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What are some examples of controversial themes in psychology?

What are some examples of controversial themes in psychology?



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There are a number of themes that are controversial (provoke debate, are unsettled, polarize opinion, or are reflected by a range of positions) in psychology. One example involves nature vs. nurture: some people think that much of our language ability is innate, while others think that very little is innate. I've fleshed this example out a little bit as an answer below.

I will eventually gathering data on just how controversial certain themes are, as a step towards investigating what the various factors are in such differences of opinion. Until then, or a starting point, I'm happy with opinions about what you think might be controversial.

Suggestions from various subfields of psychology are welcome, but I'm looking more for issues that most people with a psychology degree might be able to form an opinion on, rather than something that is highly controversial for a small group of specialists, which the broader community won't have much interest in.

Currently I have a list of themes that I think are controversial, but I was wondering what people in the field in general think. In other words, there might be something obvious that I've missed, and this seems to be a reasonable way to reduce the probability that there is.


Short answer: Representations are a noteworthy controversy in embodied or situated psychological theories. Can we explain behavior without reference to representations?

Long answer: Most modern theories presume that information is represented somewhere, such as the brain, and that behavior is organized because that somewhere is organized. Anti-representational theories, such as ecological psychology (e.g., Richardson et al., 2008) or radical embodied cognitive psychology (Chemero 2009; Chemero, 2013 for a brief review) explicitly reject this assumption and say there are no representations. Fink, Foo and Warren (2009) provided an apt, and ingenious, demonstration of how we may explain a behavior, namely catching flyballs, without reference to representations. Embodied cognitive theories, such as enclothed cognition (Adam and Galinsky, 2012), are examples of hybrid approaches incorporating both representational and nonrepresentational features.

References

  • Adam, H., & Galinsky, A. D. (2012). Enclothed cognition. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48(4), 918-925.
  • Chemero, A. (2009). Radical embodied cognitive science. Cambridge, MA: MIT press.
  • Chemero, A. (2013). Radical embodied cognitive science. Review of General Psychology, 17(2), 145.
  • Fink, P. W., Foo, P. S., & Warren, W. H. (2009). Catching fly balls in virtual reality: A critical test of the outfielder problem. Journal of Vision, 9(13), 14.
  • Richardson, M. J., Shockley, K., Fajen, B. R., Riley, M. A., & Turvey, M. T. (2008). Ecological psychology: Six principles for an embodied-embedded approach to behavior. Handbook of cognitive science: An embodied approach, 161-187.

Just to help, here's an illustration of the sort of answer I'm looking for, though personally I'd be happy with any suggestions, even if less detailed than the first below.

Long answer: On one hand, Pinker and Bloom (1990) argue that our language faculty is similar to our physical organs, in that they evolved as adaptations to evolutionary pressures. On the other hand, Tomasello (variously, see e.g. 2005) argues that the innateness of language is overestimated and shows that social learning plays a much larger role than previously thought. Further, Saffran et al. (1996) show that statistical learning aids in language acquisition. Neither of these require an innate language-learning organ of the sort described by Pinker and Bloom.

Short answer: one controversy in psychology is the extent to which complex cognition (such as language) is innate.

Ultimately, I'll be working with statements like the short answer, but StackExchange prefers answers like the long answer.

References

Pinker, S., & Bloom, P. (1990). Natural language and natural selection. Behavioral and brain sciences, 13(04), 707-727.

Saffran, J. R., Aslin, R. N., & Newport, E. L. (1996). Statistical learning by 8-month-old infants. Science, 274(5294), 1926-1928.

Tomasello, M. (2005). Constructing a language: A usage-based theory of language acquisition. Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA.


This is a very broad question, as indicated in the comments. There are many debates which theorists - and people in general - often disagree on. (Miller, 2010; Sigelman & Rider, 2012):

  1. Goodness vs Badness of Human Nature
    Humans are innately good, bad or neither

  2. Nature vs Nurture
    Genes, biology, and maturation vs experiences, learning and social influences

  3. Activity vs Passivity
    Humans shape their environments vs environmental forces shape humans

  4. Continuity vs Discontinuity
    Changes are gradual vs dramatically through life

  5. Universality vs Context Specificity
    Development is similar between people and cultures vs considerable differences between people and cultures

Any study, discussion or other debate touching these subject areas creates controversy because many people disagree.

You only have to look at the controversies surrounding the debate on what causes anyone to be murderous vs passive, homosexual vs heterosexual, high achievers vs low achievers…

References

Miller, P. H., 2010. Theories of developmental psychology. New York: Worth.

Sigelman, C. K. & Rider, E. A., 2012. Life-Span Human Development. 7th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.


Compared with other fields of psychology, I-O psychology today has several features: (a) Small: I-O is a small specialty, including just 5% of US psychologists. (b) High-employment: Since I-O is in high demand in the industry it has a negative unemployment rate below zero. (c) Lucrative: I-O has long had the highest salary, averaging at least 25% higher than 14 other psychology specialties. (d) Separate: I-O has become a very separate specialty within psychology, with its own independent association since 1987 – the Society for I-O Psychology (SIOP). (e) Hybrid: I-O overlaps with business and other social sciences. (f) Credentials: There is no one credential to define who is an I-O psychologist – be this a M.A., M.S., M.B.A., Ph.D., Psy.D., state license, APA or SIOP membership, or ABPP Diploma. (g) Demographics: SIOP members today are 6% ethnic minorities, 37% female, only 26% licensed, and 85% have a doctorate. I-O work settings vary greatly – employees in large firms, small “boutique” consulting firms, professors in psychology or business programs, or solo-practitioners.

Today, I-O psychology faces several challenges – such as globalization of organizations, the increased diversity of the US workforce, increased regulation by government and labor law, and the changing nature of work. These same challenges make a science-based I-O psychology more indispensable to successful organizations.


List of Popular Theories of Psychology

List of popular theories of psychology: 1. Piaget Theory of Development 2. Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development 3. Spearman’s Two-Factor Theory 4. Thurstone’s Multiple Factor Theory 5. Cannon’s Theory 6. The Psycho-Analytic Theory (Freud) 7. The Constitutional Theory (Sheldon).

1. Piaget Theory of Development:

Stages of Intellectual Development:

Piaget may be best known for his stages of cognitive development. Piaget discovered that children think and reason differently at different periods in their lives. He believed that everyone passed through an invariant sequence of four qualitatively distinct stages. Invariant means that a person cannot skip stages or reorder them. Although every normal child passes through the stages in exactly the same order, there is some variability in the ages at which children attain each stage.

The four stages are- sensorimotor—birth to 2 years preoperational—2 years to 7 years concrete operational—7 years to 11 years and formal operational (abstract thinking)—11 years and up. Each stage has major cognitive tasks which must be accomplished. In the sensorimotor stage, the mental structures are mainly concerned with the mastery of concrete objects. The mastery of symbols takes place in the preoperational stage. In the concrete stage, children learn mastery of classes, relations, and numbers and how to reason. The last stage deals with the mastery of thought.

We discovered that education is not something which the teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being. It is not acquired by listening to words, but in virtue of experiences in which the child acts on his environment. The teacher’s task is not to task, but to prepare and arrange a series of motives for cultural activity in a special environment made for the child.

A central component of Piaget’s developmental theory of learning and thinking is that both involve the participation of the learner. Knowledge is not merely transmitted verbally but must be constructed and reconstructed by the learner. Piaget asserted that for a child to know and construct knowledge of the world, the child must act on objects and it is this action which provides knowledge of those objects the mind organizes reality and acts upon it.

The learner must be active he is not a vessel to be filled with facts. Piaget’s approach to learning is a readiness approach. Readiness approaches in developmental psychology emphasize that children cannot learn something until maturation gives them certain prerequisites. The ability to learn any cognitive content is always related to their stage of intellectual development. Children who are at a certain stage cannot be taught the concepts of a higher stage.

Intellectual growth involves three fundamental processes- assimilation, accommodation and equilibration. Assimilation involves the incorporation of new events into pre-existing cognitive structures. Accommodation means existing structures change to accommodate to the new information. This dual process, assimilation-accommodation, enables the child to form schema. Equilibration involves the person striking a balance between himself and the environment, between assimilation and accommodation.

When a child experiences a new event, disequilibrium sets in until he is able to assimilate and accommodate the new information and thus attain equilibrium. There are many types of equilibrium between assimilation and accommodation that vary with the levels of development and the problems to be solved. For Piaget, equilibration is the major factor in explaining why some children advance more quickly in the development of logical intelligence than do others.

A Piagetian-inspired curricula emphasizes a learner-centred educational philosophy. The teaching methods which most American school children are familiar with teacher lectures, demonstrations, audio-visual presentations, teaching machines, and programmed instruction do not fit in with Piaget’s ideas on the acquisition of knowledge. Piaget exposed active discovery learning environments in our schools.

Intelligence grows through the twin processes of assimilation and accommodation therefore, experiences should be planned to allow opportunities for assimilation and accommodation. Children need to explore, to manipulate, to experiment, to question, and to search out answers’ for themselves—activity is essential.

However, this does not mean that children should be allowed to do whatever they want. So what is the role of the teacher? Teachers should be able to assess the child’s present cognitive level their strengths and weaknesses. Instruction should be individualized as much as possible and children should have opportunities to communicate with one another, to argue and debate issues. He saw teachers as facilitators of knowledge—they are there to guide and stimulate the students.

Allow children to make mistakes and learn from them. Learning is much more meaningful if the child is allowed to experiment on his own rather than listening to the teacher lecture. The teacher should present students with materials and situations and occasions that allow them to discover new learning.

In his book to understand is to Invent Piaget said the basic principle of active methods can be expressed as follows:

“To understand is to discover, to reconstruct by rediscovery, and such conditions must be complied with if in the future individuals are to be formed who are capable of production and creativity and not simply repetition”. In active learning, the teacher must have confidence in the child’s ability to learn on his own.

Erikson’s theory may be questioned as to whether his stages must be regarded as sequential, and only occurring within the age ranges he suggests. There is debates as to whether people only search for identity during the adolescent years or if one stage needs to happen before other stages can be completed. However, Erikson states that each of these processes occur throughout the lifetime in one form or another, and he emphasizes these “phases” only because it is at these times that the conflicts become most prominent.

Most empirical research into Erikson has related to his views on adolescence and attempts to establish identity. His theoretical approach was studied and supported, particularly regarding adolescence, by James E. Marica. Marica’s work has distinguished different forms of identity, and there is some empirical evidence that those people who form the most coherent self-concept in adolescence are those who are most able to make intimate attachments in early adulthood. This supports Eriksonian theory, in that it suggests that those best equipped to resolve the crisis of early adulthood are those who have most successfully resolved the crisis of adolescence.

2. Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development:

Lawrence Kohlberg’s stages of moral development constitute an adaptation of a psychological theory originally conceived by the Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget. Kohlberg began work on this topic while a psychology graduate student at the University of Chicago in 1958, and expanded and developed this theory throughout his life.

The theory holds that moral reasoning, the basis for ethical behaviour, has six identifiable developmental stages, each more adequate at responding to moral dilemmas than its predecessor. Kohlberg followed the development of moral judgement for beyond the ages studied earlier by Piaget, who also claimed that logic and morality develop through constructive stages. Expanding on Piaget’s work, Kohlberg determined that the process of moral development was principally concerned with justice, and that it continued throughout the knowledge’s lifetime, a notion that spawned dialogue on the philosophical implications of such research.

The six stages of moral development are grouped into three levels- pre-conventional morality, conventional morality, and post-conventional morality.

For his studies, Kohlberg relied on stories such as the Heinz dilemma, and was interested in how individuals would justify their actions if placed in similar more dilemmas. He then analyzed the form of moral reasoning displayed, rather than its conclusion, and classified it as belonging to one of six distinct stages.

There have been critiques of the theory from several perspectives. Arguments include that it emphasizes justice to the exclusion of other moral values, such as caring that there is such an overlap between stages that they should more properly be regarded as separate domains or that evaluations of the reasons for moral choices are mostly post hoc rationalizations (by both decision makers and psychologists studying them) of essentially intuitive decisions.

Nevertheless, an entirely new field within psychology was created as a direct result of Kohlberg’s theory, and according to Haggbloom et al. s study of the most eminent psychologists of the 20th century, Kohlberg was the 16th most frequently cited psychologist in introductory psychology text-books throughout the century, as well as the 30th most eminent overall.

Kohlberg’s scale is about how people justify behaviours and his stages are not a method of ranking how moral someone’s behaviour is. There should however be a correlation between how someone scores on the scale and how they behave, and the general hypotheses is that moral behaviour is more responsible, consistent and predictable from people at higher levels.

3. Spearman’s Two-Factor Theory:

He did not believe in the concept of faculty psychology that mental powers are independent of one another. According to Spearman theory, mental powers are unitary. He did research work at Oxford. He divided students in two groups and gave them tests in many school subjects and then calculated correlation in every two subjects, the correlation thus obtained was always positive. According to Spearman this is because something is common in all tests. This he called general mental ability, every work requires some specific ability which can be denoted by ‘g’ and’s’.

Spearman Gave Two Types of Abilities:

Spearman’s two factors theory can be explained by his ‘Tetrad Equation’.

For example four tests are given in school subjects, their correlation matrix are arranged in following table:

These equations are always zero, because there is something common, factorial analysis method devised by Spearman (1927). We obtain two factor loadings.

Early in the present century, Spearman found that diverse test of mental abilities usually gave inter-correlations which could be wholly accounted only by a single general factor plus specific factors. Tetrad difference criterion is used.

Spearman was one of the first to attack the factor problem. He worked with groups of four tests.

Spearman’s Famous Tetrad Differences:

Divergence of these differences form zero.

Schematic Representation of Spearman’s Two Factor Theory:

Criticism of the Spearman’s Theory:

The factor analysis approach helped in given full-fledged theory of intelligence.

1. Tetrad equations are not always equal to zero, it means there is no general ability in all tests.

2. It is very difficult to calculate equation suggested by Spearman.

3. According to him each ability consisted of general and specific abilities, while every job has its own specific ability.

4. Thurstone’s Multiple Factor Theory (P.M.A.):

L.L. Thurstone also made a factor analytical study and Sound seven factors on the basis by application of this test on Chicago University students. He found seven factors when applied the test on children.

(f) Deductive or Inductive Reasoning (R)

Thurstone called these abilities primary or fundamental mental abilities (P.M.A.).

The loadings of multiple factor pattern is referred as simple structure. It is often used in analyzing tests of abilities. It requires three or four factors.

Multiple Factor Theory L.L. Thurstone:

The loadings of multi-factor pattern are referred to as simple.

Tabular Representation of Multi-Factor Theory by Thurstone:

5. Cannon’s Theory:

Cannon’s Theory regarding emotion also is known as the ‘Emergence Theory’ or the ‘Hypothalamic theory’. According to his view, the major part in emotional reactions is played by the excretion of the hypothalamus. In this view, the cerebral cortex is the centre of emotional experience while the internal brain or diencephalon, which is formed for hypothalamus and thalamus, is the centre of emotional expression, stimulation and effects.

The nervous impulses reach the thalamus through the sensory nerves. The thalamus attaches to this an emotional quality and passes it on the cerebral cortex so that the person experiences a specific emotion. While sending it on the cerebral cortex, the thalamus deflects a part of the nervous impulse to the viscera and the muscles. This results in a change in them which can be observed.

It is undoubtedly true that Cannon’s theory is more appropriate than James-Lange theory. It has been provide that the hypothalamus does have a hand in the control of emotions. The acceptance of this theory makes it possible to understand how the emotions remain unaffected by the spinal cord or by the mild reactions of the viscera.

It also explains the failure of adrenaline injections to arouse emotion. But his point of view is limited and one-sided, as Lashley has shown by his experiment every aspect of emotion cannot be explained by this theory. In reality, the other parts of nervous system have as much a hand in emotions as the hypothalamus. For example, the cerebral cortex has a greater part in the adjustability of emotions.

6. The Psycho-Analytic Theory (Freud):

There are three aspects of this theory of personality:

(I) The Dynamic Aspect of Personality:

The ego, id and superego are the parts of psycho. Freud’s theory made at about the same time as him shift from the ego libido polarity of motive to the life and death insects, had to do with doctrine of the unconscious. As to interpret the personality structure in terms of dynamic aspect of it. It may be studied in terms of ego, id and super ego.

This has the following components:

a. The Id consists primarily of drives, inherited instincts or urges.

b. Id has no direct access to the environment.

c. Id has no sense organs or muscles.

d. Id is bottomless and blind.

e. Id is unorganized, unstructured, mixed desires libido and destructiveness.

Psycho-analysis helps maladjusted persons to substitute rational control for frightened repression and so to build up the ego at the expenses of the Id.

It includes the following components:

The conscious self is also called the ego and the ego had the task of resisting the unconscious.

a. Ego has the direct access to the environment.

b. It functions through sense organs and muscles.

c. It learns through experience, it gets to know the danger to the environment and the necessity to check the id.

d. Its job is to take over the instincts from the id as far as it can, and make them conform the reality principle.

e. Ego task is to control the id.

f. Ego can be splitted into two:

(a) Execution, ego remains proper, and

(b) Watcher and moral critic or active.

g. The ego remains a somewhat ambiguous concept.

It has the following operations:

The super ego corresponds to what we ordinarily call conscience, so far as conscience means a blind feeling of right and wrong rather than knowledge of what is good for us and socially valuable.

It is made up of moral elements. The superego appropriates some of the aggressive tendency for use against the ego.

Formation of Super Ego:

It consists of the following:

a. Interjection into the self of the external moral authority as represented specially by parents and other important persons in early life.

Super ego forms through personal contact or environment. Ideal are assimilated into the person through social personal relationship.

b. Direction on the interjected or individual on reality of some portion of the moralistic libido, so that individual loves himself. Interjected ideals began to act as self-ideals.

c. It cannot explain its command because source of its authority, rudiments of super ego where inherited from primitive man kinds and takes shape Oedipus complex.

Usually the boy’s libido fastens on the mother, the girls on the father. Oedipus is the here of Greek, the child Oedipus had killed his father to marry his mother.

(II) Topographical Aspects:

The psycho formation can be represented by to biographically as three aspects:

Conscious is a part of psyche. The individual is fully aware or contingent of different type activity engaged by physic.

a. The individual cognitive conative, and affectively tendency are implied the conscious mind.

b. The ego of the individual is directly linked with conscious sphere.

c. The conscious part of psychic is sufficiently less in dimension as compared to the unconscious part. The 1/8th part of psychic is said to be conscious part.

It is directly related to the conscious but by little effort it can be brought to the level of conscious part of mind. The idea appears conscious par of mind, comes mostly from sub-conscious and fore conscious part.

Individual attention, thinking and concentration are directly explainable in terms of sub-conscious. It acts as threshold. The ideas never forget can recollect of recall on the power of conscious mind.

It has the following characteristics:

a. The unconscious is more real and permanent aspect of human personality, mere than 3/4th of human psychic consists of the conscious.

b. The unconscious is vast and bottomless its mystery cannot be easily known motives.

c. The evidence for the unconscious part of psychic is the dream analysis, slip of tongue and slip of eye and other human behaviour which cannot be explained by conscious motives.

d. The unconscious is the sheet of instinctual organ of the Id. It is huge area occupied by instinctual forces of the individual.

e. The unconscious part of an individual reflect the true individual compared to his appearance i.e., real personality can be structural to know unconscious, dream analysis.

(III) Economic Aspect of Personality:

The nature exercise economy and follows the principle of test expended on existing total situation.

Law of parsimony (economy). Freud believes making a person try to make ill due to his over work and confine to bed. Similar the case in mental area, we try to live psychologically least expanse of this economy. It reflects different mechanism that used by human psychic.

1. Defence mechanism are those than toes resolve the conflict rather than specific fashion.

2. Minor mechanism are used as supplementary tools by the major mechanism.

Mechanism of Personality:

1. The mechanism is function, ways and means between Id, and super ego.

2. They tend to eliminate or reduce the security of conflict situation.

3. They are economical methods of resolution.

4. Not all conflict can be resolved, there are some conflict which continue and continuation of conflicts is sometimes very harmful for the growth of personality.

(i) Major Mechanism of Consciousness:

2. Discriminatory decision.

(ii) Major Mechanism of Unconsciousness:

(iii) Major Mechanism of Both (Conscious and Unconscious):

(a) Major Mechanism of Consciousness:

It is the part of conflict situation which is most unaccented. Unconscious may be forced into conscious by the ego when they occur, the mechanism is called repression. Inhibition where an individual consciously or purposely refrains from an activity.

Where an individual consciously forces unacceptable idea out of his mind successfully for period of time. Inhibition is deliberately or consciously avoid the situation.

(iii) Discriminatory Decision:

It is found in normal adult quite frequently and less frequently in children. Conflicts are resolved by discriminate decision and renunciation, weighting the pros and cons.

(b) Major Mechanism of Unconsciousness:

It is the mechanism which represses energy, connected with the frustration basic drive is changed (converted) into the functional symptom bodily disease. The conflict is resolved by conscious or unconsciously into sickness. This mechanisms making weak physiologically and psychologically.

Conversion hysteria the disease due to the repression of derive, the energy thwarted and takes the form of disease. It is due to basic urges. Many a time headache may not be due to physical fatigue but due to thwarting the basic desire. The mental disturbance is due to basic urges.

(2) Regression (Means Going Back):

It implies the reversal of the ordinary progressive sequence of development and hence turns into more personality structure. The conflict is solved by flight into childhood.

Two types of regression:

Ego-regression is to return into earlier activity enacts as he is in the earlier stage may be in ego and libido. These two may occur libido regression without ego-regression. On the other hand, we seldom find ego regression without libido regression.

It is the solution of basic urges through the substitution a socially acceptable goal, there is redirection of basic urge into socially approved channel, the manifested behaviour are not only socially acceptable, but have definite social values. The unconscious is resolved flight into creative work, e.g., poet is interested in fine art, and many a time shows the tendency of sublimation. Expressing his desires in same forms his urges cannot be satisfied in original form.

(4) Reaction Formation over Compensation:

The development of behaviour which diametrically opposed to the unconscious urges or wishes, the conscious conflict is resolved behaviour denial of it. A person is preaching moral but may not moral man. Actually a people show and possesses more than his real.

The mechanism by which the individual justify his belief and action by going other reason than those activated along with other regression, sublimation reaction available in normal adult. No agreeable to prove his feeling with his own commands so rationalize his motive with logic for something actual reason is not given rationalization.

It signifies the shifting of feeling of love-egoic cathoxies from one object and person to another. Freud gave an example of patient suffering from neurosis they show the tendency of love to the doctor. The patient derives same type of love feeling exhibit by patient toward the doctor as she exhibit toward her father, mother and husband.

It refers to the mechanism through a person attempt to mould his ego, after death of someone else believes himself to have some other person e.g., children make usually identify himself to his teacher at lower stage of education female teachers are proved more effective rather than higher stage. We identify to the person whom we get pleasure.

It refers in corporation of the ego into itself of the outside environment of other individual of object apart of himself, empathy sympathy always with me in letters that sign of in introjection ‘you shall carry one.

It may be considered as inverse of introjection in that the ego attitude toward the environmental objects or other person’s characteristics of their own personality which are unexpected to the ego to seek faults in others. Try to look qualities of others, you are also weak you are also late. These are lame excuses.

It refers of transfer of one object to another.

7. The Constitutional Theory (Sheldon):

The theory is developed by Sheldon. He insists on measurement of traits as they are continuous variables.

He has developed a psychology of personality which recognizes the importance of biological constitutional factors. He has emphasized on a continuous variable approach for the measurement of constitutional as opposed to the earlier method of classification on the basis of broad discontinuity. But, it resembles with older topologist.

All earlier topologist of personality assume that behaviour characteristics are related in same fundamental way to underlying biological factors.

He postulates that human physique and personality can be adequately described in terms of three fundamental temperamental patterns.

Primary components of human physique are given below:

This temperament has three components:

(a) The degree to which an individual shows rotundness.

(b) An under development of muscles and bones.

(c) Over development of fat and viscera especially the latter.

This temperament has the following characteristics:

The degree to which an individual shows:

(a) A predominance of development has bones muscles as opposed to the other bodily components.

(b) Possesses an athletic body which is hard well-proportioned muscular.

It has the following characteristics:

It is the component which determines the relative development of skin and nervous tissue over the other components.

An invalidity physique is related to the pre-ponderance of development of three fundamental embryonic-tissues:

Innermost layers of embryonic cells.

Middle layer from which muscles and blood survived.

Cellular layer from which skin, hair, central nervous system derived.

An individual is rated on seven point scale on each of the above components. In addition to these primary components, the individual may also be rated on the degree to which he demonstrates.

The extent to which a person shows a lack of harmony or markedly uneven mixture of the basic components in any part of his body. Ex-an otherwise endomorphic individual with the laps of endomorphs delinquencies, mental disease.

The extent to which an individual has the bodily characteristics commonly identified with numbers of the opposite sex.

Texture is the degree to which an individual possesses a fine aesthetically pleasing body as revealed by the texture of his/her skin, hair and perhaps underlying cells.

Primary Dimensions of Temperament:

Temperament of an individual refers to his emotional and motivational nature. Behaviourally it is his reactive disposition.

Three primary clusters of traits could account for 1225 correlations among the traits were studied:

(1) Viscerotionia trait is closely associated with digestive and vishal process.

(2) Somatonia trait is associated with voluntary muscular system (Sematic structure).

(3) Cerabrotonia traits are the activities which have to do chiefly with attentional consciousness.

Relationship between Physique and Temperaments:

Under this study Sheldon selected 200 adults and obtained the following result:

1. Viscerotonia trait is most closely related to endomorphy temperament.

2. Somatonia trait is most closely associated with mesomorphy temperament.

3. Cerebrotonia trait is most closely related to ectomorphy temperaments.

On the basis of the relationship, temperament can be predicted on the basis of physique with a considerable accuracy and concomitantly physique with the help of temperature, but causal relationship cannot be established.

Criticisms of Sheldon Theory:

The following are the advantages and limitations of Sheldon Theory of personality:

1. Most of the studies done by Sheldon are on adult male subjects. Therefore, his findings related to biological traits and temperaments cannot be applied for female subjects, because their physique constitution is different from male. There is also difference between temperament of male and female.

2. Sheldon has used rating scale for measuring these variables therefore, the observations have the ‘Halo effect’ of the rotors.

3. Somatic type is relatively in variant.

4. It considers, physique and emotional aspects of a person, but does not consider the intellectual and social aspects which are most important for the psychology of personality.

5. It has limited the scope for using this concept of personality in Education.


Stanford Prison Experiment


The Stanford Prison Experiment, perhaps one of the most famous experiments ever conducted, took place in August of 1971. The purpose of the experiment was to study the causes of conflict between prisoners and those who guard them. Twenty-four male students were randomly assigned the role of either guard or prisoner, and then set up according to their role in a specifically designed model prison located in the basement of the psychology building on Stanford’s campus. It soon became apparent that those who had been given the role of guard were taking their job very seriously. They began to enforce harsh measures and subjected their “prisoners” to various degrees of psychological torture. If that’s surprising, perhaps it is even more surprising that many of the prisoners in the experiment simply accepted the abuses. The authoritarian measures adopted by the guards became so extreme that the experiment was abruptly stopped after just six days.


Seven Key Themes of Psychology

It is speculated that psychology grew out of people wanting a better understanding of themselves. As it has evolved in its practices and interpretations, its diversity has become more challenging, but it can be put into perspective using seven key themes.

Theme 1 : Psychology is Empirical
Empiricism is the premise that knowledge should be acquired through observation in which research is conducted to test ideas.

Theme 2 : Psychology is Theoretically Diverse
A theory is a system of interelated ideas used to explain a set of observations. A theory links unrelated observations and tries to explain them.

Theme 3 : Psychology Evolves in a Sociohistorical Context
Dense interconnections exist between what happens in psychology and what happens in society. Psychology develops in a social and historical context through trends, issues and values.

Theme 4 : Behavior is Determined by Multiple Causes
In general, pschologists find that behavior is governed by a complex network of interacting factors, an idea referred to as the multifactorial causation of behavior.

Theme 5 : Our Behavior is Shaped by our Cultural Heritage
Culture refers to the shared customs, beliefs, values, norms, institutions, and other products of community that are transmitted socially across generations.

Theme 6 : Heredity and Environment Jointly Influence Behavior
A century of research has shown that genetics and experience both influence an individual’s intelligence, temperment, personality, and susceptibility to many psychological disorders.

Theme 7 : Our Experience of the World is Highly Subjective
We actively process incoming stimulation, selectively focusing on some aspects of that stimulation while ignoring others. People tend to see what they want to see or what they expect to see.

In conclusion, psychology in all its many variations emphasize seven key ideas as unifying themes. As a field of study, the three themes are (1) psychology is empirical, (2) psychology is theoretically diverse, and (3) psychology evolves in a sociohistorical context.

Looking at psychology’s subject matter, the remaining four themes are (4) behavior is determined by multiple causes, (5) our behavior is shaped by our cultural heritage (6) heredity and environment jointly influence behavior, and (7) our experience of the world is highly subjective.


Evolutionary psychology. Controversies, questions, prospects, and limitations

Evolutionary psychology has emerged over the past 15 years as a major theoretical perspective, generating an increasing volume of empirical studies and assuming a larger presence within psychological science. At the same time, it has generated critiques and remains controversial among some psychologists. Some of the controversy stems from hypotheses that go against traditional psychological theories some from empirical findings that may have disturbing implications some from misunderstandings about the logic of evolutionary psychology and some from reasonable scientific concerns about its underlying framework. This article identifies some of the most common concerns and attempts to elucidate evolutionary psychology's stance pertaining to them. These include issues of testability and falsifiability the domain specificity versus domain generality of psychological mechanisms the role of novel environments as they interact with evolved psychological circuits the role of genes in the conceptual structure of evolutionary psychology the roles of learning, socialization, and culture in evolutionary psychology and the practical value of applied evolutionary psychology. The article concludes with a discussion of the limitations of current evolutionary psychology.


Psychology’s 10 Greatest Case Studies – Digested

These ten characters have all had a huge influence on psychology and their stories continue to intrigue each new generation of students. What’s particularly fascinating is that many of their stories continue to evolve – new evidence comes to light, or new technologies are brought to bear, changing how the cases are interpreted and understood. What many of these 10 also have in common is that they speak to some of the perennial debates in psychology, about personality and identity, nature and nurture, and the links between mind and body.

Phineas Gage
One day in 1848 in Central Vermont, Phineas Gage was tamping explosives into the ground to prepare the way for a new railway line when he had a terrible accident. The detonation went off prematurely, and his tamping iron shot into his face, through his brain, and out the top of his head. Remarkably Gage survived, although his friends and family reportedly felt he was changed so profoundly (becoming listless and aggressive) that “he was no longer Gage.” There the story used to rest – a classic example of frontal brain damage affecting personality. However, recent years have seen a drastic reevaluation of Gage’s story in light of new evidence. It’s now believed that he underwent significant rehabilitation and in fact began work as a horse carriage driver in Chile. A simulation of his injuries suggested much of his right frontal cortex was likely spared, and photographic evidence has been unearthed showing a post-accident dapper Gage. Not that you’ll find this revised account in many psychology textbooks: a recent analysis showed that few of them have kept up to date with the new evidence.

Find out more: Using brain imaging to reevaluate psychology’s three most famous cases
Neuroscience still haunted by Phineas Gage
Phineas Gage – Unravelling the Myth
Looking back: Blasts from the past
Coverage of Phineas Gage in the book Great Myths of the Brain

H.M.
Henry Gustav Molaison (known for years as H.M. in the literature to protect his privacy), who died in 2008, developed severe amnesia at age 27 after undergoing brain surgery as a form of treatment for the epilepsy he’d suffered since childhood. He was subsequently the focus of study by over 100 psychologists and neuroscientists and he’s been mentioned in over 12,000 journal articles! Molaison’s surgery involved the removal of large parts of the hippocampus on both sides of his brain and the result was that he was almost entirely unable to store any new information in long-term memory (there were some exceptions – for example, after 1963 he was aware that a US president had been assassinated in Dallas). The extremity of Molaison’s deficits was a surprise to experts of the day because many of them believed that memory was distributed throughout the cerebral cortex. Today, Molaison’s legacy lives on: his brain was carefully sliced and preserved and turned into a 3D digital atlas and his life story is reportedly due to be turned into a feature film based on the book researcher Suzanne Corkin wrote about him: Permanent Present Tense, The Man With No Memory and What He Taught The World.

Leborgne’s brain is housed at
the Musée Dupuytren museum in Paris

Victor Leborgne (nickname “Tan”)
The fact that, in most people, language function is served predominantly by the left frontal cortex has today almost become common knowledge, at least among psych students. However, back in the early nineteenth century, the consensus view was that language function (like memory, see entry for H.M.) was distributed through the brain. An nineteenth century patient who helped change that was Victor Leborgne, a Frenchman who was nicknamed “Tan” because that was the only sound he could utter (besides the expletive phrase “sacre nom de Dieu”). In 1861, aged 51, Leborgne was referred to the renowned neurologist Paul Broca, but died soon after. Broca examined Leborgne’s brain and noticed a lesion in his left frontal lobe – a segment of tissue now known as Broca’s area. Given Leborgne’s impaired speech but intact comprehension, Broca concluded that this area of the brain was responsible for speech production and he set about persuading his peers of this fact – now recognised as a key moment in psychology’s history. For decades little was known about Leborgne, besides his important contribution to science. However, in a paper published in 2013, Cezary Domanski at Maria Curie-Sklodowska University in Poland uncovered new biographical details, including the possibility that Leborgne muttered the word “Tan” because his birthplace of Moret, home to several tanneries.

Wild Boy of Aveyron
The “Wild boy of Aveyron” – named Victor by the physician Jean-Marc Itard – was found emerging from Aveyron forest in South West France in 1800, aged 11 or 12, where’s it’s thought he had been living in the wild for several years. For psychologists and philosophers, Victor became a kind of “natural experiment” into the question of nature and nurture. How would he be affected by the lack of human input early in his life? Those who hoped Victor would support the notion of the “noble savage” uncorrupted by modern civilisation were largely disappointed: the boy was dirty and dishevelled, defecated where he stood and apparently motivated largely by hunger. Victor acquired celebrity status after he was transported to Paris and Itard began a mission to teach and socialise the “feral child”. This programme met with mixed success: Victor never learned to speak fluently, but he dressed, learned civil toilet habits, could write a few letters and acquired some very basic language comprehension. Autism expert Uta Frith believes Victor may have been abandoned because he was autistic, but she acknowledges we will never know the truth of his background. Victor’s story inspired the 2004 novel The Wild Boy and was dramatised in the 1970 French film The Wild Child.

Find out more: Case Study: The Wild Boy of Aveyron (BBC Radio 4 documentary).

Kim Peek
Nicknamed ‘Kim-puter’ by his friends, Peek who died in 2010 aged 58, was the inspiration for Dustin Hoffman’s autistic savant character in the multi-Oscar-winning film Rain Man. Before that movie, which was released in 1988, few people had heard of autism, so Peek via the film can be credited with helping to raise the profile of the condition. Arguably though, the film also helped spread the popular misconception that giftedness is a hallmark of autism (in one notable scene, Hoffman’s character deduces in an instant the precise number of cocktail sticks – 246 – that a waitress drops on the floor). Peek himself was actually a non-autistic savant, born with brain abnormalities including a malformed cerebellum and an absent corpus callosum (the massive bundle of tissue that usually connects the two hemispheres). His savant skills were astonishing and included calendar calculation, as well as an encyclopaedic knowledge of history, literature, classical music, US zip codes and travel routes. It was estimated that he read more than 12,000 books in his life time, all of them committed to flawless memory. Although outgoing and sociable, Peek had coordination problems and struggled with abstract or conceptual thinking.

Anna O.
“Anna O.” is the pseudonym for Bertha Pappenheim, a pioneering German Jewish feminist and social worker who died in 1936 aged 77. As Anna O. she is known as one of the first ever patients to undergo psychoanalysis and her case inspired much of Freud’s thinking on mental illness. Pappenheim first came to the attention of another psychoanalyst, Joseph Breuer, in 1880 when he was called to her house in Vienna where she was lying in bed, almost entirely paralysed. Her other symptoms include hallucinations, personality changes and rambling speech, but doctors could find no physical cause. For 18 months, Breuer visited her almost daily and talked to her about her thoughts and feelings, including her grief for her father, and the more she talked, the more her symptoms seemed to fade – this was apparently one of the first ever instances of psychoanalysis or “the talking cure”, although the degree of Breuer’s success has been disputed and some historians allege that Pappenheim did have an organic illness, such as epilepsy. Although Freud never met Pappenheim, he wrote about her case, including the notion that she had a hysterical pregnancy, although this too is disputed. The latter part of Pappenheim’s life in Germany post 1888 is as remarkable as her time as Anna O. She became a prolific writer and social pioneer, including authoring stories, plays, and translating seminal texts, and she founded social clubs for Jewish women, worked in orphanages and founded the German Federation of Jewish Women.

Find out more: Freud’s Anna O. Social work’s Bertha Pappenheim [pdf document]
A Dangerous Method is a feature film about another influential patient of psychoanalysis, Sabina Spielrein, who subsequently became a psychoanalyst herself.

Kitty Genovese
Sadly, it is not really Kitty Genovese the person who has become one of psychology’s classic case studies, but rather the terrible fate that befell her. In 1964 in New York, Genovese was returning home from her job as a bar maid when she was attacked and eventually murdered by Winston Mosely. What made this tragedy so influential to psychology was that it inspired research into what became known as the Bystander Phenomenon – the now well-established finding that our sense of individual responsibility is diluted by the presence of other people. According to folklore, 38 people watched Genovese’s demise yet not one of them did anything to help, apparently a terrible real life instance of the Bystander Effect. However, the story doesn’t end there because historians have since established the reality was much more complicated – at least two people did try to summon help, and actually there was only one witness the second and fatal attack. While the main principle of the Bystander Effect has stood the test of time, modern psychology’s understanding of the way it works has become a lot more nuanced. For example, there’s evidence that in some situations people are more likely to act when they’re part of a larger group, such as when they and the other group members all belong to the same social category (such as all being women) as the victim.

“Little Albert” was the nickname that the pioneering behaviourist psychologist John Watson gave to an 11-month-old baby, in whom, with his colleague and future wife Rosalind Rayner, he deliberately attempted to instill certain fears through a process of conditioning. The research, which was of dubious scientific quality, was conducted in 1920 and has become notorious for being so unethical (such a procedure would never be given approval in modern university settings). Interest in Little Albert has reignited in recent years as an academic quarrel has erupted over his true identity. A group led by Hall Beck at Appalachian University announced in 2011 that they thought Little Albert was actually Douglas Merritte, the son of a wet nurse at John Hopkins University where Watson and Rayner were based. According to this sad account, Little Albert was neurologically impaired, compounding the unethical nature of the Watson/Rayner research, and he died aged six of hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain). However, this account was challenged by a different group of scholars led by Russell Powell at MacEwan University in 2014. They established that Little Albert was more likely William A Barger (recorded in his medical file as Albert Barger), the son of a different wet nurse. Earlier this year, textbook writer Richard Griggs weighed up all the evidence and concluded that the Barger story is the more credible, which would mean that Little Albert in fact died 2007 aged 87.

Chris Sizemore
Chris Costner Sizemore is one of the most famous patients to be given the controversial diagnosis of multiple personality disorder, known today as dissociative identity disorder. Sizemore’s alter egos apparently included Eve White, Eve Black, Jane and many others. By some accounts, Sizemore expressed these personalities as a coping mechanism in the face of traumas she experienced in childhood, including seeing her mother badly injured and a man sawn in half at a lumber mill. In recent years, Sizemore has described how her alter egos have been combined into one united personality for many decades, but she still sees different aspects of her past as belonging to her different personalities. For example, she has stated that her husband was married to Eve White (not her), and that Eve White is the mother of her first daughter. Her story was turned into a movie in 1957 called The Three Faces of Eve (based on a book of the same name written by her psychiatrists). Joanne Woodward won the best actress Oscar for portraying Sizemore and her various personalities in this film. Sizemore published her autobiography in 1977 called I’m Eve. In 2009, she appeared on the BBC’s Hard Talk interview show.

David Reimer
One of the most famous patients in psychology, Reimer lost his penis in a botched circumcision operation when he was just 8 months old. His parents were subsequently advised by psychologist John Money to raise Reimer as a girl, “Brenda”, and for him to undergo further surgery and hormone treatment to assist his gender reassignment. Money initially described the experiment (no one had tried anything like this before) as a huge success that appeared to support his belief in the important role of socialisation, rather than innate factors, in children’s gender identity. In fact, the reassignment was seriously problematic and Reimer’s boyishness was never far beneath the surface. When he was aged 14, Reimer was told the truth about his past and set about reversing the gender reassignment process to become male again. He later campaigned against other children with genital injuries being gender reassigned in the way that he had been. His story was turned into the book As Nature Made Him, The Boy Who Was Raised As A Girl by John Colapinto, and he is the subject of two BBC Horizon documentaries. Tragically, Reimer took his own life in 2004, aged just 38.

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Edward Thorndike was an American psychologist who was associated with the school of thought known as functionalism along with other thinkers including Harvey Carr, James Rowland Angell and John Dewey. Thorndike is often called the father of modern day educational psychology and published several important texts on the subject.

Among his many accomplishments include being elected president of the American Psychological Association in 1912. In 1917, he was also one of the first psychologists to become a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Thorndike is also well-known for the puzzle box experiments he performed with cats, his concept of the law of effect, and his contributions to the field of educational psychology.


Emerging Adulthood: The Twenty-Something Stage of Life

Adolescence is a liminal stage—it is the transitional threshold between childhood dependence and adult responsibility. The hard part is knowing when you've arrived.

That questioning sentiment seems pretty common among 20-somethings right now: both my sons were recently gifted T-shirts on that theme. Although one can argue that historically the transition from childhood to adult responsibilities was long, uneven and muddled, certainly in the mid-century United States it was pretty clear: you became an adult when you (1) finished school, (2) got a job, (3) married, and (4) had children. Not only was that temporal transition relatively short during the decades when the age of marriage for women hovered just above 20, but it was also relatively tightly sequenced. Social institutions tended to support people who moved through it in order. Things were a lot tougher for people who did not.

In the decades since, several societal changes have stretched the transition to adulthood out and loosened the sequence. School has become increasingly extended. Although most adolescents finish high school and go on to college, only 59% of those who start a bachelor's degree finish within six years. For those starting at open-enrollment institutions such as community colleges, that rate falls to 32%. Working during college has become normative. As the age of marriage has risen from mid-century, many more people are having children prior to marriage, further complicating the transition to adulthood as people work to combine roles—for example, dating partner and parent—in ways that are not yet clearly defined.

Emerging Adulthood: Jeffrey Arnett has argued that these cultural changes have resulted in a new life stage between adolescence—what had been traditionally been defined as a state of preparation and socialization—and adulthood. "Emerging adulthood," he argues, is a normative life stage characterized by:

The popular press tends to focus on the lack of commitment and instability of romantic relationships and unemployment of emerging adults. For developmentalists, it may be the diversity of the period that is most controversial. If I talk about U.S. 15-year-olds, I can assume most of them will be in school and living with parents. If I talk of 50-year-olds, most will be or have been in long term romantic relationships, working, with children. Most 80-year-olds are retired. But 20-somethings? They could be married with children, in graduate school, working 60 hours a week and too busy to date, or a single parent working two jobs. The diversity of this age group is striking.

Two other striking characteristics of this group are that although they are legally and cognitively adults, they have often yet to take on the roles most closely associated with adulthood: employment, marriage, and parenthood. When they do take on those roles—as many people in their 20s do—we no longer talk about them as 'emerging adults.' We just call them adults.

Emerging adulthood, seemingly, ends when people make commitments and decide to take on traditional roles. It's not like childhood, which ends on our thirteenth birthday.

The challenges of emerging adulthood

As many struggling twenty-somethings will tell you, freedom to explore has both advantages and costs. Emerging adults use mental health services at high rates than those older or younger than themselves. They have more mood disorders, greater anxiety, and higher rates of substance use.

Though many struggle to prepare themselves for gainful employment, it can be difficult for young adults to establish stable careers. The average emerging adult will experience eight job changes between 18 and 29 and experience at least that many changes of romantic partners. Change, for many, is stressful.

On the other hand, this is a decade characterized by optimism—change can also be change for the better. Emerging adults typically describe their future as one of possibilities and are optimistic about their long term success. One of the advantages of having few ties is the freedom to explore. This decade is typically seen in which youth spend relatively less time helping others and more time focusing on themselves.

Arnett, J. J., Zukauskiene, R., & Sugimura, K. (2014). The new life stage of emerging adulthood at ages 18-29 years: implications for mental health. Lancet Psychiatry, 1(7), 569-576. doi:10.1016/s2215-0366(14)00080-7.


Psychology Research Paper Definition

A psychology research paper mainly aims to educate the audience about recent developments in the psychology field. For this, it contains new theories, experiments, ideas, and arguments.

Such type of research papers require:

  • Serious writing effort.
  • Extensive literature research.
  • Understanding of the experimental methods (surveys, sampling techniques, statistical procedures)
  • Testing thought originality.
  • Gathering and evaluating supporting evidence.
  • Delivering ideas to the audience efficiently.

There is absolutely nothing more important for psychology students than their research papers. A staggering amount of psychology research papers are published every year. This is one of the reasons many students struggle to find good paper ideas.


Some of the Most Controversial Issues in Psychology

Obviously, this is not a complete list. We would like to hear from you via e-mail on what you may consider additional issues that are not included in this piece.

1. Can psychotherapists routinely waive insurance co-pays?

As a therapist, you must carefully read your insurance contract and make sure you understand what it says about waiving co-pays. If you then decide to waive insurance co-pays, make sure you do not do it routinely with all clients, and document your reasons in the clinical records. Consult with experts on difficult cases.

2. Is it ethical to terminate treatment when a client can no longer pay?

While we have no obligation to see clients who cannot pay, we should not abandon them either. Terminations must be handled thoughtfully and with care. Delay termination if the client is in crisis. Give notice and reasonable time for termination to take place. Give referrals if necessary. If appropriate, assist with the transition to a new therapist. Make sure to document well.

More info on Termination: Guidelines, Online Course

3. Is it ethical to have clients as Facebook friends?

While many digital immigrants (i.e., older therapists) recoil at the thought of having clients as Facebook friends and too readily call it “unethical,” the answer to this question and similar ones is the proverbial, “It depends.” It depends on what is on the therapist’s profile, the personality, age, presenting issues and background of the client, the nature of the therapist-client relationship and much more.

More on Social Networking: Free Article, Online Course

4. Is f2f superior to phone or online therapy?

One of the many myths in our field is the superiority of in-person or face-to-face communication when compared to phone, e-mail or online communications. There is an extensive amount of conclusive research that supports the efficacy of telehealth and phone or online communication. Just because most therapists feel more comfortable with f2f communication does not make it superior or “ethical.” Many clients prefer non-f2f, as it frees them up to be less self-conscious and more revealing due to what Dr. Suler labeled the “dis-inhibition effect” of digital communications.

5. Can I provide telepsychology (tele-mental-health) services across state lines?

Treating clients who reside in different states is one of the hottest topics in tele-medicine in general, as well as in tele-mental-health. Where the client resides is one of the main factors that therapists must pay attention to. It may be illegal to treat a client in a different state. Make sure to check if that state mandates that treating-therapists must be licensed in-state. States’ laws vary. Some states have temporary licensing provisions, others require licensure in their state, and many states haven’t addressed this issue so there are no governing laws or regulations. Depending on where your potential clients live, the rules will be different. Be well informed and well trained before you practice across states lines.

More info on TeleMental Health: Ethics Codes and Online Course

6. Are therapists at high-risk for lawsuits?

We have been indoctrinated to fear lawsuits and our licensing boards. The fact that psychotherapists pay malpractice insurance in the range of $400 to $1,300 a year in comparison to some physicians (i.e., obstetricians and neurosurgeons) who may pay up to $100,000 per year illustrates that we, therapists, are a very low risk group. The percent of complaints to licensing boards is not as high as many attorneys and “ethicists” lead us to believe. Even when charges are brought, most complaints are dropped without any charges being filed. [Note: Make sure that you have paid the extra $40-$50 so your malpractice insurance also covers licensing board complaints.

More info on Ethical Risk Management: Free Article, Online Course

7. Do minor boundary crossings gradually lead to boundary violations, exploitation and harm?

The baseless and paranoid idea of the “slippery slope” has been with us for too long and, when followed, results in substandard care. It is idiotic to assert that non-sexual touch is likely to lead to sexual touch, that simple gift-giving results in social relationships, or that bartering inevitably ends in exploitation.

More info on Boundaries: Free Articles, Online Courses, Book

As Skype is so convenient, popular, free and easy to use, many therapists have been using it to conduct online therapy and supervision. However, Skype is not HIPAA compliant, as it neither gives a BAA, nor does it notify therapists when breaches occur. VSee seems to provide a BAA to solo mental health practices at a reduced cost. You will need to inquire with VSee to find out the price and other details. You can also find an extensive comprehensive of options, with side-by-side comparisons, at http://www.telementalhealthcomparisons.com.

9. Is the Harm Reduction treatment model (such as controlled drinking) a valid alternative to abstinence?

Many clinicians have uncritically subscribed to the AA notion of, “once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.” The fact is that the Harm Reduction model has extensive scientific support and is widely and successfully applied in Europe. It is important for all clinicians to remember that one approach does not fit all. (If the only tool that you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.)

More info on Harm Reduction: Online Course

10. Are “victims” always completely innocent, or do some bear responsibility for their misfortunes?

Psychotherapists and attorneys are in the forefront of those who fuel the “Victim Industry” in the U.S. “Don’t blame the victim,” has become a moratorium on exploring situations where victims bear responsibility. As a result, we have become a nation of victims. In reality, some victims are 100% innocent (i.e., abused children) and others are willing and relentless participants in their own victimization (i.e., women who knowingly continue to date and marry abusive men). As the saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

More info on Victimhood: Free Resources

11. Must therapists always give referrals when a client terminates prematurely?

There is a myth, or erroneous belief, that therapists must always give referrals to clients who terminate against their advice or when therapists initiate the termination. While sometimes it is necessary to give referrals, other times clients may not want, need, or require them (your policies in this area should be spelled out in your Informed Consent Forms). Sometimes, when a client terminates ‘against medical advice,’ it may be inappropriate to follow up with a letter of referral or request to come back for a termination. Other times, it may be appropriate to simply let the client travel the path they think is best without interfering. The right course of action depends on the client, the setting, the nature of termination, and other contextual factors. As always, seek consultation in complex cases and document your reasoning, actions, and non-actions.

More info on Termination: Guidelines, Online Course, Consultation

12. Is it a good idea for therapists to text with clients?

An increasing number of clients (primarily young ones, aka, digital natives) ask and expect to be able to text us. The question arises: Should we give out our cell phone numbers to exchange texts with clients? The answer depends on several factors. First, we must consider that texting tends to be one of the better ways to reach adolescents and young adults, many of whom prefer texting to e-mail and phone calls. Sometimes, texting is the only way to reach these clients. While texting with ‘at risk’ adolescents may be highly advisable and effective (and can save lives), texting with intrusive, entitled, or demanding clients of any age may not be clinically advisable. Many older or “reluctant digital immigrant” therapists recoil at the idea of texting with clients altogether and ignorantly call doing so “unethical.” Therapists must go through a rational, ethical decision-making process and evaluate not only the risks and benefits of texting with clients but also the risks and benefits of not texting with clients. This process should be articulated to clients in Office Policies and/or in person.

13. Do therapists need to respond to clients’ e-mails and texts instantly?

An increasing number of clients expect us to respond to their texts and e-mails instantly. With the proliferation of iPhones, iPads and other mobile devices, these expectations become the norm with a wide section of the population. Except in unique or special situations (i.e., acute crisis, or being on call) therapists do not have a mandate to be instantly available 24/7. What is important is to inform our clients in person and via our Office Policies about our availability, backups, alternative resources and our general policies regarding e-mails and texts. We must be clear about our attitudes around technology, discuss this with our clients and be sure the Office Policies include information about digital contact.

14. Can therapists accept payment from clients who earn money illegally?

Can therapists be paid for therapy by clients who make their living by selling illegal drugs, illegal prostitution, or other illegal activities? Legally and ethically speaking, unless the situation includes a danger to the client, others, children, or elders (i.e., situations that include a duty to report), therapists must maintain confidentiality and can accept money that was acquired illegally. Clinically speaking, therapists may wish to explore with their clients the motivation, meaning, risks & benefits, and reasons for the illegal ways of making money. Therapists can decide that for personal-moral-ethical reasons, they cannot work with such clients. If this is the case, they may discuss the matter with the clients but must appropriately terminate and refer, if necessary. Record-keeping in regard to illegal activity must be done with caution. As always, consult in difficult situations.

15. Do we always need to use an ICD-10 (as of 10/1/15) diagnosis in our initial assessment report of treatment plan?

While insurance companies and Medicare may require an ICD-10 diagnosis as of 10/1/15, therapists are not required to include it in their initial assessment or treatment plan. Therapists can use non-ICD or non-DSM terminology to identify the presenting problem and focus of treatment. They can rely on the Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual (PDM) for diagnosis, and can also use developmentally (i.e., “Couple are preparing for their empty nest era”), existentially (i.e., “Patient is seeking more meaning in his life”), or familiarly-based (i.e., “This is an enmeshed and undifferentiated family”) diagnosis.

More info: Online courses on Treatment Plan

16. Are women always the victims, or are they also the perpetrators of domestic violence?

Domestic violence perpetrated by women is rarely-discussed, and is generally considered to be a politically incorrect topic to discuss. The majority of research in this area over the last forty years has focused on male violence against women. In recent years, research has begun to identify a growing trend of violence by women in their relationships that is nearly equal in frequency to that perpetrated by men in years past. The lower statistics for males as victims of domestic violence are partly due to the fact that men are often reluctant to identify themselves as victims, and less likely to call the police or reach out to their community for help. The general belief, as presented in the movie “The Burning Bed,” is that women will strike men only as a last resort and in self-defense. While true in many situations, this does not seem to be the entire picture. Women’s rights advocates’ efforts to push for arrests of men in domestic violence calls has, paradoxically, also resulted in a higher number of female arrests.

17. Must all treatments be empirically supported to be considered ethical?

The debate around Evidence-Based Therapy (EBT) or Empirically Supported Treatment (EST) protocols has been raging among psychologists for many years. As with many researchers, academicians and CBTs, psychopharmacological-oriented therapists have lobbied for the exclusive inclusion of EBT (and the general medical model) due it its “scientific support.” Many humanistically and psychodynamically oriented therapists (among others) claim that simple double blind experimental designs and lab research do not tap into the complexity and depth of therapeutic exchange and psychological healing. Insurance companies support the idea for simple economic reasons, as EBT tends to be short term (easy to quantify and research). Unlike many academicians and researchers, many practitioners view psychotherapy as art as much as science.

More info: Online course on Ethical Decision-Making

18. Is the DSM a scientific, valid, and reliable document?

Unlike what we were told in most graduate schools and assessment workshops, the DSM is a politically and economically driven document more than a scientific one. Decisions regarding inclusion or exclusion of disorders are made by majority vote rather than by the review and acceptance of indisputable scientific data. One telling example: Homosexuality was listed as a mental disorder in the DSM until 1974, when gay activists demonstrated in front of the American Psychiatric Association Convention. The APA’s 1974 vote showed 5,854 members supporting and 3,810 opposing the disorder’s removal from the manual. Ever since, homosexuality has not been regarded as a mental illness. Voting on what constitutes mental illness is truly bizarre and, needless to say, unscientific. In recent years, the DSM has been primarily driven by the psychopharmacological industry, which reaps huge profits from each new diagnosis that can be treated with medication.

19. Is it ethical to treat more than one member of a couple, concurrently, in individual therapy?

Over the last few decades, some dogmatic family and couple therapists have insisted that it is never Kosher to see members of the couple individually while they are also in couple therapy. The inflexible, one-size-fits-all approach is obviously inconsistent with (back to the proverbial) “It Depends.” Whether a therapist sees family members individually or not, must depend on the personalities and attitudes of the clients, whether they have trusting relationships between themselves and with their therapists, and whether therapists can handle the multiple relationships with the different sub-systems. Once again, what may be appropriate with one couple may not be with another. Ethical, effective, and competent therapists know the difference. Informed consent and discussion regarding secrets and good record-keeping are important.

More info on Family Therapy: Clinical Forms

20. Is it ever ethical for a therapist to be seen naked by a client?

Most, if not all, therapists, understandably, are likely to respond with a “Hell no!” as they probably connote this situation with a sexual encounter. Obviously, sex with clients is ALWAYS unethical, counter-clinical, and illegal in most states, but then imagine a situation in which a therapist is stepping out of the shower stall in the local gym when, to his or her or great surprise, a client (equally naked) steps out of the next stall. This is called an “incidental contact,” “chance occurrence,” or what I call an “out-of-office experience” that takes place in the community, outside of the treatment room. Such nude encounters have been reported to have taken place between men and women at nudist beaches or at the hot-tubs in Esalen. This vignette is an example of how therapists and ethicists must first understand and comprehend the specific context of each and every situation BEFORE they cast uninformed, ‘instinctive’ judgment

More info on Experiences Outside the Office: Article, Online Course

21. Is an affair always a “symptom” of problems within a marriage?

Sometimes extramarital affairs occur alongside or within the context of a loving, committed marriage. They do not always indicate a problem with the marital relationship. The commission of infidelity is often likely to engender strong emotional responses, dogmatic thinking, emotional defensiveness and moral rigidity in clients as well as their therapists. However, contrary to what is commonly believed by the public and assumed by many therapists, extramarital affairs are neither rare, exclusively men’s doing, nor must they signal the end of a marriage. In fact, the discovery that one or both partners have moved outside the boundaries of their marital vows seeking to have needs met, or growth expanded, may open a window of opportunity. It may bring each partner toward greater intimacy and deeper insight into themselves as well as their spouse. Partners in more than a third of all marriages (inclusive of many cultures, male or female initiators, gay or straight, youthful or geriatric) are being challenged to confront and deal with the complexities of extramarital affairs. Indeed, infidelity has become an equal opportunity affair. Internet or online affairs have become extremely prevalent. There is also a recent and growing acceptance, especially among the younger generation, of non-traditional relationships including polyamory, and open marriage.

More info on Infidelity: Types of Affairs

22. Is PTSD really increasing, or are therapists confused about diagnostic criteria?

Diagnosis of PTSD has proliferated in recent times causing statistics of the disorder to be inflated. Faulty adherence to DSM criteria is diluting the important notion of PTSD. It is generally agreed that individuals have higher or lower thresholds for developing symptoms of PTSD: what may be truly traumatizing to one may not cause another to become symptomatic. However, in order to meet the criteria for the diagnosis, the DSM requires that “the person has experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others”. For example, those who survived the burning towers on 9/11 in NYC may qualify for the diagnosis of PTSD, while those who developed some of the symptoms of PTSD from witnessing it on TV, would not. Therapists who do not differentiate appropriately between stress and trauma and inaccurately diagnose PTSD feed the PTSD epidemic. Psychiatrists, psychotherapists, counselors and social workers have erred when using the diagnosis simply because a client was fired from a job, harassed on the job, or discovered that their spouse had an affair or, in other situations when people became angry, disappointed or witnessed horrors on TV or the Web.

More info on PTSD: Free New Audio (Transcript), Online Course (20 CE Credit Hours)

23. Should we keep records of e-mails and texts?

Therapists are noticing that an increasing number of clients choose to communicate with them through e-mail and texts and wonder whether they need to keep records of these communications. In principle, e-mails and texts are no different than traditional voice mail messages. Important and clinically significant communications should be incorporated into the clinical records. Simple requests for appointment changes, or communications regarding minor business issues may not be very significant. E-mails can easily be filed by simply storing them on one’s e-mail system. There are several programs which transcribe voice mail messages. With the right software or expert help, texts can be printed and/or stored online. Confidentiality and privacy considerations must be carefully evaluated for of all of these storage, transcribing and recording methods. Therapists may want to include a statement in their office policies and/or discuss and be clear with their clients that voice mail, texts and e-mails are part of the clinical records. This allows clients to make informed decisions about how they communicate with their therapists.

More info on Record Keeping: Online Course & Consultation

24. How can therapists counter negative posting on them on Yelp and other sites?

There is a myth that psychotherapists are helpless when clients make negative, defaming, or inflammatory postings regarding therapists on web sites that are designed for customer feedback, such as www.Yelp.com. Therapists should not respond emotionally and impulsively by writing to clients or to Yelp. Instead, they should take the time to weigh the options and get informed first. While therapists cannot ethically solicit clients’ testimonials, they can solicit testimonies from colleagues, supervisors, graduate school professors and such. These positive evaluations may overshadow the negative ones. If the posting is more than just an opinion or other statement protected by free speech, but constitutes defamation, slander or libel, one may be able to contact Yelp and have them take it off. In such cases, one can even resort to legal action. Therapists are advised to be careful not to inflame the situation by protesting too loudly to the person who posted the negative evaluation. Do not respond impulsively and consult with experts before you take action.>

More info on Negative Postings: Online Course, Consultation

25. Is there such a thing as pediatric bipolar disorder?

There must be something seriously wrong with the idea of diagnosing a preschooler with a bipolar disorder. Increasingly it seems the pharmacological industry’s greed has no limits. The complicity of some medicating psychiatrists, who benefit from prescribing medications to children, has no bounds either. In recent years, spirited or introverted, quiet pre-schoolers have been prescribed anti-psychotic and anti-manic medication in increasing numbers. Reports about the long-term damages of such ‘treatments’ are beginning to surface. Between 1994 and 2003, the percent of mental office visits for bi-polar disorder in youth increased from 0.4% to 6.7% and between 1996 and 2004, the percent of youth leaving psychiatric hospitals with a diagnosis of bi-polar disorder went up 400%. In my opinion, this is probably one of the saddest and most outrageous exploitations in the field of mental health.

More info on DSM: Free Article

26. Are psychotherapists always more powerful than their clients?

From the first day in graduate school in psychology, we psychotherapists-in-training have been instructed to pay great attention to the “inherent power differential” in psychotherapy. We were taught to be aware of the imbalance of power between therapists and clients, and repeatedly warned against inadvertently abusing or exploiting our vulnerable and dependent clients. The idea of power, as an attribute possessed exclusively by the therapist in the client- therapist relationship, has been largely left unchallenged. Our professional newsletters and advice columns on ethics and risk management present a similar unified message about therapists’ unilateral power and clients’ inherent vulnerability. Many psychotherapy or counseling clients are, indeed, very vulnerable. They may be distressed, young, impaired, traumatized, psychotic, anxious, and/or depressed. However, there are also clients who function highly, emotionally and psychologically, and are powerful and effective in these and many other ways. They may be wealthy investors, powerful CEOs, established artists, or simply very centered, solid human beings who seek therapy to find meaning, seek their highest potential in a certain arena, or perhaps find a closer relationship to God. They are neither depressed, nor traumatized, nor vulnerable. As therapists we must know the difference: we must remember that not all clients are created equal

More info on Power: Free Article, Online Course

27. Why is psychiatric testing mandated for only two surgeries: Transsexual and Bariatric?

Out of countless medical procedures, only two require the psychiatric testing pre-surgical stamp of approval: Bariatric and Transsexual. Interestingly, cosmetic surgery and elective lumbar surgery do not. Posit that for each of these surgeries, it is important for the patient to be clear about their reasons and expectations, as each is considered to be irreversible, or difficult to reverse, and require significant lifelong, potentially irreversible changes. Add to this equation that these evaluations are expensive, time-consuming, have little predictive utility or criterion validity and are usually sources of confirmation bias. Finally, evidence suggests that many surgeons make their own judgments regardless of the supposed psychopathology of the patient. The goal of testing is to develop relevant answers to specific questions. Bariatric surgery, for example, is the only procedure which results in sustained and substantial weight loss (and is becoming the treatment of choice for diabetes). However, in most cases it is not the science, but most major health insurers who require psychiatric testing. So we administer the testing for the “integrated health team” and for the patient who might otherwise be denied treatment or insurance payment for their surgery.

28. Is it ever ethical for a male therapist to say, “I love you,” while stroking the hair of a young female client as she is lying on a bed?

Most therapist would have a rapid, internal, negative response to this question and would instantly think this would definitely be unethical and, probably, due to its sexual nature, illegal too. Now, imagine that this exchange takes place in a hospital room, where a young, terminal cancer patient has invited her long time therapist to spend one last visit with her before she dies. This is an extreme example but one that may help clear our cognitive map in order to deeply consider the context of therapy. Indeed, it is the context of therapy which ultimately determines what is ethical and what is not. What is appropriate in a remote village in Alaska may not be within the standard of care in a psychodynamic clinic in downtown NYC. Similarly, what is clinically appropriate in home visits may not be appropriate in mental hospitals or home offices. When exploring the context of therapy, consider 1. Client factors (gender, presenting problem, age, sexual orientation, culture, etc) 2. Setting of therapy (inpatient, military base, traditional office, etc.) 3. Orientation of the therapist 4. Therapist-client relationships and 5. Therapist factors (gender, background, culture, etc). In summary: context matters.

29. Are risk management and ethics the same?

One of the biggest misperceptions in our field is the confusion between what constitutes ethics and what constitutes risk management. Many risk management and ethics workshop instructors and graduate school ethics professors fail to differentiate between the terms. Risk management generally refers to ways that therapists may conduct themselves in order to reduce the risk of licensing board sanctions and to prevent lawsuits. The most common advice of risk management advocates is, “Don’t touch your client beyond a handshake or a quick A-frame hug,” “Don’t except gifts!” or “Never engage in dual relationships.” In contrast ethical behavior is focused on what is the highest level of care, integrity, loyalty, and fidelity to clients and with relevancy to the clients’ family and community. At times, the ethical way may include a soothing touch, graciously accepting a gift and appropriately engaging in non-exploitative dual relationships. In recent years we have seen a development in which the term “ethical risk management” has been used to describe a way to be ethical and aware of legal issues at the same time. In summary, I believe that an ethical therapist can provide the highest level of care while staying well within legal bounds

More info on Risk Management: Free Article, Online Course, Consultation

30. Is the standard of care fixed, constant and static over time?

There is a myth and faulty belief among therapists and other experts that the standard of care is static, fixed, and permanent. The standard of care is a very important legal construct as it is the standard against which we are judged in malpractice suits and licensing board hearings. Most broadly, the standard of care is defined as the usual and customary professional standard practice in the community. It describes the qualities and conditions which prevail, or should prevail, in a particular mental health service, and that a reasonable, average and prudent practitioner follows. Generally, as more therapists practice in a new way, this new way gradually becomes part of the standard of care. For example, telehealth or therapy via phone, text, e-mail, or video-conferencing is becoming part of the standard of care as technology rapidly accelerates providing new modes of communication. The standard of care is derived from statutes, case law, licensing board regulations, consensus of the professionals and community, and Ethics Codes. The standard of care is not a standard of perfection, black and white, determined by outcome, permanent or fixed. It does not follow any particular theoretical orientation, nor is it guided by risk management principles.

More info on Standard of Care: Free Article, Online Course, Consultation

31. Is it ever permissible for a therapist to be physical or violent with a patient, such as slapping, striking or even shooting the patient?

The answer to this unusual question is that it depends on the situation. If a client is physically threatening or physically assaulting, punching or hurting the practitioner or other people, the clinician has the right to protect himself or others from the assaulting patient. This was the PA case in July 2014 when a psychiatrist shot a violent gun-wielding patient who was shooting at people in the psychiatrist’s office.

I was asked if it was ever permissible for a mental health practitioner to be physical or violent with a patient, such as pushing, slapping, or striking the patient. My answer was an unequivocal “yes.” I wrote that violence sometimes rears its ugly head in a variety of circumstances, sometimes unexpectedly or unpredictably, and mental health practitioners have a right to protect themselves. I proposed the unlikely circumstance of an angry patient attempting to stab his therapist, and the therapist’s right to punch or otherwise strike the patient – or more. A recent news story (July 24, 2014) from Pennsylvania, where a psychiatrist shot a violent/threatening patient in an exchange of gunfire in the psychiatrist’s office, illustrates well that violence against a patient is not just a theoretical question.


Stanford Prison Experiment


The Stanford Prison Experiment, perhaps one of the most famous experiments ever conducted, took place in August of 1971. The purpose of the experiment was to study the causes of conflict between prisoners and those who guard them. Twenty-four male students were randomly assigned the role of either guard or prisoner, and then set up according to their role in a specifically designed model prison located in the basement of the psychology building on Stanford’s campus. It soon became apparent that those who had been given the role of guard were taking their job very seriously. They began to enforce harsh measures and subjected their “prisoners” to various degrees of psychological torture. If that’s surprising, perhaps it is even more surprising that many of the prisoners in the experiment simply accepted the abuses. The authoritarian measures adopted by the guards became so extreme that the experiment was abruptly stopped after just six days.


Seven Key Themes of Psychology

It is speculated that psychology grew out of people wanting a better understanding of themselves. As it has evolved in its practices and interpretations, its diversity has become more challenging, but it can be put into perspective using seven key themes.

Theme 1 : Psychology is Empirical
Empiricism is the premise that knowledge should be acquired through observation in which research is conducted to test ideas.

Theme 2 : Psychology is Theoretically Diverse
A theory is a system of interelated ideas used to explain a set of observations. A theory links unrelated observations and tries to explain them.

Theme 3 : Psychology Evolves in a Sociohistorical Context
Dense interconnections exist between what happens in psychology and what happens in society. Psychology develops in a social and historical context through trends, issues and values.

Theme 4 : Behavior is Determined by Multiple Causes
In general, pschologists find that behavior is governed by a complex network of interacting factors, an idea referred to as the multifactorial causation of behavior.

Theme 5 : Our Behavior is Shaped by our Cultural Heritage
Culture refers to the shared customs, beliefs, values, norms, institutions, and other products of community that are transmitted socially across generations.

Theme 6 : Heredity and Environment Jointly Influence Behavior
A century of research has shown that genetics and experience both influence an individual’s intelligence, temperment, personality, and susceptibility to many psychological disorders.

Theme 7 : Our Experience of the World is Highly Subjective
We actively process incoming stimulation, selectively focusing on some aspects of that stimulation while ignoring others. People tend to see what they want to see or what they expect to see.

In conclusion, psychology in all its many variations emphasize seven key ideas as unifying themes. As a field of study, the three themes are (1) psychology is empirical, (2) psychology is theoretically diverse, and (3) psychology evolves in a sociohistorical context.

Looking at psychology’s subject matter, the remaining four themes are (4) behavior is determined by multiple causes, (5) our behavior is shaped by our cultural heritage (6) heredity and environment jointly influence behavior, and (7) our experience of the world is highly subjective.


Evolutionary psychology. Controversies, questions, prospects, and limitations

Evolutionary psychology has emerged over the past 15 years as a major theoretical perspective, generating an increasing volume of empirical studies and assuming a larger presence within psychological science. At the same time, it has generated critiques and remains controversial among some psychologists. Some of the controversy stems from hypotheses that go against traditional psychological theories some from empirical findings that may have disturbing implications some from misunderstandings about the logic of evolutionary psychology and some from reasonable scientific concerns about its underlying framework. This article identifies some of the most common concerns and attempts to elucidate evolutionary psychology's stance pertaining to them. These include issues of testability and falsifiability the domain specificity versus domain generality of psychological mechanisms the role of novel environments as they interact with evolved psychological circuits the role of genes in the conceptual structure of evolutionary psychology the roles of learning, socialization, and culture in evolutionary psychology and the practical value of applied evolutionary psychology. The article concludes with a discussion of the limitations of current evolutionary psychology.


Psychology’s 10 Greatest Case Studies – Digested

These ten characters have all had a huge influence on psychology and their stories continue to intrigue each new generation of students. What’s particularly fascinating is that many of their stories continue to evolve – new evidence comes to light, or new technologies are brought to bear, changing how the cases are interpreted and understood. What many of these 10 also have in common is that they speak to some of the perennial debates in psychology, about personality and identity, nature and nurture, and the links between mind and body.

Phineas Gage
One day in 1848 in Central Vermont, Phineas Gage was tamping explosives into the ground to prepare the way for a new railway line when he had a terrible accident. The detonation went off prematurely, and his tamping iron shot into his face, through his brain, and out the top of his head. Remarkably Gage survived, although his friends and family reportedly felt he was changed so profoundly (becoming listless and aggressive) that “he was no longer Gage.” There the story used to rest – a classic example of frontal brain damage affecting personality. However, recent years have seen a drastic reevaluation of Gage’s story in light of new evidence. It’s now believed that he underwent significant rehabilitation and in fact began work as a horse carriage driver in Chile. A simulation of his injuries suggested much of his right frontal cortex was likely spared, and photographic evidence has been unearthed showing a post-accident dapper Gage. Not that you’ll find this revised account in many psychology textbooks: a recent analysis showed that few of them have kept up to date with the new evidence.

Find out more: Using brain imaging to reevaluate psychology’s three most famous cases
Neuroscience still haunted by Phineas Gage
Phineas Gage – Unravelling the Myth
Looking back: Blasts from the past
Coverage of Phineas Gage in the book Great Myths of the Brain

H.M.
Henry Gustav Molaison (known for years as H.M. in the literature to protect his privacy), who died in 2008, developed severe amnesia at age 27 after undergoing brain surgery as a form of treatment for the epilepsy he’d suffered since childhood. He was subsequently the focus of study by over 100 psychologists and neuroscientists and he’s been mentioned in over 12,000 journal articles! Molaison’s surgery involved the removal of large parts of the hippocampus on both sides of his brain and the result was that he was almost entirely unable to store any new information in long-term memory (there were some exceptions – for example, after 1963 he was aware that a US president had been assassinated in Dallas). The extremity of Molaison’s deficits was a surprise to experts of the day because many of them believed that memory was distributed throughout the cerebral cortex. Today, Molaison’s legacy lives on: his brain was carefully sliced and preserved and turned into a 3D digital atlas and his life story is reportedly due to be turned into a feature film based on the book researcher Suzanne Corkin wrote about him: Permanent Present Tense, The Man With No Memory and What He Taught The World.

Leborgne’s brain is housed at
the Musée Dupuytren museum in Paris

Victor Leborgne (nickname “Tan”)
The fact that, in most people, language function is served predominantly by the left frontal cortex has today almost become common knowledge, at least among psych students. However, back in the early nineteenth century, the consensus view was that language function (like memory, see entry for H.M.) was distributed through the brain. An nineteenth century patient who helped change that was Victor Leborgne, a Frenchman who was nicknamed “Tan” because that was the only sound he could utter (besides the expletive phrase “sacre nom de Dieu”). In 1861, aged 51, Leborgne was referred to the renowned neurologist Paul Broca, but died soon after. Broca examined Leborgne’s brain and noticed a lesion in his left frontal lobe – a segment of tissue now known as Broca’s area. Given Leborgne’s impaired speech but intact comprehension, Broca concluded that this area of the brain was responsible for speech production and he set about persuading his peers of this fact – now recognised as a key moment in psychology’s history. For decades little was known about Leborgne, besides his important contribution to science. However, in a paper published in 2013, Cezary Domanski at Maria Curie-Sklodowska University in Poland uncovered new biographical details, including the possibility that Leborgne muttered the word “Tan” because his birthplace of Moret, home to several tanneries.

Wild Boy of Aveyron
The “Wild boy of Aveyron” – named Victor by the physician Jean-Marc Itard – was found emerging from Aveyron forest in South West France in 1800, aged 11 or 12, where’s it’s thought he had been living in the wild for several years. For psychologists and philosophers, Victor became a kind of “natural experiment” into the question of nature and nurture. How would he be affected by the lack of human input early in his life? Those who hoped Victor would support the notion of the “noble savage” uncorrupted by modern civilisation were largely disappointed: the boy was dirty and dishevelled, defecated where he stood and apparently motivated largely by hunger. Victor acquired celebrity status after he was transported to Paris and Itard began a mission to teach and socialise the “feral child”. This programme met with mixed success: Victor never learned to speak fluently, but he dressed, learned civil toilet habits, could write a few letters and acquired some very basic language comprehension. Autism expert Uta Frith believes Victor may have been abandoned because he was autistic, but she acknowledges we will never know the truth of his background. Victor’s story inspired the 2004 novel The Wild Boy and was dramatised in the 1970 French film The Wild Child.

Find out more: Case Study: The Wild Boy of Aveyron (BBC Radio 4 documentary).

Kim Peek
Nicknamed ‘Kim-puter’ by his friends, Peek who died in 2010 aged 58, was the inspiration for Dustin Hoffman’s autistic savant character in the multi-Oscar-winning film Rain Man. Before that movie, which was released in 1988, few people had heard of autism, so Peek via the film can be credited with helping to raise the profile of the condition. Arguably though, the film also helped spread the popular misconception that giftedness is a hallmark of autism (in one notable scene, Hoffman’s character deduces in an instant the precise number of cocktail sticks – 246 – that a waitress drops on the floor). Peek himself was actually a non-autistic savant, born with brain abnormalities including a malformed cerebellum and an absent corpus callosum (the massive bundle of tissue that usually connects the two hemispheres). His savant skills were astonishing and included calendar calculation, as well as an encyclopaedic knowledge of history, literature, classical music, US zip codes and travel routes. It was estimated that he read more than 12,000 books in his life time, all of them committed to flawless memory. Although outgoing and sociable, Peek had coordination problems and struggled with abstract or conceptual thinking.

Anna O.
“Anna O.” is the pseudonym for Bertha Pappenheim, a pioneering German Jewish feminist and social worker who died in 1936 aged 77. As Anna O. she is known as one of the first ever patients to undergo psychoanalysis and her case inspired much of Freud’s thinking on mental illness. Pappenheim first came to the attention of another psychoanalyst, Joseph Breuer, in 1880 when he was called to her house in Vienna where she was lying in bed, almost entirely paralysed. Her other symptoms include hallucinations, personality changes and rambling speech, but doctors could find no physical cause. For 18 months, Breuer visited her almost daily and talked to her about her thoughts and feelings, including her grief for her father, and the more she talked, the more her symptoms seemed to fade – this was apparently one of the first ever instances of psychoanalysis or “the talking cure”, although the degree of Breuer’s success has been disputed and some historians allege that Pappenheim did have an organic illness, such as epilepsy. Although Freud never met Pappenheim, he wrote about her case, including the notion that she had a hysterical pregnancy, although this too is disputed. The latter part of Pappenheim’s life in Germany post 1888 is as remarkable as her time as Anna O. She became a prolific writer and social pioneer, including authoring stories, plays, and translating seminal texts, and she founded social clubs for Jewish women, worked in orphanages and founded the German Federation of Jewish Women.

Find out more: Freud’s Anna O. Social work’s Bertha Pappenheim [pdf document]
A Dangerous Method is a feature film about another influential patient of psychoanalysis, Sabina Spielrein, who subsequently became a psychoanalyst herself.

Kitty Genovese
Sadly, it is not really Kitty Genovese the person who has become one of psychology’s classic case studies, but rather the terrible fate that befell her. In 1964 in New York, Genovese was returning home from her job as a bar maid when she was attacked and eventually murdered by Winston Mosely. What made this tragedy so influential to psychology was that it inspired research into what became known as the Bystander Phenomenon – the now well-established finding that our sense of individual responsibility is diluted by the presence of other people. According to folklore, 38 people watched Genovese’s demise yet not one of them did anything to help, apparently a terrible real life instance of the Bystander Effect. However, the story doesn’t end there because historians have since established the reality was much more complicated – at least two people did try to summon help, and actually there was only one witness the second and fatal attack. While the main principle of the Bystander Effect has stood the test of time, modern psychology’s understanding of the way it works has become a lot more nuanced. For example, there’s evidence that in some situations people are more likely to act when they’re part of a larger group, such as when they and the other group members all belong to the same social category (such as all being women) as the victim.

“Little Albert” was the nickname that the pioneering behaviourist psychologist John Watson gave to an 11-month-old baby, in whom, with his colleague and future wife Rosalind Rayner, he deliberately attempted to instill certain fears through a process of conditioning. The research, which was of dubious scientific quality, was conducted in 1920 and has become notorious for being so unethical (such a procedure would never be given approval in modern university settings). Interest in Little Albert has reignited in recent years as an academic quarrel has erupted over his true identity. A group led by Hall Beck at Appalachian University announced in 2011 that they thought Little Albert was actually Douglas Merritte, the son of a wet nurse at John Hopkins University where Watson and Rayner were based. According to this sad account, Little Albert was neurologically impaired, compounding the unethical nature of the Watson/Rayner research, and he died aged six of hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain). However, this account was challenged by a different group of scholars led by Russell Powell at MacEwan University in 2014. They established that Little Albert was more likely William A Barger (recorded in his medical file as Albert Barger), the son of a different wet nurse. Earlier this year, textbook writer Richard Griggs weighed up all the evidence and concluded that the Barger story is the more credible, which would mean that Little Albert in fact died 2007 aged 87.

Chris Sizemore
Chris Costner Sizemore is one of the most famous patients to be given the controversial diagnosis of multiple personality disorder, known today as dissociative identity disorder. Sizemore’s alter egos apparently included Eve White, Eve Black, Jane and many others. By some accounts, Sizemore expressed these personalities as a coping mechanism in the face of traumas she experienced in childhood, including seeing her mother badly injured and a man sawn in half at a lumber mill. In recent years, Sizemore has described how her alter egos have been combined into one united personality for many decades, but she still sees different aspects of her past as belonging to her different personalities. For example, she has stated that her husband was married to Eve White (not her), and that Eve White is the mother of her first daughter. Her story was turned into a movie in 1957 called The Three Faces of Eve (based on a book of the same name written by her psychiatrists). Joanne Woodward won the best actress Oscar for portraying Sizemore and her various personalities in this film. Sizemore published her autobiography in 1977 called I’m Eve. In 2009, she appeared on the BBC’s Hard Talk interview show.

David Reimer
One of the most famous patients in psychology, Reimer lost his penis in a botched circumcision operation when he was just 8 months old. His parents were subsequently advised by psychologist John Money to raise Reimer as a girl, “Brenda”, and for him to undergo further surgery and hormone treatment to assist his gender reassignment. Money initially described the experiment (no one had tried anything like this before) as a huge success that appeared to support his belief in the important role of socialisation, rather than innate factors, in children’s gender identity. In fact, the reassignment was seriously problematic and Reimer’s boyishness was never far beneath the surface. When he was aged 14, Reimer was told the truth about his past and set about reversing the gender reassignment process to become male again. He later campaigned against other children with genital injuries being gender reassigned in the way that he had been. His story was turned into the book As Nature Made Him, The Boy Who Was Raised As A Girl by John Colapinto, and he is the subject of two BBC Horizon documentaries. Tragically, Reimer took his own life in 2004, aged just 38.

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Edward Thorndike was an American psychologist who was associated with the school of thought known as functionalism along with other thinkers including Harvey Carr, James Rowland Angell and John Dewey. Thorndike is often called the father of modern day educational psychology and published several important texts on the subject.

Among his many accomplishments include being elected president of the American Psychological Association in 1912. In 1917, he was also one of the first psychologists to become a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Thorndike is also well-known for the puzzle box experiments he performed with cats, his concept of the law of effect, and his contributions to the field of educational psychology.


Some of the Most Controversial Issues in Psychology

Obviously, this is not a complete list. We would like to hear from you via e-mail on what you may consider additional issues that are not included in this piece.

1. Can psychotherapists routinely waive insurance co-pays?

As a therapist, you must carefully read your insurance contract and make sure you understand what it says about waiving co-pays. If you then decide to waive insurance co-pays, make sure you do not do it routinely with all clients, and document your reasons in the clinical records. Consult with experts on difficult cases.

2. Is it ethical to terminate treatment when a client can no longer pay?

While we have no obligation to see clients who cannot pay, we should not abandon them either. Terminations must be handled thoughtfully and with care. Delay termination if the client is in crisis. Give notice and reasonable time for termination to take place. Give referrals if necessary. If appropriate, assist with the transition to a new therapist. Make sure to document well.

More info on Termination: Guidelines, Online Course

3. Is it ethical to have clients as Facebook friends?

While many digital immigrants (i.e., older therapists) recoil at the thought of having clients as Facebook friends and too readily call it “unethical,” the answer to this question and similar ones is the proverbial, “It depends.” It depends on what is on the therapist’s profile, the personality, age, presenting issues and background of the client, the nature of the therapist-client relationship and much more.

More on Social Networking: Free Article, Online Course

4. Is f2f superior to phone or online therapy?

One of the many myths in our field is the superiority of in-person or face-to-face communication when compared to phone, e-mail or online communications. There is an extensive amount of conclusive research that supports the efficacy of telehealth and phone or online communication. Just because most therapists feel more comfortable with f2f communication does not make it superior or “ethical.” Many clients prefer non-f2f, as it frees them up to be less self-conscious and more revealing due to what Dr. Suler labeled the “dis-inhibition effect” of digital communications.

5. Can I provide telepsychology (tele-mental-health) services across state lines?

Treating clients who reside in different states is one of the hottest topics in tele-medicine in general, as well as in tele-mental-health. Where the client resides is one of the main factors that therapists must pay attention to. It may be illegal to treat a client in a different state. Make sure to check if that state mandates that treating-therapists must be licensed in-state. States’ laws vary. Some states have temporary licensing provisions, others require licensure in their state, and many states haven’t addressed this issue so there are no governing laws or regulations. Depending on where your potential clients live, the rules will be different. Be well informed and well trained before you practice across states lines.

More info on TeleMental Health: Ethics Codes and Online Course

6. Are therapists at high-risk for lawsuits?

We have been indoctrinated to fear lawsuits and our licensing boards. The fact that psychotherapists pay malpractice insurance in the range of $400 to $1,300 a year in comparison to some physicians (i.e., obstetricians and neurosurgeons) who may pay up to $100,000 per year illustrates that we, therapists, are a very low risk group. The percent of complaints to licensing boards is not as high as many attorneys and “ethicists” lead us to believe. Even when charges are brought, most complaints are dropped without any charges being filed. [Note: Make sure that you have paid the extra $40-$50 so your malpractice insurance also covers licensing board complaints.

More info on Ethical Risk Management: Free Article, Online Course

7. Do minor boundary crossings gradually lead to boundary violations, exploitation and harm?

The baseless and paranoid idea of the “slippery slope” has been with us for too long and, when followed, results in substandard care. It is idiotic to assert that non-sexual touch is likely to lead to sexual touch, that simple gift-giving results in social relationships, or that bartering inevitably ends in exploitation.

More info on Boundaries: Free Articles, Online Courses, Book

As Skype is so convenient, popular, free and easy to use, many therapists have been using it to conduct online therapy and supervision. However, Skype is not HIPAA compliant, as it neither gives a BAA, nor does it notify therapists when breaches occur. VSee seems to provide a BAA to solo mental health practices at a reduced cost. You will need to inquire with VSee to find out the price and other details. You can also find an extensive comprehensive of options, with side-by-side comparisons, at http://www.telementalhealthcomparisons.com.

9. Is the Harm Reduction treatment model (such as controlled drinking) a valid alternative to abstinence?

Many clinicians have uncritically subscribed to the AA notion of, “once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.” The fact is that the Harm Reduction model has extensive scientific support and is widely and successfully applied in Europe. It is important for all clinicians to remember that one approach does not fit all. (If the only tool that you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.)

More info on Harm Reduction: Online Course

10. Are “victims” always completely innocent, or do some bear responsibility for their misfortunes?

Psychotherapists and attorneys are in the forefront of those who fuel the “Victim Industry” in the U.S. “Don’t blame the victim,” has become a moratorium on exploring situations where victims bear responsibility. As a result, we have become a nation of victims. In reality, some victims are 100% innocent (i.e., abused children) and others are willing and relentless participants in their own victimization (i.e., women who knowingly continue to date and marry abusive men). As the saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

More info on Victimhood: Free Resources

11. Must therapists always give referrals when a client terminates prematurely?

There is a myth, or erroneous belief, that therapists must always give referrals to clients who terminate against their advice or when therapists initiate the termination. While sometimes it is necessary to give referrals, other times clients may not want, need, or require them (your policies in this area should be spelled out in your Informed Consent Forms). Sometimes, when a client terminates ‘against medical advice,’ it may be inappropriate to follow up with a letter of referral or request to come back for a termination. Other times, it may be appropriate to simply let the client travel the path they think is best without interfering. The right course of action depends on the client, the setting, the nature of termination, and other contextual factors. As always, seek consultation in complex cases and document your reasoning, actions, and non-actions.

More info on Termination: Guidelines, Online Course, Consultation

12. Is it a good idea for therapists to text with clients?

An increasing number of clients (primarily young ones, aka, digital natives) ask and expect to be able to text us. The question arises: Should we give out our cell phone numbers to exchange texts with clients? The answer depends on several factors. First, we must consider that texting tends to be one of the better ways to reach adolescents and young adults, many of whom prefer texting to e-mail and phone calls. Sometimes, texting is the only way to reach these clients. While texting with ‘at risk’ adolescents may be highly advisable and effective (and can save lives), texting with intrusive, entitled, or demanding clients of any age may not be clinically advisable. Many older or “reluctant digital immigrant” therapists recoil at the idea of texting with clients altogether and ignorantly call doing so “unethical.” Therapists must go through a rational, ethical decision-making process and evaluate not only the risks and benefits of texting with clients but also the risks and benefits of not texting with clients. This process should be articulated to clients in Office Policies and/or in person.

13. Do therapists need to respond to clients’ e-mails and texts instantly?

An increasing number of clients expect us to respond to their texts and e-mails instantly. With the proliferation of iPhones, iPads and other mobile devices, these expectations become the norm with a wide section of the population. Except in unique or special situations (i.e., acute crisis, or being on call) therapists do not have a mandate to be instantly available 24/7. What is important is to inform our clients in person and via our Office Policies about our availability, backups, alternative resources and our general policies regarding e-mails and texts. We must be clear about our attitudes around technology, discuss this with our clients and be sure the Office Policies include information about digital contact.

14. Can therapists accept payment from clients who earn money illegally?

Can therapists be paid for therapy by clients who make their living by selling illegal drugs, illegal prostitution, or other illegal activities? Legally and ethically speaking, unless the situation includes a danger to the client, others, children, or elders (i.e., situations that include a duty to report), therapists must maintain confidentiality and can accept money that was acquired illegally. Clinically speaking, therapists may wish to explore with their clients the motivation, meaning, risks & benefits, and reasons for the illegal ways of making money. Therapists can decide that for personal-moral-ethical reasons, they cannot work with such clients. If this is the case, they may discuss the matter with the clients but must appropriately terminate and refer, if necessary. Record-keeping in regard to illegal activity must be done with caution. As always, consult in difficult situations.

15. Do we always need to use an ICD-10 (as of 10/1/15) diagnosis in our initial assessment report of treatment plan?

While insurance companies and Medicare may require an ICD-10 diagnosis as of 10/1/15, therapists are not required to include it in their initial assessment or treatment plan. Therapists can use non-ICD or non-DSM terminology to identify the presenting problem and focus of treatment. They can rely on the Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual (PDM) for diagnosis, and can also use developmentally (i.e., “Couple are preparing for their empty nest era”), existentially (i.e., “Patient is seeking more meaning in his life”), or familiarly-based (i.e., “This is an enmeshed and undifferentiated family”) diagnosis.

More info: Online courses on Treatment Plan

16. Are women always the victims, or are they also the perpetrators of domestic violence?

Domestic violence perpetrated by women is rarely-discussed, and is generally considered to be a politically incorrect topic to discuss. The majority of research in this area over the last forty years has focused on male violence against women. In recent years, research has begun to identify a growing trend of violence by women in their relationships that is nearly equal in frequency to that perpetrated by men in years past. The lower statistics for males as victims of domestic violence are partly due to the fact that men are often reluctant to identify themselves as victims, and less likely to call the police or reach out to their community for help. The general belief, as presented in the movie “The Burning Bed,” is that women will strike men only as a last resort and in self-defense. While true in many situations, this does not seem to be the entire picture. Women’s rights advocates’ efforts to push for arrests of men in domestic violence calls has, paradoxically, also resulted in a higher number of female arrests.

17. Must all treatments be empirically supported to be considered ethical?

The debate around Evidence-Based Therapy (EBT) or Empirically Supported Treatment (EST) protocols has been raging among psychologists for many years. As with many researchers, academicians and CBTs, psychopharmacological-oriented therapists have lobbied for the exclusive inclusion of EBT (and the general medical model) due it its “scientific support.” Many humanistically and psychodynamically oriented therapists (among others) claim that simple double blind experimental designs and lab research do not tap into the complexity and depth of therapeutic exchange and psychological healing. Insurance companies support the idea for simple economic reasons, as EBT tends to be short term (easy to quantify and research). Unlike many academicians and researchers, many practitioners view psychotherapy as art as much as science.

More info: Online course on Ethical Decision-Making

18. Is the DSM a scientific, valid, and reliable document?

Unlike what we were told in most graduate schools and assessment workshops, the DSM is a politically and economically driven document more than a scientific one. Decisions regarding inclusion or exclusion of disorders are made by majority vote rather than by the review and acceptance of indisputable scientific data. One telling example: Homosexuality was listed as a mental disorder in the DSM until 1974, when gay activists demonstrated in front of the American Psychiatric Association Convention. The APA’s 1974 vote showed 5,854 members supporting and 3,810 opposing the disorder’s removal from the manual. Ever since, homosexuality has not been regarded as a mental illness. Voting on what constitutes mental illness is truly bizarre and, needless to say, unscientific. In recent years, the DSM has been primarily driven by the psychopharmacological industry, which reaps huge profits from each new diagnosis that can be treated with medication.

19. Is it ethical to treat more than one member of a couple, concurrently, in individual therapy?

Over the last few decades, some dogmatic family and couple therapists have insisted that it is never Kosher to see members of the couple individually while they are also in couple therapy. The inflexible, one-size-fits-all approach is obviously inconsistent with (back to the proverbial) “It Depends.” Whether a therapist sees family members individually or not, must depend on the personalities and attitudes of the clients, whether they have trusting relationships between themselves and with their therapists, and whether therapists can handle the multiple relationships with the different sub-systems. Once again, what may be appropriate with one couple may not be with another. Ethical, effective, and competent therapists know the difference. Informed consent and discussion regarding secrets and good record-keeping are important.

More info on Family Therapy: Clinical Forms

20. Is it ever ethical for a therapist to be seen naked by a client?

Most, if not all, therapists, understandably, are likely to respond with a “Hell no!” as they probably connote this situation with a sexual encounter. Obviously, sex with clients is ALWAYS unethical, counter-clinical, and illegal in most states, but then imagine a situation in which a therapist is stepping out of the shower stall in the local gym when, to his or her or great surprise, a client (equally naked) steps out of the next stall. This is called an “incidental contact,” “chance occurrence,” or what I call an “out-of-office experience” that takes place in the community, outside of the treatment room. Such nude encounters have been reported to have taken place between men and women at nudist beaches or at the hot-tubs in Esalen. This vignette is an example of how therapists and ethicists must first understand and comprehend the specific context of each and every situation BEFORE they cast uninformed, ‘instinctive’ judgment

More info on Experiences Outside the Office: Article, Online Course

21. Is an affair always a “symptom” of problems within a marriage?

Sometimes extramarital affairs occur alongside or within the context of a loving, committed marriage. They do not always indicate a problem with the marital relationship. The commission of infidelity is often likely to engender strong emotional responses, dogmatic thinking, emotional defensiveness and moral rigidity in clients as well as their therapists. However, contrary to what is commonly believed by the public and assumed by many therapists, extramarital affairs are neither rare, exclusively men’s doing, nor must they signal the end of a marriage. In fact, the discovery that one or both partners have moved outside the boundaries of their marital vows seeking to have needs met, or growth expanded, may open a window of opportunity. It may bring each partner toward greater intimacy and deeper insight into themselves as well as their spouse. Partners in more than a third of all marriages (inclusive of many cultures, male or female initiators, gay or straight, youthful or geriatric) are being challenged to confront and deal with the complexities of extramarital affairs. Indeed, infidelity has become an equal opportunity affair. Internet or online affairs have become extremely prevalent. There is also a recent and growing acceptance, especially among the younger generation, of non-traditional relationships including polyamory, and open marriage.

More info on Infidelity: Types of Affairs

22. Is PTSD really increasing, or are therapists confused about diagnostic criteria?

Diagnosis of PTSD has proliferated in recent times causing statistics of the disorder to be inflated. Faulty adherence to DSM criteria is diluting the important notion of PTSD. It is generally agreed that individuals have higher or lower thresholds for developing symptoms of PTSD: what may be truly traumatizing to one may not cause another to become symptomatic. However, in order to meet the criteria for the diagnosis, the DSM requires that “the person has experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others”. For example, those who survived the burning towers on 9/11 in NYC may qualify for the diagnosis of PTSD, while those who developed some of the symptoms of PTSD from witnessing it on TV, would not. Therapists who do not differentiate appropriately between stress and trauma and inaccurately diagnose PTSD feed the PTSD epidemic. Psychiatrists, psychotherapists, counselors and social workers have erred when using the diagnosis simply because a client was fired from a job, harassed on the job, or discovered that their spouse had an affair or, in other situations when people became angry, disappointed or witnessed horrors on TV or the Web.

More info on PTSD: Free New Audio (Transcript), Online Course (20 CE Credit Hours)

23. Should we keep records of e-mails and texts?

Therapists are noticing that an increasing number of clients choose to communicate with them through e-mail and texts and wonder whether they need to keep records of these communications. In principle, e-mails and texts are no different than traditional voice mail messages. Important and clinically significant communications should be incorporated into the clinical records. Simple requests for appointment changes, or communications regarding minor business issues may not be very significant. E-mails can easily be filed by simply storing them on one’s e-mail system. There are several programs which transcribe voice mail messages. With the right software or expert help, texts can be printed and/or stored online. Confidentiality and privacy considerations must be carefully evaluated for of all of these storage, transcribing and recording methods. Therapists may want to include a statement in their office policies and/or discuss and be clear with their clients that voice mail, texts and e-mails are part of the clinical records. This allows clients to make informed decisions about how they communicate with their therapists.

More info on Record Keeping: Online Course & Consultation

24. How can therapists counter negative posting on them on Yelp and other sites?

There is a myth that psychotherapists are helpless when clients make negative, defaming, or inflammatory postings regarding therapists on web sites that are designed for customer feedback, such as www.Yelp.com. Therapists should not respond emotionally and impulsively by writing to clients or to Yelp. Instead, they should take the time to weigh the options and get informed first. While therapists cannot ethically solicit clients’ testimonials, they can solicit testimonies from colleagues, supervisors, graduate school professors and such. These positive evaluations may overshadow the negative ones. If the posting is more than just an opinion or other statement protected by free speech, but constitutes defamation, slander or libel, one may be able to contact Yelp and have them take it off. In such cases, one can even resort to legal action. Therapists are advised to be careful not to inflame the situation by protesting too loudly to the person who posted the negative evaluation. Do not respond impulsively and consult with experts before you take action.>

More info on Negative Postings: Online Course, Consultation

25. Is there such a thing as pediatric bipolar disorder?

There must be something seriously wrong with the idea of diagnosing a preschooler with a bipolar disorder. Increasingly it seems the pharmacological industry’s greed has no limits. The complicity of some medicating psychiatrists, who benefit from prescribing medications to children, has no bounds either. In recent years, spirited or introverted, quiet pre-schoolers have been prescribed anti-psychotic and anti-manic medication in increasing numbers. Reports about the long-term damages of such ‘treatments’ are beginning to surface. Between 1994 and 2003, the percent of mental office visits for bi-polar disorder in youth increased from 0.4% to 6.7% and between 1996 and 2004, the percent of youth leaving psychiatric hospitals with a diagnosis of bi-polar disorder went up 400%. In my opinion, this is probably one of the saddest and most outrageous exploitations in the field of mental health.

More info on DSM: Free Article

26. Are psychotherapists always more powerful than their clients?

From the first day in graduate school in psychology, we psychotherapists-in-training have been instructed to pay great attention to the “inherent power differential” in psychotherapy. We were taught to be aware of the imbalance of power between therapists and clients, and repeatedly warned against inadvertently abusing or exploiting our vulnerable and dependent clients. The idea of power, as an attribute possessed exclusively by the therapist in the client- therapist relationship, has been largely left unchallenged. Our professional newsletters and advice columns on ethics and risk management present a similar unified message about therapists’ unilateral power and clients’ inherent vulnerability. Many psychotherapy or counseling clients are, indeed, very vulnerable. They may be distressed, young, impaired, traumatized, psychotic, anxious, and/or depressed. However, there are also clients who function highly, emotionally and psychologically, and are powerful and effective in these and many other ways. They may be wealthy investors, powerful CEOs, established artists, or simply very centered, solid human beings who seek therapy to find meaning, seek their highest potential in a certain arena, or perhaps find a closer relationship to God. They are neither depressed, nor traumatized, nor vulnerable. As therapists we must know the difference: we must remember that not all clients are created equal

More info on Power: Free Article, Online Course

27. Why is psychiatric testing mandated for only two surgeries: Transsexual and Bariatric?

Out of countless medical procedures, only two require the psychiatric testing pre-surgical stamp of approval: Bariatric and Transsexual. Interestingly, cosmetic surgery and elective lumbar surgery do not. Posit that for each of these surgeries, it is important for the patient to be clear about their reasons and expectations, as each is considered to be irreversible, or difficult to reverse, and require significant lifelong, potentially irreversible changes. Add to this equation that these evaluations are expensive, time-consuming, have little predictive utility or criterion validity and are usually sources of confirmation bias. Finally, evidence suggests that many surgeons make their own judgments regardless of the supposed psychopathology of the patient. The goal of testing is to develop relevant answers to specific questions. Bariatric surgery, for example, is the only procedure which results in sustained and substantial weight loss (and is becoming the treatment of choice for diabetes). However, in most cases it is not the science, but most major health insurers who require psychiatric testing. So we administer the testing for the “integrated health team” and for the patient who might otherwise be denied treatment or insurance payment for their surgery.

28. Is it ever ethical for a male therapist to say, “I love you,” while stroking the hair of a young female client as she is lying on a bed?

Most therapist would have a rapid, internal, negative response to this question and would instantly think this would definitely be unethical and, probably, due to its sexual nature, illegal too. Now, imagine that this exchange takes place in a hospital room, where a young, terminal cancer patient has invited her long time therapist to spend one last visit with her before she dies. This is an extreme example but one that may help clear our cognitive map in order to deeply consider the context of therapy. Indeed, it is the context of therapy which ultimately determines what is ethical and what is not. What is appropriate in a remote village in Alaska may not be within the standard of care in a psychodynamic clinic in downtown NYC. Similarly, what is clinically appropriate in home visits may not be appropriate in mental hospitals or home offices. When exploring the context of therapy, consider 1. Client factors (gender, presenting problem, age, sexual orientation, culture, etc) 2. Setting of therapy (inpatient, military base, traditional office, etc.) 3. Orientation of the therapist 4. Therapist-client relationships and 5. Therapist factors (gender, background, culture, etc). In summary: context matters.

29. Are risk management and ethics the same?

One of the biggest misperceptions in our field is the confusion between what constitutes ethics and what constitutes risk management. Many risk management and ethics workshop instructors and graduate school ethics professors fail to differentiate between the terms. Risk management generally refers to ways that therapists may conduct themselves in order to reduce the risk of licensing board sanctions and to prevent lawsuits. The most common advice of risk management advocates is, “Don’t touch your client beyond a handshake or a quick A-frame hug,” “Don’t except gifts!” or “Never engage in dual relationships.” In contrast ethical behavior is focused on what is the highest level of care, integrity, loyalty, and fidelity to clients and with relevancy to the clients’ family and community. At times, the ethical way may include a soothing touch, graciously accepting a gift and appropriately engaging in non-exploitative dual relationships. In recent years we have seen a development in which the term “ethical risk management” has been used to describe a way to be ethical and aware of legal issues at the same time. In summary, I believe that an ethical therapist can provide the highest level of care while staying well within legal bounds

More info on Risk Management: Free Article, Online Course, Consultation

30. Is the standard of care fixed, constant and static over time?

There is a myth and faulty belief among therapists and other experts that the standard of care is static, fixed, and permanent. The standard of care is a very important legal construct as it is the standard against which we are judged in malpractice suits and licensing board hearings. Most broadly, the standard of care is defined as the usual and customary professional standard practice in the community. It describes the qualities and conditions which prevail, or should prevail, in a particular mental health service, and that a reasonable, average and prudent practitioner follows. Generally, as more therapists practice in a new way, this new way gradually becomes part of the standard of care. For example, telehealth or therapy via phone, text, e-mail, or video-conferencing is becoming part of the standard of care as technology rapidly accelerates providing new modes of communication. The standard of care is derived from statutes, case law, licensing board regulations, consensus of the professionals and community, and Ethics Codes. The standard of care is not a standard of perfection, black and white, determined by outcome, permanent or fixed. It does not follow any particular theoretical orientation, nor is it guided by risk management principles.

More info on Standard of Care: Free Article, Online Course, Consultation

31. Is it ever permissible for a therapist to be physical or violent with a patient, such as slapping, striking or even shooting the patient?

The answer to this unusual question is that it depends on the situation. If a client is physically threatening or physically assaulting, punching or hurting the practitioner or other people, the clinician has the right to protect himself or others from the assaulting patient. This was the PA case in July 2014 when a psychiatrist shot a violent gun-wielding patient who was shooting at people in the psychiatrist’s office.

I was asked if it was ever permissible for a mental health practitioner to be physical or violent with a patient, such as pushing, slapping, or striking the patient. My answer was an unequivocal “yes.” I wrote that violence sometimes rears its ugly head in a variety of circumstances, sometimes unexpectedly or unpredictably, and mental health practitioners have a right to protect themselves. I proposed the unlikely circumstance of an angry patient attempting to stab his therapist, and the therapist’s right to punch or otherwise strike the patient – or more. A recent news story (July 24, 2014) from Pennsylvania, where a psychiatrist shot a violent/threatening patient in an exchange of gunfire in the psychiatrist’s office, illustrates well that violence against a patient is not just a theoretical question.


Compared with other fields of psychology, I-O psychology today has several features: (a) Small: I-O is a small specialty, including just 5% of US psychologists. (b) High-employment: Since I-O is in high demand in the industry it has a negative unemployment rate below zero. (c) Lucrative: I-O has long had the highest salary, averaging at least 25% higher than 14 other psychology specialties. (d) Separate: I-O has become a very separate specialty within psychology, with its own independent association since 1987 – the Society for I-O Psychology (SIOP). (e) Hybrid: I-O overlaps with business and other social sciences. (f) Credentials: There is no one credential to define who is an I-O psychologist – be this a M.A., M.S., M.B.A., Ph.D., Psy.D., state license, APA or SIOP membership, or ABPP Diploma. (g) Demographics: SIOP members today are 6% ethnic minorities, 37% female, only 26% licensed, and 85% have a doctorate. I-O work settings vary greatly – employees in large firms, small “boutique” consulting firms, professors in psychology or business programs, or solo-practitioners.

Today, I-O psychology faces several challenges – such as globalization of organizations, the increased diversity of the US workforce, increased regulation by government and labor law, and the changing nature of work. These same challenges make a science-based I-O psychology more indispensable to successful organizations.


Emerging Adulthood: The Twenty-Something Stage of Life

Adolescence is a liminal stage—it is the transitional threshold between childhood dependence and adult responsibility. The hard part is knowing when you've arrived.

That questioning sentiment seems pretty common among 20-somethings right now: both my sons were recently gifted T-shirts on that theme. Although one can argue that historically the transition from childhood to adult responsibilities was long, uneven and muddled, certainly in the mid-century United States it was pretty clear: you became an adult when you (1) finished school, (2) got a job, (3) married, and (4) had children. Not only was that temporal transition relatively short during the decades when the age of marriage for women hovered just above 20, but it was also relatively tightly sequenced. Social institutions tended to support people who moved through it in order. Things were a lot tougher for people who did not.

In the decades since, several societal changes have stretched the transition to adulthood out and loosened the sequence. School has become increasingly extended. Although most adolescents finish high school and go on to college, only 59% of those who start a bachelor's degree finish within six years. For those starting at open-enrollment institutions such as community colleges, that rate falls to 32%. Working during college has become normative. As the age of marriage has risen from mid-century, many more people are having children prior to marriage, further complicating the transition to adulthood as people work to combine roles—for example, dating partner and parent—in ways that are not yet clearly defined.

Emerging Adulthood: Jeffrey Arnett has argued that these cultural changes have resulted in a new life stage between adolescence—what had been traditionally been defined as a state of preparation and socialization—and adulthood. "Emerging adulthood," he argues, is a normative life stage characterized by:

The popular press tends to focus on the lack of commitment and instability of romantic relationships and unemployment of emerging adults. For developmentalists, it may be the diversity of the period that is most controversial. If I talk about U.S. 15-year-olds, I can assume most of them will be in school and living with parents. If I talk of 50-year-olds, most will be or have been in long term romantic relationships, working, with children. Most 80-year-olds are retired. But 20-somethings? They could be married with children, in graduate school, working 60 hours a week and too busy to date, or a single parent working two jobs. The diversity of this age group is striking.

Two other striking characteristics of this group are that although they are legally and cognitively adults, they have often yet to take on the roles most closely associated with adulthood: employment, marriage, and parenthood. When they do take on those roles—as many people in their 20s do—we no longer talk about them as 'emerging adults.' We just call them adults.

Emerging adulthood, seemingly, ends when people make commitments and decide to take on traditional roles. It's not like childhood, which ends on our thirteenth birthday.

The challenges of emerging adulthood

As many struggling twenty-somethings will tell you, freedom to explore has both advantages and costs. Emerging adults use mental health services at high rates than those older or younger than themselves. They have more mood disorders, greater anxiety, and higher rates of substance use.

Though many struggle to prepare themselves for gainful employment, it can be difficult for young adults to establish stable careers. The average emerging adult will experience eight job changes between 18 and 29 and experience at least that many changes of romantic partners. Change, for many, is stressful.

On the other hand, this is a decade characterized by optimism—change can also be change for the better. Emerging adults typically describe their future as one of possibilities and are optimistic about their long term success. One of the advantages of having few ties is the freedom to explore. This decade is typically seen in which youth spend relatively less time helping others and more time focusing on themselves.

Arnett, J. J., Zukauskiene, R., & Sugimura, K. (2014). The new life stage of emerging adulthood at ages 18-29 years: implications for mental health. Lancet Psychiatry, 1(7), 569-576. doi:10.1016/s2215-0366(14)00080-7.


Psychology Research Paper Definition

A psychology research paper mainly aims to educate the audience about recent developments in the psychology field. For this, it contains new theories, experiments, ideas, and arguments.

Such type of research papers require:

  • Serious writing effort.
  • Extensive literature research.
  • Understanding of the experimental methods (surveys, sampling techniques, statistical procedures)
  • Testing thought originality.
  • Gathering and evaluating supporting evidence.
  • Delivering ideas to the audience efficiently.

There is absolutely nothing more important for psychology students than their research papers. A staggering amount of psychology research papers are published every year. This is one of the reasons many students struggle to find good paper ideas.


List of Popular Theories of Psychology

List of popular theories of psychology: 1. Piaget Theory of Development 2. Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development 3. Spearman’s Two-Factor Theory 4. Thurstone’s Multiple Factor Theory 5. Cannon’s Theory 6. The Psycho-Analytic Theory (Freud) 7. The Constitutional Theory (Sheldon).

1. Piaget Theory of Development:

Stages of Intellectual Development:

Piaget may be best known for his stages of cognitive development. Piaget discovered that children think and reason differently at different periods in their lives. He believed that everyone passed through an invariant sequence of four qualitatively distinct stages. Invariant means that a person cannot skip stages or reorder them. Although every normal child passes through the stages in exactly the same order, there is some variability in the ages at which children attain each stage.

The four stages are- sensorimotor—birth to 2 years preoperational—2 years to 7 years concrete operational—7 years to 11 years and formal operational (abstract thinking)—11 years and up. Each stage has major cognitive tasks which must be accomplished. In the sensorimotor stage, the mental structures are mainly concerned with the mastery of concrete objects. The mastery of symbols takes place in the preoperational stage. In the concrete stage, children learn mastery of classes, relations, and numbers and how to reason. The last stage deals with the mastery of thought.

We discovered that education is not something which the teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being. It is not acquired by listening to words, but in virtue of experiences in which the child acts on his environment. The teacher’s task is not to task, but to prepare and arrange a series of motives for cultural activity in a special environment made for the child.

A central component of Piaget’s developmental theory of learning and thinking is that both involve the participation of the learner. Knowledge is not merely transmitted verbally but must be constructed and reconstructed by the learner. Piaget asserted that for a child to know and construct knowledge of the world, the child must act on objects and it is this action which provides knowledge of those objects the mind organizes reality and acts upon it.

The learner must be active he is not a vessel to be filled with facts. Piaget’s approach to learning is a readiness approach. Readiness approaches in developmental psychology emphasize that children cannot learn something until maturation gives them certain prerequisites. The ability to learn any cognitive content is always related to their stage of intellectual development. Children who are at a certain stage cannot be taught the concepts of a higher stage.

Intellectual growth involves three fundamental processes- assimilation, accommodation and equilibration. Assimilation involves the incorporation of new events into pre-existing cognitive structures. Accommodation means existing structures change to accommodate to the new information. This dual process, assimilation-accommodation, enables the child to form schema. Equilibration involves the person striking a balance between himself and the environment, between assimilation and accommodation.

When a child experiences a new event, disequilibrium sets in until he is able to assimilate and accommodate the new information and thus attain equilibrium. There are many types of equilibrium between assimilation and accommodation that vary with the levels of development and the problems to be solved. For Piaget, equilibration is the major factor in explaining why some children advance more quickly in the development of logical intelligence than do others.

A Piagetian-inspired curricula emphasizes a learner-centred educational philosophy. The teaching methods which most American school children are familiar with teacher lectures, demonstrations, audio-visual presentations, teaching machines, and programmed instruction do not fit in with Piaget’s ideas on the acquisition of knowledge. Piaget exposed active discovery learning environments in our schools.

Intelligence grows through the twin processes of assimilation and accommodation therefore, experiences should be planned to allow opportunities for assimilation and accommodation. Children need to explore, to manipulate, to experiment, to question, and to search out answers’ for themselves—activity is essential.

However, this does not mean that children should be allowed to do whatever they want. So what is the role of the teacher? Teachers should be able to assess the child’s present cognitive level their strengths and weaknesses. Instruction should be individualized as much as possible and children should have opportunities to communicate with one another, to argue and debate issues. He saw teachers as facilitators of knowledge—they are there to guide and stimulate the students.

Allow children to make mistakes and learn from them. Learning is much more meaningful if the child is allowed to experiment on his own rather than listening to the teacher lecture. The teacher should present students with materials and situations and occasions that allow them to discover new learning.

In his book to understand is to Invent Piaget said the basic principle of active methods can be expressed as follows:

“To understand is to discover, to reconstruct by rediscovery, and such conditions must be complied with if in the future individuals are to be formed who are capable of production and creativity and not simply repetition”. In active learning, the teacher must have confidence in the child’s ability to learn on his own.

Erikson’s theory may be questioned as to whether his stages must be regarded as sequential, and only occurring within the age ranges he suggests. There is debates as to whether people only search for identity during the adolescent years or if one stage needs to happen before other stages can be completed. However, Erikson states that each of these processes occur throughout the lifetime in one form or another, and he emphasizes these “phases” only because it is at these times that the conflicts become most prominent.

Most empirical research into Erikson has related to his views on adolescence and attempts to establish identity. His theoretical approach was studied and supported, particularly regarding adolescence, by James E. Marica. Marica’s work has distinguished different forms of identity, and there is some empirical evidence that those people who form the most coherent self-concept in adolescence are those who are most able to make intimate attachments in early adulthood. This supports Eriksonian theory, in that it suggests that those best equipped to resolve the crisis of early adulthood are those who have most successfully resolved the crisis of adolescence.

2. Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development:

Lawrence Kohlberg’s stages of moral development constitute an adaptation of a psychological theory originally conceived by the Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget. Kohlberg began work on this topic while a psychology graduate student at the University of Chicago in 1958, and expanded and developed this theory throughout his life.

The theory holds that moral reasoning, the basis for ethical behaviour, has six identifiable developmental stages, each more adequate at responding to moral dilemmas than its predecessor. Kohlberg followed the development of moral judgement for beyond the ages studied earlier by Piaget, who also claimed that logic and morality develop through constructive stages. Expanding on Piaget’s work, Kohlberg determined that the process of moral development was principally concerned with justice, and that it continued throughout the knowledge’s lifetime, a notion that spawned dialogue on the philosophical implications of such research.

The six stages of moral development are grouped into three levels- pre-conventional morality, conventional morality, and post-conventional morality.

For his studies, Kohlberg relied on stories such as the Heinz dilemma, and was interested in how individuals would justify their actions if placed in similar more dilemmas. He then analyzed the form of moral reasoning displayed, rather than its conclusion, and classified it as belonging to one of six distinct stages.

There have been critiques of the theory from several perspectives. Arguments include that it emphasizes justice to the exclusion of other moral values, such as caring that there is such an overlap between stages that they should more properly be regarded as separate domains or that evaluations of the reasons for moral choices are mostly post hoc rationalizations (by both decision makers and psychologists studying them) of essentially intuitive decisions.

Nevertheless, an entirely new field within psychology was created as a direct result of Kohlberg’s theory, and according to Haggbloom et al. s study of the most eminent psychologists of the 20th century, Kohlberg was the 16th most frequently cited psychologist in introductory psychology text-books throughout the century, as well as the 30th most eminent overall.

Kohlberg’s scale is about how people justify behaviours and his stages are not a method of ranking how moral someone’s behaviour is. There should however be a correlation between how someone scores on the scale and how they behave, and the general hypotheses is that moral behaviour is more responsible, consistent and predictable from people at higher levels.

3. Spearman’s Two-Factor Theory:

He did not believe in the concept of faculty psychology that mental powers are independent of one another. According to Spearman theory, mental powers are unitary. He did research work at Oxford. He divided students in two groups and gave them tests in many school subjects and then calculated correlation in every two subjects, the correlation thus obtained was always positive. According to Spearman this is because something is common in all tests. This he called general mental ability, every work requires some specific ability which can be denoted by ‘g’ and’s’.

Spearman Gave Two Types of Abilities:

Spearman’s two factors theory can be explained by his ‘Tetrad Equation’.

For example four tests are given in school subjects, their correlation matrix are arranged in following table:

These equations are always zero, because there is something common, factorial analysis method devised by Spearman (1927). We obtain two factor loadings.

Early in the present century, Spearman found that diverse test of mental abilities usually gave inter-correlations which could be wholly accounted only by a single general factor plus specific factors. Tetrad difference criterion is used.

Spearman was one of the first to attack the factor problem. He worked with groups of four tests.

Spearman’s Famous Tetrad Differences:

Divergence of these differences form zero.

Schematic Representation of Spearman’s Two Factor Theory:

Criticism of the Spearman’s Theory:

The factor analysis approach helped in given full-fledged theory of intelligence.

1. Tetrad equations are not always equal to zero, it means there is no general ability in all tests.

2. It is very difficult to calculate equation suggested by Spearman.

3. According to him each ability consisted of general and specific abilities, while every job has its own specific ability.

4. Thurstone’s Multiple Factor Theory (P.M.A.):

L.L. Thurstone also made a factor analytical study and Sound seven factors on the basis by application of this test on Chicago University students. He found seven factors when applied the test on children.

(f) Deductive or Inductive Reasoning (R)

Thurstone called these abilities primary or fundamental mental abilities (P.M.A.).

The loadings of multiple factor pattern is referred as simple structure. It is often used in analyzing tests of abilities. It requires three or four factors.

Multiple Factor Theory L.L. Thurstone:

The loadings of multi-factor pattern are referred to as simple.

Tabular Representation of Multi-Factor Theory by Thurstone:

5. Cannon’s Theory:

Cannon’s Theory regarding emotion also is known as the ‘Emergence Theory’ or the ‘Hypothalamic theory’. According to his view, the major part in emotional reactions is played by the excretion of the hypothalamus. In this view, the cerebral cortex is the centre of emotional experience while the internal brain or diencephalon, which is formed for hypothalamus and thalamus, is the centre of emotional expression, stimulation and effects.

The nervous impulses reach the thalamus through the sensory nerves. The thalamus attaches to this an emotional quality and passes it on the cerebral cortex so that the person experiences a specific emotion. While sending it on the cerebral cortex, the thalamus deflects a part of the nervous impulse to the viscera and the muscles. This results in a change in them which can be observed.

It is undoubtedly true that Cannon’s theory is more appropriate than James-Lange theory. It has been provide that the hypothalamus does have a hand in the control of emotions. The acceptance of this theory makes it possible to understand how the emotions remain unaffected by the spinal cord or by the mild reactions of the viscera.

It also explains the failure of adrenaline injections to arouse emotion. But his point of view is limited and one-sided, as Lashley has shown by his experiment every aspect of emotion cannot be explained by this theory. In reality, the other parts of nervous system have as much a hand in emotions as the hypothalamus. For example, the cerebral cortex has a greater part in the adjustability of emotions.

6. The Psycho-Analytic Theory (Freud):

There are three aspects of this theory of personality:

(I) The Dynamic Aspect of Personality:

The ego, id and superego are the parts of psycho. Freud’s theory made at about the same time as him shift from the ego libido polarity of motive to the life and death insects, had to do with doctrine of the unconscious. As to interpret the personality structure in terms of dynamic aspect of it. It may be studied in terms of ego, id and super ego.

This has the following components:

a. The Id consists primarily of drives, inherited instincts or urges.

b. Id has no direct access to the environment.

c. Id has no sense organs or muscles.

d. Id is bottomless and blind.

e. Id is unorganized, unstructured, mixed desires libido and destructiveness.

Psycho-analysis helps maladjusted persons to substitute rational control for frightened repression and so to build up the ego at the expenses of the Id.

It includes the following components:

The conscious self is also called the ego and the ego had the task of resisting the unconscious.

a. Ego has the direct access to the environment.

b. It functions through sense organs and muscles.

c. It learns through experience, it gets to know the danger to the environment and the necessity to check the id.

d. Its job is to take over the instincts from the id as far as it can, and make them conform the reality principle.

e. Ego task is to control the id.

f. Ego can be splitted into two:

(a) Execution, ego remains proper, and

(b) Watcher and moral critic or active.

g. The ego remains a somewhat ambiguous concept.

It has the following operations:

The super ego corresponds to what we ordinarily call conscience, so far as conscience means a blind feeling of right and wrong rather than knowledge of what is good for us and socially valuable.

It is made up of moral elements. The superego appropriates some of the aggressive tendency for use against the ego.

Formation of Super Ego:

It consists of the following:

a. Interjection into the self of the external moral authority as represented specially by parents and other important persons in early life.

Super ego forms through personal contact or environment. Ideal are assimilated into the person through social personal relationship.

b. Direction on the interjected or individual on reality of some portion of the moralistic libido, so that individual loves himself. Interjected ideals began to act as self-ideals.

c. It cannot explain its command because source of its authority, rudiments of super ego where inherited from primitive man kinds and takes shape Oedipus complex.

Usually the boy’s libido fastens on the mother, the girls on the father. Oedipus is the here of Greek, the child Oedipus had killed his father to marry his mother.

(II) Topographical Aspects:

The psycho formation can be represented by to biographically as three aspects:

Conscious is a part of psyche. The individual is fully aware or contingent of different type activity engaged by physic.

a. The individual cognitive conative, and affectively tendency are implied the conscious mind.

b. The ego of the individual is directly linked with conscious sphere.

c. The conscious part of psychic is sufficiently less in dimension as compared to the unconscious part. The 1/8th part of psychic is said to be conscious part.

It is directly related to the conscious but by little effort it can be brought to the level of conscious part of mind. The idea appears conscious par of mind, comes mostly from sub-conscious and fore conscious part.

Individual attention, thinking and concentration are directly explainable in terms of sub-conscious. It acts as threshold. The ideas never forget can recollect of recall on the power of conscious mind.

It has the following characteristics:

a. The unconscious is more real and permanent aspect of human personality, mere than 3/4th of human psychic consists of the conscious.

b. The unconscious is vast and bottomless its mystery cannot be easily known motives.

c. The evidence for the unconscious part of psychic is the dream analysis, slip of tongue and slip of eye and other human behaviour which cannot be explained by conscious motives.

d. The unconscious is the sheet of instinctual organ of the Id. It is huge area occupied by instinctual forces of the individual.

e. The unconscious part of an individual reflect the true individual compared to his appearance i.e., real personality can be structural to know unconscious, dream analysis.

(III) Economic Aspect of Personality:

The nature exercise economy and follows the principle of test expended on existing total situation.

Law of parsimony (economy). Freud believes making a person try to make ill due to his over work and confine to bed. Similar the case in mental area, we try to live psychologically least expanse of this economy. It reflects different mechanism that used by human psychic.

1. Defence mechanism are those than toes resolve the conflict rather than specific fashion.

2. Minor mechanism are used as supplementary tools by the major mechanism.

Mechanism of Personality:

1. The mechanism is function, ways and means between Id, and super ego.

2. They tend to eliminate or reduce the security of conflict situation.

3. They are economical methods of resolution.

4. Not all conflict can be resolved, there are some conflict which continue and continuation of conflicts is sometimes very harmful for the growth of personality.

(i) Major Mechanism of Consciousness:

2. Discriminatory decision.

(ii) Major Mechanism of Unconsciousness:

(iii) Major Mechanism of Both (Conscious and Unconscious):

(a) Major Mechanism of Consciousness:

It is the part of conflict situation which is most unaccented. Unconscious may be forced into conscious by the ego when they occur, the mechanism is called repression. Inhibition where an individual consciously or purposely refrains from an activity.

Where an individual consciously forces unacceptable idea out of his mind successfully for period of time. Inhibition is deliberately or consciously avoid the situation.

(iii) Discriminatory Decision:

It is found in normal adult quite frequently and less frequently in children. Conflicts are resolved by discriminate decision and renunciation, weighting the pros and cons.

(b) Major Mechanism of Unconsciousness:

It is the mechanism which represses energy, connected with the frustration basic drive is changed (converted) into the functional symptom bodily disease. The conflict is resolved by conscious or unconsciously into sickness. This mechanisms making weak physiologically and psychologically.

Conversion hysteria the disease due to the repression of derive, the energy thwarted and takes the form of disease. It is due to basic urges. Many a time headache may not be due to physical fatigue but due to thwarting the basic desire. The mental disturbance is due to basic urges.

(2) Regression (Means Going Back):

It implies the reversal of the ordinary progressive sequence of development and hence turns into more personality structure. The conflict is solved by flight into childhood.

Two types of regression:

Ego-regression is to return into earlier activity enacts as he is in the earlier stage may be in ego and libido. These two may occur libido regression without ego-regression. On the other hand, we seldom find ego regression without libido regression.

It is the solution of basic urges through the substitution a socially acceptable goal, there is redirection of basic urge into socially approved channel, the manifested behaviour are not only socially acceptable, but have definite social values. The unconscious is resolved flight into creative work, e.g., poet is interested in fine art, and many a time shows the tendency of sublimation. Expressing his desires in same forms his urges cannot be satisfied in original form.

(4) Reaction Formation over Compensation:

The development of behaviour which diametrically opposed to the unconscious urges or wishes, the conscious conflict is resolved behaviour denial of it. A person is preaching moral but may not moral man. Actually a people show and possesses more than his real.

The mechanism by which the individual justify his belief and action by going other reason than those activated along with other regression, sublimation reaction available in normal adult. No agreeable to prove his feeling with his own commands so rationalize his motive with logic for something actual reason is not given rationalization.

It signifies the shifting of feeling of love-egoic cathoxies from one object and person to another. Freud gave an example of patient suffering from neurosis they show the tendency of love to the doctor. The patient derives same type of love feeling exhibit by patient toward the doctor as she exhibit toward her father, mother and husband.

It refers to the mechanism through a person attempt to mould his ego, after death of someone else believes himself to have some other person e.g., children make usually identify himself to his teacher at lower stage of education female teachers are proved more effective rather than higher stage. We identify to the person whom we get pleasure.

It refers in corporation of the ego into itself of the outside environment of other individual of object apart of himself, empathy sympathy always with me in letters that sign of in introjection ‘you shall carry one.

It may be considered as inverse of introjection in that the ego attitude toward the environmental objects or other person’s characteristics of their own personality which are unexpected to the ego to seek faults in others. Try to look qualities of others, you are also weak you are also late. These are lame excuses.

It refers of transfer of one object to another.

7. The Constitutional Theory (Sheldon):

The theory is developed by Sheldon. He insists on measurement of traits as they are continuous variables.

He has developed a psychology of personality which recognizes the importance of biological constitutional factors. He has emphasized on a continuous variable approach for the measurement of constitutional as opposed to the earlier method of classification on the basis of broad discontinuity. But, it resembles with older topologist.

All earlier topologist of personality assume that behaviour characteristics are related in same fundamental way to underlying biological factors.

He postulates that human physique and personality can be adequately described in terms of three fundamental temperamental patterns.

Primary components of human physique are given below:

This temperament has three components:

(a) The degree to which an individual shows rotundness.

(b) An under development of muscles and bones.

(c) Over development of fat and viscera especially the latter.

This temperament has the following characteristics:

The degree to which an individual shows:

(a) A predominance of development has bones muscles as opposed to the other bodily components.

(b) Possesses an athletic body which is hard well-proportioned muscular.

It has the following characteristics:

It is the component which determines the relative development of skin and nervous tissue over the other components.

An invalidity physique is related to the pre-ponderance of development of three fundamental embryonic-tissues:

Innermost layers of embryonic cells.

Middle layer from which muscles and blood survived.

Cellular layer from which skin, hair, central nervous system derived.

An individual is rated on seven point scale on each of the above components. In addition to these primary components, the individual may also be rated on the degree to which he demonstrates.

The extent to which a person shows a lack of harmony or markedly uneven mixture of the basic components in any part of his body. Ex-an otherwise endomorphic individual with the laps of endomorphs delinquencies, mental disease.

The extent to which an individual has the bodily characteristics commonly identified with numbers of the opposite sex.

Texture is the degree to which an individual possesses a fine aesthetically pleasing body as revealed by the texture of his/her skin, hair and perhaps underlying cells.

Primary Dimensions of Temperament:

Temperament of an individual refers to his emotional and motivational nature. Behaviourally it is his reactive disposition.

Three primary clusters of traits could account for 1225 correlations among the traits were studied:

(1) Viscerotionia trait is closely associated with digestive and vishal process.

(2) Somatonia trait is associated with voluntary muscular system (Sematic structure).

(3) Cerabrotonia traits are the activities which have to do chiefly with attentional consciousness.

Relationship between Physique and Temperaments:

Under this study Sheldon selected 200 adults and obtained the following result:

1. Viscerotonia trait is most closely related to endomorphy temperament.

2. Somatonia trait is most closely associated with mesomorphy temperament.

3. Cerebrotonia trait is most closely related to ectomorphy temperaments.

On the basis of the relationship, temperament can be predicted on the basis of physique with a considerable accuracy and concomitantly physique with the help of temperature, but causal relationship cannot be established.

Criticisms of Sheldon Theory:

The following are the advantages and limitations of Sheldon Theory of personality:

1. Most of the studies done by Sheldon are on adult male subjects. Therefore, his findings related to biological traits and temperaments cannot be applied for female subjects, because their physique constitution is different from male. There is also difference between temperament of male and female.

2. Sheldon has used rating scale for measuring these variables therefore, the observations have the ‘Halo effect’ of the rotors.

3. Somatic type is relatively in variant.

4. It considers, physique and emotional aspects of a person, but does not consider the intellectual and social aspects which are most important for the psychology of personality.

5. It has limited the scope for using this concept of personality in Education.


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