A Comparison of Methods of Pediatric Mental Health Therapy

--Original published at Jess Principe's Blog

By: Jessica Principe

Researcher have looked at the possible benefits of Brief Behavioral Therapy (BBT) over assisted referral mental health care (ARC) for youth with mental health disorders. In an original study conducted by V. Robin Weersing, David A. Brent, Michelle S. Rozenman, Araceli Gonzalez, Megan Jeffreys, John F. Dickerson, Frances L. Lynch, Giovanna Porta, and Satish Iyengar, for JAMA Psychiatry, were researching to see if the BBT therapy group showed significant mental health improvements compared to the youth recipients of ARC therapy group.

Depression and Anxiety affect about 30% of youth, but remain as two of the most under treated mental health disorders today (JAMA network, 2017). The researchers were attempting to gather evidence that the BBT therapy, which is more targeted therapy in a pediatric setting, showed superior results compared to the traditional outpatient community mental health care referral (JAMA network, 2017). Although JAMA Psychiatry states that more repeated studies will need to be done in order to increase their sample size and obtain more evidence that the BBT can be more successful in improving mental health disorders than ARC, their first study did show significant results.

The JAMA Psychiatry study recruited 95 participants from San Diego, California to the BBT group and 90 to the ARC group. The participants were not randomly selected, they were referred to by pediatricians if the patients met the requirements of a baseline test to then be placed into either the BBT or ARC group. Both groups underwent the therapy of their group for 8-12 weeks of 45 minute sessions. The results indicated that in the BBT group, 56.8% improved on a scale used to assess improvement across both anxiety and depression, and In the ARC group, only 28.2% improved (JAMA network, 2017). The Hispanic youths of the study were also observed as an additional element. The article’s results claimed that Hispanic youths had a stronger rate of improvement to their disorders in the BBT group, in which 76.5% improved, compared to the ARC group, where only 7.1% improved (JAMA network, 2017). Although it is obvious through their research that this was a smaller study, with a small sample size, and early data, the results lead the researchers to believe that their study provided significant data to expand their research.


The pop culture article does well in describing the results of the study, the reasons for why the study was conducted, and makes it clear that additional studies need to be done to strengthen that results of the data found. I aimed to include all of that in my summary as well. A weakness is the five critical questions are not answered well in the pop culture article, they do not discuss how the participants were selected and divided into groups like the scholarly article does. I discussed this in my summary, but also in a way that would be easy for a general audience to understand. I did not direct that results to a specific audience because the study was conducted with non randomly selected participants only from San Diego, California, therefore the results can not be generalized to any population at this time. I did not include to generalize my results to any population in my article summary nor discuss why, because a general audience reading my article may not know the correlation between random sample and generalizing results to a specific audience.

During this process, I recognize that in order to make an article, especially a science based one, easy to understand for a general audience, the study must be concise, reveal the purpose, results, and discussion accurately. One element I see is essential is to include the five critical questions, even in a pop culture article, because it makes the source more credible to advance readers such as psychologists, doctors, or professors, for example, in the case of this essay. The scholarly article does very well in including all of these elements, however, the scholarly article also includes a very detailed analysis of all the research found, making it harder for a general audience to understand compared to what is summarized in the pop culture article. For the media production assignment, I aimed for a healthy medium between the two, attempting to efficiently summarize the goals, data, and results of the research in a way that a general audience could easily understand and interpret.


Weersing, V. R. (2017, June 01). Brief Behavioral Therapy for Pediatric Anxiety and Depression

in Primary Care. Retrieved March 18, 2019, from


“Pediatrics-Based Brief Therapy Outdoes Referral for Youths with Anxiety and Depression.”

National Institute of Mental Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 31

May 2017,




--Original published at Jess Principe's Blog

by: Jess Principe

The educators I have had in my schooling experience so far have had an extremely positive impact on me. Aside from the education I have received from them, the knowledge I have learned about the many valuable factors in life outside of education have come from my teachers. Things such as learning how to share or be a good friend when you are in kindergarten, to up through high school learning how to have confidence in yourself, set goals to reach in life, and be intrinsically motivated are all skills my educators helped me to find in myself. I do feel that how educators act towards their students impacts their mindsets, which then affects their actions, which affects of course their futures. Even the subtle phrases or “words of wisdom” that I have learned from my educators are sometimes the ones that have stuck with me the most throughout my life. My coaches, I consider to be as valuable as my educators as well for these same exact reasons.

I feel that one of the best things the schooling systems do and should do more of is opportunities for students to connect with their teachers. For example, we had “advisory” at both my middle school and high school, where we could select a teacher that we felt close with or trusted to always have to go to for advice, picking classes, and guidance throughout our middle school and high school years. These relationships were very valuable to me, I still talk with my advisors a lot, and my family and I consider them close family friends too. These relationships and healthy environments are vital for students to receive from their educators as they grow into adults that later pursue college and careers.


--Original published at Jess Principe's Blog

By: Jess Principe

College can be very stressful, not only for managing school work, but also if you are involved in sports, clubs, or any other extracurricular activities on campus as well. My top methods of stress management is planning ahead when I feel I know multiple assignments are coming up, making lists and crossing things off the lists as I complete them, and using the reminders app on my phone. Planning ahead and managing my time, reduces my stress the most because I know what I have to get done on a day to day basis. This is most important when I am in season for lacrosse, because a large chunk of my day is devoted to practice, lifts, and games which makes time management crucial. Making notes is also very helpful to me for stress management because not only does it prevent stress by having a convenient way to see the assignments I need to get done, but it also reduces my stress when I can cross completed things off the list as I do them. An additional way to manage stress is with the reminders app on our iphones. I rely on this app to remember things  such as the exact times of a meeting or practice, setting alarms for the next morning, or when major upcoming events are too. This reduces my stress so I don’t have to remember dates, times, and the little things that are easy for us all to forget, especially when we are stressed. Lastly, my favorite stress management and reducer is playing sports and exercising because it clears my head of stress and makes it easier to focus on other stuff I need to get done.

These stress management techniques work very well for me, and I can see myself doing these habits all throughout my life, especially when I get my first real job. Additional techniques for stress management that I could try are yoga, meditation, and maybe using the calendar on my laptop more. All of these options would provide more methods to manage and reduce stress in order to help me succeed in college.


--Original published at Jess Principe's Blog

By: Jess Principe

The first personality test, “humanmetrics,” told me through summary that I was caring, intuitive, slightly extraverted, and could easily pick up on other people’s feelings. The summary stated my type is organized and a planner, and that my actions can be followed by others through observation. This test I feel represents me pretty well, however, even though the survey asked over 60 questions, I didn’t always understand the wording of some of the questions for this one. The test seems somewhat credible, but not very organized. The second personality test, “personailtytest.net,” appeared well organized when I was taking it, however, when recieving my results it only gave me the mnemonic name, and no summary of the meaning behind the name. This test also had over 60 question, and the questions seemed categorized better than the previous personality test, but the results section was confusing. I don’t think this site is credible.The third personality test, “personality-testing,” had a very accurate results section that was colorcoded, divided by the top five factors it gave me, as well as percentages for each of those factors. This test and website I found to be the most credible of the four tests. The fourth and final test, “the color quiz,” I found to be completely made up, inaccurate, and not a credible source. The test had me select colors that appealed to me in order from favorite to least twice, and then proceeded to give me a huge summary based on just the colors I selected. No description was given between how the colors correlated with the results summary, and the results didn’t match up with the personality results the other tests gave me.

Overall, I feel a personality test on a website can not accurately describe how a person is because the questions can be presented with two completely opposite responses following them, and no happy medium. I found several questions hard to understand, or that the none of the possible options given after the question described me well. The results were interesting to read and I found some very accurate about myself, but other parts not so much. I don’t agree with the fact that people can be classified based off of any source on a website. In addition, truly all personalities are different and can’t be classified into a “type.”


--Original published at Jess Principe's Blog

by: Jess Principe

The score of my facial expression recognition quiz was a 15/20. I feel this score correlates well with what I thought it would be because I feel I can read emotions better than most people just from being the type of person who cares how others are doing. I try to pick up on things such as body language or behavior that seems out of place from how my family and friends typically act because I love and care about them. Sometimes facial expressions are confusing and don’t appear to be what you think the face represents. For example, flirtatious can look like happiness and shame can look like embarrassment. Reading facial expressions can directly correlate with communication because when people don’t reveal their feelings through words, facial expression can create a different image to help better understand how a person is feeling.

The facial expressions quiz is mostly credible but does have some flaws. For example, most people’s facial expressions are not as strong as the ones presented in the photos. Also, one of the emotions listed was “love” which isn’t very clear of what that alludes to- is the person in love with another person or do they love something they see? Another example is the difference between shame and embarrassment are very similar both in meaning and the facial expression and the quiz makes it hard to understand which is which. The biggest take away though with the credibility of the quiz is that it makes it obvious that some facial expressions are harder to distinguish than others, however, in real life most people show mild versions of the facial expression images shown or a combination of emotions can exist for one facial expression. For example, if someone has a big smile on their face and eyes are wide, they could be happy, excited, surprised, or proud. Likewise, if someones face looks solum, they could be sad, angry, ashamed, or embarrassed, and it would be hard to distinguish.


--Original published at Jess Principe's Blog

In my opinion, healthy sleeping habits are often disregarded by most people. Even those who try to be healthy by eating a smart balance of nutritious foods and get plenty of exercise, often leave a healthy sleep schedule behind. I personally try to aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night and typically get in that range, however on the weekends that can sometimes diminish from being out late with friends and not sleeping in much the following morning. I do not function well without sleep, I feel irritable, unenergetic, and groggy if I get anything less than 6 ½ hours for more than two nights in a row. In addition, I rarely nap during the day, so getting the 7-8 hours at night is what I always try to aim for to be my best self.

Most college kids that do not have a healthy sleep schedule and say it is because they stay up late every night doing work, probably are just not managing their free time very well. Time management is crucial, especially if you are participating in additional clubs or sports on top of the academic workload a college student receives. There is definitely time in college to do fun and social things, especially on the weekends, however, the amount of time available to do social things, get school work done, and sleep at least 7 hours on weekends will depend on how well you manage your time during the week (monday-friday). I think a logistical goal for a college student is 7 hours at least every night. If one can’t maintain that, they may just need to re-organize their day to day schedules and manage their free time a little bit better. As a student athlete, practice time, lifts, and missed classes every once in a while due to games causes me to plan well in advance for my school work and every day to manage getting homework and studying done before and after practice time. These time management skills that I have acquired in high school and throughout the rest of college, I certainly will carry with me throughout life to try and always get a healthy 7-8 hours of sleep per night to be successful and live well during the day.

Sensation and Perception

--Original published at Jess Principe's Blog

By: Jess Principe

When I first started watching the TED Talk by Daniel Tammet, I had trouble following what Synesthesia was as he began explaining it, and I initially questioned what he was attempting to explain to us when giving his personal examples of living with Synesthesia. In particular, his vision of how he perceives numbers in a drawing-like format I simply could not wrap my head around. I find it extremely interesting that his mind operates this way due to the unique neurological connections that exist in his brain and the active communication between his senses. To be honest, when Daniel Tammet started providing examples for us of the math equation, Icelandic word, and poetry line to allow us to see how he perceives them, I could not comprehend how he was seeing them. The example I followed best was how he solved the math equation with the cubed block visual example. The question I was left with after learning about how he views those few examples in every day life is how strong have those senses always been, as in, when he was younger and was going through school, did his senses continually improve as he learned more, or has he always been able to make these connections so fluently?

I find his ability to see life this way extremely fascinating because it’s incredible that something so difficult for most to fully understand, is a natural instinct of people like Daniel Tammet. Connections made deeper than normal allows us to view the world differently through someone else’s unique perception. How I see it is people with Synesthesia are extremely aware because of how much additional communication there is going on between their senses compared to majority of man kind. This can represent that there is a deeper meaning in how we can view every day life. I feel you are at a genetic advantage if you have Synesthesia because the more cognitive maps a person can make in life, the better they understand, learn, and retain information. I feel this topic could relate to our memory unit that we just covered because if people like Daniel Tammet can make such strong visual and meaningful connections between what they see in every day life, the retrieval and memory encoding process for them may be extremely unique, fast, and more retainable than psychologists have previously observed throughout history. The TED Talk definitely convinced me that conditions like Synesthesia, represents that there truly is a deeper meaning in how one can view the connections seen in every day life, as well as the possibility that these connection could be limitless.

Chapter 8- Memory

--Original published at Jess Principe's Blog

By: Jess Principe

In my opinion, the stronger the memory is to the person, the more valuable the experience was to the person. If something very exciting happens in your life such as graduating high school, scoring your first goal in a sports event, or meeting someone you love for the first time, those memories will be stronger and stick with you longer because the experience was very important to you as well. Likewise, the scariest experiences a person encounters in their lives will be just as scarring from a memory standpoint as well. For our generations, the Sandy Hook School shooting, the Boston Marathon bombing, and Hurricane Katrina all stick out to me and I can remember exactly where I was when all three happened because I was scared during those events, as well as scared during the aftermath of these events when viewing them through social media.

An interesting way to test the strength of memories is to ask a randomly selected group of people to identify their top three happiest memories and scariest memories and have them summarize where they were  or what they were doing when these memories occured. If the memories are significant events (whether they are exciting or scary) in their life or to the outside global community, then it would be easy to confirm that the stronger the memories, the more significant the event. If the memories seem to be random days or insignificant events that seem to still stick strongly to the person, then it conveys that memories can be strong but arise from insignificant events.


--Original published at Jess Principe's Blog

By: Jess Principe

The TED talk I selected was “Exploring the Mind of a Killer” by Jim Fallon, and I chose this one because I am currently watching the “Ted Bundy Tapes” on Netflix with my roommate, and her and I have both gone back and forth with trying to understand why a guy that appeared pretty normal in his early life transformed into a serial killer, responsible for the deaths of possibly over a hundred women. During the TED talk, Jim Fallon discussed that he has studied the brains of several killers from the past and explained some of the factors that he believes has caused the people to become psychopaths. Jim Fallon explains that the three major factors that contribute to are brain damage, genes, and environmental factors. In addition, he states that the major brain damage in all of the killers he studied was to the orbital cortex. Jim Fallon also explains that the serial killers would most likely have seen or experienced some sort of trauma before puberty to increase their risk of having these developmental issues that led them to become killers.

What I found most interesting was the irony that the brains of the serial killers revealed high levels of serotonin, a chemical that should calm someone, yet it made these people consistent, violent killers. In addition, I found Jim Fallon’s discussion on the MAOA gene being a high risk factor for someone who is sociopathic to be much more likely in men than women, due to the gene being sex linked, therefor most likely the gene is from the mother X chromosome being passed on to the male.

I trusted the presentation given by Jim Fallon because he supported all of his claims with evidence not only on the killers he observed, but also had the passion to explore his own family history to help gain additional evidence for his studies. Jim Fallon showed many images during the talk of the scans he did of the killers for more proof as well. In addition, I felt it was a strong presentation given because of Jim Fallon’s use of deductive reason, beginning in general with the three major factors that he feels contribute to the developmental damage of killers, to the specific information of the high risk MAOA  gene found on the X chromosome.

My research idea would be to obtain more informational evidence of the killers in their adolescent years, around ages 5 to 12. By this I mean I would look into more factors that may have led to the psychological damage of the killers. I would do this to see if their are any overlapping themes in how the children were raised or other factors that could contribute to the violent lives of the killers, aside from Jim Fallon’s claim of them having to experience some type of trauma before puberty. I feel there are more factors that could possibly go into the developmental damage of the killers than just a trauma at a young age. Some examples of possible factors could be safety of their home life, their family’s economic status, their social upbringing, and parenting styles used on them. I would conduct this research through interviews of current killers on their adolescent years by creating a series of questions that would reveal answers to some of those posed questions. Then, I would review the data and see which questions overlapping in the majority of the killers interviewed, to strengthen the evidence already discovered by scientists like Jim Fallon.  

Bonus Posts

--Original published at Jess Principe's Blog

The psychodynamic approach could explain that Miguel may have grown up in a household with strict parents that consistently pushed him to do very well in school, thus making him constantly put too much pressure on himself. Miguel may have developed an anxiety disorder from this lifestyle of needing to do everything “perfect” in his life. This anxiety may be leading to depression since he is beginning to lose interest in his academic work and feeling more tired and irritable with the people around him.

The behavioral approach could identify that Miguel’s initial behavior as being very hard on himself to the point of frustration with himself and towards other. This pressure has made him increasingly tired and he is beginning to struggle with his course work, and may be even losing interest in activities he once loved if he feels he “can’t do anything right.”

The humanistic approach can explain that Miguel, being a perfectionist may feel that if he does everything right then he can do anything. However, this high pressure that he is placing on himself is causing him to doubt everything he does to the point of struggling in his academics and social life with people like his roommate, for example. In addition, the pressures are becoming exhausting to Miguel, making him extra tired and more irritable.

Miguel’s cognitive psychology can reveal his initial mental processes are to be a perfectionist and if every little thing is not correct then he is unsatisfied. His problem solving skills most likely are to do everything correct or else it is wrong in his eyes. His language is becoming rude and aggressive since he has been picking fights with his roommate. In addition, Miguel is beginning to lose confidence in himself due to doubting all the things he does in his life.

Miguels biological/neuroscience perspective could reveal his parents may have had strict parents as well that consistently pushed them to be the best they could be and accept nothing less. This mentality then transferred to Miguel, who throughout his life may have felt the need to hold himself to high standards to not disappoint himself or his parents/family. It is possible that there is a family history of anxiety or depression in Miguel’s family, since he is beginning to reveal the general symptoms of both of those psychological disorders.

From a cultural psychology perspective Miguel’s problems can be seen across the world no matter what cultural background he has because if he were, for example, developing depression and anxiety, that is a mental illness present in all parts of the world because it is a cognitive universal process. We also do not know about Miguel’s ethnicity or where he was born, so no assumptions can be made about how those environmental factors of his cultural background may have influenced the current problems he is having in his daily life.