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Who’s READING What?

Editor’s Note: This edition of Bookshelf shifts the focus from who’s writing what to who’s reading what.

I asked a few people what books they’ve read and which ones they would recommend to others. I received some interesting suggestions, and added a few of my own.

Judith Steward, Ph.D.

Anatomy of An Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America, by Robert Whitaker

“This is a well-written, well researched, and shocking book. In my opinion all psychologists should read it because it provides insight into the pros and cons of psychotropic medication and provides research on more effective means of helping patients, with important evidence from other countries. It clarifies the role of pharmaceutical companies and physicians in promoting drugs with inaccurate information.”

The TAO of Leadership: Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching Adapted for a New Age, by John Heider

“Wonderfully helped me to let go of my more confrontational methods of coping. And of course, everything changed.”

Mike Chafetz, Ph.D.

One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

“My favorite book of all time is: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It is magic! I recently re-read it for about the 10th time, and expect to read it again many more times. It is more nature than nurture, as we wander through the geneology beginning with Jose Arcadio Buendia and his wife, Ursula, the matriarch of this family who lives over the hundred year period. Her biggest fear is that, through inbreeding, one of the children of the family will be born with the tail of a pig. Colonel Aureliano Buendia starts the book with a future remembrance: !Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.” There’s plenty more wondrous discoveries in here. “

Kim VanGeffen, Ph.D.

Dial H for Hitchcock, by Susan Kandel

“I grew up reading the Nancy Drew mystery series and I still enjoy reading mysteries. I learned many life lessons following Nancy’s adventures such as the importance of being independent and resourceful and of always carrying a flashlight in your car.

The book which I just finished is called “Dial H for Hitchcock” which is the fifth in a series by Susan Kandel. The books follow the adventures of CeCe Caruso who writes biographies of mystery writers. While doing her research, she becomes embroiled in a mystery of her own. I became aware of the series when I read the first one called “Not a Girl Detective” which is about Carolyn Keene, the author of the Nancy Drew series. Other books have profiled writers such as Agatha Christie, Earl Stanley Gardner (of Perry Mason fame) and Dashiell Hammett. In “Dial H for Hitchcock,” the heroine is researching Alfred Hitchcock and becomes involved in a mystery in which many of the clues relate to Hitchcock’s movies. This is a fun, light series for mystery fans.”

Penny Dralle, Ph.D.

Letters from Yellowstone, by Diane Smith

“I read it while visiting Yellowstone. It is very interesting that it was done in letters and it is about the efforts to save Yellowstone from being totally commercialized. It is also about the early feminist efforts to be recognized as naturalists.”

Bryan Gros, Ph.D.

Treatments That Work With Children: Empirically Supported Strategies for Managing Childhood Problems, by Edward Christophersenand Susan Mortweet; and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Impulsive Children: Therapist Manual, by Philip Kendall

Marilyn Medoza, Ph.D. (Author, We Do Not Die Alone)

Many Lives, Many Masters: The True Story of A Prominent Psychiatrist, His Young Patient and the Past-Life Therapy That Changed Both Their Lives, by Brian Weiss

“It’s fascinating. It’s about past-life regression and one of my favorites.”

Julie Nelson, Ph.D.

Psychological Science, Current Directions in Psychological Science, Psychological Science in the Public Interest, and Perspectives on Psychological Science, comes with an APS (American Psychological Society) Membership

“For only $188 a year an APS membership gives you four super journals. You also get the online versions and the searchable database with back issues. It would make a fine present for a close colleague. My favorite is Perspectives on Psychological Science, but all four can (almost) keep you up with the explosion in research that’s going on”.

On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction, by William Zinsser

“This book is fun and provides enormously helpful writing advice. For $15 it should make a neat gift for colleagues and friends who want to write for the public, or write better. Zinsser sees Americans and maybe especially scholars, as being some of the worse offenders of good writing.”

John Adams, by David McCullough

“This Pulitzer winning book is a wonderful study of the man, the times, and the ideas that helped create our country. McCullough is, of course, a marvelous historian, but John Adams thought and wrote about everything. He journaled daily and that, along with his letters to Abigail and Jefferson, gave McCullough much of the raw material used for this very readable 800+ pager. Social and organizational psychologists will find it fascinating.”

Assessing Childhood Psychopathology and Developmental Disabilities

Treating Childhood Psychopathology and Developmental Disabilities

Johnny L. Matson

Frank Andrasik Springer

Michael L. Matson


Assessing Childhood Psychopathology and Developmental Disabilities and Treating Childhood Psychopathology and Developmental Disabilities are companion texts edited by LSU Professor and Distinguished Research Master, Dr. Johnny Matson. His co-editors are Dr. Frank Andrasik who is now Chair at the Department of Psychology at U. of Memphis, and son Michael Matson, previously at LSU and now finishing his MSW from Tulane.

In these companion volumes, LSU’s world-class scientist and author continues his dazzling contribution to the areas of child and adolescent psychology by combining knowledge of experts from all over the US, from the UK, Israel, Africa and as far away as New Zealand.

An expert in mental retardation, autism, and severe emotional disorders in children and adolescents, Johnny Matson has produced 600+ publications including 37 books. He is Editor-in-Chief for Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders (Oxford England), Editor-in-Chief for Research in Developmental Disabilities (Oxford, England), and Associate Editor for Journal of Mental Health Research in Intellectual Disabilities (London). Through the years he has served on 80 editorial boards including as Editor-in-Chief for Applied Research in Mental Retardation and the Official Journal of the American Association for University Affiliated Programs. Among his many contributions, Johnny Matson has been a visiting professor to universities in Sweden, Canada and India, consultant to the Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, and Missouri Departments of Mental Health, and consultant to ABC’s 20/20 and CBS’s Eye to Eye.

Published by Springer, Assessing and Treating are companion texts that meet the needs of today’s pediatric psychologist by ensuring that his or her work is consistent with and supported by scientific findings. The books provide evidence-based concepts and methods for those diagnosing and treating children, supported conclusions with the latest data and newest trends. Authors include an array of important related topics and concerns regarding the rapidly changing and expanding field of clinical child, developmental, and school psychology.

“The rapid expansion of literature related to the assessment and treatment of child psychopathology…” is one of the main reasons for the books, Johnny Matson told the Times. “These comprehensive volumes,” he noted, “summarize the scores of published literature on evidence-based methods.”

Readers will find a comprehensive review of current scientific findings, predigested and arranged for ease of understanding by the authors. Throughout the two volumes, chapters begin with a clear statement about the importance of the topic, flowing smoothly to key issues, subtopics, and a wealth of research findings. The authors have worked to summarize the problems for the reader, giving meaningful conclusions supported by current evidence. Controversies are clearly described and conclusions explained, and where needed the reader is referred to additional resources.

Johnny explained to the Times that the texts are “important to ensure that clinicians are using the most effective mehods when working with toddlers, children and adolescents,” providing needed guidance in a field that is changing as quickly as any other.

Psychologists who want to support their decisions scientifically, ethically and legally will find the information enormously valuable.

The writing is smooth and easy to absorb, with surprising consistency throughout considering the depth and breath of the contributors. The ‘get to the point’ presentation makes the narrative interesting and comfortable to use as a reference. The reader can move quickly between important topics to review information captured from the dozens of specialized journals that have emerged in this constantly expanding field.

This efficiency may have been another goal. “Writing is rewarding in the sense that it assists in allowing for the review of empirically supported evidence and the concise delivery of this information to professionals in the field,” Johnny explained. He has accomplished this with these two excellent volumes.

Assessing Childhood Psychopathology and Developmental Disabilities

Assessing is divided into five sections. “History, Overview and Trends in Child and Adolescent Psychological Assessment,” opens the introduction. A powerful first chapter gives an overview of state-ofthe art assessment of children and a review and integration of how ethical and legal/forensic issues intertwine in today’s world. Chapter 2 covers “Diagnostic Classification Systems” with a critique of the medical model and list of disadvantages of the DSM-IV. The chapter provides a theoretical perspective that is applicable for all areas of clinical psychology. Completing the introductory section is a review of structured and unstructured interviewing methods and also practical points regarding report writing.

Part II, “Assessment of Specific Problems,” begins with a chapter on intelligence testing, followed by a chapter on rating scale systems for assessing psychopathology with detailed reviews of the ASEBA and the BASC-2.

LSU’s Dr. Drew Gouvier, Audrey Baumeister, and Kola Ijaola author the chapter on “Neuropsychological Disorders of Children.” Drew is professor in the clinical area at LSU with research interests in neuropsychological assessment, treatment, and forensic issues. He and his coauthors cover an array of issues regarding speech, language, ADHD, LD, ASD and acquired neuropsychological disorders.

Part III covers the assessment of specific psychopathologies including chapters on assessment of conduct problems, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, mood disorders, and bipolar disorders.

Part IV includes three chapters covering the assessment of developmental disabilities beginning with a chapter on “Academic Assessment” by LSU psychology professor Dr. George Noell and Dr. Kristin Ganle of LSU’s Department of Educational Theory, Policy, and Practice. George is professor in the school psychology program at LSU, previously director, and currently on loan to the Louisiana Department of Education where he is developing a teacher evaluation initiative for the state. Kristin Gansle is associate professor at LSU’s Department of Educational Theory, Policy, and Practice. Her research includes curriculum-based measurement for assessing written language skills.

Part IV also includes a chapter on “Autism Spectrum Disorders and Comorbid Psychopathology” authored by Jessica Boisjoli and Johnny Matson of LSU. Covering core features of the condition, rating scales, interviews are reviewed, along with measures for differential diagnosis, and a section on comorbid conditions.

The final section of Assessment describes the behavioral medicine topics of childhood and adolescent eating disorders, the assessment of pain, and pediatric feeding disorders.

Treating Childhood Psychopathology and Developmental Disabilities

The companion volume closely tracts the first in structure, style and content. Part I begins with a review of “History of Treatment in Children with Developmental Disabilities and Psychopathology” by LSU’s Jonathan Wilkins and Johnny Matson, which takes the reader through advancements in behavioral and pharmacological treatments, and the empirical support.

The introductory chapters include “Applied Behavior Analysis and the Treatment of Childhood Psychopathology and Developmental Disabilities,” “Cognitive Behavior Therapy,” and “Parent-training Interventions.”

Part II, “Childhood Psychopathology and Developmental Disabilities,” begins with a chapter on conduct disorders, followed by a chapter on the treatment of ADHD.

Chapter 7, “PTSD, Anxiety, and Phobia,” is authored by Dr. Thompson E. Davis III from LSU Thompson, an assistant professor, focuses much of his research on anxiety orders in children and adolescents and is the director of the Psychological Services for Youth Clinic at LSU. The section continues with “Treatment Strategies for Depression in Youth,” and chapters on treating bipolar disorders with medication, the treatment of autism spectrum disorders, and the treatment of self-injurious behavior. Completing Part II is “Communication, Language, and Literacy Learning in Children with Developmental Disabilities.”

“Behavioral Medicine,” Part III, includes chapters on eating disorders and on the treatment of pediatric feeding disorders, completes the text.

The Times asked Johnny how it was to consult with this group of experts. “Working with contributors is great,” he said, “in the sense that it provides additional information in regard to their research.” But he added, “The hardest part of working with contributors is to ensure that you are meeting designated deadlines, especially when many contributors are involved.”

What are the challenges? “Obviously, one of the biggest problems with writing such comprehensive books,” Johnny noted, “is the new empirical support prior to the publishing of the book. However,” he said, “this holds true for all books.”

One other aspect that Dr. Johnny Matson has enjoyed in his writing is helping the field find it’s direction, saying to Times, “… writing reviews of published work assists in determining directions for future research.”

These excellent works are available at Springer ( and at online booksellers everywhere.

We Do Not Die Alone: “Jesus in Coming to Get Me in a White Pickup Truck” By Marilyn A. Mendoza, Ph.D.

ICAN Publishing

September 2008

“A male hospice patient in his 60s with cancer was minimally responsive and nearing transition when he sat up and began to call for his mother. He was smiling joyfully and described his mother as coming to get him in a white pickup truck. She was sitting in the passenger seat next to Jesus who was driving the truck. His little pet bird was sitting on Jesus’ shoulder. The man died shortly after this. On his wife’s return home, she found the little pet bird was dead in its cage.”

“A 98 year old female told me the night before she died that it would be her last night on earth. She spoke with many of her dead relatives. She said they were waiting for her.”

“A 63 year old female several days before she died was talking to her deceased father and other dead relatives she had never met before. It had a very calming effect on her.”

— From survey respondents in We Do Not Die Alone

We Do Not Die Alone is a fascinating little book based on Dr. Marilyn Mendoza’s review of the research in death-related experiences and her own study of nurses’ observations as they attend their dying patients. The book is written for nurses, hospice workers, counselors, psychologists, and anyone who may work with those encountering the unusual but well-documented experience of deathbed visions.

Dr. Marilyn Medoza received her doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology from Loyola University of Chicago and for the past 24 years has been in private practice in New Orleans. She has obtained advanced training as a bereavement and spiritual facilitator and has lectured frequently, including at Tulane University School of Medicine. Her practice focus is trauma, bereavement and women’s issues.

In a concise but complete 126 pages, Marilyn explains various types of death-related phenomena that might be encountered by those caring for the dying. The mix of experiential reports, research findings, and supportive instructions to caregivers, helps place these phenomena in a meaningful and sensitive context.

The book chronicles and places into theoretical context the personal accounts of 234 nursing professionals. Marilyn conducted this study in pre-Katrina Louisiana and Maryland through 2005 and 2006, asking nurses from hospices, hospitals, nursing conferences, nursing homes and home health facilities to complete a survey about their perceptions and some of their more memorable observations.

The first ten chapters of We Do Not Die Alone describe nurses’ accounts of death-related phenomena beginning with the most common– visual accounts of deceased relatives.

Sixty-five percent of the respondents in the survey indicated that they had witnessed a patient having a deathbed vision (DBV) and 57 percent of these have to do with deceased relatives. Often the vision includes awareness that the relative is present to help the patient, sometimes to help in a “journey.” The book explains the comforting affect these visions have on the dying person.

Marilyn notes that DBV have been overshadowed in the research by near-death experiences, and so she focuses the major part of the text on these experiences.

Other chapters describe common DBVs such as visions of angels, “beautiful” scenes, bright lights, and music. Distressing deathbed visions are reviewed in Chapter 8, visions which accounted for 3 percent of those reported in her sample. Guidelines for dealing with these occurrences in a nonjudgmental way to support family members are offered.

Chapters 9, 10 and 11 complete the spectrum of death-related phenomena. The author explains the connection between DBV and near-death experiences, popularized by Kubler-Ross, summarizing worldwide research efforts and findings. Near-death experiences, pre-death visions that come in dreams, and after-death communications are described for readers, along with scientific reviews. History and theory about DBVs is the subject of Chapter 12.

The last three chapters comprise a section of guidance for those giving care to the dying and their families. “Nursing, Individuals and Spirituality,” and “Caring for the Caretaker” address the emotional reactions and needs of nurses and hospice. Ideas from the American Academy of Bereavement are included in Chapter 15, “Direction for the Caretaker,” and help to address the rights and needs of the dying.

About the writing process, Marilyn told the Times, “I totally immersed myself in researching and writing the book. It was quite intense. It would have been great to just work on the book and not see patients. I used to look forward to a cancellation so I could write.”

“I found the topic so interesting and thought provoking that the learning process was very enjoyable,” she said. “Of course, getting a contract to publish the book was also very enjoyable. The least enjoyable part of the process was getting my first–of many–rejection letters. Even though you know it is coming, it still hurts when it happens.”

For later projects, Marilyn noted, “I am hoping that my research at Angola with the prisoner caretakers in the hospice will turn into a book.”

Dr. Mendoza’s private practice is located in New Orleans and she consults with Serenity Hospice. She is a frequent lecturer at various facilities in the New Orleans area regarding her work about deathbed visions, and other matters of grief work and counseling.

“It is not known if these visions prove the existence of an afterlife,” writes Marilyn in her concluding thoughts, “but what a gift of comfort we receive as we leave this world. In our final moments, is that not what we all want?”

We Do Not Die Alone is available on Amazon.

The Post-Traumatic Insomnia Workbook A Step-by-Step Program for Overcoming Sleep Problems After Trauma By Karin E. Thompson, Ph.D. and C. Laurel Franklin, Ph.D.

Publisher: New Harbinger Publications

The Post-Traumatic Insomnia Workbook is a cleanly written and gently compassionate text for those suffering from sleep disorders due to trauma, authored by two psychologists who have built their expertise and knowledge in this area by helping veterans and others suffering from PTSD.

With a deceptively simple presentation and writing style, authors Drs. Karin E. Thompson and C. Laurel Franklin guide the reader effortlessly through their comprehensive program. They provide behavioral tools, motivational information, and well-chosen tidbits of research and theory in an uncluttered, fresh presentation that is easy for a reader or patient to absorb. A sprinkling of compassion in their writing conveys the authors’ empathy and kindness and yet they wisely avoid making the condition sound overly pathological.

“Understanding and treating PTSD is my specialty,” Karin explained to the Times. “Working with traumatized individuals almost always requires addressing sleep disturbance because it is so prevalent in this population.”

A New Orleans native, Karin relocated to the Memphis VA after Katrina. “My co-author,” she said, “is Dr. Laurel Franklin, who has also devoted her career to working with PTSD-diagnosed veterans.”

Laurel agreed, “… I knew that what we wrote would be of the highest quality,” she told the Times. “We have always worked well as a team and had fun in the process.” Laurel has continued at the New Orleans VA and both psychologists have been affiliated with the Tulane University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

Karin explained that after working with PTSD and traumatized individuals for many years, she found a common concern was sleep disturbance. “I quickly realized how disruptive and distressing not being able to sleep is, and I started researching it so that I could better help my clients. My colleagues and I developed a treatment protocol for PTSD-diagnosed veterans, and New Harbinger heard about our work and asked us to write a prospectus for a self-help workbook on the more general topic of traumarelated insomnia.”

“I had already seen the success of cognitive-behavioral strategies in addressing sleep disturbance in our patients,” Karin said. And, “We decided we wanted to make the strategies more broadly available in the form of a self-help workbook.”

Laurel explained that the challenge was to write to readers who were unfamiliar with the techniques. “I enjoyed the collaboration with Karin,” she said. “…being creative together to find solutions to make the treatments work for readers who were less familiar or unfamiliar with cognitive behavioral techniques for insomnia.”

The Post-Traumatic Insomnia Workbook proceeds logically with a chapter on “Trauma-Related Sleep Problems,” then chapters on assessment and goal setting. They continue with ways to change the environment and cognitive interventions in “Prepare Your Body and Mind for Sleep,” and “Time to Sleep: Sleep Scheduling.” The authors address attitudes in “Sleep Beliefs: How You Think Affects How You Sleep.”

Also included is a chapter on nightmares, “Understanding and Coping with Trauma-Related Nightmares,” and a chapter on pain and sleep by Jeffrey West, Ph.D. The “Treatment Checklist” in the appendix is worth the purchase price.

While written for individuals, the Workbook seems well suited for clinicians to use with their clients, reinforcing the cognitive approach and helping to work through steps systematically, as well as reserving face time for other therapeutic goals.

As to the writing process, Karin said, “We have a lot of fun together, and we are a good writing team.” She commented that Laurel is a “creative, clear thinker and an inspired writer.” But, she said, “… It was a lot of work.” Both worked full-time during the writing and so the entire effort had to be accomplished on evenings, weekends and holidays.

Nevertheless both authors enjoyed the writing process. “It has been fun to think through the techniques and strategies of cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia,” Karin noted. The process of putting CBT-I strategies into a self-help format gave her the chance to use her clinical skills and background in a creative way. The same is true for Laurel, and she added, “…deciding to write the book together was very exciting…we have always worked well as a team and had fun in the process.”

In their new book, Dr. Karin Thompson and Dr. Laurel Franklin have effectively meshed science and practice, in an accessible text that stems from their understanding and care of those they have served. “ I want to thank the many veterans I have had the privilege to work with over the last 22 years,” Karin added. “…for teaching me the true meaning of courage, strength, and perseverance.”

The Post-Traumatic Insomnia Workbook is hot off the press tomorrow, September 2nd. Purchase it at or booksellers everywhere.

The Mental Status Examination in Neurology, 4th Edition by Richard Strub, M.D. & F. William Black, Ph.D.

F. A. Davis Publishers, 2000

From the Publisher: “This time-honored classic will prepare you to use a standardized mental status exam to diagnose organic brain disease and describe relative levels of functioning; and assess your patient’s mental status quickly and compare test scores with age-related norms to eliminate the need for more expensive tests.”

The Mental Status Examination in Neurology is an immensely useful, elegant little book of only 208 pages, expertly written and organized, for psychologists, physicians, and other health-care providers who assist individuals by neurological screening and referral.

“We did that book for one purpose,” Dr. Bill Black explained, “and that was to help us teach neurology residents how to evaluate patients behaviorally. There was no such thing back in 1977 when F.A. Davis first published it. It apparently hit a cord, residents are still buying it.”

Chapters are arranged methodically, as authors suggest that the exam “… be performed in a hierarchic manner, beginning with the most basic function–level of consciousness–and proceeding through the basic cognitive functions … to the more complex areas of verbal reasoning and calculating ability.”

In Chapter one, “The Mental Status Examination: A Rationale and Overview,” authors write, “Human behavior is extremely complex and multifaceted. Because of its complexity, it is not surprising that brain disease or dysfunction can significantly affect a patient’s behavior in a variety of ways.” The authors note reasons for an exam, including known or suspected brain lesions, psychiatric conditions, and “vague behavioral complaints.”

The text has demonstrated widespread appeal over three decades and four editions. It has been popular with neurology residents and psychology graduate students, providing an essential tool and understanding in a brief, straightforward exam.

The book is logically thought out and organized, with chapters matching the categories of test information and items: levels of consciousness, attention, language, memory, constructional ability, higher cognitive functions, and related cognitive functions. A summary chapter, relating results to various disorders, follows. “Further evaluations” and an appendix on “Standard Neuropsychological Assessment Methods” complete the book. The fourth edition sports a handy “pocket card,” with a summary of test items and concepts.

Even though there are more comprehensive texts now for those looking for greater detail and more current information, reviewers on Amazon continue to note that Examination is “very useful for trainees in psychiatry,” and that it helps the reader come away with confidence and clear concepts that are difficult to acquire.

“Dick Strub and I were teaching behavioral neurology to neurology residents and had a rotation in BN and NP for 4th year medical students,” Bill said, reflecting on how he came to write Examination. “In 1976, when the first edition was actually written, there was no good text to use in teaching the subject,” he said. “This was a time before all but one neuropsych book and any American behavioral neurology textbooks. We had a need, assumed that others in similar teaching situations had a similar need, and wrote the book to fill the need. Success was beyond our expectations.”

Will Bill and coauthor Richard Strub write a 5th edition? “In a word, no,” Bill explained. “We decided some years ago that the 4th edition would be the last. The need for the book in its 4 incarnations, as a teaching tool for neurology/psychiatry residents, is no longer strong. There are now many texts of behavioral neurology and mental status assessment – and most, not all, residency programs are now teaching behavioral neurology.”

“The use of the book by psychology graduate programs was an unexpected bonus,” he said. “Psychologists were not our primary target, although we tried to encourage the publisher, which is a medical publisher only, to market to the psychology audience when I learned that it had appeal. Essentially, they didn’t know how to deal with that market.”

Bill’s most enjoyable part of writing/publishing? “With both books and professional articles, the most enjoyment has been seeing and hearing from physicians and psychologists who read and enjoyed what we wrote.”

Dr. F. William Black is currently Medical Consultant in Neuropsychology for Unum Group. He is Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology, Tulane University Health Sciences Center. Examination has been published in four languages, including Italian and Japanese. It is available through Amazon and other booksellers.

Lifespan Perspectives on Natural Disasters: Coping with Katrina, Rita, and Other Storms by Katie Cherry, Ph.D., Editor

2009, Springer, New York

Dr. Katie Cherry has composed a comprehensive work on disaster science that addresses the impact of change and crisis on all ages. Lifespan Perspectives is overflowing with experts from Louisiana universities, and weaves together a variety of information that helps the professional reader understand what happens to people, children to the oldest-old, when disaster strikes.

Dr. Katie Cherry, expert in adult development and aging, is professor of psychology at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, and the Director of the Life Course and Aging Center. She told the Times that, “The idea for this book surfaced for me while I was working on a data-based manuscript about the cognitive and psychosocial consequences of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in older adults.” Adding her expertise to that of others in this edited volume, Lifespan Perspectives deals with impacts across human development. Four parts, Children and Adolescents, Young and Middle-Age Adults, Order Adults and the Oldest-Old, and Special Topics, clearly organize the fourteen chapters that address a comprehensive range of topics. Katie and the contributors, having direct experience with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and sources of trauma such as 911, outline the science and practice for coping, resilience and transcendence.

Chapters include “An Ecological-Needs-Based Perspective of Adolescent and Youth Emotional Development in the Context of Disaster: Lessons from hurricane Katrina,” by Carl Weems and Stacy Overstreet.

M.E. Betsy Garrison and Diane D. Sasser authored a chapter for young and middle age adults, titled, “Families and Disasters: Making Meaning Out of Adversity.”

In Part III, contributors Karen Roberto, Yoshinori Kamo, and Tammy Henderson deal with older adults and the “oldest-old” in, “Encounters with Katrina: Dynamics of Older Adults’ Social Support Networks.” Katie Cherry, Jennifer Silva and Sandro Galea authored another chapter in this section, “Natural disasters and the Oldest-Old: A Psychological Perspective on Coping and Health in Late Life.”

Special Topics section is loaded with fascinating topics that enhance the readers’ understanding and applications, adding to the overall breath and depth of the text. Anthony Speier, Joy Osofsky, and Howard Osofsky provided the chapter on, “Building a Disaster Mental Health Response to a Catastrophic Event: Louisiana and Hurricane Katrina.” Tracey Rizzuto contributed “Disaster Recovery in Workplace Organizations. ” And Jennifer Johnson and Sandro Galea provided “Disasters and Population Health.”

From the publisher: “Using the Katrina-Rita nexus as its reference point, Lifespan Perspectives on Natural Disasters takes the developmental long view on human strengths and vulnerabilities during large-scale devastation and crisis. An expert panel of behavioral scientists and first responders analyzes the psychological impact of natural disasters on—and coping faculties associated with—children, adolescents, and young, middleaged, older, young-old and late-life oldest-old adults. This timely information is invaluable both to mental health service providers and to those tasked with developing age-appropriate disaster preparedness, intervention, and recovery programs.

Unique in the disaster literature, Lifespan Perspectives on Natural Disasters serves as a research reference and idea book for professionals and graduate-level students in psychology, social work, and disaster preparedness and services.”

“Seeing this project from start to finish was enormously gratifying at all phases and also on many levels,” Katie said. “Lots of joys that have been magnified over time as I am beginning to receive queries about the book from as near as Florida and as far away as Australia.”

When asked about her writing, she said, “My biggest lesson learned it that it takes about 2 years to complete a project of this scope and magnitude, an edited volume with 14 chapters. Endurance is also important, as it took multiple iterations to ensure that each chapter locked in seamlessly with the others– minimizing repetition of content and maximizing complementarily.”

Among her many achievements, Dr. Cherry has received the LSU Office of Research and Economic Development Top 100 Research and Creative Faculty (“Rainmaker”) Award, the Emogene Pliner Distinguished Professor of Aging Studies professorship, the LSU Alumni Faculty Excellence Award, and as coinvestigator, was awarded a five-year program project grant to study the determinants of longevity and healthy aging from the National Institute of Aging.

Louisiana Contributors to Lifespan Perspectives LSU Life Course and Aging Center (LCAC) Katie Cherry, Ph.D.,Director, also LSU Dept. of Psychology Priscilla Allen, MSW, Ph.D., Associate Director, and also LSU School of Social Work Yoshinori Kamo, Ph.D., also Dept. of Sociology LSU School of Human Ecology Jennifer Baumgartner, Ph.D., LCAC Loren Marks, Ph.D. LCAC Diane Sasser, Ph.D., M.E. Betsy Garrison, Ph.D., Associate Dean, College of Agriculture LCAC LSU, Dept. of Education, Theory, Policy and Practice Teresa Buchanan, Ph.D. LCAC Renee Casbergue, Ph.D. LCAC LSU Psychology Dept. Thompson Davis III, Ph.D. LCAC Mary Lou Kelley, Ph.D. Tracey Rizzuto, Ph.D. LCAC Arlene Gordon, M.A. Brittany Hernandez, M.A. Melissa Munson, M.A. Valeria Paasch, M.A. Jennifer Silva, M.A. Erin V. Tarcza, M.A. Julia Vigna, M.A. LSU Health Sciences Center Howard Osofsky, MD, Ph.D. Joy Osofsky, Ph.D. Office of Mental Health Anthony Speier,, Ph.D. Tulane, Psychology Dept. Stacy Overstreet, Ph.D. LCAC UNO, Psychology Dept. Carl Weems, Ph.D. LCAC

Diversity in Human Interactions The Tapestry of America Drs. John D. Robinson and Larry James, Editors

Oxford University Press, 2003

“…Our population is becoming increasingly diverse, so we will increasingly face problems brought about by differences. This book is about communications; about crossing the divide that cultures and society sometimes widens rather than lessens. We hope this book will teach you how not to be afraid to talk to each other and to understand our uniqueness. We believe that only through frank and honest discussions can we become fully aware of the differences that make us unique. Only then can we really enjoy the beauty and richness of the multicultural artwork that is the human tapestry of America.”(From Diversity, “Introduction: Weaving the Tapestry,” by Dr. John Robinson and Larry C. James.)

In this book, Drs. John Robinson and Larry James organize the ideas and insights of the best and brightest thinkers into an intimate and compelling tour of diversity in race, ethnic differences, aging, sexual orientation, disability, and religion. Each chapter is written by a member of that group, and is also a renowned scholar or educator. The writing is clean, with an economy of words and theory that brings the information into sharp, meaningful focus. The reader is let into the inner circle, in a frank and honest way, to grasp the experience of another.

John told the Times that this readability did not come easily. “When I wrote it, Larry was at Walter Reed, because he’s military. We would get a chapter, I’d go over to Walter Reed and get a private or a sergeant, and have them read it. If they could understand, it was okay. If they couldn’t, it went back to the author. I wanted the man on the street to be able to read it and say, ‘Oh, I got that, I didn’t know that.’”

“We had some very high level academic people writing those chapters and to try to convince them to write a non-academic style was hard. I sent it back not because of the academic rigor, but because it was too rigorous.”

Diversity in Human Interactions can be used as a tool for human-relations training or college textbook. But anyone with an interest in social interactions will find it a fascinating tour through human experience, and a treasure chest of insights about differences.

“It is used by the military and several universities,” John noted. “It’s used by a few corporations, when they do their diversity training. Because I did not want a theoretical book, when you read it you won’t see theory. You’ll see what it’s like to be, for instance, Asian. What do Asians want to be called? What do Hispanics want to be called?”

A chapter by Diane Willis and Dolores Subia Bigfoot, titled “On Native Soil: The Forgotten Race: American Indians,” explains how the Chippewa call themselves Ojibway, The Dine’ people are called Navajo, and the Tis-Tsis-Tsas are called Cheyenne. The Winnebago recently returned to their original name, Tohono O’Odham, moving away from the name thrust on them by others and history books.

“Native American is one of the worse terms we have,” John explained. “Indians don’t like to be called Native Americans. They want to be called Cherokee or Choctaw or even American Indians. Because Native American was a congressional term, it included Alaskans, Native Hawaiians, and American Indians. So American Indians loss their identity in that term,” he explained.

“Na Kanaka Maoli: The Indigenous People of Hawai‘i,” a chapter on Hawaiians, is written in a different style, with a different voice, than other chapters. John, who travels to Hawaii regularly said, “It’s one of the few books that has a chapter on Native Hawaiians. And when you read it, the style of writing is completely different from the other chapters.”

“What Difference Does A Difference Make?” by Beverly Greene, “… sets up the whole thing,” John said. She writes about why people want to see differences, the positives and the negatives, and deeper insights into the understanding people have of others.

How did John conceive the book? “It was because of Anne Rice,” he said, an author he admires and would occasionally cross paths with in New Orleans. “Anne Rice wrote a book called Feast of All Saints,” he said, “which is about New Orleans, antebellum era, pre and post.” Her book explained the diversity of the city for John. “From there I said, humm… I need to write something a little more academic, that people could use.”

“The big publishing companies came after it when we told people what we were interested in doing,” John noted. “Larry and I were approached by about six different publishing companies. We chose Oxford University Press, because of the name and they offered us the most assistance with the most autonomy.”

“It’s still selling extremely well,” he said. “Frequently I’m getting notes from Oxford saying, ‘Did you know that some University or corporation picked it up?’ Because of the way it was written. It can be used by anyone. The guy in the mailroom can read it, as well as the CEO of the company. It’s timeless.”

Dr. John Robinson, author of Diversity In Human Interactions, came to Louisiana in the 80s and now is professor at Howard U. Medical School, in D.C. He is Vice Chair of the Psychology Bd there, and holds the ABPP in Clinical Health Psychology.

Introduction To Clinical Psychology Dr. Janet R. Matthews and Dr. Barry S. Anton

Oxford University Press 2008

Introduction to Clinical Psychology covers the history, theory, practice, and potential future of the discipline and provides a comprehensive overview of interviewing, assessment, psychotherapy, community intervention, and public policy.

The text describes psychological assessment procedures in detail and provides case studies demonstrating how the tests are administered and interpreted. It presents psychotherapy from both the traditional “schools” perspective and the practical perspective of number of individuals being seen-individual, couple, group, and family.”

This undergraduate text is written in a conversational tone that is genuine, straightforward, and sprinkled with interesting anecdotes of the authors’ experiences bridging technical information into more practical meaning. Much of traditional clinical psychology is covered, but fascinating chapters on specialties and “The Dynamic Future of Clinical Psychology,” pull together the technology and career directions that many readers will enjoy. Included are sections on Neuropsychology, Health Psychology, Forensic Psychology, Sport Psychology, Geropsychology, Clinical Child Psychology and Pediatric Psychology. Linking into career directions the authors expand on “Serious Mental Illness,” “Trauma,” “Public Policy Activities,” “Executive Coaching.” Emerging topics include “Prescriptive Authority,” “Behavioral Health,” “Assessment,” “Positive Psychology,” “Diversity,” “Technology,” and “Lifespan Psychology.”

Dr. Janet Matthews told the Times that her path to getting Clinical Psychology published was a “fairly complicated story.” During a SEPA convention she met a senior editor from Mayfield Press. The two struck up an easy friendship and he asked her to consider writing a book. Janet did not really want to do another book at that time, but later she encountered the Mayfield editor again at the APA convention. “Over breakfast, on a paper napkin,” she said, “we did a rough table of contents for an introduction to clinical psychology.” She agreed to write the book, scheduling a sabbatical leave to do the work. However, in the meantime Mayfield was sold, and her editor decided to retire. Janet did not pursue the book with the new owner, but she still had approval for the leave. Then during an APA convention, a friend suggested she attend an Oxford University Press party to meet an editor. She did so and this led to a contract. After many changes and delays due to changes in Oxford’s college textbook division, the book was finally published. She said, “The book actually took about eight years to go from contract to publication.”

What does Janet like best about writing? “For me it is probably seeing the finished product,” she said. “Being able to look back over the process from that initial outline and proposal to the final book is very fulfilling. Since I tend to write at home rather than in my office, I also enjoy the solitude of working on a book. My cats were still alive when I was doing this work and so having a whole day (I usually wrote on a day when I could spend the entire day on the process) when I could be creative and yet take a break and rub their fur was truly serene.”

“One frustration is dealing with the reviewers hired by publishers,” she said. “Some of them really provide good feedback but others just seem to miss the whole point of the book and therefore you then have to explain to your editor why you are definitely not going to make the changes they suggest.”

In regard to future writing projects, Janet does not have anything planned at present. “I have also considered using one part of my clinical book as a potential “stand alone” careers book and talking to a publisher about it. At this point, I am not sure I want the hassle of doing it because it involved considerable interviewing, editing, and generally rough time constraints that I don’t want while I am so involved in current APA roles.” Janet is the chair of Board of Educational Affairs, president-elect of APA’s Division 31, and she has a scheduled attendance at two Fall APA leadership conferences – Educational Leadership Conference in September and Science Leadership Conference in November.

Understandably, Dr. Matthews said, “I will need to think more carefully about this before proceeding.”

Supernatural Selection: How Religion Evolved by Matt J. Rossano, Ph.D.

June 2010 Oxford Press

Publisher: “The roots of religion stretch as far back as half a million years, when our ancestors developed the motor control to engage in social rituals–that is, to sing and dance together. Then, about 70,000 years ago, a global ecological crisis drove humanity to the edge of extinction. It forced the survivors to create new strategies for survival, and religious rituals were foremost among them. Fundamentally, Rossano writes, religion is a way for humans to relate to each other and the world around them–and, in the grim struggles of prehistory, it offered significant survival and reproductive advantages. It emerged as our ancestors’ first health care system, and a critical part of that health care system was social support. Religious groups tended to be far more cohesive, which gave them a competitive advantage over non-religious groups, and enabled them to conquer the globe.”

In his new book, Supernatural Selection: How Religion Evolved, Dr. Matt Rossano provides an integrative view of the evolutionary history of religion, an approach filled with insights and stimulating logic. He shows how belief in the supernatural has served an adaptive purpose for humans–that it is religion that has made us human.

Analyzing both sides of a debate spurred by Richard Dawkins’ atheist manifesto, The God Delusion, Dr. Matt Rossano believes that this debate overlooks what science can tell us about religion.

Chair of the Psychology Department at Southeastern and an evolutionary psychologist, Matt said, “For Richard Dawkins and a few other notables, the world knows nothing quite so wicked as religion. We would all be far better off without it and all that trails in its wake: suicide bombers, Taliban-style tyranny, child-abusing clergy, science-denying creationists, etc.” Matt believes that Dawkins was missing or ignoring something very fundamental. “If religion was so clearly damaging to the human psyche and so corrosive of human society how could it have ever evolved?” And he wondered, “How is it possible that every culture throughout human history has had religion?”

Matt said, “Compounding the conundrum is the fact that time and again studies showed that religious people tended to be happier, healthier, more generous and civic minded than their non-religious counterparts. Religion is also tenacious,” he said. “Enlightenment thinkers promised that religion would fade as science and reason provided a more accurate picture of the natural world. To the bewilderment of Dawkins and his ilk, the world seems to have reneged on that Enlightenment promise.”

Matt has studied the evolution of religion and other uniquely human cognitive traits for some time. He is the author of Evolutionary Psychology: The Science of Human Behavior and Evolution. His book chapter “The Archaeology of Consciousness,” in Cognitive Archaeology and Human Evolution, and other numerous papers, address evolution, ritual, religion, and moral behavior. “Making friends, making tools, and making symbols,” is coming out soon in a special issue of Current Anthropology, focusing on working memory and human evolution.

“It was not until I ran across an essay by William James,” Matt said, “that the central theme of the book began to take shape.” In The Will to Believe, James contended that relational trust provided a rational basis for religious faith. If we want friends, James argued, we have to be willing to trust them. “Demanding up-front evidence of someone’s trustworthiness risked insulting them,” Matt explained, “thereby killing the friendship before it ever got started. Relationships require a bit of irrational risk-taking. For James, the risk was worth it since the rewards of personal relationships far outweighed the intellectual compromise required to set things in motion.” James then extended this logic to religion.

“Other evidence seemed to confirm that at its core, religion was not about doctrines, creeds, institutions, or even miracles, but about relationships,” Matt said. In Supernatural Selection, he reviews important work by psychologist Lee Kirkpatrick, who has shown that attachment theory provides a profitable theoretical framework for understanding religion. “A secure attachment to God can provide the same physical and psychological benefits as secure attachments to other humans,” he noted. Additionally, anthropologist Roger Lohmann’s fieldwork found that religious conversion was better understood as the adoption of a new set of relationships rather than a new set of doctrines or beliefs.

Prominent Darwinian philosopher Dr. Michael Ruse (Florida State University) heartily endorses Rossano’s approach to the subject: “Supernatural Selection is a fascinating account of how religion arose in response to our human adaptive needs”, says Ruse, “…[it] will be at the forefront of all future discussion on this topic.”

Matt said, “I hope the book gives people a different perspective on religion. Just as human relationships can be either good or bad, so to with religious relationships. Just as human relationships almost necessarily involve a degree of irrationality, so to with religious relationships.”

“Really, the focus in both cases ought to be more on the outcomes of the relationship. Is it good or bad for the person and those around them?”

Dr. Matt Rossano, Chair of the Psychology Department at Southeastern Louisiana University, on the steps of the old Holy Ghost Church, Hammond, LA. Supernatural Selection will be available in June at Amazon and selected bookstores


Teenage Pregnancy: The Interaction of Psyche and Culture by Anne L. Dean, Ph.D.

Analytic Press

Several things converged for Dr. Anne Dean when she decided to write Teenage Pregnancy. “I got tired of being holed up in my windowless office at UNO writing articles about Piaget and the development of mental imagery,” she said. “After ten years of doing this, I, and I think the field of developmental psychology, both agreed that enough was enough.”

Then Anne learned “participant observation’ or ‘ethnographic’ field method with the help of Dr. Martha Ward, an anthropologist at UNO, which opened up new ways of study for her. With the help of Henry Reiff, one of her students, she connected with a rural community of African-Americans who had “lived on the ‘backplace’ of a sugar plantation” for generations. Anne and Henry approached the community, offering tutoring for the children in exchange for being able to observe how the children learned right from wrong. But after a few months and many discussions over meals at a local po-boy shop called “Fat Daddy’s,” Anne and Henry realized that the most important concern to the women in this community was teenage pregnancy.

“Over and over we heard stories of how they had become pregnant as teenagers…how these pregnancies and births had affected their lives–they said for the worse, but there was usually a subtext of more positive feelings about these developments. We also realized that the focus of almost all of the stories we heard was not the teen’s relationship with the baby’s father, but the relationship between the teenage girl and her mother. This relationship, in the end, became the main focus of the book.”

Being a “number researcher at heart,” Anne eventually applied for and won a large grant from NIH to continue the work. With the help of two other graduate students, Mindy Malik and Sarah Ducey, she began looking at the dynamics in the attachment relationship between the teenagers and their mothers, comparing those teens who had become pregnant with those who had not.

Teenage Pregnancy is a smoothly written, readable and compelling study, complete with excerpts and theoretical discourse about women’s lives in the rural South. Peter Fonagy, Ph.D., University of London writes, “This is an important and fascinating book… The rigorous methodology does not in the slightest obscure the interpersonal and intrapsychic struggles the young women face. Dean’s clinically meaningful application of attachment theory concepts and methods sets new standards for the field. In sum, Teenage Pregnancy is a unique study that stands without peer in this complex and difficult field.”

When asked about the writer’s life, Anne told PT that she learned a lot in the course of getting her book published. “I learned that I can write well on subjects about which I am passionate,” she said. “Several reviewers and editors commented on this, to my surprise, for my high school English teachers had always conveyed the opposite opinion.”

She added, “I learned after the fact that a surefire way of losing the attention of readers is to try to cram everything I know or have ever thought into one small space using language that even I have difficulty understanding.”

Getting published was not without its frustrations. Her book was nearly to press when Lawrence Erlbaum invited a well-known African-American sociologist to write a preface. However, because the sociologist felt that white researchers could never understand African-American psyches or culture, the publisher reneged on the contract, surprising both Anne and the publisher’s own editors. Fortunately, Analytic Press immediately took over the book. “This was a frustrating experience,” Anne said, “but in the end, I think I learned many useful things about myself and the writing world in the process.”

Anne is currently working on her new book, Tragic Irish Heroes. After retiring from UNO and going into full-time practice, Anne realized she wanted something new to write about. Her husband, also practicing psychiatry and psychoanalysis, was ‘also game for a sabbatical.’ So, the couple spent six months in Northern Ireland studying conflict from a group dynamics perspective.

In her new work, Anne tells the stories of nine, dead, tragic heroes (Brian Boru, Roderick O’Connor, Hugh “the Great” O’Neill, Owen Roe O’Neill, Patrick Sarsfield, Wolfe Tone, Daniel O’Connell, Charles Stewart Parnell, and Michael Collins) with an underlying psychoanalytic theme. “But this is a theme that remains latent,” she explained, “with nary a word spoken or written out loud in psychoanalytic language. I am struggling to write in a style that will appeal to a much wider audience, trying to forget everything I knew about writing articles for psychology journals.”

She said, “My latent thesis is that the psyche of the current Irish hero in Northern Ireland, Gerry Adams, M.P., consists in large measure of identifications with this pantheon of dead tragic Irish heroes — identifications that I believe have manifested themselves in various ways during his lifetime, and that the best way for Adams to avoid another tragic outcome is through awareness of these identifications. Thus, the book is written both for and about Adams.”

Dr. Anne Dean, a native New Orleanian, now lives in Eugene, Oregon, near her daughter, son-in-law, and one-year old granddaughter. Licensed in Louisiana and Oregon, she devotes most of her time to writing, playing tennis, training for walking marathons, baby-sitting, and taking singing Dr. Anne Dean and granddaughter Sydney, relaxing. lessons. She makes frequent visits to N.O. to see friends, relatives and former colleagues. She graduated from Wellesley College, George Washington U., with her doctorate from Catholic University in D.C. She graduated from the New Orleans Psychoanalytic Institute in ’96.


Planning Parenthood: Strategies for Success in Fertility Assistance, Adoption, and Surrogacy

John Hopkins University Press

Jill Hayes, PhD and coauthors Rebecca Clark, MD, PhD, Gloria Richard-Davis MD, Katherine Theall, PhD, and Michelle Murphy, JD.

From the Publisher: Specialist authors first describe fertility assistance, surrogacy, and adoption, clearly outlining the requirements of each strategy. They compare the medical, emotional, financial, and legal investments and risks involved with each of these options. Then they introduce the issues that people will need to consider when deciding which path to parenthood is best for them. Along the way these experts offer encouragement for changing course under any number of circumstances. Supporting the detailed information in this book are personal stories of the often long, winding, and emotional road to parenthood — from in vitro fertilization to egg donation to surrogacy to adoption. Armed with professional knowledge and inspired by the experiences of others who have gone before them, prospective parents will be informed and reassured by this unique resource.

Dr. Jill Hayes brings to life the psychological elements in this authoritative yet practical work that assists readers over the complicated and serious personal journey of infertility. Writing with her colleagues from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, she helps combine the medical and psychological landscape for the modern woman or man who is part of the more than one million couples seeking help to become a parent. The educational track of the book is amplified by personal accounts of individuals’ journeys, and rounded out with legal perspectives.

Planning Parenthood covers the depth and breath of this important topic by tapping the knowledge, wisdom, and empathy of five female authors—two physicians (Clark, Richard-Davis), an epidemiologist (Theall), and attorney (Murphy), and psychologist Dr. Jill Hayes. The authors produce a readable, timely and reliable work for those dealing with the emotionally complicated situation of infertility.

“I was in the right place at the right time,” Jill answered as to how she became a coauthor. “Dr. Clark and I both had fertility problems. She and I had worked at the HIV Clinic in New Orleans together for a number of years, had written another book together, and had enjoyed that process. So she asked me to be a coauthor with her on her newest book.”

“Dr. Clark identified a niche that had not been filled by the various books on fertility and other pathways to becoming parents. Her vision was to provide prospective parents with a “cost-benefit analysis” of the various ways they could become parents, including discussions of the pro’s and con’s of the various methods, and inform future parents of when enough was enough and when it was time to move on to the next step.”

As to writing with coauthors, Jill notes that it was, “Painless for me.” She said, “Dr. Clark may not say the same for working with me. She’s great taskmaster. Her gentle nudging was just the right touch to make me meet most of the deadlines.” But it wasn’t always easy to find time to write. “The two biggest issues for me were carving big blocks of time out of my schedule to do the research and writing that was necessary, and then making myself write instead of the 20 million other things that seemed much more important, like rearranging my sock drawer.”

While Jill admits it might sound like a cliché, she said that the most fulfilling part of writing is “helping people during troubling times.” She was stunned when she found out her first book was going to be reviewed by the New York Times. But then, she said, “I realized that our book was going to help many, many people.”

The authors have produced a compassionate, informative guide for the growing number of couples who receive fertility assistance, seek information about surrogacy, or benefit from help in changing directions toward the choice of adoption. Planning Parenthood is available at bookstores everywhere.

Jill Hayes, Ph.D., is a clinical neuropsychologist in private practice and an Adjunct Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center.

Evolutionary Psychology: The Ultimate Origins of Human Behavior by Jack Palmer, PhD and Linda Palmer, MS

Evolutionary Psychology: The Ultimate Origins of Human Behavior comes from two very big minds, thinking about big things, in a big way, and at a high level of abstraction. The authors stride quickly through the maze of ideas about the adaptive origins of human behavior, and they do it with a grasp of the big picture that few authors in this area are able to match. All the while it’s as if they’re holding the reader’s hand saying, “There’s more, let’s keep going. It’s all connected.”

With just ten chapters, Ultimate Origins is a “short, broad introduction to evolutionary psychology.” The authors cover every conceivable topic in this complex, fascinating and emerging field, all in 275 pages. They include “Encephalization and the Emergence of Mind,” “Mating and Reproduction,” “Ontogeny,” and “Social Order and Disorder.” Themes tie into current psychological theory with “Personality and Psychopathology,” and flow into Dr. Jack Palmer’s interest in Positive Psychology in “The Creative Impulse,” and “Ancient Mammal in a Brave New World.” The highlights and boxes, called, “Through a Glass Darwinian,” are wonderful.

Readers see how broad the viewfinder is when the authors address our place in the universe, with “From Big Bang to Big Brain.” Jack said, “There are many good books on evolutionary psychology today, but one thing that still makes our book unique is the broad and holistic view that Linda and I take. The study of the evolution of human behavior begins with the “Big Bang,” so we feel that having at least a rudimentary understanding of cosmology and evolutionary biology is enormously helpful for understanding the human mind, behavior, consciousness and our place in the universe. Culture and environment play an essential and significant role, but these can only be completely understood in relation to the greater whole.”

Linda Palmer is Jack’s “beloved wife and best friend of 32 years.” She has a master’s in Experimental Psychology from ULM, is a talented writer, and managing editor for several small publishers. The Palmers have a daughter who works in news and documentary production on the West Coast.

Jack noted his early interest in human origins, reading Desmond Morris’ The Naked Ape, at age 15. He completed an undergraduate in zoology at Clemson University, with an emphasis on ethnology, and entered University of Georgia’s biopsychology doctoral program to study primatology. “So,” he noted, “although my Ph.D. is in psychology, my training is grounded in physical anthropology, biology, and psychology. Evolutionary psychology was a natural outgrowth of those interests.”

He decided to write Ultimate Origins when he saw that “Huge strides and discoveries in neuroscience, genetics and evolutionary biology were providing great hope for unlocking the mysteries of human behavior.” After he began teaching physiological psychology and neuropsychology at ULM, he felt the need to “make more of this exciting information available.” So, he designed and began teaching a course on evolutionary psychology. “I wanted to help students understand how the combined effect of genes and environment shape us into what we become. And, how important a positive environment is for the development of children because of how it impacts on the way in which one’s genes express themselves. Human behavior is not the product of just genetics or just environment or a simple combination. The two interact in very complex ways to produce an enormous range and depth of human behavior.”

“It is to ULM’s great credit,” he told me, “that our psychology department has had a strong scientific foundation, more so than most state universities of this size. We have a great faculty and excellent department head, Dr. David Williamson. Both our Psychology Department and our College of Education and Human Development have provided a supportive atmosphere for the science of psychology.”

“At the time I began writing the book, Linda was teaching Physiological Psychology at Louisiana Tech University, and we were enjoying discussing these topics, so that was another motivating factor. The book evolved from our many discussions.” Dr. Palmer is currently working on a new book, Science, Wisdom and the Future: Humanity’s Quest for a Flourishing Earth, due out in 2010. He is both a contributor and the technical editor for the text, with chapters from leaders in physics, business, philosophy, psychology, history, cosmology, religion, and the arts.

Evolutionary Psychology: The Ultimate Origins of Human Behavior is available at Barnes & Noble online.

Red Planet Noir by D.B. Grady

Dr. Kelly Ray’s husband, David Brown, just came out with his “hard-boiled detective novel written in the pulp tradition of the 1930’s.” David, writing as DB Grady, calls it a “Raymond Chandler mystery in a Robert Heinlein world…”

“All he wanted was a paycheck to clear some gambling debt. Now Michael is the key figure in a murder conspiracy that’s left a vacuum in the halls of power, with the labor union, mob and military vying for control of Mars.”

Kelly is excited about David’s new book and proud of his many recent publications.

You can find more at


Horn of Plenty: Seasons in an Island Wilderness by April Newlin (Dr. April Rieveschl)

From the publisher: “In a series of encounters over seasons and years, Newlin captures the island’s intricate details from the terror of raging wind to the tickle of a snail’s foot. She camps on the edges, hikes the interior, and wades the lagoons, immersed entirely in fourteen rugged miles of woods, ponds, and marsh. In her prose, the island begins to coalesce as an intense and transformative place, a wilderness beyond the grip of mainland sprawl.”

Dr. April Newlin Rieveschl, once resident of New Orleans and graduate of LSU, writes as April Newlin. She is a nature writer. “This is a genre that is non-fiction literature about the natural world,” she explained. “It can include personal essay, natural history, narrative and journal writing. It is interdisciplinary in the sense that nature writers come from many different disciplines – creative writing, biology, ecology, history, astronomy, etc. Some of the better known writers would be Thoreau, Rachel Carson, Rick Bass, and Terry Tempest Williams.”

Horn of Plenty is a work of natural history, combined with personal narrative, about the wilderness island, ten miles off the coast of Mississippi, called Horn Island. With no roadway access, no facilities, no water or electricity, April and her husband traveled by boat to reach this remote site, remaining for days and even a week at a time to research and experience this piece of natural wilderness.

Horn Island was first popularized by the watercolor artist, Walter Anderson whose work hangs in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, at the Walter Anderson Museum, and also has been exhibited at the Smithsonian. For Horn of Plenty, Donald Bradhurn, winner of the Ansel Adams Inaugural Award for conservation photography, contributed his photos to April’s book.

How did she come to write? “I have always had an abiding love of the natural world,” she said, “imprinted from an early age during summers in Waveland, Mississippi and during many family vacations to wondrous landscapes such as Yellowstone.” About 15 years ago, she started reading the nature writers and from there, began her own work. Along the way, she had the help of a very special western writer named Ann Zwinger who became her mentor.

In 1996, April sent in her first submission but never received a response. “Then one day,” she said, “my husband was perusing nature books in a bookstore and came across my essay, in the anthology that had not responded to me, American Nature Writers.”

“In time,” she said, “I became more daring and decided to write a column in the local weekly near our beach house in the Florida panhandle.” While living in New Orleans, running her practice and raising their two sons, she wrote the column Wild Sense, for a full seven years. She has also written for many other venues including magazines such as Audubon and journals such as The Michigan Quarterly Review and Isle, a publication of the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment. Her latest piece, “Hatch”, will be out next fall, in an anthology of nature writing edited by Florence Caplow and Susan Cohen. She has also become a Master Naturalist in Florida in both Coastal Systems and Wetlands. And, she received a Florida Press Association award for outdoor writing. She and her work are featured in the educational video for the National Seashore Parks along the Gulf Coast.

So, why write? “Because I want to give voice to the beauty and wonder of the natural world, to remind people of their connection to place, and to invite them into that way of being in the world. This is where psychology and nature writing intersect for me. We, as a culture, have become increasingly disconnected from nature and I think that diminishes us. As Thomas Berry said, ‘you can’t have healthy people on a sick planet.’ Theodore Roszak wrote that our relationship with the natural world is but a shrunken vestige, that we have repressed and forgotten the richness and essence of that connection. When place becomes familiar, it becomes part of who we are, it expands our sense of self, it shores up our sense of identity. Heinz Kohut’s concept of self-object works here – the natural world ‘functions’ for the self to shore it up, stabilize it, expand it. I think that it is in our relationship with the other than human world that we discover and realize many more aspects of our own humanity. Have you ever found yourself in the gaze of a wild animal, locked eyes with a bald eagle, come eye-to-eye with a 300 pound loggerhead as she surfaces and breathes? These moments will take you to places within yourself that you cannot get in any other way. Some researchers say that our experience of nature is carried with us after we return to our daily lives, that it enhances our mood and changes how we feel – they call this ‘the wilderness effect’ and it is palpable. Those who live close to the land know their place like an ‘other.’ Knowledge of the birds and their song, of the plants and their seasons brings a familiarity that becomes love. E.O. Wilson calls it ‘biophilia,’ the love of life, of living things. And he says that this is part of who we are, that, you might say, it is instinctual. For me, writing about the natural world couldn’t be a more natural endeavor.”

“I’m listening to the roar of Ida this morning as she swings past on her way inland. I always have a sense of living on the edge here, but never more so than during one of these storms.” (Newlin to Nelson in personal communication.)

Joshua’s Way, by Robert P. Baker

Dr. Robert Baker came to the conclusion that he was going to write Joshua’s Way when he suddenly woke up one night with his “thoughts churning.” He said, “I couldn’t stop it, the whole thing just came to me. I couldn’t get back to sleep until I laid it all out, chapter-by-chapter.”

Dr. Baker, a licensed clinical psychologist in New Orleans, “didn’t do anything practical with the outline for several years,” placing the project on his back burner. But three years later, things changed.

He and his family were driving home at night after Thanksgiving when they found themselves in a terrible thunderstorm. The car began hydroplaning. “Nothing I tried could correct it, nothing worked. We began to spin and spin, around and around. I remember very clearly when we were twirling around, thinking that in the next few seconds we’d all be seriously injured–or die.” But finally the car crashed into the side of the bridge they were on and came to a complete stop– in the middle of the Interstate. Thinking now they’d be hit by oncoming traffic, after somehow surviving this far, he wasn’t sure he could move them out of harm’s way in the damaged vehicle. But luckily Robert was able to start the car and somehow pull over. “Three days later I was on the computer and it was like an egg that cracked, stuff started pouring out of me.” He completed the entire book in only three months.

Joshua’s Way is a mystery, and in the same vein as Celestine Prophecy. Two levels of mystery played out in a story line packed with psychological ideas and spiritual meanings. Bob decided to self-publish, and then went to the major book companies.

“Twelve people gather in a home north of New Orleans for a weekend retreat and are given this promise, “You will likely encounter thoughts, feelings, sensations and intuition beyond anything you’ve ever conceptualized” … “Dr. Joshua Randall plans to share his discoveries that may be key to the next phase of human evolution.” But then he and his wife disappear.

“John Hilliard, private investigator, hired to help solve the mystery of the disappearance of Dr. and Mrs. Randall, finds himself pulled into enigmas far more complicated. What starts as a search for two missing people takes the investigator on a journey to the heart and soul to discover the source of that which we all seek, an answer to the ultimate mystery.”

Fr. Larry Hein, S.J., author of Compassionate Energies Dancing the Cosmic Dance, said, “This is a must for anyone interested in the spiritual journey going beyond the known, …” And Harville Hendrix said, “I could not put it down. It is full of suspense and powerful insights and offers a radical new paradigm for the search for transcendence.”

Up-Coming Events Page 10 Robert said he was inspired by the many intriguing psychological experiments that he has studied along the way in his career, even as far back as graduate school. And Joshua’s Way is rich with these bits and pieces of psychology as well as Louisiana life and landmarks. Somewhat of a Renaissance man, Robert continues to delve into the invisibles, currently exploring quantum physics, hypnosis, power therapeutic modalities and energy healing. He’s still practices some clinical work but is moving more into sports psychology. (See December edition for more on his Master’s Track and Field accomplishments.)

You can purchase the book by email, or phone, (504) 834-3393. Or, mail your check for $14.00 (which covers the book and shipping) to Dr. Robert Baker at 1501 Melody Drive, Metairie, LA, 70002.