Sunday, September 27, 2015

September 2015 Update

Favorite picture of the month
my brand new niece Leilani

This has been an incredibly busy month for me. I started my second class of the semester (now I'm taking Abnormal Psychology and an EMT certification class). These, together with my full time job in a nursing home and my volunteer work at a crisis hotline, keep me feeling pretty darned overwhelmed. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Brave New Films: This is Crazy

In a previous post, I discussed my thoughts on Frontline's New Asylums documentary, about the overcriminalization of the mentally ill. Millions of taxpayer dollars are being spent on housing the mentally ill in prisons, when they could be treated more affordably (and more humanely) by the community. Because that video (filmed in 2005) left me with a lot of questions, I looked up some more recent resources. Of the videos I watched, my favorite was a series created by Brave New Films.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Game of Thrones, by George R. R. Martin

Game of Thrones, by George R. R. Martin

What can I say about Game of Thrones that hasn't already been said? I'm not even sure how to summarize it properly because there is so much that would be left out. But, briefly, Lord Eddard Stark is swept up into a web of conspiracy when he is suddenly demanded to go to the capital city to be the Hand of the King. He must protect his family, his honor, and the king from enemies - and everyone is an enemy. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Frontline: New Asylums

New Asylums (2005) is a Frontline documentary that delves into the problem of housing the mentally ill in prison systems. Believe it or not, the world's three largest asylums for mentally ill are the Cook County Jail in Chicago, the Twin Towers of the Los Angeles County Jail, and Riker's Island in New York. This problem has been escalating ever since the mid 1900's when deinstitutionalization of mentally ill and intellectually challenged became a popular movement to encourage "humane" treatment of mentally ill and to reduce state expenditures on medical care. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Contemporary viewpoints on treating mental illness - psychology

This post will discuss the psychological causes and treatments of mental illness, as described in Butcher's Abnormal Psychology.

Psychological viewpoints consider humans not only as biological entities but as products of our personalities and experiences. There are three major psychosocial views on behavior: psychodaynamic, behavioral, and cognitive-behavioral. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Contemporary viewpoints on treating mental illness - biology

Chapter 3 of Butcher's Abnormal Psychology has too much information for me to adequately summarize in one post. Therefore, I will break it into a few posts. So please bear with me. Of the chapters so far, this chapter was the longest and the least interesting to me. Which is unfortunate, because it's also the chapter that has the highest distribution of points in the upcoming exam. 

The main purpose of this chapter is to review the three contemporary viewpoints on treating mental illness - biological, psychological, and social. This post will review the biological causes of mental illness.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Abnormal Psychology in Contemporary Society

Our class only read part of chapter 17 of Butcher's Abnormal Psychology: a section about inpatient mental health treatment in contemporary society and another about controversial legal issues and the mentally ill. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Epic of Gilgamesh - Historical Background

History of the epic

The Epic of Gilgamesh is the oldest epic still in existence. Coming from the third millennium BCE, it predates Homer's epics by at least one and a half thousand years. It is from a time long forgotten by historians - only rediscovered in the last century by archaeologists in the Middle East. The fascinating part about the Epic of Gilgamesh is that even though it is 5 millennia old the humanity and passion of the story still resonate with readers today. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A History of Abnormal Psychology

Chapter 2 of Butcher's Abnormal Psychology is a bit harder to summarize than Chapter 1. It covered the reactions of people towards  the mentally ill throughout history. There were lots of names mentioned, and trends galore. But I will try to focus on the ones that I found most interesting. 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Definition of Abnormal

Well, my first week of Abnormal Psychology is through. We've read chapters 1-2 of our textbook, Abnormal Psychology by James N Butcher.

Chapter 1 was mainly about defining "abnormal" in the sense of "abnormal psychology." This is a lot more difficult than you might imagine. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Blank Slate, by Stephen Pinker

The Blank Slate, by Stephen Pinker; narrated by Victor Bevine

In The Blank Slate, Pinker outlines three dogmas that he says are the prevailing views of human nature in modern philosophy: 

1) The blank slate, in which the mind has no innate (genetic) properties and, as John Watson boasted, through conditioning you could train a child to become anybody you want her to become. 

2) The noble savage, in which people are born good, and society forms them into deviants. Pinker suggested that Rousseau was a strong proponent of this theory, but according to Wikipedia (which is always accurate), Rousseau never used this term. 

3)  The ghost in the machine, in which people's choices are solely dependent upon their soul.