I’ve lamented in the past that our psychiatric diagnostic categories are so messy, so poor, as to render them essentially meaningless. In a scientific sense, I still think that’s true. They reflect no objective truth. They do not “carve nature at the joints.” For example, there is no such thing as “autism” lurking in some individuals’ bloodstreams (and not in others’). No one “discovered” autism; they just categorized certain patterns of responding to social and emotional environments and tried to find similarities across very, very different individuals’ behavior. No two autistic (or “neurotypical,” AKA “NT”) people are the same. There are “a thousand and one ways,” as one of my earliest clinical supervisors liked to say, that autistic symptoms can show up in a person. This is true for all psychiatric diagnostic categories, which all include multiple criteria, subcriteria, and imperfect algorithms for deciding whether someone crosses the threshold necessary for applying a … [Read more...] about What Good Is an Autism Diagnosis?
It's impossible to overstate the way the pandemic has changed our lives. Chances are, at this very moment, you are right smack in the middle of that change yourself. Maybe you’re reading this post from your dining table when you’d normally be in your office. Maybe you’re cramming it in after a long day of supervising your kids on Zoom. Maybe you’re reading it because you’re worried about having to change jobs, or because you’ve moved, or because you haven’t been able to see certain friends or family in more than a year. It’s expected that this type of international emergency would set off our alarms in all kinds of ways. And yet, more than a year into the chaos, here we are. Somehow, we’ve persisted, adjusted, and heaved our way through this extraordinary upheaval. Yet, now, as more vaccines become available and restrictions alter, many of us are experiencing a new kind of fear and uncertainty about what our lives may look like or how we might “go back” to some form of normal. … [Read more...] about It’s Okay to Be Afraid of Change
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said when a jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murdering George Floyd last week, he "felt a little bad" for the defendant. "I spent 16 years as a criminal defense lawyer, so I will say I felt a little bad for the defendant," Ellison said during an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes" that aired Sunday evening. "I think he deserved to be convicted, but he's a human being." Journalist Scott Pelley, who was interviewing the former Democratic congressman, told Ellison he was not expecting to hear "a note of compassion" from the state's top prosecutor regarding Chauvin, who was recorded kneeling on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes as Floyd begged the officer to get off and told him he couldn't breathe 27 times during an arrest last summer. ADVERTISEMENT "I'm not in any way wavering from my responsibility," Ellison said. "But I hope we never forget that people who are defendants in our criminal … [Read more...] about Minnesota AG says he ‘felt a little bad’ for Chauvin after guilty verdict
Source: Image by 5688709 from Pixabay Ethnic minorities in the United States—contrary to what critics may think—have developed significant endurance and thus a thick skin when it comes to issues of racial discrimination , harassment, and marginalization. From Native Americans to African Americans to Asian Americans, all ethnic minority groups have had to bear the brunt of both individual overt acts of racism as well as covert and often invisible systems of racism here in America. For any ethnic group to challenge the status quo and ask white Americans to listen to their concerns regarding race typically means the racism (both individual behaviors and collective systems in society) has reached a threshold that a particular ethnic member or group can no longer ignore or dismiss. Yet oftentimes instead of affirming this person's courage to speak up and speak out against racism, white Americans struggle mightily to even listen to the feedback given to them. This … [Read more...] about How to Be White and Woke
Articles, news reports, and documentaries about nonhuman animals (animals) are "hot" items. It's difficult to pick up a newspaper or magazine or turn on the TV and not see something about the fascinating cognitive and emotional lives of other animals, including commercials, or a discussion of our complex, frustrating, challenging, and paradoxical relationships with them ( anthrozoology ). I've often been concerned about how animals are misrepresented in various forms of media as objects or cruel and evil beings (see for example, "' The Grey' Has It All Wrong About Wolves ," " Animals Are Not Warmongers: An Important Media Corrective ," " Do Less Harm: Ants and a Simple New Years Resolution " in which cutting off an ant's legs is referred to as a "makeover," and "' Are You with the Right Mate?' The Media's Misuse of Chimpanzees "). Other examples about the effects of misrepresentation can be found in two excellent research essays called " Specific Image Characteristics … [Read more...] about Animals in the Media: Guidelines for Accurate Representation