Mind Matters: 2020 vision

Have you made any New Year’s resolutions for 2020? Perhaps if you share your goals with a “higher status” individual, you will be more committed in reaching them. According to research summarized in the American Psychological Association Monitor’s In Brief column (January, February 2020), people appear more committed to achieving their goals when they share them with someone they perceive as having more authority. The hypothesis is that “sharing a goal with someone whose opinion is valued makes it harder to abandon the goal.”

Another In Brief posting notes that “school shootings are more likely to be blamed on violent video games when the perpetrators are white Americans than when they are black. Analyzing over 200,000 news articles about mass shootings in the US over a 40-year time span, researchers found that video games were more than eight times more likely to be touted as a cause if the shooters were white. This research points to how implicit racism is engendered.

Stress about the state of affairs in America also has a racial component. In a Stress in America survey conducted in 2019 by the Harris Poll, it was found that people of color are feeling more stressed and more concerned about discrimination than in 2015.

However, the survey also indicates a general rise in stress in adults in America regardless of ethnicity. Major sources of stress include mass shootings, climate change/global warming, immigration, and the presidential election.

The APA Monitor itself addresses the issues of climate change. Facts need be no more a driver of stress than ignorance. Facts are the starting point for finding solutions. A large number of scientists say that climate change increases the frequency and intensity of natural disasters. Psychologists understand the link between such disasters and post-traumatic stess, anxiety, substance abuse, domestic abuse, and physical ailments.

Although we face many daunting facts, we can take heart in the possibility of finding solutions. We can also take heart in research that has found that, across the world, people rank kindliness as the value they desire most in a partner.

Perhaps our goal for 2020 should be practicing kindness, especially with one’s partner? Find an authoritative figure to share this goal to make it real.


About Kayta Gajdos

Dr. Kathleen Curzie Gajdos ("Kayta") is a licensed psychologist (Pennsylvania and Delaware) who has worked with individuals, couples, and families with a spectrum of problems. She has experience and training in the fields of alcohol and drug addictions, hypnosis, family therapy, Jungian theory, Gestalt therapy, EMDR, and bereavement. Dr. Gajdos developed a private practice in the Pittsburgh area, and was affiliated with the Family Therapy Institute of Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, having written numerous articles for the Family Therapy Newsletter there. She has published in the American Psychological Association Bulletin, the Family Psychologist, and in the Swedenborgian publications, Chrysalis and The Messenger. Dr. Gajdos has taught at the college level, most recently for West Chester University and Wilmington College, and has served as field faculty for Vermont College of Norwich University the Union Institute's Center for Distance Learning, Cincinnati, Ohio. She has also served as consulting psychologist to the Irene Stacy Community MH/MR Center in Western Pennsylvania where she supervised psychologists in training. Currently active in disaster relief, Dr. Gajdos serves with the American Red Cross and participated in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts as a member of teams from the Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.Now living in Chadds Ford, in the Brandywine Valley of eastern Pennsylvania, Dr. Gajdos combines her private practice working with individuals, couples and families, with leading workshops on such topics as grief and healing, the impact of multigenerational grief and trauma shame, the shadow and self, Women Who Run with the Wolves, motherless daughters, and mediation and relaxation. Each year at Temenos Retreat Center in West Chester, PA she leads a griefs of birthing ritual for those who have suffered losses of procreation (abortions, miscarriages, infertility, etc.); she also holds yearly A Day of Re-Collection at Temenos.Dr. Gajdos holds Master's degrees in both philosophy and clinical psychology and received her Ph.D. in counseling at the University of Pittsburgh. Among her professional affiliations, she includes having been a founding member and board member of the C.G. Jung Educational Center of Pittsburgh, as well as being listed in Who's Who of American Women. Currently, she is a member of the American Psychological Association, The Pennsylvania Psychological Association, the Delaware Psychological Association, the American Family Therapy Academy, The Association for Death Education and Counseling, and the Delaware County Mental Health and Mental Retardation Board. Woven into her professional career are Dr. Gajdos' pursuits of dancing, singing, and writing poetry.



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