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Dr. Roger Klein:
The Psychology Minute
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Fall/Winter 2004 Table of Contents

     

Doing Cinematherapy for the BBC: A Hollywood Tale©

Stuart Fischoff, PhD
California State University, Los Angeles
sfischo@exchange.calstatela.edu

Peter and Alexandra flew all the way from chilly, rain-swept London Town to the sun-drenched, glamour capitol of the world, Hollywood. Non-stop. Coach class. To save the BBC money. They arrive at my house late, hurried, but happy, having enjoyed their cab ride through the Hollywood hills, as a heavy afternoon rain accompanied the descending fog. Neither was prepared for the rain. Rain! This is Southern California. Hollywood, after all. Reigning movie stars, yes. Raining rain, no.

They came to do interviews. One of the interviews was to be with me, and concerned cinematherapy. This is a surprisingly popular topic in England nowadays. Peter hosts the BBC science-oriented radio show, Frontiers. Alexandra is his Segment Producer and “sound person.”

Peter is wearing a trench coat, but it isn’t because he was expecting rain. He was a print journalist in a previous life. Trench coats. Journalists. It’s a prop. Alexandra the Wet, alas, is propless.

Initial chit-chat revolves around the traffic snarl in Hollywood. They arrived in Southern California just in time to be deviled by Academy Awards traffic which includes closed or barricaded streets forming a gauntlet to my house, all in servitude to the following evening’s Oscar gala at the new Kodak Theater, a scant two miles from my home. Ironic, I thought, that Peter had trouble getting to an interview with me about cinematherapy (CT), because of the chaos surrounding a celebration of the cinema.

Alexandra sniffles as she runs through tech-sound checks on her digital tape recorder as we sit across from each other. She coughs several times and apologizes for bringing her cold germs all the way from London.

The plan is to first talk about the media’s impact on people and culture, but Peter gives this arena short shrift because he really wants to get to the highlight of the show—for him at least, a brief, on-the-spot demonstration of cinematherapy. I will play the doctor, he, the patient. That was the pre-arranged plan, hatched in London, weeks ago.

Oddly though (or not), Peter throws this schedule a curve and begins to play psychological hide and seek with me. When that fails to accomplish his goal, he appeals to Alexandra to take his place as the cinematherapy guinea pig.

Surprise? Not really. Guys hate to be vulnerable in public.

But Alexandra has spunk (think Lou Grant hated so much in Mary). Deftly she turns the focus back on him, first cajoling then goading, appealing to Peter’s talent and intelligence (both considerable), and his status as show host, and finally as celebrity-in-residence. Very eventually and very reluctantly, Peter relents. After all, if not him, then who? Not Miss Sniffles.

So, Peter positions himself on the celluloid couch. We try to mount a CT dialogue on some vague movie scenarios Peter tosses out as sops. This gets us nowhere because the films are a micron deep in emotional importance for him. I scowl a bit and Alexandra laughs at the sheer flimsiness of his stalling. Grudgingly, Peter abandons his evasiveness, switches gears, and starts to talk about a film he saw recently on television, Carol Reed’s 1949 shadowy masterpiece thriller, The Third Man.

At my urging, Peter recalls a pivotal, cinematic scene from the film: A drug dealer, Harry Lime (played by Orson Wells) and his old friend and pulp fiction writer, Holly Martins (played by Joseph Cotton), are on top of stationary carousel in East Berlin. From that height, the people below look like specks to them. Lime disdainfully points out to Martins how meaningless, how tiny, how thoroughly ineffectual, the people below are. Dealing them addictive drugs or diluted penicillin is no worse than squashing an ant, Harry Lime opines coldly.

Peter throws out a few word scraps about how much the scene upsets him, but then turns silent.

“Why,” I prod Peter, “is this scene important?” He shrugs. I probe further. He’s holding back. I verbally recreate the troubling scene and plumb again: “With whom do you identify? What feelings are uncoiled in this scene for you? This resonates with you. Why?”

At first Peter mumbles something about the scene making him feel like one of the ants. His speech is halting, then without warning, the dam breaks and words of bitterness spill out of him. As he talks, this Niagara of feeling seems to surprise Peter as much as it surprises Alexandra and me.

If this is an act, Peter’s an Oscar contender. He bitterly decries his impotence in confronting the economic system that is presently gutting his pension plan. He resents his powerlessness to fight the powers that be, the “Harry Limes” who played with the stock market and bankrupted so many small investors, including himself and, more to the point, the portfolio managers who carelessly, impunitively “downsized” the value of his pension plan all the while lining their pockets with transaction fees. He feels the weight of future anxiety. He can scrap early retirement. It’s history.

In this brief cinematherapy demonstration, a movie, The Third Man, became a road into Peter’s barely hidden catacomb of angst. The movie became a TAT or Rorschach and more. The process had worked its projective voodoo on Peter, and he ultimately gave himself over to its brief voyage of discovery. It was a start. He could, if he wanted, continue the journey elsewhere, back in London.

Peter had his CT demonstration for the radio audience. But that’s only the show biz part. What Peter was truly surprised at was how with rather modest prodding from his producer and me, he was so ready to risk vulnerability.

Films have a definite charm. And the synergistic impact of multiple visual and auditory skills of music, dialogue, lighting, camera angles, sound effects, enables a film to bypass ordinary defensive censors in a viewer. These filmic “effects” get to hidden or unnoticed cognitions by way of evoked emotions, or vice versa, and often get there more easily than any other artistic or entertainment medium. But what one does with and in response to a film, within the cinematherapy modality, in the moment or with aesthetic distance, is part of what differentiates the process from a rip-roaring, coffee house, intellectual debate.

Like many men, Peter hates to talk about his failings, his fears, and his depression over an uncertain financial future. Initially skeptical about the technique, his mental table was turned as the demonstration zeroed in on the emotions engendered by the affecting dialogue on an East Berlin carousel.

Peter says he was glad he did the demonstration: for the show, and for himself. From his looks and his words, it is clear to me that Peter has come to see movies as being a lot more than entertainment. I sense he now fully recognizes that if people choose to pay attention to their autobiographic resonances when watching films, there may be much emotional gold to mine. What’s on the screen is only half of the treasure map, though. The other half is located squarely in the mind’s eye, in the eye of the beholder.

Later, as we sit across from each other, eyeing each other, the mood of elation-from-discovery, shifts and gives ground to more self-protective and primal male feelings. Peter readjusts his mask and swears a little about the economics of England and the traffic in L.A., and the rain. The vulnerable moment has passed.

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Media in Experimental Design

Oliver Schultheiss, PhD
University of Michigan
oschult@umich.edu

My research coauthors Michelle Wirth, Steven Stanton and I have used movies for independent variables. So, we have some indirectly gathered evidence on the psychophysiological effects of film. Our direct interest was whether warm, affiliative contact with others increases individuals’ levels of progesterone, a hormone that is well-known for its pregnancy-supporting function, but whose psychological effects are less well explored. We had already obtained evidence for a correlational link between progesterone and affiliation motivation in an earlier study and now wanted to test whether there is a causal connection between affiliation motivation, that is, the need for close, friendly contact with others, and this hormone. Because it is very difficult to arouse affiliation motivation in a laboratory study by staging a situation in which two people truly get close to each other, we decided to exploit humans’ ability to respond in similar ways to vicarious social interaction and to actual interactions. We therefore tried to arouse affiliation motivation in our participants by showing them a 30 min excerpt from Clint Eastwood’s “Bridges of Madison County” (see complete article online at http://www.lsa.umich.edu/psych/news/department/news/?id=124). In this excerpt, a photographer and a farmer’s wife get to know each other and feel drawn to each other (we didn’t show any of the rather sad ending of the movie), and we reasoned that the excerpt should therefore provide an excellent, complex, and life-like stimulus to get participants’ need to be close to others aroused.

We compared participants in this condition to two control conditions: in a neutral control condition, participants saw excerpts from a motivationally neutral documentary about the Amazon, and in second control condition, we exposed participants to a complex, social stimulus (excerpts from “The Godfather II”) which we did not expect to arouse affiliation motivation. Confirming our predictions, we found that “Bridges of Madison County” not only increased participants’ need for affiliation, as assessed from imaginative stories that they wrote after the movie, but also increased their progesterone levels: both men and women showed a post-movie increase in salivary progesterone after viewing this part of the film. In contrast, affiliation motivation did not increase after the Amazon and the “Godfather” film excerpts, and neither did participants’ progesterone.

We concluded from these findings that affiliation motivation arousal leads to surges in progesterone release. We surmise that these in vitro results parallel in vivo changes from affiliation with real people. We are currently exploring the psychological functions of the affiliation-induced progesterone increase (Is it reinforcing? Is it anxiety-reducing?) and will test whether experimental arousal of separation anxiety, the flip side of affiliation motivation, so to speak, leads to changes in progesterone, too. Films will be used to induce these emotion states, too.

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Media Mavens Do Hawaii

Florence Kaslow, PhD, ABPP
Palm Beach Gardens, FL
kaslowfs@worldnet.att.net

This year Dr. Irene Deitch organized and chaired a “Media Mavens” panel. Who, might you ask, are these mysterious women? Joining Irene were Drs. Lenore Walker and Florence Kaslow. The three of them presented on how they became media psychologists and provided tips for those interested in improving their knowledge and skills in this area. Each of them covered some of the high spots in her history as a maven, as well as some of the most difficult moments and difficult requests, and how these might be handled. The Media Mavens is not a formal group that people can join, but there has always been a spontaneous combustion of energy and excitement when these three, who are the core of this nebulous group, and others so naming themselves “mavens” get together. The night Norine Johnson had her presidential party inviting all who attended APA that year, the Media Mavens and other talented Division members presented a two-hour show. Philip Zimbardo asked for an encore performance during his presidential party. This show was organized, produced and emceed by Florrie Kaslow both times at APA’s Presidential Parties. Anyone interested in a spontaneous combustion at the next APA in DC should contact Drs. Deitch (ProfID@aol.com), Kaslow (kaslowfs@worldnet.att.net), or Walker (DrLEWalker@aol.com). This loose group intends to continue in perpetuity.

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Integrating Computer Applications With Everyday Clinical Practice: A Symposium at APA Conference 2004, Honolulu, Hawaii

Helping Clinicians Make Interactive Self-Help Programs Part of Treatment

BRichard C. Bedrosian, PhD
MySelfHelp.com and University of Massachusetts Medical School
rbedrosian@MySelfHelp.com

MySelfHelp.com develops Internet self-help programs as adjuncts to mental health treatment. The programs show high acceptance by consumers and clinicians in usability testing. However, usability testing may not generalize to the real world. Paying subscribers are more critical than testing subjects. While clinicians like the content, they may not incorporate the programs into practice.

The presentation detailed strategies to familiarize clinicians with our programs, such as providing “Tip Sheets” describing how to use the programs to achieve specific treatment goals. Clinician interest fluctuates, as evidenced by: Only 35% of those requesting passwords (N=125) used them. Those who examined the programs (n=44) logged in an average of 2.06 times. On the other hand, downloads of “Tip Sheets” occur 300 times per month, indicating that professionals are considering incorporating the programs into treatment.

Feedback from clinicians, while useful, may not coincide with subscribers’ responses. For example, clinicians are impressed by comprehensiveness and complexity, while some subscribers are overwhelmed by too many choices. The presentation described program changes in response to feedback from clinicians and subscribers (now numbering >800). Changes include redesigns of the user interface and “information architecture” to make the programs more engaging, and to provide quicker access to interactive exercises.

Disseminating A Professional Toolbox To Support Isolated Providers

B. Hudnall Stamm, PhD
Idaho State University
bhstamm@isu.edu

Telehealth Idaho is an integrated, state-wide telehealth resource designed to improve professional caregiving in isolated areas. The primary purpose is to improve access to healthcare for people in rural and frontier Idaho. The secondary purpose is to establish a statewide telehealth resource center. Idaho faces challenges with severe workforce shortages, geography and climate, inadequate infrastructure, and isolation, which induce negative consequences such as burnout and compassion fatigue, leading to high turnover and increased medical error risk. Physical, mental health, and dental Health Professions Shortage Areas cover 73% to 93% of the state. This project seeks to increase the number of professionals, extend their reach, and preserve the existing workforce through support, improving quality of work life and increasing employee retention.

There are three key products of the project: The Telehealth Idaho Toolbox, a web-based resources center that includes a digital library, links to policy documents, and access to outcomes measures for integrated care. Since its opening in January 2003, 127 people have signed up for the toolbox, all of whom are “champions”, e.g., ready to train others at their facilities.

The educational telecommunications system which provides new and continuing education courses. In 2002-2003, 4 university classes were taught, and 3,622 person-hours of continuing education were offered through the virtual grand rounds.

An integrated care center which supports consultation, supervision, and home health. This portion includes a university-based training program that links the University’s Clinical Psychology, Dental Residency, and Nursing clinics together. Professionals like the activities (mean 4 on a 5 point scale) and expect that it will change their practice (mean 4 on a 5 point scale).

Discussant:
Debra Larsen, PhD
Idaho State University
larsdeb2@isu.edu

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Presidential Message

Louis A. Perrott, PhD
Roanoke, VA
louperrot@infionline.net

Time Passages: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

It is hard for me to believe how quickly a year can go by, but the time for another leadership transition looms.

In the recent past, Division 46 fielded a very strong Hawaii Convention Program. If you were unable to attend and witness, you can read about them elsewhere in this Amplifier issue. Our programs were very well attended and received very enthusiastic receptions. Many thanks go to Program Co-Chairs James Bray and Jean Cirillo for assembling very attractive and very strong Convention presentations.

One of the many pleasures I have while serving as your President is the privilege of honoring those who have made outstanding contributions to divisional growth and success. The Division’s Social Hour at the Convention brought together an assembly of smiling faces and very tasty food. There, I presented an award to Elizabeth Carll honoring her service to the Division as 2003 president. However, I also was pleased to present her with a Presidential Citation, allowing me to once again celebrate and thank her for many years of dedication and outstanding Service to Division 46. So-honored, likewise, was soon-to-be President-Elect Charles Spielberger for his past contributions. A third Presidential Citation went to APA Divisional Services, naming, in particular, Director Sarah Jordan, former Manager Keith Cooke, and Coordinator Laura Anibal Braceland. Although we are a small division, our concerns and problems have always been met with a friendly ear and a timely, thorough response, from whomever we contacted in Division Services. This kind of teamwork allows our internal operations to flow along more smoothly, so that the majority of our time and energies can be devoted to major divisional activities and projects.

During 2004, I have been emphasizing CONTINUITY, so that major projects and changes that began during the last two years would be continued into the current year. I have laid the groundwork for this emphasis to continue into 2005, as it has begun to dovetail with a second major goal of my presidency, which has been to STRENGTHEN OUR DIVISIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE. Throughout the present year, I have had periodic discussions with President-Elect Peter Sheras, soliciting his input and striving for coordination with projects already underway, as well as projects he will be getting started. It is my hope and expectation that this kind of continuity will be maintained with past projects, as time passes, while Dr. Sheras adds his projects and presidential initiatives in 2005.

The passage of time is now escorting several important divisional works-in-progress. One is a review and revision of the divisional bylaws, which has been a recommendation of the Long-Range Planning Committee. The Bylaws Revision Committee, chaired by Pauline Wallin, will not complete this important project until well into 2005. Another is being carried by Richard Bedrosian, as he continues to work on upgrading our divisional website. This project will likewise continue to evolve during 2005. Related to this project is the work of the Editorial Policies and Guidelines Committee, chaired by Helen Friedman, which has begun the work of developing guidelines for integrating printed material from the Amplifier with information placed on the website. The Divisional Newsletter, guided by Editor Mary Gregerson, has already undergone some changes in appearance, organization, and content. Further evolution is on the horizon. The overall aims are to assemble useful information related to research, areas of interest and involvement of our people, as well as internal Divisional matters and activities, but also to see to it that the printed and electronic images we project to others outside the Division reflect our mission of enhancing psychologists’ roles in research, applications, training, teaching, and practice of Media Psychology.

Inside the Division, our budgetary monitoring process has been reviewed and updated. We are now more effectively integrated with APA’s accounting system, with the result that there is beginning to be a more timely flow of budgetary information back to the Division. As this financial information flows more regularly to officers and committee persons, it can become more useful in planning and guiding divisional activities and projects.

At its August meeting, the Board made decisions to proceed with the development of a Media Ethics Casebook, a project being led by incoming President Peter Sheras, as well as developing a third volume to our divisional publication series. The broad concept of the latter project will be, in general, to center on the practicalities of activities with which Media Psychologists typically are involved, including specific guidelines and tips. The book will be co-edited by Dorothy Singer, Lilli Friedland, and Mary Gregerson, with guidance from Editor-in-Chief of the book series, Florence Kaslow.

A past year of growth and development is winding down. Future years of continuing growth lie yet ahead of us. I sincerely hope and encourage our members to please step up to find your niche in Division 46 within this passage of time. Elsewhere in this issue, you will find a nomination ballot, to stand for election as a divisional officer. Consider adding your name to it and mailing it in, but, before you do, think of someone else in this division who might likewise become an active, contributing officer, and nominate that person. Alternatively, if you would like to become active on any committee, let me know about that right away (loupero@infionline).

I want to take this opportunity to thank all the Board members, Committee Chairs and committee members who have been responsive to my requests and pleadings during this past year, contributing their time and talents to further our division’s activities and mission. Without our members and the dedication of those willing to step up and serve the Division as officers, or on a committee, time will bypass this Division.

Thank you, Division 46 members, for giving me the opportunity to serve Division 46 as its President. It has been my honor and privilege to do so.

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President-Elect’s Paragraphs

Peter Sheras, PhD
University of Virginia
pls@virginia.edu

Returning from the APA convention in Hawaii I was stuck by how expansive the realm of media psychology is. It was inspiring to watch programs on using the media in therapy, understanding the media as a cultural force, and training scientists to present their research to the media. Since then, I have been more sensitized than ever to all the places that media psychologists can contribute their understanding of the effects of media and how they might harness this force for good. Also, I have thought about our obligation as scientist to address issues of media bias, stereotyping and negative modeling.

It is especially evident in an election year when large media buys by candidates can influence voters, the direction of the nation, and how we have come to think about the more than one thousand brave soldiers and civilians who have died in Iraq over the past two years. How much of WMDs was media hype, how much of the fear we have experienced since 911 is real or manufactured, and how do people use the media for their own ends. Political commercials are textbook examples of the power of imagery and the persuasiveness of well crafted messages. It seems that the form of the message is often more powerful than its content. Does a candidate look “Presidential” even though what they say or believe may not be clear? What new vocabulary is used to mean that someone is qualified or not?

It is fascinating to observe the national media scene where gangsters, adulterers, and paragons of irresponsibility capture the admiration of the public. Are the same people watching Angels in America as those watching Sex in the City, Fear Factor, and Monday Night Football? The fact is, in some cases they are. How many of us watch a program that we would never admit to watching? Why is the television so hypnotic? We are all prone to being influenced.

There is power and influence all around us in the media. We watch a larger-than-life Donald Trump in front of the camera while corporate executives work behind the scenes influencing network programming and even how the news is reported. The question is, “how can we turn our fascination into action?” The answer is to get involved. First, I would suggest that you use our Division to say what you see and what have learned. Present at the APA convention in Washington D. C. next summer, put together a panel, or work on a committee. Be a student of the media as well as teacher about it. Inspire someone, especially a young person, to understand the power of the media and how it can be used to help and inform others. Second, use the media yourself. Lend your expertise to causes you admire and support. Talk, interview, research, teach, direct and produce whenever you can. Together we can make a difference.

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Editor’s Notes

Mary Gregerson, PhD
Northern Virginia Community College
oltowne@aol.com

Creativity, thy name is Winter Amplifier. This year The Amplifier published specific issues on therapy (Spring) and on research and education (Summer). Now, the Winter issue spotlights footlights and creativity. To chronicle creativity and the media, this Amplifier issue features dramaturgy; a high quality radio show with an online Amplifier streaming audio; outside experts with creative media psychology activities; the well versed reports and fun photos of many Division 46 Media Psychology presentations at the 2004 APA Convention in Honolulu, Hawaii; a snazzy Amplifier format; and high tech media staging in museum exhibits. All these elements reveal the artistic side of Division 46 Media Psychology, its members, and our culture. Even the Media Mavens chime in with their special brand of pizzazz.

The seeds of creativity for The Amplifier were planted early when Dr. Les White sent a script he had written on the media interview process. This article is a departure from the usual Amplifier fare. Next, Dr. Stuart Fischoff sent along a wonderfully inventive piece on an interview the BBC had conducted with him on CinemaTherapy. How fortunate that two Division 46 members have this literary bent.

Then, Dr. Roger Klein with his “Psychology Minute” agreed to be the featured media psychologist for this issue. He graciously guided the selection of an online Amplifier “Psychology Minute” streaming audio radio spot. The new APA Division Services Coordinator, Micheline Meyers, chose the “Psychology Minute” for The Amplifier online winter issue (http://www.apa.org/divisions/div46). Roger also wrote a wonderful chronology of the evolution of his show and its sponsorship. He and I consulted to feature his picture and the streaming audio URL online address on The Amplifier front page with the text put later to encourage online access of the “Psychology Minute.” Please let us know your reactions.

Even The Amplifier features with outside experts show creativity. Dr. Oliver Schultheiss uses movies as independent variables to produce psychophysiological responses in his experiments. A new Amplifier format of Q & A reveals the history of social worker Margot Escott’s cinematherapy addictions workshops, a media psychology application before its time.

My own media psychology creativity reveals itself by photos on pages 2, 4, 8, 11, 21, and 24. The APA Monitor on Psychology [35 (11), 79] sponsored a press pass for The Amplifier Editor (see photo on page 2 center) at the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) Opening Ceremony (see high tech/native culture photo at the bottom of this column) and Native Nations Procession in Washington, DC. High tech/native culture exists inside and outside the museum. For instance, an experiential taste of assimilation is concretely found in one entrance hall with holographic walls that blend the traveler’s own moving reflection among the movie of modern American Indians “walking” in or out, too. Another room has a huge screen seal hunt movie which takes the viewer in a snowmobile traversing the ice. The media psychologist will find here a new technologies feast among the relics and artifacts manifesting how the modern world thrusts itself into the psyche of ancient people.

This creativity potpourri in The Amplifier caps the Presidency of Dr. Louis Perrott. Working with Lou has been an experience I will remember the rest of my life. Warmth, humor, and a great sense of fun tempered his enabling latitude and supportiveness throughout this learning experience. I will be eternally grateful to him. He passes the baton to President-Elect Dr. Peter Sheras in one of the more deft leadership transitions for Division 46 Media Psychology. Raise our glasses to toast another year of Division 46 activity.

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The Psychology Minute

Roger Klein, PhD
University of Pittsburgh
rklein+@pitt.edu

I knew by age 16 that I wanted to be a broadcaster. But I didn’t have the courage to pursue my passion. Then, in my early thirties, with a television production course under my belt, and a demo tape in hand, I mustered up the courage to approach Pittsburgh’s WPXI-TV. The news director hired me, and over the next 8 ½ years I produced almost 500 health segments. In 1991 I worked as a health reporter for CNBC, and in 1997–98, for PBS.

While attending the APA convention in 1999, fellow Division 46 member Bob Simmermon and I discussed ways of putting research-based psychology on the radio. We knew that the American Medical Association produced a daily one-minute radio segment. I decided to develop a psychology feature using the AMA segment as a model. The goal was to find research that would be of interest to a mass audience, and, when possible, include a sound-bite from the researcher. I called the feature The Psychology Minute.

My first surprise was that unlike TV, radio stations wouldn’t hire me as a reporter. Instead, they wanted me to find a sponsor, who, in turn, would buy advertising time. My radio reports were considered “commercials”. Local radio stations don’t have the budget needed to hire feature reporters. But—if you bring them some bucks—and they like the product—you can buy air-time.

My second surprise was just how difficult it was to find a sponsor. I made 50 cold calls—with no success. But—I knew that rejection, persistence, and resilience were part of the process. Toward the end of December, 1999—one call—to the Eli Lilly Company—paid off. A local executive gave me a small grant to produce features on the all-news radio station in Pittsburgh, KQV 1410-AM. Two additional grants—from Astra-Zeneca Pharmaceuticals—and the University of Pittsburgh followed. In each minute I credited the sponsor at both the beginning and end of the segment.

The grant money enabled me to call researchers world-wide, buy equipment (tape deck, batteries, tapes), pay KQV for air time, and reimburse myself for the time spent in production. But—it was very time consuming to constantly be on the look-out for my next sponsor.

In the summer of 2001 I approached local Pittsburgh foundations. I was fortunate to quickly find an enthusiastic and generous sponsor—The Jewish Healthcare Foundation. The Jewish Healthcare Foundation funds healthcare services, research, and educational programs. Since the Fall of 2001 the Jewish Healthcare Foundation has been the exclusive sponsor of The Psychology Minute, and has funded over 375 features. We work closely together to produce segments that keep the audience up to date on current findings.

Producing the Psychology Minute has given me a new appreciation for the diversity of psychological research. It has made me a better teacher, and it has given me a new appreciation for my colleagues—who have so given me so many minutes—so that I can produce The Psychology Minute.

(To hear a sample audio clip of “The Psychology Minute,” go to http://www.apa.org/divisions/div46/amp051.html#psychmin.)

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Member News

Curricula and Training
In 2002, Otto Wahl, PhD, became Director of the PsyD program at the Graduate Institute of Professional Psychology of the University of Hartford. He has also set up a Stigma Reduction Lab at the Graduate Institute to serve as resource for faculty and students (see an electronic newsletter article about the lab; http://www.hartford.edu/unotes/archives/news.asp?id=1038&issue=25).

In September 2004, Dr. Mary Gregerson provided Visitor Service Training for the staff and volunteers for the newly opening National Museum of the American Indian of the Smithsonian Institutions in Washington, DC.

Books and Chapters
Otto Wahl, PhD, just published in 2004 a chapter “Stop the presses: Journalistic treatment of mental illness” in a book edited by L. Friedman Cultural Sutures: Medicine and the Media and published by Duke University Press in Durham, N.C. Also, Dr. Wahl’s 1995 book, Media Madness: Public Images of Mental Illness, has been reprinted by Rutgers University Press.

Dr. Elizabeth K. Carll’s chapter on “Violence and Women: News Coverage of Victims and Perpetrators” in E. Cole and J. Henderson Daniel (Eds.), Featuring females: Feminist analyses of the media published by the American Psychological Association in Washington, DC is in press.

Honors and Awards
Otto Wahl, PhD, emceed the National Mental Health Association Media Awards in Washington,DC and gave a presentation about the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism at the annual conference of Investigative Reporters and Editors in Atlanta.

Lawrence Balter, PhD received the APA Division 46 Media Psychology “Distinguished Lifetime Contribution to Media Psychology” at the 112th Annual Convention in Honolulu, Hawaii, July 2004.

Bernard Lushkin, PhD, has been appointed Co-Chair of the Digital Media Committee for the British American Business Council which has almost 4,000 member companies and chapters in more than 30 major cities in North American and the UK.

Irene Dietch, PhD, was on 3 June 2004 the guest of honor and invited speaker for psychology majors at the graduation of the College of Staten Island of the City University of New York.

Mary Gregerson, PhD, was appointed by the Department of Homeland Security to the Scientific Review Committee for the National Center for Behavioral and Social Sciences in Homeland Security. She provided expertise on media and environmental psychology as well as scientific standards of conduct and evidence.

Publications
Wahl, O. F. (2003). News media portrayal of mental illness: Implications for public policy. American Behavioral Scientist, 46, 1594-1600.

Gregerson, M.B. (2004). Reel therapy moves real clients toward health. Virginia Psychologist, 48(3), 10-14.

Interviews and Media Appearances Dr. Otto Wahl provided an interview article, “Media Madness: An interview with Dr. Otto Wahl” for the Winter 2004 issue of Reintegration Today. He also provided an interview for “All in the Mind” (BBC Radio) concerning mental illness in children’s media (November 2003).

Dr. Irene Dietch was interviewed ON PET HOTELS for the Weekend Magazine Edition of Newsday. In July 2004 for Palm Beach Dr. Dietch was interviewed on the “Impact of Animal Death” concerning the shooting of an escaped lion.

Washington DC Channel 5 Fox News featured in the evening of 9 November 2004 and the morning of 10 November 2004 the Pentagon Ceremony designed by Dr. Mary Gregerson in which a weeping cherry tree was planted and ashes taken from the attack site were scattered to honor children perishing or losing parents in the 9/11/01 terrorist attack.

Conference Presentations
Irene Dietch, PhD, served as Moderator for the Eastern Division of American Cancer Society on a panel on “Patient Services” on 18 April 2004. In addition at the 112th Annual APA Convention in Honolulu, Hawaii, Dr. Dietch presented and served as discussant for “Producing and Hosting Your Own Cable Program” and she chaired the program “So: You Want to Become a Media Maven?”

Entrepreneurial Activities
Mary Gregerson, PhD, Editor of the APA Division 46 newsletter The Amplifier, represented both this newsletter and the APA Monitor as press at the Grand Opening Ceremony of the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of the American Indian, at the Native Nations Procession, and at the First Americans Festival (see “Editor’s Notes” in this issue for further information).

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2004 News Media Recognition Award

Elizabeth Carll, PhD
Centerport, NY
ecarll@optonline.net

The News Media Recognition Award was developed to recognize excellence in the reporting of psychological information and research. This year’s award was unique, as the News Media, Public Education, Public Policy Committee’s emphasis was on selecting a journalist who demonstrated excellence and a track record in the reporting of psychological information with a focus on connecting it with public policy change. Such a focus is not easy to find. Interestingly, the 2004 News Media Recognition Award went to a journalist from a rural newspaper in Montana, Patricia Bellinghausen, of the Billings Gazette. Ms. Bellinghausen is also a Fellow of the Carter Center for Mental Health Journalism.

The News Media Recognition Award’s previous recipients have included Marilyn Elias from USA Today, Andi Gitow from NBC News, and Peggy Girshman from NPR. The recipients have represented a diversity of media from print, TV, and radio, from Los Angeles, New York and Washington, DC.

Patricia Bellinghausen’s consistent reporting on psychological and mental health issues and how they relate and impact legislation, improving the lives of Montana residents was unique and reflected an ongoing commitment and track record in reporting of psychological information and connecting it with public policy issues with the goal of promoting positive social change. Her stories on the access to mental health services and insurance needs of children, mental health funding issues, Medicaid, mental health and homelessness, the importance of tailoring mental health services to the needs of specific cultures, such as native Americans are some of the topics on which she written.

The fact that the Billings Gazette is a rural media outlet also reflects the important work and public education that can take place at the grassroots level, not necessarily at only major metropolitan media organizations. While major urban news outlets are the recipients of many awards, smaller outlets such as the Billings Gazette are often overlooked with regard to the excellent work that may be occurring.

In June 2004, The Billings Gazette was commended by the UN Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, at a special United Nations Conference on Tolerance and Education, for the newspaper’s work in helping to effectively combat bigotry and hate crimes. The Billings Gazette has a track record of remarkable journalism. It, therefore, may be no surprise that the consistent work on promoting mental health issues to influence public policy occurred at such a newspaper.

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Understanding Cybersex Addiction

Dr. Kimberly S. Young
Center for Online Addiction, Bradford, PA
Dr.young@charter.net

Craig is a stockbroker from New York who explains, “I constantly spend time in sex chat rooms when I should be working. I make up false names, sometimes even pretending to a woman online, and masturbate whenever I’m alone in the office. I waste hours looking for cybersex, finding the right cyberlover, and the right fantasy for the moment. It’s like I need to make the experience last as long as I can before I climax. I’ve tried to quit a hundred times. It’s hurting my job, my marriage, but I can’t seem make myself stop no matter what I try.”

Craig describes the fantasy nature of online sex chat and its addictive allure. The discovery that adult chat rooms exist online provides a curious user with an initial doorway for sexual experimentation to occur. A user’s sense of accountability dissipates within the anonymity of cyberspace, which enables users to experiment with bolder and bolder sexual fantasies without fear of repercussion. The risk of experimenting in online sexual fantasies is that the virtual sex begins to distort what normal sex is and the user slowly develops a dependency on the nightly variety of sexual themes that Internet chat rooms can provide. With repeated exposure – like building a tolerance to alcohol – the user gradually becomes desensitized to these online fantasies and starts to form a secret online fantasy life. As the behavior escalates, the fantasies become more ingrained and can easily develop into a compulsive obsession as they retreat into a sexual fantasy world as a means to avoid life’s complications and responsibilities.

Like Craig, many online sex addicts are aware of their problem, but feel helpless to stop. After cybersex, addicts experience a period of deep regret. They feel guilt or shame over their behavior, realizing the harm it is causing in their lives. Wasted time at the computer, work not getting done, and the possibility of hurting loved ones. The user views the behavior as a personal failure of willpower and promises never to do it again and a short period of abstinence may follow. For the addict, the temptation to return to the computer during stressful or emotionally charged moments feeds the problem. They begin to crave and miss cybersex. They tell themselves that cybersex is the best way to relax and feel good about themselves. Or they begin not to care about the consequences. They remember how good cybersex felt both sexually and emotionally, and forget how bad they felt afterwards. The rationalizations start again, promises to quit are broken, and the cycle repeats itself, as relapse is a mouse click away.

In today’s technologically-driven world, it is even more important for psychologists to understand the fantasy world of online sex and the modern-day challenges facing users when the behavior turns into an addiction.

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Real Star

Les E. White, PsyD
Chicago, IL
lesw@rcn.com
©2004 Real Star

—— Original Message ——
From: Les White
To: Mother
Sent: Sunday, May 4, 2003 9:48 PM
Subject: Finally!

Dear Mother: Will I ever make it? Those yearly “Guess How Much They Make?” articles report that psychologists earn up to $150 an hour. Clients – do not call them “patients”: that infers sickness – who contact me either are broke and do not have insurance. Still, the ethics code for psychologists recommends that we see them pro bono. Before I ask for rent money, again, please be aware that now there is a chance that I will earn an income commensurate with the title of “Dr.”

Today, I attended a presentation on “Media Psychology.” The psychologist-speaker explained what it is: mental health professionals who give presentations, interviews, sound bites, consultations, and the like to newspapers, radio, and TV. Think Drs. Phil, Ruth, and Joyce Brothers, Ah, the power of a title! “Just be careful,” the speaker said. “Know the difference between offering advice and conducting therapy.” Anybody can advise. Practicing psychotherapy with a license binds you to ethics and disciplinary boards and statues, such as the American Psychological Association’s “Psychologists provide services . . . only within the boundaries of their competence.”

In today’s world anything misconstrued as conducting therapy in public invites a therapist to be sued. On TV, a bartender, flower arranger, decorator, chef can direct others on how to mix a drink, paint a house, or remove a soufflé from the oven. In the media, a psychologist, or rather licensed psychologist, because of the ethics code, can not be as opinionated. Why do you think a “total makeover” – on Oprah or Rikkie or every morning TV show – refers just to one’s physical appearance? One can argue that hair grows back after a bad hair cut. Would a similar argument hold in court against a licensed psychologist: “Well, okay, the shrink’s advice was bad or wasn’t followed, but so what? The plaintiff continued to act as badly as before”? The trust established between a customer and bartender, client and decorator does not compare, legally, to the trust and relationship that must be established between client and therapist via a signed agreement before any therapy can begin.

“Don’t worry,” I heard myself say with the speaker. If a reporter asks my opinion of a news event, form of treatment, court trial, or tribulation of a famous personality, I will say “I’m not doing therapy” and, instead, cite a few well known reasons that explain most human behavior, like stress, gender, and unresolved childhood issues.

To further protect ourselves from lawsuits and peer censure, the speaker recommended we can always do what Drs. Phil and Brothers have done: give back our psychology licenses. We still will be called “Dr.”

With each such point that the speaker made, she rose up and down on the balls of her feet and unfurled her arms. The effect had us accompanying her until we shot up from our seats. Her story became ours – it could have been mine! – as she described how she got started (a neighbor in the biz) and said “Those glamorous sets? They’re really just desks. Thousands of prospective paying customers will see you.” Customers, not clients!

In my mind “You can do it, too” plays over and over like a film loop. The speaker gave us the name of the media and public relations expert to call for bookings. Finally at the age of forty- … forty- … okay, almost fifty, my practice will soar. Your son, Dr. Les

----- Original Message -----
From: Les White
To: Mother
Sent: Wednesday, May 14, 2003 2:14 PM
Subject: A Nibble!

Dear Mother:
A call! The woman from the p.r. agency – an agent! – asked if I would appear this Saturday, 9 p.m., on a national TV news show.
“Twenty-five hundred dollars for the spot,” she said.
Twenty-five hundred dollars!

Dollar signs danced before my eyes then stopped when she mentioned the topic: a nude beach. Would I take the “yes” position since another psychologist, already confirmed, had chosen “no, New Jersey should not open a nude beach for teenagers to promote a healthy body image.”
I said nothing.
“Twenty-two fifty then,” she said.
I remained silent. Twenty-two fifty?
“I can’t go below two thousand.”
The price goes down?
“Well, maybe seventeen fifty. How ’bout it?”
“I have to pay?”
“Millions will see you.”

My saying “no” did not stop her calls: for TV appearances, magazine and newspaper quotes. Like the selling of advertisements, the pay scale is determined by estimated audience numbers.

There, you have it! Many of those talking heads – from lawyers to professors to shrinks: “experts” in the parlance and scripts that roll across your TV – pay to be made an embarrassment to get their names, businesses, and books across.

If, as my physician says, that some 70% of medical ills have a major psychological component, there must be a way to make a buck in this profession … The p.r. pro sounded annoyed: “Call me when you’re interested.”

Please, Mother, send rent money. Now.

----- Original Message -----
From: Les White
To: Mother
Sent: Thursday, September 4, 2003 10:32 AM
Subject: A Gig!

Dear Mother:
Finally, a gig, a paying gig! After depending on that old standby, networking – sending out e-mail after e-mail to let everyone know that I wanted to become “Dr. Les, Media Psychologist” – I was referred to a producer who asked me to appear on national TV to speak on how people can better get along. It seems that a bunch of unrelated people are living in a house that few can afford, filmed 24 hours a day, and are not getting along. You know, one of those popular reality shows. I suggested I be the “birth order expert” who will encourage the roommates to consider how their problems relating to each other may be impacted by their birth positions. Say, when they were growing up, a few were the oldest or only children in their families. Today, each may expect to be “boss.” What if a few were babies? Now, stuck living again in a family-like setting, how many will want to pick up after themselves? Suppose a middle child is in the mix. Does that person feel out of sorts because he or she – sorry, in this case only “shes” (did I mention that only women live in this house?) – perceives that the others get all the attention? Still, as a homeless client of mine said, “The middle child is like corned beef, the best part of the sandwich.”

Think of all the disagreements!

The lesson to be learned is: now that we know the positions we are apt to take, how can we shift and better cooperate?

Because I have signed a confidentiality agreement, I can not divulge the title of the show, which has not premiered, yet. To protect my license, I put in writing that my presentation will offer only ideas and is not to be confused with psychotherapy. You already have my autograph –
Dr. Les

----- Original Message -----
From: Les White
To: Mother
Sent: Saturday, September 6, 2003 11:28 PM
Subject: Help!

Dear Mother: What have I done?! Today – actually tonight – I was on TV: taped for future, coast-to-coast broadcast. Rather than be the next Dr. Ph … or national phenomenon … I will be held up to pubic – no! – national rid-… What was in that agreement that I signed?! My hands can barely hold it steady:

“My actions … may be disparaging, defamatory, embarrassing or of an otherwise unfavorable nature and may expose me to public ridicule, humiliation, or condemnation.” “Don’t worry!” a producer had said, “It’s just a standard release form.” Everything I planned to do went ...
... d
o
w
n
h
i
l
l
fast.

Right before I was to go on, a producer said “I’ve never seen the women in such horrible moods!”

I said “Maybe I shouldn’t go on.”

Who said next – me or a producer or director or cameraman – “Be a professional. Don’t blow your one big chance”?

Then just as my mic was being checked, another – who?! – whispered in my ear: “Do therapy!”

Will I ever get another chance? Do I want anutter?!

Ach!, I see that I have misspelled the word “another” – and, now, the word “misspelled”! Tonight, while presenting how people act in various situations as influenced by their birth orders – my jotting down the most general behaviors on giant sheets of construction paper: descriptions like “bossy,” “leader,” “responsible” under “Oldest” – someone living in the house (what should we call her? Participant? Star?) – pointed out that I had written “Oddest” not “Oldest”!

Anutter drifted off to sleep, I think. Still anut – hell, she twisted her face, epileptic-like, as if to say “Who is this asshole?!”

I could have conducted a therapeutic intervention and called attention to their behaviors (think: if they’re doing this to me, what are they doing to their roommates?!), but could that be misconstrued as on-air therapy? One reason that our ethics oath prevents us from conducting therapy in public is to save others from embarrassment. Embarrassment?! What about ours?!

How I wanted to look like a million bucks! Today I had a professional shave. My suit was neatly pressed. To get rid of those dark old bags under my eyes, I laid around all day with cold tea bags over them. But my increasingly stooping posture – did the seat I sat on have a back? – saw me staring dead at the floor.

At least the show will pay me.

At least I held my ground on that.

At first the producers had said “Millions will see you. Isn’t that enough?”

“Millions will see you, millions will see you ...” reverberates in my head.

Don’t look for fame.

Still a Dr.

----- Original Message -----
From: Les White
To: Mother
Sent: Tuesday, November 4, 2003 1:27 PM
Subject: Hidden Costs

Dear Mother:
Two months now, and still no check. When will I be paid! When will I be on, you ask? Sometime this month, sweeps month, they say. Being paid now would go a short way toward helping me forget that soon I will be a national joke.

I decide to follow what I tell my clients: “Don’t be afraid to ask what you are owed.” I call.

“You bombed!” a producer screams. Line after line after line of hers is barely mitigated over the miles of phone line: “You were nebulous … You refused to do therapy … The women were confused by you! … You cost us $15,000 in taping costs!” Though they decided not to re-shoot, don’t look for me to be on for the full hour.

I am now the reason the producers will not ask a psychologist again to provide “assistance.” Because all a media psychologist can do is provide a number of “could be” scenarios and say “It’s up to you,” I did not generate enough dramatic conflict.

If only I had seen the TV show first! It premiered a few days after my “part” was shot. Remember, a handful of unrelated women are now roommates in a house. To introduce herself, one woman looked straight into the camera and said that she has never gotten along with other women. Anutter – the one who spent all her time twisting her face – admitted that, aside from her problems with basic social skills and making friends, she is epileptic. Life “coaches” – usually non licensed “therapists,” many without even bachelor psychology degrees – will encourage the women to take charge of their lives. One coach asked the women to draw self-portraits. The woman who does not like other women drew herself as “a monster in high heels.” I turned off the set.

Throw big cats into a cage and pretty soon they will claw at each other. Why did I agree to appear? A call to 9-1-1 will certainly air at the close of a Friday episode. Maybe my being nebulous wasn’t so bad. Maybe after I am on sometime this month, sweeps month, I will be paid.

Still your
Les, son

----- Original Message -----
From: Les White
To: Mother
Sent: Saturday, December 6, 2003 1:11 PM
Subject: Finally!

Dear Mother:
I aired. If any publicity is good publicity, I alerted others after the fact. My mass e-mail read:
Finally … something good on TV …

A few wrote back: “Let me see the tape. Surely you taped it.”

I wrote back, “I did not prolong my 15 minutes of fame by videotape.”

Consolation came not only in the form of a check but, weeks later, if anyone had seen my appearance, only one person has let on:

----- Original Message -----
From: Andra To: Les White Sent: Monday, November 24, 2003 5:53 PM Subject:

There I was, folding my laundry, and who should appear on my TV screen but Les White—administering advice to a group of women who are in the midst of "starting over." My Jaw dropped.

Be glad that reality TV does not run re-runs ... usually …

Les

Author’s Note
Les White (lesw@rcn.com) earned his doctorate in clinical psychology at the Adler School of Professional Psychology in Chicago. Currently he is on the adjunct faculty there and in private practice. Based on his work with Holocaust survivors who became successful in the workplace, he has developed a vocational instrument, the Work Style Assessment. A playwright and filmmaker, Dr. White has won awards from the New York Dramatists Guild, the Illinois Arts Council, and the Chicago International Film Festival. He also has degrees in film from Northwestern University and the American Film Institute, Los Angeles, CA.

(Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Les White, PsyD, 5455 north Sheridan Road, Apt. 3901, Chicago, IL 60640. Phone: (773) 334-6835. E-mail: lesw@rcn.com. Though his website, leswhite.com, can be reached, it is under “construction” and will be finished by March, 2004.)

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Invited Address—Enhancing the Communication of Emotions

Chair: Elizabeth Carll, PhD
Participant: Paul Ekman, PhD
Discussant: Charles Spielberger, PhD

It was a pleasure and a privilege to organize such a thought provoking address delivered by Dr. Paul Ekman, distinguished professor of psychology at the University of California at San Francisco, who is internationally renowned for his work in non verbal cues and the expression and communication of emotion, as well as visual and non verbal indicators of deception.

Dr. Ekman’s address was discussed by Dr. Charles Spielberger, Distinguished Research Professor of Psychology and Director of the Center for Research in Behavioral Medicine and Health Psychology at the University of South Florida. Dr. Spielberger is a former president of APA and the prolific author/editor of numerous publications.

Invited Address: Synopsis by Paul Ekman, PhD—These very fast facial expressions—as brief as 1/15th to 1/25th of a second—occur when people conceal how they are feeling. The emotion compressed in a micro expression may be of anger, fear, disgust, sadness, surprise, contempt, or even enjoyment; any of the emotions that have a universal signal (1). The concealment may be the product of repression, in which case the person showing the micro expression is totally unaware of how he or she is feeling. Or the concealment may be deliberate, in which case the person knows exactly how he or she is feeling but doesn’t want anyone else to know.

Most people, including police, national security personnel, and psychotherapists miss micro expressions. Accuracy in identifying micro expressions is associated with accuracy when judging from demeanor (words, voice, and face) who is lying and who is telling the truth, although not every liar shows micro expressions (2).

Everyone can learn to see micro expressions with an hour’s training on an interactive CD METT, the Micro Expression Training Tool (3). A group trained with METT and a control group watched videotape clips of interviews, hearing the words and seeing the face, and sometimes the body. Most of the videotape clips contained a micro expression. After they saw each videotape clip they were asked to judge the emotion the person is feeling. Those who were trained—even for as little as a half hour—were significantly more accurate than the control groups in identifying the emotion shown in the micro expression.

These results show that we have the capability to detect concealed emotions, but in most people it is never developed, even though it can be learned quickly.

References
Ekman, P. Facial Expressions. In Handbook of Cognition and Emotion, edited by T. Dalgleish and M. Power, John Wiley & Sons, 1999.

2. Ekman, P. Darwin, Deception and Expression. In Emotions Inside Out, edited by P. Ekman, J. Campos, R.J. Davidson, & F.W. de Waal, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 2003.

3. METT, available at www.paulekman.com

Discussion: Synopsis by Charles Spielberger, PhD - Professor Ekman’s distinguished theoretical and research contributions continue to build on the fundamental insights of Charles Darwin who, in his 1872 book on the expression of emotions, observed that “fear and rage” were universal characteristics of man and animals that could be clearly recognized in their facial expressions. It was especially impressive to learn from Professor Ekman’s research that positive emotions can also be clearly identified in facial expressions, and that nearly anyone can be easily and readily trained with his Micro Expressions Training Tool (METT) to recognize and identify these expressions. A new and especially important contribution of Professor Ekman’s research is his unique finding that micro-facial expressions of emotion can be identified even in persons who endeavor to conceal their emotions by conscious suppression and/or unconscious repression.

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Poster Session: 2004 APA Convention

Pre-Service Teachers Problem-Solving andVictim Empathy: What About Jamilah?

Sharon Tettegah, PhD
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
stettega@uiuc.edu

ABSTRACT
For over 30 years Hoffman (2000) has researched empathy and its implications in everyday life. Accordingly, he has cited empathy as an important attribute for caring and perspective taking in the general population. Additional research also maintains caring to be an important disposition in teaching and teacher education (Noddings, 1995). However, research on the role of teacher attributes on fostering and maintaining non aggressive student behaviors is limited in educational and psychological literature. Building on Hoffman’s theory of empathetic dispositions, this investigation explores concern for the victim, in particular empathic distress as it applies to pre-service teacher educator dispositions. More specifically, the focus of this inquiry is on students who are victims of low-level aggression (i.e., name-calling, eye-rolling, isolation, etc) classroom behaviors. The study presented here sought to address a key area that is missing in teacher education literature by exploring cognitive and emotional elements of empathy using Web-based animated narrative vignettes (ANV). Using an ANV depicting a student-student victimization episode that occurred in a classroom, the investigator, in particular, sought to answer the following questions: (1) Do pre-service teacher’s express empathy for the main characters in the ANV, if so with whom? (2) For whom is the respondent expressing concern?; (4) What are the strategies of action suggested by the respondents?; and (5) What type of behavioral change and management is utilized by pre-service teachers? The participants consisted of 76 undergraduate pre-service teachers (62 women and 14 men) enrolled in an elementary education teacher certification program at a Midwestern University. Results indicated 26% mentioned the victim in a concerned way and would manage the situation with the victim, while 87% would manage the situation with the entire class.

Utility of Computerized Clinical Tracking for a Mental Health Agency

Jason Williams, PsyD; Matt DeBeer, BA; Barbara Bentley, PsyD; & Robert Colegrove, EdD University of South Carolina Keck School of Medicine jdwilliams@chla.usc.edu

As the nation undergoes dramatic changes in systems of health care, clinics are faced with important challenges as they respond to the needs of mental health providers who work with underserved populations. Of particular importance is the need to improve the health status of present and future generations of families and children, and assure their access to health services. As psychologists move into the next era of clinical care they will be asked to develop ways to deliver this care. The use of technology is one of the new ways that psychologist will have to respond to these changes. This symposium described the development, implementation, and technology involved in delivery of a clinical tracking system as well as paperless clinical record into a community mental health agency.

The Activity Tracking System (ATS) was developed at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, to simplify the process of planning, reporting, and billing for mental health services. The three major phases of implantation were discussed. The first was the fiscal buy-in of the senior management. Next, was the actual programming of the system, and lastly was the “roll out” of the system. Each of these phases posed unique challenges and rewards. The presentation focused on common pitfalls at each stage as well as unexpected positive outcomes for the agency. The need for a “clinical translator” was highlighted as a key element to successful implementation.

Three major benefits of ATS were offered. The first benefit is the ability to enable clinicians to record therapeutic notes electronically and simultaneously bill for their work. By providing a more cost-effective administrative structure, more resources can be devoted to helping patients. The second benefit was to provide essential clinical information to staff in the field so that important factors in patient care, such as medication history, were easily available, while seamlessly integrating the activities of our off-site staff with our administrative systems. Finally, all of this needed to be accomplished in such a way that we ensured patient privacy. The use of a paperless electronic clinical system will be offered as a solution to provide security and privacy of clinical information within an agency setting.

The views from a supervisor were offered. ATS provides a supervisor with an ability to review, edit/comment, and electronically sign all clinical notes generated by a student. The benefits of this immediate process of review include: 1) review of all clinical documentation, a mechanism to supervise online, an ability to comment on presentation of clinical technique, and making suggestions for documentation; 2) documentation of professional skills (professionalism, timeliness with documentation, completion of consents, review of limits of confidentiality) that can be difficult to measure objectively for an evaluation; and 3) a mechanism to review what types of services are provided on a on-going basis and understand how a student is spending their time. Overall, ATS not only provides a mechanism for more efficient supervision of a student’s experience, but also supports a more in-depth understanding of a student’s work, training needs, and progress.

Parental Supervision, Private Television Viewing, and Other Adolescent Risk Behaviors

Jason Williams, PsyD; Matt DeBeer, BA; Barbara Bentley, PsyD; & Robert Colegrove, EdD University of South Carolina Keck School of Medicine jdwilliams@chla.usc.edu

As the nation undergoes dramatic changes in systems of health care, clinics are faced with important challenges as they respond to the needs of mental health providers who work with underserved populations. Of particular importance is the need to improve the health status of present and future generations of families and children, and assure their access to health services. As psychologists move into the next era of clinical care they will be asked to develop ways to deliver this care. The use of technology is one of the new ways that psychologist will have to respond to these changes. This symposium described the development, implementation, and technology involved in delivery of a clinical tracking system as well as paperless clinical record into a community mental health agency.

The Activity Tracking System (ATS) was developed at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, to simplify the process of planning, reporting, and billing for mental health services. The three major phases of implantation were discussed. The first was the fiscal buy-in of the senior management. Next, was the actual programming of the system, and lastly was the “roll out” of the system. Each of these phases posed unique challenges and rewards. The presentation focused on common pitfalls at each stage as well as unexpected positive outcomes for the agency. The need for a “clinical translator” was highlighted as a key element to successful implementation.

Three major benefits of ATS were offered. The first benefit is the ability to enable clinicians to record therapeutic notes electronically and simultaneously bill for their work. By providing a more cost-effective administrative structure, more resources can be devoted to helping patients. The second benefit was to provide essential clinical information to staff in the field so that important factors in patient care, such as medication history, were easily available, while seamlessly integrating the activities of our off-site staff with our administrative systems. Finally, all of this needed to be accomplished in such a way that we ensured patient privacy. The use of a paperless electronic clinical system will be offered as a solution to provide security and privacy of clinical information within an agency setting.

The views from a supervisor were offered. ATS provides a supervisor with an ability to review, edit/comment, and electronically sign all clinical notes generated by a student. The benefits of this immediate process of review include: 1) review of all clinical documentation, a mechanism to supervise online, an ability to comment on presentation of clinical technique, and making suggestions for documentation; 2) documentation of professional skills (professionalism, timeliness with documentation, completion of consents, review of limits of confidentiality) that can be difficult to measure objectively for an evaluation; and 3) a mechanism to review what types of services are provided on a on-going basis and understand how a student is spending their time. Overall, ATS not only provides a mechanism for more efficient supervision of a student’s experience, but also supports a more in-depth understanding of a student’s work, training needs, and progress.

Youth Internet Experiences: Perspectives from Youth, Law Enforcement and Clinicians

Kimberly J. Mitchell, PhD
University of New Hampshire
kimberly.mitchell@unh.edu

Researchers at the Crimes against Children Research Center (CCRC) at the University of New Hampshire have conducted three national studies that cast light on problematic aspects of youth Internet use. The Youth Internet Safety Survey found 19% of Internet users between ages 10 and 17 reported unwanted sexual solicitations in the past year. Only 5% of solicitations were reported to an authority and only 24% were disclosed to a parent. The National Juvenile Online Victimization Study gathered data from law enforcement investigators and revealed an estimated 2,577 arrests for Internet-related sex crimes against minors, including crimes against identified victims, solicitations to undercover investigators and possession of child pornography. This study also demolished the stereotype that Internet predators are strangers who use deceptions about age and motives to lure unsuspecting preadolescent children into situations where they can be forcibly abducted or sexually assaulted. Prevention measures need to respond to the reality that sex offenders are using the Internet to look for young teens who are willing to enter into sexual relationships with adults.

Findings the Survey of Internet Mental Health Issues from mental health professionals reveal a diverse inventory of problematic Internet experiences among a clinical population of youth, including those related to overuse; pornography; sexual exploitation and abuse; gaming and role-playing; harassment; isolative-avoidant use; fraud, stealing and deception; harmful influence websites; and risky or inappropriate use, not otherwise specified. Youth played complex roles in these experiences including problems resulting from their own behavior and those resulting from someone else’s behavior. Professionals should be asking about Internet involvement so they may accurately identify and intervene on all aspects of their client’s problems. More information can be found on the CCRC website at www.unh.edu/ccrc.

Media Use by Infants and Toddlers: Results of a Survey

Deborah Weber, PhD, and Dorothy G. Singer, EdD
Deborah.Weber@Fisher-Price.com

Little media viewing research has studied habits of children younger than 2 years because the Nielsen ratings only track children older than two. Therefore, this study examined television and video viewing by children aged 1–23 months old. In Buffalo, New York, 74% of the 300 families with a child one to twenty-three months responded to a mailed survey packet (a Parent Media Survey, a Family Information Form, and a Consent Form). Most respondents were Caucasian suburban married couples who reported on the viewing habits of 104 boys and 117 girls (overall Mean Age of 9.78). Over half of the parents reported children media watched. Results found that TV and video tapes had the potential to encourage time together for parents and children. Forty-seven percent of the parents watched children’s television programs with their child at each viewing and 39% watched each time while viewing children’s videos. Forty-two percent referred back to a television program and 44% to a video while most frequently mentioning characters, animals, objects, songs, or music. The Mean age when children began watching videos was from 6.1 to 9.8 months. Slightly more infants (1–23 months) watched videos (62%) than television (57%), with significantly less time spent video viewing (.41/day vs. 1.12/day for television). As children aged their viewing amount increased. ANOVAs examined gender differences, which were non-significant for videos. For television, though, girls watched more on weekdays (p < .013) and Saturdays (p < .004), but not on Sundays. Significant age group (0–6 months, 6–12 months, 12–18 months, and 18–23 months) comparisons found 18–23 month olds watching more TV on weekdays than 0–6 month olds (p < .031), and more 18–23 month olds watching video on weekdays than the other 3 groups, and more on both weekend days than two other age groups. A majority of parents reported comfort with their children’s TV (82%) and video (81%) viewing and with the quality of TV (84%) and videos (89%). Parents reported only 4% of the children did not concentrate while media viewing.

Response to and Recollection of the Portrayal Psychotherapists in Movie

John Flowers, PhD; Steven L. Schandler, PhD; Amy-Jane Griffiths, BA; and
Kristin N. Ritchey
Chapman University
flowers@chapman.edu

As negative portrayals of psychotherapy in cinema have become increasingly frequent (1164 of 1437 films in 1990–1999), mental health professionals have become uneasy about the impact on viewers. However, given the paucity of data about viewer’s actual responses, it seems premature to conclude anything specific. The present study was designed to investigate viewer’s psychophysiological and self-reported response to widely available presentations of psychotherapy in cinema.

Twenty-one male and female college undergraduate volunteers served as participants. Skin conductance (SC) and heart rate (HR) were recorded using a Grass Model 7D 8-channel polygraph. Subjects were each shown four selected movie segments in counterbalanced order. The segments were selected from What About Bob (“Dr. Dippy” type); Cruel Intentions, or “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” (“Dr. Evil” type); Ordinary People (“Dr. Wonderful,” type); and Good Will Hunting (“Dr. Flawed,” type). Each segment had four identical film clips (30 seconds rest time between each), after which participants filled out a questionnaire on that segment.

Compared to the presentations of the other film segments, participants displayed the significantly greater psychophysiological activation to the “flawed” psychotherapist, not the “evil” or “dippy” one. This was true for both skin conductance and heart rate, and responses to “flawed” therapists also demonstrated the least habituation over exposures. Questionnaires demonstrated that subjects attended most closely to the details in the “flawed” therapist clip.

The overall data indicates viewers do not consciously judge either the “evil” or “dippy” psychotherapist as realistic, but did so judge the “flawed” psychotherapist. Moreover, the viewers respond similarly on a psychophysiological, and memory level, indicating no case for an unconscious response. Since cinematic “evil” and “dippy” therapists far outnumber “flawed,” it’s not as bad as we feared. This is not to say that Hollywood could not treat psychotherapists better, but if the makers of films don’t, psychotherapy will survive, relatively unscathed from that quarter.

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Responsible TV Training Workshop

Kate Wachs, PhD, Chair
Chicago, IL
doctorkate@aol.com

A TV workshop, “Hands-on, Responsible TV Training: For Scientists, Educators and Practitioners,” organized by Dr. Kate Wachs, was held on Friday, 7/30, at the Hawaii convention.

Dr. Fred Koenig, Professor Emeritus at Tulane University and long-time D46 and AMP member chaired the session for Dr. Kate Wachs, who was unable to attend for medical reasons. (THANK YOU, FRED!)

Dr. Irene Deitch, a former D46 president and host/producer of the award-winning cable show “Making Connections™” spoke at length about the practices and pitfalls of producing and hosting a cable program. She addressed: How to acquire and organize a psychology-oriented cable program; why it’s good to produce your own show (healthy motivation); how to best work with other television staff; how hosting differs from guesting; and how to be an informative, responsible, entertaining host or guest. She detailed how to choose guests and topics; how to efficiently prepare for a show; how to interview well; and how to choose your important points and get them across on air. She also delineated how cable programming differs from other types of TV shows; how to provide programming that both helps and entertains the viewer; and last but never least, how to have fun with the process.

Dr. Fred Koenig used his vast experience with news shows of various types and formats—from news-oriented morning shows to political shows to regional and local programming in large cities nationally and in Britain and France— to demonstrate the relationship between written news and television programming. He illustrated how television producers comb newspaper and magazine stories looking for topics to develop into news feature programming, and how anything that happens (any current event) can be developed from a social perspective to become effective TV programming—from politics and more obviously newsworthy topics to the more obscure. He addressed how such experiences with mass media can influence and contribute to positive social change, health behavior change and public policy. He also addressed the more technical challenges of guesting on TV shows, including how to effectively get your points across; how to be an informative, responsible and entertaining guest; and practical and ethical issues of working with producers and other film/television staff.

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Authors & Publishers Share Secrets at Book Workshop

Kate Wachs, PhD, Chair
Chicago, IL
doctorkate@aol.com

A book workshop, “Get Published: Authors and Publishers Share Their Secrets,” organized by Dr. Kate Wachs, was held on Saturday, 7/31/04, at the Hawaii convention. Dr. Kate Hayes graciously chaired the session for Dr. Kate Wachs, who was unable to attend for medical reasons. (THANK YOU, KATE!)

Dr. Robert Alberti, long-time member of D46 and AMP, and CEO/Editor-in-Chief of Impact Publishers, gave an informative presentation entitled, “Write for Your Readers: Preparing Your Book Manuscript for Publication.” Bob has been publishing psychologically-oriented books for many years and receives mountains of manuscripts, yet finds that he still needs more. Why? Because much of the material is so poorly written and packaged that he must pass on the project, even when the underlying ideas are good.

So Bob was delighted to share helpful tips with the audience. He discussed how to get your manuscript ready for the publisher— how to avoid common mistakes and give publishers what they need and want. He gave down-to-earth, practical advice that audience members could immediately put into action to write quality, print-worthy material.

Sharon Panulla, MA, Senior Editor at Kluwer Academic Publishers, NY, NY, presented “Getting Your Book Published—What Do Publishers Really Want?” Sharon picked up where Bob left off, discussing the rest of the publication process from an insider’s (editor and publisher’s) view, including timetables, negotiations, contracts, advances, royalties, publicity, promotion, and sales. She also addressed how her company, which publishes professional and scholarly books and textbooks, locates authors and books. She described what she looks for in books, as well as what she appreciates in authors, from personality characteristics to writing style to work habits. She addressed secrets the audience could immediately put to use – from choosing an appropriate publisher and approaching an editor through efficiently weathering the publication and promotion/publicity stages.

Dr. Kate Hays, Psychologist and CEO of The Performing Edge in Toronto, Canada, drew on her experience as Author/Editor of four books to discuss points made by Dr. Alberti and Sharon Panulla. She also presented, “How to Write Your Way Out of a Paper Bag,” her insights on the book-writing process from the writer’s perspective. Kate gave lots of useful tips for how to write well and how to best select a publisher. She also addressed negative psychological reactions commonly experienced when attempting to write a book, and how to overcome those reactions and other negative blocks to forge forward creatively.

There was a good turn-out for this event, despite its early morning time, and a lively discussion period followed the presentations.

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Media Psychology Suggestions & Casebook: An Update

Kate Wachs, PhD, Chair
Chicago, IL
doctorkate@aol.com

A media ethics conversation hour, entitled, “Media Psychology Suggestions/Guide and Casebook: An Update,” organized by Dr. Kate Wachs, was held on Saturday, 7/31/04, at the Hawaii convention.

Dr. Koenig also presented Dr. Wachs’ comments on “Suggestions for Psychologists Working with the Media: An Update.’ The presentation briefly outlined the 21+-year history of this document, including Kate’s own 18-year involvement. Various groups within APA wrote and filed their own versions of guidelines in the APA Ethics Office, but none of them ever completed the important process of having the document ratified through the APA Council of Representatives (Council). The presentation briefly outlined is:

Dr. Peter Sheras, D46 President-Elect, briefly discussed “The Media Psychology Casebook,” which he is beginning with Dr. Kate Wachs to help guide division members and other psychologists in their work with the media. The book will include problematic situations and ethical dilemmas frequently encountered by media psychologists, as well as opinions and suggestions as to how a colleague might best handle those dilemmas.

Dr. Stephen Behnke, Director, APA Ethics Office, discussed “Current APA Policy Regarding Guidelines Promulgation.” Stephen explained APA’s position on guidelines promulgation by Divisions and Council, and how and why that position has changed over the years. He delineated important terms which often cause confusion, giving APA’s definitions for “ethical principles,” “standards,” “guidelines,” “suggestions,” “casebook” and “guide.” He explained why it is so important for these various terms to be differentiated from one another, and why we need to use the proper term in each individual situation.

James McHugh, JD, from the APA Legal Department, also discussed the legal issues behind promulgation of guidelines. He described the overall needs of the organization with regard to the establishment of guidelines and suggestions, and the necessity for following legalities and certain legal precedents to protect the welfare of all APA members.

Each presenter briefly outlined his topic, leaving the majority of the session open for Q and A, and informal discussion and exchange of ideas between audience and presenters. There was a good crowd for this presentation; many important questions were raised and thoughtful discussion followed.

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Media/ICT, Psychology, and World Events

Elizabeth Carll, PhD Centerport, NY ecarll@optonline.net

The Interdivisional Cross-Cutting Program “Media/ICT, Psychology, and World Events” was a collaborative effort organized by Division 46 and cosponsored by Divisions 35, 46, 48, 52.

Chair: Elizabeth K. Carll, PhD; Participants: Jessica Henderson Daniel, PhD; Elizabeth K. Carll, PhD; Salli Saari, PhD; Nora A. Pharaon, CGP, EdD; Steven E. Handwerker, PhD, DDiv; Ethel Tobach, PhD; Discussant: Patrick H. DeLeon, PhD, JD

The symposium addressed the far-reaching impact of media and information communication technologies (ICT) and its role in transforming society during the 21st century. Many view rapidly emerging media/ICTs as the greatest revolution humanity has ever experienced. Therefore, it is important to harness traditional media and rapidly evolving information and communication technologies to help alleviate a variety of social problems and enhance the well-being of the global community.

The diverse roles of media/ICT was discussed ranging from the its role in development of stereotypes, applications to violence, human rights, women, cultural differences, promotion of multicultural differences and respect, as well as use in the dissemination of disinformation.

War, violence and the violation of human rights are an all too common occurrence throughout the world. Psychology’s role in helping to alleviate human suffering, such as post traumatic stress and utilizing the news media/ICT provides unprecedented opportunities to reach underserved populations, as well as improve the status of women in relationship to violence, war zones, educating and providing direct services, augmenting existing services, and providing ongoing accessibility.

Psychologists can work with the media to disseminate appropriate information following disaster and crisis, to help in heal the community, as well as to protect victims from the damaging effects of the media.

Western researchers and agencies interested in the impact of news reporting of terrorism and violence on the psychological and social Arab mindset face many challenges. The content, symbols, and stereotypical images which impact on shaping the Arab peoples’ understanding of the crisis they face as a nation was also discussed.

Psychologists can help providing strategies to minimize bias in mass communication and facilitate the development of multicultural perspectives in research, teaching, and practice which address issues of basic needs and human dignity.

News media outlets and their relationships to financial support such as ownership and advertising becomes a significant factor in the characteristics of the information made available to the public. Control of the financial aspects of the media may result in disinformation affecting the ways in which the public understands fear, risk, and the political process.

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Good, Bad, Ugly: Movie Therapy and Movies’ Impact on Therapy: Symposium General Summary

Elizabeth Carll, PhD Centerport, NY ecarll@optonline.net

The Interdivisional Cross-Cutting Program “Media/ICT, Psychology, and World Events” was a collaborative effort organized by Division 46 and cosponsored by Divisions 35, 46, 48, 52.

Chair: Elizabeth K. Carll, PhD; Participants: Jessica Henderson Daniel, PhD; Elizabeth K. Carll, PhD; Salli Saari, PhD; Nora A. Pharaon, CGP, EdD; Steven E. Handwerker, PhD, DDiv; Ethel Tobach, PhD; Discussant: Patrick H. DeLeon, PhD, JD

The symposium addressed the far-reaching impact of media and information communication technologies (ICT) and its role in transforming society during the 21st century. Many view rapidly emerging media/ICTs as the greatest revolution humanity has ever experienced. Therefore, it is important to harness traditional media and rapidly evolving information and communication technologies to help alleviate a variety of social problems and enhance the well-being of the global community.

The diverse roles of media/ICT was discussed ranging from the its role in development of stereotypes, applications to violence, human rights, women, cultural differences, promotion of multicultural differences and respect, as well as use in the dissemination of disinformation.

War, violence and the violation of human rights are an all too common occurrence throughout the world. Psychology’s role in helping to alleviate human suffering, such as post traumatic stress and utilizing the news media/ICT provides unprecedented opportunities to reach underserved populations, as well as improve the status of women in relationship to violence, war zones, educating and providing direct services, augmenting existing services, and providing ongoing accessibility.

Psychologists can work with the media to disseminate appropriate information following disaster and crisis, to help in heal the community, as well as to protect victims from the damaging effects of the media.

Western researchers and agencies interested in the impact of news reporting of terrorism and violence on the psychological and social Arab mindset face many challenges. The content, symbols, and stereotypical images which impact on shaping the Arab peoples’ understanding of the crisis they face as a nation was also discussed.

Psychologists can help providing strategies to minimize bias in mass communication and facilitate the development of multicultural perspectives in research, teaching, and practice which address issues of basic needs and human dignity.

News media outlets and their relationships to financial support such as ownership and advertising becomes a significant factor in the characteristics of the information made available to the public. Control of the financial aspects of the media may result in disinformation affecting the ways in which the public understands fear, risk, and the political process.

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Good and Bad Movie Therapy with Good and Bad Outcomes

Harriet T. Schultz, PhD Houston, TX htschultz@msn.com

The rationale of this talk derives from the work of our Media Watch Committee. From the beginning we have been concerned about how the portrayals of psychologists as unethical might impact the public.

In previous convention symposia, the committee has examined different aspects of the movie psychologist, like the stereotypes of Dr. Dippy, Dr. Evil, and Dr. Wonderful—categories suggested by Schneider in the 80’s. Today I want to shift the prism and look at how therapy itself is shown. Why the concern?

A beginning point is to think about mythology—the stories that get told and retold and that teach us about the world—how it is organized, what is safe, what is dangerous. Mark Komrad, a psychiatrist on our committee, has elaborated on this topic. Before the written word, myths were passed along by word of mouth, then came books. Where do many of our myths come from today—movies and television.

Most people don’t consult mental health professionals, so how do they form opinions about them? For many, it’s mainly through the movies. I’ve been asked whether lawyers and medical doctors also need a Media Watch Committee. Maybe they do, but I don’t think the issue is as serious for them. True, we see arrogant physicians or satanic lawyers in film, but psychologists and therapy are featured in many more movies, going back years. Also, the general public is much more likely to have direct experience with a doctor, dentist, or lawyer than with a mental health practitioner, and this contact, if positive, could help neutralize the negative screen stereotype.

What myths might be perpetrated if one were learning about therapy only from the silver screen? First—the myth that almost all therapy is done through a talking cure. Only rarely is medication prescribed.

Second—the myth that catharsis, via the recovery of lost memories, leads to instant healing. This was a particularly effective method for curing multiple personality disorder in the 1957 movie Three Faces of Eve.

Third—the myth that therapists are bumbling ineffectual limit setters. In Analyze This, psychiatrist Billy Crystal’s gangster patient runs all over him, and he can’t stop his son from eavesdropping on sessions and spreading the gossip at parties. These situations are played for laughs, and in fact I find them funny.

The Dr. Line Crosser myth is very popular, with therapists shown romancing their patients. The audience is supposed to sympathize with the therapist who doesn’t let true love stand in the way of an improper relationship. The 1940’s movie Spellbound with Ingrid Bergman became the model for this theme that now echoes across the decades, in Prince of Tides, First Wives Club, and Tin Cup, to name just a few.

Psychologist Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting crosses a different boundary. He grabs his new patient by the throat when he feels Will has disrespected his wife. Turns out he is as wounded as his patient and they end up helping each other. The Wounded Healer is another popular theme. In Sixth Sense psychologist Bruce Willis atones for a past error with a patient by helping the new one.

There is the myth that therapy is crazy—in First Wives Club Diane Keaton’s therapist encourages her to hit her with a plastic bat to express her anger, and in Anger Management therapist Jack Nicholson sleeps in the same bed with his patient. Movie therapy can reach the truly bizarre, like in The Cell where therapist Jennifer Lopez literally enters her patient’s mind.

This is not to say that in real life there aren’t wounded healers, Line-Crossers, and crazy therapists. What is of concern here is the extent to which they are portrayed in the movies and the degree to which we see these folks curing their patients. The accumulated message from these films is that breaking professional rules is fine so long as it leads to a good outcome for the patient. What does this say to the audience?

The APA Public Education Campaign in 1996 revealed that 76% of the public cites “lack of confidence in the outcome” as a barrier to seeking mental health services. There is little research, but it seems reasonable to assume that these movies could reinforce people’s fears and ambivalence about therapy and contribute to this “lack of confidence.” Even the super-wonderful movie therapists who devote all their time to one patient and cure with a dramatic uncovering of trauma can affect people’s expectations of therapy.

The screen image is powerful. Gabbard and Gabbard report that when Top Gun came out in 1986, there was a dramatic increase in enlistments in the Navy pilot program. If the image were not powerful, why are millions of dollars spent on TV commercials and political campaigns?

Consider for a minute these four possible categories: There is Good Therapy with Good or Bad Outcome, and there is Bad Therapy with Good or Bad Outcome. Definitions of good and bad can be problematic, but for discussion’s sake—”good therapy” is where the therapist appears to be both working toward the patient’s well being and observing proper boundaries. Bad therapy is where the therapist appears to be harming the patient or boundaries are broken. “Good” outcome is when the patient appears healthier and happier at the end; “bad” outcome where the opposite is true. Let’s consider the four groups.

Good Therapy with a Bad Outcome may not exist. There is a scarcity of good movie therapy at all, and when it is shown, there is generally a good outcome.

Good Therapy—Good Outcome. Most of us view Ordinary People, the 1980 movie, as an example. Judd Hirsch comes across as a warm and competent psychiatrist as he helps his teenage patient deal with his brother’s death. The TV show Once and Again had some excellent episodes where a Judd Hirsch-type therapist successfully treated a teenage anorexic girl, and last year our committee reviewed a French film Oui, Mais which had an excellent portrayal of a therapist treating a teenager.

It’s interesting to note that in most of these good therapy—good outcome movies the patient is an adolescent, not an adult. When a movie features a disturbed young person, the focus is on nurturing and healing, not romance, and inappropriate boundary crossings are off-limits.

Then there’s Bad therapy—which can have either a Bad or Good outcome. The bad therapy-bad outcome pairing is easy to spot. Patients are involuntarily hospitalized in High Anxiety, lobotomized in Cuckoo’s Nest, and cannibalized in Silence of the Lambs. Portrayals of these terrible Dr. Evils may resonate with the public’s fears of our perceived power and our general ability to mess up their heads.

But most problematic and most common are all the Bad Therapy—Good Outcome films. The public may easily identify therapy that’s bizarre, but many do not understand the subtleties of our profession especially when it comes to dual relationships. Friends in other professions have told me they don’t understand why Rene Russo in Tin Cup could not simply terminate as Kevin Costner’s therapist to justify their affair.

The problem is compounded because of disagreements among therapists about whether the movie therapy is “good” or “bad.” Take Good Will Hunting. Most on our committee were aghast at seeing Robin Williams grab his patient’s throat. Yet many therapists felt that this was a great way to connect with his difficult patient. And the movie clearly shows a good outcome for Will.

The movie Antwone Fisher is another example—despite significant slips by the therapist, the therapy outcome is terrific. Navy psychiatrist Denzel Washington initially connects well with his angry young patient, but starts down the slippery slope of boundary-crossing when he invites Antwone for Thanksgiving dinner and his wife develops warm feelings toward the boy. When the psychiatrist realizes he’s gone too far, he abruptly terminates therapy, telling his patient he must find his own family and move on—even though the patient has a history of abandonment. Antwone does move on, and later thanks the doctor, who responds by thanking his former patient for helping him become a better doctor and husband. (Another Wounded Healer.) What message does the audience get from this? That it’s OK to get close to your doctor, but then you might be abandoned?

To help counterattack the effects of these films, one of our Committee’s main goals has been to educate the public about appropriate behavior. We developed a system to rate the movie psychologist—how competent, how well does he/she respect boundaries? We also consider how the producers portray this behavior. We developed an award called the Golden Psi Media Award which we give to a show’s producers if they’ve shown excellence in the responsible portrayal of mental health professionals. We receive media attention for this, and it’s been a good way to reach the public. This summer USA Today ran a prominent article about the 2004 award—to two episodes of Law & Order Special Victims Unit.

In one, Coerced, the forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Huang, makes clear that he cannot give medication to a psychotic suspect without his consent. The police were pressuring him to give the shot so the man would become lucid and reveal where he had hidden a boy he kidnapped. The other episode, Hate, deals with the psychosocial roots of hate crimes. The suspect is accused of raping and murdering Arabs, and the defense’s expert witness claims that hatred and violence are genetically determined. Dr. Huang explains the importance of environmental influences, and it turns out he is right. The suspect’s violence toward Arabs was actually directed toward his father, who abandoned his family and married an Arab woman. In both cases the psychiatrist does and says the right thing despite pressure to do otherwise.

To date, our Golden Psis have gone to TV shows; one went to an author. It is interesting to consider why we’ve not found a movie to award. Likely answers, generated by the committee, are that on the big screen, producers are trying to bring in big bucks with drama and sensationalism, looking for audiences who want some escapism. The TV shows we’ve awarded lean toward more realism in general.

Film clips of some of our award winning episodes reveal why there’s a paucity of good movie therapy. Scenes of good everyday therapy (as in Once and Again—a show cancelled after a few seasons) are quiet, maybe even boring to audiences. By contrast, the scenes from Law & Order SVU are loud, fast-paced, exciting. What a striking difference in dramatic impact! That’s what audiences want, and the ratings will win out every time.

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Lost Love Stereotypes: When Bad Therapy Happens to Good People

Nancy Kalish, PhD California State University, Sacramento nancy.kalish@csus.edu

The author’s survey data and interviews from a decade of research with adults who reunited with lost lovers indicate that rekindled romances are highly successful and long-lasting. Most reuniters do not seek therapy.

But one subgroup, the already-married men and women, do seek therapy: after they are involved in extramarital affairs, deeply troubled and confused about how this could have happened.

Despite the actual success rate of reunions with friends or sweethearts from youth, the author found that lost love participants who sought counseling reported that their psychologists belittled their feelings for their lost loves, calling them “fantasies” or “just a midlife crisis,” and directed them to “move on” from their “unhealthy obsessions.” These lost love clients expressed bitterness over their therapy experiences.

These therapists admitted that they had no prior experience with rekindled couples. Therapists who had known reunited couples were much more understanding and helpful to lost love clients. So how did the therapists who were unacquainted with actual lost lovers form stereotypes of lost love longings being undesirable and unrealistic, and of the reunions as mere fantasies that were bound to fail? The author hypothesized that they might be influenced by films—from Casablanca to Castaway—which almost always conclude with the separation of the reunited couple.

With the research assistance of Allison Himelright of CSUS and members of my web site, Lostlovers.com over the last year, a list of 119 films was compiled with lost love reunions in their plots. The oldest was made in 1939, and the newest was currently in theaters (2004).

A statistically significant number of these reunion movies ended with the lost loves still together, 101 of 119. Most of these happy ending reunion films involve unusual characters, or situations that cannot possibly occur in real life; they were fantasies, science fiction, thrillers, or musicals. The few that were dramas were produced more than 30 years ago, such as An Affair to Remember, A Summer Place, and The Graduate.

These 101 films with successful rekindled romances accounted for 101 of the 119 reunion films. Hollywood fluff. Lost love fantasies. Just as the therapists categorized their rekindled romance clients.

Only 18 movies of the 119 concluded with reunion break ups. The films that end with the couples separating again are primarily serious dramas; their plots are complicated and more plausible than the happy reunion movies; and they include lots of heartbreak.

Lost love clients in therapy are torn between love for their former sweethearts and commitments to their families. They present like lost love film characters who separate at the conclusion of the movie—as men and women struggling with lost love issues, depressed and conflicted. No wonder therapists might think that real life reunions end badly.

But real rekindled romances have happier outcomes (for the couples) than Hollywood endings. When actual lost loves marry, they live happily ever after.

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Reel Therapy Moves Real Clients toward Health

Mary Banks Gregerson, PhD oltowne@aol.com

Popular media lore assumes that movies “reel-y” influence people’s perceptions and behavior. Even psychologists’ interest in films is reaching beyond the audience chair and onto the therapy couch. Yet little systematic scientific study has been given to this strongly held popular assumption and strengthening clinical truism. On the other hand, scientists have certainly documented the deleterious effects of violence and sex on audiences of movies and television (for example see Huesmann, Moise-Titus, Podolski, and Eron, 2003). The investigation of these well-documented deleterious effects and their counter measures are underway. Now, with a clear conscience, scientific scrutiny can turn to investigate the beneficial, therapeutic uses of moving media like films (see “Media in Experimental Design” starting on Page 1 of this Amplifier).

Within the American Psychological Association Division 46 Media Psychology, a brief but important history anchors cinematherapy interest for this Division’s membership. This year for the education and research issue of the Division 46 newsletter The Amplifier, Stuart Fischoff (2004; http://www.apa.org/divisions/div46/biblio.htm) provided a CinemaTherapy bibliography with six articles, seven books, and one paper presentation. Another presentation was my paper “Life Imitates Movie Art for Some Therapy Clients Sometimes” at the 2002 American Psychological Association Conference in Chicago, Illinois. Simultaneously APA Div 46 Media Psychology gave the committee Stories for Life a mandate to explore the use of all fictional media in psychology enterprises, and then sunset Stories for Life this year.

Outside APA Division 46 an active venue for participation is the CinemaTherapy Forum originated by Birgit Wolz, PhD, MFT, and spearheaded by Fuat Ulus, MD. This listserv provides a central correspondence site for mental health professionals interested in the “transformational power” of particular movies (http://www.cinematherapy.com). A less formal chat room will probably be the next step so that real time discussions might occur. CT Forum participants. like Pierina Mercieca quoted in the opening of the paper, hail from countries ‘round the world. CinemaTherapy/Reel Therapy is a relatively new kid on the therapy block in the neighborhood of psychology.

The theoretical psychological basis of Reel Therapy as a clinical adjunctive treatment emanates from Albert Bandura’s social cognitive theory. In short, clients learn from seeing and then copying the behavior they see “valued others,” that is role models, doing. This visualization allows pre-analytical learning to occur. Research could valuably document the extent of impact and generalization of increased self-efficacy from Reel Therapy directed viewing.

With scientific investigation, a gold standard in the technique of Reel Therapy could fruitfully be developed. Future consideration should be given to developing guidelines for Reel Therapy use. The use of Cinematherapy already is dialogued nicely in terms of practice and theory on the CinemaTherapy Forum website.

Although psychological circles and popular culture acknowledge the impact of films, planned application in therapy is a relatively new phenomenon, and scientific study scant. Only over the past fourteen years has interest in films per se as therapeutic adjuncts been building. Use of film and film vignettes in therapy to influence real behavior, experiences, and outcomes recently reached across the nation and around the world. The tradition from which Reel Therapy/CinemaTherapy springs, though, has an august history. Such a tradition of fictional adjuncts has its roots in Bibliotherapy, which uses books and written materials to supplement face-to-face therapy. Some dissension in Bibliotherapy circles existed, though, on whether fiction or non-fiction provides the best therapeutic vehicle. Certainly in Reel Therapy/CinemaTherapy the question remains whether the real or fictional would have the most impact.

“Reality has become a trend in television.” Such an odd statement belies the state of affairs in current television media, which has become increasingly more intrusive into the private lives of ordinary citizens who volunteer for exposure (some would say exploitation) and the reach celebrity status. The line between reality and “reel”-ality is blurring from both directions.

The audience may confabulate closeness with these common “Joes” and “Janes.” Moreover, single named “tele-friends” of the audience like Trista and Ryan of “The Bachelorette” epitomize the true romance ignited through media created intimacy both between the duo and between them and their audience. The use of the boy and girl next door to dramatize modern courtship fairytales has its popularity based in the firmly held belief that fictional portrayals wield powerful influence with real people. So, the question in moving media about fictional vs. non-fictional seems moot compared to the controversy in this choice found in Bibliotherapy.

Television and movies add a multi-media dimension to adjunctive Bibliotherapy. As an adjunct to therapy, chosen film or TV vignettes show either functional or dysfunctional behavior, emotions, or outcomes. Yet the quality of the film needs consideration just as the excellence in the literary merit of the written material was advised in Bibliotherapy.

Contrary to Bibliotherapy, in CinemaTherapy few self-help films exist for popular consumption. Many in the film industry even eschew heavy handed “message” films as ineffective infotainment. One glaring exception is “28 Days” in which Sandra Bullock as alcoholic Gwen Cummings undergoes treatment. Surely the subliminal aspects of movies like “28 Days” may be more powerful than movies blatantly aimed as “interventions.” We just do not know.

The use of films as therapeutic adjuncts is more than just a casual directive. It is a planned direction that will be analyzed and discussed in its relevance to the therapeutic trajectory. Both Reel therapists and CinemaTherapists subscribe to this serious use of an often entertaining media. Yet Reel Therapy and CinemaTherapy are similar in some ways and fundamentally different in others. Although different groups of adherents identify around the two terms, the essence of their approaches coincide although their rationales differ. With a similar mission and means but dissimilar motives, Reel Therapists and CinemaTherapy have a common ground with departing paths for take-off.

Both groups advise a client to view a particular film relevant to the client’s clinical treatment or personal goals. In subsequent clinical sessions analysis of the film viewing is then used as a foil for social modeling (Reel Therapy) and insight (CinemaTherapy). Reel Therapy is mostly cognitive behavioral in orientation and CinemaTherapy tends to be psychodynamic, so it seems. Subsequently these terms will be used interchangeably when referring to the use of cinema in therapy, but specifically delineated when discussing what type of effects are planned and the theoretical/conceptual basis of this therapeutic approach.

Moving media allows concrete depiction of role model behavior that pre-cognitively communicates efficacy to clients. A comprehensive listing of movies and their application therapeutically exists online (The Cinematherapy.com Film Index http://www.cinematherapy.com/filmindex.html). Some movies, in particular, appear to have extra effect.

The final part of this presentation was the presentation of three case studies using reel therapy/cinematherapy. A brief idiographic analysis of particular films used successfully in my private practice will highlight specific clients who appear to benefit from which specific films. To build the case for the costly enterprise of science, first systematic clinical observations need to amass to formulate worthy hypotheses for a systematic idiographic investigation into this hypothesis.

Personal observations and casual client comments propelled my first step in this line of scientific inquiry: For this symposium, three clips illustrate a positive individual therapy issues for a male and one for a female as well as one relevant for relational therapy. Each clip will have a brief introduction and then a commentary at its conclusion.

Idiographic approaches examine intensively single persons in extensive case studies compared to the nomothetic approach which examines single characteristics/behaviors/outcomes across a broad range of persons. These two approaches dialectically work together for a consummate scientific approach. Combining idiographic information from a collection of case studies then forms the basis for complementary in-depth and specific nomothetic hypotheses.

Case One:
A young father-to-be had lost his own father when a child himself. And, he is being challenged to reach partner in his prestigious New York law firm; his brilliance keeps him on staff while his lack of social skills with older males keeps him aloof from those he needs to support him. Both situations relate to cross generational male bonding. His worries about parenting and securing mentoring are replaced with possibilities when he views a number of films with father figures and father-son interaction. A number of different films are recommended, first, for the model of father: A film vignette from “Kramer vs. Kramer” showed career man Ted Kramer is now faced with the tasks of housekeeping and taking care of himself and their young son Billy after his neglected wife has left him.

Next, for the interaction of mentoring, I had wanted to recommend the1997 film “Devil’s Advocate.” Keanu Reeves’ Kevin Lomax is being seduced by the Devil as Al Pacino’s John Milton. Alas, certainly only the first half of the film would provide positive benefit and the sinister second half negate what had come before. Nor could I recommend the 1993 “The Firm,” whereby Tom Cruise’s Mitch McDeere is exploited by the senior lawyers, most notably Gene Hackman’s Avery Tolar and Hal Holbrook’s Oliver Lambert. Television lawyer land provided humorous and lecherous reruns of “LA Law” (1986-1994) and “Ally McBeal” (1997-2002) with the drama of the current “The Practice” (1997-2004) offering some firmer grist for the mill. It must be underlined that the paucity of films on father-son relationships and on positive lawyer models is appalling. What is it about this particular connection and specific profession that evades the positive cinematic eye? Even harder to name were films in which a young hero vies for and wins the attention of an older male. What in the Western male psyche resists such a positive relatedness? In the Orient, the value of elder males is often central to the culture and the onus of a quality relationship rests mostly upon the shoulders of the young man. To answer fully this question, though, is another paper. For this paper, a vignette from “Dances with Wolves” shows the evening fire chat where elder Chief Ten Bears mentors the younger Lt. John Dunbar about what to expect the enjoyments of an old man to be.

Case Two:
A young bride-to-be is anxious about having the “perfect wedding.” A sampling of different wedding scenarios helps her develop a sense of humor about the inevitable frayed edges of the event: Film vignette from “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” Scene when bride Toula Portokalos discovers a zit on her face as she’s dressing for her wedding to John Corbett’s groom Ian Miller.

Case Three:
A young couple living together are troubled about their future although they feel attached and committed. Should they marry? A vignette from “A Room with a View” shows in the early 1900's when Lucy Honeychurch and chaperone Charlotte Bartlett find themselves in Florence with rooms without views, fellow guests Mr. Emerson and his quiet yet eccentric son George step in to remedy the situation. Through serendipitous unfortunate circumstances, Lucy and George become enamored with each other. Upon her return to England, Lucy must decide whether to follow through with her marriage to her stoic fiancé, Cecil, or follow her heart and her growing attraction to George.

In conclusion, this time is exciting for those interested in the use of film to assist people therapeutically. We have surfed the first wave of interest. Now is the time to systematize, to develop gold standards of application, to look to the future, which has virtual reality as well as reality TV in its cyberspace, and to plan science as the navigator.

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Awards Committee

Elizabeth Carll, PhD, Chair Centerport, NY ecarll@optonline.net

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2004 Member Recognition Awards and the Distinguished Dissertation Award.

Distinguished Lifetime Contribution to Media Psychology - for a sustained body of work in developing, refining, and/or implementing applications, procedures, and methods that have had a major impact on the public and the profession of media psychology.

2004 Recipient: Lawrence Balter, PhD
Dr. Lawrence Balter has been a prolific contributor to the field of Media Psychology for almost 30 years. He was a member of the Association for Media Psychologists (AMP) and a founding member of APA’s Division 46. Dr. Balter is a former president of Division 46, and one of its first Fellows. He has served as a member and Chair of APA’s Public Information Committee (PIC), and as a member and Chair of the Film and other Media Committee.

Dr. Balter is a Professor of Applied Psychology, New York University, and Director of Warm Line for Parents, since 1971. He is also in Private Practice, with children, adolescents, adults, in Manhattan, since 1968. Dr. Balter is a Media Psychology Consultant, TV Correspondent, Radio Talk Shows, Author of 13+ books and numerous chapters, columns and articles, Regular Columnist, Popular Speaker and Workshop Participant, training psychologists and community members since 1970s.

Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Media Psychology - for outstanding empirical and/or theoretical contributions to the field of media psychology.

2004 Recipient: Dorothy Singer, EdD
Dr. Dorothy Singer is Senior Research Scientist, Department of Psychology, Yale University. She is also Co-Director of the Yale University Family Television Research and Consultation Center, and Fellow, Morse College. In addition, she is Senior Research Associate, Yale Child Study Center. Dr. Singer is a Fellow of APA and a member of the Board of Directors of Division 46. Her research interests include early childhood development, television effects on youth, and parent training.

Dr. Singer has been principal investigator of numerous research projects funded by the National Science Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, Johnson & Johnson Baby Products, William T. Grant Foundation, The Mellon Foundation, Smith Richardson Foundation, The John D. and Catherine MacArthur Foundation, The National Institute of Early Childhood Education and others. She has authored over 150 publications, and written nineteen books, some of which have been translated into Dutch, Italian, and Japanese.

Distinguished Dissertation Award - The award includes a $200 stipend and one year of free membership in the Division.

2004 Recipient: Kathrine Gapinski, PhD, Yale University
The Dissertation Chair was Kelly Brownell, PhD

Title of Dissertation: Changing Antifat Attitudes and Behavior by Inducing Empathy for Obese Persons and Creating Positive Associations

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Fellows Committee

Elizabeth Carll, PhD, Chair Centerport, NY ecarll@optonline.net

Congratulations to the distinguished individuals below who were elected to current Fellow status in Division 46:
Joan Chrisler, PhD
Elaine Rodino, PhD
Michael Salamon, PhD
Peter Sheras, PhD
Philip Zimbardo, PhD

Achieving initial Fellow status in APA has been associated with the recognition that the individual has achieved great distinction in his or her field. The criteria for eligibility for nomination to fellow status in Division 46 includes:

Meeting the minimum standards for Fellow status established under APA Bylaws.
A member of the Division for a minimum of two years.
Having made an outstanding contribution to the research, theory, or practice of Media Psychology.
Being actively engaged in advancing the goals of the Division.
Endorsed by three APA Fellows, including two Fellows of the Division.

Current Fellow status is a more streamlined process. If you are a current Fellow of another APA Division, have been a member of Division 46 for 2 years or more, have contributed to the field of media psychology and are interested in being a Fellow of Division 46, or would like to apply for initial Fellow status in APA, please contact Elizabeth Carll, PhD, at ecarll@optonline.net or at 631-754-2424.

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