Author Archive

Mind Matters: Do you fear others?

Ever get on a subway? Or any mode of public transit, especially in a city? Recently, I rode the T, the subway system of Boston and wondered about how we conjure up the “fear of others.” Encapsulated in a tunneled tube, people mostly are respectful of this anonymous intimacy of bodies without intrusion into another’s tiny piece of personal space. Jostled next to one ...

 
 

Mind Matters: Parenting and beyond

There is no topic that hasn’t a psychological component. The recent issue of the American Psychological Association Monitor is full of reports that attest to this fact. Recently, the Monitor notes, the APA publicly debunked the physical discipline of children citing the solid longitudinal research that finds that such discipline does not improve behavior and, in ...

 

Mind Matters: Aging when LGBT

For more than 10 years, I served as a psychologist consultant at a retirement community. In all those years, I never met anyone who had “come out” as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender—LGBT. It certainly isn’t because LGBT is new, but it might be because the LGBT community avoids residing in such places for fear of discrimination or because when someone from the ...

 

Mind Matters: Panic no more

Tom Bunn, the author of “Panic Free,” started out as a pilot. In that capacity, he tried for years to help people who feared flying. Then, eureka — a solution — which, he says, not only quells the fear of flying, but also manages panic states encountered on the ground as well. After years of study, he learned that the real issue of panic is the “inability to regulate ...

 

Mind Matters: Humans need nature

Go take a hike! We talk about “human nature” a lot, but it turns out humans themselves need nature. Researchers are finding that, all across the life span, being outside in natural settings, walking, playing, just sitting, helps both brain and body functions. The response by some to these findings may be “Well, duh!” It may be common sense and intuitive to know that ...

 

Mind Matters: Psychological tidbits

How are you at reading the emotions of others or assessing your own personality? These are among the topics briefly covered in a recent (April 2019) publication of Monitor On Psychology. When researchers asked participants in a study to note the “happiness levels of both black and non-black people photographed with either ‘real’ smiles (which involve movement of ...

 

Mind Matters — Measles and Madam Secretary

The TV series “Madam Secretary” tackled the topic of vaccinations recently. In this episode, a young child, whose parents had not gotten her vaccinated, contracted measles and as a result, suffered cognitive impairment. As a child, I remember being very ill with the measles. I also remember being ecstatic to join all the children lined up at the firehouse a few years ...

 

Mind Matters: Homesickness

Ever been homesick? Most of us have. “Homesickness is the distress and functional impairment caused by an actual or anticipated separation from home and attachment objects such as parents,” state Christopher Thurber, and Edward Walton, M.D., in Pediatrics: 119 (Jan 2007, p 192-201). (Also available on the web: ...

 

Mind Matters: The past is present

We are people of the now: quick apps; Amazon at the ready; near instantaneous gratification is ours. However, something must be gnawing at our souls. Why else would we be sending our saliva samples to Ancestry.com or 23andme? Finding your DNA matters if your family tree may come up with some surprises you didn’t expect — a relative you didn’t know you had, a ...

 

Mind Matters: To be a mensch

Kudos to Gillette for its new ad that revisits the company’s theme, “The Best A Man Can Be,” in a thought-provoking way. Unfortunately, while many responded positively to the commercial that challenged bullying and sexism, others were outraged, claiming the ad was “assault to masculinity.” Many years ago, I remember a colleague often saying to male clients at a ...

 

Mind Matters: Modeling for the future

Parents may want their children to adhere to the myth, “Don’t do as I do, do as I say.” However, the truth is quite to the contrary. From infancy onward, children model their behaviors based on what their parents do. Phyllis Magrab, director of the Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development, reminds us that toddlerhood is an age when children ...