Book Launch for APA LifeTools® Release Held at the Brookings Institution

golinkoffRoberta Michnick Golinkoff, PhD, obtained her bachelor’s degree at Brooklyn College, her PhD at Cornell University, and was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship at the Learning Research and Development Center of the University of Pittsburgh. She is the Unidel H. Rodney Sharp Professor of Education and professor of psychology and of linguistics and cognitive science at the University of Delaware.

 

hirsch-pasekKathryn Hirsh-Pasek, PhD, is the Stanley and Debra Lefkowitz Distinguished Faculty Fellow in the Department of Psychology at Temple University and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Her research examines the development of early language and literacy, as well as the role of play in learning. With her long-term collaborator, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, she is the author of 12 books and hundreds of publications.

On June 7th the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, held a book launch for the new APA LifeTools® book, Becoming Brilliant: What Science Tells Us About Raising Successful Children.

The launch featured a presentation by the authors, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, PhD, and Kathryn Hirsh-Pasek, PhD, on the topic of the book, which offers solutions that parents can implement right now. Backed by the latest scientific evidence and illustrated with examples of what’s being done right in schools today, this book introduces the 6Cs—collaboration, communication, content, critical thinking, creative innovation, and confidence—along with ways parents can nurture their children’s development in each area.

The presentation was followed by a moderated panel that focused on what new systems can be put in place to help children develop a breadth of skills to thrive and find success in the workplace. In addition to the authors, the panel was comprised of Sherry Cleary, the executive director of the New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute, Susan Magsamen, the senior vice president of Early Learning at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Sarah Wolman, the head of partnerships, North America for the LEGO Foundation.

The authors also spoke about the event they helped lead on June 6th on the South Lawn of the White House, Ultimate Block Party, a social movement that focuses on the importance of play and playful learning in children’s lives.

Memorial Day 2016

Since the Civil War era, the United States has publicly honored its fallen soldiers in late spring. Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, is now a federal holiday celebrated on the last Monday in May. It has always been a poignant occasion but has taken on additional resonance since 2001, when the attacks of September 11 precipitated nearly fifteen years of warfare overseas that continues to this day.

Vietnam Was MemorialMilitary service is challenging under any circumstances, but combat certainly increases the peril. Too many American men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice since the Battles of Lexington and Concord, in addition to the even greater numbers of soldiers that have been damaged physically or psychologically. And while it is entirely appropriate to honor those that have fallen, that is not enough—our debt to those brave men and women goes well beyond that. We must pick up the mantle by caring for their comrades who have survived, and the family and friends they have left behind. The field of psychology has a core role to play in that mission, and APA Books has tried to do its part.

In the autumn of 2010, APA Books released Deployment Psychology: Evidence-Based Strategies to Promote Mental Health in the Military. Edited by military psychologists Amy Adler, Paul Bliese, and Carl Castro, it focused on systematic, evidence-based attempts to prevent mental health problems among service members and enhance their well-being and resilience.

In 2011 APA Books published Wheels Down: Adjusting to Life after Deployment. Part of APA’s LifeTools series, it was written by Bret Moore PsyD, a psychologist who served two tours in Iraq, and Dr. Carrie Kennedy, currently the Department Head for Mental Health at the U.S. Naval Health Clinic, Bahrain.  Moore and Kennedy wrote this book for veterans returning to “normal life” after being discharged. In it, they share practical insights for dealing with this often difficult adjustment and the surprises it can bring, including family challenges and financial problems, as well as residual effects such as PTSD, and even suicidal tendencies. New England Psychologist called it “the best self-help book of its kind, easily a stand-alone guide filled with practical and reasoned tips.”

2011 also marked the release of Caring for Veterans With Deployment-Related Stress Disorders: Iraq, Afghanistan, and Beyond, co-edited by Josef I. Ruzek, PhD, Paula P. Schnurr, PhD, Jennifer J. Vasterling, PhD, and Matthew J. Friedman, MD, PhD. Its introduction made clear our obligation to veterans who had served so bravely: “We must all broaden our skills to help these men and women. As practitioners, program administrators, policy makers, or students, we are called to go beyond our current understanding of the mental health consequence of deployment to master emerging knowledge.”

In 2013, APA Books published Building Psychological Resilience in Military Personnel: Theory and Practice, edited by Robert R. Sinclair PhD and Thomas W. Britt PhD. This volume investigates the concept of resilience, its essential role in normal psychological development and its central importance to the military, and evaluates existing programs designed to help U.S. service members develop and maintain resilience.

Memorial Day Weekend 2016 beckons.  Enjoy the three-day weekend, the “unofficial start of summer,” especially as much of the east coast has been slogging through the wettest spring in recent memory. Go to the beach, have a cookout, attend a ballgame, watch the Indianapolis 500. But don’t lost sight of what the holiday is all about: remembering, honoring, and helping those who have helped us.

 

Rain, Rain, Go Away

stephanie hendersonby Stephanie Henderson

I hit the snooze button for the third time, begrudgingly slumped out of bed and opened my curtains. It was still raining.

Here at APA headquarters in Washington, DC, it has been raining every day for the last three weeks.

Later that morning, during one of our routine chats, my mother asked me, “Are you doing okay? I know how down you can get when the sun hasn’t shined for a few days.” It was a valid question, considering that to keep me motivated in the winter I often play songs that remind me of summer. Although I have never been clinically diagnosed, her question made me think about seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Although many of us complain about the “winter blues,” SAD can severely affect one’s day-to-day life. The APA Dictionary of Psychology (2007) defines SAD as:rain-cloud-clipart

A mood disorder in which there is a predictable occurrence of major depressive episodes, manic episodes, or both at particular times of the year. The typical pattern is the occurrence of major depressive episodes during the fall or winter months. Also called seasonal mood disorder.

In Creating Well-Being: Four Steps to a Happier, Healthier Life, Pamela A. Hays (2014) explores the importance of light in improving one’s general well-being. While describing her time spent living in Alaska, Hays notes that during the winter the sun shines for only a few hours each day and for some people, this can lead to depression. She then goes on to say that “exposure to outdoor light helps to counter seasonal affective disorder” (p. 131) and cites studies that have shown how light that mimics sunlight can have similar effects.

Although SAD has only recently been recognized as a mental health diagnosis, research on SAD is steadily increasing. This past March, the National Institute of Mental Health published a comprehensive web page exploring SAD: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/seasonalaffectivedisorder.html).  More research still needs to be done, but in the meantime, let’s hope that “the sun will come out tomorrow!”

References

Hays, P. (2014). Creating well-being: Four steps to a happier, healthier life. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

VandenBos, G. R. (Ed.). (2007). APA dictionary of psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Open Pages: May is National Mental Health Awareness Month

APA Books Open Pages is an ongoing series in which we share interesting tidbits from upcoming books. Find the full list by browsing the Open Pages tag.

Thank you, President Obama, for proclaiming May 2016 as National Mental Health Awareness Month.

mental health awareness

Check out President Obama’s comments on Mental Health Awareness Month by clicking the ribbon above!

“I learned in graduate school that schizophrenia is the kiss of death. In the 1980s, most professionals accepted Emil Kraepelin’s (1987) description of the illness as a progressive downhill course where people ultimately end up in state hospital wards, unable to care for themselves. Grim prognoses for individuals with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses cast a wide pall; treatment was largely custodial, focusing on symptom management.  Poor outcomes were thought to reflect the person’s inability to understand illness and interventions; hence, adherence to treatment became a first principle.  My job was to help patients by hook or by crook take their medications and protect them from the unreasonable goals that would lead to relapse.  “Unreasonable” goals typically included those that led to work or independent living.

I learned from people who had these illnesses that most of what we believed to be true was wrong. Kraepelin’s assertions made more than 100 years ago were replaced by long-term follow-up research that showed that most people with even the most serious of mental illnesses recover.  Beyond the research, however, were lessons learned from people who had been challenged by significant illness and restrictive treatments but still achieved goals they set for themselves.”

From “Person-Centered Care for Mental Illness: The Evolution of Adherence and Self-Determination,” edited by Patrick W. Corrigan (pp. 3–4).

Keep Calm and Mother On

Becoming a Calm Mom

“Happy Mother’s Day!”

If you are a new mom, that phrase may generate apprehension, or mixed emotions. In the first year of motherhood, days can be hectic, filled with moments of happiness but also anxiety, sadness, and frustration. Unfortunately, friends and family may not ask about or want to discuss negative emotions.

In Becoming a Calm Mom, Deborah Roth Ledley, mother of two and an experienced cognitive behavioral therapist, says that “when we suppress thoughts that we perceive to be unacceptable, we end up feeling worse” (pp. 20–21):

There is an expectation that once your little bundle of joy is placed in your arms in the delivery room, you will immediately know how to be a mom. This is an unrealistic expectation. Learning to care for a baby takes time, as you get to know your baby and your baby gets to know you and becomes familiar with the world. As for being a calm mom, this too takes time. (p. 10)

In this book, Dr. Ledley seeks to “assure new mothers that their experiences and emotions are shared by others,” and offers strategies for how to handle the stresses of the first year of motherhood. Based on her professional and personal experiences, she developed six strategies that together, make up the Calm Mom Toolbox:

Each strategy can help you through a myriad of situations. Getting advice from our friends, moms, and sisters is great. But the six strategies differ from advice in a few ways. First, the strategies have been used for years in clinical practice, and they truly do lead to improved functioning and a greater sense of life satisfaction. Second, they each involve a learning skill. Rather than having a friend tell you what to do, or tell you what worked for her, these strategies involve a basic process through which you can figure out what works best for you. Finally, these skills can be used in many situations. They are helpful not only in your adjustment to being a new mom but are also skills you can use for the rest of your life when stress and anxiety threaten to get in the way of your living a fulfilling and enjoyable life. (p. 23)

The six strategies of the Calm Mom Toolbox are described in Chapters 2 and 3, along with numerous real-world examples. In the remaining chapters, Dr. Ledley discusses how to use these strategies to reduce related anxiety in several key areas: taking care of your baby, taking care of yourself, and nurturing your relationships with friends and family.

APA Books wishes you a happy and calm Mother’s Day.