What Would You Do?

When do suspicions about a client’s behavior become serious enough to warrant calling the authorities? An employee of Three Rivers Mental Health Solutions in Missoula, Montana is asking herself the same question. The employee was fired after reporting a client’s computer search history for child pornography to police.

The employee, concerned about two children the client babysat, became alarmed after noticing the client’s Web search for “female child nude” and “preteen nude girls.” The mental health worker approached her supervisor to report her concerns, but was advised not to report the client because the situation did not meet the criteria for notifying the authorities. Namely, because no actual child abuse was observed and there were no names or addresses of possible victims, the supervisor said the incident did not warrant calling the police and could be considered engaging in dual roles.

The employee was particularly worried about the safety of the children the client babysat, so she went against her supervisor’s advice and reported the client to police. The client was charged with sexually abusing a child after a DVD of child pornography was found in his home. The employee was consequently fired for her actions.

What do you think about this case? Was this a breach of patient confidentiality? Was the employee right for going to police? Should she have been fired for her actions? How would you have handled this situation?

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Romance: It’s All About the Pronouns

There’s no need to read between the lines when you are trying to decipher whether your significant other is right for you or not. According to new research from University of Texas at Austin social psychologist James W. Pennebaker, the truth may be somewhere in the pronouns.

In a recent experiment, Pennebaker and his team gathered 187 students and asked them to partake in a speed dating event at Northwestern University. During the four-minute dates, Pennebaker focused on the use of personal pronouns (e.g., I, you, and me), articles, preopositions, conjunctions, and other small words. According to Pennebaker, although these words are processed rapidly and subconsciously, our use of them can reveal whether a relationship will work or how well two individuals might work together. Couples whose language styles matched – those who used similar levels of personal pronouns, prepositions, and articles – were three times as likely to express an interest in dating each other than those couples who language styles did not match.

Language style matching (LSM) may be better at predicting love connections than even the individuals involved! LSM was able to determine relationships that weren’t a match even when one speed dater showed interest that was not reciprocated by the other.

Want to see how you and your partner stack up? You can try LSM yourself by entering e-mails, text messages, or even general writing samples to get an idea of how your score stacks up. Click here to see how you do.

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Citing Sources in the Digital Age

APA style seemed fairly straightforward when you were just citing books and journal articles. But with the advancement of digital media, there’s a score of new sources that don’t necessarily fit into the procedures you’ve grown accustomed to using. Here’s a quick primer on how to cite two new media sources.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Have you noticed a long string of numbers and letters at the end of citations recently and wondered what that was? A digital object identifier (DOI) is a unique link that identifies content and its location on the Internet. A DOI address will provide information over time as to where to find a digital object, making it easier and more convenient to locate digital information (while URLs may change, DOI addresses will not). When journal articles are published now, they are assigned a DOI address – a persistent link that will always lead investigators to the same piece of digital information. To locate an article using a DOI address, simply append the DOI string with http://dx.doi.org/ (and then enter the numeric string immediately following).

When making a reference list, simply add DOI, followed by a colon, the DOI number string, and put the date retrieved in parenthesis. Close this phrase with a period. Here’s an example:

Author name. (Year). Article name. Journal Title, page numbers. doi: XX.XXX/XXXXXXXXXX

Citing E-books

With the advent of e-readers, many people are getting their information in hi-tech ways. It isn’t as simple as citing a page number in a print product. When formulating your reference list, make sure you know the type of e-book version you use (Adobe Digital Editions and Kindle DX are two popular kinds). Instead of publisher information, include the book’s DOI address or the site where you downloaded the book originally. Here’s an example:

Author name. (Year). Title [Adobe Digital Editions version]. doi: XX.XXX/XXXXXXXXXX

In-text citations get a bit more difficult because e-books often lack page numbers, and those that have page numbers are usually only the same for people using the same device you are using. To cite in text, follow APA’s rules for using direct quotations in materials without pagination. Give the reader the major sections, such as chapter, section, and paragraph number in lieu of a true page number.

More questions on how to cite digital sources? Check out www.apastyle.org.

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Is Yoga a Mental Workout, Too?

The physical benefits of yoga, such as increased strength, greater flexibility, and surges in feel-good chemicals like dopamine, have been proven through science. But is there a psychological component to this type of exercise, as well?

The Kripalu Institute for Extraordinary Living is attempting to scientifically evaluate the effects yoga has on those who practice. The institute supports a team of researchers from Harvard Medical School who are researching the impact yoga has on a wide range of mental health issues.

One such study funded by the institute is using brain-imaging studies to better understand how contemplative practices such as yoga and meditation can alter behavior, mood, and states of consciousness. Dr. Sara Lazar, principal investigator, is analyzing these images to assess if a yoga practice can change the actual structure of the brain. If so, how do these changes influence attention, fluid intelligence, and cognitive and emotional functioning? Previous work by Dr. Lazar has shown that the brains of individuals who regularly practiced Buddhist meditation are different from the brains of a control group who did not. This study will evaluate a group of highly experienced yogis to investigate whether they show similar changes to the meditation group.

Several other studies focusing on the link between yoga and mental health are ongoing. One study is attempting to reduce posttraumatic stress disorder severity and symptoms through yoga, and is currently recruiting military veterans for the next phase of research. Another study is using yoga as a preventive mental health measure in high school students — and initial results show that it improves mood states and resiliency when compared to traditional physical education. A third study involving yoga in mindful eating and weight gain prevention programs has documented changes in participants physical and mental health.

Do you recommend yoga to your clients? Do you think yoga helps psychologically as well as physically?

 

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