Marriage & Family Therapist CEUs

Bring Back the Laugh Track

Stephen Colbert had meant that as a joke when he addressed the comment to the camera in a mostly-empty studio, during the brief period when late night TV taped in their normal venues but without live audiences, before the quarantine ax fell completely. The comment, delivered as a sort of punchline after a skit about the closure of Broadway, earned chuckles from those within earshot: Late Show technicians, the house band, maybe even a few writers who’d strayed into the…

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Chronic illness in childhood linked to higher rates of mental illness

Children with long-term health conditions may be more likely to experience mental illness in early adolescence than healthy children, according to new research from Queen Mary University of London. In the study, published in Development and Psychopathology, children reported to have chronic health problems showed higher rates of mental illness at 10 years, and those health problems continued to be associated with poor mental health at the ages of 13 and 15. To carry out the…

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Neural circuit that drives physical responses to emotional stress found

Researchers at Nagoya University have discovered a neural circuit that drives physical responses to emotional stress. The circuit begins in deep brain areas, called the dorsal peduncular cortex and the dorsal tenia tecta (DP/DTT), that send stress signals to the hypothalamus, a small region in the brain that controls the body’s vital functions. The findings were recently published in the journal Science. Emotional stress activates the sympathetic nervous system, which leads to physical responses, such as…

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What Do Kids, Bankers, and World Leaders Have in Common?

These days parents spend a lot of time playing card games with their kids to practice social distancing and observe stay-at-home orders. Have you ever wondered whether children are excessively confident in their future performance when playing with you? If so, would their unreasonable expectations decrease with learning and feedback? Also, does it depend on whether you play with a girl or a boy? A recently published article in Scientific Reports tries to answer these questions by playing…

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How Do People Develop Into ‘Successful’ Psychopaths?

They walk among us—psychopaths. Those who possess a unique constellation of traits: callousness to others’ suffering, a grandiose sense of self-worth, and a manipulative approach to dealing with others. Typically, such antisocial tendencies result in incarceration and other forms of exclusion from society. Yet some psychopathic individuals are able to suppress their psychopathic impulses enough to remain members of society. Many even rise to the upper ranks of business, law, and government.  Yet, what allows some psychopathic individuals to wind up…

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From Voldemort to Vader, Science Says We Prefer Fictional Villains Who Remind Us of Ourselves

As people binge watch TV shows and movies during this period of physical distancing, they may find themselves eerily drawn to fictional villains, from Voldemort and Vader to Maleficent and Moriarty. Rather than being seduced by the so-called dark side, the allure of evil characters has a reassuringly scientific explanation. According to new research published in the journal Psychological Science, people may find fictional villains surprisingly likeable when they share similarities with the viewer or reader.…

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How to help domestic violence clients during shelter-in-place situations

It’s heartbreaking to read the variety of articles circulating about vulnerable people trapped at home with their abusers because of shelter-in-place mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, experience reminds us of a concerning reality that is typical of these uncertain times: Adverse labor market conditions are positively related to domestic violence. Research conducted after the Great Depression of the 1930s, the farm crisis of the 1980s, and the Great Recession of 2008 found that economic…

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Infant Temperament Predicts Personality More Than 20 Years Later

Researchers investigating how temperament shapes adult life-course outcomes have found that behavioral inhibition in infancy predicts a reserved, introverted personality at age 26. For those individuals who show sensitivity to making errors in adolescence, the findings indicated a higher risk for internalizing disorders (such as anxiety and depression) in adulthood. The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provides robust evidence of the impact of…

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Loneliness & Isolation Are Another Epidemic for Older Adults

The COVID-19 pandemic has spread around the world. As this virus is known for rapid transmission and fatal results among older adults, the media and world are warning everyone, especially the elderly, to avoid people and stay at home. A recent article was published to study how keeping social distance raised loneliness and isolation for older adults. It demonstrated that this could be a big mental health problem if more studies are not done during the period…

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High anxiety calls for innovation in digital mental health

Are you feeling depressed or anxious? There’s an app for that. Globally, there are more than 400 million annual downloads of mobile health apps, which suggests that consumers are eagerly seeking technology to manage their health. In the past few months alone, mental health surveys, tips, and counselling services have become available through social media sites and apps in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. For mental health professionals, the opportunity to provide help in this…

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