Psychologist CEUs

4 Factors That May Lower PTSD Risk and Bolster Resilience

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) statistics vary depending on the source, but while the majority of people experience at least one traumatic event over the course of a lifetime, only a fraction develop PTSD, between 6-8 percent. PTSD has many risks and protective factors. The risks include younger age, female gender, being hurt or seeing someone get hurt, having higher-stress living conditions on top of the trauma, and a prior history of mental illness or substance use disorder. Protective factors include getting support from others, positive self-appraisal in dealing…

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Bumble Bees Can Recognize Objects Across Senses

The task: find an object that you are visually familiar with, such as your keys, by rummaging around with your hand in your bag. For humans, it’s a piece of cake. You can easily recognize, through touch alone, something you’ve previously seen. This ability to experience an object in one sensory modality and later recognize it in another is called cross-modal object recognition. It’s actually a highly complex cognitive capacity that was thought to be…

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Stress in small children separated from their parents may alter genes

Experts in the emotional needs of small children say increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol in babies and small children who are separated from their parents, especially their mothers, could have a long-term genetic impact on future generations. In a commentary published by the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, the authors say that several studies show that small children cared for outside the home, especially in poor quality care and for 30 or…

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12 Signs that You’re Dealing with a Master Manipulator

Are there people in your life who you feel have their own agenda when they deal with you? Perhaps you’ve struck up a relationship with a fellow volunteer or co-worker while completing a group project. However, after a couple of weeks, you begin to sense that this other person doesn’t seem to have the best wishes of the group at heart. Having missed several deadlines, this individual tells what you believe are untruths, such as “I…

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The Verdict Is In: Courtrooms Seldom Overrule Bad Science

In television crime dramas, savvy lawyers are able to overcome improbable odds to win their cases by presenting seemingly iron-clad scientific evidence. In real-world courtrooms, however, the quality of scientific testimony can vary wildly, making it difficult for judges and juries to distinguish between solid research and so-called junk science. This is true for all scientific disciplines, including psychological science, which plays an important role in assessing such critical pieces of testimony as eyewitness accounts,…

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The Emotional Ups and Downs in the Lives of the Depressed

When you think about major depressive disorder, you undoubtedly focus on negative emotions as its defining feature. On a daily basis, then, you would expect that people who have this diagnosis are unable to experience positive emotions such as joy and happiness. When things go wrong in their daily lives, their mood should drop even lower. Even if they’re given a reason to rejoice, furthermore, they should be resistant to a bump up in their feelings…

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Romance, Scent, and Sleep: The Stuff that Dreams Are Made Of

Forget counting sheep. If you really want a good night’s sleep, all you may need is your romantic partner’s favorite T-shirt wrapped around your pillow. New research accepted for publication in the journal Psychological Science suggests that the scent of a romantic partner can improve your quality of sleep. This is true regardless of whether or not you are consciously aware that the scent is even present. “A growing body of evidence has shown that close relationships…

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Sleep, Brain Development, and Mental Health in Children

Many studies have documented associations between sleep, cognitive performance, and mental health in children. While the neural mechanisms underlying these associations have been largely unknown, imaging studies of the brain are providing new ways of understanding what areas of the brain are involved.  A recent article reports on a study of MRI scans of over 11,000 children, ages 9-11, from 21 centers in the U.S. with a wide range of geographic, socioeconomic, ethnic, and health characteristics. Parents completed a…

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Navigating Social Media with Teens

I recently did a presentation for a group of high school parents on social media use. Instead of focusing on their children, I began by asking parents about their own use of social media sites like Instagram and Facebook. As a counselor, I believe my reflections on this experience might be helpful to other practitioners when working with adolescent clients or their parents. To begin our discussion, I asked the following questions: How many of…

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Neural Signature Identifies People Likely to Respond to Antidepressant Medication

Researchers have discovered a neural signature that predicts whether individuals with depression are likely to benefit from sertraline, a commonly prescribed antidepressant medication. The findings, published in Nature Biotechnology, suggest that new machine learning techniques can identify complex patterns in a person’s brain activity that correlate with meaningful clinical outcomes. The research was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health. “There is a great need in psychiatry…

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