Researchers Li, Hestenes, and Wang (2016) studied make believe play (otherwise known as pretend play) in outdoor childcare settings as most studies investigated make believe play in indoor childcare settings. The study found that outdoor settings provided more opportunities for children to use their imagination in play.
Make believe play improves children's cognitive and social development, language development, creativity, impulse control, coping strategies, and emotion development. There was also positive relationship between make believe play and social competence but not with following rules.
There was no gender difference in outside make believe play, however other studies investigating indoors make believe play have found that boys tend to engage in concrete pretend play (using objects) while girls used abstract pretend play (transforming ideas). Outdoor play may promote gender equality because it offers more opportunities for different types of play in which girls and boys can effortlessly discover their roles.
This research has important implications in helping those who care for young children to understand the importance of make believe play, especially outdoors. This is an important message in an era where children area spending more hours playing online games than in outdoor activities.
Source: Li, J., Hestenes, L. L., & Wang, Y. C. (2016). Links between preschool children's social skills and observed pretend play in outdoor childcare environments. Journal of Early Childhood Education, 44, 61-68.
I have been reading a book called "Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (and Parents Sane)" and decided to share some insights I have learned from the book as believe it is an important message to spread. The book is authored by Gavin De Becker, who himself experienced abuse from his own mother when he was a child and now works to help others identify predators and abusive people to prevent harm.
People who do abuse, usually come from abusive families or have been abused in some way themselves. However as you know, some use their experience to help others prevent abuse such as the author Gavin.
Gavin discusses the "survival signals" that will help identify predators. These include:
I will use the pronouns his/her because even though it is mostly males who abuse, it is also important to be aware that females can also abuse others, such as it was Gavin's drug addicted mother who used to bash all her children for hours at a time.
Forced teaming is when the predator will use the word "we", "both of us", or "we're a team" in his/her conversations. If this happens when you just met someone then be aware that it is a sign of grooming.
Charm and niceness is used as a strategy to again groom the parent/caregiver and or child to his/her web of deceit. Gavin says that if the person comes across as too nice, then it is probably too good to be true. The person will be nice to initiate a social interaction, but once he/she develops trust, then it will transform into abusive behavior where boundaries will be violated.
Too many details will be provided by the predator to again continue the social interaction and also gain further information of the person they want to abuse. Gavin mentions that when people are deceitful, they will give too many details to assume honesty, however an honest person won't need to include so much detail because of their sincerity. Too many details may include what his/her own child has as a pet, what type of pet, his/her child's name, where he or she goes to school, etc. The predator may not even have a child, but will mention this to build rapport and trust.
Typecasting is what predators do to make the parent/caregiver and/or child feel insecure and let the child into his/her own care. For example, he/she may say that the parent/caregiver is overprotective, so the parent/caregiver will want to prove he/she is not and let the child spend time with the predator.
Loan-sharking is when the predator offers to help the parent/caregiver, but expects more in return. For example, the predator will come visit the parents, befriend them, offer to do the gardening, shopping or spend time with them and in return may ask to spend alone time with the child.
The unsolicited promise is when the predator provides an empty promise to gain trust. Gavin says to trust your intuition of what the person says, and if it doesn't feel right, then it probably is not right.
Discounting the word "no" is when the predator will not hear the word no. The predator will keep following and asking in a variety of ways, even though you said no.
An example Gavin provides is when a parent was shopping with her young son in a busy market. The predator noticed that the boy could not be bothered shopping with his mum (predator noticed vulnerability here) so approached them to offer to spend time with the boy while the mother shopped (unsolicited promise and loan sharking). Surprised at the offer of leaving her son with a stranger, the predator kept asking, the mother kept saying no, but in the meantime the predator kept mentioning his own son, his sons favourite pet (too many details and discounting the word no), said she was probably overprotective (typecasting), often used the word "we" (forced-teaming), was too nice, and promised to bring him back (unsolicited promise), while the mother shopped in peace (loan sharking). While the mother thought this man was crazy with his suggestion, her attention went to shoes she liked. At the same time the predator took her son away because the boy started to gain trust in this man who had a son his own age. The mother noticed her son missing, but her son and the predator was too far for her to catch them. They disappeared out of her sight. She never saw her son again.
Gavin continually stresses to listen to your intuition to identify a predator. If somebody does not feel right, then leave without a thought. Intuition and identifying the signals to survive is what can save you and your child/children.
Gavin also says to keep your child safe, tell them to go to a nearest woman if they feel there is danger rather than tell them to go to a nearest police station (as the closest one may be too far) or to a nearest male (as most predators are mainly men). Also females are known to be nurturing and therefore mostly likely to spend time helping. Also, teach your child how to approach safe strangers so they can learn what is safe and not safe and how to get help. If they learn stranger danger, then seeking help may be too difficult if every body is considered dangerous. For example a mother would ask her son to approach a stranger and ask for the time. One day he did need help, and was able to identify a safe person and ask for help.
On a last note, even though children who have experienced violence or have been abused will most likely become violent or abusive such as controlling, the experience can actually help them use their adversity into becoming successful. It is important that when you see a child who is rough on the outside, that they actually need love to be filled on the inside. In summary, look beyond what you see, empathise with them, help them identify where their behaviour is coming from (their past experiences) and that they can become more than what they have learned as a child. As Gavin says "You and I can give that same gift (help them learn that their violent and/or abusive past can teach them how to be better and may even give them knowledge to teach others how not to behave) to abused children, children who are not, contrary to popular belief, destined to become violent adults. If we show them that they are the residents of their homes and not the architects, then where they are needn't limit where they go". Teaching them that it was not their fault the violence occurred, will help them learn they did not cause the unhealthy behaviour, but can learn from the experience to become a better person.
Systems theory suggests that every person lives in a system which cannot be considered linear as many different situations causes an effect. Therefore when one person is treated badly, there will be various circumstances that can explain the outcome. The circumstance may be that the person causing the treatment may be feeling bad themselves but need to see it in someone else, which was caused by their own past. It could also be that the person who feels that they are treated badly lacks assertive skills and is not sure how to manage the interaction. Therefore you would have to look at the needs of the system itself (such as system at the workplace or family structure, which is also known as second-order) and the needs of the individual (which is also known as first order) and create a balance.
Using systems theory is also helpful in the workplace, as interactions and behaviour is caused by the system in the workplace. Therefore considering one particular situation may not be as helpful as considering various aspects. As example, suggested by Ms Smith-Acuna, an employee was having trouble with a colleague and felt anxious, unsupported and was too apologetic, however her own way of conducting the meeting (fitting in the with system) needed improvement and she needed to improve her assertive skills (changing the individual) to improve how the meetings functioned, while her colleague needed to change her behaviour as she was critical and impatient. If the change-agent was to only look at the two people, then important details would have been missed. Details of how the meetings were run (system of the organisation) and how the individual fit within the system (second-order system).
Another example is family therapy using systems therapy. A teenager was always angry, but when he was able to manage his anger, another teenager in the family started playing up. It was discovered that the children were expressing the anger that the parent needed to express (of the marriage). However, once the parent realised what was really going on (a system that may have lasted generations and can be resistant to change), the dynamics of the whole family started to change. Systems theory can also help understand that change in behaviour can cause change in systems, however systems need to be considered in two parts - the rules, roles and boundaries that support the system which always works toward maintaining homeostasis and the structure of the system. It is also important to remember that systems also has sub-systems (e.g., department in the workplace) which need to be considered.
In summary, behaviour is often reinforced by the system the person is in as it is providing feedback. You will need to ask is the system causing me to behave, feel or think in this way or do I need to change to fit in the system. What needs to change to create a balance? Often, in the workplace it is usually the latter as some people may fit in the system and some may not and either need to change or move out. You would have to look at the whole picture, and its different parts, to understand the causes.
Source: Systems Theory in Action - Application to individual, couples and family therapy by Shelly Smith-Acuna.
The conundrum of human behaviour. It can be playful, rewarding, hurtful, encouraging, and comforting. Can it be judged by what you see at first sight? I don't think so. Sometimes you need to interact for a while to find out the truth. Sometimes, people will use their social skills to manipulate or use desirable or undesirable qualities to achieve a conscious or unconscious goal that may be hurtful or helpful to others. Moreover, others will seek out vulnerable qualities to take advantage of another person to achieve their own goal. Do you remain on guard or trust completely. Do you work with your head or your heart only. I'd say both.
If you have a mind that looks for patterns and consistencies, sometimes a person will thwart what you assumed. They will do something completely the opposite to what you expected. The evidence before you suddenly changed. Or is it what you only wanted to see, and the evidence before you no longer supports what you perceived? Remember, that perception is filtered from your belief system. What about if you are value driven, do you change your values or change what is around you or just accept without judgement? It's a conundrum, surely.
Carl Rogers used person centred therapy on a client who he found out told a lie the whole time because the client realised he could get away with it. He took advantage of the situation. The therapy was to provide unconditional positive regard conditions in the treatment room. To accept fully what the client had said, without judgement. Whereas in contemporary counselling, the therapist will look for inconsistencies to challenge the client so they will be aware of their words and actions. The strategy is to help them grow out of a dysfunctional pattern and create conditions for change. Carl Rogers' technique is today mainly used to build a rapport with the client and as part of the treatment, not the treatment itself.
In the end, every day is a learning experience. The test is to use each experience as a chance to grow yourself. To realise that you cannot change others and that if they did indeed choose to use your vulnerabilities as a chance to manipulate you, that you have learned from the experience and to grow from it. It is also a chance to realise that yesterday no longer exists, but was part of your wonderful experience. Today is a gift and to be open enough to learn from what you have been presented with and tomorrow is a day you will never know, as they say a mystery.
Therefore human behaviour is a conundrum, but I'm guessing that it is meant to be. That it enables life to be a classroom, where we learn from each other. To accept others fully, to not be so judgemental but to learn that there is the good, the bad, and that each will bring out what we need to be challenged in order to grow into a better person.
I just want to add, that for those who have Autism, ADHD or are highly intelligent that human behaviour is more of a challenge because you find shifting perspective a challenge, you continually look for patterns and that you think more with your head than emotionally. You also notice detail more, highly sensitive and the outside world can be exhausting. But if you learn the skills, learn more about yourself and how to manage what you find too difficult sometimes, such as change, you can become a master at learning about differences and that when something unexpected thwarts you that feeling completely uncomfortable is part of the growth process. Just be okay with it and continue to grow. It would be easier living in a bubble and to only use your mind, but life experience will teach you more than a book, a classroom or the internet. Sometimes it will hurt, sometimes it will be joyful, but staying the same won't help either.
This event is not run by JB Consulting and Psychology, but only passing on the message.
Please pass this on to your clients, family and friends, particularly young people, and remember this is a free public event for all!
Featuring: imatter, Smiling Mind, Project Rockit
Calling the whole public! This year for National Psychology Week 2015, the APS Melbourne Branch will be hosting a free public seminar on the topic of the ‘Social Media and Smartphone Apps: Improving Mental Health in Young People’.
Brought to you by The Melbourne Branch (of APS) this forum features prsenters from several not-for-profit organisations to speak about how they have used social media and smartphone applications to improve the mental health and well-being of young people. The forum also includes the lived experience of a young person who has used these applications and social media strategies to combat their own mental health problems.
This event is open to all members of the public, particularly those interested in recent developments within social media and young people.
People who would benefit from attending are the young people who are most affected by this topic, parents, and mental health practitioners.
Who are our presenters?
PROJECT ROCKIT: PROJECT ROCKIT builds spaces where imagination, leadership, creative expression and acceptance are available to all young people, regardless of their social label, grades, gender, sexuality or cultural background.
PROJECT ROCKIT has now worked with hundreds of thousands of school students and presented at major national and international conferences as (cyber) bullying experts. In 2012, PROJECT ROCKIT launched an innovative online anti-bullying curriculum, which is an Australian first in the fight against (cyber) bullying.
Smiling Mind: Smiling Mind is modern meditation for young people. It is a unique web and App-based program, designed to help bring balance to young lives. It is a not-for-profit initiative based on a process that provides a sense of calm, clarity and contentment.
imatter: The free iMatter app has been developed by counselling service Doncare and launched with the support of Australian of the Year and domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty.
The app helps women identify signs that a relationship is unhealthy, such as a partner acting overprotective, possessive and jealous, to empower them to leave these relationships before they become abusive. Recent research revealed that around one in five Australian women under the age of 20 has experienced domestic violence, and many young women misinterpret abusive behaviours, such as excessive jealousy and controlling tendencies, as signs of affection.
Venue: The Wheeler Centre 176 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Date: Friday 13th November 2015
Organiser: APS - Melbourne Branch
Contact: Paula Teggelove at firstname.lastname@example.org
To register, go to: https://events.psychology.org.au/ei/getdemo.ei?id=1619&s=_1WO0NH9KZ
For more information, go to: http://www.psychology.org.au/Events/EventView.aspx?ID=16240
Please pass this on to your clients, family and friends, particularly young people, and remember this is a free public event for all!
Here is a classic example of how you can achieve even though resources seem short - Hermann Vol Helmholtz, scientist from the past, found that his teachers at school were not teaching well enough to satisfy his intelligence so he read scientific books in his spare time. His father did not have enough money to send him to further education that Hermann wanted so he found a government funded program for the talented. In the end Hermann got what he wanted. Hermann contributed to psychology by formulating theories such as auditory perception and colour vision.
During research for psychology, before you can test whether the data you have is significant or not, an assumptions test has to be made. An assumptions test includes locating outliers as they can create problems for the outcome. Therefore the data that has been collected needs to be normally distributed. So the outlier, which is a person who has characteristics not normally distributed such as age or the way they answered, needs to either be:
The point to this story is what if your personality is considered an outlier. What if you are considered so different that you or somebody else in your life has adjusted your personality so you resemble everybody else, you felt like deleting yourself because you wanted so much to be like everyone else that you either felt ashamed or embarrassed or you believed that you were not a problem, embraced your individuality and felt comfortable to express your true self. You do all these things so everybody's assumptions and opinion becomes significant to you. It matters. No matter how unhappy you feel, you want to fit in and become accepted to the norm. You don't want assumptions violated.
So how do you know you are an outlier -
What to do:
Notice the signs. If you are feeling disrespected, depressed or empty then you are most probably not being true to yourself. Understand that you are not like the norm, that your different personality has a special place in society, learn about what that is, embrace it and develop your gifts. Show off your gifts, shout out to the world that you are you and proud of you. Don't even think about deleting yourself or adjusting yourself to fit the norm but shine!
A study conducted by Kistenmacher and Robert Weiss investigated the use of motivational interviewing on men who batter. It was found that the treatment improved changes compared to the control group, which did not receive any type of motivational interviewing.
The stage of change model was used to identify if the participants recognised that they were hurting their partner. The study stated that most battering men don't believe in hitting women, however their behaviour states otherwise. Therefore in treatment, denial would have to be recognised and addressed. Moreover, when abusers are in the pre contemplation stage of change they usually blame their partners for the abuse, don't understand the benefits of changing and won't end their abusive and/or violent behaviour.
It was discussed in the literature that there is no "one best fit treatment" for abusive and violent people, however matching the best treatment plan to suit individual needs will produce the best outcome. For example, when using cognitive behaviour therapy, there is a suggestion from the therapist that the client is in action stage, when in fact he or she may not even recognise the harm he or she is doing to others. Therefore motivational interviewing may be necessary before any action is taken. Using this approach will help the client become aware of the benefits of change and the harm they are causing. Therefore the client is the one suggesting "why" to change, which in turn starts the process of motivation to change.
The study suggested that motivational interviewing should be paired with other treatment plans to increase potential for positive change and end the violent and/or abusive behaviour.
Source: Kistenmacher, B. R., & Weiss, R. L. (2008). Motivational interviewing as a mechanism for change in meant who batter: A randomised controlled trial. Journal of Violence and Victims, 23 (5), 558-570.
“Looking at beauty in the world, is the first step of purifying the mind.”
by Amit Ray
“Happiness is part of who we are. Joy is the feeling”
by Tony DeLiso
“Your greatest awakening comes, when you are aware about your infinite nature.”
by Amit Ray
Intermittent explosive disorder (IED) is characterised as extreme outbursts of aggressive behaviour that can lead to damage or destruction of property and physically injuring animals and/or people within a 12-month period and the behaviour is out of proportion to the circumstance. The behaviour is short-lived and impacts social and vocational aspects of the individual’s life. One example of IED behaviour is road rage as mentioned in the psychological literature.
Over the years, research for IED has found that the disorder in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual I - IV was too narrow and each manual therefore broadened the disorder. Initially the disorder excluded individuals who had generalised aggression between the explosive acts (DSM II), whereas in the DSM-5 it does allow these symptoms. The implication for allowing generalised aggression between the explosive acts is that more people are able to become diagnosed and therefore receive appropriate treatment. Another important change includes symptoms classified as severe to less severe meaning that IED is dimensional. The challenges that researchers have found when reexamining the disorder was that there are over 200 meanings for aggression causing a lack of precision in creating measurement tools for research and that low prevalence rates did not provide enough participants for research purposes.
Intermittent Explosive Disorder is not a part of another mental disorder but can be diagnosed in addition if it occurs when the other disorder is not present. Individuals with IED show characteristics of impatience, hostility, trait-anger, being assaultive and resentment. They also have greater prevalence of mood disorder and higher levels of state and trait anxiety. Individuals with IED tend to console their victims after the attack as they did not want the outburst to occur and became remorseful.
Research has found that individuals who have symptoms of IED are often in the correctional system and tend to miss out on treatment. It is important to understand an individual's aggressive outbursts from a therapeutical point of view to correct the behaviour with the appropriate treatment.
American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author, 2013.
Baron, R. A., & Richardson, D. R. (1994). Human Aggression (2nd ed.). New York: Plenum Press.
Coccaro, E. F. (2010). A family history study of intermittent explosive disorder. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 44, 1101-1105.
Coccaro, E. F., Kavoussi, R. J., Berman, M. E., & Lish, J. D. (1998). Intermittent explosive disorder-revised: Development, reliability, and validity of research criteria. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 39(8), 368-376.
Galovski,, T., & Blanchard, E. B. (2002). Psychological characteristics of aggressive drivers with and without intermittent explosive disorder. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 40, 1157-1168.
Saha, A. (2010). A case of intermittent explosive disorder. Industrial Psychiatry Journal, 19(1), 55-57. doi: 10.4103/0972-6748.77639.
Information on latest research and strategies to improve mental health, trauma symptoms and trauma-informed care for children, young people and adults.