postpartum depression

Three tips for coping with postpartum depression

Having a child is a great privilege, but childbirth’s enormous responsibility can sometimes trigger postpartum depression in new mothers. Statistically,  about one in seven women experience baby blues yearly. Also, from a scientific standpoint, there is no specific cause for postpartum depression. 

However, there is a valuable strategy for treating women with the disorder. So in this blog post, we will go over several methods to help you cope with postpartum depression. Let’s get started!

What is postpartum depression?

Essentially, postpartum depression is a psychological disorder affecting women after childbirth. It is characterized by severe mood swings and unhappiness with the new state of motherhood, where the mother experiences difficulty bonding with her baby. Depressed new mothers may experience a strong urge to kill their babies and require critical psychological and medical attention in extreme cases. 

Fortunately, the psychological disorder is treatable. One of the first steps is caring for your psychological wellness during pregnancy to forestal postpartum depression. Most people refer to postpartum depression as baby blues. While both terms loosely mean the unhappiness and mood swings new mothers experience after childbirth, there is a slight difference. 

Baby blues are easily treatable and do not last long, while postpartum depression requires compulsory treatment and attention. However, several women do not report their episodes of unhappiness after childbirth and remain untreated.

Three Tips for managing postpartum depression

Postnatal depression does not make you a bad parent and does not require you to struggle in secret with it. Here are effective strategies to help you cope with the disorder.

Endeavor to establish a strong bond with your baby

Establishing a secure bond with your baby is vital for preventing postpartum depression. Some mothers immediately form this bond with their babies, while others require some time to build the bond slowly. 

Sometimes, it can take several weeks to even months to make a significant attachment to your baby. A secure mother-baby bond is beneficial for both mother and child. You can stimulate this bonding by cuddling, kissing, and responding to your baby’s emotional cues. This way, you reassure yourself of your child’s dependability while reassuring your child of your undeniable love and attention.

Take the time to care for yourself.

Taking care of yourself does more for your mental well-being than you realize. Essentially, most negative emotional responses after childbirth stem from the pressure new mothers feel about having to sacrifice everything continuously. As a result, the new mother subconsciously feels cheated or at a disadvantage, thus triggering a negative emotional response towards her baby. 

Taking a nap while your baby is asleep is one way to begin. Also, you can steal a few hours of sleep to compensate for the lack of sleep every time your baby demands your attention.

Additionally, you should nourish your body with high-quality foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Alternatively, you can engage in light exercise, pamper yourself, go for a makeover, dress shopping, etc. The idea is to give yourself enough attention to avoid feeling drained emotionally, mentally, physically, and otherwise.

Get professional help

Postpartum depression is not a disorder to manage alone and in isolation. You can get professional help by signing up for psychotherapy and counseling sessions. Also, your therapist might add some prescription antidepressants to your sessions to help ease your stress.

Bottom Line

Postnatal depression is normal and doesn’t require much worry. Taking care of your mental health before and during pregnancy will put you ahead of the situation. Furthermore, you get to condition your mind before your baby comes to help you bond better.  

 

    

 

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Wellness

Top Four Effects of Exercise on Psychological Wellness

Believe it or not, exercise is as beneficial for your physical body as it is for maintaining psychological wellness. Several people are familiar with the physical benefits of exercise like weight loss, and increased flexibility/range of motion, including therapy for many illnesses. 

However, recent studies reveal that exercise is vital for psychological wellness and overall mental health. Whether you are a fan of aerobics, weight training, or mind-body exercises like pilates and yoga, this blog post will enlighten you on the mental health benefits of exercise. Now, let’s get started! 

Exercise reduces your anxiety and stress levels

Regular exercise offers one of the most effective ways to deal with stress and anxiety by putting you in high spirits. It creates an emotional buffering system that decreases your response to physical and emotional stressors. The elevated heart rate, sweating, and fast breathing associated with exercise mirror your natural stress response. The difference is in the dominant hormones and neurochemicals. 

While stress and anxiety-inducing situations cause the release of epinephrine, exercise stimulates the release of norepinephrine. In other words, exercise adds to your psychological wellness by counteracting stress agents biochemically.  

It helps psychological wellness by improving your sleep and energy levels

Better sleep is the end product of the stress-reducing effect of exercise. Regular night sleep is highly recommended for proper cognitive skills. Hence the relationship between exercise and better quality of sleep. Also, people who are unable to get some shuteye are prone to several cardiovascular diseases like high blood pressure. 

Exercise raises the body temperature to stimulate a resultant cooldown relaxing effect. However, you should beware of exercising close to your bedtime as it can have the opposite effect and keep you awake for much longer. 

Exercise contributes to your psychological wellness by building a sharper memory

The brain is one organ that runs on increased oxygen supplies. When you engage in exercise, your heart pumps more blood, thus enriching your brain’s supply of nutrients and dissolved solute materials. 

Also, the increased blood supply invariably means increased oxygen supply. The reason is that the red blood cells are the oxygen-carrying component of the blood. The mental health benefits of exercise include but are not limited to improved memory, concentration, creativity, and relaxation. 

It balances your mood and boosts your self-esteem Wellness

If you’ve been having mood swings, exercise can be an excellent mood stabilizer the reason is that the brain produces a feel-good hormone called endorphins after exercise. Endorphins also trigger the release of oxytocin and together create the uplifting mood you feel after exercise. 

It is also the reason behind the runner’s high or yogi’s calm you feel after each practice, leading to psychological wellness. 

Studies show that people who engage in regular exercise are less likely to exhibit aggressive and passive-aggressive responses. 

Additionally, exercise bolsters your self-confidence levels. Essentially, you feel good about your creative abilities to move your body at will and perform incredible actions. Since exercise helps with weight loss and management, you are less likely to worry about your body image because of exercise— Talk about psychological wellness!

Bottom Line

There is no overstating the relevance of exercise. Hopefully, this blog post succeeds in exposing you to the benefits of exercise for maintaining psychological wellness besides its physical benefit. 

 

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Two seniors on a stroll

How to maintain your mental health as a Senior

Maintaining golden-age health and vitality can be pretty challenging. Even more, your mental health, especially as more and more seniors suffer from degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, muscle dystrophy, etc.

Nonetheless, taking care of your mental well-being in your golden age can be fun and less burdensome if you know the right tips. This blog post will enlighten you with four essential tips for maintaining your mental health as a senior. So read on to learn more!

  • Eat more golden-age friendly foods

Good nutrition is essential for maintaining overall health, your mind inclusive. The reason is that your brain needs energy from food to function effectively. Essentially, your brain derives its primary nutrients from glucose, a metabolic byproduct of carbohydrate digestion. As a result, your diet should include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fish, lean meat, and healthy fats.

Additionally, you should avoid highly processed foods and trans fats as you age. The idea is to eat more natural foods for a healthy mind while in your golden years.

  • Stay properly hydrated

Your body is made up of 75% water. Also, it would help if you had more water and fluids in your system to maintain your inner transport or circulation. When poorly hydrated, you predispose your brain to shock, leading to a coma. It helps to know that your mind is an integral part of your body. Your mind is what makes you, you. 

Suppose you find plain water unpalatable. There are other ways to spice up your drinking water so that you’re more motivated to drink more. You can add fruit slices to flavor your water. Alternatively, you can consume more tea and eat more citrus fruits. That way, you’re indirectly hydrating without dealing with the bland taste of plain water. 

  • Keep your mind engaged in your golden years.

Usually, your mind is the first recipient of the golden-age call. A big part of enjoying your golden years is when your mind remains active. As a result, you should get into the habit of learning. Read books, watch worthwhile videos, learn a skill, a game, etc. For example, if you like music, you could play an instrument. 

The more new things you know, the more neurons your brain develops through a process called neuroplasticity. This way, you keep your mind young and sharp. So join that chess club today!

Alternatively, you can engage in helpful conversations with others and maintain an active social life. What’s more? Several young people will be interested in learning from your life’s story.

  • Get adequate golden-age physical exercise.

Physical exercise is not exclusive to professional athletes and younger people who want to look sexy. Exercise is beneficial to everyone regardless of their age. As a result, getting older doesn’t stop you from getting adequate training. 

Additionally, you should engage more in golden-age exercise to ward off bone diseases, like arthritis and other golden-age-related diseases. Exercise also puts you in a great mood because it lifts your spirit. Several methods exist for seniors to get plenty of exercise like walking, cycling, swimming, yoga, dancing, etc. 

Conclusion

Getting older is both a privilege and a blessing. As a result, a sharp mind will assist you in looking back through life and passing on your wisdom and experiences to the younger generation. While there are other methods to keep your mind sharp as you age, we hope this article gives you an excellent head start.

 

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PTSD

A Clinical And Forensic Look Into PTSD

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a mental health condition triggered by a traumatic event that is either experienced or witnessed by an individual. The event is perceived as too overwhelming and terrifying, and causes symptoms that affect one’s normal way of life. PTSD is often misdiagnosed or dismissed by healthcare professionals. This is the reason why many people with PTSD are usually untreated. 

Symptoms often vary from person to person, but usually develop immediately after the trauma. However, they can also develop years later. As a result, people are often taken by surprise with smothering and irrational emotions. Consequently, significant problems occur in all areas of life. In addition, they profoundly interfere with our daily activities and peace of mind. PTSD affects people of all ages. 

The Past Revisited

PTSD is characterized by constant and painful memories of the traumatic events of the past. This includes:

  • Intrusive and distressing flashbacks of the traumatic experience
  • Frequent and recurrent nightmares about or relating to the trauma 
  • Paralyzing fear when confronted by a situation similar to the event. These situations are referred to as “triggers” which can be visual or auditory triggers.
  • Reliving and re-experiencing the terrifying ordeal

Emotional and Behavioral Changes

PTSD is also characterized by negative thoughts and emotions that cause negative changes in mood and behavior. This includes:

  • Mood swings, anxiety and depression
  • Feelings of hopelessness and a negative outlook
  • Irrational fear, phobias, and distrust of people
  • Lack of interest in social activities
  • Problems maintaining close and intimate relationships
  • Detachment with friends and family
  • Avoidance of anything that can be a reminder of the trauma
  • No concrete plans for the future 
  • Easily startled and chronic nervousness
  • Irritability and aggression
  • Suicidal thoughts

Physical Changes

  • Insomnia or poor sleeping habits
  • Anorexia and loss of interest in food
  • Inability to focus or concentrate, leading to  poor academic and job performance
  • Chronic aches and pains
  • Medication abuse
  • Substance abuse
  • Lack of energy 
  • Regression in children by bedwetting and tantrums

Not all traumatic experiences lead to PTSD. This depends on many factors such as age, severity of trauma, and coping abilities of the individual. Many associate PTSD with war veterans. However, this condition has expanded in modern times. It is now a worldwide phenomenon that affects millions of people in a variety of ways.

These traumas of the mind and body result in powerful emotional episodes in those with PTSD. Furthermore, these events are usually life threatening and something rare. The rarity of the event creates trauma that enters deeply into the psyche. The events range from accidents, to natural disasters, to wars, witnessing a crime, or being a victim of a crime. 

PTSD in Victims of Crime

PTSDThere is a much higher incidence of PTSD among victims of crime. Moreover, researchers looked at 80 different types of disasters and compared severity of trauma from them. Not surprisingly, mass violence was the most traumatizing of all. Consequently, 67% of people exposed to mass violence developed severe trauma. Natural disasters usually cause a slightly higher amount of trauma (42%) when compared to technological disasters (34%).

According to the PTSD Alliance, the estimated risk of developing PTSD among crime victims are: rape (49%), physical assault (31%), sexual assault (23.7%), shooting and stabbing (15.4%), and witnessing a murder (7.3%). Studies also show very high rates of PTSD among children. As a result, 100% of the victims of parental homicide develop PTSD. In addition, PTSD forms for around 90% of sexually abused children,  77% exposed to shootings, and 35% exposed to community violence.

PTSD in Crime Offenders

PTSD is often used to as an insanity defense for a crime offender. But this is rare, as these types of defenses are difficult to win. Insanity pleas have a high failure rate and account for only 1% of criminal pleas in the United States. Furthermore, out of that 1%, only 25% successfully get an NGRI verdict (Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity). 

An NGRI states that a person cannot be held criminally responsible if the act was committed because of mental disease. Meaning, the offender isn’t of a sound mind during the criminal act. For this reason, PTSD is highly criticized as a defense for crime. However, a few successful cases exist.

The Role of A Forensic Psychologist

Forensic psychologists apply their knowledge to criminal behavior in order to accurately assess a case. Therefore, bridging the gap between psychology and law. It is the application of psychological principles in the legal world. A forensic psychologist evaluates PTSD in offenders and victims. They are highly trained in psychological assessment and forensic evaluations. 

Crimes, disasters, and tragic events do not discriminate. They can happen to anyone. And when they do, the consequences are life changing. Oftentimes, survivors are left to deal with the aftermath on their own. As a result, anxiety, depression and even rates of suicide can increase. If you or a loved one is a victim of crime or a traumatic event, please get help before it is too late. Forensic psychologists can provide counseling and therapy for victims of PTSD. 

 

Sources:

PTSD and Crime Victimization

Mental Health Issues

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Forensic Examinations And PTSD

PTSD Within the Forensic Arena

 

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insanity assessment

Insanity Assessment: When A Guilty Mind Is Absent

THE JUROR STANDS IN THE COURTROOM. Everyone is silent and is seemingly holding their breaths. After a few seconds that lasted more like minutes, the juror declares in a loud voice, “We find the defendant not guilty by reason of insanity”.  Scenes such as this are highly popularized and dramatized in TV shows like Criminal Minds, CSI, or Law And Order. And like any avid fan of crime dramas, we think we know what it means. But do we?

Establishment of Guilt

insanity assessmentIf someone accidentally hits another person with their car, is the driver guilty of a crime? If a person kills in the act of self defense, will that person be held liable for taking a life? What if the perpetrator is mentally insane? What happens when a guilty mind is absent?

There are three elements of a crime, and these elements come together to establish guilt or criminal liability. Every crime involves an act (actus reus), state of mind (mens rea), and causation. Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI) revolves around the second element, mens rea. Mens rea is the qualification that a person had the required state of mind during the commission of the crime. Examples of this would be premeditation, recklessness, or negligence. If this qualification is absent, a guilty verdict cannot be found. Under this framework, an NGRI  plea proposes that a defendant is not guilty because of insanity.

Insanity Assessment

Insanity is not just a psychiatric term. It is actually a legal term. In a legal perspective, insanity goes around the premise that the defendant was not of sound mind when a criminal act was committed. However, an NGRI does not apply to every mentally ill defendant. This is because suffering from a mental disorder does not necessarily prove insanity. 

Insanity assessment helps to determine if a person should be granted an NGRI verdict. Contrary to what we see in TV crime shows, insanity pleas have a high failure rate. Only 1% of criminal pleas in the U.S. are NGRI. And within this diminutive percentage, only 25% successfully establish insanity. 

Certain criteria need to be met to validate insanity. And this is no easy feat. The courts rely on the judgement and expertise of a forensic psychologist or psychiatrist in establishing a defendant’s mental state at the time of the crime. These experts use certain guidelines when performing insanity assessment on an individual. They determine legal insanity by applying one or more of the following guidelines:

M’Naghten Rule

insanity assessmentEstablished by the English House of Lords in the 19th century, the M’Naghten Rule determines that a person cannot differentiate between right and wrong when committing the crime. Moreover, the person did not possess the mental capacity to understand the nature and quality of the crime. This rule is also known as the right-or-wrong test. 

The rule was established in 1843 in England following the trial of Daniel M’Naghten, who killed the prime minister’s secretary, thinking he was the prime minister Robert Peel himself. M’Naghten harbored a delusion that the government was conspiring against him. He was acquitted of murder and was institutionalized for the rest of his life.

Durham Rule

The Durham Rule is another insanity assessment tool used to evaluate the validity of an insanity claim. With this rule, a defendant cannot be held criminally responsible for a crime if the act was a result of a mental illness. This rule requires the jury to establish whether or not the defendant suffers from mental illness, and if there exists a causal relationship between the disease and the crime. 

This rule was adopted by the United States Court of Appeals in 1954. It was established following the case of Monte Durham, a 23 year old convicted of housebreaking in 1953. Durham had been in and out of mental institutions prior to his conviction. The Court of Appeals overturned his conviction, giving rise  to this new rule for insanity assessment. 

Irresistible Impulse Test

One problem that arose with the M’Naghten Rule was the establishment of insanity among individuals who understood right from wrong, and yet could not control impulses due to mental illness. The Irresistible Impulse Test addresses this problem. Under its parameters, a defendant may be found not guilty due to the inability to control impulses leading to the commission of a crime. This test is suitable for mental conditions like manias and paraphilias. 

The Model Penal Code

This rule states that an individual is not responsible for a crime where, due to mental disease, he or she did not have the “substantial capacity either to appreciate the criminality of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law.”

The courts adopted this rule in 1972 in an attempt to improve existing frameworks for insanity. It is broader, more comprehensive and encompassing of the complexities involved with insanity assessment. But like the previous rules, it is not without flaws. 

When dealing with an insanity assessment, a forensic psychologist must possess the necessary skills and training for such a critical task. If you want to gain more insight about forensic psychology, check out our post, “Differences Between Therapeutic Psychology and Forensic Psychology”. 

 

Sources:

Forensic Psychologists in Determining Insanity and Competency to Stand Trial

Logical Model of Guilt as a Part of a Structure of Crime

AAPL Practice Guideline for Forensic Psychiatric Evaluation of Defendants Raising the Insanity Defense

Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity

Insanity defense

Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity

What are The Elements of a Crime?

Criminal Law

 

 

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impact of divorce on children

The Impact of Divorce on Children

Parents splitting up is never easy for the whole family. It is a very emotional time not only for the parents, but also for the children.  No matter what age, it can be pretty traumatic and disheartening for kids to see the end of their parents’ marriage. The impact of divorce on children may vary. Some kids may feel upset, angry or depressed. While others may feel guilty and blame themselves for the situation.

Divorce is a transitional period for the whole family. That’s why it is important to recognize the different ways it can affect a child in order to make the transition a lot easier for them. This post explores and talks about the impact of divorce on children.

Mental Health Problems

impact of divorce on childrenA divorce is a huge adjustment for the family. The once secure and unbreakable unit has now collapsed, and kids are thrust into big changes that they may not be ready for. Changes such as losing a parent that they are close to, or losing friends by moving to a new location. This may result in feelings of insecurity, anxiety and depression. 

Research shows that divorce increases risk of psychological problems in children, regardless of sex and age. Kids with divorced parents have a higher risk of developing mood disorders. Toddlers and preschoolers may regress and exhibit infantile behavior like bedwetting, thumbsucking and separation anxiety. 

Poor Academic Performance

Kids in the middle of a divorce often do poorly in school. Their grades may start to slide, and their school performance may suffer overall. They also face a higher dropout rate compared to others. Possible reasons behind this may be due to feelings of depression, neglect, or inability to focus due to what’s going on at home.

Social Withdrawal

Studies have shown that divorce can also affect a child socially. Children may feel shy, distant, detached, or even fearful of social interaction. This stems from feelings of anxiety, insecurity and low self-esteem. Some examples of social withdrawal in kids are: avoiding friends, skipping school events, or isolating oneself at home. 

Externalizing Behavior

The impact of divorce on children is evident in behavioral changes that take place. Anger, irritability, temper tantrums, disobedience and rebelliousness can often be seen in kids that are in the middle of a divorce. Physical aggression and behavioral misconduct are all signs that they are externalizing / acting out their internal anger and frustration. To learn more about externalizing behavior in children, check out our post, How To Help Your Child with Difficult Behavior

Risky Behavior

impact of divorce on childrenAnother way of emotional externalization in kids is by engaging in risky behaviors. Classic examples are drug and alcohol abuse, as well as early initiation into sexual activity. In the U.S., kids with divorced parents are more likely to start drinking alcohol and use prohibited substances earlier than their peers. In addition, studies have also shown that adolescents whose parents divorced when they were 5 years old or younger, were more likely to engage in early sex before the age of 16.

Health Problems 

Research shows that there is a connection between parental divorce and eating disorders in adolescents. In addition, kids may experience lack of sleep, poor eating habits, as well as frequent physical ailments like headaches and indigestion. All of which are related to anxiety and stress.

Negative Outlook Towards Marriage

As the saying goes, history repeats itself. Research shows that children who have experienced parental divorce are likely to leave their spouse in their own relationships when they grow up. Studies suggest that the tendency to divorce is 2 to 3 times greater in children with divorced parents. This indicates a negative attitude and outlook towards relationships and marriages in general. 

Today, almost 50% of marriages in the U.S. will end in divorce. While this is a discouraging statistic, we can also look at it as a challenge to rise above it. Educating parents regarding divorce and its effects on children is crucial in preventing some of the negative impact of divorce on children.

 

Reference:

Divorce Statistics and Facts

The Influence of Divorce on Eating Disorder Development in the Adolescent

The Psychological Effects of Divorce on Children

Divorce and Its Effects On The Development of Children

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vitamin d and mental health

Vitamin D and Mental Health

Why Everyone is Craving Vitamin D 

Most people understand the importance of consuming various vitamins; however, many people are not getting enough Vitamin D and it can affect their mental health. This vitamin is called the sunshine vitamin because most people can get what they need directly from the sun. The body produces Vitamin D from sunlight. Numerous people do not get enough sunlight on a regular basis, so luckily it is also available by consuming certain things. Vitamin D deficiency is becoming more apparent because people are spending way more time inside. Some people also choose to take supplements with the vitamin in it.

Why Vitamin D

Most people instantly associate Vitamin D with bone health; however Vitamin D does so much more. There are several processes that Vitamin D helps in. One of the most important functions of the vitamin is the regulation of the absorption of phosphorous and calcium. It also helps with immune system function. It is imperative for healthy bones and teeth. It also helps to combat certain diseases. If the body is unable to get enough of the D vitamin the risk for abnormal bones increase.

Vitamin D Helps to Regulate Mood

Vitamin D is described as a natural mood regulator. Sometimes a change in attitude and outlook is because the vitamin is lacking. In fact, when someone is missing this important vitamin, they may become depressed. Some people who do not get enough Vitamin D on a daily basis, become more anxious. It is suggested that adults get 2000 IU of Vitamin D each day. Some doctors recommend getting Vitamin D levels checked to ensure enough of the vitamin is being taken each day.

vitamin d foods

How to Get Enough Vitamin D

There are several ways to ensure that enough Vitamin D is taken on a daily basis.

One way is to ensure that at least ten to thirty minutes each day is spent directly in the sun. This can help to increase D3 levels. If natural sunlight is not an option due to time or location, purchasing a therapy lamp is another great option. Another way to get Vitamin D in daily is by the food eaten. Some good food options are salmon, tuna, milk, eggs and mushrooms. Supplements are another great way to increase Vitamin D levels. It is important to review exactly how much Vitamin D is in the supplement because there can be quite a range.

Vitamin D is very important to keep the body functioning properly. If anyone is having trouble with their anxiety or depression getting more Vitamin D may help. 

 

See our blog for more topics on mental health.

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differences psychology

Differences Between Therapeutic Psychology and Forensic Psychology 

Differences Between Therapeutic Psychology and Forensic Psychology 

When it comes to mental health, it is incredibly important to make sure one finds the best suited mental health professional possible in order to increase one’s chances of a desired outcome. Most people find themselves visiting a mental health professional for one of two reasons. They either take it upon themselves to seek out treatment in order to improve their mental health or situation, or they have been mandated by a court or a place of employment to seek an evaluation.  The differences in these psychology practices can be found here. 

Mental health professionals usually specialize in different areas of practice. Regardless of purpose, it is important for a client to understand the major differences between these two specialties within the psychiatric realm. The fundamental difference between the roles of therapeutic psychologists and forensic psychologist, is whether the client is pursuing voluntary treatment vs. involuntary assessment. This article will further explore the major differences between forensic and therapeutic psychology.

Reasons for Therapy 

A therapeutic psychologist is much more open to a client establishing and modifying their treatment goals. A psychologist who specializes in this field will usually be sought out by a client when they have perhaps experienced difficult circumstances or significant hardships in their life, and they would like to address these issues in order to develop appropriate coping mechanisms for the situation at hand. 

The main purpose of a forensic psychologist, is to ascertain whether the individual is of sound mind to stand trial or, in the case of employment, return to duty. A forensic psychologist is not hired in order to assist an individual in improving their psychological well-being. Rather, a forensic psychologist’s role is focused on the legalities, rather than dispensing therapeutic advice. 

For example, a law enforcement officer who has been involved in a particularly stressful incident while on duty may be mandated by his department to undergo a psychiatric evaluation before he is allowed to return to regular duty status. Another example, could be a criminal defendant, who’s mental capacity may be called into question. One of the deciding factors in whether they would be deemed “criminally insane,” or fit to stand trial, would be the outcome of a mandated forensic psychiatric evaluation. 

Confidentiality

A common myth is that all psychologists are held to the same standard of confidentiality, however this is not the case when it comes to forensic psychologists. While psychologists who specialize in therapeutic psychology are held to a high standard of confidentiality (with the exception of imminent threat or harm being posed to the client or others), forensic psychologists are usually required to report their findings to the court, or agency, which mandated the screening. 

Once again, the important thing to keep in mind is whether that client is seeking out voluntary treatment vs. involuntary assessment. With an involuntary psychological evaluation, one should always assume that the results of the screening, or interview, will likely be discussed with an outside agency, in order to determine the next best course of action. 

Both therapeutic psychologists and forensic psychologists play a vital role in society. Being able to identify and distinguish between the functions of therapeutic and forensic psychology is crucial in order to identify the right specialist for the job. 

 

If you are in need of a Forensic Psychologist, look no further! Contact us today. 

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nonverbal communication

Nonverbal Communication Skills

Don’t underestimate the power of your nonverbal communication skills

Pretty much everyone has heard of the saying “read between the lines”. Well, the same can be true for communication as well. Nonverbal communication is reading body language such as facial expressions, hand gestures, touch, and movement. It can even include the tone of someone’s verbal communication.

Why Nonverbal communication is important

First impressions are largely made within seven seconds of meeting someone. That’s a short span of time. So a lot of it comes down to reading body language. We as people transmit so much information about ourselves through nonverbal communication and we don’t even realize it. The way we walk, for example, can give off cues as to how confident a person is. A person moving their feet a lot can show they are anxious about something.

Another reason why nonverbal communication is important is that it helps counselors and healthcare providers in building a good rapport with their patients. When this happens then the patient is more willing to open up about feelings or behaviors they otherwise would not have.

Types of Nonverbal skills

There are 9 types of nonverbal communication.

  • Kinesics
  • Haptics
  • Proxemics
  • Territory
  • Environment
  • Paralinguistic’s
  • Chronemics
  • Attractiveness
  • Olfactics

Kinesics is all about how we move our body, head, hands, and arms. This type of nonverbal communication also includes the facial expressions we make.

Haptics is the physical contact or touch that we have with others. A handshake when meeting someone is a form of this. Our haptics can characterize the relationship we have with someone.

Proxemics is all about space and distance. How people use the space around them can show the level of discomfort someone is feeling.

Territory gives you a sense of a person’s power. People who open up their bodies and take up space portray having power.

Environment is about the objects we surround ourselves with to give off a certain impression.

Paralinguistic’s analyzes how someone is speaking. This involves listening to the pitch, tone, volume, tempo, and articulation.

Chronemics is how a person uses their time. This includes the punctuality of a person or their willingness to wait for something or someone.

Attractiveness isn’t just about the physical appeal. Maintaining a good level of eye contact, having a lively face, and open gestures are also part of our attractiveness.

Olfactics is how we assess smells.

Take Away

Our body language is a crucial part of our communication with others. It helps us to deliver clear messages and create a good impression on others. We use it to show our feelings about things and people. So do not underestimate the power of your nonverbal communication.

If you feel like you need help with your verbal or nonverbal communication, please reach out to our team.
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perspective

Developing Perspective

The Power of Perspective 

Everyone knows that individuals have their own personal strengths and weaknesses. Some people are incredibly kind, and others might be especially brave. But there is a virtue that many people overlook, and it’s actually one of the most important.  Here we talk about developing perspective and how to see things differently. 

What is Perspective?

Individuals who are high in their perspective skill are generally full of wisdom. They’re able to see the forest through the trees and can use their knowledge and life experiences to have a balanced view of any situation or scenario. In other words, they’re able to tell when the “glass is half full or half empty”. 

Perspective is an important skill to have because it bridges the gap between cognitive ability and empathetic feeling. It’s an essential virtue that allows individuals to use their strengths in both a social and logical context. 

Benefits of Developing Perspective

People who have lofty perspective skills are generally better able to learn from their mistakes, as well as accept and repent for the consequences of their actions. 

Other benefits to having high perspective include: 

  • Generally able to give sage advice
  • Linked to wellbeing in older adults (physically and socioeconomically)

How to Improve Perspective

The development of perspective skills has been linked to cognitive behavioral therapy. This type of therapy is helpful in identifying and diminishing negative thoughts, and refocusing that energy on managing emotions. Having and keeping perspective in mind can help counteract anxiety, depression, and general negativity. 

There are other ways to develop perspective other than therapy. In fact, one of the easiest ways to do so is to approach situations with the following questions: 

  • What’s the best/worst thing that could happen here? Now, what’s most likely?
  • What are other people thinking and feeling that I might not be?
  • Will this matter tomorrow, next week, or next year?

Keeping these questions in mind when dealing with hard situations can help turn anyone into a well-rounded, highly perspective person. 

Other Skills to Use 

perspective

While perspective is a really important skill, it’s not the be-all-end-all of personal virtues. That being said, it can be considered a signature strength because it can help improve and strengthen other skills. 

The strengths that developing perspective can help improve include, but are not limited to:

  • Positivity
  • Decision Making
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Forgiveness

Perspective Out of Balance

People who overuse their perspective skills are often seen as preachy, and the amount of insight they’re giving is usually unwanted and unappreciated. On the other hand, people who lack in their perspective skills can come across as disconnected or emotionally unavailable. 

 

If you find yourself feeling to off balance, talk to someone.  We can always help. 

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