5 points in children in the placebo group.

Overall, this 9-point reduction is less than what stimulants such as methylphenidate have shown in clinical studies, but is on par to nonstimulant medications used to treat children with ADHD, such as the norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor atomoxetine.

According to McGough, the differences seen between the two groups after the first week point to the improvements of TNS being more than just a placebo effect. But stronger validation came after analyzing electroencephalography (EEG) tests given to all the children.

“EEG measures brain wave activity, and our tests showed emphatic differences between the kids receiving active versus sham stimulation,” McGough said.

In fact, the brainwave changes found in children whose symptoms improved resembled those seen in people performing well on executive function tests, said McGough. This similarity supports the idea that the EEG changes represent changes in attention and decision-making.

McGough added that TNS was very well-tolerated. There were a few instances of headache or increased appetite among TNS users, but there were no serious side effects and no children had to quit treatment due to side effects.

The Food and Drug Administration is currently reviewing TNS as a treatment for pediatric ADHD. McGough noted that if approved, there can be more detailed discussions about where this approach might fit in the spectrum of available treatments.

He noted that more research is needed, particularly studies testing the long-term effects of TNS and studies assessing how TNS works in conjunction with medication.

The findings are published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Source: American Psychiatric Association


Facts About Multiple Personality Disorder or DID

Facts About Multiple Personality Disorder or DID


There tends to be a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to Multiple Personality Disorder, more often referred to as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). You can thank Hollywood and the media for doing a great job of misinformation about DID. Ignorance and Hollywood have put out so much false information that this disorder has been stigmatized and put a lot of fear in people about it.

What is DID and Who Does it Affect?

DID is a chronic mental disorder that can last for several years or it can last some people their entire lives. Some common terms used in DID include “core” which means which stands for the “original” personality the person was born with. In Greek, core means child and with DID it refers to the child before their abuse fragmented mind.

“Alters” or “alter states” refers to the “other personalities” DID tends to have. “Switch” or “switching” is when the person changes from one personality or perception to another one.

Anyone can end up suffering from DID. It doesn’t matter what race, sex, nationality, or social status one might be, anyone can suffer from it. This disorder is actually a disorder that can be quite easily developed. People with DID are often survivors of repetitive extreme mental and/or physical abuse in their early childhoods.

Facts About DID

Those suffering from DID quite often have a higher than average IQ. The high level of intelligence these people tend to have is probably the reason for their extreme fighting spirit and their survival skills.

DID isn’t something that’s new. In fact it was discovered by Pierre Janet many years ago. Sadly the professional community around him at the time persuaded him to backtrack his findings and stopped him from researching the condition any further. Just like today, people would pull away from someone or something that was far different from them because of fear and ignorance.

Almost everyone will experience dissociation through daydreaming, mind wandering, or getting lost in the moment. However, those with DID are suffering from a far more severe kind of dissociation and they just can’t snap out of it just like everyone else can.

DID does tend to present itself differently in the different sexes. It has nothing to do with who they are sexually but the right left brain dominance. With women, they tend to switch more often as well as more amnesia. This is because there are parts of their brains that are trying to protect them from remembering the abuse they suffered. As for men, DID tends to have less amnesia and far more anger than women with DID. Men tend to find it more difficult to admit to the abuse and this can make it more difficult for them to live with this disorder. This can lead to severe depression and sometimes suicide.

It’s important to note that 97% of all people with DID have suffered some type of trauma in their lives that can include neglect, mental abuse, and physical abuse. How early DID will appear usually depends on how early the abuse started in their lives. The severity of DID will also depend on how severe the abuse was.

Many of the people suffering from DID have admitted that they have tried to commit suicide. Not all of the “personalities” may be aware of the suicide attempts and this is because of “denial” and this makes it easier to not be aware of the suicide attempt.

Two Different Thoughts on Sexuality

Even though most people suffering from DID have been sexually abused there are two different types of feelings and it depends on how they tend to interpret the moment. One person might show no interest in sex one day and then show interest the very same day. They try to deny any interest because of the dark memories from the past. Others with DID will show intense interest in sexuality with a lot of romanticism and a very unique mental connection.

No Known Cure or Medication

As of now, there is no known cure or even a good medication to help combat DID. However, it can improve over time. This will depend on the severity of the disorder, the persons lifestyle and whether or not they seek professional help. Getting professional help might be quite difficult for many who suffer from DID. It can be embarrassing because they are afraid to reveal their “secrets” and sometimes the other personalities might fight against themselves on whether or not to seek help.

Helping a DID Patient

When it comes to helping a patient with DID it’s important to avoid giving any false expectations and be honest and up front with them. The road to recovering from DID is not an easy one and it’s not going to happen in just a few months. There are some symptoms of DID that can be treated such as depression, anxiety, and sometimes any substance abuse they might have.

It’s extremely important for the therapist to do their best to establish a good rapport with their DID patients. Many suffering from this disorder will test their therapists. DID sufferers do this for two different reasons:

  1. They want to make sure that this person can be trusted.
  2. It’s important to them to find out if this person has the knowledge and experience to help them with their problems.

Therapies That Can Be Helpful

Even though there is no cure for DID there are a few types of therapy that can be quite helpful for many who are suffering from this disorder:

  • Psychotherapy or “Talk Therapy”
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Art Therapy
  • Dance/Movement Therapy
  • Meditation

When treating someone with DID the person as a whole is not treated, but each personality or “alter” is treated as if they each hold a piece of the puzzle instead of each “alter” being seen as something to overcome. The whole goal is to try and get the “alters” to function together as a whole person.

Proper Diagnosis Can Be Difficult

For most people who are suffering from DID, it can take quite a long time for it to be properly diagnosed. Often it can take anywhere from five to seven years. Quite often people suffering from this mental disorder are incorrectly diagnosed and this can lead to even more issues arising over the years.

Distrust is Key Symptom

Most who suffer from this disorder quite often have a very hard time trusting anyone and often will have issues with being rejected and often dislike what they might perceive as mistreatment of other people. Their immense distrust in people will often make it hard for them to find a therapist they feel they can trust to help them.

When Do Personality Switches Happen?

Most often a personality switch will happen when something difficult in their life arises and then they will switch to a personality that tends to be able to handle a particular situation better.

Being Diagnosed

In order for someone to be diagnosed with DID they must show at least two different distinct personalities along with some kind of amnesia. It also needs to show that it causes some distress or trouble in their daily lives. The symptoms can’t be caused from drugs, alcohol, medications, or medical problems.

Admitting to Having DID

If someone you knows comes out and tells you that they are suffering from this disorder, it’s important that you are accepting of this. It’s important that you are supportive of them. You don’t want them to feel embarrassed or ashamed by it. Be sure to let them know that you are there when they need your support. If it’s something that’s too difficult for you to handle it’s important that you gently and kindly suggest that they go to someone far more equipped to handle the situation.

It’s A Lot of Work Living With DID

It can be an awful lot of work being the one living with this mental disorder. Often they need to make sure to have important contacts handy, or leave notes, or carry a note with them that reminds them of who they are or what they were doing when they suffering periods of amnesia caused from switching. They often need to keep journals of their life events, medications, appointments and more in order to keep their life as “normal” as possible. It’s hard enough for most of us to take care of ourselves but they people are often struggling to take care of multiple identities or personalities. It’s a lot of work for people to live with DID, but it is something that can be done, especially with the right support and professional help.