Docsplainin' -- it's what I do

Docsplainin'--it's what I do.
After all, I'm a doc, aren't I?

Sunday, May 31, 2009

New rule

There oughta be a rule about moving, but I'll be durned if I can think of one. Unless it's, "Don't do it unless you absolutely, positively have to."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I have been thinking lately about reinstituting my old rule about requiring three weeks' notice from clients who wish to terminate so that we can do the review described in this essay.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

In which Dr. Wood attempts to work without Larry

Every single time I came through that door I wanted to say something to My Little Green Man. I never realized before how much and how often I talk to him. I missed him today!

Wonder what, if anything, that says about my mental health.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

In which Larry Bird is happily settled in at home

Today was moving day for Larry Bird. I had to net him, because of course he wouldn't step up, and that was pretty traumatic for both of us. He had to ride home in the truck in his travel cage, and we heaved his big condo into the back. We brought him in just ahead of the rains this afternoon, and before long he was back in his home cage eating and playing with his toys and chortling softly the way he does.

I am going to miss having him at the office this week, but I think he'll be happier here in the long run. He won't be alone on the weekends, for one thing. And for another, he has a big double window right next to his cage, which we open in good weather. So, as he did today, he can look out over the garden instead of a parking lot, and he can listen to the rain and the songbirds and enjoy the fresh air.

I will just have to find another way to figure out when clients are suppressing their anger.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The basics

I am reading Jane Hall on Deepening the Treatment. It's a book for beginners (she teaches technique at an analytic institute). I didn't realize it was for beginners when I bought it, otherwise I would not have.

Liv Ullman
wrote in her memoirs that the book you need comes into your hands when you need it. I picked this one up the other day because every time I walked past my bookshelf it called out to me.

So far, and I'm a couple of chapters in, I haven't read anything I didn't already know. But I'm hanging on every word, nevertheless, partly because Hall says what she says so well, but mainly because she is reminding me why I became a therapist in the first place.

Managed care and training as a psychologist exert a powerful pull. Hall reminds us all of our roots.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Does your school have one?

Lance Helms sent a message to the members of Safe Schools for All, a Facebook group, and I am pasting it in here.

Subject: Summer reading: GSA 101


Whether you're a student, parent or concerned community member, one of the ways you can support safe schools for all is to support the formation of GSA's, or gay-straight alliances, when school is back in session next fall.

Not limited to gay students by any means, GSA's are commonly inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning students and their allies.

Supporting GSA youth is as simple as asking any student you know whether their school has a GSA. If not, maybe they'd like to consider starting one next fall, when most student clubs get formed.

For any student who'd like to know more about how to start a GSA in their school, Lambda Legal has an excellent GSA resource that's part of their "Out, Safe & Respected" toolkit for LGBTQ students. Here's an excerpt:

"A gay-straight alliance, or GSA, is a club for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning students and straight allies.

"There are lots of different kinds of GSA's. GSA's can be social clubs (some GSA's host dances and movie nights), support groups (some GSA's provide a safe place for LGBTQ students and their allies to talk about problems), educational outposts (some GSA's organize guest speakers or create displays for National Coming Out Day) or advocacy groups (some GSA's participate in GLSEN’s National Day of Silence or push for sexual orientation and gender identity to be added to their school’s nondiscrimination policy).

"Talk with your friends, reach out to other students and decide what you’d like your GSA to focus on. There are more than 3,000 GSA's in schools nationwide, and there is lots of information available about forming a GSA. No matter what its focus is, your GSA can play an important role in addressing homophobia and anti-transgender discrimination and can help create a safe space for LGBTQ students."

So start the conversation today! Chances are, whoever you start the conversation with will be glad you did.

Lambda Legal's "So You Wanna Start A GSA":;

Lambda Legal's "Out, Safe & Respected":;

PFLAG's Safe Schools / Cultivating Respect homepage:;

Yours in community,

Lance Helms
PFLAG Gulf Regional Director

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Hoo, boy

John Best, over at Hating Autism, has started a bit of a blog war with his latest post, "Ask Newsweek to kill Ari Ne'eman." Called to task for the inflammatory title, he then commented:
I believe that everyone associated with Neurodiversity should be put to death for the propaganda they perpetrate against curing horribly disabled children. They are part of the lies told by vaccine makers and politicians who continue to cause autism intentionally.

I believe that autism is the greatest crime in the history of the planet and that anyone who has been involved with it in any way deserves to die, preferably slowly and with great pain. So, while I don't suggest that anyone should shoot Ari Ne'eman in the head, I do think he deserves a trial for his role in this atrocity. I hope the outcome of that trial would be death.
Hard to know where to start with this one. My heart goes out to Mr. Best (and Mrs. Best--I assume there is one) for the tragedy of their son's illness. I have no sympathy, however, for this kind of bitterness and hatred, never mind the irresponsible talk of killing people.

If Mr. Best wants to talk about atrocities, perhaps he should point his finger not at politicians and vaccine-makers, but at all those folks who won't vaccinate their children: The anti-vaccine movement in the long run has the potential to cause many more illnesses and deaths than autism ever did. Or at the health-care system that is going to make it impossible for his son to remain at home.

But I digress. It's a human trait to look for someone to blame. Accepting that stuff happens is hard. It's easier and more emotionally satisfying (in the short run) to be angry at God, the government, another person, or a minority group. But in the long run, all that rage isn't going to change our conditions one whit. And realistically speaking, it won't prevent another case of our disorder, either. Given that stuff happens, and we all have to deal with it when it happens to us, the best course is acceptance. That is the road to inner peace, in the long haul. It is what is is: Now what are we going to do with it?

If there is somebody to blame, then of course they should be held responsible. But Mr. Best is incorrect in his claim that vaccines cause autism, as has been scientifically demonstrated. He is also incorrect that Asperger's is not autism, or that persons (like Ne'eman) diagnosed at 12 can't possibly be autistic. Autism exists on a spectrum, with Asperger's at the high end. And people with high-end autism most certainly do go to college--and to grad school. High-end autism cases do go undiagnosed until people reach certain developmental stages and start hitting a wall. This is true of several disabilities which first manifest in childhood, such as Attention Deficit Disorder Without Hyperactivity.

Best is also wrong about the neurodiversity movement's goals. The movement isn't about not curing disorders. It's about not othering us.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

More changes

The House Wrens are building a nest this week in the box out back of the office, and the House Finches have started a new nest on top of one of the porch columns (having presumably lost theirs in the Great Leland Cypress Massacre). But we won't be here to see them raise their little families as we are moving at the end of May.

I am relocating to Cherokee Counseling and Psychological Associates, LLP, effective June 1st. And Larry Bird is relocating to our house.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A client's view

Like most psychologists, I collect shrink 'toons. A customer contributed this one.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I don't even like Leland Cypress, but when I came to work Monday morning and found that ours had all been chopped down, I thought I would cry.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Maybe next year

I didn't find out about this until today, but it seems like a cool idea. Now in its 4th year, it happens every May 1st.

In the meantime, here's a great link to a post about the language of disability.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

what I look like when I'm grading

Friday, May 1, 2009

Mental Retardation

Not my area of expertise. But seems to me it would be cool if the next version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association, changed the language. In the meantime, I'm working at trying to change my habits.

Souter retires. . .

. . . and we have an opportunity! The National Organization for Women is circulating a petition on the internet that you can sign asking the President to appoint a woman to the Supreme Court.

Women lack role models at the highest levels of government, business, and the professions. We lack voices at the highest levels of decision-making in government, business, and the professions. The Supreme Court, like most corporate boards, Congress, or any other high-profile group you care to name, does not reflect the diversity of our population.

This is a chance for the President to rectify that situation just a little bit. It would be good for women everywhere to see a woman on the bench! So let's all go to NOW's website and give The Man a shoutout!