Category Archives: Published Articles

What does your Halloween costume say about you?

It’s that time of year again when adults in weird outfits come out of the woodwork! The time of year you show up to Halloween parties and your jaw hits the floor when you see some people’s outfits. You begin to wonder, “This is the second year in a row Joe dressed up as a woman, do you think he has a tendency to cross dress?” Or you scowl at Cindi’s outfit, “Oh yeah, here she is again in her perfect little body dressed as a cheerleader! Did she not outgrow that in high school?”

Psychologist and life consultant Dr. Wendy James says, “Your Halloween costume is a great opportunity to let your creativity flow without boundaries. Any individual who doesn’t necessarily exert an abundance of power or influence in their daily lives can become a spectacle on Halloween and scare, thrill, or make hundreds of others laugh. A great costume can make you the center of attention. I think many people love Halloween because it’s a hall pass away from your own life for one night and an opportunity to engage in a world of total fun & fantasy. Halloween can a mentally stimulating and healthy event for many people.”

Dr. James shares some insight about what your Halloween costume really says about you:

The Pimp
Likely worn by an insecure man who’s acting out his fantasy of dominating women. It’s really not an original costume and is often a choice for the uncreative types.

Celebrity
Outgoing individuals tend to dress up like celebrities because it almost guarantees they’ll get lots of attention.

Gross / Scary
Horror is popular in pop culture and if a person goes for the gross and scary costume, chances are they will be low key individual who don’t seek the limelight.

Disney / Cartoon Character
This is a safe choice that is G-rated for all audiences. It’s a people pleaser and often worn by someone who doesn’t prefer to rock the boat.

Super Hero
Kind hearted individuals tend to flock to these costumes as they wish to help others and be seen as making a difference

Funny / Original
When you see a costume that make you look twice of three times, chances are the wearer of that costume is an A-type personality and highly creative individual who probably spend the past 9 months creating their costume.

Congress Costume
Considering how unpopular congress is today, anyone who would dress up like them probably enjoys being scorned and reviled. People who dress up like members of congress this year should probably seek professional counseling.

No Costume
Likely a choice of people completely out of touch with their inner child or those who feel they are “too mature” to be dressing up in costumes. They have the potential to bore people physically to death.

Article from http://www.examiner.com/article/what-does-your-halloween-costume-say-about-you

The Psychology of Mob Mentality and Violence

One dog may bark at you but it’s more likely that a pack will attack you.

We are not exempt from that behavior because we are human and not canine. As evidenced by dogs operating in a pack environment, human society is based on group dynamics.

As humans, we have instinctual responses that are exacerbated by group influences.

What we might not do as individuals we may do as part of a group.  People may lose control of their usual inhibitions, as their mentality becomes that of the group.

You have never heard of a peaceful riot.  Riots are by definition violent in nature.

All a riot is, is violent group behavior. The larger the group the greater the amplification of that group behavior.  If the group behavior is peaceful, exemplified by Martin Luther King and Ghandi, the group behavior is peaceful and orderly.

If the group behavior is violent, the larger the group the more magnified the violence.

A mob mentality phenomenon has occurred throughout human history, whether witch burning, religious zealotry, political protests or reaction to perceived racial micro aggressions.

Three psychological theories address crowd behavior.

First is Contagion Theory, proposes that crowds exert a hypnotic influence on their members that results in irrational and emotionally charged behavior often referred to as crowd frenzy.

Second is Convergence Theory that argues the behavior of a crowd is not an emergent property of the crowd but is a result of like-minded individuals coming together.  If it becomes violent is not because the crowd encouraged violence yet rather people wanted it to be violent and came together in a crowd.

Third is Emergent-Norm Theory that combines the two above arguing that a combination of liked-minded individuals, anonymity and shared emotions leads to crowd behavior

Dr. Wendy Coping with Fear and Tragedy in an Over-connected World

http://www.transitioningmovement.com/default.aspx?CN=389D393ACDDFCoping with Fear and Tragedy in an Over-connected World

by Sonie Guseh
http://adayinthelifeskg.blogspot.comSeptember 11. Superstorm Sandy. The Boston Marathon bombings. The shooting in Aurora. The massacre in Sandy Hook. In the midst of so many tragic, harrowing events around us, it can be difficult to stay positive and optimistic in life.For each event, you may be able to recall a series of looped images and messages displayed across your television screen for hours on end—perhaps it’s the repeated video of the second airplane crashing into the World Trade Center in 2001, or the image of bloodied runners barely crossing the finish line just two months ago.There’s an addictive danger in replaying those looped images repeatedly, according to Dr. Wendy James, a psychologist. It’s important to find healthy coping mechanisms to combat what could turn into more severe illness down the line. Now, with a world so interconnected through the Internet, television, and other media, local tragedies have turned into shared emotional turmoil across the country and, in many cases, worldwide.According Dr. James, it’s important to distinguish between a legitimate fear and an irrational one. “If, indeed, the explosions at the Boston Marathon were the result of either domestic or foreign terrorists, their goals are the same,” she wrote. “Those goals are to attempt to translate irrational fears into false, rational fears by the example of a single event.

This is not unlike the fear and panic generated by the Sandy Hook Elementary School slaughter of innocents. Both are rare occurrences, which, due to national media coverage, bring these events into the homes of all Americans.”
These days, we’re all impacted by a tragedy that happens regardless of where we are located, as long as we can see the images on our screens or hear about the events. Watching coverage of sad events can become an addictive behavior, leading to widespread fear.

Some communities seemed to have a legitimate immediate danger, such as potential threats on New York—but the general public? “It’s not going to happen to you 300 hundred miles away. People are afraid and they don’t need to be,” she continued.

Still, in a digitally connected world, mass fear does happen. Following such tragic events, it’s important to be available for loved ones, offer support to family and friends who may have trouble coping, and to recognize warning signs of someone having trouble dealing with loss, stress, anxiety, or fear.

Key warning signs to look out for in loved ones include any change in behavior, not functioning as they normally would, and a decrease in activities they normally engage in, said Dr. James. It’s important to lend an ear and offer advice, but many times, professional help is needed.

“It’s easier for women to seek counseling than for men to,” offered Dr. James. She suggests the following script for women trying to help a friend, brother, husband, boyfriend, or other loved one: “Please. For our relationship, for our family, I really would like you to get help. I know you’re coping as best as you can.”

She also recommends seeing a physician to run blood work. Because depression is caused by a drop in the hormone serotonin, a visit to the family doctor (instead of to the psychologist or social worker) can also be a productive first step.
Moreover, be careful not to project your fear onto others, especially children. Instead, “talk to your children and explain it to them,” Dr. James said.

In a world that is so digitally connected, it is important to extend that connection to those physically in our midst, and to be more vigilant and aware of our surroundings.

 

 

 

Dr. Wendy – Fox News Magazine – Article: Could telling your daughter she’s pretty get ugly?

http://magazine.foxnews.com/love/could-telling-your-daughter-shes-pretty-get-ugly

 “Don’t tell your daughter she is beautiful, parents told”

The title and the article indicate parents should never tell their daughter she is beautiful.  As a psychologist, parents need to tell their daughter she is beautiful.  The daughter beams and is proud and it develops confidence in her esteem.   Girls that have confidence show it in business and the way they present themselves and develop their own style and flair.

Today, for a daughter to recognize she has many more options then just her looks is important.  She can succeed in business in any field, marry and have children if she so desires.

Psychologically, the healthiest women are those that have a purpose; work, charity, artistic talent combined with looking good, eating right and realizing they can pursue their dreams and be feminine at that same time.  Today, in the marketplace there are equal numbers of men and women in pre-dominantly male fields; such as women CEO’s, CFO’s, Physicians, and Lawyers to name a few.

Therefore, both, confidence in your abilities and in your looks are psychologically critical to success.

It is better to praise children for their abilities rather than their looks? Why or why not? 

It is better to praise children for their abilities rather than their looks. As parents, they need to guide their children to accomplish tasks and find their unique talent and abilities.

This means introducing children to a variety of activities; challenges at school, providing an environment where they are exposed to different sports, art, and music. The goal is to find one or more talents that they are successful at and gets them excited and challenged.  I do believe all children need to realize you win and you lose.  This is real life!

Children know who are the best students, the best musician and the best at a sport.  Someone always wins and you learn and grow from winning and from losing.  It gives the child the ability to find their talent and know when they win it is great.  Yet, if she loses, she will learn to deal with failure.

Winning and losing prepare a child for the real life situations.  As parents, our motivation is to make sure our children find their abilities to succeed in the workplace as productive adults.

Now, let’s talk about looks.  There is nothing wrong to praise a daughter for her looks.  It is important for parents to take their daughter shopping and help them pick out clothes and jewelry and make-up.  Dads who take their daughter out shopping provide the confidence with a male figure on shopping and what to wear.

Mothers need to take their daughters shopping and spend time with them prior to their first date or dance to help them with their make-up and talk about boys and dating.

Does telling children one thing or the other have a lasting impression on their confidence?

Yes, abilities gain confidence in their talents and they strife to please their parents by succeeding.  Most parents want their children to succeed in school because it gives them more choices in life and decision in what they pursue.

Parents need to make sure their children eat healthy, control their food intake by providing healthy eating habits as a child because those become the habits they will perform as an adult.

Today, overweight and obesity is a major concern.  How children eat and weigh is determined by their food choices by their parents and the exercise or lack of it.  In addition, overweight and obesity can cause health problems and result in lack of esteem, and inability to pursue interests.

How impressionable are children when it comes to hearing praise about their looks vs. their abilities?

Children are always impressionable when hearing praise about their looks and praise about their abilities.  Both are important!

Praise about your abilities may help you overcome insecurities about your looks.  As a result, over time as you become an adult you may remember yourself as the unattractive geek.  Yet, now you are successful and have the confidence in your abilities and thus your looks!

As daughters, if you have looks and no abilities you could end up a “top model” based on the look of the season.  Actresses have a talent and many also looks.  It seems actresses are the ones getting the modeling contracts in magazines.

Psychologically, balance of having both “abilities and looks” result in an emphasis to success!

The Loss of your Pet article published in “Animal Fair Media, Inc” March 2013

IMG_0013All of the sudden you walk in the door of your home and there is emptiness. There is no pet to greet you; curling around your legs, wagging his tail, attempting to please you. The one who sits at your feet or curls up on your lap with no judgment at all.

You spend years with the animal that knows your routine, your habits and adjusts to them. Often you have raised them as a pup and kitten and watched them grow up, or you take in a pet that is older and needs attention. The pet becomes part of your family.  We take the responsibility to make sure our pet is feed, walked, watered, played with and taken are of.  We provide the basic needs and then we become emotionally attached to our pet.  Kind of, what we do for our friends, our spouse and our children to be there to take care of them and we get something back in return. Yet, unlike friends and children who grow up, the pet is always there. He is there to great you when you are happy or lonely.

Pets are therapeutic to all of us.  They offer a comfort with no conditions.  You do not have to please a pet because they please you with no demands. They will purr and snuggle, growl and play.

Therefore, the loss of a pet is still “grief and loss”.  Most of my friends say they know when their pet is getting older or sick. They know when they are fading and struggle with; should they keep them alive, are they in pain or should they let them go?  Some friends have a sick pet that keeps them up at night and they are unsure if they are being cruel to put them to sleep prior to their nature death.  Certainly, this sounds like what most pet owners do.  They doubt their instincts about the right thing to do for their pet, since the pet cannot talk and tell them.

A loss is still a loss; that is why we often hear our friends say their dog or cat is going to “dog or cat heaven”.  This is part of the grieving process.  The grieving process comes in stages; loneliness, and depression such as “I miss my pet”.  Do I want to purchase another puppy or kitten?  Do I need to spend some time grieving for my pet? We are human and we want to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves. That is why we respond to the stories of puppies and cats abused or put in cages and cannot find a home.   My favorite media story on pets “… the mother dog Amanda, paced back and forth between the house, putting her 10 day old puppies in the safest place she could find – a Fire Truck”… …she didn’t stop racing back into the smoke and fire until all her puppies were safe and the firefighters were spraying her with water”.  Certainly, I need not say more about how we like our pets and how they offer comfort and have an instinct of their own!

Tips:

Help out with a local pet shelter

Temporarily take in a pet until a permanent home is found

Start a new activity you have wanted to do after work

Get together for dinner with your friends

Work with the nursing homes, Hospice and Children’s hospitals that take a pet in to give them comfort!

And realize it is OK to be sad!

 

Skype and Video Conferencing revolutionizing mental health care

Dr. Wendy-Topic: Skype and Video Conferencing revolutionizing mental health care

 

Skype has been used for years as a way to talk to family and friends and has approximately 600,000 users internationally. It is much more personal than a phone call or text message.

 

Now, Psychologists and Physicians are using Skype and other video conferencing systems with their patients.  Video and audio conferencing is as easy as using your laptop or iPad with a camera and access to Internet connection.

 

Five years ago, I purchased a secure video server for my company that complies with the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.  If a Psychologist or Physician bills Insurance companies or Medicare they must use a compliant video system.  Skype is not in compliance.

 

My Life Consultants system allows Healthcare Professionals to work with groups of up to eight clients, who share similar situations such as depression, divorce, loneliness or dealing with stress.

 

The benefit of video systems is the client can access a psychologist at the time they are experiencing depression or anxiety in the privacy of their home at a moments notice without having to make an office appointment.  It also allows mental health professionals to check up on those who are located in rural areas to deal with day-to-day issues without the inconvenience of travel.

 

With video the client gets to see and talk to a professional and make an informed decision, check the Psychologists’ credentials and see if the Psychologist is the one with whom the client is comfortable.