Thank you, Dr. Sharon Brehm
I was saddened and surprised to read of Dr. Sharon Brehm's condition in the January article "Living with — not dying from — Alzheimer's," but I was not surprised at all by her brave and beneficial decision to be transparent about her condition. Dr. Brehm taught me research methodology at the University of Kansas many years ago, when I entered the class as a starry-eyed Romantic poet type, not terribly interested in the "dustbowl of empiricism." With her intelligence, good humor, flexibility, creativity, enthusiasm, and blend of social and clinical psychology, she was able to introduce me to the meaningful and deep contributions of traditional research. A few years later she agreed to be on my dissertation committee for a decidedly non-traditional project, an intensive representative case method study of an individual artist with Dr. Franklin Shontz as my chair. Again, she was open to new possibilities, embracing the dissertation and my learning with her typical astuteness and encouragement. In the years since, she has continued to be a great support to me, and I think somewhere I still have a few "Sharon Brehm for APA President" cards that I gladly handed out. She is bringing these same qualities to bear on her current situation, as she continues to educate, support and inspire. Thanks, Sharon.
Lorraine Mangione, PhD
Antioch University New England
In support of student veterans
The speakers in the December article "Mental health issues in college on the rise" blamed the influx of student veteran enrollment. The article failed to mention that student veterans make up only approximately 3 percent of all college students, which makes it quite a stretch to focus on student veterans being the cause of the increase in mental health issues. Perhaps to gain a better understanding, the article could have focused on the overall student population (e.g., Twenge et al., 2010). Twenge and colleagues found that overall, students felt more isolated and misunderstood, reported more worry, sadness and dissatisfaction, and were predicted to experience more moodiness, restlessness, dissatisfaction, and instability in the last decade.
Also, the article did not discuss the positive aspects that veterans bring to college (e.g., veterans are more mature and academically focused than nonveteran "peers"). This group is especially vulnerable to perceived stigma related to seeking help, and the article served as a possible reason why veterans might not want to seek psychological services on a college campus or elsewhere: disclosing veteran status increases vulnerability to judgment about war, military service, and comfort with weapons (as this article very conveniently pointed out).
Finally, given Paula Domenici's influence over the training of civilian therapists, it seems that veterans would be better served if she focused on more positive aspects rather than only negative issues.
U.S. Army Veteran and doctoral student, Ball State University
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