mental health

BIPOC/Minority Mental Health Month – A Time for Awareness and Action

By: Christy Maeder 

“While everyone – all colors – everyone is affected by stigma – no one wants to say ‘I’m not in control of my mind.’ No one wants to say, ‘The person I love is not in control of [their] mind.’ But people of color really don’t want to say it because we already feel stigmatized by virtue of skin color or eye shape or accent and we don’t want any more reasons for anyone to say, ‘You’re not good enough.'” – Bebe Moore Campbell.

July is BIPOC/Minority Mental Health Month, a period dedicated to raising awareness about the unique mental health challenges faced by BIPOC communities. This observance was established in 2008 to honor the legacy of Bebe Moore Campbel, who was an American author, journalist, teacher, and mental health advocate who worked tirelessly to shed light on the mental health needs of the Black community and other underrepresented communities.

Congress formally recognized Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month to bring awareness to the unique struggles that underrepresented groups face regarding mental illness in the US.

Culture, ethnicity, and race all play a role in the way that each person experiences the world. These factors, among others, have profound effects on mental health, especially for Black,

Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC).

BIPOC communities often experience disparities in mental health care due to a cultural stigma, socioeconomic barriers, and a lack of culturally competent care providers. These barriers can lead to higher rates of mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, remaining untreated or inadequately treated.

Cultural Stigma

In many cultures, mental health issues are often viewed as a personal weakness or a source of shame, deterring individuals from seeking help. This cultural stigma can be a significant barrier to accessing mental health services, leading to prolonged suffering and worsening symptoms. In some BIPOC communities, talking about mental health can be considered taboo. Some of these messages come from a place of real fear as BIPOC populations have historically often been harmed by the mental health and health care systems. BIPOC individuals have often sought out different means of support, such as traditional healers, doulas, or peer advocates. Seeking out therapy or other mental health services can support and supplement traditional methods.

Lack of Culturally Competent and Responsive Care

Culturally responsive care is the intentional and consistent decision mental health care providers make to see, respect, and celebrate the aspects that make each person unique. It’s an acknowledgment of their intersectional existence in the world and how this shapes their experiences. Mental health care providers who are not culturally competent and responsive may fail to understand the unique experiences and needs of BIPOC clients. This can result in misdiagnosis, ineffective treatment plans, and a lack of trust between the client and provider.

The Role of BIPOC/Minority Mental Health Month

BIPOC/Minority Mental Health Month serves several critical purposes:

Raising Awareness: By highlighting the mental health issues faced by BIPOC communities, this month encourages public discourse and education, helping to break down stigma and Misconceptions.

Advocating for Change: This month also serves as a call to action for policymakers, healthcare providers, and community leaders to address the systemic issues contributing to mental health disparities.

Promoting Resources: BIPOC/Minority Mental Health Month helps to disseminate information about available resources, including culturally competent/responsive care providers, support groups, and educational materials.

Celebrating Diversity: Recognizing the diverse backgrounds and experiences of BIPOC/minority communities can lead to more personalized and effective mental health care.

Local Resources in Oregon

For those in  Oregon, several local resources are available to support BIPOC/minority mental health:

Lines for Life: A regional nonprofit dedicated to preventing substance abuse and suicide, offering a Racial Equity Support line specifically for young people of color. Visit Lines for Life or call 1-877-968-8491. 

Portland Black PFLAG: This organization provides support and resources to the Black LGBTQ+

community and their families. Visit Portland Black PFLAG. 

NAMI Oregon: The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Oregon provides various programs, including support groups and educational programs tailored to minority communities. Visit NAMI Oregon or call 1-800-343-6264. 

Asian Health & Service Center: This center offers culturally and linguistically appropriate health services, including mental health counseling, to the Asian community in Oregon. Visit Asian Health & Service Center or call 503-872-8822. 

Centro Latino Americano: Providing mental health services to the Latino community in Eugene and surrounding areas. Visit Centro Latino Americano or call 541-687-2667.

Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest (NARA): NARA offers comprehensive mental health services to Native Americans in the Portland area. Visit NARA Northwest or call 503-224-1044. 

How to Get Involved

There are several ways individuals, providers and organizations can participate in BIPOC/Minority Mental Health Month.

Educate Yourself and Others: Learn about the mental health challenges faced by minority communities and share this knowledge within your networks. Actively engage in anti- oppressive practice, which takes into account power imbalances to create relationships in an equitable environment.

Support Advocacy Efforts: Join or support organizations that advocate for mental health equity and culturally competent care.

Promote Mental Health Resources: Share information about mental health resources that are accessible to minority communities.

Encourage Open Conversations: Create safe spaces for discussions about mental health, aiming to reduce stigma and promote understanding. Engage in discussions with client’s about all dimensions of their culture and how their experiences have shaped them.

Download Mental Health America’s BIPOC Mental Health Toolkit:

Mental Health America’s 2024 BIPOC Mental Health Toolkit provides free, practical resources to help navigate mental health stigma, bridge generational differences, dismantle mental health myths, and encourage meaningful conversations. 

References

1.National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

2.American Psychiatric Association.. Retrieved from American Psychiatric Association

3.Mental Health America. (2024).

4.Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). (

5.National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). (2019). Racial/Ethnic Differences in Mental Health Service Use among Adults. Retrieved from NIMH

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International Non-Binary People’s Day on July 14th

By: Tanya Kramer

This day has been recognized since 2012 to raise awareness and organizing regarding the issues faced by non-binary people around the world. 

This day was started by Katje van Loon and is symbolic as it lands halfway between International Men’s Day (November 19) and International Women’s Day (March 8). Non-binary Awareness Week starts the Monday prior to July 14th and is a period of time dedicated to people who do not identify with the traditional gender binary.

The term “non-binary” is described by the Human Rights Campaign as “someone who does not identify exclusively as a man or a woman. Non-binary folks may identify as being both a man and a woman or as falling completely outside these categories. Many non-binary people also identify as transgender, though not all do.” The term “non-binary” is described by Stonewall (Pride 2024: Champion of Champions ) “as an umbrella term for people whose gender identity doesn’t sit comfortably with ‘man’ or ‘woman’. 

Non-binary identities are varied and can include people who identify with some aspects of the binary identities, while others reject them entirely. Non-binary people can feel that their gender identity and gender experience involves being both a man and a woman, or that it is fluid, in between, or completely outside of that binary.” This day is a day to celebrate non-binary individuals and their contributions. It is also a time to refocus on the important work of securing full protection and rights of our non-binary siblings and friends. 

Most countries around the world do not recognize non-binary as a legal gender which means people are forced to identify by the gender assigned at birth in government documents such as a passport, or financial documents such as credit cards or bank accounts. Non-binary people often experience discrimination, prejudice, violence, challenges with healthcare, housing, and employment.

The United States, Australia, Argentina, Bangladesh, Canada, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, and New Zealand include non-binary gender options on the country’s passports. In the United States currently, half of the country allows a driver’s licenses to include “X” as a choice for gende. But there is still work to do.

On International Non-Binary People’s Day, we can all engage in meaningful change to be better allies and siblings. According to the website “Many Genders One Voice”

(Non-Binary People’s Day ), and a few other resources, here are some specific ways to make a meaningful change:

  • Undertake self-directed awareness and education
  • Don’t make assumptions
  • Using gender-neutral language whenever possible
  • Pronoun confirming, cueing, and correcting
  • Don’t ask about the sex assigned at birth (unless necessary for service delivery)
  • Take steps to ensure non-binary inclusive service provision in healthcare settings
  • Challenge discrimination, take “Right to Be _____” training (Bystander Intervention – Right To Be ) to understand how to stand up for the rights of those being discriminated against
  • Compassionately challenge internalized phobias or acceptance of power and control imbalances in relationships
  • Understand the impact of previous trauma and discrimination upon people’s current lives and their ability to access safe services.  Thank you to Katje van Loon for her work in starting International Non-Binary People’s Day!

Check out this link to learn more about Katje’s story – https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-62149521

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Unmasking the Deception: How Your Anxiety Lies to You

Anxiety comes at a high cost, despite the adage: better to be safe than sorry. It whispers falsehoods that shape our perceptions and actions, often leading us down a path of unnecessary stress and worry. Understanding these lies is the first step toward reclaiming your peace of mind.

The High Cost of Anxiety

Anxiety, at its core, is a survival mechanism. It’s meant to protect us from danger by preparing our bodies to respond to threats. However, in today’s world, where physical threats are rare, anxiety often misfires, causing more harm than good. This constant state of alertness can be exhausting and detrimental to our mental and physical health.

The Perfectionist’s Dilemma

Perfectionists are particularly vulnerable to anxiety’s deceptions. They tend to catastrophize, assuming the worst-case scenario in every situation. This mindset not only amplifies their anxiety but also distorts their reality. They personalize failures, believing that mistakes define their worth, and they disqualify their achievements, never feeling good enough despite their successes. These excessive standards create a cycle of self-criticism and dissatisfaction that is hard to break.

The Outside Perspective

Interestingly, others often have very different views of perfectionists than they have of themselves. While perfectionists see their flaws and shortcomings magnified, others may see them as high achievers who are dedicated and competent. This discrepancy highlights how anxiety skews self-perception, causing unnecessary suffering.

The Therapeutic Journey

Overcoming anxiety is not a quick fix but a painstaking process. Therapy, whether it be cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness, or other forms, requires time and effort. It involves challenging deeply held beliefs, practicing new coping strategies, and gradually changing behavior patterns. There may not be significant revelations in every session, but each step forward is progress.

Moving Forward

Recognizing the lies your anxiety tells you is crucial in managing its impact on your life. By understanding that anxiety often misrepresents reality, you can begin to challenge its narratives and reduce its hold on you. Seeking professional help, practicing self-compassion, and gradually exposing yourself to feared situations can all contribute to a healthier, more balanced perspective.

Remember, while anxiety may never fully disappear, learning to manage it can significantly improve your quality of life. It’s a journey worth undertaking, one step at a time.

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How to Celebrate And Enjoy Your Achievements

Achieving a goal is a wonderful feeling, but often we move quickly to the next task without truly appreciating our hard work and success. Taking the time to savor your accomplishments is vital for maintaining motivation and a positive mindset. Here are some strategies to help you celebrate and enjoy your achievements:

Reflect on Your Accomplishments

The first step in savoring your accomplishments is to reflect on them. Take some time to think about what you’ve achieved, how you did it, and what challenges you overcame. Journaling can be a great tool for this—write down the steps you took, the skills you utilized, and the obstacles you surmounted. Reflecting in this way not only helps you appreciate your hard work but also reinforces the lessons learned, setting you up for future successes.

Share Your Successes with Others

Sharing your accomplishments with friends, family, or colleagues can enhance your sense of achievement. When you talk about your successes, you relive the positive emotions associated with them and receive validation from others. This can be as simple as having a celebratory dinner, posting on social media, or discussing your achievements in a team meeting. The support and recognition from others can significantly boost your morale and encourage you to strive for more.

Reward Yourself

Giving yourself a reward for your hard work is an excellent way to savor your accomplishments. The reward doesn’t have to be extravagant; it just needs to be something that brings you joy and makes you feel appreciated. It could be a day off, a favorite treat, a new book, or even a small gift to yourself. Rewards help reinforce positive behavior and make the hard work feel worth it, motivating you to set and achieve more goals.

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The Impact of War on Children

By: Betsy Pownall

Prolonged exposure to war, living in areas of high conflict, and forced migration create a high risk for children in their mental and physical health. Many children are thrown into a state of “toxic stress” which could impact them for life if left untreated. Here are some ways children are affected:

Anxiety, loneliness, and insecurity: many children in war zones have lost their homes, been displaced from their neighborhoods, and have had to leave their friends and families. Children where this has occurred face high rates of depression and anxiety. Areas where there are repeated attacks will lead to children living in constant fear which leaves them profoundly worried for their safety and the safety of those around them.

Emotional Withdrawal: when exposed to a high degree of conflict, children may become desensitized and emotionally numb. They may imitate the aggressive behavior they witness, and consider violence as normal. Their ability to create and sustain relationships can be negatively impacted.

Aggression: children growing up with violence and armed conflict in their environment, may show aggression and withdrawal. They may start fighting and bullying other children.

Psychosomatic Symptoms: living in areas of high conflict may exhibit high levels of stress in children’s bodies, such as headaches, chest aches, difficulty breathing, and, at times, loss of movement in their arms and legs. Many children will have difficulty speaking, may begin stuttering, and some may experience partial amnesia.

Self-Harm: if a child sees no way out, they may try to escape their surroundings by using drugs, alcohol, self-harm, and suicide.

It is important to keep in mind that children are responding in a healthy way to a dangerous, pathological situation and that there can be wide differences in how children respond to the same thing. 

Interventions for children of violence need to provide basic needs such as safety, security, shelter, and continuity of care by a family member or loved one. 

As a child’s basic needs are met, psychological first aid should focus on reducing the post-trauma distress. Eight core actions need to be taken: contact and engagement, safety and comfort, stabilization, information gathering, practical assistance, connection with social supports, information on coping support, and connection with collaborative services. 

Building back ‘the normal’ within the abnormal is important, such as instituting a schedule and daily routine, schooling if possible, opportunities to play and socialize, and providing opportunities to express themselves and process emotions and memories. Supporting children also means supporting parents so they can care for their children. Studies have shown that parents tend to show less warmth and more harshness toward their children when they have been exposed to war. Helping parents maintain warm relationships with their children might foster healthy adjustment in their children.

War and military aggression violate children’s basic human rights, can have a huge impact on their development, and their physical and mental health, and can have long-term consequences. The experience of war and conflict for children runs diametrically opposed to their developmental needs and their right to grow up in a safe, predictable environment. 

Healing from chronic stress does not, generally, happen naturally. It will be the work of the community, the government, and the world to help children exposed to violence and war.

References: 

“5 Ways Conflict Impacts Children’s Mental Health”; Save the Children.

Catani, C. Mental Health of Children Living in War Zones: a risk and protection perspective. World Psychiatry, 2018 Feb; 17(1) 104-105.

Bürgin, D., Anagnostopoulos, D, ESCAP, Vitiello, B, et al. Impact of War and Forced Displacement on children’s mental health — multilevel, needs-oriented, and trauma-informed approaches. Eur. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry, 2022; 31(6) 845-853.


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Mental Health in Aging / Older Adults

By: Tanya Kramer

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the world’s population is aging fast.

  • In 2020, there were 1 billion people who are 60 years or older
  • In 2030, it is believe that this number will increase to 1.4 billion
  • By 2050, it is believed that this number will increase to 2.1 billion
  • The number of persons aged 80 years or older is expected to triple between 2020 to 2050 (hitting over 425 million people)

There are many benefits to having a large aging population, since these individuals often give back to their family and community through volunteering and acts of service. However, many of these individuals may need additional support due to mental health conditions or physical/medical limitations. 

Mental health in aging adults is a Public Health Issue that must be addressed. This article will focus on the following topics around mental health for aging populations:

  • What external factors impact mental health as someone ages?
  • What are the key mental health concerns?
  • What are suggestions for the aging population and those that love them to improve quality of life?
  • Resources for the Aging Population and their Caregivers

   What external factors impact mental health as someone ages?

  • Bereavement / Grief – losing loved ones occurs more often
  • Serious illness
  • Drop in income
  • Reduced sense of purpose
  • Being impacted by “ageism”
  • Physical limitations / chronic illnesses / pain
  • Abuse (physical, verbal, psychological, sexual, or financial)
  • Lack of access to support
  • Loneliness / Social Isolation
  • Needing long term care

  Key Mental Health Concerns:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Substance Abuse
  • Suicide (Global Health Estimates show around a quarter of deaths by suicide occur by those age 60 or older)
  • Dementia / Alzheimer’s Disease / Cognitive Decline
  • Personality Disorders that already exist are susceptible to worsening with age

  Suggestions for the Aging Population:

  • Physical / Social environments that support well-being
  • Environments that enable people to do what is important to them (despite losses in capacity)
  • Safe person to discuss emotions – “How are you feeling right now?”
  • Stress management skills and resources
  • Financial planning to support long lives
  • Resources to access needs such as groceries, medical appointments, and important events
  • Social and Emotional Support (Family, Friends, caregivers, Therapists, Community, etc.)
  • Experiencing Life Satisfaction as a Whole
  • Maintain a Routine including a balanced diet, movement/exercise / yoga, and activities that bring joy

Identifying Gratitude / Moments of Delight / Thankful Statements:

  • Physically active to the extent the body can
  • Reduction of harmful things such as smoking, alcohol, and drugs
  • Accessing health and social programs to keep individuals engaged in their community
  • Social connections
  • Meaningful social activities
  • Counseling and Support Groups for aging experiences
  • Social Skills Training
  • Occupational Therapy as needed when adapting to new limitations
  • Creative Art outlets or groups
  • Educational opportunities / Stay active intellectually by learning new things
  • Improve sleep by setting and maintaining good sleep habits
  • Volunteering for programs
  • Leisure / Fun activities
  • Support for carers of aging individuals
  • Medication management for mental health
  • County Resources often have an Aging and Disability Department that can connect individuals to resources in their community…and these services are often free
  • Get help in a Crisis….You do not need to navigate this alone.

Resources for the Aging Population and their Caregivers:

University of Washington Health Promotion Research Center – PEARLS Toolkit 

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – Resources for Older Adults 

Emotional Well Being Videos 

Mass General Brigham McLean – Everything You Need to Know About Older Adult Mental Health 

Family Caregiver Alliance 



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Shortcuts For a Happier Life

Happiness is often found in the small, everyday moments and habits that we cultivate. Here are some shortcuts to a happier life that you can start implementing today:

Find an Activity That Brings Happiness: Whether it’s taking long walks in nature, joining a book club, or engaging in creative hobbies, finding an activity that consistently brings you joy is key.

Reclaim An Old Activity That Brought You Happiness: As life gets busier, we often leave behind activities that used to bring us joy. Dust off that old violin or guitar, start journaling again, or revisit any other activity that once made your heart sing.

Come Up With a Schedule: Schedules and routines can help us stay focused and remind us to prioritize our happiness. Set aside dedicated time each day or week for activities that bring you joy.

Find a Happiness Buddy: Having a support system can make a big difference in our happiness journey. Whether it’s a friend, a support group, a therapist, or a coach, having someone to check in with can provide accountability and encouragement.

Accept Problems: No journey to happiness is without its challenges. Accept that setbacks are a natural part of the process, and instead of letting them define you, use them as opportunities to learn and grow.

By incorporating these simple shortcuts into your life, you can cultivate a happier, more fulfilling existence. Happiness is not a destination but a journey, and these shortcuts can help you enjoy the ride.

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5 Life Hacks to Navigate Hardships With Ease

Life is full of ups and downs, challenges and obstacles. Whether it’s personal crises like heartbreak or loss, feeling stuck in unfulfilling situations, or simply battling the blues, we all encounter moments of unhappiness. However, how we face these hardships ultimately determines whether they defeat or propel us towards a happier life.

Let’s explore five shortcuts to achieving a happier life by targeting self-destructive behaviors, embracing healthier habits and finding joy in everyday activities.

Identify Sustainable Happiness-Inducing Activities

The first step towards a happier life is identifying activities that bring peace of mind and contribute to long-term happiness. These activities serve as the foundation for sustainable happiness. Consider activities like long walks in nature, joining a book club or discussion group and engaging in creative hobbies like painting, writing, or playing a musical instrument. By incorporating these activities into your routine, you’ll feel more refreshed, inspired and content.

Reclaim Abandoned Joyful Activities

As life gets busier and more demanding, we often abandon activities that once brought us joy. It’s time to reclaim those happiness-inducing pursuits. Dust off that guitar or violin, start journaling again or revive any other activity that used to light up your life. Reconnecting with these hobbies can reignite your passion and boost your overall happiness.

Create a Happiness-Focused Schedule

Schedules and routines play a crucial role in maintaining happiness. Designate specific times in your schedule for activities that bring you joy. Whether dedicating an hour daily to reading, setting aside time for creative endeavors, or prioritizing outdoor activities on weekends, a structured schedule helps you stay focused and motivated.

Find Your Happiness Buddy or Support System

True friends and supportive communities can be invaluable in your pursuit of happiness. Identify a “happiness buddy” or join a support group where you can share your goals, progress, and challenges. Having someone to hold you accountable, provide encouragement and offer perspective can make a significant difference in your journey towards a happier life.

Embrace Setbacks and Stay Determined

It’s important to remember that setbacks and challenges are a natural part of life. Instead of letting them discourage you, use them as opportunities for growth and learning. Accept that not every day will be perfect, and that’s okay. Stay focused on your goals, lean on your support system during tough times and recommit yourself to happiness each day.

 

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Unlock the Power of Sticky Goals

As we dive into the excitement of a new day, it’s an opportunity to harness the power of sticky goals to pave the way for success. Setting goals is easy, but sticking to them requires a unique approach that sparks motivation, fosters commitment, and ignites passion. 

Enter the “sticky goals” concept – the secret sauce that transforms dreams into reality. While the idea of setting SMART goals is well-known, the often-overlooked stickiness factor holds the key to lasting success. As our favorite apps and games keep us hooked with their engaging features, sticky goals captivate our attention, fuel our motivation, and keep us on track toward our objectives. 

So, whether you’re striving for personal growth, financial prosperity, or simply aiming to live your best life, it’s time to embrace the challenge of making your goals sticky – and watch your dreams take flight. 

Embrace the Power of Selectivity

Embrace the art of selectivity by prioritizing the goals that truly matter to you. Resist the urge to scatter your focus across numerous objectives; instead, channel your energy into a select few that align with your passions and aspirations. 

Keeping your goals in mind will pave the way for sustained commitment and unwavering determination.

Visualize Your Success:

Start with the end in mind and vividly describe your desired outcome. 

Whether it’s picturing yourself living your dream lifestyle or achieving a personal milestone, harness the power of visualization to fuel your motivation and guide your journey toward success. 

Level Up With Gamification:

Transform the pursuit of your goals into an exhilarating game of progress and rewards. Inject fun and excitement into your journey by gamifying your objectives.

From earning points for completing tasks to treating yourself to small rewards, gamification adds a playful twist to goal-setting, making it both enjoyable and engaging.

Break Down Your Goals Down:

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are your goals. Break down your aspirations into bite-sized tasks or milestones that are easily achievable. 

By taking small, consistent actions, you build momentum and ward off overwhelm and anxiety. Embrace the power of incremental progress and celebrate each small victory, knowing that every step forward brings you closer to your ultimate destination.

Cultivate Self-Compassion: 

As you navigate the ups and downs of your goal pursuit, remember to be kind to yourself. Mastery takes time, and setbacks are inevitable. So, instead of dwelling on your shortcomings, practice self-compassion and patience. 

Treat yourself with the same kindness and embrace the journey with an open heart and a gentle spirit, knowing that every step forward is a testament to your resilience and growth.



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Women’s History Month – Let’s Celebrate Women in Therapy

By: Tanya Kramer

In light of Women’s History Month, it seems like a good time to reflect on prominent names of women who often get missed when discussing the history and evolution of therapy. 

Below is not an exhaustive list, but it will expand your knowledge of women who have or continue to directly impact the counseling world. You will find a brief description of their impact and you can learn more about each one by doing your own research or by clicking on the links at the end of this list.

  • Mary Ainsworth – demonstrated the importance of healthy childhood attachments, created the “Strange Situation” assessment, and increased understanding around attachment styles.
  • Eleanor Maccoby – focused on developmental psychology, pioneered the psychology of gender roles.
  • Anna Freud – influenced Erik Erikson’s work, created the concept of defense mechanisms, and expanded the field of child psychology (yes, this is Sigmund Freud’s daughter)/
  • Martha Bernal – first woman of Mexican descent to earn a doctoral degree in psychology (1962), researcher on how the mind and body interact, championed efforts to study Latino Psychology and mental health issues in minority populations.
  • E. Kitch Childs – in 1969 she opened her practice to marginalized populations including the LGBTQIA+ community, people living with AIDS, etc., she researched Black women and how incorporating feminism into therapy could empower them.
  • Jean Lau Chin – explored assumptions about gender and race, her work in leadership styles, diversity, and women’s issues influenced governmental policies regarding cultural competency.
  • Jennifer Eberhart – studied how subliminal images trigger racial stereotypes and affect what people see, her work on understanding how people code and categorize others according to race has helped highlight stereotypes in policing and schools.
  • Tsuruko Haraguchi – pioneered research on mental fatigue, first Japanese woman to receive a doctoral degree in any subject area.
  • Ruth Howard – conducted groundbreaking child development research including a specific study called “A Study of the Development of Triplets” (included 229 sets of triplets including many ethnic groups) resulting in her career focusing on the underserved communities.
  • Marigold Linton – cognitive psychology research focusing on how long the brain can retain information, first indigenous woman in the United States to receive a doctoral degree in psychology.
  • Inez Prosser – her study called “The Nonacademic Development of Negro Children in Mixed and Segregated Schools” helped initiate discussion about school desegregation, one of the first Black women to earn a doctoral degree in psychology.
  • Mary Whiton Calkins – navigated completing all doctorate requirements at Harvard but was refused a degree because she was a woman, developed the “paired-association” technique, she was the first female president of the American Psychological Association.
  • Maria Root – researches trauma, eating disorders, multiracial identities, and feminist therapy, created the “Bill of Rights for Mixed Heritage” to affirm mixed race identity, she is a trailblazer in the study of multiracial individuals.
  • Alberta Turner – a leading voice in the study of mental health disorders and juvenile delinquency, a civil rights activist who dedicated her career to implementing reforms in the criminal justice field.
  • Leta Stetter Hollingworth – did research on intelligence, gifted children, and women, proving that women were as capable as men “regardless of what time of the month it is”.
  • Karen Horney – refuted Freud’s ideas, brought increased attention on the psychology of women, and introduced the “theory of neurotic need” meaning people are able to take a personal role in their own mental health.
  • Ursula Bellugi – pioneering researcher in language and the effects on the nervous system, demonstrated how American Sign Language (ALS) draws on many of the same areas of the brain as spoken language.
  • Melanie Klein – contributions to the field of play therapy, discovered how children communicate through play.
  • Mamie Phipps Clark – developed the “Clark Doll” test, researched racism’s impact on Black children, and played an important role in the famous 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education case.
  • Florence Denmark – research on violence, prejudice, stereotyping, ethnicity, and gender earned her the role as the leading representative to the United Nations for the International Council of Psychologists and the APA, a founding member of the Association for Women in Psychology in 1969.
  • Naomi Weisstein – her paper called “Psychology Constructs the Female” helped launch the meeting of feminism and academic psychology, a founding member of the Association for Women in Psychology in 1969.
  • Bluma Zeigarnik – established the “Zeigarnik Effect” defined by how people have the tendency to remember information for unfinished tasks while erasing them from memory once the task is done.
  • Margaret Floy Washburn – first woman to earn a PhD in psychology, made strides in the fields of animal cognition and motor theory.
  • Marie Jahoda – trailblazer in the study of racial prejudice, positive mental health, and authoritarian personalities, studied the psychological impact of unemployment, she developed the theory of the “Ideal Mental Health”.
  • Rosa Katz – co-wrote “Conversations with Children” which chronicled more than 150 conversations with children which provided a foundation for the psychology of learning
  • Elizabeth Koppitz – wrote several books that influenced the psychoeducational assessment of children, involved in creation of the “Bender Gestalt Test for Young Children” and the “Psychological Evaluation of Children’s Human Figure Drawings” which are related to learning disabilities and exceptional education
  • Virginia Satir – recognized for her approach to family therapy by pioneering the field of family reconstruction, created the “Virginia Satir Change Process Model.
  • Kay Redfield Jamison – work centers on bipolar disorder, authored a number of books about mood disorders, suicide, mania, depression, named by Time Magazine as a “Hero of Medicine” as a clinical psychologist.
  • Carol Gilligan – originator of “The Ethics of Care”, best known for her work on ethical community and ethical relationships, in 1996 she was named by Time as one of America’s top 25 most influential people.
  • Francine Shapiro – originated and developed eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) which is a form of psychotherapy for resolving the symptoms of traumatic and other disturbing life experiences.
  • Julie Schwartz Gottman – co-founder of the Gottman Institute which is an organization dedicated to strengthening relationships through research based products and programs, co-creator of the “Sound Relationship House Theory”
  • Jennifer Lynn Eberhardt – investigates and researches the psychological association between race and crime which reveals the extent to which racial imagery and judgments impact our culture and society, specifically in the domain of criminal justice.

Learn More About These Women: 

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Life Transitions

By: Betsy Pownall

There are these moments in our lives where we are fully aware that an abrupt transition is taking place, the death of hope, the birth of a new idea. The death of a leader, the birth of new leadership. The death of a loved one, the birth of a baby. And meanwhile, we live our lives bookended by the greatest transitions of all: birth and death. Both events require a profound letting go, and both hold with them our humanity. And between the bookends we live, going through transitions, some big, some small, but growing nonetheless.

These transitions quietly whisper into our lives. We may not realize it at the time, but something in us is changing. Our body is changing. Our soul is changing. What used to be humorous, may no longer be. Where once we felt loud, we may feel quiet. Such is the process of aging.

Aging is an organic process of growth. And the trick for us humans is to lean into our aging process, but not too far. You don’t want to age yourself out too young, and you don’t want to deny aging, as that can be perilous.

My father, who had a slow onset kind of Parkinson’s, would walk with a ski pole when we hiked into the mountain village, where he lived. As we approached the bridge that led into town, he would hide his ski pole before crossing. I would walk closely beside him as we crossed the bridge. He would say I was too worried about him. I would think, “I hope he doesn’t fall.” 

Studies have shown an association between older people’s negative attitudes about aging and cardiovascular problems such as strokes and heart attacks, and with mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. People who have a more positive outlook on aging do better on memory and hearing tests, have better physical function, recover from injury more quickly, and live longer.

There is honor in aging. An 85 -year-old has been on this earth for many years. Their body has carried them more or less to their 85th year. That, in itself, is profound. And yet, our culture isolates older adults. Older adults isolate themselves. There is segregation in the American Culture around aging, fueled by early retirement, age-specific housing, and a decline in social organization involvement. Our attitudes toward aging start when we are young. We were taught how to treat aging adults through our culture and our family system. And, our attitudes can change. It has been shown that programs that foster intergenerational understanding and experience have helped foster improved attitudes in both young and old participants.  Intergenerational programs can include toddlers playing with older adults, school-age children working with university students on climate change, Etc. 

A recent analysis of 23 intergenerational programs from nine countries found less depression, better physical health and increased “generativity” among aging adults. and increased “generativity” among aging adults. (Generativity refers to the desire to leave a legacy; a need to assist young people to create a better future that the aging adult won’t live to see.)

When I was young, I didn’t want to grow old. It didn’t mean I wanted to die, I just didn’t want to be old. Now that I am nearing retirement age, I have a dream that I will age gracefully. This will be challenging, though. The other day my daughter asked to carry something for me “because it was too heavy”. The back of my neck bristled and I wanted to say loudly, “I’m not old, yet!” Instead, I took a deep breath and said, “Thank you.”

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Mastering the Art of Not Overreacting

Do you find yourself getting upset over minor inconveniences or small issues? It’s a common experience, but it doesn’t have to control your reactions. Here are three steps to help you stop overreacting to the small stuff:

Take a Moment to Notice Your Reaction: When you feel yourself starting to overreact, take a moment to pause and notice what’s happening in your body. Are you feeling tension in your neck, heat in your cheeks, or an elevated heart rate? Take a few deep breaths and try to calm down.

Rationalize The Situation: Once you’ve calmed down, try to think about what happened rationally. Instead of focusing on your subjective experience, try to see the situation from an objective point of view. Ask yourself if your reaction is proportionate to what happened. Try to be compassionate and avoid personalizing the situation.

Take Constructive Action: Depending on the situation, you can express yourself using “I” statements to communicate your feelings calmly. If you’re still upset, consider removing yourself from the situation temporarily. Find a way to re-channel your emotions, whether it’s through physical activity, journaling, or talking to a friend.

Remember, it’s okay to feel emotions, but it’s important to manage them in a healthy way. By taking these steps, you can learn to respond to small issues more calmly and avoid overreacting.

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