In Your Grasp

Achziv Cave AmitaiAsif

Photo: Amitai Asif

 

It is in your grasp

To take hold

To absorb

Offered light

Life’s rewrite.

It’s within your soul

To recall

To be bold

In the hollowed out space

Of your mind

To breathe deep

To grow whole.

 

 

For The Daily Post

Mnemonically Challenged

 

teachingmomser.com

Photo: teachingmomster.com

 

“I failed the test,” she sighed and let her book bag slump to the floor.

“What test, and I’m so sorry.” I responded.

“Social studies. History stuff. I studied so hard!” She plunked herself into the chair. Dejection personified. “Who put all those stupid names and dates in there, anyway?”

“Names and dates can be really difficult to remember,” I noted. “I find it helpful to connect them with the story of what happened, or with something else to remind of what the name or date relate to.”

“Yeah, well,” her eyes rose to meet mine, accusatory at my not understanding she just needed me to let her vent. “But you are not mnemonically challenged!”

 

 

For The Daily Post

Weathered History

ancient synagogue Golan1 AmitaiAsif

Photo: Amitai Asif

 

In the weathered rock

Old hands of time still tick away the measured strokes

Of chisels

Embedding prayers

And faith

Into the stone.

Aged but clear

The corner breathes centuries

Of memory and hope

Of light and lore

And much too much

War.

 

 

 

For The Photo Challenge

Outdated or Misinformed? Childhood Maltreatment in college textbooks

Vintage Phrenology: thegraphicsfairy.com

Vintage Phrenology: thegraphicsfairy.com

There are over 1,000,000 substantiated reports of child maltreatment annually in the US alone (US Department of Health 2013). The impact of maltreatment on development and health is indisputable. The last two decades showed brisk research in the area of trauma and dissociation all over the world. It is therefore quite surprising to find psychology textbooks to be so behind the times (and behind the data) on covering child maltreatment. This leaves hundreds of thousands of students a year with less-than-accurate information that may impact their ability to identify or understand the aftermath of child maltreatment.

In an important article (also see full link below), Brand and McEwen review the three leading introductory psychology textbooks and how they address (or not address) childhood maltreatment and its aftermath. The results are distressing in lack of citing of current data (as in  many textbooks on psychopathology).

One can hypothesize why prominent textbooks will not sufficiently cover such an important topic (one would think they would find it essential to cover well if only for the known health effects of childhood maltreatment across the lifespan, in both physical and psychological health, costs, and healthcare utilization). Maybe it is as simple as using outdated resources or not keeping up with research and known data. Maybe it speaks to more widespread issues of denial and minimization of childhood maltreatment. Maybe other reasons. Regardless of why the textbooks are lacking, the reality remains that the textbooks leave students un-informed on the topic.

The good news is that this can be changed! The data is available–it just needs to be included and reviewed better!

Hopefully having more awareness to this will allow students and faculty to challenge the choice of textbooks and to demand better coverage of such a relevant issue. Students are shortchanged when they are under-informed and when data is slanted or may appear to be biased or outdated.

What can you do?

Let your faculty, librarian, and fellow clinicians and students know that our college students deserve a more cohesive review of childhood maltreatment. Share the article below. Talk to professors who teach these courses and support them in seeking better balanced textbooks. The research is available, it simply needs to be included rather than avoided. Let us work together for improving information in education!

Coverage of Child Maltreatment and Its Effects in Three Introductory Psychology Textbooks / Bethany L. Brand, PhD, and Linda E. McEwen, MA

http://traumapsychnews.com/2015/01/coverage-of-child-maltreatment-and-its-effects-in-three-introductory-psychology-textbooks/

Trauma’s Memory Problems : A good article

child trauma

Trauma all too often brings up the detective in people, prods them to question, pin point, dissect accounts, weigh relative credibility. It is an odd thing, given the reality that trauma–by its very essence of overwhelm and shutting down of language centers, processing, and memory integration–affects how one may be able to remember, recount, and narrate it. Trauma is difficult to articulate and often too difficult to comprehend, even to know. And yet, it is often demanded to be phrased in exact details that go beyond every-day memory. As if trauma memory should be, somehow, more stellar, subject to higher standard, to bigger scrutiny.

Granted, there may be a motive in it: people would rather believe trauma is less frequent and not as severe. If there are holes in a story, maybe it is ‘proof’ that it did not take place, or not as badly, or not deliberately … At the same time, there is an inherent lack of understanding about how memory and overwhelm conflict and contradict each other. In some ways, a misremembered, disjointed, incoherent event fraught with numbness and confusion may well BE one of a trauma … rather than be proof of something not happening …

Trauma is a problematic thing for memory.

People remember trauma differently. Some remember constantly, vividly, intrusively. Some remember oddly. Some remember snippets, or sensations, or disjointed unease that seems disconnected from anything that seems to make sense. Some remember sometimes. Some remember not at all.

Children, especially, may find not remembering safer than to try and manage the overwhelming reality of what to let reality in may mean. They may have to keep things in the ‘not knowing’ folder to go on and push away reminders that make no sense, they recant, reverse, deny, ignore.

In the article below, the author explores memory and trauma, denial and dismissal, inaccuracies and interpretations, shame and judgment, burden and prejudice, reality and myth.

It is a worthy read for anyone who has been touched by or knows someone who has been touched by trauma (that should include the lot of us, really …). It is an even worthier read if one keeps in mind how it would be all the more difficult for children to conceptualize and remember trauma cohesively, when they have less tools with which to manage what they had endured, and are more vulnerable to misconceptions about what it says to them, about them, about those who hurt them, about the world, about who they may be or have become.

​I Was Sexually Assaulted As A Child. Here’s Why I Didn’t Remember For Years.

http://thinkprogress.org/health/2014/12/23/3606576/memory-and-sexual-trauma/

A Giraffe’s Goodbye

Sharing a lovely story that touched my heart and underscores tenderness and care.

We often underestimate the ability of animals–especially wild animals–to make connections and to express compassion. When they display affection, it can surprise us. Every time.

Empathy, connection, and memory of sensitive care are often associated with apes and elephants, dolphins and whales, even lions, but not very often with giraffes … Giraffes are more commonly known for their vicious kick than for their tenderness for humans … Though here they are, ‘kissing’ and nuzzling a terminally ill zoo worker who cared for them most of his adult life. They recognized him, and in their own way these lumbering and potentially deadly animals, came to say a gentle goodbye.

Giraffegoodbye1

Read the story at the Independent here!

You Can Still Hear

laughter

… and judging from today

You were amply, multitudinously loved.

Your laughter was what every one remembered

Its memory snuck giggles into sobs

It was what brought smiles

Into the tears

And light

Into the sorrow.

I can hear your laughter still.

It lives within me

As it does within so many others

Blessed to know you

And the bubbling of your kind and precious laugh

In life.

In love.

Transmuted into light.