Spotlight Post #3

--Original published at Jenna'sPSY105blog

When first diagnosed with a mental illness, people typically have two options for their plan of treatment: psychotherapy or medication. Each option has their own benefits and drawbacks, but it is important for each person to weight their options before making their choice.

An article on Forbes titled “A Few Things That Therapy May Do Better Than Medication, According to Science” argued that psychotherapy is more effective in the long run. Eventually people stop taking medication are taken off of it when they are “better,” but studies show that people who suffer with depression and take antidepressants are more likely to relapse later in life when they are no longer taking them. They also mentioned the benefits vs. risk ratio, which essentially refers to the fact that there are so many risks and side effects when you take medication, but there aren’t when you are simply talking to a therapist. I think that this article is a pretty reliable source, mostly because the writer interviewed a psychologist and author named Shannon Kolakowski and used a lot of quotes from her stating that this route is the best one to take.

Another article I found that supports psychotherapy over medication is on Huffington Post titled “4 Ways Everyone Can Benefit From Therapy.” A lot of people who are depressed or have a mental illness have a hard time talking to people about what they’re dealing with and choose to keep their feelings bottled up and stored away. This is about the unhealthiest thing you can do to yourself when you are struggling with any kind of issue, especially when you have a mental illness. The article says that studies show that talking to someone out loud about how you feel has a significant therapeutic effect on your mental state. You will feel so much better when you verbalize your feelings to a trained professional and can get your problems, no matter how small you feel they are, off your chest. I feel that this article is pretty trustworthy because the author cites different studies done on the topic and she quotes many health professionals and psychologists to back up her stance on the subject.

On the other hand, an article in Behavioral Health Evolution titled “Medications Play a Key Role in Treatment is pro medication for treatment of mental disorders. Although it is not a cure, according to the article antidepressants are effective in treating symptoms by up to 60 percent and show a significant decrease in most clients. They can also help minimize cravings and help people struggling with substance abuse resist the urge of using, and they help with preventing relapses. While some disorders can be treated with simple talk therapy, some are too severe to not have patients on some kind of medicine to reduce bad symptoms and keep people from being a danger to themselves as much as possible. I would say that this article is pretty accurate and reliable because the website itself specializes in providing expertise, resources, and advice on treating substance use, mental health, and co-occuring disorders.

On a site called Good Therapy, I found another article titled “Psychotropic Medications” that speaks pretty highly about medication to help with treating mental illnesses. For example, medication can give you a boost when you’re so depressed you can’t even find the motivation to get out of bed. When you have anxiety, medication can ease your mind and make you less worrisome about the small things. If you are schizophrenia, medication can be the thing that helps you gain the stability and control you are lacking. While medication isn’t necessarily going to completely cure the mental illness, it can definitely contribute to the difficult symptoms to subside. Also, psychotropic medications can alleviate some of the fears of everyday life and can possibly lead to the patients coming out of their shell and becoming more extraverted and social. I think that this article is useful and reliable because the author backs up their information by providing research studies that prove that it is accurate and trustworthy information.

While all of this information is useful to know when choosing which type of therapy would best suit your needs, I think that psychotherapy would be the route I would go, at least at the beginning. I already take a lot of medications as it is, and adding more to my morning routine is not something I would want to do. Plus, with medications comes side effects, which are not fun to deal with while trying to better your mental health. Also, I think that everyone can benefit from talking about your problems, because no matter how insignificant you think they are, they could be negatively effecting your mental state. I know that I am guilty of bottling up my emotions and I think that meeting with a professional who would keep me accountable for saying how I feel would definitely lift a huge weight off of my shoulders and put me in such a better headspace. Plus, I would become more in tune with my emotions and get to know myself better and why I am the way that I am, which is a very important, eye-opening thing that could definitely help in the long run.



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Chapter 15 First Impression Post

--Original published at Jenna'sPSY105blog

For this first impression post, I chose the first prompt regarding different kinds of psychotherapy. Our textbook discusses four different therapeutic approaches: psychodynamic, behavioral, cognitive, and humanistic. Each one has it’s benefits and downfalls, so I am going to rank them from best to worst approach and discuss each one.

1. Humanistic therapy teaches people to develop a stronger and healthier sense of self and become more in touch with their emotions. This approaches studies the whole person and what makes them unique. A perk to this approach is that because it values self-fulfillment and personal ideals, it is more focused on the entire individual and is more personalized. Going along with that, therapy sessions could be more effective because it is more personalized to the individual and clients can feel more comfortable sharing things with their therapist. A weakness of this that the personalization can be frustrating for the client because they are not being fit into a mold, thus possibly not getting a direct answer about their condition from their therapist.

2. Cognitive therapy teaches people new, more adaptive ways of thinking. It is based on the assumption that thoughts intervene between events an our emotional reactions. It looks at how people process information with their senses and how they respond to it. A good thing about this approach is that it can be combined with other approaches, such as behavior therapy. It also helps people learn about how their body responds to stimuli and helps us better understand our brains. It is important to try to understand what makes us react the way we do as well as how cognition affects behavior. A con to this approach is that it can cause generalizations about human behavior and overlook other factors of human behavior such as chemical imbalances, genetics, experiences, etc.

3. Behavior therapy applies learning principles to the elimination of unwanted behaviors. A benefit to this type of approach is that it can counteract negative patterns and habits, and create coping mechanisms for stress, increase participation in activities, goal setting, come up with self-help techniques, and increase in self-esteem, and improvements in performance. However, a downfall to this approach is that there aren’t many qualified behavioral therapists out there to do this kind of therapy.

4. Psychodynamic therapy is viewing individuals as responding to unconscious forces and childhood experiences, and seeks to enhance self-insight. Something very useful about this approach is that it helps you reflect back to your childhood and find a possible correlation between your past and your behaviors now. A weakness in this approach is that it does not consider biological components. Certain situations that require people to go to therapy could be related to genetics.


Chapter 14 First Impression Post

--Original published at Jenna'sPSY105blog

For this week’s first impression post, I chose the first prompt that has us watch a simulation of someone living with schizophrenia. The simulation instilled a great bit of fear that something bad was going to happen, which is one thing that schizophrenics have to deal with all of the time. The guy was home alone while his significant other was at the grocery store. At first the video started off waking up and going about daily morning tasks, everything feeling pretty normal. But it did show him picking up his pill bottle, and then deciding not to take his medication. Then, the symptoms began to show. The man became very paranoid that someone was out to get him and that “they have found him” and “they are coming for him.” He went around the house closing the curtains so nobody could see in him through the windows. The TV was talking to him too. When the pizza man showed up, he was terrified to open the door, and when he did it was just a crack. When he brought the pizza inside, he was convinced it was poisoned and he knocked it off of the counter and onto the floor, ruining the meal he was about to have. He kept having a lot of self doubt and negative thoughts running through his head, as well as hallucinating that he news reporter was speaking directly to him and being very harsh on him.  At the end, the woman comes back with groceries, she points out that he didn’t take his medication. She gives it to him and opens up the curtains to let some light in, and reassures him that he’s OK.

I think this simulation compares pretty consistent to how schizophrenia is depicted in movies and the media in general. They typically have paranoia, hallucinations, voices in their heads, etc. which are pretty common symptoms throughout most people who suffer with schizophrenia. Something that I feel is different is that the media convinces you that schizophrenics are dangerous, scary, crazy, or that their mental illness is crippling. But many are “regular” and successful people who are able to live with and maintain their symptoms are perfectly capable of living a normal life. This video also did a good job of promoting taking medicine. Most things in the media about schizophrenia don’t focus on stressing the importance of taking your pills everyday to combat these symptoms and have control over them. Many people try to live without being medicated or try to stop taking their medication, but this video did good job of reminding people what they will have to deal with if they don’t.

Media Production

--Original published at Jenna'sPSY105blog


It is proven that children’s eyes are more sensitive and less protected than the eyes of adults. This means that light enters their eyes more strongly as well. Recent research has shown that this could affect the children’s sleep cycle because their internal clock is thrown off by excessive light exposure. Surely most parents just get annoyed and frustrated when their kids can’t sleep at night and they are constantly getting out of bed to complain about it, but this study explains why this could be out of their control.

The study was lead as well as reported on by an instructor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, named Lameese D. Akacem. She recognized that melatonin is the hormone in your body responsible for making you tired at a certain time at night time to tell you that it’s time for your body to become relaxed and to prepare to go to bed soon. The goal of the study was to see how different levels of light exposure, specifically bright lights, affect melatonin levels, and in turn, young children’s ability to sleep. So Akacem decided to measure the levels of melatonin of a group of children for one week. There were 10 children that had to meet strict health guidelines in order to be able to be a participant in the study, including that they all had to be healthy and between ages 3 and 5. The test lasted one week. The children slept how they normally did for the five nights to create a baseline for the study. For the sixth night the researchers had covered the house’s windows with black plastic bags and replaced the lights with low-wattage lightbulbs to create a dark home for the children to hang out in for the day. Lastly, on the seventh night, an hour before their set bedtime, the children were prompted to play at a light table that produced large amounts of bright light. Melatonin levels can be measured in saliva, so the researchers had a parent of the child collect spit samples before, during, and after the children slept.

On average, the children would start to go to bed around 8:27 p.m. On the night where the house was dark and there was no extra light exposure, the children began to secrete high levels of melatonin about 40 minutes before they fell asleep. This meant their internal clock had begun their “biological night” with the production of melatonin. On the night following the play time on the light table, the children displayed a high rate of suppression of melatonin, about 90 percent actually. Fifty minutes after the strong light exposure their melatonin levels were still not even half of what they were prior to the light.

The reason why children have a higher sensitivity to light than adults is because their pupils are larger and more light is able to hit the retina, allowing signals to reach the brain. As people get older, a protein builds over the eye, which naturally limits the light that is able to enter. Melatonin is produced in the pineal gland, and the amount produced based off of how much light enters the retina. So sometimes children can be feeling really tired, but if the melatonin isn’t triggered to be secreted, then the brain and the body’s internal clock is not able to send signals correctly in order to promote sleep, which is what causes children to get frustrated and get up out of bed various times throughout the night when they are unable to fall asleep.

After analyzing the data collected from this experiment, Dr. Akacem and her colleagues concluded that strong light exposure before bed suppresses the sleep promoting hormone, melatonin, and throws their internal clocks out of whack. She recommends to parents to try to avoid bright lights in hallways and bathrooms at night, keeping nightlights as low to the ground as possible, dimming or eliminating as many light sources in the evenings, and maintaining a consistent bed time, preferably before 9 p.m., to ensure their preschoolers are able to get a good night’s sleep.



This part of the Media Project was definitely the hardest section to write. I found it very difficult to avoid plagiarize not one but two different articles, along with the other two papers I have previously written, while still trying to be as accurate as I could be in the information I was providing, making enough sense to an audience who may not have a strong scientific background, and including key details about the study itself as well as extra information to help explain why the study was done in the first place. The science behind the study was especially tough being that I am someone with limited knowledge on the chemicals in the brain, like melatonin, as well as the in-depth interworking of the brain. It was also just hard to condense the whole research study into such a limited word count, but luckily, other than some quotes and the future research that I did not feel was necessary to include, I didn’t really have to leave out any key information.

This project has really changed my perspective on journalists and what they do. I always just kind of assumed that journaling was fun and an easy-going job, but it turns out it’s pretty difficult and requires a lot of hard work. This assignment allowed us to step into journalists’ shoes and realize how much goes into what they do for a living. One thing that I never really thought about is that the writers most likely have limited knowledge on some of the topics that they write about, so it is probably hard for them to write about subjects they are not experts in and still reword it to make it their own. I know for me when I was writing about the science behind the study, I didn’t know enough about that topic to reword it and make sense of it any other way than how it was already written. That could definitely be an obstacle for journalists when they are trying to give advice or provide information which requires factual information.

Work Cited

Pop Culture Article

Klass, Perri. “To Help Children Sleep, Go Dark.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 5 Mar. 2018.

Scholarly Article

Akacem, Lameese D., et al. “Sensitivity of the Circadian System to Evening Bright Light in Preschool‐Age Children.” Physiological Reports, vol. 6, no. 5, 2018.

Chapter 12 First Impression

--Original published at Jenna'sPSY105blog

For this week’s first impression post, I chose the first prompt discussing IAT tests and discovering biases.

The first IAT test that I took was about weight. So it would show silhouettes of fat people and thin people and show good and bad words. At the end, it asked questions about my political and religious views, about my weight, and other things to determine if I have any bias towards fat or thin people.

The second IAT test that I took was about disability. It would show pictures of wheelchairs, crutches, a service dog, as well as someone crossing the street, someone skiing, and someone running and then showed good and bad words. At the end of that test it asked about my religious and political views, and asked me if I had any disabilities of my own. I have a chronic, very painful medical condition that technically counts as a disability. So when I answered yes to that question it proceeded to ask me more questions regarding that, such as how much it affects my daily life, how long I’ll have it, how bad it is, etc. Then based off of those answers it determined whether or not I would have a bias towards disabled people.

I consider myself to be a little chunky and I technically have a “disability”, so my results said that I don’t have an automatic negative bias toward either of these groups of people, which I wasn’t surprised by because I definitely agree with that. I am very accepting of everybody and understand everybody has their own issues and obstacles.

I believe that these tests make you more aware of how you interact with others and pre-perceived biases towards people who are different from you. It also makes you self- reflect on your own issues in life and how you view the world. I think that this could be very useful in college because you’re constantly meeting all kinds of people with so many different situations and backgrounds. It is important to be as open-minded as can be, because if you judge people from what you see, you could be missing an opportunity to gain a great friend. You also never know what someone is going through, and  some people, like myself, don’t wear their disabilities on our sleeves. At first glance you would never know I had anything wrong with me, when in reality I’m pretty sure I’ve had more surgeries than anyone I know. Everyone is dealing with something, so just be accepting of everyone!

In regards to my career, as an OT I will be working with all kinds of different people and populations, so of course I need to be as accepting and nonjudgemental as can be. I especially will be working with people with all different types of disabilities, and I think it is so interesting to hear people’s stories and learn from them and their experiences. People with disabilities are so strong and preserver through life, and I think they can teach us a lot.

Spotlight Post #2

--Original published at Jenna'sPSY105blog

For my second spotlight post, I chose prompt #2 about stress management. As a college student, as well as an athlete, stress is something I struggle with and I feel that it is important to find ways to manage your stress levels in order to achieve peak performance and to maintain your sanity. I will be discussing ways that different audiences can cope with stressful situations based off of three articles I found.

My first audience is college students. Dear college students, you NEED to sleep. Most college students are so overwhelmed with the amount of school work they have and how little time they have to do it, so they stay up all night working on assignments and sleep a few hours each night during the week and then try to catch up on sleep on the weekends. That is a very unhealthy lifestyle to live all week long every week for an entire school year. As we learned in class, catching up on sleep is simply that-catching up. By the time you’re finally caught up, it’s Monday and you have to start the cycle all over again. You sendup essentially inducing “jet lag” when doing this. Nobody is able to do their best work when they are constantly sleep deprived. Sleep more during the night so that you can feel refreshed when taking on school responsibilities. Another tip is to practice some relaxation techniques when you feel overwhelmed. Whether it be mediation, slowly taking deep breaths and counting to ten, playing with a stress ball, anything that can take your mind off of things and calm you down is beneficial to your overall mental health. Lastly, talk to somebody. Ranting to your roommate or friends or calling your parents and just talk about your problems can be a very good outlet for frustration and make a world of difference. Honestly, talking things through with people can help you figure things out for yourself and how you can take on all of your stress, and if not, most likely your parents or friends can help you come up with a solution or game plan to get through your struggles.

My next audience is athletes. First of all, keeping a positive attitude is key. Sometimes you can be so stressed out from practicing every single day and worrying about winning all the time, but staying positive puts you a completely different head space- and a healthy one! If you have a bad performance or you feel you didn’t do as well as you know you could have, don’t let it discourage you, let it drive you to do better next time. Not only will it be a learning experience, but it will also alleviate so much stress. Another tip is to have time to yourself to have fun. Sports can be very demanding and you can often times feel like your whole life revolves around the sport you play. When you do have free time, use it. Not only will it be a way to get your mind off of your stress, but you can do things that are still keeping you active which may slightly benefit your performance your sport anyway. You can go on a run, lift weights, go hiking, do yoga, or play some video games. Whatever helps you to destress and enjoy yourself will help you in the long run. Lastly, have a strong support system. Your friends, family, trainers, and especially your coach all want to see you succeed as much as possible. They can help you find ways to deal with your stressors, as well as encourage you to push through the hard times. They can also help you remain positive and change your perspective. Surrounding yourself with people who only have your well-being in mind is essential when in stressful situations.

Lastly, I would like to address the parents of teenagers. The teenage years can be the most stressful phase of children growing up that parents have to go through. It can be a very difficult time for teenagers, but parents are just as stressed out as their children, so I would like to give advice for parents that can help their teens and, in turn, alleviate some of their own stress as well. For starters, help your child learn that some things are outside their control. Learning not to stress about the little things will help them worry less and have a clearer mind. Teens deal with a lot of drama, so teach them to stay out of it and show them that the drama is pointless, a waste of time, and won’t matter in the long run. Secondly, limit your teen’s social media use. Kids are constantly glued to their phones, but social media has the potential to completely ruin their self confidence. Nowadays it’s all about editing and posting the most perfect pictures, getting the most likes on a post, having the most followers, and constantly beating themselves down when they don’t achieve those things as well as comparing themselves to others. This can be very detrimental to their mental health and can cause a lot of stress in the household when the parents have to deal with their child going through that. Lastly, come up with some stress relieving distractions for your child. Whether it be hanging out with friends, going on a drive (if they have their license), playing basketball outside, playing an instrument, drawing, shopping, getting ice cream, anything that can be fun and get their mind off of the stress can be so beneficial for your teen.

The three articles I found wrote about these tips more in depth and provided many more ideas to cope with stress. I feel that these tips are very helpful for people dealing with high levels of stress and feel they can’t find any solutions. I definitely plan on keeping some of these tips in mind following my return to college this semester, and hopefully they can help other people too!


Chapter 9 First Impression Post

--Original published at Jenna'sPSY105blog

For this week’s first impression post, I chose the first prompt which discusses the school system and how to promote better learning. Throughout my school career, I definitely feel that the school system was disinterested in my success. It really seemed like in elementary school it was determined who the academically top ranked students were, and from then on out they were given lots of attention and pushed to challenge themselves and they really wanted those kids to succeed. While I was a very smart kid and did most of my academics with the “gifted” kids, I was never actually in the “gifted” program and it felt I was seen as lesser because of it. I was lumped with the average kids and treated fine by my teachers, but I was never pushed or even encouraged to step out of the box and challenge myself. I was never urged to take AP or even advanced/honors classes by my teachers or counselors, they just automatically signed off on whatever classes I chose was best for me to take.


I feel that there are some flaws in our education system. For starters, I think that a lot of times teachers go into teaching with predetermined assumptions about their students. For example, if they know one of their students comes from a family of poverty, they often times assume that the child is not smart and will have trouble succeeding in their classroom. Going along with that, teachers can assume that these students will not be academically successful due to their limited resources or their lack of family members who are involved in their education.


Another thing that I think would make the school system more efficient is taking note of how each student learns the best. Some students are visual learners, some are auditory learners, and some are tactile learners. Some kind of testing should be done to determine this for each student, then the teachers could teach their students accordingly. This could better suit students’ academic needs in order for them to be as successful as possible. Every child is unique and different in their own way, and it is important that the school system pays attention to their needs.

Chapter 13 First Impression Post

--Original published at Jenna'sPSY105blog

For this week’s first impression post, we were prompted to take four different personality tests to find out more about ourselves. Personality is a very interesting topic, and it’s what makes everybody different from one another. How you respond to certain situations and your level of creativity say a lot about your personality, so it’s different to see how people answer the questions.

For the first two personality tests, I was told that my personality type was ENFP. This means I am more of an extravert than an introvert, I prefer intuition over sensing, I trust feelings rather than thinking, and I am more perceiving than I am judging. ENFP’s are typically easygoing, energetic, free-spirited, adventurous, social, and curious.  I think this personality describes me pretty well because I enjoy going to parties and social events often because I like the friendships and connections I make, and I’d much rather be with friends than alone. I’m also very good at thinking things through when asked for advice, but when it’s me in the situation I act very impulsively when making decisions and let my emotions cloud my judgment. I love to adventure and explore new places as well. Also, along with being social, I am fascinated by people. I love to observe people and learn from them. I like helping and am very empathetic towards people, which is definitely going to show when I become an Occupational Therapist. ENFP weaknesses are that we are impulsive, emotional (and not very good at handling our emotions), tend to get very stressed and overthink everything, sometimes find it hard to focus, and don’t like being told what to do. I pretty much got these same results in the other two personality tests as well. All of these traits I deal with on an almost everyday basis, so I would say my results were pretty accurate.

While they were pretty accurate, I’m not so sure how credible these tests are. A simple 60 question survey is not going to accurately tell you all about your personality. Also, for a lot of questions my answers weren’t so black and white. For a majority of the questions both answers could’ve worked for me because sometimes I feel one way, and other times the other option was more likely to occur. There was no middle ground on the questionnaires. To improve these personality tests, I think it would be beneficial for the researchers who come up with the questions to have a “both” or a “yes and no” option for people who don’t have a concrete answer. This way, they could get more accurate results by avoiding people not knowing what answer to choose and just randomly selecting one.

Chapter 11 First Impression Post

--Original published at Jenna'sPSY105blog

For this week’s first impression post, I decided on the first prompt which discusses stress management. With college comes large amounts of stress, especially when trying to manage everything and having so much on your plate. To be honest, I have a lot of anxiety, so my stress management is pretty bad.

I typically have two ways I deal with stress, neither of which are good strategies. The first is that I panic. I get so stressed out that my brain doesn’t know how to handle it so I just have a meltdown. I cry, freak out, yell and rant and give all of the reasons why I can’t do something and how I just feel stuck. Then, once I’m done having a mental breakdown and can pull myself together, my brain becomes more clear and I can think things through and come up with an effective solution and game plan.

The other way I deal with stress is, well, that I don’t. When I get overwhelmed with all of the stuff I have to do or if I don’t know how to figure something out, I completely shut down and don’t deal with it at all. I avoid the tasks that I feel are causing me the stress and put it off. This can often times cause even more stress because I dig myself into an even deeper hole when I wait until the last minute and I’m not only scrambling to figure it out or deal with it, but I’m now also just scrambling to get it done.

Something that I can do to better handle my stress is to plan ahead. I can schedule out my week and what needs to get done, and then once I get it done I can check it off of my list. Then I’ll have a sense of completion and accomplishment, it will help me keep track of what I still need to get done, and it will help me keep a set plan of what I need to get done each day. Going along with this, when I know that I have a lot of things coming up that will allow for little time to get work done, I can work ahead and get assignments done early so that I don’t stress trying to figure out when I’ll have time to do the work.

Chapter 10 First Impression Post

--Original published at Jenna'sPSY105blog

For this week’s first impression post, I chose the prompt about reading people’s emotions. I was prompted to take an Emotion Intelligence Test, where it showed 20 pictures of people displaying different emotions, and I had to pick between four choices of which emotion I thought it could be. I ended up getting 14/20 correct, which the test said is a little above the average number people typically get right.

I pride myself in being pretty good at reading people’s emotions and knowing how people are feeling- especially my boyfriend. He doesn’t have to say a word before I ask what’s on his mind, which always catches him off guard because like most guys he thinks he’s good at hiding his emotions. When observing people, I always tend to pick up on the small details that most people wouldn’t notice, which is why I feel I’m so good at reading emotions. I also have a lot of empathy towards people, which I think helps too. Because of these skills, going into the test I expected to do pretty well.

Although I only got six wrong, the test was a lot harder than I thought it would be. The very basic emotions, such as happy, sad, surprised, and angry were pretty easy to pick up on, but the more specific ones such as love, politeness, pain, desire, and contempt were a lot more difficult. Some of the emotions, such as disgust, involved people sticking their tongue out, which gave the emotion away.

I do not think this was a very accurate test to determine how good you are at reading people’s emotions. First off, emotions are portrayed by everyone differently. Also, the people in the pictures were told an emotion and they portrayed it how they thought it would look, rather than their natural expression when feeling that emotion. Lastly, a lot of the options I had to choose from were very similar to each other, and it could’ve been either emotion.

A way that I think this test could help me in the future when trying to read people’s emotions is the fact that after each picture it provided multiple cues on what to look for when reading facial expressions for each emotion. For example, people’s eyebrows being raised, the corners of the mouth being raised, the chin being stuck out, head being tilted, etc. These cues will definitely be helpful and hopefully if I think about them when around people I can become better at knowing how they are feeling.