Transgender Ban and Minority Stress: Resources from APA Books

On July 26th, the president of the United States announced—via tweet—that “the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.”

On Friday, August 25th, the president directed the Pentagon to implement the ban on new transgender recruits.  Transgender people currently serving in the military would either remain or be removed “at the discretion of the Secretary of Defense,” according to the Wall St. Journal.

After the president’s initial tweet, APA President Antonio Puente, PhD, issued a statement that read, in part:

The American Psychological Association questions the reasoning behind President Trump’s call to bar transgender people from the military. We’ve seen no scientific evidence that allowing transgender people to serve in the armed forces has had an adverse impact on our military readiness or unit cohesion. Therefore, we ask that transgender individuals continue to be allowed to serve their country.

Last August, APA Books published Affirmative Counseling and Psychological Practice With Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Clients, part of our Perspectives on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity Series.  This book, which draws upon the APA’s Guidelines for Psychological Practice With Transgender and Gender Nonconforming People and is edited by Annalise Singh and lore dickey, aims to provide mental health practitioners with an affirmative approach to treatment with TGNC clients.  Readers can learn how to address the impact of the myriad injustices TGNC people face in everyday life, work with clients’ strengths to enhance their resilience and coping skills, and advocate for their rights as mental health clients, and as people.

You can read an interview with Drs. Sigh and dickey here.

In February, 2017, Sharon Rostosky and Ellen Riggle, professors at the University of Kentucky, sat down for an interview with APA Books’ Development Editor Susan Herman.  In the interview, they discussed the unique stressors that LGBTQ couples face, including the minority stress that results from public debates surrounding anti-LGBTQ laws and public policy.  In their book, Happy Together: Thriving as a Same-Sex Couple in Your Family, Workplace, and Community, they explore ways LGBTQ individuals and couples can work constructively to manage these and other stressors, and lead full, psychologically-healthy lives.

We hope that these books, and resources like them, can serve as some help—however small—to any who may need it in these difficult times.

 

On Woman’s Embodied Self

Body studies is a growing area of interest to scholars in sociology, women’s studies, and other disciplines in the humanities. But although many psychological theories are relevant to this field, psychology has not yet contributed to it in a substantive way. Joan C. Chrisler and Ingrid Johnston-Robledo hope to bridge the gap with their new book, Woman’s Embodied Self: Feminist Perspectives on Identity and Image. This book discusses women’s complex relations with their bodies and how attitudes toward the body affect women’s sense of self.


The authors write:

Our goal is to define problems in embodiment, examine them through the lenses of various psychological theories (e.g., objectification theory, stigma theory, terror management theory, stereotype embodiment theory), review the research to date on these problems, and suggest ways to help women and girls to achieve a healthy embodiment.

The authors argue that the body is a text on which women’s social location is written. Many different factors limit, constrain, or undermine women’s healthy embodiment. These include sexism, stigma, gender stereotypes, consumerism, medicalization, and the pressure to have a sanitized, sexualized, youthful, thin, healthy, and attractive body. By challenging and resisting negative sociocultural messages that promote body dissatisfaction and unhealthy beauty practices, mental health professionals and lay readers alike can help women and girls achieve a positive embodied self.

 

 

Mindfulness Resources

Over the last few decades, the concept of mindfulness has quickly become a hot topic in mainstream Western culture. Workshops in schools and the workplace are popping up more and more to teach exercises to cultivate general wellbeing and provide stress relief.

Broadly, the APA Dictionary of Psychology, Second Edition defines mindfulness as the “awareness of one’s internal states and surroundings,” cultivated is through meditation “in which a person focuses attention on his or her breathing and thoughts, feelings, and sensations are experienced freely as they arise.”

These practices can be incorporated into clinical psychotherapy, regardless of therapeutic approach, and modified as the psychologist sees fit. Here is a selection of products from APA Books that incorporate mindfulness-based principles:

 

APA Books® 

The Art and Science of Mindfulness, Second Edition

Intention is fundamental to any project, endeavor, or journey. Related to intention is the concept of mindfulness—the awareness that arises through intentionally attending to oneself and others in an open, caring, and nonjudgmental way. Authors Shapiro and Carlson draw from Eastern wisdom and practices as well as Western psychological science to explore why mindful awareness is integral to the therapeutic healing process. This new edition integrates the latest theory and research on mindfulness, with new sections describing the neuroscience of mindfulness and mechanisms of change.

 

Mindfulness-Based Therapy for Insomnia

This clinical guide presents mindfulness based therapy for insomnia (MBTI)—an innovative group intervention that can reduce insomnia symptoms. Combining principles from mindfulness meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy, MBTI helps participants create meaningful, long-term changes in their thoughts and behaviors about sleep. This book reviews new research on MBTI and teaches mental health professionals how to integrate it into their own practices.

 

Therapeutic Presence

Therapeutic presence is the state of having one’s whole self in the encounter with a client by being completely in the moment on a multiplicity of levels—physically, emotionally, cognitively, and spiritually. The therapeutic relationship is essential to positive outcomes of psychotherapy. In this book, Shari M. Geller and Leslie S. Greenberg argue that therapeutic presence is the fundamental underlying quality of the therapeutic relationship and, hence, effective therapy.

 

Coming Soon—August 2017!

Mindful Sport Performance Enhancement 

This book serves as a comprehensive resource on the history, theory, and practice of mindfulness in sport.  The authors present mindful sport performance enhancement (MSPE), an empirically-supported, six-session program that can be adapted for specific athletic populations.  Each MSPE session includes educational, experiential, and discussion components, as well as instructions for home practice.

 

 

APA LifeTools®

25 Lessons in Mindfulness

This book presents a practical, step-by-step approach for establishing your own mindfulness practice. Brief introductory chapters explain the scientifically proven effects on health, as well as the philosophy behind this ancient practice. The remainder of the book consists of 25 experiential lessons that guide you through various meditative practices. You will learn to be mindful of your breath, sounds, sights, tastes, movements, physical sensations, thoughts, and feelings as you maintain a compassionate attitude toward yourself and others.

 

APA Videos® 

Mindfulness for Anxiety

Ronald D. Siegel works with a young man who presents with stress-related chronic neck pain. First he helps the client to see that the mind plays a critical role in his presenting problem. Next, using the therapeutic understanding that resistance to mental and physical discomfort exacerbates suffering, Dr. Siegel works to identify the physical sensations and emotions that the client is struggling to avoid. Through practicing acceptance of pain sensations, anxiety, and other emotions, the client is able to become more comfortable with these experiences as they arise, placing him on a path toward freedom from his disorder.

 

Mindfulness for Well-Being

For most people, even the ordinary demands of life can cause some feelings of unease and stress, and these stressful thoughts and feelings may result in chronic mental and physical fatigue or anxiety. Yet, the seemingly simple act of mindfulness may help reduce the impact of stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain. In this video, Rezvan Ameli demonstrates three mindfulness exercises within a group therapy setting and also discusses the science and practice of mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness for Insomnia

In this video, Jason C. Ong works with a group of young male clients who are all suffering from various sleep issues. In this demonstration, Ong teaches behavioral strategies within a mindfulness framework to help the group learn how to cope with periods of wakefulness at night.

 

 

 

Coming Soon—August 2017!

Mindful Sport Performance Enhancement in Practice

For many athletes, engaging competitively in a physical activity while staying in the moment can be quite difficult. Mindful sport performance enhancement (MSPE) is a mental training program designed to help athletes, coaches, and other performers develop a set of core skills that can facilitate peak performance and optimal experience. This approach is rooted in the practice of mindfulness and typically administered in a group format, but it can also be used with individuals.  In this video program, Dr. Keith A. Kaufman works closely with a group of university golfers who wish to improve their performance.

 

References 

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

What are Microaggressions?

While the term has been around since 1970, Merriam-Webster only recently added “microaggressions” to its dictionary. It’s defined as, “a comment or action that subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group.”  Merriam-Webster uses racial minorities as one example; however any marginalized group is vulnerable to microaggressions.

This January, APA Books released the paperback edition of That’s So Gay! Microaggressions and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community. In this book, Dr. Kevin Nadal explains how microaggressions affect the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Nadal describes microaggressions as the “New Face of Discrimination.” It has become unacceptable in the present day and age to openly voice and act on discrimination. Because of this, it can be commonplace for Americans in the majority to determine that they are not prejudiced, because they associate prejudice with the more outright forms of discrimination, such as hate crimes. However, they may not realize the ways in which their seemingly innocuous statements and behaviors can subtly harass or insult minorities.

Unlike blatant acts of discrimination, the motivations behind microaggressions are often ambiguous. Nadal uses the example of a White woman alone on an elevator who moves to the side and grabs her bag when joined by an African-American man. Nadal notes that there are several possible explanations for the woman’s action, but regardless of her intention, the man may suffer psychological stress as a result.

What can we do about microaggressions? Nadal gives several recommendations.  One location where microaggressions occur most often is in the workplace. It may be more difficult to confront microaggressions in this environment because of power dynamics and concerns over one’s employment status. It also raises the concern that one won’t be able to prove a microaggression to human resources representatives—or to convince them that such subtle interactions are worth investigating. Therefore, Nadal recommends that workplaces remain open to discussing microaggressions, and incorporating education about them in training and hiring opportunities.

 

References

Nadal, K. L. (2013). That’s so gay! http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/14093-000

March for Science

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 “APA is proud to be an official partner of the March for Science, set to take place on Saturday April 22, 2017, in Washington D.C. We encourage all psychologists, psychology students and their allies to join this broad, nonpartisan effort to support scientific research and the use of scientific evidence for the public good.” See more on APA’s stance and plans for the Science March and beyond here.

 

With our headquarters in downtown DC, many of us here at the APA and APA Books are excited to be able to participate in this historic event. We asked around for thoughts on the march, and why people felt compelled to attend.

The opinions expressed below are those of the individuals and should not be taken to represent the official views or policies of the American Psychological Association.

“I march because I believe science is key to promoting unity. Being much more than just a set of facts, science is a way of thinking that encourages us to look beyond our ideologies and preconceived notions about ourselves and the world around us. It is through science that we can understand our tendencies toward tribalism, an “us vs. them” mentality that can limit our worldviews. My hope is that science can also help us see beyond the boundaries of our various tribes—whether they are defined by politics, religion, race, nationality, or gender—and unite us as members of the one tribe that encapsulates us all: the human tribe.”—David Becker, Development Editor, APA Books

“[I march] to celebrate why science matters and support scientists in their message that evidence-based facts are vital to inform policy and the general public. I hope the march can encourage our leaders and all Americans to value the importance of scientific information as it affects all of us, regardless of political party.”—Marla Koenigsknecht, Marketing and Publicity Specialist, APA Books

“I plan to participate in the March for Science on April 22. I fully support and defend the dissemination of alternative opinions or interpretations. But as Senator Moynihan told us, we are not entitled to our own facts. Ignoring a problem and demonizing those that raise legitimate concerns are losing propositions. We cannot make America great without education, research, funding, and a respect for truth.”—Chris Kelaher, Acquisitions Editor, APA Books

“I am marching because facts matter.”—Beth Hatch, Development Editor, APA Books

“I’m marching because climate change is one of the most pressing challenges of our time. I believe the only way to meet that challenge is by funding research, listening to scientists, and forming evidence based policies.”—Sarah Fell, Editor, Magination Press

“I grew up with science; I spent days off school and take-your-child-to-work days filling pipette tip trays in my mom’s lab. “Bringing her work home with her” sometimes meant tubes of fruit flies in the dining room. But I don’t march because of my personal connection to science; I march because science is important no matter who you are, and because science should inform policy, not the other way around.”—Katie ten Hagen, Editor, Magination Press

“The idea that listening to scientific research will somehow harm us is a disconcerting one, and not just research that applies to mental health and psychology. I grew up in a very rural area and I’ve seen first-hand the damage that can be done by a disregard for the environment. Shoving science under the rug doesn’t make the facts untrue and I’m concerned that too many people in positions of power are trying to because they see the facts as inconvenient. And so I want to join in to show that there are people who care about these things and that our voices deserve to be a part of the conversation. I’m hoping that it will open up a new dialogue about science that is separate from our political persuasions. I want people to think about the ways that science affects their everyday lives and realize that, as a country, our decision-making should be grounded in facts. We should be funding research and then listening to what the research tells us.”—Jessica Jeffers, Assistant Marketing Manager, APA Books

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From APA Members:
“The science of psychology has been fractured for more than a quarter century.  I march to realign psychology with what should be its common mission, and to elevate it to its rightful place among all sciences.”—Wallace E. Dixon, Jr., Ph.D.

“I am going to the DC March for Science because science is under attack, so Scientists must act. Fake news should be replaced by science news. You can’t make America Great without science.”—Kathleen Y. Haaland, Ph.D., ABPP-CN, Professor

“I am marching because science is fundamentally a search for truth, and truth has been threatened.  Science not only helps keep America great, it makes America—and the world—become better.”—Dr. Paula P. Schnurr