“What do we do?”
“I don’t know how I’m going to make it!”
“I can’t imagine what’ll happen tomorrow.”
These are just some of the things I’m hearing these days. The situation with the novel coronavirus changes almost minute-to-minute. We are living in a time of crisis. Uncertainty is the new normal. When the world around you seems out of control, and even the so-called experts are freaking out, What are we to do?
First, we need to remind ourselves that in just a few days, the world, to paraphrase Lin-Manuel Miranda (who in turned paraphrased others), is upside down. It’s not surprising that everything feels somehow off. Suddenly thrust into uncertainty, how do we respond?
Take stock. Check your perspective. Take a slow breath, low in your abdomen. Examine what you are doing. Are you glued to the Internet, looking for news? Constantly sharing the latest theories and advice through social media? Are you hunting down every last bottle of hand sanitizer (or, at this point, the ingredients to make your own)?
If you are doing any of these things, that’s okay. Many, many people are. However, if you want to reduce your anxiety, ask yourself — honestly! — “Is this a helpful response?”(more…)
Saul Rosenthal, PhD March 19th, 2020
Posted In: Calm
A recent article published in the academic journal Psychological Science questions the generally held belief that lots of screen time, especially around bedtime, is bad for adolescents. The article, “Screens, Teens, and Psychological Well-Being: Evidence From Three Time-Use-Diary Studies” followed over 17,000 teens in three countries.
This is an important study for a number of reasons. First, it includes a very large number of participants. Second, rather than relying on retrospective measures of technology use, the study uses a technique in which adolescents’ use is recorded throughout the day. Third, well-being is measured by caregivers as well as the adolescents. Finally, statistical analysis was designed before data collection. In other words, it’s not a fishing expedition. This is a really nicely designed study, strengthening confidence in its conclusions.(more…)
Saul Rosenthal, PhD June 2nd, 2019
Tags: Technology overuse
I was lucky enough to attend an early viewing of How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. I watched with a real mixture of responses; sad that it is the last movie in the trilogy, excited to see how the filmmakers deal with some of my favorite characters, blown away by the amazing look of the film. I left the movie with the urge to write about it. Not a review, which would be two words: SEE IT! Rather, I found myself mulling over the parallels between Hiccup’s and Toothless’s journey and our own development from childhood to adulthood. The curse of my decades trying to understand what makes us tick!(more…)
Saul Rosenthal, PhD February 3rd, 2019
Posted In: Development
Last week I shared five tips about helping out when you give your child a smartphone or tablet.
But what about you? All those Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and end-of-year prices are tempting. Maybe it’s time for you to get a new device. If you’re taking the opportunity to treat yourself, why not also take the opportunity to review and strengthen your usage habits?
Saul Rosenthal, PhD December 14th, 2018
With the end-of-year holidays at hand, you might be thinking about gifting your child a phone or tablet. I’ve previously written about helping your child develop appropriate online skills, and now I want to share some tips about setting your child up for success with their new device.
Many parents (myself included!) feel ambivalent about giving their child a smart phone or tablet. On the one hand, it’s convenient, you can keep tabs on your child, it’s the way of the world, and, of course, “everybody else has one!.” On the other hand, devices and subscription plans are expensive, many apps are a waste of time, social media is a jungle, and, of course, “I didn’t have one when I was your age and I grew up just fine!”
Saul Rosenthal, PhD December 7th, 2018
Posted In: Digital Citizenship
The idea that we can help the brain reshape it’s own activity to improve our health has always appealed to me. Neurofeedback is a non-invasive technique that encourages the brain to change itself. I particularly like neurofeedback because it allows me to integrate an evidence-based approach with a personalized approach to treatment. An individual’s own brain activity helps me determine the best neurofeedback approach to use.
Saul Rosenthal, PhD October 18th, 2018
Posted In: Treatment Thoughts
Gaming Disorder is a new diagnosis for the upcoming 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). The ICD is the diagnostic “bible” published by the World Health Organization and used by health care providers around the world. While the exact criteria do not seem available, the WHO defines Gaming Disorder as:
a pattern of gaming behavior (“digital-gaming” or “video-gaming”) characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.
For diagnosis, the behavior must significantly interfere with functioning and exist for at least 12 months.
Saul Rosenthal, PhD September 16th, 2018
Posted In: Internet Addiction
In a recent piece written for the New York Times, Perri Klass, MD lays out ideas for 5 device-free spaces for families. The article does not directly focus on getting our children off of the devices. Rather, parental media use is the focal point.
He starts with Common Sense Media’s 2016 survey indicating that parents spend over 9 hours per day consuming media. About an hour-and-a-half of that time is work-related. The vast majority of time parents spend consuming media is personal.
What sort of model does that provide to our children?
Saul Rosenthal PhD January 25th, 2018
In the article What your therapist doesn’t know, author and psychologist Tony Rousmaniere argues that therapists should incorporate metrics — data collected from questionnaires and similar measurement instruments — into our practice. In general, I very much agree with him, although it’s a complex topic with no easy answers. Rousmaniere, while advocating for utilizing metric-based feedback in treatment decisions, does a good job laying out both pros and cons. On the one hand, more and more fields are utilizing metrics as feedback to alter and improve performance, including health care. On the other hand, psychotherapy is an extraordinarily complex and individualized piece of work that might not lend itself to influence by statistical analysis. Before fully embracing data-based treatment, I think it’s important to consider a number of factors.
Speaking as a dataphile, the idea of utilizing objective information to improve my clinical work is fantastic. However, I’m not quite diving into the world of metric-based treatment right away. There are a couple of problems I have with it, particularly in the context of psychotherapy.
Saul Rosenthal PhD March 21st, 2017
Posted In: Treatment Thoughts
While I tend to keep my political views out of my professional work, I find myself tentatively venturing into the muck of some current politics with my clinician’s hat firmly on. A recent series of articles has examined a connection between Betsy DeVos, the (at this moment) nominee for education secretary and a company that provides neurofeedback and biofeedback services. Articles like What the heck is neurofeedback? from a site called Motherboard (update: the article seems to have disappeared) or DeVos-Backed Company Makes Questionable Claims on Autism, ADHD from the Education Week site don’t really bother me too much. And in fact these have been well rebutted by the International Society for Neurofeedback and Research.
However, once the New York Times got into the game I felt obliged to respond. The language of the article (actually all the articles I’ve read) is clearly designed to suggest there is something wrong with DeVos’ relationship with the company Neurocore. I am not here to comment on politics, DeVos’ qualifications, whether her relationship with Neurocore is problematic or whether Neurocore does good work.
Rather, I am here to discuss Neurofeedback. Because the New York Times article seems to be attempting to criticize DeVos’ relationship by delegitimizing neurofeedback as an effective treatment for numerous conditions. I would like to consider several points in the article. (more…)
Saul Rosenthal PhD February 1st, 2017
Posted In: Treatment Thoughts