Category Archives: The Bookshelf

Book Reviews from The Psychology Times

Dr. Melinda Sothern’s “Trim Kids” Program

What do Oprah Winfrey, “Good Morning America,” the BBC, New York Times, USA Today and Ladies Home Journal have in common? They have all interviewed Dr. Melinda Sothern about her breakthrough translational research on childhood obesity and her Trim Kids Program. The nationwide media interest keeps growing, with Sanjay Gupta, the Washington Post, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Nicholodeon, and Radio Disney all featuring Dr. Sothern and her book Trim Kids.

Trim Kids: The Proven Plan that has Helped Thousands of Children Achieve a Healthier Weight, is authored by Dr. Sothern, Heidi Schumacher and Dr. T. Kristian Von Almen, and continues to be the gold standard for kids and families, helping any child, any age, anywhere to reach a healthier weight.

The Trim Kids Program continues to be acknowledged and replicated. It is considered a research-tested intervention program by the National Cancer Institute and received the 2007 US Surgeon General Award for community dissemination into YMCA centers. This was only one of a long list of awards and citations, the most recent of which was the Oded Bar Or Award for Excellence in Pediatric Obesity Research, The Obesity Society, Pediatric Obesity Section, awarded October 25, 2009.

Dr. Melinda Sothern is tenured Professor in the LSU Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC) School of Public Health’s Behavioral and Community Health Science Program. She has worked diligently for decades to develop the program that successfully addresses childhood obesity and diabetes. The media attention may be astonishing, but it is definitely well deserved.

She has come to much of her wisdom about what children need for change through her own experiences. Melinda recalls her childhood as “A tomboy–climbing trees, throwing footballs, always outdoors. All that energy was a challenge to harness during school time,” she said. But, with the help of the good nuns in Houma, Louisiana, she learned to direct her boundless energy and focus on studies throughout the school year.

During summers, she found another outlet, swimming. She was a lifeguard by age 13, a teacher by 14, and a coach of competitive and synchronized swimming by 19. Convinced to major in physical education by her father, she engaged in an extended field experience, “Six years in the Virgin Islands,” she explained. “There were all of these kids on an island, and they didn’t know how to swim.”

She became founder, president and director of the St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Swimming Association. Her swimmers swam in island-wide championships in Puerto Rico, Granada and the Dominican Republic. Next she moved to St. Croix to become the Research and Training Assistant for the MALO Institute with exercise physiologist, Dr. Orjan Madson of Norway and Michael Lohberg of Germany. Their team of swimmers included gold medalists Peter Bergen and Michael Gross among other sports luminaries.

But it wasn’t the superstar athletes who captured Melinda’s heart. It was a group of students whom she met while working during the same period as Athletic, PE and Aquatic Director for Good Hope School in St. Croix.

It was then that Melinda found herself involved in helping her first group of overweight youngsters, developing ideas that were destined to evolve later into a program of national recognition.

While coaching the cheerleading team, several overweight girls tried out at Melinda’s invitation. “Not only didn’t they make the squad,” Melinda related, “people made fun of them – the kids, the judges, even the teachers.”

The next year, Melinda put all the girls into four teams, and arranged the groups so that the top team, the A team, were big sisters to the B team, and they were big sisters to the C team, and so on, 48 girls in all. “These girls were accepted by the group, got individual attention and were learning how to make meaningful change through exercise. They trimmed down, and it was great to see.”

In 1989 after Hurricane Hugo hit, destroying everything in the island, Melinda returned to Nicholls State University to finish her studies. Focused on her academic pursuits, she finished a B.S. in Arts and Sciences in 1990 at the University of New York Regents College and a M.Ed. in Exercise Physiology in 1991 at the University of New Orleans.

She had a “great job as Corporate Health and Fitness Director for Pan American Life Insurance Company,” when she was approached by Dr. Robert Suskind of LSUHSC Pediatrics. Asked if she would work with “overweight kids,” Dr. Sothern immediately took the position of Research Associate in Gastrointestinal Nutrition of the LSU School of Medicine. Becoming an Instructor the next year, she worked with that group until 1997.

“There were doctors from LSUHSC and Children’s Hospital working on the project along with dietitians and psychologists. But none of them were professionals in exercise or the physiology of movement,” she recalls.

“The study that was in place before I joined the team had kids walking two hours a day, trying to burn 500 calories a day – 80% of the participants left that first cohort. These kids weren’t lazy, they were sick.”

She introduced a progressive program of exercise involving 15 overweight children and their families. Beginning with chair aerobics, to help the children gradually build to achieve a healthy state, the groups’ exercise regimens were stratified by obesity level. Red was for severely obese; Yellow for obese; Green for overweight; and Blue for ideal. It took 12 to 24 weeks for the children to move to the next level. The goal for everyone was the Blue level, not unlike the A-Team in St. Croix.

“The nutritional component was initially more restrictive,” Melinda explained. “Low carbohydrate diets could put the students into ketosis, so we modified them to what is similar to the South Beach diet.” From that beginning, the “Trim Kids Pediatric Weight Management Program” would be born.

“In those early days, people just weren’t focused on obesity. Eventually there was an explosion of interest in obesity among children,” Dr. Sothern recalls. “We were leading the pack.”

Having completed her Ph.D. in 1997, Dr. Sothern was appointed Assistant Professor of Research and Director of the Section of Pediatric Obesity Clinical Research at the LSUHSC School of Medicine and Adjunct Assistant Professor at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge. She then moved her primary appointment to the Pennington Center, under the direction of Dr. Eric Ravussin, Director of the Health and Human Performance Division.

Senior researchers at Pennington “told me I was a researcher, but that I wouldn’t be a scientist until I had been awarded an NIH RO1 grant,” Dr. Sothern grins. “So, I got two of them.”

While working at the Pennington Center as the Director of the Prevention of Childhood Obesity Laboratory, Dr. Sothern joined Dr. Larry Weber with Tulane University as Co-Primary Investigator and interventionist in his Trial of Activity for Adolescent Girls Study with the NIH. She also continued her work as Director of the Pediatric Obesity Clinical Research Section at LSUHSC, splitting her time between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

During this time there was a huge demand for materials from childhood obesity programs. In response, Dr. Melinda Sothern, along with Heidi Schumacher and Dr. T. Kristian Von Almen began writing the text Trim Kids: The Proven Plan that has Helped Thousands of Children Achieve a Healthier Weight. The book came out in 2001, and amid glowing reviews, Trim Kids became the gold standard. “It isn’t a diet book,” she emphasized. “We instruct the reader to work with a nutritionist on a dietary plan that complements the program.”

In 2004 she was asked to come to LSUHSC School of Public Health. “I was delighted to get the call in 2004 from Terry [Dean Elizabeth T.H. Fontham] asking me to join the School of Public Health Faculty,” said Dr. Sothern.

Professor Sothern brings to the school the mentoring experience she has gained from her work as principal and co-principal investigator on 22 grants and contracts totaling well over $20 million. Perhaps as importantly, she brings the patience and insight she gained with her cheerleaders in St. Croix.

“I challenge my students by showing them what they can be in 20 years. I like to raise their curiosity, and give them pieces of the puzzle to work with,” she explained.

As the author of 34 manuscripts in peer reviewed journals, three books, and 28 chapters in texts and peer-reviewed journals, Dr. Melinda Sothern emphasizes thorough review of previous research. “My students begin by exploring the needs of the community and reviewing the literature thoroughly before thinking about an intervention,” she said. “This opens their eyes; they become aware and learn what experts have done in the area.”

“After they know a problem front, back and sideways, then they need to think out of the box – using the theories, but arriving at ideas of interventions that have never been done before.”

“Only then can they clearly define a solution, very specifically thinking about the means they will use to solve the problem, and how to monitor and evaluate an intervention.”

Dr. Melinda Sothern concludes with a smile, “I love teaching – watching the students’ faces when the light bulbs go off on top of their heads.”

For more information about Dr. Sothern’s extensive research, see her CV at: http://publichealth.lsuhsc.edu/faculty_cv/CV_Sothern.pdf

Your Practicum in Psychology A Guide for Maximizing Knowledge and Competence

Edited by Janet R. Matthews, PhD, ABPP

and C. Eugene Walker, PhD

2006 APA

In Your Practicum in Psychology, Loyola Professor and licensed clinical psychologist, Dr. Janet Matthews, along with Oklahoma colleague and coauthor Dr. C. Eugene Walker, provide practical guidance for students in their first mental health field setting. In a conversational, straightforward style, the authors address both theoretical and practical concerns encountered by the novice as he or she enters the applied setting for clinical psychology.

The authors decided to write Your Practicum in Psychology because they found that a wide range of experiences were being offered to psychology students and there was a need for a complete review of both basic information and larger issues impacting this “fundamental and formative educational experience.”

The authors explain in their introduction that students find themselves in all types of service positions in their mental health practicums, yet most instructors were still using a collection of assigned readings and journal reprints, making it difficult to fill gaps and cover information effectively. So, the authors note, “We therefore decided to look at our previous book and then develop one that would be an even better match for the variety of undergraduate courses in this area.”

In eleven chapters, the authors neatly and attractively lay out a complete set of ideas for the practicum student. The writing tone and approach demonstrates empathy and understanding of the students’ perspective that could only come from the authors’ years of supervision of young professionals. Likely situations encountered by students are explained in case examples, helping the student to anticipate, avoid, and resolve the issues.

The chapters are “…analogous to having a guest lecture for each topic,” note the authors. The tone of the work is consistent throughout. The text avoids overloading the neophyte with too much scientific background, but includes a wide array of essential topics in theory, methods, special populations, ethics, and legal.

The topics range from the simple to complex issues encountered by the novice as he or she begins to formulate and build their identity in a helping role. While some of the topics might seem basic, e.g., what to wear, the text is full of nuggets of information and wisdom masquerading as simple concerns. (I remember a practicum of my own where all of us somehow started wearing black, until someone asked, “Where’s the funeral?”) Topics unlikely to be covered elsewhere will be appreciated in this volume, facilitating the student’s transition from classroom to field setting. “Psychology departments train students to become psychologists,” write the authors. This supportive text can help smooth that beginning and allow the student to gain the broadest understanding of their developing role, identity, and the contributions they will eventually make in society.

The textbook benefits from the contributions of three other Louisiana psychologists: Dr. Theresa Wozencraft of the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, Dr. Bruce McCormick of Shreveport, and Dr. Lee Matthews, Janet’s husband also from New Orleans.

In Chapter 1, “How to Maximize Your Training Experience,” Dr. Wozencraft provides the reader practical information on “Discerning Your Training Needs,” and “Major Types of Practice Sites.” Theresa builds on her own research and supervisory experience with students to guide the reader along in sections on “Establishing Yourself in the Practicum,” providing advice on “Taking on New Roles,” where she describes the professional role and the practitioner role in terms young students can understand. She also covers work environments, work relationships, diversity, and the student-supervisor relationship.

Chapter 2, “Characteristics of a Helping Relationship,” is a delightful little chapter about the nature of helping behavior, drawing on the basics of Carl Rogers and Robert Carkhuff. With concise and interesting examples the author quickly makes the distinction between helping communications and those that are less than useful, beautifully illustrating the core skill needed by students and expanding it in “Helping Applied to All Stages of Life.”

Drs. Janet and Lee Matthews coauthor Chapter 3, “Getting Started and Developing Rapport.” In this chapter they provide a frame of reference for entering the applied setting, explaining some of the issues that arise that students can find challenging and confusing. Basic information as in “What Should I Wear,” to more complex problems of “How Do I Build Rapport,” “Being a Participant-Observer,” and “How to Foster Acceptance,” balance the chapter with a knowledgeable view of field settings and the realworld problems that can arise for students.

Chapter 4, “Confidentially and Other Ethical Issues,” provides essentials for new students with descriptive vignettes such as “Deciding Not To Great A Former Patient,” “Duty to Warn or Protect Third Parties,” and sections on multiple roles, boundaries, informed consent, and competence.

Chapter 5, “History of Treatment of People with Mental Illness,” and Chapter 6, “A Review of Psychopathology,” outlines the basic knowledge for students that may be needed in mental health settings.

Louisiana psychologist Dr. Lee Matthews again contributes by authoring Chapter 7, “Psychological Assessment.” In this clear-cut review Lee describes the basics of tests and measurement theory, then looks at the importance, use, and differences between screening and full battery assessments. He provides a review of the most commonly used clinical psychology tests, then moves into a thorough section on psychological screening methods, including mental status exams, attention and concentration tests, intellectual and cognitive tests, achievement tests, mood and personality tests, visual spatial tests, language tests, memory tests, neuropsychological tests, and behavioral tests. He reviews full assessment batteries in the final section.

In a straightforward and well-documented overview authors of Chapter 8, “Interventions: Empirically Supported Treatments,” provide the student with the major diagnostic categories encountered in most field settings and outline treatments that are empirically based and proven to be effective.

Louisiana medical psychologist, Dr. Bruce McCormick, authors Chapter 9, “The Use of Medicine in the Treatment of Mental Disorders.” Bruce lays out the basics and background in the use of psychotropic medicines, noting that these are commonly included in mental health treatment plans. He includes sections on “How Do Medicines Work to Treat Mental Disorders?” and “How Do Medications Affect Nerve Transmissions?” In “What Medications Are Commonly Prescribed for Mental Disorders?” he describes the most common antidepressant, antianxiety, antipsychotic medications, mood stabilizers, and psychostimulants in clear and meaningful terms for the practicum student. A section on the issues regarding the choice of medicine, psychotherapy, or both, completes the chapter.

In Chapter 10, “Special Issues in Working with Children,” highlights important issues for those students who will be placed in field settings with preschool and schoolage youngsters and the complex issues sometimes encountered.

In the final chapter, “Mental Health Professions,” Drs. Janet Matthews and Eugene Walker provide an interesting and positive look at the types and contributions of different mental health professionals. While Your Practicum is aimed for students who will eventually be trained as psychologists, the information about the training and professional activities of psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, counselors, psychiatric nurses, creative arts therapists, occupational therapists, and recreational therapists is both interesting and important for those seeking a career in today’s mental and behavioral health services.

Your Practicum in Psychology can be purchased from APA or online booksellers. (Note the correction card that comes with the text on MAOIs.)

Effective Elder Caregiving

Revised Edition, 2011

by Barbara Rothschild Allen

and Lauren Barrett

Special Delivery Books

“According to former first lady, Rosalynn Carter, there are only four kinds of people in the world: ‘Those who have been caregivers, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers.’ ”

“Twenty-seven million Americans provide an average of over 20 hours a week of care for their parents or other elderly relatives.” —Effective Elder Caregiving

In her book, Effective Elder Caregiving, retired LSU-A professor of developmental psychology and life member of LPA, Barbara Rothschild Allen uses her professional knowledge and personal journey to produce a clear, candid and useful set of ideas for those who provide care for an elder.

Caregiving is a self-help book for those in the “primary” caregiving role, most often a family member who has the affectionate and moral responsibility for the elder.

The book also includes important guidance for those in the “secondary” caregiving role, most often a paid professional. This dual guidance is immensely helpful because, as the authors point out, primary caregivers can rarely handle the responsibilities by themselves. A final perspective, that of the elder care-receiver, rounds out this 360° view of the complexities in elder care, the overlapping duties and complicated relationships, and the needs and challenges in this essential physical, psychological, and spiritual time of life.

Barbara’s contribution as psychological expert runs throughout the work, resulting in factual information and insights to support the reader’s decisions. But perhaps Barbara’s contribution is most heartfelt and poignant in the personal narratives of her own journey caring for her husband Al, to whom the work is dedicated.

Barbara’s psychological perspective and humanity comes through clearly, while also delivering important, practical, and very useable insights for those in the sandwich generation of primary caregivers. She points out that in many cases, responsibility for care falls on people in their 40s, 50s, and 60s, but that “the significance of the caregiving demands made on the middle generation has not received much attention from researchers.”

Barbara commented to the Times that the revised edition is gaining more attention, perhaps because more people now find themselves in the caregiving role. Barbara recently spoke to the American Association of University Women in Austin, where the work was very well received. Barbara said that she enjoyed writing the book. “I have done some writing earlier. I was a coauthor for a book on adolescent psychology. And, I felt that I should have done more writing over the years.” She stays away from the computer, instead writing on an electric typewriter that she purchased in 1965 when working on an NIF grant at Berkley.

The goal of the book is to help “start cultivating potential senior caregivers, such as family members, spouses, and friends, as well as paid care providers (employed caregivers)– people who truly like and respect the elderly. Both these groups need to take the training that will transform them into competent, kind, and reliable caregivers.”

Effective Elder Caregiving is designed in three parts, each including short, understandable and concise chapters that stay on track, and in which the authors highlight narratives with important, but not overdone statistics.

Part One, “Primary Caregivers,” includes twenty short chapters that reflect the journey from the first steps of acknowledging the role, to the last stage of the process, the elder’s death. Writing in first person, Barbara describes the practical and psychological challenges encountered by the primary caregivers in heartfelt stories of her own journey, adding insights from her background in life span and developmental psychology.

She highlights issues in “The Sandwich Generation of Primary Caretakers.” Building on more analytic themes in Chapter 3, “Common Psychological Issues Arising Between the Generations,” she reflects on the family relationships that can be encountered. This perspective is repeated throughout, especially in Chapter 11, “How to Recognize and Accept the Need for Outside Help,” Chapters 17 to 20 which address the stages of decline, and finally, “The Death of Your Loved One.”

Another set of topics focus on employment and management: “Interviewing Potential Secondary Caregiving Applicants,” and “Selecting the Best Caregivers to Meet the Patient’s Needs.” Authors deal with practical issues in “Preparing the Elder’s Home for Secondary Caregiver,” “Establishing the Routine for Secondary Caregiver,” “Financing Secondary Caregivers,” and “Distant Primary Caregiving.”

In Part Two, “The Employed Personal Caregiver,” Barbara and coauthor Lauren Barrett, a professional caregiver, point out the knowledge and skills needed by those in this profession. Chapters include: “Desirable Personality Traits of Caregivers,” “Training, Experience and Education,” “Communication Styles and Listening Skills,” and “Morals and Work Ethic.” Issues such as stealing, tolerance, and abuse are discussed candidly, making the book useful as a guide for employers who are also the primary caretaker.

Practical information is abundant, including “Appearance and Personal Habits,” “Your Physical Health,” “Your Mental Health,” and “Financial Concerns.” Chapters on “Do You Have the Right Stuff” and “Working Through Your Personal Issues,” directly address job match, and the fact that not all people are suited for gentle, tolerant and respectful caregiving.

Part Three, “Caregiving from the Patient’s Perspective,” briefly touches on the third viewpoint, that of the elderly patient, and includes “Observations of a Senior Patient” and “Traits of a Desirable Patient.”

Dr. Greg Gormanous, who was a student of Barbara’s, then who became her Chair at LSU-A during the years, wholeheartedly recommends her book, writing “Effective Elder Caregiving is an absolute must read for family members deciding on care for a loved one and for all students who interact with the elderly.”

Barbara Rothschild Allen has written an important self-help book that can make an immediate positive impact on the decisions and thinking of a person thrust into, or gradually taking on the role of primary caregiver, where many in the baby-boomer generation now find themselves.

The book is available on Amazon. However, you can also purchase it directly from Barbara for $20 ($14.95 plus tax and shipping) at 40 N I H 35, Apt 12a2, Austin, TX 78701. And if you ask, she will autograph your copy!


Treating Gambling Problems and Best Possible Odds: Contemporary Treatment Strategies for Gambling Disorders

Treating Gambling Problems

by William G. McCown

and William A. Howatt

2007 – Wiley Series on Treating Addictions

Best Possible Odds: Contemporary Treatment Strategies for Gambling Disorders

by William G. McCown

and Linda L. Chamberlain

2000 – John Wiley & Sons

“The life of a compulsive gambler is a life out of control––a precipitous downward spiral into despair, abuse, and criminality. Like a tornado ripping through a Midwestern town, a pathological gambler on the “chase” can leave a trail of broken families, ruined businesses, and incalculable emotional suffering in his or her wake.” — Best Possible Odds

In the steadily growing industry of recreational gambling, four to six percent of all gamblers will become compulsive, leading to a devastating impact on their lives.

Dr. William G. McCown, clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at the University of Louisiana Monroe, the coauthor/editor of eight books and international consultant, brings his scholarly and creative talents to this relatively new and still evolving area of gambling addictions.

In these two texts, Bill and his coauthors wrestle with and illuminate the complex issues in this field, including definitions, differential diagnosis, theoretical underpinnings, and practical clinical tools needed for helping this group of individuals.

They point out that 27 percent of all people will deal with a substance or other addiction problem at some time in their lives. However, the authors note that only ten percent of therapists are trained to treat individuals with addictions. This leaves 90 percent with often limited resources.

In Treating Gambling Problems, Dr. Bill McCown and coauthor Dr. William Howatt lay out a comprehensive picture of the thinking process, skills, ideas, and tools that are essential for assisting a client with these issues.

“…It started as a theory book.” Bill explained to the Times. “However, the series editor asked me to rewrite it, given the increasing need for front line clinicians without specific training to treat people with gambling problems.”

This hands-on and readily usable text accomplishes that goal easily, with it’s engaging style and extremely thorough coverage of the topic. More appealing in presentation than most textbooks, Gambling Problems is loaded with practical ideas that are fresh, informative and immensely useful. All this is backed by the authoritative voice of experience.

This voice is likely due to Bill’s background in the area. His 2000 theoretical text, Best Possible Odds, coauthored with colleague Dr. Linda Chamberlain, has been credited as one of the first comprehensive books on the topic, fueling research and clinical interest in empirically based treatment of gambling problems.

“I certainly would not go that far…’ Bill noted, “but the literature has increased by 1100 percent since that time and people are paying more attention to gambling problems.”

Bill has been a member of the Louisiana Association of Compulsive Gambling since 2002 and has made fifteen professional presentations on the topic. He has supervised twelve theses on gambling disorders by his graduate students, and he has authored an internet-based program for helping gamblers.

Gambling Problems leaves no stone unturned in its credible, understandable, and detailed presentation. In a handy 280 pages, the author’s walk the reader through conceptual, theoretical and scientific issues.

Perhaps the most notable aspect of this user-friendly text is the surprising (for a clinical book) wealth of hands-on, practical suggestions and conceptual tools for the practitioner. The richness, creativity and completeness of this information are impressive.

The authors engage the reader with charming “Truth or Fiction” quizzes, short knowledge tests, and crisp “Points to Remember.” The text is full of checklists, assessment forms, and lists of concepts the reader can immediately put to use. A family questionnaire from Louisiana Association on Compulsive Gambling and one from Gamblers Anonymous, a list of signs of problems noticed by employers, a list of tests and their usefulness in assessment of gambling problems, and the Addictive Disorders Screen–7, are included, just to name a few.

“Recommended Readings” at the end of chapters guide the reader to in depth resources and areas of controversy or scientific debate. And along with all sorts of interesting boxes, there is a call-out titled “Imagine That!” with tidbits of fascinating and fun information.

In Chapter 1, “Conceptual Foundations of Gambling Disorders,” authors include a discussion of definitions, differential diagnosis, spontaneous remission, risk factors and prognosis. Chapter 2 continues with “Recognizing Gambling Disorders: Signs and Symptoms.”

“Utilizing Optimal Professional Resources,” Chapter 3, includes information on a professional referral network and specific resources, matching clients to the best resources, motivation, and risk management.

In Chapter 4 authors outline “Developing an Effective Treatment Plan,” giving a step-by-step approach with therapeutic issues and problems to watch for in both the clinical and legal settings.

In “Recovery Theories, Programs, and Tools,” Chapter 5 provides a broad review from the larger perspective of human change.

“Continuing Care: When and How Should Clients Be Discharged,” Chapter 6, includes statistics on positive and negative outcomes and criteria for discharge.

“Posttreatment Recovery Management: Models and Protocols of Relapse Prevention,” Chapter 7, includes triggers for relapse and emerging problems at this stage of treatment, including physical, family, and mental disorders.

“New Beginnings: Moving Beyond Addiction” concludes the work. Authors cover topics of personality change, humanistic therapies, positive emotions and happiness, moral development, and going beyond selfhood,” in another broad based review with strong philosophical underpinnings.

Best Possible Odds is the precursor to Treating Gambling Problems and provided one of the first and most comprehensive overviews of the emerging science and therapeutic issues available in 2000.

In Odds, Bill McCown and coauthor Linda Chamberlain work to bring a cogent review of why compulsive gambling is on the rise and why it is an addiction disorder. Odds fills a gap created by the fact that the therapeutic community is only just beginning to fully acknowledge compulsive gambling problems.

Odds is scholarly and theoretical, with authors reviewing and analyzing competing models including physiology, social-economic, and psychodynamics, in an expert, eclectic approach.

The “central thesis of this book is that recovery from addiction is a nonlinear process,” state the authors and back it up in a review of Chaos Theory as a key for understanding change.

Odds begins with “An Introduction to Gambling and Gambling Disorders,” and then fits this into a larger context in Chapter 2, “Paradigms of Problem Gambling Behavior.” In Chapter 3, “The Phenomenology of Gambling,” authors explore the “gateway concept” and review Custers’ subtypes (professional, antisocial, casual social, serious social, neurotic, and compulsive).

“Etiologies and Maintenance of Gambling Disorders: A Brief Review,” outlines evidence for reinforcement, motivational, and biological influences, among others.

In the next three chapters the authors provide what is known about current treatment methods, “Treatment for Pathological Gambling: Inpatient Programs and Gamblers Anonymous,” “A Multiphasic Model of Outpatient Treatment,” and “Working Strategies for Treatment Success: The Pragmatics of Therapy for Abusive and Addictive Gamblers.” Drawing on what has worked for them, they explain their “multifaceted treatment integration.”

“Assessment of Gambling and Gambling-Related Psychological Disturbances,” Chapter 8, outlines an assessment approach that is broad and comprehensive, a review of the critical-thinking required in assessment efforts necessary for all complex issues.

“Chaos Theory, Gambling, and Addictions: Speculations on New Methods of Nonlinear Treatment,” is a fascinating chapter that requires the reader to put on the thinking cap and is likely based on Bill’s previous work on Chaos Theory and family therapy (Strange Attractions: Chaos, Complexity, and the Art of Family Therapy, 1998 Wiley).

“Family Systems Therapy: Treating the Patient and the System,” Chapter 10, continues this integrative theme and Chapter 11, “Epilogue: Consideration for Future Research and Interventions,” closes the work.

Bill explained to the Times, “My research-clinician chronology in Louisiana begins in the 1980s, when I did an internship under Dr. Phil Griffin, at Tulane Medical Center. Those psychologists- Jim Gay, Jorge Daruna, Phil Griffin, Collin McCormick, were an incredible group!”

His first clinical/research job was at the New Orleans VA Medical Center, “…where so many present LPA psychologists got their start…it was a great place to learn and do research,” he said.

Bill later moved to Philadelphia, to become Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at what was then Hahnemann University, now Drexel University. “I was fortunate enough to meet Myrna Shure, a developmental psychologist and the ‘godmother’ of impulsivity prevention research,” he said. “Together, we were able to edit a volume, published by the APA, which included contributions from some of the most important names in the field.”

In the mid 1990s Bill returned to Louisiana to what was then Northeast Louisiana University, now University of Louisiana at Monroe. “My research was split between nonpharmacological addictions, including gambling and chronic procrastination, and explorations of what we call nonlinear behavior, or chaos theory.” Presently, these interests have expanded to include Bipolar II Disorder and adult attention deficit spectrum problems.

“ULM has been an incredible place to have a career,” Bill said. “While we do not have the resources that larger institutions have, we are able to closely mentor our undergraduates and graduate students. Their enthusiasm and creativity usually overcome our fiscal problems,” Bill explained. “Our longtime department head, Dr. David Williamson, has kept our ship afloat during some very rough seas.”

Bill noted that his colleagues and supervisors have also made ULM a special place. “Our present dean, Dr. Sandy Lemoine, is the most effective and compassionate motivator I’ve ever met,” he said. “I keep thinking that she must be a closet psychologist!”

“Our Provost, Dr. Stephen Richters,” Bill explained, “has the vision to realize that psychology is vibrant and must be a key part of 21st century curricula. And, our new President, Dr. Nick Bruno, has an extraordinarily strong commitment to the campus and community’s mental health. He also understands the importance of psychology. This is simply a great team to work under,” Bill concluded.

Dr. William G. McCown has held various positions in the university including Director of Training and interim Associate Provost. He is presently interim Director of the Graduate School at ULM.

“However,” he noted, “teaching and research are my first loves…. well, not quite,” he said. “I became a first time dad at 50 and that is my highest priority!”

Teaching Psychology in America: A History

Editors: Antonio Puente, Janet R. Matthews, and Charles Brewer

American Psychological Association, 1992

Teaching Psychology in America was published by APA in 1992 on its 100th anniversary and covers a range of topics about teaching psychology over the hundred-year history. It is one of Dr. Janet R. Matthews’ contributions, working with Antonio Puente (U. of North Carolina) and Charles Brewer (Furman University) and a host of contributors who help paint the fascinating history of the teaching of psychology in America, placing the facts and archival details into a rich social and cultural context.

“A discipline that is separated from its history lacks direction…” the authors quote Murchison in their introduction, going on to write, “…the history of the teaching of psychology in America suffers from a dearth of documented information. This book represents an initial and partial solution to that problem. However, these chapters are much more than a repository of facts and anecdotes or a chronology of the field. They represent a careful analysis of such data in the context of the larger professional, social, political, and scientific spirit of the times.”

The work accomplishes that, and more, in its 578 pages covering topics such as “Key Individuals in the Teaching of Psychology,” (Part II), “Conferences Advancing the Teaching of Psychology,” (Part III), and “Organized Psychology in Advancing the Teaching of Psychology,” (Part IV).

“Key Publications in the Teaching of Psychology” (Part V) includes chapters on “Portraits of a Discipline: An Examination of Introductory Psychology Textbooks in America,” “Psychological Handbooks: History and Function,” and “Constancy and Change: Teaching as Depicted in Psychological Journals.”

‘It was a fun project and part of the APA centennial celebration,” Janet told the Times. “The outline for that book was actually prepared with my colleague Tony Puente as a convention of National Academy of Neuropsychology. We had coffee at the hotel and worked on a possible book on a paper napkin. We then recruited Charles Brewer as our third editor because he is such a legendary teacher.”


Smart For Life: How to Improve Your Brain Power at Any Age

by Michael D. Chafetz, Ph.D.

Penguin Books, 1992

Mike followed N & N with Smart for Life, building on his expertise in neuroscience and writing a practical and interesting trade paperback that became a popular tool for those wishing to support their cognitive functioning for any reason. In the book he integrated biochemistry, general health and neuroscience information to build a knowledgeable and useful manual for clients dealing with cognitive decline or wanting to improve functioning.

Smart for Life is loaded with clever, interesting activities and is written in a conversational and encouraging style. He gives advice covering “Making Your Brain Smarter,” “Eating the Right Brain Foods: Nutrients for Brain Exercise,” “The Brain’s Other Chemical Environment,” and “Toning Up Your Brain,” in “Part One: Keeping the Brain Fit.” In “Part Two: Exercising the Brain,” Mike lays out specific ideas and tasks in “Exercising Your Brain’s Spatial Abilities,” “Talking to Your Brain,” “Improving Your Brain’s Memory,” “Your Logical Brain,” and “Creating a Creative Brain.” In the last section, “Part Three: Brain Exercise Regimens,” he explains how to put it all together in “Fitting It In.” Smart for Life is still being used and even Mother Nature (.com) refers to if for health advice. Michael Chafetz, Ph.D., ABPP, is in active practice in clinical psychology and clinical neuropsychology in New Orleans. He provides therapy and evidence-based neuropsychological assessment for cases involving head injury, stroke, toxicity, MS, dementia, and other neurodegenerative processes.

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Nutrition and Neurotransmitters: The Nutrient Bases of Behavior

by Michael D. Chafetz, Ph.D.

Prentice Hall Advanced Reference Series, 1990

Nutrition and Neurotransmitters is an amazing little textbook that author Dr. Mike Chafetz crafted not just with facts, but with ideas, in this classic volume that was ahead of its time.

Before it became popular to do so, he was looking at the growing evidence of how nutrients affect brain and behavior. In the authoritative Nutrition and Neurotransmitters Mike helps the reader ponder the myriad of connections between behavior, nutrition, and the way things can work or go faulty in the brain-behavior system. While Mike informed me that many of the facts are now out of date, it will be clear to any reader that Nutrition and Neurotransmitters is still quite informative for the reason stated in the introduction. “… it should be noted that this is more than a book of facts. The joining of nutrients and behavioral function into one research area is such a new proposition that this is of necessity also a book of ideas.”

The work covers “The Interactions of Diet, Brain, and Behavior,” and “Introduction to Neuroanatomy,” “Serotonin and Behavioral Quieting,” “Catecholamine and Behavioral Arousal,” “Acetylcholine: Diet Affects Memory and Movement,” and “Excitatory Amino Acids and GABA.” In Part III is on “Macronutrients” and Part IV on “Micronutrients,” with discussions and reviews of how these nutrients impact on cerebral activity and the biochemical conditions in the body and brain.

Nutrition and Neurotransmitters is still available for $72, or used for a song, from various sources on the web. A visit to “Neuroscience for Kids” will prove that some are still pointing to the information in this important reference.

Clinical Assessment of Child and Adolescent Personality and Behavior 3rd Edition

Paul J. Frick

Christopher T. Barry

Randy W. Kamphaus

Springer 2010

Clinical Assessment of Child and Adolescent Personality and Behavior is the latest edition of the immensely useful graduate text by Dr. Paul Frick, University Research Professor and chair of the Psychology Department at University of New Orleans. Coauthors are Dr. Christopher Barry of the University of Southern Mississippi and Dr. Randy Kamphaus, Dean of Education at Georgia State University.

The 3rd edition of Clinical Assessment fulfills its promise of providing an uncluttered, straightforward review and critique of current techniques. The authors embed their review in a lucid, understandable description of the theoretical and applied context that psychologists must always keep in mind.

Dr. Paul Frick told the Times, “This book was based on all three authors’ frustration in teaching courses on the psychological assessment of children and adolescents, finding that existing textbooks were not serving us well. Most of them were encyclopedic, edited volumes that were uneven in the quality across chapters…” And he continued, they were “…not geared either in format or level of presentation for beginning graduate instruction.”

In the preface of the text, the authors note that the goal of psychological assessment is to measure constructs that have important clinical implications. “But what is important from this conceptualization,” they write, “is that our view of psychological assessment is not test-driven but construct-driven.” And, “…the most critical component in choosing a method of assessment and in interpreting assessment data is understanding what one is trying to measure.”

Clinical Assessment provides an ease of delivery that makes this text perfect for psychologists in training. The writing style is clear and free from meaningless jargon. The authors strip everything down to the essential elements of the problem. Echoing throughout the text are the themes of evidenced-base practice and construct validity and informed use of measurement results. Experienced psychologists who find it difficult to keep pace with the rapidly changing landscape of child and adolescent assessment (and who doesn’t) will discover Clinical Assessment to be an excellent source of authoritative information and advice that can be quickly referenced without having to wade through muddy water.

The coauthors make a very convincing first-string team of experts. Barry is the specialist. Kamphaus is an expert in test development and author of BASC-2 (Behavior Assessment System for Children-2). Paul Frick is a leading authority in child and adolescent diagnosis and behavior. “Currently I am serving on the ADHD and Disruptive Disorders Workgroup for the 5th Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” he told the Times, “which is due to be published by the American Psychiatric Association in May of 2013.”

His presentation at APA in August was a convention highlight, “Possible changes to the criteria for the Disruptive Behavior Disorders for the DSM-V: Rationale and implications.” He is the editor of the Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, and also president of the Society for the Scientific Study of Psychopathy. His research in children and adolescent psychology has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and John T. and Catherine D. MacArthur Foundation.

Clinical Assessment of Child and Adolescent Personality and Behavior covers a lot of ground efficiently. Chapters are formatted consistently with questions in the introduction and a summary of concepts at the end. Descriptions and discussion of critical issues are supported by references to key research, diagnostic contexts, and evidenced-based practice decisions.

In Part I, “Basic Issues,” authors give the overriding framework in a succinct presentation. It rings throughout the text: psychologists must understand tests, but also must understand what they are trying to measure, the context, and threats to validity. Chapters include topics of historical trends, measurement issues, classification and developmental psychopathology, standards and fairness, and planning the evaluation and rapport building.

The next nine chapters, Part II “Assessment Methods,” include reviews and critiques of self-report inventories, parent/teacher rating scales, behavioral observations systems, peer-referenced techniques, projective techniques, structured interviews, history taking methods, family assessments, and adaptive behavior scales. Each chapter format gives the context and relationship to the construct, and then the authors review current tests, reliability, validity, norms, and a list of strengths and weaknesses of the measure and potential threats to validity.

In Part III, “Advanced Topics,” the authors cover assessment of attention deficit, disruptive behavior disorders, depression, anxiety and autism spectrum disorders. The chapters on “Integrating and Interpreting Assessment Information,” and “Report Writing,” again call upon the reader to use a broad footing in psychological constructs, critical-thinking, as well as practical and common-sense views.

What did Paul enjoy most about writing the book? “The most enjoyable aspect of writing this book,” Paul told the Times, “is it forces us [the authors] to stay upto- date on the most current assessment tools used in the psychological testing of children and adolescents. This is also the most difficult aspect of writing this type of textbook. There are always new assessment measures being developed and older ones being updated; thus, such textbooks require frequent revisions.”

Who’s READING What?

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

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

Judith Steward, Ph.D.

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

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

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

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

Mike Chafetz, Ph.D.

One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

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

Kim VanGeffen, Ph.D.

Dial H for Hitchcock, by Susan Kandel

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

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

Penny Dralle, Ph.D.

Letters from Yellowstone, by Diane Smith

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

Bryan Gros, Ph.D.

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

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

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

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

Julie Nelson, Ph.D.

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

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

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

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

John Adams, by David McCullough

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

Assessing Childhood Psychopathology and Developmental Disabilities

Treating Childhood Psychopathology and Developmental Disabilities

Johnny L. Matson

Frank Andrasik Springer

Michael L. Matson

Editors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Assessing Childhood Psychopathology and Developmental Disabilities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Treating Childhood Psychopathology and Developmental Disabilities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These excellent works are available at Springer (http://www.springer.com) and at online booksellers everywhere.

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

ICAN Publishing

September 2008

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

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

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

— From survey respondents in We Do Not Die Alone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We Do Not Die Alone is available on Amazon.

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

Publisher: New Harbinger Publications

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

F. A. Davis Publishers, 2000

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2009, Springer, New York

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oxford University Press, 2003

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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