After Labor Day: Back to the Grind?

by Kristen Knight

The movement to recognize Labor Day started in the late 1880s as a way to honor the achievements of American workers. Today, many employees simply look forward to a three-day weekend, one that unofficially marks the end of summer with barbecues and last strolls on the beach. But we can also use the occasion to reflect on our work and workplaces as the year rolls towards a close.

psych-healthy-workplaceNews stories, studies, and personal anecdotes highlight our frantic schedules, inability to “unplug,” and other unsettling aspects of modern work life.  Researchers agree that satisfying work is one of the crucial ingredients to a happy, healthy life.  But what really makes work satisfying, and what makes a workplace healthy? How do we find or help create those alternatives to the grind?

APA’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program—part of the Center for Organizational Excellence—is a public education initiative designed to educate the employer community about the link between employee well-being and organizational performance.  Each year, APA bestows its Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award on companies that foster employee health and well-being in a variety of ways.  The program inspired the 2016 book, The Psychologically Healthy Workplace: Building a Win-Win Environment for Organizations and Employees, which focuses on employee involvement, work-life balance, employee growth and development, employee recognition, and health and safety.

purpose-and-meaning-workWe employees spend many, if not most, of our waking hours at work during the course of a week—and yet many of us don’t feel fulfilled at our jobs.  In Purpose and Meaning in the Workplace (2013), experts investigate how meaningful work can be fostered and sustained.  Justin M. Berg, Jane E. Dutton, and Amy Wrzesniewski explore the concept of job crafting—described as “the process of employees redefining and reimagining their job designs in personally meaningful ways”—in Chapter 4 of this book. As the authors point out, meaningfulness is one factor associated with work-related benefits such as increased job satisfaction and performance.  And that does sound like a win for both employers and employees.

Other sources

Eisenberger, R., & Stinglhamber, F. (2011). Perceived organizational support: Fostering enthusiastic and productive employees. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/pubs/books/4316128.aspx

Quick, J. C., Wright, T. A., Adkins, J. A., Nelson, D. L., & Quick J. D. (2013). Preventive stress management in organizations (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/pubs/books/4317292.aspx

 

References 

American Psychological Association Center for Organizational Excellence: https://www.apaexcellence.org/

Berg, J. M., Dutton, J. E., & Wrzesniewski, A. (2013). Job crafting and meaningful work. In B. J. Dik, Z. S. Byrne, & M. F. Steger (Eds.).  Purpose and meaning in the workplace (pp. 81–104). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/14183-005

Grawitch, M., & Ballard, D. (Eds.). (2016). The psychologically healthy workplace: Building a win–win environment for organizations and employees. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/pubs/books/4318134.aspx

United States Department of Labor. (n.d.). History of Labor Day. Retrieved from https://www.dol.gov/general/laborday/history

 

September Releases From APA Books!

adults with adhdNEW FROM APA LIFETOOLS®

When an Adult You Love Has ADHD 

Professional Advice for Parents, Partners, and Siblings

by Russell A. Barkley, PhD

In this book ADHD expert Russell Barkley explains the science behind ADHD and how you can tell if your spouse, partner, friend, adult child, or sibling may have it. He shows how to guide your loved one toward the right treatment, and what to do if he or she doesn’t want treatment. Adults with ADHD can be successful, achieve their goals, and live out big dreams—and you can help. You can set boundaries to manage your own emotional and financial stress, too. Here you will learn practical steps for helping your loved one accept and manage their disorder, and pursue paths in life where ADHD might not pose such a big problem.

 

community psychAPA Handbook of Community Psychology

Volume 1: Theoretical Foundations, Core Concepts, and Emerging Challenges

Volume 2: Methods for Community Research and Action for Diverse Groups and Issues

Editors-in-Chief Meg A. Bond, Irma Serrano-García, and Christopher B. Keys

This two-volume handbook summarizes and makes sense of exciting intellectual developments in the field of community psychology. As a discipline that is considered a half-century old in the United States, community psychology has grown in the sophistication and reach of theories and research. Reviewing the chapters of the APA Handbook of Community Psychology, the reader will readily notice several themes emerge: Community psychology’s ideas are becoming increasingly elaborated; its theory, research and interventions more situated; and its reach in both thought and action, more expansive. Ideas that may have seemed much simpler when first proposed—for example, community, prevention, and empowerment—have come to pose challenges, contradictions, and opportunities initially unspecified and perhaps unimagined.

 

career pathsCareer Paths in Psychology

Where Your Degree Can Take You

THIRD EDITION

Edited by Robert J. Sternberg

Now in its third edition, this bestselling volume has set the standard for students seeking to find an exciting career in psychology. Its comprehensive coverage spans more careers than ever, with the vast majority of chapters new to this edition. An advanced degree in psychology offers an extremely wide range of rewarding and well-compensated career opportunities. Amidst all the choices, this book will help future psychologists find their optimal career path. The chapters describe 30 exciting graduate-level careers in academia, clinical and counseling psychology, and specialized settings such as for-profit businesses, nonprofits, the military, and schools.

 

sexual orientation and gender diversityHandbook of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity in Counseling and Psychotherapy

Edited by Kurt A. DeBord, Ann R. Fischer, Kathleen J. Bieschke, and Ruperto M. Perez

This timely volume explores the unique challenges faced by SM and TGNC clients today.  Experts in the field examine how the concepts of gender and sexual orientation are both socioculturally-constructed and can be informed by biologically-focused research, thus setting the stage for flexible, affirmative mental health services.  Chapters cover a range of practice-focused as well as theory-based topics, including complexity in identity, minority stress, and stigma management.  With concise summaries of research findings and detailed case studies, contributors provide an intersectional understanding of how practitioners can work within rapidly-changing political and legal contexts to uncover and affirm clients’ multiple social identities, and build resilience.

 

supervision competency-basedSupervision Essentials for the Practice of Competency-Based Supervision

by Carol A. Falender and Edward P. Shafranske

This concise text describes a trans-theoretical approach that has been the gold standard in supervisory practice for nearly two decades.  The authors show readers how to identify, assess, and track the knowledge, specific skills, broad attitudes, and human values that undergird a series of professional competencies spanning the breadth of clinical practice.  Case examples illuminate the supervisory give-and-take as trainees develop competence in areas such as professional values, sensitivity to individual and cultural differences, ethical and legal standards, self-care, scientific knowledge and methods, applying evidence-based practice, and more.  From practicum, to internship and general practice, the competency-based approach offers clear training goals that organize and focus the supervisor’s attention where it’s needed most.

What Is Disenfranchised Grief?

Timothy McAdooby Timothy McAdoo

It’s clichéd but true that everyone grieves in different ways. Grief is almost always seen as a private matter that elicits widespread sympathy. But, people also grieve for losses that society is not always expecting or allowing. This is known as disenfranchised grief, as defined by the APA Dictionary of Psychology:

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disenfranchised grief: grief that society (or some element of it) limits, does not expect, or may not allow a person to express. Examples include the grief of parents for stillborn babies, of teachers for the death of students, and of nurses for the death of patients. People who have lost an animal companion are often expected to keep their sorrow to themselves. Disenfranchised grief may isolate the bereaved individual from others and thus impede recovery. Also called hidden grief.

You can read more about disenfranchised grief in Dr. Kenneth J. Doka’s chapter of Handbook of Bereavement Research and Practice: Advances in Theory and Intervention titled “Disenfranchised Grief in Historical and Cultural Perspective” and in Coping With Infertility, Miscarriage, and Neonatal Loss: Finding Perspective and Creating Meaning, by Amy Wenzel.

Reference

VandenBos, G. R. (Ed.). (2015). APA dictionary of psychology (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Shari Miles-Cohen & Caroline Signore: On Women With Disabilities

This is the latest in a series of interviews with APA Books authors. In this interview, Tyler Aune, Editorial Supervisor at APA Books, spoke with Shari Miles-Cohen PhD, Senior Director of the Women’s Programs Office at the American Psychological Association, and Caroline Signore, MD, MPH, a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist and a fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).  Their book, Eliminating Inequities for Women with Disabilities: An Agenda for Health and Wellness was recently released by APA Books.   

 

 

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Shari E. Miles-Cohen, PhD, is Senior Director, Women’s Programs Office (WPO) at the American Psychological Association (APA).  Dr. Miles-Cohen has received funding from the National Science Foundation and the US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Women Health to explore the educational needs and health care needs of women with disabilities. Prior to joining APA, she served in leadership positions with university-based and independent non-profit organizations working to improve the lives of women and girls, including the African American Women’s Institute, the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, and the Women’s Research and Education Institute. Dr. Miles-Cohen holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and a Master of Science and a Doctor of Philosophy in Personality Psychology from Howard University.

 

Caroline Signore

Caroline Signore, MD, MPH, is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist, and a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).  Her interest in the reproductive health care needs of women with disabilities arose in 1996, when, shortly after completing her residency training, she sustained a traumatic cervical spinal cord injury. Since then, she has delivered a number of presentations on reproductive health and wellness in women with disabilities, served as a guest reviewer for a handbook on health for women with disabilities in developing countries, and authored chapters for women’s health textbooks. From 2004 to 2009, Dr. Signore served as an Advisory Board member to an American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists committee to produce resources to assist ACOG members with providing quality reproductive health care to women with disabilities.

What’s great about your book is that you don’t just describe the problem: You also lay out a very detailed agenda for reform, with specific information about what needs to change, and where. And I was really struck by how hopeful the language in that chapter is.  Did you feel hopeful all the way through this project?

Shari: I think we’re both hopeful people by nature, so that helps.  But I also think, if I can name the problem, I can solve the problem.  We may need a lot of people, we may need a lot of money, but there is a solution out there for almost everything.  And for me, the solution is trying to meld the behavioral and physical health structures to better serve women with disabilities.

Caroline: Well, sometimes I didn’t think this book would ever get finished!  But that aside, I agree with Shari, we are hopeful people, and I also believe that if you name the problem you can start to fix it.  We realistically know nothing’s going to change overnight, but there are incremental steps, and this book will serve a guide for people who may be drawn into the field, or who are already here, doing the work that needs to be done.

Shari: I feel like I learned a lot, coming to these issues from a psychologist’s background.  I have a better understanding now of physicians and what they need, and how they think, and what challenges they may have with integrated care.  Because you lose a little bit of autonomy when you start to share, and that can be challenging for people from different disciplines.  And so that was really helpful, because it’s much easier to communicate that path forward when you have a better sense of what the other people who will be part of the team are thinking.

Caroline: I have to say I came into the project not understanding what integrated care is, and Shari has been a patient teacher.  But the more I understood it, the more I thought: This makes so much sense! Why are we so siloed?  Integrated care is especially important for underserved populations, who could really use extra care and guidance.  Particularly in areas like biopsychosocial models of care that aren’t taught in medical school, that physicians may feel poorly equipped to handle on their own.  I’m hopeful that this book can educate physicians about how to provide better care to women with disabilities.

 

Shirley Chisolm, the first black female member of the U.S. congress, said that she faced more obstacles in her life because of her gender than her race. At the risk of oversimplifying a very complex issue, do you think women with disabilities face more discrimination because of their gender, or because of their disability?

Caroline: Without question, in the health care setting, especially in the reproductive health care setting, women with disabilities feel a-gendered. They feel that their caregivers don’t think of them as women.  And that’s very troubling, for them and for me.  Not only are there physical barriers to actually getting to a doctor’s office.  But to not get information, or careful, complete care [in reproductive and sexual health] because of an assumption on the part of the caregiver that’s wrong, is really galling.

Shari: It’s hard for me to separate the gender and the disability, or the gender and the race. A woman with a disability is intact, a gestalt; she is one person.  It’s all in there together, and you can’t really separate them out.  You have to work hard to separate them.  In some ways, physicians and psychologists and others are working against human nature when they a-gender a person coming into the office.

 

So it takes effort to discriminate. I never thought about it that way before.

 Shari: I think it does, yeah.  You have to work at it, right?  I think you have to work hard to see people in that way.

 

Research shows that women with disabilities who live in poverty and particularly in rural areas are at especially high risk for poor outcomes. And these are outcomes that may be difficult to change, given that many of the accommodations you describe in this book will be made to medical facilities that are far away from where they live.  What can we do for these people? 

Caroline: Telehealth is really promising.  Today you can FaceTime with most anybody, almost everybody has a smartphone now.  And even in rural areas, if you can’t physically go to the physician’s office—heck, I’d rather FaceTime with my doctor than actually have to go to his office, it’s just so much easier.  I have high hopes for the incorporation of telemedicine into care in general, and especially care for people who have difficulty traveling—not just women with disabilities, all people with disabilities, geriatric populations; there’s a lot of care we can give without actually putting two people physically in front of each other.

Shari: Along with technology, infrastructure also has to change.  The smartphone and the monitor are important, but so are the wires and conduits running to rural communities.  So is educating doctors (and psychologists) that it’s a good thing to do, and educating patients that they can still get good care via telehealth.  But all of that’s doable, it just takes education.  We need to educate policymakers here [in Washington], and in the States, using the State Psychological Associations and State Medical Associations to get them engaged in the conversation.

 

Making people aware of the urgent challenges that this population faces, as you’ve done in this book, is obviously enormously beneficial. What are the next steps? 

Shari: We’re seeing women with disabilities across the country who are really engaged in making change.  The book can help give them have a better sense of what the entire map looks like, and how they can be most strategically engaged.  Because one of the things that Caroline and I talk a lot about is, how do you change the ways that physicians and psychologists are educated?  It’s all about teaching hours.  Well, how do you get a school to dedicate teaching hours to the issues women with disabilities face?  One way is that you change the standards: What’s gonna be on the board exam, right?  So how do you get that done?  There are all these steps.  In addition to public education efforts which bring  attention to the issue, raising visibility, there are other complementary activities, such as professional development, research, and policy efforts, which we discuss at some length in the book’s recommendations section, that together can help to bring about change.

Caroline: This is not a completely ignored issue.  But it is underrecognized.  And understudied.  It isn’t just a matter of psychological care or medical care.  It is also a matter of civil rights, and politics, and policy, and that makes it a little more complex.  We must have patience, as each person tries to get the word out.  My hope is that our work will be viewed as a standard textbook for disabilities studies.  I would love to see it in medical schools, nursing schools, psychology classes, graduate education.  The more people know about it, the more we can get done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Me in Illinois: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Making APA Psychotherapy Videos

By Resarani Johnson, APA Video Supervisor

The APA Psychotherapy Video Series presents distinguished psychologists demonstrating specific approaches to a wide range of patient problems. Designed for clinical training and continuing education, these videos and DVDs were created to provide psychology students and practitioners with expert introductions to various therapeutic approaches and hands-on knowledge of how to treat particular patient issues. To learn more, including how to use these in classes or workshops, see About the APA Psychotherapy Video Series.

Making a psychotherapy training video is uniquely challenging. Imagine you are a psychologist, having spent most of your career either in the therapy room or writing scholarly articles and books. Now try to condense all of your knowledge and expertise into 90-minute therapy demonstration video. Now, imagine someone—let’s say a video producer, like me—puts a kibosh on your expectations and tells you to not try to be so comprehensive and not cover everything you know, but instead to just “be natural… as if you’re not being filmed.”

Simplifying a great body of scientific and scholarly knowledge down to its most concise points is indeed a hardy task that is easier said than done, and it certainly should not be mistaken for “dumbing down.” I understand their frustration, but will never know it firsthand. Although I am in the world of psychology, I am neither a therapist nor an academic, and so I try to put myself in their shoes as much as possible.

Setting Expectations

It’s a thin tightrope to walk. Our target audience consists in part of practicing therapists, researchers, and professors, but the main audience is graduate students. So, my first goal is getting guest experts to understand that they are talking not to their peers, but to the students that will one day be their colleagues. My second goal is convincing the guest experts not to second guess their on-camera performances. I’ve found that lending them a final video of a related topic or approach well before the shoot commences helps them to ease into the idea of being on-camera, and visualize what the end result may look like. That doesn’t mean, of course, that we don’t come across little snags, such as when the guest therapist forgets to look at the roundtable participants and not the cameras when they’re answering a question. But these are small things, and we can usually stop and reshoot whenever they crop up.

Often there are moments toward the end of the day where the guest therapist has a moment to reflect on their performance. This usually includes self-criticism and lamentations, “I wish I would’ve…,” or “Do you think we could redo…,” or the more infamous request: “Can we edit the beginning of the [said] therapy session and mix that in with the latter part of the other session?” The answer is always no. I advise them, as the oil canvas in my office says: “Don’t overthink it.”

Filming

On the first day, three therapy sessions are shot. The guest therapist selects the best one, which goes into the final video product. The next day, university counseling and psychology students and instructors at Governors State University, in University Park, Illinois—where our sessions are filmed—screen the chosen therapy session and participate in a question-and-answer session. They also get to meet and have lunch with the guest therapist, and make fruitful networking connections.

Many key players help make our productions successful: the guest therapists, client volunteers, roundtable participants, as well as our studio crew, and coordinators. Sometimes, we’ll hire actors to perform roles based on actual case material with identifying characteristics removed, or we’ll have actors play roles that are completely fictional and conceived to help illustrate the guest therapists’ approach. We do this whenever we may be demonstrating a sensitive presenting issue or difficult topic.

Group Therapy Sessions

The most challenging demonstrations often are those featuring group therapy. Getting one person to commit to recording a therapy session is hard enough. Asking a group of strangers to divulge their intimate thoughts and feelings in front of other people, on-camera, is even harder. Which is why I’m always on pins and needles the day that these shoots occur. We always have backup client participants on speed dial, in the event anyone decides to renege at the last minute (and yes, this has happened on several occasions). By contrast, the easiest sessions usually depict couples’ therapy. These client participants are less likely to cancel their session and usually are the most eager to get their issues resolved.

Shortly after a shoot has wrapped, most guest therapists say that the process wasn’t as bad as they originally anticipated—in fact, most enjoy it. From viewer feedback, we know that students, therapists, and instructors alike enjoy these videos and find them to be a valuable teaching aid. Overall, what makes this work rewarding is seeing the client volunteers leave the sessions feeling so much better than they were when they arrived.