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Magistrate Says Lack of Federal Jurisdiction in Cerwonka v LSBEP

Magistrate Judge Carol B. Whitehurst of the U.S. District Court Western District has recommended that a federal lawsuit against the state psychology board filed by Dr. Eric Cerwonka, be dismissed based on lack of federal jurisdiction.
In August 2017, Cerwonka filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists (LSBEP) alleging violations of his Constitutional rights. This followed a July 2017 ruling by 19th Judicial District Court Judge Michael Caldwell negating a February 2017 LSBEP disciplinary decision against Cerwonka, on grounds that the board’s methods “… violated the Constitutional rights of Dr. Cerwonka.”

In Whitehurst’s “Report and Recommendation,” filed March 26, she finds that the Louisiana State Board of Examiners falls under the umbrella of state immunity provided by the Eleventh Amendment.
Dr. Cerwonka and his attorney have fourteen days from service of the Report and Recommendation to file specific, written objections.

In Whitehurst’s Report, she wrote, “The Eleventh Amendment bars an individual from suing a state in federal court unless the state consents or Congress has clearly and validly abrogated the state’s sovereign immunity,” wrote Whitehurst. Citing Fairley v. Louisiana, (5th Cir. 2007), a lawsuit involving the state medical board, Whitehurst wrote, “A suit against a state agency or department is considered a suit against the state under the Eleventh Amendment.”

Whitehurst recommends that the motion to dismiss for lack of federal jurisdiction be granted, and that the plaintiff’s claims against the Board be denied and dismissed without prejudice. (In a civil case, dismissal “without prejudice” is a dismissal that allows for refiling of the case.)

Since Whitehurst recommends dismissal on jurisdictional grounds, she explained that she makes no recommendation on the LSBEP’s request for a dismissal based on failure to state a claim.

“When a district court finds it lacks subject matter jurisdiction, its determination is not on the merits of the case, and does not bar the plaintiff from pursuing the claim in a proper jurisdiction,” she wrote.

In the Report, Whitehurst stated that the party asserting jurisdiction bears the burden of proof for a 12(b)(1) motion to dismiss, such that, “the plaintiff constantly bears the burden of proof that jurisdiction does in fact exist.”

“The plaintiff’s argument that the Board’s financial autonomy prohibits the Board from being a state agency is not persuasive,” wrote Whitehurst.

“A legally sufficient complaint must establish more than a ‘sheer possibility’ that plaintiffs’ claim is true. Id. It need not contain detailed factual allegations, but it must go beyond labels, legal conclusions, or formulaic recitations of the elements of a cause of action.”

“Although acknowledging there is no jurisprudence directly finding that the Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists, which was created by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (“LDHH”), is a state agency, defendant argues the Board is similar to the Louisiana
State Board of Medical Examiners, which was also created by the LDHH, and which has been held to be a state agency entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity. Because the Board argues it has not waived its immunity from suit, it asserts the plaintiff’s claims against it are barred.

In Fairley, the Fifth Circuit recognized that the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners is a state agency for purposes of Eleventh Amendment Immunity.

“The Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists argues that the statute creating its existence and the statute creating the Board of Medical Examiners are similar, with similar powers and rights being granted to each Board, and with each Board being subject to the provisions of La. Rev. Stat. 36:803.4. Each board is created within the Louisiana Department of Health and each is given oversight over their respective fields.”

Attorney for Cerwonka, Brown Sims attorney Mr. L. Lane Roy, had argued in the “Opposition of Plaintiff to Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss,” filed on November 30, 2017:

“An important case for this Court’s consideration on the issue of the Eleventh Amendment Immunity is the United States Supreme Court decision in the matter of North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners vs. Federal Trade Commission, 135 Sup. Ct.1101(2015). While the North Carolina State Board case involves as one of its principal issues federal anti-trust laws, one of the main topics decided by the court was whether the State of North Carolina possessed Eleventh Amendment immunity from application of the federal law and its being subject to suit before the federal courts. In a lengthy discussion, the court found that North Carolina did not possess Eleventh Amendment immunity.” […]

“Here, there is absolutely no showing whatever that the State of Louisiana had active control over the Board in this matter and in fact, the exact opposite is correct.”

“The State has virtually no control of this agency as shown by the decisions that its rendered in this matter, not involving a state person but private attorneys hired for the persons, private investigators, private members of the community acting as judges at the hearing before the Board, private employees acting as persons, though illegally, who made decisions on interim suspension without a hearing whatsoever,” Mr. Roy wrote.

Counsel for the LSBEP, Attorney General Jeff Landry, signed for by Jeremiah Sams, Assistant Attorney General, wrote that, “Under the Eleventh Amendment of the United States Constitution, an unconsenting state is immune from any lawsuit seeking monetary damages or equitable relief brought in federal courts by her own citizens or by the citizens of another state …” And, he wrote, “The Board is an agency of the State of Louisiana.”

In another section of the Attorney General’s “Motion to Dismiss,” Sams wrote, “Alternatively, Plaintiff has failed to state a claim against the Board under 42 U.S.C. §1983, as the Board is not a “person” under the meaning of §1983.

“To state a claim under §1983, a plaintiff must establish that a person, acting under color of law, deprived him of some constitutional right.

“State agencies and state officials acting in their official capacity are not ‘persons’ within the meaning of the statute, and it is a well settled point of law that a state is not capable of being sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as the state is not a “person” under 42 U.S.C. §1983.34” […] “Accordingly, Plaintiff’s §1983 claims against the Board should be dismissed.”

Cerwonka also filed an amendment to the complaint adding Ms. Jaime Monic, current Executive Director, to the lawsuit.

The matter of state supervison of the boards has been a topic for some legislators since the 2015 Supreme Court decision. In 2016 Senator Fred Mills put forth a measure creating the Task Force on Meaningful Oversight to help address compliance with the North Carolina v. FTC and minimize exposure to antitrust claims. In the Task Force’s report, in this case having to do with antitrust laws, authors wrote, “a board must satisfy two prongs in order to claim state action immunity.” One involves the “inherent, logical, or ordinary result of the exercise of authority delegated by the state legislature.” The second prong is “active supervision,” satisfied by having a state review and approval of board’s policies. Mills put forth legislation in 2017 to help remedy the supervision issue and also this year, in his SB 40.

According to a report by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor published in 2017, individuals can file general liability claims against the state because Louisiana waived sovereign immunity in the 1974 Constitution. State law limits damages to $500,000 for personal injury and wrongful death claims. However, there is no cap on economic damages or medical expenses, according to the report, “Types and Costs of General Liability Claims, Office of Risk Management.”

Between 2010 and 2015 the state paid over $42M in Constitutional and Civil Rights violations, the Auditor reported.

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“Hoffman Report” Defamation Suit Continues in Washington, DC Defendants Claim Free Speech Rights; Plaintiffs Point to Leaks as “Actual Malice”

A dispute involving the ramifications of the “Hoffman Report,” a document prepared by the Chicago attorney David Hoffman and commissioned by the American Psychological Association (APA), during conflicts over the role of military psychologists, APA ethics decisions, and human rights policies in APA, was filed in Washington D.C. in late August, immediately following dismissal by an Ohio judge who said the case was not in his jurisdiction.

Motions put forth in the Ohio pleadings and in the new D.C. litigation indicate that the defense attorneys may be positioning themselves to argue that the report falls under free speech protections.

The defamation lawsuit is being brought against David Hoffman, his law firm, and APA, by retired Colonels and psychologists Morgan Banks, Debra Dunivin and Larry James, and also two psychologists who are former employees of the APA, Drs. Stephen Behnke and Russ Newman. The lawsuit alleges reckless disregard for the truth and false statements in a 2015 Hoffman Report.

In December, defense attorneys filed a motion seeking the Court to compel arbitration based on the employment agreements of Drs. Behnke and Newman with APA. Hoffman’s law firm, Sidney, also filed a request that Behnke and Newman arbitrate the dispute with Hoffman’s firm.

In both Ohio and D.C., the defendants filed motions asking for dismissal based on free speech protection laws, called Anti-SLAPP laws. “SLAPP” or “strategic lawsuit against public participation” are lawsuits without merit which are aimed to intimidate or silence free speech, according to the Public Participation Project.

The defense wrote, “Here, APA’s publication of the Report constitutes an ‘[a]ct in furtherance of the right of advocacy on issues of public interest.’ Id. § 16-5501(1). The publication of the Report is a ‘written . . . statement’ that APA allegedly made ‘[i]n a place open to the public or a public forum.’”

The motion to dismiss also says that the Plaintiffs are public officials or limitedpurpose public figures, calling for the higher standard of not only false statements but of the level of “actual malice,” to be met.

The Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Discovery, saying that they are entitled to limited discovery and that the Plaintiffs are private citizens and plaintiffs should not have to show “actual malice.” AntiSLAPP laws narrow discovery provisions.

The Plaintiffs’ attorneys say that the report was given to James Risen, a New York Times reporter, prior to review and publication, and these actions are evidence of actual malice, said the attorneys.

Mr. Hoffman was hired by APA in 2014 to review interactions between military psychologists, APA officials, and the Bush administration. Then APA president Dr. Nadine Kaslow sought to resolve ongoing accusations that APA was involved in supporting unethical behavior by military psychologists.

The accusations were voiced by human rights activists and psychologists, and had been outlined in several publications, including a book by New York Times’ journalist, James Risen, Pay Any Price.

Hoffman said that communications of a 2005 APA members’ task force amounted to “collusion” with military psychologists and therefore with the Department of Defense. A media furor commenced following publication of the Report, splashing the issue of “torture” and APA across national news outlets. APA paid Hoffman $4.1 million for the Report, according to sources.

In February 2017 plaintiffs filed the defamation lawsuit in Ohio, alleging how the expansion of the investigation was hidden, how Hoffman over-relied on the accusers and aligned with the accusers’ goals, and that Hoffman failed to consider and follow evidence that contradicted the final conclusions.

The attorneys also allege that APA failed to adequately review the Report, failed to give Plaintiffs an opportunity to respond to allegations, and failed to respond to evidence of the mistakes and errors in the Report.

The Complaint states, “The false light in which the Plaintiffs Behnke, Dunivin, and James have been placed would be highly offensive to the reasonable person,” and has caused mental anguish, emotional distress, and “severe personal and professional humiliation and injury to their reputations in the community – reputations they have built over many years.”

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For many of us the Holidays can be a time of Major Stress. Some dread that time with family that brings back all those childhood issues. Some stress over having to spend so much money that they do not have for the children or for gifts they feel obligated to buy. For others, it is the tug-a-war between obligations and in-laws. Or, should we say, in-laws and out-laws? And, for still others, it is too much eating and drinking. And, too much to do.

How much stress you allow to touch you has everything to do with how conscious you are or can be about what is in your mind. How aware are you of what pushes your buttons? How much can you prepare for avoiding being stressed by in-laws and sis’ jealousy and mom’s critical attitude? Do you have a plan? If you have a plan, will you follow it? Too often we think we can just play it off the cuff. But, when we try to do that, we are often overwhelmed by a concert of things going Not Quite as You Wanted or Expected.

If you are truly aware and conscious, you will be monitoring your mental pulse all the time. What will you do if something gets under your skin? Will you be able to quietly slip out and find a quiet place to regroup, meditate and do some mindful breathing. If you are the Cook or Host and things are not going according to schedule, what can you do to regain mental control? Self-talk about how the season is about love and joy and not how spectacular the turkey is could help.

Even the AARP put out a list of things to do to Reduce Holiday Stress. So, I guess no matter how old you get, little things can still upset you and frazzle you during the holidays.
AARP suggests you
1. Create a Game Plan,
2. Make a budget and stick to it,
3. Accept the reality of guests arriving late and your mother
getting on your nerves,
4. Beware of unhealthy stress relievers, such as drinking or
eating too much,
5. Create new traditions,
6. Make time for your own health by keeping your sleep
schedule and getting regular exercise,
7. Give yourself a break in the midst of doing things for
others; listen to calming music, do some deep breathing or
just sit,
8. Be proactive and think about h
ow to do things differently so
you won’t be so stressed out, and
9. Enjoy! Remember to savor the time with people you love.
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Meditation: It IS What You Think

by Susan Andrews, PhD

From The Psychology Times, Vol. 6, No. 4

Years ago when first learning to meditate, I saw a T-shirt I liked with this logo on it. That slogan says it all. As psychologists, we know the importance of monitoring our thoughts and how interrelated thinking and feeling really are. A major cause of stress and one of the most important stress solutions has to do with our thoughts and our thinking. Turns out that Stress IS what you think, too. So here we have a Zen moment; both a stressed state of mind and a calm focused state of mind are related to our thinking.

The mind is an amazing thing. To a large extent, the negative consequences of stress are directly due to a busy mind. You do not have to be physically busy to have a busy mind. Most professionals would say they spend the day thinking and they might agree that thinking all day – without lifting a single shovel – is fatiguing.

If you are almost always thinking and worrying over a problem or you continue to dwell on the events of the day even after they are over, that is a chronic issue and your cortisol levels are likely to remain high. Cortisol levels do not drop until your mind calms and becomes quiet or still. So the longer you remain mentally active, even if you are lying in bed or sitting in an easy chair, the longer your high levels of cortisol will remain. And, that leads to an exhausting list of bad things, physically, mentally and emotionally. Let’s just say it does not lead to longevity and happiness.

Meditation, on the other hand, is a great antidote to stress caused by too busy a mind. In the past, meditation seemed more strange or alien to the Western mind. But, with the gradual advance of information about different forms of meditation and the acceptance of meditation as having value, it has actually become easier to learn and to include in your daily practice. Sanskrit words and chanting are no longer required. The rapid spread of Mindfulness is an excellent example. This technique takes minutes to learn and very little more to perfect. It is so simple that it is recommended for children and found helpful with children who are having problems with attention and/or with behavior. The book, Sitting Still Like A Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids (and their parents) by Eline Snell, (2013) was featured at a 2014 LPA workshop by Dr. Michelle Moore. This book comes with a CD that has a number of great 5-minute Mindfulness exercises. I have recommended this book to many of my patients, old and young. It is inexpensive and easy to use. I recommend it for everyone who needs to learn this simple meditation technique.

Mindfulness is growing in popularity across the country. It is recommended for so many different reasons:

  • stress relief and pain relief
  • taking mental breaks during a busy day
  • assistance falling asleep
  • combat depression and/or anxiety

Do yourself a favor: Give Mindfulness a try.

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Guest Editorial: The Perfect Cultural Storm For A Tragedy by Dr. David M.Brady

Dr. David M.Brady
Naturopathic medical physician
Clinical Nutritionist

For those of you with your nerves still frayed and hearts broken over the horrific act of violence in Newtown, the holiday season was a very difficult one this year, and particularly so for those of us here in the neighboring communities of Connecticut. However, while we may all want to forget about it and move on, this incident had better not be forgotten so easily like those that have happened prior. It had better be a call to action on a multitude of fronts or these precious children and adult educators will be added to the long list of those who have recently died in vain. There are a multitude of cultural issues facing us as a society that we simply can no longer delay facing and effectively dealing with head-on.

The immediate reaction to tragedies like this latest one is to concentrate on gun access and availability. No matter what side of the issue you are on politically on the Constitutional right to bear arms, it is becoming impossible to rationally support the need for public access to semi-automatic assault rifles, high capacity magazines, and military-style ammunition. Their only real purpose, by design, is to kill lots of people very quickly. There is a big difference between defending rational rights to gun ownership, and even concealed weapon permits, versus private access to military-style weapons. However, regardless of these issues, the guns remain the low-hanging fruit in this conversation. Other issues are equally, if not more, important and responsible for creating an environment for this kind of situation to occur.

The constant exposure to violent video games, movies, TV shows, and music of our children during their developmental years creates desensitization to violence and, in a small number of subjects, a tolerance for actually committing these kinds of acts as a way of living out for real what they do on the television or computer screen on a daily basis. Would anyone really be surprised if next year you can buy a video game where the theme is a person with an assault rifle entering a school to shoot up the place?

The breakdown of the family unit which has occurred in the past several decades is yet another issue that must be honestly evaluated. This is complex and due to many issues such as the steep rise in divorce, escalating numbers of births by single mothers, and fatherless homes being the norm in large segments of our population, and all are clearly taking a toll on our children. Declining spirituality and faith, and the aggressive, and many believe excessive, level of politically-correct secular pressure to defer from categorizing anything as unacceptable behavior with negative societal influence also has not helped.

Our population is also literally eating “junk” and goes through their daily life consuming calorie-rich, nutrient-insufficient, foods of convenience routinely just like they are encouraged to do on all of the television commercials. The cold hard truth is that even in a country of abundance like the U.S. people are malnourished. Yes, I said it, malnourished! Of course, I am referring to the inadequate consumption of real or whole foods and the critical micronutrients they contain, not the amount of calories. This has significantly contributed to the epidemic of chronic illness, including mental illness, and skyrocketing healthcare expenditures. We are frankly, as a society, becoming fatter, stupider, and more culturally regressed by the day. Yes, all of this matters!
Finally, one of the most important factors, in my opinion (and credible data backs this up) creating the soil for this reality we now confront is the literal breakdown of the mental health system. Since an almost total federal defunding of comprehensive mental health services in the 60s, 70s and 80s we have seen serious negative effects on our society. Almost total privatization of the system has led to non-livable wages for counselors and many front-line mental health professionals and no funding for their continued education. In fact, many have pointed out correctly that the U.S. effectively has no mental health “system” at all. However, in an outstanding Medscape article published as a response to the Newtown tragedy, psychiatrist James Knoll, IV, MD stated “It is my contention that there exists no legitimate ‘system’ in the United States when it comes to mental health treatment. From a literal perspective, one might define a system as an organized, regularly interacting set of principles forming a network — especially for distributing something or serving a common purpose.” The reality is that we really have no “system” at all by the classic definition to even blame. After one tragedy in Massachusetts, the state’s former mental health director responded, “Will this case be the canary in the coal mine? Will it signal that we’ve gone too far in reducing client-staff ratios, in closing hospitals, in pushing independence for people who may still be too sick?”

The reality is that the standard of care has been reduced to the cheapest solution, if you want to call it that, which is basically a “drug them and shove them” (out the door) approach. People with serious mental illness, and clearly violent tendencies, are no longer institutionalized and given the long-term comprehensive care they need. It is cheaper and easier to just prescribe an antidepressant, an antipsychotic medication, or both, and send them off unsupervised to live among us. It has been reported that Adam Lanza, the Newtown shooter, was taking the atypical antipsychotic drug Fanapt (formerly known as Zomaril), a medication with a very problematic history of its own. We know from medical studies that while antidepressant drugs may be marginally effective and necessary for some, other large meta-studies show they may be no better than placebo. We now have over 30,000,000 Americans taking SSRIs and the majority of those prescriptions are written by GPs, NPs, and PAs, most of who have no advanced psychiatric training. We also know that teenagers and young adults can react differently to these medications than adults do, and a small but significant percentage of them can be made worse by these drugs. Many teenage girls have committed suicide after starting antidepressant medications for what was only mild depression prior. Some boys and young men have virtually disassociated from reality and have committed horrendous acts of violence, sometimes in a manner completely out of character for them previously.

I have, since this latest incident, heard some discussion about the lack of funding for mental health, but will more funding really just mean more of these medications being handed out to our already drugged-silly children without serious thought to who they may be inappropriate for, or will it finally result in the addition of more comprehensive services and approaches? The handing out of medications to our children like it is candy is out of control and the link between their use and these incidents is becoming compelling. Could this be one of the main elements in the rise of such incidents? After all, guns have been widely available for a very long time, while the mass and almost reflexive use of these medications, like these incidents, is relatively new.

Fellow health care providers, citizens, and especially parents, we have a toxic soup of issues facing us, and particularly for our children, which may very well be leading to the acts of horror we have witnessed now on a multitude of occasions since Columbine. However, having an honest and non-political discussion as a nation about them will be difficult, but imperative. This will ultimately involve taking on powerful interests including the NRA, Big Pharma, Big Food, and the entertainment industry. These days our politicians are financially beholden to these very same powerful interests, they are barely capable of speaking civilly across the aisle to one another, and have become virtually worthless in affecting any kind of meaningful change. Do the politicians really have the backbone? I seriously doubt they do unless their feet are held to the fire by an outraged populous, and a united health care workforce, that will no longer stand by and see our children slaughtered in their schools.

*****
Dr. Brady is a licensed naturopathic medical physician and certified clinical nutritionist. He is currently the Vice Provost of the Division of Health Sciences, Director of the Human Nutrition Institute, and associate professor of clinical sciences at the University of Bridgeport. He is also the Chief Medical Officer of Designs for Health, Inc., and maintains a private practice, Whole Body Medicine, in Trumbull, CT. Dr. Brady has been a featured presenter at many of the most prestigious conferences in integrative and functional medicine, including the Institute for Functional Medicine, American College for Advancement in Medicine, American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, International and American Associations of Clinical Nutritionists, and more. He is a contributing author for Integrative Gastroenterology, the first integrative medical textbook on gastroenterology by Johns Hopkins physician Gerard Mullin, MD, and is a contributing author for Laboratory Evaluations for Integrative and Functional Medicine by Lord and Bralley and the second edition of Advancing Medicine with Food and Nutrients, Second Edition, by Ingrid Kohlstadt, MD.

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Letters to the Editor

From The Psychology Times, Vol. 3, No. 2

I, too, am glad to hear that Darlyne Nemeth is helping with Sunset issues, I served on the Board with her and appeared before the legislature myself to answer questions about whether our Board was doing anything useful.

Isn’t it ironic that Sunset appears just at the time when we have two Boards (?) overseeing psychology. Wonder if those whose idea it was to join the medical board are interested in the opportunity this presents. For example, now we learn that persons who are not licensed by our board can nevertheless supervise psychologists for licensure. What’s next??

My thought is that they would ask why have two boards and suggest only one, doubtless under the newly formed medical committee (!).

Time to listen to the folks at AASPB, a group I know well from my time on the Board, and who are wise in these matters.  They counsel that we are doing something very different, which may be very wrong.

I hate to think that simple power politics is at the bottom of all this, but it sure seems that way.

Time for LSBEP to rise up and assert their role in our state. Sunset hearings may be such an opportunity, but we have to get tough with a minority that wants to control things.

Our response had better be ready. And powerful.

Dr. Fred Davis

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Benefits of a Gluten-Free Brain

From The Psychology Times, Vol. 3, No. 2

Nutrition and Health

Most of us have seen the gluten-free alternatives now offered at grocery stores and restaurants.  Celiac disease is an auto-immune disease. When a person is exposed to wheat gluten the body starts to destroy the gut lining which leads to mal-absorption, diarrhea, malnutrition, stunted growth, and even other auto-immune diseases like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.  Celiac has also been linked to psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia,[1] depression, and behavioral disorders.[2]

You might be thinking that since you don’t have celiac disease, that gluten-free products aren’t for you. But some people have gluten sensitivity. This means that, for example, a woman’s medical tests show she does not have celiac disease, but she has brain fog and fatigue when she eats gluten-containing foods and her symptoms go away on a gluten-free diet.

A gluten-free diet may be beneficial for patients struggling with mood disorders, schizophrenia, learning disabilities, behavioral disorders, autism, migraine headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel syndrome, and eczema.

More about celiac disease and gluten sensitivity can be found at www.metametrix.com

 [1] A. De Santis, G. Addolorato, A. Romito, S. Caputo, A. Giordano, G. Gambassi, C. Taranto, R. Manna, and G. Gasbarrini, J Intern Med 242 (1997) 421. [2] P. A. Pynnonen, E. T. Isometsa, M. A. Verkasalo, S. A. Kahkonen, I. Sipila, E. Savilahti, and V. A. Aalberg, BMC Psychiatry 5 (2005) 14.

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Eating One’s Young

From The Psychology Times, Vol. 3, No. 2

Editorials

Dr. Bolter presented excerpts from the law showing that medical psychologists can practice psychology and he asked the board to see that the intent of Act 251 was to transfer ALL aspects of the practice of psychology. He also said that since the psychology board validates supervisors from other states who were not licensed under the LSBEP, then they should validate medical psychologists, who are not licensed under LSBEP.

Aside from the non sequitur, the issue has more to do with our profession than with the practice of psychology.

Of course the psychology board accepts supervision hours by psychologists licensed under other state psychology boards. We have a whole infrastructure for this issue. The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards handles problems of standards, license exams, mobility, and so on. But nowhere in the country are psychologists licensed by medicine. Until Act 251, a shorthand definition of who could supervise, a “psychologist,” was all that had been needed.

And supervision, the nurturing of new psychologists into our profession, is concerned with more than just practice. It is the profession’s way of transferring our identity and values to the next psychologists.

LSBEP has placed the burden on our young psychologists who, if they ever go to another state, just might find out the hard way whether a psychologist needs to have been supervised by someone licensed under a state psychology board.

Our new Chair should reexamine this matter and get testimony from all sides, taking time to carefully review all the applicable laws, not just the parts that support the political agenda of one group.

 

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NSU Psychology Dept Offers Honors Courses

-L. Jackson, NSU News

Northwestern State University is implementing an Honors Program this semester to give outstanding students the opportunity to enrich their academic experience, study topics in greater depth and improve their leadership skills. Students enrolled in the Honors courses will participate in research and projects in addition to regular coursework, which administrators hope will engage them in their disciplines and get them excited about research.

Dr. Susan Thorson-Barnett and her colleagues in the Department of Psychology worked for over a year to coordinate the Honors components she plans to imple-ment in her Psychology 1010 class this semester that will be tied to a service-learning project.

“The Honors students will follow the same grading scale and take the same tests as the rest of the students, but their coursework will have a research component,” Thorson-Barnett said. “We will meet every two weeks. First, the students will learn about the project, then we will meet at the library to learn to find resources in scholarly journals. Over the course of the semester, the students will write a group research paper and will work in groups of two to create informational posters they will present to the class before Thanksgiving.”

Thorson-Barnett’s project will expose the freshmen Honors students to concepts normally presented to upperclassmen.

“We want them to be able to present the research during next spring’s Research Day and we hope we can continue the project and tie it in with service learning and present at the spring Serving Learning conference,” she said.

See complete story at http://news.nsula.edu/

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Regional Group News

From The Psychology Times, Vol 3, No 3

• Baton Rouge Area Society of Psychologists

In November Dr. David Post, a Baton Rouge psychiatrist, is planning to talk on the hypnosis of Adolph Hitler for hysterical blindness during WWI, and the possible connection with his grandiosity and rise to power before WWII. The date is being arranged. For more information, President Dr. John Pickering can be reached at jpickering7@cox.net.

• Lafayette Region Psychology Group

The Lafayette Region Psychology Group is meeting on the second Thursday of November at 7:00 pm, said Dr. Gail Gillespie. She told the Times that the meeting would be a planning session. If you are interested in attending, please contact Dr. Gail Gillespie gailgill@ msn.net 337-783- 9953.

• New Orleans Regional Psychologists

Dr. Carolyn Weyand told the Times that The New Orleans group met Friday, Oct 28. The group changed its name to the Crescent City Area Psychological Society (CCAPS). “With our name solidly in place,” she said, “we will go forward with our website and facebook page thanks to two of our younger psychologists, Meagan Medley and Chavez Phelps.” “And also,” she noted, “our bylaws, thanks to Michele Larzelere’s work with input from Kim Van Geffen, John Fanning, Arnold James.” Dr. Weyand said that “bylaws will, hopefully, be ready for a vote at the next meeting.”

CCAPS, formerly NORP, will meet next on Friday, January 20, 2012 at 6:30. Our meeting place is still to be determined.

For information contact Carolyn Weyand, by email carolynweyand@gmail.com or by phone 504-895-2901.

SEPA Annual Meeting February 15-18, in NO

The Southeastern Psycho- logical Association will hold its Convention in February 2012 in New Orleans. The main hotel is the Sheraton. More information is available online at www.sepaonline.com

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Steve Jobs

Freedom and Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs– Julie Nelson

One of the first things that a consulting psychologist will do with a team is to help the group establish a climate of freedom.

Decades ago when I was a brand new psychologist working at a 5,000 person Honeywell manufacturing plant in Phoenix, I witnessed this dramatic effect. From simply removing blocks to freedom of thought and action for the team members, the group catapulted from last place in the company (the shameful position of the 27th performing team) to the 1st place team, in only a few months.

As an internal consultant, this made me hugely popular. To those who didn’t know much about psychology, it was like a magic trick. But of course it had almost nothing to do with me.

One piece of luck was a leader who was extremely bright, open, and achievement-oriented. He was minimally encumbered by ego so we didn’t have to spend time on that. In team-building having this type of leader is like stacking the deck.

I applied the principles of psychology that I’d been taught and the natural forces took over. Participation, motivation, and creativity all increased. The team revved like an airplane that had been finally cleared for takeoff. Then, productivity flew.

In The Constitution of Liberty, F.A.Hayek explains that freedom is “that condition of men in which coercion of some by others is reduced as much as possible in society.” He reminds us that freedom is not power, wealth, or even happiness. In fact, freedom might mean the absence of these. And it is not entitlement.

Hayek also explains that freedom is not about the collective, but the single individual. “To grant no more freedom than all can exercise would be to misconceive its function completely. The freedom that will be used by only one man in a million may be more important to society and more beneficial to the majority than any freedom that we all use.”

Steve Jobs, the premier inventor of our time, could never have created what he did without the freedoms provided in our country.

Jobs had the freedom to go to college and the freedom to drop out. He had the freedom to reject his father. He had the freedom to start a company in a garage. He had the freedom to get kicked out of his own company and he had the freedom to start all over again. He even had the freedom not to listen to his customers–he didn’t survey them. He felt they didn’t know what they needed.

This November we honor our veterans on the historic date of 11-11-11. We think about their service and their sacrifice.

In a letter addressing the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia, October 11, 1798, John Adams wrote, “If it be the pleasure of Heaven that my country shall require the poor offering of my life, the victim shall be ready, at the appointed hour of sacrifice, come when that hour may. But while I do live, let me have a country, and that a free country.”

Steve Jobs possessed a naturally creative temperament. But what made it possible for him to reach his potential, to light the entire world with his inventions, was that time and chance placed him in this country, a country where Lady Liberty has made her home.

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Les Miles

What Could Be Under The Hat?

– Julie Nelson

Les MilesSome of us in Louisiana can’t help but get caught up in the magic of the LSU Tigers and their fascinating coach Les Miles. Miles currently holds a stunning 75-17 record and his success on the field extends to his recruiting, suggesting a mixture of talent in man- agement and leadership, flavored delightfully by his own unique style.

The media has focused on Miles’ unorthodox style, underscored by the nerve-racking, edge of the seat, 2007 season, where his gambles, trick-plays, and hair’s-breadth wins, became the norm. He was nicknamed “The Hat” for his large, unpretentious cap, which morphed into “The Mad Hatter,” because of his innovative plays and a tendency to
push the limits.
Recently Miles drew attention for chewing on grass, explaining it in existential terms: “I have a little tradition that humbles me as a man, that lets me know that I’m part of the field and part of the game.”
Sports writer Austin Murphy said, “For the longest time Miles didn’t need to chew grass to humble himself as a man. He had the LSU fan base to do that for him.” (“What Will Les Miles Do Next?” SI Vault.) He’s been criticized for plays, clock management, and his communication style, described by Murphy as, “… an always original and sometimes comprehensible gumbo of declarations, digressions, distressed syntax and so-called Mile-a-props ….”
In this article, the Times publisher muses about Miles’ unique style, with some ideas from psychology to bring the coach’s magic a little way back through the looking glass.

Management and Leadership style
I asked one of our Louisiana experts in leadership, Dr. Courtland Chaney, about the style of Coach Miles. Dr. Chaney is past Professor at the College of Business at LSU, and currently instructor for LSU Executive Education.
“I believe one can make a distinction between management and leadership. Management usually refers to planning, organizing, directing or telling, and controlling people and other resources to achieve goals,” noted Dr. Chaney. “A sports coach must assure that work is managed.” He explained that examples are selecting new players, planning, and organizing recruiting efforts. “Obviously some coaches do this better than others,” Chaney said. “I believe Coach Miles does a very good job of this.”
In the SI Vault article, Murphy wrote that Les Miles had taken on the core principles of Bo Schembechler, his boss at Michigan. Murphy lists these as “integrity, discipline, toughness and the primacy of group over individual.”
Dr. Chaney explained, “Coach Miles expects people to accept responsibility for their own behavior, shows tough love when it’s appropriate, and manifests consistency in his value-based behavioral style. It seems to me he is a good role model as well as a good coach and leader. If leading by example is admirable, then Coach Miles is to be admired.”
“I would also make the case that Coach Miles is an excellent leader relative to the LSU football players and thus football team,” he said. “Putting aside any discussion of leadership traits, I would cite Coach Miles’ leadership style … Throughout the research and writings on leadership style, one finds reference to leaders showing concern (caring) for and about high performance and for the welfare of those they supervise/lead. In my judgment, this is where Coach Miles excels, and possibly holds his most important competitive advantage.”

People Oriented
In an Alexandria TownTalk article by Glenn Guilbeau, LSU player Michael Brockers said about Miles, “He’s the players’ coach. I feel like that’s what has really made us so successful right now. I feel like coach Miles understands where his team is coming from. He kind of relates. If you have that as players, we can do anything.”
Dr. Chaney told the Times, “I believe a review of Coach Miles’ behavioral practices over time supports the conclusion that he truly cares about the players’ personal welfare –academic, athletic, post-school life, etc., …”
To look at this characteristic from another view, I decided to run the text of an interview (“Les Miles unfiltered: Arkansas preview,” foxsportssouth.com) through the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) software so I could get a rough idea of Coach Miles’ communication. The LIWC program counts words and offers a few simple, broad-brush comparisons in its online software.
The first thing that popped out is Coach Miles’ high use of social words. The LIWC gave Miles a score on social words of 12.74. We can compare this to the average for samples of formal texts (8.0) and also the average for personal texts (9.5). While not at all scientific, this fits. He does seem to like people and enjoy interacting.
“I think we’re the only team that singsChristmascarols,” sophomore defensive tackle Michael Brockers told TownTalk. “LSU’s coach Miles shows nice guys can finish first.”
Brockers said, “I remember being shy about it my first year, thinking, ‘What is this?’ And now this year, I’m up in the front leading the songs. Oh yeah, he’s very unique, and he has us doing very unique things. But he’s our coach, and we love him to death.”
Why is social connection important? Trust. Affection. Reciprocal support. Coach Miles really does like his players. He’s not faking it.
Senior linebacker Ryan Baker said in the TownTalk article, “He’s just a different coach. I’ve never seen anything like it. He’s very successful. But at the same time, he’s a nice guy.”

Positive and Optimistic
The LIWC analysis also suggested that Miles focuses on the positive. His interview text had almost double the positive emotion words of the formal or the personal text samples. Coach Miles’ positive emotion words fell at 5.41, compared to 2.6 for formal texts and 2.7 for personal texts. He was also low on negative emotion words.
This is a pattern characteristic of optimists. Optimists are normally cheerful and happy. They bounce back more easily after hardships because their positive view makes them more resilient and adaptable. They make up a disproportionate number of leaders in our society because they take risks and seek out challenges.
Sounds about right. Great manager, genuine liking for people, positive and optimistic. And there seems to be a little bit of magic too.
• Transformational Grammar
Paul Crewe, sports writer for And The Valley Shook, wrote, “Put Miles into a public speaking situation and you get speech gumbo: take everything left in the fridge, throw it in a pot, and somehow, it comes out delicious, even if you don’t quite understand why,” (“Really Smart or Really Dumb, The Big-Picture Genius of Les Miles.”)
Consider this simple statement from Miles in an interview. “In pregame we looked at the purple and gold that may be in that stadium and the spots that would eventually be filled with purple and gold, and we enjoyed it.” (“Les Miles Unfiltered,” MSN.)
Psychologists who have studied Ericksonian psychotherapy will recognize this style, called transformational grammar. It is a style with many nuances and variations, depending on the listener and the goal of commun- ication. Here are just two ideas about its benefits.
Being an elite athlete is a complex job. While having high expectations is important for performance, we also know that these expectations translate into pressures that can impair performance on difficult, skill-based tasks. Also, performing in front of
an audience, even a sup- portive audience, increases reactivity. Even if the athlete feels positive about fan sup- port, the supportive audience has a detrimental effect.
Coach Miles’ word gumbo seems perfect for balancing out high expectations while at the same time softening the harmful effects of this type of stress. And it likely works because he really means it.
Another way that Coach Miles’ word gumbo might be beneficial to his athletes comes from research about “invisible support.” Coaches must give direct advice at times, but research has found that this carries an emotional cost for the recipient, such as feeling less capable.
LSU CoachResearchers have found that support can be more effective when it is outside of the person’s awareness or if it is so subtle that it is not perceived as support. Invisible support is associated with lower stress and stronger feelings of capability, what psychologists call self-efficacy.
“We were challenged by an opponent that talked about a rivalry and they would play to it. We told our team that is how we would rather have it anyway and lets go play. They took an edge onto the field. It did not take long to take that edge into the end zone for us.” (“Les Miles Unfiltered, MSN.)
LSU Tiger left guard Will Blackwell said in the SI Vault, “You’ve got to use your context cues to kind of decipher the meaning.”
I don’t think this style can be learned, at least not easily. I think it is more of a complex set of characteristics particular to Miles– his concern for people, optimism, integrity, man- agement skills, all coming together. In this way our Mad Hatter seems more like a Zen master, with his natural talents applied to manage high expectations for elite athletes.
All the while he keeps his feet on the ground and the grass of Tiger Stadium in his pocket, reminding him that it is just a game, and he, after all, is just a man.

(Dr. Julie Nelson is Times publisher, licensed psychologist, and consultant to businesses in organizational and talent development. She trained with Milton Erickson briefly.)


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