Where behavioral science and humanism get out of the ivory tower, and into the world.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Woo! New Office Space for me!

Hi all!
    Long time no post :-) . I've been very busy lately, but I am pleased to announce the opening of my brand new office space in Larchmont! It's a beautiful space had lots of room for play therapy, sandtray and regular talk therapy. Tell all your friends to come visit me and check it out. :-D Here's a google maps link to it. For some reason google thinks my office is at 1967 plamer, when it's clearly at 2039... who knows why

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Health insurance for people with low income does a huge amount of good.

A recent scientific article covered by the NYT shows how having access to affordable health insurance, in this case Medicaid, improves people's lives. It a "duh" article, but it's the first of its kind, because they were able to match SES and region and have a true control group. They found that when people have health insurance not only get more emergent care, but they get more preventative care, and have lower stress levels as well.

If you've never experienced the kind of challenges that being on the lower end of the income spectrum brings (or haven't been there for a while) you might want to check out this game http://playspent.org/ . It's amazing how well they made it fit so many life scenarios and how quickly it sets up the stress and anxiety that goes along with just making it.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Major pharmacology companies cutting back on psychtropic research

According to the podcast from Science, a few of the larger drug companies are doing large cut backs on CNS drugs (which includes meds for mental health) siting that they cost the most to develop, take the longest, and are the least likely to get FDA approval. This is fairly significant as there's a fairly limited amount of ways currently to treat mental health problems chemically, and their efficacy varies greatly between people and particular challenges. What remains to be seen is how the gap between need, and supports available will be filled, as many insurance companies seem to want to keep their panels closed, the public clinic's are running over capacity and many in need cannot afford private pay (one of the main reasons I like working for myself, so I can do sliding scale so I can see people with need if I have appointments times open) .

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Alternative forms of thinking, education and adhd,

Most of the ideas in this video have been around for a long long time. The idea that the standard school's model of prepping people for factory work is very outdated, that intelligence as it's currently tested doesn't really measure much and that ADHD while existing in some cases (I worked with a kid who has so little ability to focus he got distracted from being sad about 15 seconds after another kid hurt him pretty badly) but that by and large it's a false epidemic. But he puts it all together very nicely in a very engaging package. Enjoy!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Because I'm quite nerdy

I love Bradbury, Asimov, Phillip K. Dick, and many others. I think this, in it's own way, captures the experience that many people I see have. Come feeling like the first part, leaving like the second. :-) 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Watching theory of mind develop over checkers

I spent time with my nephew over the weekend, he's 5 and we just, as of yesterday, taught him how to play checkers.

It was extremely interesting from a psych/cognitive developmental point of view. You could watch him learn a rule, try and apply the rule all the time, and learn its limits. He also practiced taking turns and figure ground discrimination, but that was just the regular stuff.

I got to witness him talking out some of his first experiences with more advanced theory of mind. Theory of mind is the idea that your thoughts are yours alone, and that other people have their own cognitions. Kids take some time to figure this out. That's why really little kids don't tell you that they know where your keys were the whole time. Because they know, they assume you know, and vice versa. It takes some time to figure this isn't the case. The most overt sign of this taking hold is when kids learn to lie. They figure out that they can try and tell you a false hood, and have a chance of not getting caught.

My Nephew started phase two of this recently, modeling other people's thoughts and using them to plan. This is a huge step and is what makes playing games possible. Every time you play checkers, chess, backgammon, poker, etc. You need to take the information in front of you, make your plan, then create a  mental model of what your opponent will do, then modify your plan to take this into account.

He did really well for his first few games of checkers; he ended up being able to predict what would happen about a move ahead of time. 2, and 3 moves is still beyond his grasp but he's on the road.

It's great to see, because this is also a huge factor in developing good relationships. You need to be able to accurately predict what they other person will do in response to what you say or do to/near/with them. Accurate predictions tend to show better functioning which is usually quite nice :-) . It's always great to see people develop themselves, and I gotta say, I take a whole lot of extra pride in seeing my little nephew do it too :-D