Category Archives: The Bookshelf

Book Reviews from The Psychology Times

Retirement Experiences of Psychologists

Edited by Rodney R. Baker and
Patrick H. DeLeon
2021 Cambridge Scholars Publishing

Drs. Rodney Baker and Patrick DeLeon have put together a fascinating combination of stories  from the generation of psychologists who are currently retiring from active practice, service,  and teaching. The effort stems from a brain child of their symposia presented at the American  Psychological Association (APA) running from 2014 through 2019. Retirement Experiences of  Psychologists captures a patchwork of different perspectives from high-powered psychology  professionals. Contributors those of the various ethnic identities, persons of color, and gender,  each who are in a different phase of retirement, with a different career path and unique story.

Editors are Rodney Baker, PhD, retired as mental health director and chief of psychology at the  Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, and Patrick H.  DeLeon, Ph.D., MPH, JD, a well-known friend of many in the Louisiana psychology community.  Dr. DeLeon is a former president of the American Psychological Association (APA), member of  the National Academy of Medicine, and honorary fellow of several national nursing  associations.

The editors explain that clinical practice was primarily a post-World War II activity and so many  of the experiences of today’s retirees is a first experience event. Not only do retiring psychologists have very few, if any, role models for retirement, but the complexity and  variability of psychology practice creates a rich tapestry of experiences and choices that gives  the book its depth.

The writing and personal essays do not disappoint. The psychologists explain their career  journeys in candid, intimate and revealing ways. They share elements of their experience that  are enjoyable and insightful, providing the reader personal details and often profound  conclusions about the journey.

The book design includes sections on “Retirement Stories from Institutional Professional Activity (Non-Academic),” on “Retirement Stories from Academic Professional Activity,’ another on “Retirement Stories from Independent Private Practice,” and a fourth on “Retirement Stories from Psychology Organizations.”

Retirement Experiences of Psychologists brings together an interesting combination of  psychologists, including Merry Bullock, PhD, retired as international affairs director at the APA,  Ellen Cole, PhD, author of Older Women Who Work, and Thomas Grisso, PhD, emeritus  professor of at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, MA, where his research contributed to developmental and mental health policy and law in the juvenile and  criminal justice systems.

Contributors also include James M. Jones, PhD, who directed the Minority Fellowship Program  and served as executive director for Public Interest at the APA, Ronald F. Levant, EdD, MBA,  ABPP, another former president of the APA, and a key person responsible for creating the new  field of the psychology of men and masculinities, and Ruth Ullmann Paige, PhD, retired from independent practice and a past APA Recording Secretary and member of APA Board of Directors.

Gilbert O. Sanders, EdD, who served 37 years in the U.S. Air Force, Army, and Public Health  Service, Michael J Sullivan, PhD, APA’s “citizen psychologist,” and Melba J.T. Vasquez, PhD, ABPP,  another former APA president are also among the contributors.

The essays are full of tidbits of wisdom and humor and insights. Dr. Baker writes, “… I didn’t  want to die at my VA desk still worrying about performance standards, workload, budgets, and  the myriad of other things that always faced me in addition to the things I liked doing. There  must be something else to consider in my future.”

“My chief losses in retirement include loss of sleep deprivation—I really enjoy my afternoon nap …”

Dr. DeLeon writes, “From one perspective, there never is a good time to leave a position that allows one to advance a deeply held vision for bettering society—especially one that allows  regularly visiting the White House, Supreme Court, and Hawaii.”

“And yet, an appropriate analogy might be playing in the National Football League. The games  are exciting. If you survive, you know that you must be good. And yet, at some point, your knees simply can no longer take the daily pounding.”

Dr. Willis writes, “I realize that a part of my difficulty adjusting to retirement is that I have been  working since I was a child, and it is hard not to be busy all the time.” In, “I retired from my job  but not my profession,” Dr. Levant writes, “The move out of my second deanship was one of the
best choices that I have made in my life. It felt like unloading an 80-pound backpack, …”

In, “Retirement has an Existential Identity,” Dr. Jones tells us, “One thing keeps coming back to me…get things in order. I resist that to some degree because it feels too much like the end  game.” […] “The past is long and getting longer, the future is short getting shorter, and the  present is not an instant but the prolonged consciousness that fuses the two.”

A wistful theme from Dr. Baker emerges, “If I had a complaint about retirement it would be  what I vaguely remember as someone calling the lament of the elderly: ‘Now that I know all the  answers, no one asks me the questions.’”

And reflected from Dr. DeLeon, “And yet, somewhat embarrassingly, from time to time, as one  becomes more senior and reflects on the past, there is a subtle feeling that wouldn’t it be nice if only more people were aware of what one has accomplished …”

While a little hard to get hold of through Amazon, Retirement Experiences is available from the  publisher and well worth the price.

Who’s READING What?

Psychiatric Casualties

How and Why the Military Ignores the
Full Cost of War

Mark Russell and Charles Figley


Dr. Charles Figley, the Paul Henry Kurzweg Distinguished Chair in Disaster Mental Health,  Professor and Associate Dean for Research in the Tulane School of Social Work, and Director of  the Tulane’s award-winning Traumatology Institute, has a new book, co-authored with Dr. Mark  Russell, military and trauma expert.

Psychiatric Casualties: How and Why the Military Ignores the Full Cost of War courageously explores the dark side of military mental health and the paradoxical nature of, and challenges in, this  tragic situation.

The authors point out that the toll of war is huge and the prevalence of post traumatic stress is  underestimated, covered over by stigma and fears of being diagnosed, contributing to a culture  with excessive waiting times for veterans, high rates of suicide and addictions, inadequate  treatment and organizational scandals.

The two trauma experts offer a courageous critique of the ongoing failures in military mental  health care in the United States. They take a hard and honest look at the war culture and the  denial of the mental health crisis in the military and the suffering of service members.

In Psychiatric Casualties the authors write, “The psychological toll of war is vast, and the social  costs of war’s psychiatric casualties extend even further. Yet military mental health care suffers  from extensive waiting lists, organizational scandals, spikes in veteran suicide, narcotic over-prescription, shortages of mental health professionals, and inadequate treatment. The prevalence of conditions such as post–traumatic stress disorder is often underestimated, and  there remains entrenched stigma and fear of being diagnosed. Even more alarming is how the  military dismisses or conceals the significance and extent of the mental health crisis.”

The contents:
Introduction: The Genesis of the Military’s Mental Health Dilemma
1. A War to Die For: Casualty Trends of Modern Warfare
2. The Dark Side of Military Mental Health: A History of Self-Inflicted Wounds
3. Cruel and Inhumane Handling: The First Dark-Side Strategy
4. Legal Prosecution, Incarceration, and Executions of Mental Illness: The Second Dark-Side Strategy
5. Humiliate, Ridicule, and Shame into Submission: The Third Dark-Side Strategy
6. Denying the Psychiatric Reality of War: The Fourth Dark-Side Strategy
7. Purging Weakness: The Fifth Dark-Side Strategy
8. Delay, Deceive, and Delay Again: The Sixth Dark-Side Strategy
9. Faulty Diagnosis and Backdoor Discharges: The Seventh DarkSide Strategy
10. Avoiding Responsibility and Accountability: The Eighth Dark-Side Strategy
11. Inadequate, Experimental, or Harmful Treatment: The Ninth DarkSide Strategy
12. Perpetuating Neglect, Indifference, and Self-Inflicted Crises: The Tenth Dark-Side Strategy
13. Toward a Resilient and Mentally Healthy Military
14. Transforming Military Mental Healthcare: Three Options for Change

“We are eager to reach military members and families as well as military veterans to join our  cause and help improve the situation significantly,” Figley said in a Tulane interview with Barri Bronston..Figley served a tour of duty in the Vietnam War as a member of the U.S. Marine  Corps. And later, as a noted professor at Purdue University, he had a front-row seat to the  failures of military mental health in the United States, reported Bronston.

“Military mental health is mismanaged, disorganized and often ignored and misunderstood,”  said Figley. “The prevalence of conditions such as post–traumatic stress disorder is often underestimated, with the military dismissing or concealing the significance and extent of the  mental health crisis.”

So far, he said the response to the book has been positive, he told Bronston. “Among other  good signs: A documentary has emerged and will be released in September; Military Times  interviewed us, and the article should be out shortly; there has been no negative response so  far.”

As part of their mission to raise awareness of the problem, Figley and Russell appeared in June  in a Facebook Live show titled “Championing Mental Health.” Featured were clips from the documentary “Stranger At Home: The Untold Story of American Military Mental Health,” which  will be released in September.

Figley has published more 160 refereed journal articles and 25 books as pioneer trauma scholar and practitioner. His Encyclopedia of Trauma was named as an Outstanding Academic Title for  the 2013-2014 academic year by Choice, a publication of the American Library Association. The  work is an interdisciplinary guide, bringing together concepts from the humanities, all of the  social sciences, and most of the professional fields, for understanding human responses to  traumatic events.

Dr. Figley enjoys, “A sense of satisfaction of informing psychology and helping psychologists.  Also, I learn lots from practitioners struggling with critical issues never addressed by  researchers,” he explained.

Another of Figley’s books First Do No SELF Harm has garnered high praise, “… because it  addresses––finally––the high prices physicians and medical students pay in managing work- related stress,” he explained. His work has had far-reaching influence. Recently, he was named  the 2021 Distinguished Psychologist by the Louisiana Psychological Association.

My Journey to Prison A Story of Failure, Struggle, Discipline, and Gratitude

Caught up in the DOJ net for Medicare fraud, Dr. John Teal, previously licensed as a psychologist in Mississippi and a medical psychologist in Louisiana, shares his journey,
challenges, and spiritual strengthening in My Journey to Prison: A Story of Failure, Struggle, Discipline, and Gratitude.

The book is about his experiences in prison––his observations about relationships between the inmates and his reflections on his life and faith. Teal’s writing has been said to be from the heart and him to be a genuinely caring, humble man. The book
includes his journey of faith and a time where his own spiritual discipline brought him to the other side of a traumatic, life changing experience.

In his introduction, Dr. Teal describes how he was hit broadside with the indictment.

“Suddenly I heard the buzz of my phone,” he writes. “As I looked down and saw this name on my phone, it occurred to me that he and I had not communicated, other than occasional casual texting, for quite some time. I felt a tingle of anxiety to see the attorney for Company X calling me without having texted first, but I tried to suppress my concerns as I answered the call.

“Hey Mr. Lester,” I said.

“Hey John. This is Peter Lester” […] ” I’m calling to let you know that you have been indicted.”

Dr. Teal writes about how he experienced a deep wave of anxiety and dread. He goes on to explain that he knew nothing of the accounting had company X but begins to see how his own ignorance may have come to be his most important problem.

In a fascinating description of his interactions with DOJ prosecutors, he lets us know how it feels to be targeted. Teal agrees to meet with the federal prosecutor who is willing to show him and his attorney the evidence against Teal.

“On December 16, 2015, an in person meeting at the federal building in New Orleans was scheduled for Mr. Palmer and I. Mr. Simpson [an attorney for the defense] was also present, and I did not say a word. There were several other serious looking FBI agents sitting around the conference table as well, but they rarely spoke either. On the table, there were tall stacks of paper and several ring binder notebooks with ‘TEAL’ emblazoned in bold on the front and along the side of them.

“Mr. Palmer laid out the case against me. He covered lots of material in that meeting. Most of it made sense to me. Some of it did not. The overriding point was that while I worked for Company X, I over-billed for services that were provided. ‘You were famous!” he said, referring to this overbilling. There were other points, but the main one was over billing and the subsequent inappropriately high amount of money that was reimbursed as a result. Mr. Palmer’s presentation was abrasive and aggressive. He pointed his finger directly at me and repeatedly stated ‘Fraud! Fraud! Fraud!’ and he continued, ‘If
you go to trial you will be found guilty of fraud, and you will go to prison!”

“As I listened to Mr. Palmer, I felt defensive, but I found a strange refuge in not being expected to speak. His strategy was clearly to scare the living shit out of me, and to assure me that I had no chance at all of winning the case in court.”

Dr. Teal continues to explain the inner turmoil and confusion he experienced in being indicted and prosecuted, and the difficult decisions he had to make to survive emotionally.

According to the publisher’s page: “John A. Teal grew up in Jackson, Mississippi. This birthplace was formative for him in that it was a central hub of racial integration in the country. Shortly before he was born, his parents moved to Mississippi from various places northward, with the goal of improving race relations. His father taught Physics at Tougaloo College, a private historically black college, for his entire professional career.

“Because of John’s parents’ worthy pursuit as well as their cultural backgrounds, he grew up with a mixture of liberal minded social justice and theologically conservative Lutheran Christianity. This interesting mixture served to engender within John a balance between the need for thoughtful consideration and action.

“John is an avid runner and he loves to pick on the acoustic guitar.

“Professionally, John became a clinical psychologist and worked for a few years in a state hospital and private practice.”

Dr. Teal’s book is available on Amazon.

Who’s READING What?

Recommended Reading for New Year’s

by Dr. Judith Miranti

The holidays have a way of inserting into our psyches a reflective mode that, if ignored, will just keep inserting itself until we stop and pay attention to our mind, body and spirit.  Individuals react differently to the approaching holidays. For some, the holidays are unbearable after the loss of a loved one depending upon their unique stage of grief and whether or not they are experiencing survivor’s guilt. For others, it is a time of thanksgiving and connecting with those we love.

During our reflective mode, these two short reads, God Isn’t Finished with me Yet (139 pages) and Man’s Search for Meaning (167 pages) put a lot into perspective regardless of one’s spiritual and/or religious beliefs.  Everyone wants to find meaning in life.  The self-help books that fill the shelves of bookstores testify to this search.  As we see fewer years ahead than behind, it can be easy to question our value or what we have left to contribute. How can we continue to be generative and give back and live with purpose in our later years?

Sadly, there is no quick fix.  To have meaning and purpose in life is a quest which is never ending but can be fulfilling.  Often we hear clients discuss how they are spiritually, psychologically and mentally bankrupt. Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s memoir, Man’s Search for Meaning, has captivated generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival.  Frankl argues that while we cannot avoid suffering, we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose.  Throughout the holiday, pause and reflect on any one of the top ten Viktor Frankl quotations:

1. “Our greatest freedom is the freedom to choose our attitude.”

2. “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

3. “But there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer.”

4. “In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice.”

5. “The meaning of life is to give life meaning.”

6. “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how.'”

7. “Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.”

8. “Happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue.”

9. “The point is not what we expect from life, but rather what life expects from us.”

10.”For the world is in a bad state, but everything will become still worse unless each of us does his best.”

Find comfort in God Isn’t Finished with Me Yet.  We still have time to repair old wounds and reconnect with those from whom we are estranged.  We are encouraged to examine our lives and to make reasonable choices that will yield positive results.  We can let go of hurts, forgive ourselves, and find ways of bringing joy into our lives and discovering the spiritual graces of later life.

[Dr. Judith Miranti is Chair of the Division of Education and Counseling at Xavier University of Louisiana. She served as Dean of Humanities at Our Lady of Holy Cross College for 10 years and as VP for Academic Affairs for two. She has also served as the President of the National Association for Spirituality, Ethics, and Religious Values in Counseling.]

Strange Attractors: Chaos, Complexity, and the Art of Family Therapy

by Michael Butz, Linda Chamberlain, and William McCown

In Strange Attractors: Chaos, Complexity, and the Art of Family Therapy, William McCown, PhD, Louisiana psychologist and Associate Dean at University of Louisiana Monroe, stretches readers’ minds to the edges of the galaxy.

A fun, inspiring, and seriously theoretical look into connections between the “Third Revolution in Science” and psychotherapy concepts, Strange Attractors is at the same time surprisingly useful.

Despite the publication date of 1997, the concepts still fascinate. Strange attractors, fractals, bifurcations, chaos, and complexity – the authors show how the concepts relate to the course and sometimes chaotic movements of family systems. It feeds the reader with fantastic notions from theoretical physics.

“It’s become so mainstream in physics,” said Dr. McCown to the Times, “and well accepted in psychology.” There is an organization for this area of study, the Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology & Life Sciences, he noted. “The area is now usually called non-linear dynamical theory,” he explained.

Drawing on chaos theory, and showing how chaos has inspired advancements in almost all scientific fields, guiding our attention to the unexplained phenomena, the authors make their major point: nature includes disorder. Sometimes there is no cause and effect, regardless of how much we want to believe in it.

The value of the work is to shake us up, to cause us to drop or at least reconsider our linear, mechanic thinking about things.

The concepts and writing are poetic, as authors grab new ideas from chaos theory and apply them to family systems. Titles are imaginative and intriguing: “Warning, Objects Behind the Mirror May Be More Complex Than They Appear;” “The Eerie Beauty of Strange Attractors;” “Fractals and Forks in the Road;” and “Trying to Unscramble the Eggs.”

There is much that does seem more art than science in Strange Attractors, but the wisdom is the intuitive truth that some things don’t fit, are not linear, and cannot be predicted. Often the eggs cannot be unscrambled. A system must adapt to the new state. Therapists should be able to recognize this in psychology.

We are reminded of a lesson we should not forget, the dramatic limitations of the machine model, the linear model. “… the Age of the Machine is screeching to a halt … the decline of the industrial age forces us to confront the painful limitations of the machine model of reality,” the authors quote Alvin Toffler from Order out of Chaos.

“What does chaos theory do that cybernetics and general systems theory do not do?” The authors pose the question and explain that on a pure systems model, cybernetic theory relates to characteristics of mechanistic processes. These ideas were adapted to family therapy by Haley in 1959 and organic systems by Von Bertalanffy in 1968, with concepts of “steady state and transformative states,” they write.

Chaos goes further. To show us five paradigm shifts in family theory, they take us on a trip through the advances in family therapy, through familiar names of Don Jackson, Jay Haley, John
Weakland, Lidz, Bowen, and Whitaker, and Laing, Minuchin, and Satir.

Bateson’s double bind and metacommunication tangles were first. Then came Jay Haley and his use of cybernetic theory to describe how a “totality that autocorrects.” The third shift came with General Systems Theory, a shift, once and for all, from thinking of organisms as machines. With Bertalanffy the concept of open systems and transformative states made permanent the recognition of homeostatsis in concert with transformation.

By the early 90s Maturana and Varela had described the idea of “autopoiesis,” that living things are self-producing.

And the fifth paradigm, and the Third Great Revolution in Science, came at the turn of the century, “self-organization and chaos theory,” pointing to a constant motion of systems and the constant non-linear change, explained the authors.

For this new paradigm we give up predictability, viewing the therapist as a force, and the traditional view of resistance, and we take up the circular rather than linear reasoning, changing from “cause” to “fit” and adding positive to negative interpretations. It is a lot to change, for a linear mind, but the authors move us along tenderly.

The work opens Part One with “Sensitivity to Initial Conditions,” and “Warning, Objects Behind the Mirror May be More Complex Than They Appear.”

In “A Walk Through the Canyon,” authors give us a partial definition. “Chaos theory, as an umbrella term, describes a holistic process of adaptive transformation, where over time, small instabilities may result in complex behavior, that eventually appears random and is experienced as chaos by those accustomed to linear science.”

The authors introduce the reader to chaos theory concepts of attractor, point attractor, strange attractor, and also perturbation, bifurcation, sensitivity to initial conditions– called the butterfly effect, and also self-organizing, and period-doubling route to chaos.

“Where chaos begins, classical science stops,” they quote Gleick and tell us that new theory is essential for understanding reality, pointing out how quantum theory challenged how we tried to understand the nature of the world, and crystallized the limits of reductionism.

Part Two, “Families … Complex Terrain,” brings it closer to home. For “Into the ‘Phrase Space’,” the authors help define the clinician’s role, looking through this new view finder, and in particular the focus on the system’s attempt to adapt and its fluid boundaries.

In Chapter 4, “The Eerie Beauty of Strange Attractors” authors show the reader how a dynamic system can settle into a pattern, how a system can function between stability and change, that phenomena repeatedly observed in nature change once scientists began looking for it. It is a state that can be “thought of as an idealized state toward which an unpredictable or dynamical system is attracted.” The concept can be applied to mental states of people in therapy, fluctuations in mood, and personality dynamics, explain the authors.

“Catching the Butterfly–Chaos in Therapy,” Part Three, expands on the activities and thinking of a family therapist embracing this new perspective. Authors describe what the “butterfly” means in family therapy, and relate it to more traditional concepts of reframing, paradoxical, surprise, confusion, and strategic techniques.

The metaphor of the butterfly effect, the chaos theory idea that the flapping wings of a butterfly can impact the weather, points to the importance of small changes, magnified by the system.

“Any small difference that can be magnified by the existing family system can generate new and potentially more adaptive patterns,” the authors explain. Therapists need to be aware of small interactions that are not receiving notice, attention, or energy, such as “playfulness, humor, privacy, affection, diversity, conflict, forgiveness, respect …”

In “Fractals and Forks in the Road,” authors expand on the concept of fractals and bifurcations. When researchers starting looking for fractals they found them to be everywhere in nature. While the Western mind typically thinks in symmetrical shapes, “fractals are devoid of transitional symmetry. This means they are infinitely jagged,” a concept authors relate to work with undifferentiated family systems.

“At the Turning Point,” may be one of the most salient chapters for the application of chaos theory to family therapy, focusing on issues of family crisis, with constructs of steady states, change, and self reorganization.

Authors show how Chaos Theory helps to highlight issues in crisis, such as the meaning of abrupt changes, the unpredictability of changes, and the self-limiting aspect of crisis.

“Trying to Unscramble the Eggs,” looks at destabilization. Authors provide case studies and define the dangers, ethics, and prediction about when destabilization is countertherapeutic.

In “The Critical Moment,” the authors apply the concept of bifurcations and the “irreversible path cut by the system over time.” The authors say to look for bifurcation points in the family’s history, and this will help see stability, flow of information, and boundaries.

“No Predictable Period,” Part Four, continues with “From Chaos to Order, or … From Order to Chaos.” The authors look at the future of family therapy, the impact of the concepts of chaos on the present theories, training, ethics, and how we measure outcomes. They note their belief that therapist will become less invasive, and that views regarding psychotherapy outcomes, measurements, and ethics, will need to change to encompass this perspective.

The text closes with Chapter 11, “Epigram: Measuring Change in Chaotic Systems, Problems with Modeling, and the Need for Case Studies.” Authors approach the challenge of how to collect data and create models for this new paradigm in family therapy.

He explained that many theorists call the approach non-linear dynamical systems, and the term chaos sometimes less favored, but that the concepts are appealing and the text is still selling well.

Strange Attractors is a delightful walk through the canyon, apt to bring about some very new views for the reader. It can be acquired through for the Kindle from Amazon.

The Development of Behavior: A Synthesis of Developmental and Comparative Psychology

Bill Seay, PhD and Nathan Gottfried, PhD

1978, Houghton Mifflin Company

Comparative Psychology––Where has it gone? Merged into ethology or morphed into physiological psychology? Absorbed into behavioral neuroscience, biological and evolutionary psychology?

While many say the area is still thriving, comparative psychology is no longer listed at the Louisiana State University Psychology Department.

But once upon a time the department had its share of these “monkey men,” the affectionate term for those who observed the behavior of primates and then told us about the development, adaptation, or social structures of these close great-ape relatives.

One of those men is Dr. Billy Seay, now retired from both his work as Professor in comparative psychology and from his role as Dean of the LSU Honors College.

“Comparative psychology was the study of animal behavior,” he told the Times. But when asked if the objectivity that comparative often provided is missing these days, he said, “Objectivity requires constant attention and re-evaluation of thinking and point of view. Any field of science requires objectivity and constant vigilance.” And, he explained, it is available now as well as then in efforts of psychologists.

When Seay came to LSU as a young psychologist in 1964, he brought with him the distinction of having published in the then ground-breaking studies about mother-infant separation. Seay studied with the American primatologist, Harry F. Harlow, at the University of Wisconsin.

In his work at Wisconsin and with Harlow, Seay published “Mother-Infant Separation in Monkeys,” in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, “Affectional Systems in Rhesus Monkeys,” and “Maternal Behavior of Socially Deprived Rhesus Monkeys,” and ‘Maternal Separation in Rhesus Monkeys,” in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease.

“Harlow provided his students with the resources of his laboratory, staff support, and considerable independence,” Seay explained. “When research was published he used a ‘post-Nobel’ style of authorship. Students were consistently the first author of research reports. Exception occurred only if he had an agreement with an editor to be first author. He would not coauthor dissertation publication. You were on your own.”

When Seay joined the LSU faculty in 1964, the primate center in Covington was just opening. He did his research there and found it easy to find funding for his work. “I had an National Science Foundation grant and repeated some of the Wisconsin rhesus monkey studies with another species, the Java monkey. I was also able to study the Patas monkey.”

But eventually funding became more scarce and Dr. Seay decided to take an offer to serve as the Director of the LSU Honors College and then the first Dean.

Seay worked with colleague and fellow LSU professor and development psychologist, Dr. Nathan Gottried, who passed away in 2012.

Together they authored The Development of Behavior: A Synthesis of Developmental and Comparative Psychology in 1978, which rested on the expertise of both men.

The Development of Behavior was ahead of its time. While debates still occur today about which influence––genetic, environmental, epigenetic, individual, etc.,––is dominant in development, Seay and Gottfried’s text explained the importance of five “sets” for determining behavior from all five directions. In Development, the authors approached behavior from the dynamic interplay of the Phylogenetic Set, the Ontogenetic Set, the Experiential Set, the Cultural Set, and the Individual Set.

“One hopes that what is not lost is that all behavior is multiply determined,” Seay told the Times. “There is not a single cause for any behavioral outcome,” he said.

In The Development of Behavior, Seay and Gottfried took each of these five Sets as a topic for Part I, “The Determinants of Behavior.” The text outlines the multiple and interdependent influences on human development, wrapping each one into the others to punctuate the complex interactions possible, even if yet to be discovered.

The chapter on the “Phylogenetic Set” shows that behavioral development is “species typical.” Authors include topics of reflexes, fixed action patterns, and learning dispositions. For the “Ontogenetic Set” the influence of maturation on behavior is described, and authors include topics of prenatal, neonatal, and sexual identity topics.

In the chapter for “Experiential Set” they cover learning, both classical conditioning and instrumental, and specific and nonspecific environmental dependence influences on behavior.

Chapters 5 and 6 are the “Cultural Set” and “Individual Set” and the authors lay out continuing explanations of development by shifting between Sets and the dynamic influences. Seay and Gottfried explain that cultural influences may not be dramatic, but rather subtle and out of conscious awareness. The chapter on the Individual Set makes clear that there is unique variation in all humans, coming from the individual set of influences.

For Part II, “The Development of Behavioral Processes,” the authors note that “all behavior is oriented and organized in some way,” and they select four behavioral processes to include for readers in showing how this occurs.

They include a chapter on “The Orientation of Behavior” with sources of information about the psychology of attention, perception, and motivation.

In “The Organization of Behavior,” places emphasis on development and schemas (the internal structures that are basic to organized behavior) and explain smiling, self-schemas, counting, and problem-solving schemas, for example. Descriptions of human and also animals are richly woven throughout.

Chapter 10 outlines “Affectional Relationships,” with reviews of attachment, love, affection and development, and includes attachment in humans, birds, mammals and topics of affection, development and heterosexual love and gender identity.

In remarking about the views in 1978, Seay told the Times, “Our point was that ambiguity with respect to personal gender identity,” he said, “would inhibit the development of adjustment. Self-doubt is always a problem. Uncertainty concerning femaleness and/or maleness is a serious form of self-doubt. I continue to believe that ‘the development of an unambiguous personal gender identity is very important for later adjustment.’ I think uncertainty may be a basis for disaster.”

The final section for behavioral processes, is “Social Organization,” Chapter 11. This chapter includes examples of temporary and permanent organization, with examples from bison, mallard ducks, wolves, and humans.

“I think that both biological and cognitive psychology fail to recognize the importance of culture in shaping and determining behavior,” Seay said about the awareness of cultural impacts. “The cultural setting is a determining factor with respect to the environment an individual encounters. Failure to recognize cultural influences on behavior limits understanding behavior.”

The chapter on “Variation in Adaptation” covers the broad issues of population adaptability, with examples of baboons and gorillas. And the closing chapter, “The Meaning of Development,” brings together the synthesis and framework for the text.

In their conclusions, the authors write: “The history of the species, the culture, and the individual always are to be seen in present behavior. The universals and particulars always interact. As much as we study present behavior and its foundations, the future behavior of the species and the individual cannot be predicted with certainty.”

Throughout the text, the authors place their emphasis on the variety of influences that merge to create behavior, that each can be influenced by the others, creating the unique, changing person. The approach in Development of Behavior is as rich and worthwhile today as it was in 1978.

clinical pharmacology cover

Handbook of Clinical Psychopharmacology for Psychologists

Mark Muse

and Bret A. Moore Editors

Wiley, 2012

The Handbook of Clinical Psychopharmacology for Psychologists provides the foundations of knowledge that readers will want for comprehensive understanding in clinical psychopharmacology, located in the broader context of biology, psychology, and social environment. For the prescribing psychologist the book will prove a user-friendly, efficient training tool, and for consulting healthcare psychologists, an essential desk reference.

Handbook successfully combines information from neuroanatomy, nervous system structure and functions, biochemistry, and physiology, with current information on pharmacology, research, and practice. The authors place the issues firmly in a meaningful context for those who treat patients into today’s mental health and health industry.

Co-editor Dr. Mark Muse, American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) diplomat, and licensed Louisiana prescribing medical psychologist, along with co-editor Dr. Bret Moore, ABPP and licensed New Mexico conditional prescribing psychologist, highlight the concept of the integrative view throughout the text.

They use the term psychobiosocial to stress the need to combine psychological, biological, and social systems. They point out that research and theory, and especially treatment, must be viewed in this broad and inclusive perspective. They present a view that takes into account the multiple influences and feedback loops on and by a “living, surviving, and adapting person.”

“I worked in primary care in Maurepas at a family clinic,” Dr. Muse told the Times, “and found the experience taxing and eye-opening. I would never have found myself in primary care if it were not for the medical psychology piece. I worked with underprivileged children who had never seen a psychologist, nor had their psychotropics ever been reviewed by a prescribing mental health specialist. The family practitioner was doing the best he could, as there were no psychiatrists in sight. He was progressive and forward-looking and wanted desperately to get a mental health professional on board.”

This awareness for a comprehensive model is highlighted throughout the Handbook, and most clearly in the beginning chapters, where Muse and Moore set out the philosophical framework, defining psychopharmacology as a subset of medical psychology and medical psychology as including “… health psychology, rehabilitation psychology, pediatric psychology, neuropsychology, and clinical psychopharmacology, as well as subspecialties in pain management, primary care psychology, and hospital-based (or medical school-based) psychology.”

As an educational resource the Handbook has real muscle. Chapters are logically structured with consistent statements of theme, effective expansion into relevant subtopics, and concise summaries. The writing style is clear, fast and straightforward. An excellent use of tables and charts graphically consolidates information. Sections for “Key Terms” make it easy to scan and process information. Post-tests engage the reader and contribute to interactive learning.

The Handbook also includes a CD-ROM with practice questions based on the American Psychological Association’s Psychopharmacology Examination for Psychologists (PEP). The reader can prepare for the actual experience of the exam, with 150 questions from ten content areas, presented in a timed, 3-hour format if desired. This ingenious approach no doubt comes from Muse’s bent toward education methods, a theme mirrored in his website, MensanaPublications.

“Those preparing for the PEP never seem to get enough rehearsal questions to satisfy their hunger,” Mark explained. “There are an additional 250 questions as a Mensana CE quiz with the same title,” he said, allowing additional practice.

The Handbook easily fulfills its promise of reviewing foundations for psychologists who want to be conversant with psychopharmacology, and should also be especially useful to those who simply want to be able to help their clients ask the right questions about medications.

In a spirited Forward, “Integrating Care: A Forward on Changing Times,” Drs. Pat LeLeon and Jack Wiggins, both past APA presidents, applaud the

text and the direction. “… an excellent treatise written by psychologists for psychologists,” they write. And, “Lamentably, it has become commonplace in physicians’ offices to dispense psychotropic medications without an appropriate diagnosis and to do so by providers with little or not training in alternative psychological interventions for behavioral disorders.” LeLeon and Wiggins also point to Louisiana’s Drs. Glenn Ally and James Quillin as prominent in the prescriptive authority movement in psychology.

In Chapter 1, “Medical Psychology: Definitions, Controversies, and New Directions,” Drs. Muse and Moore explain the philosophical issues and controversies in the field, a theme repeated in many of the chapters: that the living, adapting human requires a biopsychosocial paradigm, and not the medical model.

The term Medical Psychology is an umbrella term they say, “… it encompasses the multiple specialties and make up health-care psychology, embracing the biopsychosocial paradigm of mental/physical health and extending that paradigm to clinical practice through research and the application of evidenced-based diagnostic and treatment procedures.” They explain the limitations in the Cartesian idea that mind and body are separate, the limitations of the medical model, or the idea that an individual’s social environment is irrelevant.

They object to Louisiana’s Act 251 because, they say, it “… builds upon the definition issues by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) which recognizes that the term medical psychologist refers to a mid-level provider/practitioner who has prescriptive authority.”

In Chapter 2 Muse and Moore outline more of their rationale, “Integrating Clinical Psychopharmacology within the Practice of Medical Psychology.” Authors point to interesting research demonstrating the complexity and interactions in this psychobiosocial perspective, with examples such as: research on OCD that indicates behavioral therapy is more effective than medication and behavior therapy together; that phobias are better treated with CBT and provides longer- lasting effects; and that 70 percent of the response to antidepressants medications is considered to be placebo. Authors summarize the major large-scale studies such as the STAR*D, TADS, and CATIE studies.

Chapter 3, “Neuroscience,” by Drs. Ken Fogel and George Kaplka (Pediatricians and Pharmacologically Trained Psychologists: A Practitioner’s guide to Collaborative Treatment) write, “Homeostatic balance is the ‘holy grail’ of living things, …” They include sections on neurons,

neurotransmitters, central nervous system, structure and function of the brain, and peripheral nervous system.

In Chapter 4 “Nervous System Pathology” authors provide a comprehensive list of disorders including “Nuerodegenerative/cognitive disorders,” “Mental Retardation,” “Neurodevelopmental Disorders,” “Vascular Disorders.” Readers will appreciate a section on “Behavioral/Psychological disorders with a Neuropathological Basis.”

Chapter 5 reviews “Physiology and Pathophysiology,” including the functional systems of the body, including endrocrine, hormonal, cardiac, digestive systems, and others.

Dr. Robert Younger, ABPP and Navy psychologist with prescriptive authority authors Chapter 6, “Biopsychosocial and Pharmacological Assessment and Monitoring.” He writes that safe and effective use of medications requires psychologists to know “… how to assess the biomedical status of patients, including ongoing assessment of iatrogenic effects of medications in general.” He explains history taking, psychological assessment, as well as physical and neurological examinations and laboratory testing. A list of drug-drug interactions, drug overdose, and a section for adverse drug reactions, are included.

Chapter 7, “Differential Diagnosis in Medical Psychology,” includes important sections on “Medical Disorders that Present as Psychological Disorders,” and “Psychological Disorders that Present as Medical Disorders,” along with other topics that are critical for today’s psychologists.

In “Pharmacology,” Chapter 8, the author addresses how drugs interact with the body to produce effects as well as how they are metabolized and distributed.

Chapter 9, “The Practice of Clinical Psychopharmacology,” by Drs. William Burns, Lenore Walker, and Jose Rey, is one of the longer chapters and explains the “integration of psychotherapeutic and pharmacotherapeutic modalities of treatment.” An extensive table on “Drug Indications, Dosage Ranges, Side Effects, Routes of Administration, FDA Approval for Children, and Pregnancy Risk” is worth the cost of the book. Also described is drug metabolism and CYP450 (Cytochrome P-450), the enzymes involved in detoxification.

“Research in Clinical Psychopharmacology” Chapter 10, and “Professional, Legal, Ethical, and Interprofessional Issues in Clinical Psychopharmacology” Chapter 11, complete the text.

“My hope,” Dr. Muse explained to the Times, “… is that it is a true reflection of the breadth of training a medical psychologist undergoes. I would like the detractors to read it before asserting that prescribing psychologists’ training is insufficient. It is, in fact, more rigorous than psychiatry or practical nursing’s preparations for integrating psychotropics into overall mental health diagnosis and treatment …”

Handbook of Clinical Psychopharmacology for Psychologists is a valuable addition to any psychologist’s library resources, a practical guide for key knowledge bases regarding biological, pharmacological, differential diagnosis, ethical issues, and the important contributions and perspectives that psychologists can bring to the challenges of modern healthcare.

Dr. Mark Muse and Dr. Bret Moore will be presenting aspects of Handbook at the American Psychological Association Convention, on Thursday, August 2, in a presentation titled, “New Resources for Preparing for the Psychopharmacology Exam for Psychologists (PEP).”

The book is widely available from the publisher (Wiley) and distributors. Also, Mensana Publications offers a 20 percent discount on the Handbook and all other books bought through the website link to the publisher.

Dr. Muse completed his doctorate in clinical research and counseling psychology at Northern Arizona U. in 1980 and next was awarded the Licentiate degree in clinical psychology by the Universitat de Barcelone in 1984. He later completed a postdoctorate M.S. in clinical psychopharmacology. He served as full professor at the Universitat de Ramon Llull, Barclona, lecturing in Catalan and Spanish. He returned to the U.S. in 1998. He is the author of six books in the area of psychology as well as numerous articles appearing in psychology and medical professional journals.


Procrastination and Task Avoidance Theory, Research, and Treatment

Joseph R. Ferrari, Judith L. Johnson, and William G. McCown

Springer Series in Social and Clinical Psychology, 1995

Procrastination and Task Avoidance is another one of Dr. William McCown’s premier works, covering an intriguing area of psychology, procrastination. For those who want to better understand the complexity in this common, yet often debilitating behavior, the authors bring together theory, research and application.

They explain the interwoven elements of anxiety, depression, passive-aggressiveness, perfectionism, agitation, conscientiousness, and other related characteristics, regarding this behavior that affects life satisfaction in 25 percent of all adults.

Professor and psychologist, Dr. William McCown, currently Director of the Graduate School at Louisiana University at Monroe, told the Times, “Although this book is 15 years old, sales continue to be strong … This attests to the fact that clinicians often encounter people with problems related to procrastination and are frequently stymied.”

Up until Procrastination little scientific attention was given to his characteristic, which is often at the root of problems in human productivity and happiness. The authors speculate that the trait may have been considered too minor or too “flippant a topic to be granted much scientific credence.” However, they say it is both a contributor and an outcome of psychiatric conditions, negatively impacting productivity in work, school, families, and relationships.

“I became interested in this topic for my master’s thesis research,” Dr. McCown said, “because I was trying to make sense of the behavior of some clients that I had seen in treatment. At the time I found that there was almost no literature on the topic.”

“Several years later,” he said, “I wrote the book with Joe Ferrari, a colleague from Illinois that I had previously published with, and my former spouse [Dr. Judith Johnson], who previously was at the New Orleans VA Medical Center. Our intent was to write a book that was both practical and scholarly. We include extensive case histories to illustrate the multiple etiologies of chronic procrastination, which really is a serious problem for many people. It is causally linked to health problems, poor school performance, and general life dissatisfaction.”

Procrastination is laid out logically and with the thoroughness and vision that characterizes McCown’s other books. Many of the chapters could stand alone, combining theory, research and application and walking the reader through what is known about the topic. This is psychology at its most interesting,

where authors clarify and define the topic, so that the reader sees how the behavior might have developed, how it is best measured, how it is nested in personality and clinical syndromes, and how it might be modified.

“I believe that procrastination may have multiple etiologies,” said Dr. McCown, noting why the book was needed and some of the confusion that still exists. “There is the trend today to say that it is simply a facet of low conscientiousness. This is not true,” he explained. “Sometimes very perfectionistic people are procrastinators, in part because they fear that they will not live up to their own high standards. Depression and anxiety may also be causal factors, both of which are not related to conscientiousness.”

Procrastination and Task Avoidance provides this clarity in a concise eleven chapters, beginning with, “An Overview of Procrastination.” Authors review definitions, prevalence, and clinical significance. In one of the few studies on prevalence in a nonstudent population, McCown and Johnson found that over 25 percent reported that procrastination was a significant problem. Using his

Adult Inventory of Procrastination McCown found scores for men reach a peak in the mid to late 20s, then decline until about age 60, when scores begin to go up. For female scores decline from a high in the early 20s, and are lower than males. But then at age 60, females’ procrastination scores rise and are higher than for men. McCown also examined over 1500 college students and found that 19 percent of freshmen, 22 percent of sophomores, 27 percent of juniors and 31 percent of seniors indicated that procrastination was a significant source of personal stress.

In Chapter 2, “ Procrastination Research,” authors examine childhood personality development, the behavioral perspective of reinforcement, escape, and avoidance conditioning, the role of state anxiety, and of specious rewards. They review cognitive and cognitive-behavioral theories with irrational beliefs, self-statements, locus of control, learned help- lessness, and irrational perfectionism. Sections on depression, low self-esteem, and anxiety are included, along with how procrastination relates to achievement motivation, intelligence and ability, impulsivity and extraversion. Authors also note the neuropsychological and biological variables.

In Chapter 3, “The Use of Self- Report Measures,” assessment methods are described, including McCown’s and Johnson’s Adult Inventory of Procrastination (AIP), the Mann’s Decisional Procrasti- nation Scale, General Procrasti- nation Scale, and Procrastination Assessment Scale-Students.

Authors provide a model in Chapter 4, “Academic Procrastination,” including how fear of failure and achievement-related fear often

result in avoidance. They clarify the fear of failure, procrastination, avoidance, big five characteristics, and self- worth, then flow into specific treatment of academic procrastination.

Chapter 5 is “Trait Procrastination, Agitation, Dejection, and Self- Discrepancy,” and the author defines how discrepancies between “ideal self” and actual evoke emotions of disappointment or shame, and how discrepancies between the “ought self” which represents duties and responsibilities evoke fear and uneasiness.

In “Dimensions of Perfectionism and Procrastination,” Chapter 6, authors explain the distinct dimensions of “other-oriented perfectionism,” (the individual sets unrealistic standards for others), “self-oriented perfectionism” (the standards apply only to oneself), and “socially-prescribed perfection- ism” (concerns meeting expectations of others). Within this multidimensional perspective authors delve into correlational research and suggest a fascinating set of issues, including how socially- prescribed perfectionism correlates with fear of failure.

In Chapter 7, “Procrastination, Negative Self-Evaluation, and Stress in Depression and Anxiety,” authors pull together a variety of constructs and research to show how procrastination results from interactions between early learning, anxiety, depression and negative self-concept. A review of the impact of life stresses is included, and the development of “self- uncertainty,” pessimism, and

optimism. Included is a model for overall adjustment.

In Chapter 8, “The Role of Personality Disorders and Characterological Tendencies in Procrastination,” authors explain the relationship between procrastination and personality disorders.

Specific guidance for treatment is offered in Chapters 9, “Treatment of Academic Procrastination in College Students,” and 10, “Treating Adult and Atypical Procrastination.” Authors include the common cognitive misconceptions of individuals who procrastinate, such as overestimation of time left to perform a task, underestimation of time needed, and overestimation of future motivation. Authors also describe a 10-session group approach with detailed instructions and point out the need for a careful and full assessment because of many issues that can be overlooked, such as stress or the “addiction” to procrastination.

“During the past 20 years I’ve treated or treated or supervised treatment of over 300 people who had procrastination problems,” Dr. McCown told the Times. “They can and do get better, but often it takes multiple treatment interventions to find what works.”

“One consistent finding,” he said, “is that about a third to half of the variance in the construct can be accounted for by ADHD symptoms. Whether there are deeper similarities is yet to be researched. It would be exciting if the behavioral and other interventions effective for adult ADHD also worked for procrastination.”

“I have seen cases where procrastination had a psychodynamic or family etiology,

though the prevailing wisdom among many clinicians is that it is best characterized and treated by cognitive behavioral methods.”

“I want to emphasize that procrastination tends to be chronic. Like depression, it seems to be stress-related. If a person is successfully treated, they will most usually require follow up sessions to keep from relapsing in the future.”

The final Chapter, “Epilogue as Prologue,” completes the text with a perspective on the need for additional research to propel this important area forward. Dr. McCown explained, “Since the time I wrote it the literature regarding procrastination has increased 300 fold. There is even a meta-analysis available in the literature. Unfortunately, what are lacking are quality studies to determine what type of treatment works best for which type of procrastinators.”

Procrastination and Task Avoidance is an informative, interesting, and worthwhile text for clinicians and research psychologists who deal with the human condition. The content is still quite useful, even though Dr. McCown may be planning to update. “I hope we can put out a second edition soon,” he noted. That would be a treat.

Dr. William G. McCown, clinical psychologist, professor, and international consultant, is the coauthor/editor of eight books. He has held various positions in the U. of Louisiana at Monroe, including Director of Training and interim Associate Provost. Presently he is interim Director of the Graduate School.


Clinical Assessment and Intervention for Autism Spectrum Disorders

Clinical-Assessment-and-Intervention-for-Autism-Spectrum-DisordersEdited by Dr. Johnny Matson 2008, Academic Press

In Clinical Assessment and Intervention for Autism Spectrum Disorders, premier scientist and LSU Professor and Distinguished Research Master, once again brings together a slate of experts to help clinicians sift through a complex and evolving area of psychological practice.

The work clarifies and lays out the research and what is known about autism and related difficulties. While a straightforward compellation of research is valuable in itself, two main themes in Clinical Assessment create a more interesting and useful reference.

First, the theme of evidence-based practice is echoed throughout, with authors often pointing to important gaps in the research and also that many treatments selected by consumers lack evidence for their value.

Secondly, the theme of lifespan and the long-term view for assisting those with developmental challenges is addressed in many of the key chapters, helping the clinician or research look beyond early childhood.

Louisiana contributions include Dr. Matson and Dr. Marie S. Nebel-Schwalm, Dr. Karen Sheridan, and Dr. Troy Raffield writing from Pinecrest Developmental Center in Pineville, Louisiana.

The text is a bold effort to inform the clinician and research psychologist in a field where there are many gaps in what is known and many approaches that are not evidenced-based. The text is a collection of experts discussing what is known in the field, often in stand alone chapters, and echoing the message that there is a large amount we still do not know. Readers will find guidance for best practices in working with children who struggle with developmental delays, and also for better awareness to a life-span perspective.

Clinical Assessment is structured in three parts, Part I – Introduction, Part II – Assessment, and Part III – Interventions.

In Part I, Chapter 1, “Assessment and Intervention in Autism: An Historical Perspective,” authors summarize the history and development of the diagnostic criteria, as well as the history of treatment.

Chapter 2, “Evidence-Based Practice for Autism Spectrum Disorders,” provides the current state of evidenced-based treatment, with a description of “science, pseudoscience, and antiscience.” Criteria for evaluating different treatments is reviewed and several strategies in applied behavior analysis (ABA) are highlighted. The author critiques non-behavioral treatments.

In Chapter 3, “Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Lifespan Perspective,” authors review the importance of the lifespan perspective, a theme mirrored in many of the chapters that follow. The author introduces sections on “Lifespan Theories” and “Outcomes Across the Lifespan.” They provide a review of outcome evidence and discuss common concerns that clinicians will encounter in key developmental periods.

Part II is “Assessment,” and begins with a chapter by Louisiana State University authors Marie S. Nebel-Schwalm and Dr. Johnny Matson, on “Differential Diagnosis.”

The authors point out that ASD are five disorders that share features but that researchers and clinicians do not always agree on the methods used to diagnose or even the distinctions between disorders on the spectrum. This is a critical area since families need information to “maximize the child’s quality of life,” the authors note.

Sections on “Etiology,” “Genetic,” “Neurobiological,” “Immunological,” “Perinatal,” and “MMR Vaccinations,” are included. They summarize that there is little evidence of causal variables (80 percent of those with ASD have no known cause) and that among the theories such as immunological, “consistent empirical results are lacking.” Assessment challenges are reviewed in “Differential Diagnoses within the Spectrum,” “Comorbid Psychopathology and Differential Diagnoses,” “Intellectual Disabilities,” “Language Disorders.” Included are descriptions of interview methods, observational systems, clinician rating scales, and over 10 informant rating scales and checklists.

Chapter 5, “Assessment of Challenging Behaviors in People with Autism Spectrum Disorders,” focuses on functions of assessment when clinicians are looking at problem behaviors such as aggression, tantrums, stereotypy, and eating behaviors.

In “Communication and Social Skills Assessment,” Chapter 6, authors note a consensus that a comprehensive assessment in this area is of vital importance to providing help to families and individuals. They review theory, classification, and the purposes of assessment. In “Assessment Procedures,” authors lay out specific information for the reader in behavioral observation, role-play tests, rating scales, and behavior checklists.

Chapter 7 is an overview of “Assessment of Independent Living/Adaptive Skills.” Sections include, “Home-Based or Parent/Caregiver-Report Assessments,” “School-Based or Teacher-Report Assessments,” “Clinic-Based or Clinician-Report Assessments,” and “Self-Report Assessments.” Authors note that this is a critical area related to “level of independence for community integration” and write that in some cases, adaptive behavior is more important than IQ, especially in adolescence and adulthood.

Chapter 8 is “Pharmacology Effects and Side Effects.” Authors look at instruments for assessing response to psychotropic medication, noting important gaps in research and evidence.

Part III, “Interventions,” begins with Chapter 9, “Challenging Behaviors.” Authors cover the definition of challenging behaviors and those common to ASD. In “Approaches to Intervention,” authors review the evidence for behavioral treatment, and conclude that the ABA approach for reducing these behaviors should become the norm.

Chapter 10 reviews the critical area of “Communication Intervention for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders.” The authors note that speech and language problems are the “defining characteristics of autism and related conditions within the autism spectrum.” In this comprehensive chapter the authors outline specifics of “Speech-Based Interventions,” “Milieu-Based Interventions,” and “Social Interaction Interventions.”

“Teaching Adaptive Skills to People with Autism,” Chapter 11, is authored by two Louisiana psychologists, Dr. Karen Sheridan, now at the Resource Center on Psychiatric and Behavioral Supports in Hammond, previously with the Pinecrest Developmental Center, in Pineville, Louisiana, and Dr. Troy Raffield, who continues with Pinecrest.

The authors point out that developing skills in adaptive functioning is critical when transitions to community living are the goal. These skills, the authors note, are associated with quality of life and so have absolute value. They review “Applied Behavior Analysis,” “Task Analysis,” “Visually Cued Instruction,” and “Modeling.” They review techniques including sections on vocational skills, domestic skills, self-care, community, and leisure skills.

The final chapters, “Comprehensive Treatment Packages for ASD: Perceived vs. Proven Effectiveness,” a review of “Pharmacotherapy,” completes the work.

Clinical Assessment and Intervention for Autism Spectrum Disorders offers an important foundation for those wanting to ground themselves in evidenced- based information in this essential area of clinical practice and research.

Editor’s note: An expert in mental retardation, autism, and severe emotional disorders in children and adolescents, Dr. Johnny Matson has produced 600+ publications including 37 books. Among many duties, he is Editor-in-Chief for Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders (Oxford England) and Editor-in-Chief for Research in Developmental Disabilities (Oxford, England).


Child & Youth Care Forum

Child-&-Youth-Care-ForumJournal of Research and Practice in Children’s Services

Editor-in-Chief: Carl F. Weems, PhD Springer

Carl F. Weems, PhD, Professor of Psychology at the University of New Orleans, oversees this peer-review, multidisciplinary publication by Springer, Child & Youth Care Forum: Journal of Research and Practice in Children’s Services. Dr. Weems guides a host of experts from around the nation and the world in the Forum’s Editorial Board, including an array of colleagues from the New Orleans area, giving this comprehensive platform for improving the lives of children a clear Louisiana connection.

Contributors and readers in psychology, psychiatry, and social work, as well as those in public policy and government, will find the journal to be a valuable, useable resource. blending theory and applications for all those dedicated to the well-being of youth in today’s world.

This may be one of the most important contributions of Forum, noted Dr. Weems to the Times. “The Journal tries to bridge research and practice in children’s intervention and psychological services broadly,” he said, “while focusing on publishing scientifically excellent empirical papers and theoretical reviews.”

This broad approach is the goal. “We also try to integrate across fields and publish work from developmental psychology, education, medical anthropology, pediatrics, pediatric psychology, psychiatry, school psychology, and social work. So the multi-disciplinary nature of the journal.”

Dr. Weems took over the editorial leadership of the journal in 2009 when Springer Senior Editor Judy Jones asked him to be the Editor. He knew he was filling some big shoes. In his first editorial he explained, “My primary goal as editor is to continue the excellent stewardship that the journal has benefited from since its inception in 1971 with founding editor Jerome Beker (as the Child Care Quarterly, see Beker 1971) and to specifically carry on the publishing initiatives begun by my most recent predecessor Dr. Marc Atkins (a focus on publishing of high quality empirical papers in child services). My hope is that CYCF remain an international, interdisciplinary outlet for publishing high quality empirical papers and theoretical reviews that have implications for child and adolescent intervention and services broadly defined, but to also expand the content.”

At U. of New Orleans, Dr. Weems’ research interests include developmental psychopathology of anxiety and depression. He specifically looks at how to integrate developmental, cognitive, biological and behavioral theories, a perspective that supports his editorial duties on the Forum. He also has looked at severe stress, physiological response, brain development and function. One of his recent publications, “Post traumatic stress, context, and the lingering effects of the Hurricane Katrina disaster among ethnic minority youth,” in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, is an example of this wide-angle viewpoint.

Carl is joined in these goals by R. Enrique Varela, PhD, from Tulane University. Dr. Varela serves as Associate Editor for the Child & Youth Care Forum, and brings his research in development of anxiety in youth, and also a particular emphasis on cultural, familial, and cognitive influences in this process.

Brandon Scott, PhD, from the U. of New Orleans serves as Editorial Assistant. He works closely with Dr. Weems in the Youth and Family Stress, Phobia, and Anxiety Research Lab at UNO, and his current research interests focus on understanding the role of emotion regulatory processes in anxiety-related problems for children and adolescents.

Jody Camps, PhD, from Children’s Hospital New Orleans, and Natalie Costa, PhD, from University of New Orleans also serve on the board. Dr. Costa brings her expertise at investigating why anxiety aggregates in families and the association between parent and child anxiety.

Psychology Chair and Distinguished Professor at UNO, Paul Frick, PhD, is included on the Forum’s Editorial Board. Paul is an international expert in understanding the different pathways through which youth develop severe antisocial behavior.

Tulane’s, Michael Scheeringa, MD, Professor from Tulane Medical School also serves on the Editorial Board.

While the journal seems to enjoy the variety of scientific talents from the New Orleans area, that is only a small part of the overall approach, explained Dr. Weems to the Times. “The Journal is really international in scope,” he said, “members of the board are from the US, Canada, the Netherlands, Britain, Croatia, Sweden, etc. I think local psychologists who are interested in multi- disciplinary knowledge development will be interested.”

Together the experts create a platform to bridge the gap between research and practice, and to give readers a perspective and source for effective practices with children, adolescents, and families. To accomplish this, articles include science about how children and adolescent can overcome difficulties of mental health problems, traumatic stress, negative family dynamics, and community issues such as crime or violence. Another goal is to help “normal children actualize their potential,” as understood from the perspective of positive psychology and other theoretical frameworks.

The February issue included two articles from Louisiana researchers: “Perceptions of Parenting, Emotional Self- Efficacy, and Anxiety in Youth: Test of a Mediational Model,” authored by Laura Niditch and R. Enrique Varela; and, “The Good Enough Home? Home Environment and Outcomes of Young Maltreated Children,” by Neil W. Boris, Sherryl Scott Heller, and Charles H. Zeanah, all of the Tulane U. School of Medicine. And also Janet Rice, Department of Biostatistics, Tulane U. School of Public Health.

The Forum offers free downloads of some of their most popular articles, including the “The Good Enough Home?” article.

Other popular, free articles include: “Exploring the Feasibility and Benefits of Arts-Based Mindfulness- Based Practices with Young People in Need: Aiming to Improve Aspects of Self-Awareness and Resilience,” “Teenagers’ Explanations of Bullying Robert Thornberg,” and “The Play of Children: Developmental Processes and Policy Implications.”

Dr. Weems said, “Next month [April] is a special issue, “Advancing intervention science through effectiveness research: A global


perspective.” We hope to increase the impact of the journal on research and practice and continue publishing scientifically excellent empirical papers and theoretical reviews that have implications for those practicing in the field.”

What is the most rewarding part of his editorial role? “Getting to see research that isn’t yet published and trying to steer a solid course for knowledge development.”

But some of the challenges included, “Finding reviewers who are experts, who will agree to do a review, and who will turn th

eir reviews in on time. A quick turnaround for authors, with fair reviews is essential for a good journal.”

The journal’s goal is to provide the ideas and innovations needed, not simply to resolve children’s problems, but to “foster what is best for child and adolescent’s development and functioning. In other words, to help the child and adolescent actualize and attain their fullest potential.” To this goal, Dr. Weems is looking for important contributions. “We would love to receive submissions from Louisiana psychologists – clinical or researchers– on topics of research and practice in children’s intervention and psychological services,” he told the Times.

The website for Child & Youth Care Forum is: ychology/journal/10566


Chameleon by Dan Dylan (Dr. Dan Lonowski)

Louisiana psychologist Dan Lonowski, working under pen name Dan Dylan, has crafted a realistic, hair-raising psychological thriller in his debut fiction novel, Chameleon.

Chameleon’s protagonist, Dr. John Foster, is a retired FBI profiler who has settled down into a clinical psychology practice. The setting is Chicago and Foster’s typical work involves clinical and forensic psychology. As the story begins Foster is consulted by a young wife regarding her new husband’s disturbing and suspicious behavior. From here Foster and the array of characters are launched into a deadly progresssion of events.

The reader is brought into the inner workings of the villain’s mind, a sociopath named Eddie Vinson, who unravels into a manipulative and violent serial killer. As the events unfold the hero Foster is compelled by his need to help the potential victims, into a lethal game of one-ups-manship with the villain, returning to his FBI training and gritty, street smart past.

Chameleon treats the reader to an insider’s view of the practice of psychology and the frightening realities of a decompensating sociopath who targets the hero.

At the same time, Lonowski is able to describe the background of abuse that is so often part of the cycle of violence, and that leads to the destruction of lives.

The fictional tale is gritty, realistic and suspenseful. The sprinkling of actual psychology practice issues and technology adds flavor and interest. The plot, body count, tension and transition of the hero from office psychologist back to street savvy FBI agent move the story to the finale between the hero and villain

Authentic psychological terminology and practice perspectives offer an interesting viewpoint for suspense fans. The realistic progression and decompensation of the villain into a full blown serial killer, with the back story of how and why a person can cut a swath of human destruction without looking back, is darkly fascinating and clinically accurate.

The story is not for the faint of heart, but for readers who enjoy psychological thrillers this work will engage them in the many layers and levels, and is a commendable offering into this complicated fiction genre.

Dr. Dan Lonowski considered writing in his mid-thirties. But family and work made it impossible, he explained to the Times.

However, in the following years, his practice required literally thousands of reports which forced him to develop his descriptive writing skills, as he reported accurate and authentic descriptions of human nature.

“One ordinary day, a colleague and I shared a conversation about the likelihood of a sociopath

intentionally committing suicide,” he told the Times. “I believed it unlikely that an Antisocial Personality Disordered individual would attempt to end his or her life. I could conceive, however, that he or she might fake suicide as a manipulation to achieve some personal goal, and, perhaps, by accident or miscalculation, death could result. The upshot of that discussion was Eddie Vinson, antagonist, who claimed his place in my imagination. I compared him metaphorically to a chameleon,” said Dan, “hence the title of my novel. Vinson, like other sociopaths I have known, hides in plain sight while committing terrible acts, often violent and deadly ones.”

In writing Chameleon Dan explained that the characters he created took the story forward. “Many authors attest to the fact that their characters take on lives of their own and develop wills that run counter to a carefully crafted plotline,” Dan noted. “Before I began writing, I would have said it couldn’t happen, at least not to me. Well, it happens! The cast of Chameleon came to life, and in many cases, all I had to do was follow where they led. I could ‘hear’ their dialogue, visualize the locations to which they drew me, and, often, I did not end up where I had planned to go. My muse proved to be a spineless creature as the characters simply took over. I have since talked with other authors who reported this same ungovernable influence in their creative writing, an influence that leaves us wondering if the finished work should bear our names.”

One part of the creative process, Dan noted, was brainstorming with wife Lynda. “My editor and wife, Lynda, a.k.a. Dylan, and I spent many an hour brainstorming scenes or characters and their development, and this, too, was a satisfying part of the creative process.”

Dan is about halfway through his second novel, with working title Deadly Eyes. “It is a psychological study

of a voyeur who escalates from benign observations of those around him when a sexual awakening draws him into watching women in their most private moments. His compulsion drives his evolution into a creative and vicious serial killer. At the request of readers, I reprise some of the characters from Chameleon, and introduce intriguing new ones I hope readers will enjoy.”

A third novel is going to be set in a fictional state psychiatric hospital and will capture the comedy that was his clinical psychology internship.

Using the platform of fiction, and by exploring child abuse and its ramifications for individuals and society, Dan hopes to give his readers a small slice of one psychologist’s perspective.

“I have learned so much from the training and experiences gained through my career. I am one of those fortunate individuals who are able to do exactly what they are meant to do. I am thankful for what my profession has taught me about the human condition, from its best to its worst, and now, as I approach retirement, if it is meant to be, I will write every day with two goals in mind. First, to tell a good story, and second, to help my readers gain a realistic understanding of my profession from within – to see from my perspective what it has been like to be an applied clinical psychologist. In thirty-five years, I have been privileged to become a part of people’s lives and, for many, to help them along the road to greater understanding and self-awareness.”

Chameleon is available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and as an e-Book on Kindle and Nook devices and apps for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, PC, Mac, Blackberry, and Android-based devices. See more about the author with an exclusive excerpt from Chameleon at


Stress Solutions for Pregnant MOMS: How Breaking Free from Stress Can Boost Your Baby’s Potential

by Susan Andrews, PhD Twin

stress-solutions-pregnant-momsSpan Press, 2012

Dr. Susan Andrews has written an essential guide for the pregnant mom about stress and her developing baby.

Dr. Andrews, a New Orleans psychologist, neuropsychologist, and researcher, has captured the essence of a major societal problem and turned the spotlight on it. She draws from theory, research, and application, as well as her own extensive experience, to create this engaging self-help book with an eminently important message: The modern woman who is growing a new child must be aware of and in control of her stress level.

Stress Solutions is a must read for childbearing women of all ages, but also fathers-to-be, grandparents, health psychologists, and physicians seeking to understand the mother’s true wellbeing.

Andrews points to an alarming and dramatic rise in children’s health issues, and shows that while there are many contributing variables, stress is a critical and often unacknowledged risk factor.

“A mounting body of evidence,” she writes, “clearly links sustained high levels of stress and anxiety during pregnancy to many of today’s major issues of birth and childhood, such as low birth weight and preterm birth, difficulty coping in emotional situations, learning disabilities, attention deficit, and childhood anxiety.”

She clarifies that the issues are not simple cause-and-effect, but that variables come together in “complex ways to shape the baby’s development in the womb.” Pointing to research she explains that the risk factor for stress may be as serious or more so than those associated with smoking or alcohol.

“I realized that everyone intuitively senses that prenatal stress might affect the baby,” she said to the Times, “but few really understand how. When I investigated how stress affects the unborn, I discovered a huge number of very credible research studies stating that high levels of stress do indeed affect the term length of pregnancy, the weight of the child as well as their physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development.”

Stress Solutions puts into the hands of the reader the power to influence their own and their babies’ health.

Andrews’ writing also offers a pleasing subtext, a woman’s book written by a woman. Her voice is authoritative, kind, and encouraging–but also firm. Like the tribal wise woman, she explains to us what’s at stake, and it is momentous. But she is also there to teach, encourage, and guide. She lightens the tone at times with a spoonful of sugar here and there, touches of wisdom, humor and well-chosen metaphors.

For example, she strategically places the phrase, “Now is a good time for a relaxation break,” at various points in the text. Andrews knows her cognitive psychology. The message sticks to your mind as if covered in Velcro.

A Chinese proverb warns, “That the birds of worry and care fly over your head, this you cannot change; but that they build nests in your hair, this you can prevent.” Nests in your hair? That sticks too.

An image from Pooh mirrors how many modern women approach stress without saying it. “Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it.

Dr. Andrews’ A-B-C Formula is ingenious. She engages the reader seamlessly in a simple, practical treatment plan, by using baseline assessments of stress and of relaxation activities. She shows the reader how to calculate the “deficit” in relaxation efforts, and then lays out a comprehensive set of behaviors to fill that gap.

“As a treating clinician,” she said, “I recognized that presenting a problem of this magnitude without a solution to it, would only compound the problem. And, in fact, that might have been one of the reasons no one had presented the information in a public format.”

“I came up with the A-B-C Formula for Stress Reduction in a stroke of insight one morning watching the morning unfold with a cup of coffee. The Formula provides a way to measure and become more consciously aware of your daily stress. I realized that it is so important that pregnant women pay close attention to extra stress and to reducing it when it builds up and that most pregnant women would do just that if they realized how important it is to the health and potential development of their unborn child.”

Stress Solutions is a well-structured text, combining the latest scientific findings in Part One, “Stress and Your Pregnancy.” While leaving some wiggle-room, Andrews pulls no punches about the significance of the topic, showing how stress affects the mother-to-be and also the alarming new evidence that a pregnant woman’s stress level can affect her child for years to come. Part One is both educational and motivational.

Andrews also points out a “dangerous misperception of stress.” She explains in the annual APA study on stress, 30 percent rated their stress as extreme, 52 percent complained of fatigue and sleep problems, and 65 percent to irritability. However, Andrews points out that 81 percent still believe they are handling stress well, a “glaring contradiction,” she notes.

Part Two, “The Stress Solutions Formula,” introduces the steps and components that go into the complete stress monitoring and stress-lowering plan of the book.

“… the Formula is a lot like the point system of Weight Watchers,” Andrews said to the Times. “First, you start by measuring your Baseline level of stress before you became pregnant. Second, you add your daily stresses and hassles as they occur. Third, you subtract a constant because some stress is normal. Then, the system gives credit points for ways that people already normally use to relax and reduce stress, in the Resource Manual. And lastly, the Formula tells you how many relaxation credit points the mom should try to earn to reduce their stress by the end of the day.”

Dr. Andrews provides the “Baseline Stress Level Scale,” and “Daily Hassles Worksheet.” The section gives easily digestible information with tables such as “ Factors That Prevent Our Nervous System from

Returning to Balance,” “Six Factors That Can Affect Your Baseline Stress Level,” and a variety of case studies. She includes a chapter on how sound and music can lower stress, anxiety, and cortisol.

Part Three, “The Stress Solutions Resource Guide,” lays out the treatment component of the Formula, allowing the reader to create her own personal plan for lowering stress. In her “Directory of Resources,” she describes activities for breathing, music, mental such as prayer or meditation, physical such as yoga, biofeedback, and pampering, like naps and massage. Each is given a rating and a number of “Relaxation Points,” and folds into the overall stress reduction plan, nicely wrapping up the program for the reader.

How did Dr. Andrews decide to write Stress Solutions? “For years,” she said, “I had been interested in the results of a study that was conducted in 1991-2 in Paris. The study showed that a specific program of listening to music through headphones reduced the stress of labor and raised the apgar scores of the children who had a more normal average birth weight. Early in their development, the children were found to have better social skills and a more easy-going temperament than their siblings.” She asked why and that got her thinking.

The topic is so critical that Dr. Andrews is planning a workbook to accompany the text, and after that a book

perhaps for youngsters. “I think that there needs to be a guide to help the children who are challenged by stress, worry, and anxiety,” she explained.

Dr. Susan Andrews is in full time practice in Metairie where she is Senior Partner at Neuropsychological and Psychological Services for Children, LLC. She is also Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at LSU Health Sciences Center, Department of

Medicine and Psychiatry, and Clinical Coordinator and Neuropsychologist at Center for Head Injury Rehabilitation, East Jefferson General Hospital. She received her first PhD in Child Psychology from Tulane, and did a full retraining in Clinical Psychology at U. of Southern Mississippi. She headed a grant for Parent-Child Development for ten years and then managed the replication of the work for the national level, as Research Coordinator from the Bank Stress College of Education in New York City.


Dr. Andrews writes a blog and answers questions on her website at

Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders

International Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders

Autism and Pervasive Developmental DisordersJohnny L. Matson and Peter Sturmey Editors
Springer, 2011
Dr. Johnny Matson, distinguished research master and director of clinical training in the LSU Psychology Department, together with colleague Dr. Peter Sturmey from Queen’s College in New York, has once again gathered his extensive community of experts together, this time to produce the International Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders. The Handbook is part of Springer’s Autism and Child Psychopathology Series, also edited by Dr. Matson.
Thousands of new research articles and papers appear yearly about etiology, assessment, and treatment of autism and related disorders, making it nearly impossible for the conscientious clinician to stay current or the research scientist to cover all bases in this explosion of information.
“The field of ASD is moving rapidly and so an effort that provides a broad overview … is the major contribution to the field,” Dr. Matson told the Times about the Handbook.
“… while there have been other handbooks on this highly visible topic most have largely been from a medical perspective,” he said. “Given that most of the research and clinical advances to date have been on psychological assessment and treatment we thought a book taking that approach filled a big gap in the literature.”
The International Handbook meets this goal easily, providing expert analysis of current findings and a comprehensive, up-to-date review of the growing volume of information that readers will appreciate.
As is his style, Matson and his contributors provide clear, solid information in applied psychological science, thoroughly gathered, reviewed, and synthesized. He and his editors and authors lay the information before the reader in digestible subtopics with clear theoretical connections.
Psychologists, psychiatrists, researchers, behavior analysts, educators – will all find this work indispensible, whether they diagnose, treat, or research new questions in this demanding and sometimes confusing area of science and practice.
For those who like books, the International Handbook is a treasure chest. Matson draws on his decades of expertise and connections in the national and global scientific community. He brings together a who’s who of experts and 80 contributors from across the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and others including Norway, Ireland, Israel, Sweden, Italy, Japan and New Zealand.
Contributors are not only multicultural but come from a variety of disciplines. Psychology, psychiatry, psychobiology, neurobiology, behavior analysis, occupational therapy, and nursing are included among the experts.
The writing is straightforward and clear, even considering the heavy lifting that comes with a comprehensive coverage of this topic, through 33 chapters and with over 500 pages. There is very little waffling even with highly complex issues. Ongoing clarifications or controversies are presented clearly.
A wealth of references is included, but not so many as to weight down the reasoning of the narrative or to become meaningless. Chapters are surprisingly consistent in style and tone, given the variety of authors. The Handbook can serve as a reference book for those well versed in the subject of autism, or as a thorough training text for those who are filling gaps in their information base.
The International Handbook is divided into three sections, beginning with the overview, history, and background. Part II is “Nosology and Etiology,” and serves as the preparatory and theoretical section, and gives an emphasis to applied research, critical background concepts, and theoretical subjects.
Part III includes the science and practice of assessment and 15 chapters on treatment, even though part three is named assessment.
Included is “Prevalence and the Controversy” where authors review the methodology and challenges in estimating prevalence. They explain the differences between prevalence and incidence, and discuss controversies surrounding the different ways of judging the changing rates of autism, an insightful look at variations in rates, and the impact of public awareness.
Also in the first section is a chapter addressing the overlap of “Autism Spectrum Disorders and Intellectual Disability.”
Part II opens with “The Genetics of Autism.” The chapter fulfills the promise to “… make the fast-paced, expanding field of the genetics of autism accessible to those practicing who help children …” The authors accomplish this well by providing an overview of genetics, and blending with research on autism.
The section also includes, “Behavioural, Biopsychosocial, and Cognitive Models of Autism Spectrum Disorders,” a review of the models linking biology and behavior in explaining autism, including “Theory of Mind Hypothesis,” “Executive Dysfunction Hypothesis,” and “Weak Central Coherence Hypothesis.”
Dr. Dennis Dixon, a PhD from the LSU program, now the director at the Center from Autism Related Disorders in Tarzana, California, opens Part III with “Early Detection of Autism Spectrum Disorders.” Dixon and coauthors note that early detection is essential for treatment and review assessment tools needed for this important goal.
LSU authors Julie Worley and Johnny Matson review the major assessment tools and their psychometric properties in “Diagnostic Instruments for Core Features of ASD,” Chapter 13. They provide a detailed list and review 29 instruments including limitations and uses.
Chapters in a variety of treatment topics include understanding moderators of treatment outcomes, fad therapies, physically active living, and self-injurious behavior.
The book concludes with, “Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder,” LSU doctoral candidates Sara Mahan and Alison Kozlowski walk the readers through the less common topic of adults with ASD, explaining challenges and issues in quality of life and independence.
Editors Matson and Sturmey acknowledged LSU’s Julie Worley and Alison Kozlowski for assistance in manuscript preparation, both who were also contributors.
“This book has 33 chapters since it was a handbook. As a result there was a lot more coordination needed due to length,” Dr. Matson explained to the Times. “Also, the book is international in authorship and allowed us to work with colleagues from around the globe. It was a very interesting and enjoyable task and will hopefully prove to be an aid to professionals in the field.”
Dr. Johnny Matson is an expert in mental retardation, autism, and severe emotional disorders in children and adolescents. He has produced 600+ publications including 37 books. Among many duties, he is Editor-in-Chief for Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders (Oxford England), Editor-in-Chief for Research in Developmental Disabilities (Oxford, England), and series editor for Springer’s Autism and Child Psychopathology Series, of which the International Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders is a part.
His career has been dedicated to improving the lives of children.
Available at
Options include hardcover, eBook, and MyCopy

Social Behavior and Skills in Children Johnny L. Matson, Editor

Springer, 2009
In Social Behavior and Skills in Children, premier scientist and LSU Professor and Distinguished Research Master, Dr. Johnny Matson, brings together a slate of experts to explain the science and practice of helping youngsters with problems to strengthen their social behavior. Matson and his contributors unfold a wealth of information in theory, research, and practical advice to support both the clinician and researcher to update and focus thinking in this complex and essential topic.
Matson has a gift for coordinating interesting, authoritative sources. In Social Behavior he draws from experts at Louisiana State University, from the Center for Autism and Related Disorders in California, from the Universities of Kansas, Southern Illinois, Southern Mississippi, Southeastern Louisiana, Virginia, Texas at Austin, Central Florida, and Universities in New Zealand and Italy.
Among this group are Louisiana State University’s Jessica Boisjolie, Dr. Thompson Davis, III, Timothy Dempsey, Jill Fodstad, Melissa Munson, Tess Rivet, and Erin Tarcza from LSU, and Dr. Monique LeBlanc from Southeastern.
Also contributing are Dr. Rebecca Mandal-Blasio and Dr. Karen Sheridan from the Louisiana Office of Citizens
with Developmental Disabilities, Resource Center on Psychiatric and Behavior Supports, in Hammond, Louisiana.
Dr. George Schreiner from Northlake Supports and Services Center in Hammond, and lecturer at Southeastern,
is also a coauthor.
Dr. Matson is an expert in mental retardation, autism, and severe emotional disorders in children and
adolescents, with over 600 publications including 37 books. In Social Behavior he provides the underlying
connections between theory and research, general practice, and then applies this foundation in eight specific
diagnostic groupings.
Children who suffer with learning disabilities, ADHD, conduct disorders, anxiety, depression, chronic physical
illness such as diabetes or and other disabilities, may need specific help to function socially in school, with
friends, with family, and to move smoothly in social adjustment toward adulthood. Social Behavior addresses how
these deficits in social skills can impact quality of life and future development of a youngster.
The 13 chapters provide an in-depth study of the topic of social behavior and social skills, not always covered
adequately in texts about mental or physical disorders.
Previously Dr. Matson said to the Times, “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.”
Social Behavior will help ensure that practitioners have the newest information supported by scientific findings.
Dr. Thompson Davis, agrees. Coauthor of the chapter on anxiety and phobias, he is Director of the Psychological Services for Youth Clinic and of the Laboratory for Anxiety, Phobia, and Internalizing Disorder Studies at LSU. He told the Times, “I always enjoy the opportunity that chapter writing provides of getting an updated in-depth review of a topic. I learn a lot by having to then turn around, digest the information, and do my best to present it in a concise and usable form for others.”
One of the satisfying aspects of Social Behavior is the logical structure and consistency that flows from chapter to chapter, despite the variety of topics and different authors’ perspectives. The structure facilitates the readers’ thinking about the subject, defining the concepts, applying the available evidence, analyzing gaps and directions, and linking practice recommendations to both assessment and treatments.
Whether a practitioner or researcher, the reader will easily be able to update knowledge in this rapidly evolving area, and have on hand a comprehensive and relevant review of the literature.
Yet there is ample practical advice and information. Social Behavior provides 48 norm-referenced measures of social skills and an array of evidence- based interventions with critiques.
Dr. Matson has authored more than 37 books and his way of handling complex theoretical and technical matters is to produce cleanly written and logically organized volumes. Social Behavior meets this goal by capturing a record amount of information in a concise 13 Chapters without unnecessary tangents or bloated narrative.
In “History and Overview,” Chapter 1, authors define applicable concepts and review the progression and evolution of the science over time. Authors provide the scope of the field, an overview of assessment and treatment, and the current state of research. Dr. Monique LeBlanc, Assistant Professor at Southeastern Louisiana University helped coauthor the chapter.
In Chapter 2, “Theories of Social Competence from the Top-Down to the Bottom-Up: A Case for Considering Foundational Human Needs,” authors untangle the theoretical issues further in an intriguing review, including sections on “meta-theoretical lens” and “resource control theory,” an evolutionary based theory of social competence.
“Etiology and Relationships to Developmental Disabilities and Psychopathology” comes next. The
authors, including Dr. Sara Jordan of U. of Southern Mississippi, point out how social skills problems are related to a variety of developmental and psychological disorders experienced by youngsters.
LSU’s Jessica Boisjoli and Johnny Matson author Chapter 4, “General Methods of Assessment.” They provide a comprehensive review of current methods for assessing social skills, along with supporting evidence, current trends, and future directions.
“General Methods of Treatment,” Chapter 5, is authored by LSU’s Timothy Dempsey and Johnny Matson. They provide an overview of the guiding theory for social skills interventions, including the methodological issues in current research. Results of meta-analysis of outcome studies is included and also an explanation of “social validity,” a way of understanding the value of interventions.
Chapter 6 is “Challenging Behaviors.” This chapter is coauthored by Dr. Rebecca Mandal-Blasio and Dr. Karen Sheridan, both from the Louisiana Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities. Dr. George Schreniner is also a coauthor. Authors examine how challenging behaviors such as aggression, property destruction, or self-injury, for example, are related to social skills deficits, including acquisition deficits, performance deficits, fluency deficits, and interfering behaviors. They review functional assessment and interventions.
In Chapter 7, “Social Skills in Autism Spectrum Disorder,” authors define concepts and provide an overview of interview and observation scales that are useful in measuring social skills in this population. They include the Children’s Social Behavior Questionnaire, the PDD Behavior Inventory, The Social Responsiveness Scale, and Matson Evaluation of Social Skills with Youngsters. Coauthors also review an array of skills addressed by interventions, including social initiation, conversational behavior, sociodramatic play, reciprocal interactions, perspective taking, and others.
For Chapter 8, authors review the current scientific status of “Intellectual Disability and Adaptive-Social Skills.” They provide 11 specific examples of interventions with associated evaluations, including “A program to promote adaptive (leisure) engagement and improve mood in children with severe/profound intellectual and other disabilities” and also “A program to reduce sleep problems in children with mild-to- severe intellectual disability.”
In Chapter 9, “Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder,” authors provide an overview with current definitions, assessment methods, and interventions for social behaviors deficits in youngsters with ADHD. They include a section on “Novel Directions for Treatment,” and explain “friendship interventions,” interventions for peer rejection that focus on the peers, and new strategies for cooperative learning in classrooms.
Chapter 10 is “Evidence-Based Methods of Dealing with Social Deficits in Conduct Disorder.” Authors outline diagnostic criteria, etiology, assessment issues, and treatment including a section on prevention.
LSU’s Dr. Thompson E. Davis, III, collaborates with coauthors Melissa Munson, and Erin Tarcza, for Chapter 11, “Anxiety Disorders and Phobias.” The authors note that numerous anxiety disorders and phobias in children can interfere with social, school and family relationships, including discrimination and even victimization. They explain that little attention has been paid to social behavior in anxiety-disordered children outside of social phobia, and provide information on etiology, prevalence, and social skill problems that are unique to this population. They provide an appealing definition of anxiety, current theory, research, assessment, and treatments, calling for a multi-level approach.
Dr. Davis told the Times, “I hope this chapter helps in establishing the social context surrounding anxiety disorders, and that it emphasizes the reciprocal social influences children and adults have on each other–for the alleviation or, unfortunately, exacerbation of anxiety problems.”
In Chapter 12, “Major Depression,” LSU’s Jill Fodstad and Johnny Matson, point out that at one time experts thought children did not experience depression and write “serious psychological disturbance that affects a large number of children,” must not be taken lightly. The complex nature of depression, they note, requires the clinician to take into account etiological variables, and “skill set, competence, developmental level, and needs of the client…” It is not a one-size fits all problem, the authors say, and recommend a broad- based, multi-method assessment approach. They review biological, environmental and psychosocial factors, and present an extensive review of available assessment methods.
Social Behavior and Skills in Children concludes with Chapter 13, “Medical and Physical Impairments and Chronic Illness,” by Tessa Rivet and Johnny Matson of LSU. They define chronic physical childhood conditions and review theoretical models for psychosocial adjustment. They outline the impact of these illnesses and physical disabilities on social skills, psychosocial development, risk, resilience and provide extensive information for assessment, including a compilation of studies of social functioning of children with asthma, cancer, cardiac conditions, cerebral palsy, craniofacial conditions, epilepsy, hearing loss, HIV, and others.
This excellent work is available at Springer ( and at online booksellers everywhere.

Pediatricians and Pharmacologically Trained Psychologists: A Practitioner’s Guide to Collaborative Treatment George M. Kapalka

In this edited text about how pharmacologically trained psychologists work with pediatricians, editor Dr. George Kapalka, a clinical psychologist and associate professor from Monmouth University in New Jersey, weaves a tapestry of ideas from a variety of psychologists across the nation, including a number from Louisiana. He and his contributors demonstrate that whether in prescribing or non-prescribing states, psychologists can collaborate with pediatricians and other primary care physicians to deliver the best and highest quality care to children and adolescents.
“I’m really quite thrilled to have such a breath and depth of contributions,” Dr. Kapalka told the Times. In Practitioner’s Guide authors provide a rich variety of perspectives, information, experiences, and case studies. They write in different voices, from different views of the patient and from different perspectives of practice, all woven together by a solid structure from the editor.
“One of the biggest challenges was to pull it all together and get the consistency,” George said. Practitioner’s Guide is nicely organized into four main themes starting with Part I, “Foundations of Collaborative Care,” followed by “Collaboration in Specific Settings.” Part III is “Collaboration for Specific Disorders,” and the text concludes with Part IV, “Future Directions.”
Who’s Writing What?
Any reader should find something of value in this volume, from those who wish to learn more about collaboration, to those trained in pharmacology who want to help the primary care physician with choices, to those with RxP who have responsibility for prescribing. “It was a really rewarding project,” George Kapalka told the Times, “because I think the end product is a good volume with some superb contributions, including those from some people from Louisiana.”
“I wanted to show that in states where we do not prescribe, we can still make very meaningful contributions,” George said, who has Level 3 training in psychopharmacology. He has found that physicians are “quite appreciative of the dimensions that we can bring.”
In his balanced and cogent preface, Dr. Kapalka lays out the rationale for pharmacological treatment with children, showing that “many factors may contribute to the decision to utilize pharmacological approaches in conjunction with or instead of psychotherapy,” including severity, speed of improvement, time and effort required to participate in psychotherapy, expense, and limitations from insurance.
In Chapter 1, “Psychology, Psychopharmacotherapy, and Pediatrics: When to Treat and When to Refer,” Dr. Marc Muse, who has practiced in Maurepas, Louisiana, and who is now residing in Maryland, and his coauthors provide an algorithm for deciding who, and at what point, should be involved for various conditions. “I enjoyed working with my coauthors,” Mark said, “a pediatrician and a neuropsychologist. I believe in, and practice, integrated services, and so collaborating with adjacent specialties is always a learning opportunity.” Mark has a book in production with John Wiley & Sons, Handbook of Clinical Psychopharmacology for Psychologists.
Chapter 2,“Collaboration Between Pharmacologically Trained Psychologists and Pediatricians: History and Professional Issues,” concludes Part I. Part II, begins with Chapter 3 “The Clinical Experience of RxP- Trained Psychologists Working in Non-RxP States.”
Dr. Darlyne Nemeth co-authors Chapter 4, “The Practice of Medical Psychology in an RxP State: New Opportunities for Comprehensive Pediatric Care,” along with physician Dr. Sandra Franz a pediatrician for Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center’s Pediatric Residency Program, Dr. Emma Kruger, physician and founder of the Metabolic Anti-Aging Center in Baton Rouge, and Maydel Schexnayder, MS, certified rehabilitation counselor and Vocational Rehabilitation District Supervisor.
The authors outline the collaborative process from the medical psychologist’s perspective, the pediatrician’s perspective, and from the parent’s perspective, and point out that collaboration greatly reduces the need for pediatric primary care appointments. “It is the responsibility of the medical psychologist to determine if medication is really necessary,” the authors say, by fully analyzing family dynamics, unconscious expectations, comorbidities, developmental problems trauma, concurrent medical conditions, and adverse reactions.
“What I like best about this chapter,” Darlyne told the Times, “is that it emphasizes that a medical psychologist is first and foremost a psychologist […] that all aspects of behavior are analyzed before medication is utilized with children.” […] But, when necessary, the medical psychologist can prescribe, monitor, and titrate the most effective medication for the child and help the family with behavioral change.” She said, “…I truly attempted to gather together authors who represented the real world and who would give meaningful thought/perspective to the project. It was wonderful to work with such talented people.”
Chapter 5 covers “Integrated Care in Rural Settings” followed by “Collaborate Practice with Pediatricians Within the Indian Health Service: Taking Care of Frontier Children,” coauthored by Dr. Kevin McGuinness, is licensed in Louisiana. He currently is a clinical and clinical health psychologist, and medical psychologist working in rural New Mexico.
Louisiana medical psychologist Dr. John Courtney authors Chapter 7, “The Practice of Medical Psychologist in a Pediatric Hospital Setting: A Personal Account from an RxP State.” John describes the inpatient medical psychology consultation, writing, “The hospital setting presents the medical psychologist with a number of unique challenges.” And, “…despite psychology’s long battle to discourage dualism (mind vs. body), this splitting of patients based upon their functional and physical symptoms is more common than not.”
Part III focuses on specific disorders and begins with Chapter 8 by Dr. Kapalka, “Collaborative Treatment of Disruptive and Mood Disorders.” Chapter 9 is “Collaboration Between Pediatricians and Pharmacologically Trained Psychologists in the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders in Pediatric Patients.” The section continues with Chapter 10, “Collaborative Treatment of Eating Disorders,” followed by, “Collaborative Treatment of Medical Disorders: The Management of Diabetes.”
Lindsay Clendaniel, PhD, pediatric psychologist at Children’s Hospital in N.O., who specializes in treating children with gastrointestinal disorders and pain-related illness, coauthors chapter 12, “Collaborating with Pediatricians and Gastroenterologists: A Biopsychosocial Approach to Treatment of Gastrointestinal Disorders,” with Dr. Paul Hyman, physician and Professor of Pediatrics at LSU and Chief of Pediatric Gastroenterology at Children’s, and Dr. John Courtney, Director of Psychology at Children’s are coauthors.
Authors explain GI tract symptoms for youngsters, outlining the complex and sometimes circular ways that the mind and body can trigger problems. “An important aspect of care in pediatric gastrointestinal disorders is the brain-gut interaction,” the authors note. “The connection between physiological and psychological factors can be seen within the GI tract.”
Part IV on begins with “Brain Markers: An Emerging Technology with Potential to Enhance Collaboration Between Pediatricians and Pharmacologically Trained Psychologists.” Chapter 14 follows, “Internships and Fellowship experiences: Preparing Psychology Trainees for Effective Collaboration with Primary Care Physicians.”
Ms. Traci Olivier, doctoral student at Nova Southeastern University Center for Psychological Studies, authors Chapter 15, “The New Face of Psychology Predoctoral Training: Psychopharmacology and Collaborative Care.”
Traci sets out a sample curriculum for students who want to pursue psychopharmacological training and describes core values for training in the practice of consultation and collaboration, highlighting the importance of integrated care.
She explained to the Times that she spoke at an APA symposium because her mentor, Dr. Nemeth urged involvement in professional organizations. “I spoke from a student’s perspective about how prescriptive privileges impact training,” Traci said. “After the presentation, an editor from National Psychologist asked me if I would write an article based on my presentation,” When George Kapalka read the article, he asked her to contribute to Practitioner’s Guide. She emphasizes the important of networking to all other students.
The section and text concludes with “RxP Training Informs the Practice of Supervision of Nonpharmacologically Trained Mental Health Practitioners.”
Practitioner’s Guide provides a wealth of ideas and information for all levels of clinical and collaborating psychologists, for those who treat, consult, or prescribe.