Archive for September, 2015

The Most Important Thing To Know About Parenting Sensitive Kids

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

The data supporting the idea that more sensitive, “vulnerable” people do worse than others do in bad conditions but better in good conditions is based mainly on studies of adverse conditions—and show repeatedly that the mere lack of bad, really trying conditions is enough to let orchids fare better than others do. In other words, they tend to thrive under even “pretty good” conditions, and don’t require extraordinary care; you needn’t build the best, most carefully climate-controlled greenhouse ever made; a safe but stimulating environment will likely serve splendidly. For parenting, this means doing the right thing most of the time, not all the time, and providing a good environment, not necessarily a great one, to make the most of a child’s high responsiveness to experience.
If that’s the case, then super-parenting isn’t needed. Bettelheim’s “good enough parenting” will do just fine.

I would add, regarding how to parent sensitive children, that if you’ve guarded against the most harsh experiences that can affect a child, it probably makes more sense to focus on providing lots of small, positive things than on being hypervigilant about protecting the child from every bump, insult, or troubling challenge. And anxious hypervigilance sends a message that the world is perhaps too dangerous to handle. Small expressions of support and confidence and reassurance send the message that though the world can bring trouble, we’re almost always up for it, and will recover from all but—and sometimes even those too—the most serious setbacks or injuries or insults.


Why All Couples Could Benefit from (Good) Couples Therapy

Friday, September 25th, 2015

Lena A. Derhally writes (wisely)

Going to couples therapy at any stage in your relationship is your class on learning relationship skills that most people aren’t really that intuitive about. What is the shame or harm in wanting to be better at something or more knowledgeable and educated in the things that matter most?

Finally, I would like to state that not all therapy or couples therapy is effective or good therapy. I have worked with people who have had prior bad experiences in therapy. It’s important to find the right fit in a therapist and to also make sure the theoretical orientation of the therapist is in line with you and your partner agree with.


What Men Really Think About Mental Health Stigma

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

Talking about mental health is the first step to eliminating the negative stereotype around it — but for men, this can be particularly challenging.

Approximately 6 million American men have depression each year, yet research shows many are reluctant to disclose their mental illness symptoms and are averse to seeking treatment. This is a dangerous trend considering mental health issues have the potential to lead to suicide — an act that results in more than 40,000 deaths in the United States each year.

As part of our ShameOver men’s mental health initiative, we asked several men to share their stories about depression, anxiety and mental illness stigma. Their answers are an honest insight into what it’s really like to deal with mental health issues in a society where “being a man” is equated with “being tough” — and “being tough” is equated with being silent.

Take a look at their stories in the video above — because there’s nothing emasculating about sharing your feelings.


I Argued That Class Participation Was Necessary. Then I Heard From Introverts.

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

I realized that I needed to come up with new techniques to encourage sharing in the classroom that stemmed from collaboration and joint efforts and offer ways for less verbal students to articulate their knowledge. Cain’s article offered one such technique, called “Think, Pair, Share.” This technique has become one of the most important tools in my teaching toolkit as it promotes collaboration and peer-to-peer learning among all students. Susan describes it beautifully, so here’s her explanation:

The teacher poses a question to the class and asks students to first reflect on or write down their answer, and then share it with a peer. Sometimes a shy student can find confidence through the encouragement of a single peer before sharing his idea with the larger classroom.


I personally like a lively, interactive classroom. But I also realize that trying to force everyone to participate on the same level and in the same way is not good. I’d rather have a well thought out point made by a shy student now and then than have to wade through lots of shallow ideas put out by those just needing to talk, for whatever reason (sometimes because they think that’s the way to get good grades and/or be noticed).

Finding other ways to encourage interaction by the shy is wise and certainly supportive of their learning needs.

Depression Literally Colors The Way We See The World

Saturday, September 5th, 2015

New research published last week in the journal Psychological Science finds that sadness can affect our vision, making the world appear more gray, by impairing the neural processes involved in color perception.

As it turns out, there’s a reason we use colors as a metaphor for emotion, with expressions like “feeling blue” or having a “gray day.”


Thomas Ramey Watson is an affiliate faculty member of Regis University's College of Professional Studies. He has served as an Episcopal chaplain (lay), trained as a psychotherapist, done postdoctoral work at Cambridge University, and was named a Research Fellow at Yale University.

In addition to his scholarly writings, he is a published author of poetry and fiction.