Psychiatry/Psychiatrist

Psychiatry
Psychiatry

Psychiatrists treat patients privately and in hospital settings through a combination of psychotherapy and medication. There are about 41,000 practicing psychiatrists in the United States. Their training consists of four years of medical school, followed by one year of internship and at least three years of psychiatric residency.

Psychiatrists may receive certification from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN), which requires two years of clinical experience beyond residency and the successful completion of a written and an oral test. Unlike a medical license, board certification is not legally required in order to practice psychiatry.

Psychiatrists may practice general psychiatry or choose a specialty, such as child psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry, treatment of substance abuse, forensic (legal) psychiatry, emergency psychiatry, mental retardation, community psychiatry, or public health. Some focus their research and clinical work primarily on psychoactive medication, in which case they are referred to as psychopharmacologists.

Psychoactive Drugs

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Psychoactive Drugs

The role of psychoactive drugs, also called psychotherapeutic agents or psychotropic drugs, in the treatment of mental illness is dependent on the disorder for which they are prescribed. In cases where mental illness is considered biological in nature, such as with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, pharmaceutical therapy with psychotherapeutic drugs is recommended as a primary method of treatment.

In other cases, such as in personality disorder or dissociative disorder, psychoactive medications are usually considered a secondary, companion treatment (or adjunct) to a type of psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy.

In these situations, medication is used to provide temporary symptom relief while the patient works on the issues leading to his illness with a therapist or other mental health professional.

Psychoanalysis

Psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis

Developed in Vienna, Austria, by Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), psychoanalysis is based on an approach in which the therapist helps the patient better understand him- or herself through examination of the deep personal feelings, relationships, and events that have shaped motivations and behavior.

Freud developed his theories during the end of the 19th and the early part of the 20th centuries in Vienna, Austria, where he was a practicing physician specializing in neurological disorders. Freud’s interest originated in his medical practice when he encountered patients who were clearly suffering physical symptoms for which he could find no organic, or biological, cause.

Freud’s first attempt to get at the psychological cause of these patients’ pain was through hypnosis, which he studied in Paris in 1885. He found the results to be less than he’d hoped, however, and soon borrowed from a Viennese contemporary the idea of getting a patient to simply talk about his or her problems.

Psychological Abstracts

Psychological Abstracts
Psychological Abstracts

Founded in 1927, Psychological Abstracts contains nonevaluative summary abstracts of literature in the field of psychology and related disciplines, which are grouped into 22 major classification categories. It includes summaries of technical reports as well as journal articles and books.

Each edition is collected into a cumulative volume every six months, with an index listing both the volume’s contents and the national and international journals in which the abstracted literature appear. These journals are cited within the volume by codes listed in each monthly issue.

A table of contents near the beginning of each issue guides readers to broad general areas that they may wish to investigate, while the subject indexes in the cumulative volumes refers them to articles on a particular topic.

Psychological Disorder

Psychological Disorder
Psychological Disorder

While psychological disorders are generally signaled by some form of abnormal behavior or thought process, abnormality can be difficult to define, especially since it varies from culture to culture. Psychologists have several standard approaches to defining abnormality for diagnostic purposes.

One is the statistical approach, which evaluates behavior by determining how closely it conforms to or deviates from that of the majority of people. Behavior may also be evaluated by whether it conforms to social rules and cultural norms, an approach that avoids condemning nonconformists as abnormal for behavior that, while unusual, may not violate social standards and may even be valued in their culture.

Yet another way to gauge the normality of behavior is by whether it is adaptive or maladaptive—and to what extent it interferes with the conduct of everyday life. In some situations, psychologists may also evaluate normality solely on the basis of whether or not a person is made unhappy or uncomfortable by his or her own behavior.

Psychology/Psychologist

Psychology
Psychology

As psychology has grown and changed throughout its history, it has been defined in numerous ways. As early as 400 B.C., the ancient Greeks philosophized about the relationship of personality characteristics to physiological traits. Since then, philosophers have proposed theories to explain human behavior. In the late 1800s the emergence of scientific method gave the study of psychology a new focus.

In 1879, the first psychological laboratory was opened in Leipzig, Germany, by Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920), and soon afterwards the first experimental studies of memory were published. Wundt was instrumental in establishing psychology as the study of conscious experience, which he viewed as made up of elemental sensations.

In addition to the type of psychology practiced by Wundt—which became known as structuralism—other early schools of psychology were functionalism, which led to the development of behaviorism, and Gestalt psychology. The American Psychological Association was founded in 1892 with the goals of encouraging research, enhancing professional competence, and disseminating knowledge about the field.

Psychophysics

Psychophysics
Psychophysics

Psychophysics originated with the research of Gustav Fechner (1801-1887), who first studied the relationship between incoming physical stimuli and the responses to them. Psychophysicists have generally used two approaches in studying our sensitivity to stimuli around us: measuring the absolute threshold or discovering the difference threshold.

In studying the absolute threshold using the method of constant stimuli, an experimenter will, for example, produce an extremely faint tone which the listener cannot hear, then gradually increase the intensity until the person can just hear it; on the next trial, the experimenter will play a sound that is clearly heard, then reduce its intensity until the listener can no longer hear it.

Thresholds can also be ascertained through the method of constant stimuli. In this approach, stimuli of varying intensity are randomly presented. Although an observer’s measured threshold will change depending on methodology, this technique gives an estimate of an individual’s sensitivity.

Psychosexual Stages

Psychosexual Stages
Psychosexual Stages

Austrian psychotherapist Sigmund Freud described personality development during childhood in terms of stages based on shifts in the primary location of sexual impulses. During each stage libidinal pleasure is derived from a particular area of the body—called an erogenous zone—and the activities centered in that area. If the problems and conflicts of a particular stage are not adequately resolved, the child—and, later, the adult—may remain fixated at that stage.

A fixation consists of a conscious or unconscious preoccupation with an area of the body (such as the mouth in a compulsive eater), as well as certain personality traits. Freud believed that some degree of fixation is present in everyone and that it is an important determinant of personality.

During the three pregenital stages that occur in a child’s first five years, sexuality is narcissistic: it is directed toward the child’s own body as a source of pleasure rather than outward. In the oral stage, which occupies approximately the first year of life, pleasurable impulses are concentrated in the area of the mouth and lips, the infant’s source of nourishment.

Psychosis

Psychosis
Psychosis

Psychosis may appear as a symptom of a number of mental disorders, including mood and personality disorders, schizophrenia, delusional disorder, and substance abuse. It is also the defining feature of the psychotic disorders (i.e., brief psychotic disorder, shared psychotic disorder, psychotic disorder due to a general medical condition, and substance-induced psychotic disorder).

Patients suffering from psychosis are unable to distinguish the real from the unreal. They experience hallucinations and/or delusions that they believe are real, and they typically behave in an inappropriate and confused manner.

Causes and Symptoms

Psychosis may be caused by a number of biological and social factors, depending on the disorder underlying the symptom. Trauma and stress can induce a short-term psychosis known as brief psychotic disorder. This psychotic episode, which lasts a month or less, can be brought on by the stress of major life-changing events (e.g., death of a close friend or family member, natural disaster, traumatic event), and can occur in patients with no prior history of mental illness.

Psychosomatic Disorders

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Psychosomatic Disorders

The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSMIV) classifies psychosomatic illnesses under “Psychological Factors Affecting Physical Conditions.” Physicians have been aware that people’s mental and emotional states influence their physical well-being since the time of Hippocrates.

In the twentieth century, the discoveries of psychologists have shed new light on how the mind and body interact to produce health or illness. Sigmund Freud introduced the idea that unconscious thoughts can be converted into physical symptoms (conversion reaction).

The formal study of psychosomatic illnesses began in Europe in the 1920s, and by 1939, the journal Psychosomatic Medicine had been founded in the United States. Eventually, sophisticated laboratory experiments replaced clinical observation as the primary method of studying psychosomatic illness.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy

Psychoanalysis,the first modern form of psychotherapy, was called the “talking cure,” and the many varieties of therapy practiced today are still characterized by their common dependence on a verbal exchange between the counselor or therapist and the person seeking help.

The therapeutic interaction is characterized by mutual trust, with the goal of helping individuals change destructive or unhealthy behaviors, thoughts, and emotions. It is common for experienced therapists to combine several different approaches or techniques. The most common approaches are discussed below.

Psychodynamic approach

Freudian psychoanalysis places emphasis on uncovering unconscious motivations and breaking down defenses. Therapy sessions may be scheduled once or even twice a week for a year or more. This type of therapy is appropriate when internal conflicts contribute significantly to a personís problems. (For more information, see entry on Psychoanalysis).

Psychotic Disorders

Psychotic Disorders
Psychotic Disorders

Formerly, all psychological disorders were considered either psychotic or neurotic. Psychotic disorders were those that rendered patients unable to function normally in their daily lives and left them “out of touch with reality.”

They were associated with impaired memory, language, and speech and an inability to think rationally. Neurotic disorders, by comparison, were characterized chiefly by anxiety; any impairment of functioning was primarily social. Psychotic conditions were attributed to physiological causes, neurotic conditions to psychosocial ones.

Other distinguishing features associated primarily with psychotic disorders were hospitalization and treatment by biological methods—medication and electroconvulsive therapy. With the development of new types of psychoactive drugs in the 1950s and 1960s, medication became a common form of therapy for anxiety, depression, and other problems categorized as neurotic.

electroconvulsive therapy
electroconvulsive therapy

”Psychotic” and “neurotic” are no longer employed as major categories in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) . Instead, disorders that formerly belonged to either one category or the other appear side by side in Axis I of the manual under the heading “Clinical Syndromes.” The term “psychotic” still appears in DSMIV, most prominently in the categorization “Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders.”

The disorders in this section have as their defining feature symptoms considered psychotic, which in this context can refer to delusions, hallucinations, and other positive symptoms of schizophrenia, such as confused speech and catatonia. In other parts of DSM-IV, “psychotic” is also used to describe aspects of a disorder even when they are not its defining feature, as in “Major Depressive Disorder with Psychotic Features.”

hallucinations
hallucinations

Puberty

Puberty
Puberty

The word puberty is derived from the Latin pubertas, which means adulthood. Puberty is initiated by hormonal changes triggered by a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, which stimulates the pituitary gland, which in turn activates other glands as well.

These changes begin about a year before any of their results are visible. Both the male reproductive hormone testosterone and female hormone estrogen are present in children of both sexes. However, their balance changes at puberty, with girls producing relatively more estrogen and boys producing more testosterone.

Most experts suggest that parents begin short and casual discussions about puberty with their children by the age of seven or eight. Offering the child reading materials about puberty can impart information to the young person without the awkwardness that may characterize the parent-child conversations. Parents can then offer their children opportunities to ask questions or to discuss any aspects of puberty and sexuality that may arise from their reading.

Ethel Dench Puffer

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Ethel Dench Puffer

Ethel Dench Puffer was born in Framingham, Massachusetts, the eldest of four daughters. Her family was of native New England stock and highly educated by the standard of the era. After graduating from Smith College in 1891 at the age of 19 and teaching high school for one year in New Hampshire, Puffer returned to Smith as an instructor of mathematics, where she taught for the next three years while developing a keen interest in psychology.

In 1895, Puffer traveled to Germany to study aesthetics under Hugo Münsterberg (1863-1916), then a professor of psychology at the University of Freiberg. On the strength of her research, she was awarded a fellowship for graduate study by the Association of Collegiate Alumnae.

Enrolling in Radcliffe College in 1897 and working again under Münsterberg at Harvard University, she earned a certificate stating she had completed work equivalent to that of a doctoral candidate for the Harvard Ph.D.

Punishment

Punishment
Punishment

Punishment is defined as the administration of aversive stimulus to reduce or eliminate unwanted behavior. It can be either physical or nonphysical. Punishment differs from negative reinforcement in that the latter increases the frequency of behavior by removing a negative event.

Punishment can be as simple as giving electric shocks to lab rats to prevent them from touching a lever or as complex—and controversial—as placing criminals in jail for breaking the law. The use and effectiveness of corporal punishment have also been debated by psychologists, parents, teachers, and religious leaders for many years.

Research studies have found that punishment is effective in suppressing or eliminating unwanted behavior. But in order for punishment to be effective it must happen immediately after the behavior, be severe, and occur every time the behavior occurs. Detractors of the use of punishment have pointed out that, outside the laboratory setting, it is almost impossible to consistently administer punishment in this manner.

Qualitative Methods

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Qualitative Methods

Research psychologists can collect two kinds of information: quantitative data and qualitative data. Quantitative data are often represented numerically in the form of means, percentages, or frequency counts. Such data are often referred to as “measurement” data, referring to the fact that we often like to measure the amount or extent of some behavior, trait, or disposition.

For example, shyness, test anxiety, and depression can all be appraised by means of paper-and-pencil tests which yield numerical scores representing the extent of shyness, anxiety, etc. that resides in the individual taking the test.

A psychologist interested in the relationship between test anxiety and grade point average would collect the appropriate quantitative information on each of these two variables and conduct statistical tests that would reveal the strength (or absence) of the relationship.

Race and Intelligence

Race and Intelligence
Race and Intelligence

Throughout human history, people have tended to divide each other into groups. Most often, physical characteristics are used to distinguish between groups, and the groups are called races. Some people have long believed that many characteristics about a person could be determined by simply looking at the person’s race.

Intelligence is one trait that has been studied in an attempt to correlate it to racial groups. In fact, at present the best evidence does not strongly support the idea that the people of any race are more or less intelligent than those of any other race. In addition, intelligence testing is an imperfect science. Traditional tests are skewed to favor certain segments of society.

Genes and intelligence: a clear verdict

Saying that intelligence is partly genetic—programmed in the genes and inherited from one generation to the next—is vastly different than saying that genes underlie any racial differences. To give a classic example, scatter two identical groups of seed on a rich and a barren, dry plot of land. Within the rich plot, genetics will determine any difference in seed growth. But environment will cause most of the difference between the two plots.

Racism

Racism
Racism

Racism is most commonly used to describe the belief that members of one’s own race are superior physically, mentally, culturally, and morally to members of other races. Racist beliefs provide the foundation for extending special rights, privileges, and opportunities to the race that is believed to be superior, and to withholding rights, privileges, and opportunities from the races believed to be inferior.

No scientific evidence supports racist claims, although racism exists in all countries and cultures. The definition of racism has evolved to describe prejudice against a group of people based on the belief that human groups are unequal genetically, and that members of some racial groups are thus inferior.

Sociologists distinguish between individual racism, a term describing attitudes and beliefs of individuals, and institutional racism, which denotes governmental and organizational policies that restrict minority groups or demean them by the application of stereotypes. While such policies are being corrected to eliminate institutional racism, individual racism nonetheless persists.

Otto Rank

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Otto Rank

Otto Rank was Sigmund Freud’s closest collaborator for 20 years. Later, he strongly influenced the development of psychotherapy in the United States. He was the first psychoanalyst to examine mother-child relationships, including separation anxiety.

He also was one of the first to practice a briefer form of psychotherapy, called “active therapy.” His work, in contrast to orthodox Freudian psychology, emphasized free will, relationships, and creativity. Many of Rank’s ideas, including the importance of the ego, consciousness, and the present, have become mainstays of psychoanalytic theory.

Born in Vienna, Austria, in 1884, Otto Rosenfeld changed his name to Otto Rank as an adolescent. It was one of his first acts of “self-creation.” The second son of Simon Rosenfeld, a jeweler, and Karoline Fleischner, the family could only afford a higher education for one son. Rank attended trade school, despite recurring bouts of rheumatic fever, and became a locksmith, while his brother studied law. In 1904, Rank suffered a suicidal depression, after which he experienced a spiritual rebirth.

Rape

Rape
Rape

Rape is essentially an act of power and dominance. Although an estimated 15 to 40 percent of American women are victims of rape or attempted rape, men are raped as well. Women are more likely to be raped by someone they know; between 50 and 70 percent of all rapes occur within the context of a romantic relationship, and more than half the time the assault takes place in the victim’s home.

Rape is one of the most underreported crimes in the United States, due to the victim’s fear of embarrassment, humiliation, or retaliation by the rapist. Estimates of the percentage of rapes reported to authorities range from 10 to 50 percent. Because of the difficulty of obtaining a conviction, about two percent of all rapists are convicted, and most serve approximately half of their original sentence.

A survey conducted in 1987 found that 57 percent of women who have been raped develop post-traumatic stress disorder. These women may lose their appetite, become easily startled, and suffer from headaches, sleep disorders, or fatigue. Many women have difficulty maintaining a normal life following a rape, and may repress the experience for an extended period before they are able to talk about it.

Rapid Eye Movement (REM)

Lily sexy
Lily sexy

First described in 1953 by Nathaniel Kleitman and Eugene Aserinsky, rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is also called active sleep because the EEG ( electroencephalogram) patterns in this stage are similar to the patterns during the awake stage. The four stages of slowwave, or non-REM, sleep are accompanied by deep breathing, a relatively slow heartbeat, and lowered blood pressure.

In contrast, levels of physiological arousal during REM sleep resemble those of the waking state. In some ways, however, people are more deeply asleep during the REM stage than at other times: the major muscle groups go limp in a sort of paralysis, and people are hardest to waken during REM sleep.

The contradictions between the active, “awake” features of REM sleep and its soundness have caused some people to refer to REM sleep as “paradoxical sleep.” At birth about 50 percent of all sleep is REM sleep, but by the age of 10 this figure drops to 25 percent.

Rational-emotive Behavior Therapy

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Rational-emotive Behavior Therapy

Rational-emotive behavior therapy (REBT) belongs to a class of therapies termed “cognitive-behavioral” therapies. The defining features of these therapies are an emphasis on achieving measurable goals by manipulating internal and external reinforcers.

That is, cognitive-behavioral therapists help clients identify the thoughts and beliefs that might be prolonging their distress or anxiety. The assumption is that attitudes and expectations that we have for ourselves influence how we cope and respond to challenge.

Rational-emotive behavior therapy is the creation of psychologist Albert Ellis. Ellis believes that people are born with a predisposition to be either rational or irrational, and that mental disorders are the product of faulty learning.

Reality Therapy

Reality Therapy
Reality Therapy

Reality therapy was developed by William Glasser, who wrote a book of the same name in the 1960s. This type of counseling suggests that all psychiatric subjects have the same basic underlying problem, namely an inability to fulfill their essential needs. Specific problems, like alcoholism or misbehavior in school, are the symptoms and not the problem. Troublesome symptoms occur when a person cannot or will not meet their needs.

Language of reality therapy

Essential needscan be broken down into two categories. One is the need to love and be loved at all times during the course of a lifetime. The other is the need to feel worthwhile to oneself and others. In order to feel worthwhile, one must maintain a satisfactory standard of behavior.

In other words, if a person is drinking to avoid facing reality, then he or she is not maintaining a satisfactory standard of behavior and not feeling worthwhile. Everyone has these essential needs but peoples’s abilities to fulfill them vary.

Reflective Listening

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Reflective Listening

Very often in Western culture, listening is considered to be the passive part of a conversation while speaking is seen as active. Reflective listening practices requires focus, intent, and very active participation. The term stems from work done by psychologist Carl Rogers who developed client-centered therapy.

Rogers believed that by listening intently to the client, a therapist could determine best what the client needed. This was unlike psychoanalysis,which had more formula-like approaches that were used for all patients. Rogers wrote about reflection of attitudes, which asserts that a therapist needs to have empathic understanding with his/her client. Empathic understanding means understanding a person from his or her frame of reference.

What a therapist attempts to do is reconstruct what the client is thinking and feeling and to relay this understanding back to the client. By explaining that he or she understands what the client is saying, a therapist is establishing a trust and clarifying the client’s expression. For example, a client may make a statement like, “My mother is such a jerk.

Rehabilitation

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Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation begins once a debilitating condition has been evaluated and treatment is either in progress or completed. Impairments are evaluated for their effects on the individual’s psychological, social, and vocational functioning.

Depending on the type of disability involved, “self-sufficiency” may mean a full-time job, employment in a sheltered workshop, or simply an independent living situation. Rehabilitation involves a combination of medicine, therapy, education, or vocational training.

There are special centers for various mental and physical problems that require rehabilitation, including psychiatric disorders, mental retardation, alcohol dependence, brain and spinal cord injuries, stroke, burns, and other physically disabling conditions.

Rehearsal

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Rehearsal

Rehearsal is a term used by memory researchers to refer to mental techniques for helping us remember information. Its technical meaning is not very different from our everyday use of the term. Actors rehearse their lines so that they won’t forget them.

Similarly, if we want to retain information over time, there are strategies for enhancing future recall. There are two main types of rehearsal. The first is maintenance rehearsal, which involves continuously repeating the to-be-remembered material.

This method is effective in maintaining information over the short term. We have all had the experience of looking up a phone number and subsequently forgetting it (or part of it) before we have dialed it. This illustrates the fact that new material will fade from memory relatively quickly unless we make a purposeful effort to remember it.

Wilhelm Reich

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Wilhelm Reich

Although Wilhelm Reich is remembered primarily for his legal battle with the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over their outlawing of his “orgone energy accumulator,” his earlier works were influential in the development of psychoanalysis.

In The Function of the Orgasm, published in German in 1927 and in English in 1942, Reich placed the drive for sexual fulfillment at the center of human psychology and argued that neuroses resulted from sexual repression.

In his Character Analysis, published in Vienna in 1933 and in the United States in 1949, he described how defensive character traits were developed to cope with specific emotions, and he argued that the goal of therapy was to remove these repressive traits. These ideas have become mainstays of psychoanalytic theory.

Reinforcement

Reinforcement

In classical (Pavlovian) conditioning, where the response has no effect on whether the stimulus will occur, reinforcement produces an immediate response without any training or conditioning. When meat is offered to a hungry dog, it does not learn to salivate, the behavior occurs spontaneously. Similarly, a negative reinforcer, such as an electric shock, produces an immediate, unconditioned escape response.

To produce a classically-conditioned response, the positive or negative reinforcer is paired with a neutral stimulus until the two become associated with each other. Thus, if the sound of a bell accompanies a negative stimulus such as an electric shock, the experimental subject will eventually be conditioned to produce an escape or avoidance response to the sound of the bell alone.

Once conditioning has created an association between a certain behavior and a neutral stimulus, such as the bell, this stimulus itself may serve as a reinforcer to condition future behavior. When this happens, the formerly neutral stimulus is called a conditioned reinforcer, as opposed to a naturally positive or negative reinforcer, such as food or an electric shock.

Religion and Psychology

Religion and Psychology
Religion and Psychology

Psychologists have long studied religion and religious practices. Using principles of traditional psychology, researchers try to understand religious experience, including prayer, cults, and mystical experiences.

The study of religion and psychology began in the early twentieth century, but faded before it was revived in the 1980s, when the American Psychological Association began to formally investigate aspects of religion in psychology. The only classic text relating to the psychological study of religion, Varieties of Religious Experience, was written by William James in 1902.

Sigmund Freud,who called religion an “illusion,” nonetheless studied religion with great interest, and wrote three books and some papers on his studies of how religion impacted human lives. Later psychoanalysts has studied the psychological value of religion.

Research Methodology

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Research Methodology

Psychologists use a wide variety of techniques to answer research questions. The most commonly used techniques include experiments, correlational studies, observational studies, case studies, and archival research. Each approach has its own strengths and weaknesses. Psychologists have developed a diversity of research strategies because a single approach cannot answer all types of questions that psychologists ask.

Psychologists prefer to use experiments whenever possible because this approach allows them to determine whether a stimulus or an event actually causes something to happen. In an experimental approach, researchers randomly assign participants to different conditions. These conditions should be identical except for one variable that the researcher is interested in.

For example, psychologists have asked whether people learn more if they study for one long period or several short periods. To study this experimentally, the psychologist would assign people into one of two groups—one group that studies for an extended period of time or to another group that studies for the same total amount of time, but in short segments.

Right-brain Hemisphere

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Right-brain Hemisphere

In normal human adults, each hemisphere of the brain,working in concert with the other, performs certain types of functions more efficiently than the other. While the left-brain hemisphere is dominant in the areas of language and logic, the right-brain hemisphere is the center of nonverbal, intuitive, holistic modes of thinking. Each hemisphere mostly receives perceptions from and controls the activities of the opposite side of the body.

Scientists have been aware of the specialized functioning of the hemispheres—also known as lateralization—for over one hundred years, having discovered that language skills are controlled by the left side of the brain in approximately 95 percent of right-handed people and about two thirds of left-handed individuals.

In the nineteenth century, however, this discovery led to the assumption that all higher reasoning ability resided in the left-brain hemisphere, which was thus regarded as dominant overall. The right brain hemisphere was thought to possess only lower-level capabilities and was considered subordinate to the left.

Carl Rogers

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Carl Rogers

Carl Rogers was born in Oak Park, Illinois. Raised in a fundamentalist Christian home, Carl Rogers attended the University of Wisconsin and studied for the ministry at Union Theological Seminary before deciding to pursue a doctorate in education and clinical psychology at Columbia University.

Between 1928 and 1939, Carl Rogers worked as a counselor at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children in Rochester. In 1940, he was appointed to the faculty of Ohio State University. By this time, Carl Rogers had worked out much of his new client-centered system of therapy, which was set forth in his second book, Counseling and Psychotherapy, published in 1942.

Carl Rogers believed that the mental condition of virtually all patients, whom he referred to as clients, can be improved, given an appropriate psychotherapeutic environment. Central to this environment is a close personal relationship between client and therapist.

Role Playing / Psychodrama

Role Playing
Role Playing

Role playing was developed by Jacob Moreno, a Viennese psychologist who contended that people could gain more from acting out their problems than from talking about them. Role playing requires a protagonist (the client whose problems are being acted out); auxiliary egos (group members who assume the roles of other people in the protagonist’s life); an audience (other group members who observe and react to the drama); and a director (the therapist).

The protagonist selects an event from his or her life and provides the information necessary for it to be reenacted. Although every detail of the event cannot be reproduced, the reenactment can be effective if it captures the essence of the original experience.

The group members who serve as auxiliary egos impersonate significant people from the protagonist’s past or present, following the protagonist’s instructions as closely as possible. Techniques used in the reenactment may include role reversal, doubling, mirror technique, future projection, and dream work.

Rorschach Technique

Rorschach Technique
Rorschach Technique

Popularly known as the “Inkblot” test, the Rorschach technique, or Rorschach Psychodiagnostic Test is the most widely used projective psychological test. The Rorschach is used to help assess personality structure and identify emotional problems.

Like other projective techniques, it is based on the principle that subjects viewing neutral, ambiguous stimuli will project their own personalities onto them, thereby revealing a variety of unconscious conflicts and motivations. Administered to both adolescents and adults, the Rorschach can also be used with children as young as three years old.

The test provides information about a person’s thought processes, perceptions, motivations, and attitude toward his or her environment, and it can detect internal and external pressures and conflicts as well as illogical or psychotic thought patterns.

Rosenzweig Picture Frustration Study

Rosenzweig Picture Frustration Study
Rosenzweig Picture Frustration Study

The Rosenzweig Picture Frustration test consists of 24 cartoon pictures, each portraying two persons in a frustrating situation. Each picture contains two “speech balloons,” a filled one for the “frustrator” or antagonist, and a blank one for the frustrated person, or protagonist.

The subject is asked to fill in the blank balloon with his or her response to the situation, and the responses are scored in relation to a number of psychological defense mechanisms.

For example, responses are scored as to whether, and to what degree, they indicate that the subject exhibits aggression toward the source of the frustration, assumes blame or guilt as the cause of the frustration, or justifies, minimizes, or denies the frustration.

Julian B. Rotter

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Julian B. Rotter

Julian B. Rotter was born in Brooklyn, New York. His parents were Jewish immigrants, and Julian B. Rotter was their third son. His father operated a profitable business until it ran into trouble during the Great Depression. The economic downturn greatly affected Rotter and his family, and made him realize how strongly people are affected by their environments.

In high school, Rotter’s interest in psychology began when he read books by eminent psychotherapists Alfred Adler and Sigmund Freud. Julian B. Rotter attended Brooklyn College, where he received a bachelor of arts degree in chemistry in 1937. While in college he started going to seminars given by Adler as well as attending meetings of Adler’s Society of Individual Psychology.

After graduating, Julian B. Rotter entered the State University of Iowa. He minored in speech pathology and studied with Wendell Johnson, a linguist whose work focused on meanings in language. Johnson’s ideas had a great influence on Julian B. Rotter in terms of his coming to believe that language should be used very carefully in psychology in terms of how one defines terms and theoretical constructs. One of Rotter’s instructors in Iowa was Kurt Lewin, the Prussian-born psychologist known primarily for field theory.

Benjamin Rush

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Benjamin Rush

Benjamin Rush was born near Philadelphia. He attended the College of New Jersey (the future Princeton University), intending to enter the ministry. Finally deciding in favor of medicine, Rush began his medical studies in Philadelphia, serving a six-year apprenticeship to a local physician.

He then enrolled in the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, where many American physicians received their training at the time. Rush earned his M.D. degree in 1768, having concentrated in the study of chemistry.

Returning to America, he began his own private practice the following year, when he was also appointed to a teaching position at the College of Philadelphia, becoming the first professor of chemistry in North America and authoring the first chemistry text by an American (Syllabus of a Course of Lectures on Chemistry). Rush’s medical practice grew rapidly.

Satanic Ritual Abuse

By artist Todor Hristov
Satanic Ritual Abuse

In 1984, Newsweek printed a feature article on an “epidemic” of child abuse in day-care settings. During the next 10 years or so, numerous newspaper and magazine articles described criminal trials in which reference was made to sexual abuse, torture, and ritual worship of one kind or another. For example, in 1988 Kelly Michaels was charged with sexually abusing children in her care at a nursery school in New Jersey.

On the basis of children’s testimony, she was convicted of 115 counts of sexual abuse against 20 different children. In Manhattan Beach, California, seven teachers were accused of abusing hundreds of preschool children over a 10-year period. The case was one of the longest and most expensive trials in California history.

There have been numerous cases like these in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. All have involved accusations by children that they had been terrorized, abused, and tortured during strange ceremonies with satanic, ritualistic overtones. Some professional child care workers assumed that the accused perpetrators were members of an organized network of child predators.

Virginia M. Satir

Virginia M. Satir
Virginia M. Satir

Although Virginia Satir devoted her career to family therapy, she believed strongly in focusing on the self-worth of individuals. The family unit might be critically important, she felt, but the self-esteem of each member of the family had to come from within each person.

Because of her studies, her experience based on working with thousands of families, and her instinctive understanding of family issues, she earned a reputation as a pioneer and leader in the field of family therapy.

The oldest of five children, Satir was born on a farm in Nellsville, Wisconsin, on June 26, 1916, to Oscar and Minnie Happe Pagenkopf. She displayed what would be a lifelong desire for knowledge at an early age; she was reading by the age of three, and through her childhood she read voraciously, often saying that she would like to be a detective and unravel mysteries when she grew up.

Savant Syndrome

Pretty Asian Girls
Savant Syndrome

Persons who display savant syndrome have traditionally been called idiot savants, a term that many currently avoid because of its negative connotations. Alternate terms include retarded savant and autistic savant, the latter referring to the fact that savant syndrome is often associated with autism.

It is difficult to arrive at an exact figure for the incidence of savant syndrome. A 1977 study found the incidence among the institutionalized mentally handicapped in the United States to be 0.06 percent of the population, or one in roughly 2,000. Most savants are males.

Savant skills occur in a number of different areas. Savants with musical abilities demonstrate an excellent ear for music from an early age, often including perfect pitch. They are able to reproduce melodies and even entire compositions with great accuracy and often show considerable performing talent, including both technical and interpretive skills.

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