--Original published at Tiffany'sCollegeBlog

I have located three articles that explain peer pressure tips and what to do so that you don’t end up falling under peer pressure. Peer pressure is influence from members of one’s peer group and a feeling that one must do the same things as other people of one’s age and social group in order to be liked or respected by them. A peer is someone you look up to like a friend, someone in the community or even someone on TV. Peer pressure can be both a positive and negative influence and will challenge us do things whether they are right or wrong. Peer pressure can influence several areas in your life like; academic performance, who you choose for friends, it can influence who you mat choose for a boyfriend or girlfriend, it can influence decisions about sex, it may change your feelings about alcohol and drug use, and it can even determine your fashion choice. Though it’s different in many ways from high school, there is still pressure at college to “fit in” and to be liked by others. There is often peer pressure to do things you wouldn’t normally do “because this is college” and you are trying to meet new friends. For some people peer pressure may come from you directly, this may be because you are feeling different than everyone else even if they are not suggesting you join. Other times groups of friends can have certain activities and habits they do together. If you find that hanging out with people who tend to do things you wouldn’t normally do and you feel unaccepted unless you follow through, “get out” so you don’t fall into the pressure to “fit in.” There are many things you can do to get away from peer pressure. The first is simply to just say “no.” Other ways to handle not dealing with peer pressure would be: stick with what you believe is right, don’t judge others, try to find a new crowd, take action for others who are being pressured, and if all else fails, go to the college counseling center for support. 

The first article that I have found talks about parents and how they should help their child resist peer pressure. The article has ten steps that help you inform your child of what to look for and how to handle peer pressure. The ten steps are: establish good communication, stay involved in your child’s daily life, maintain reasonable rules, help your child establish healthy friendships, encourage healthy activities and hobbies, talk to your child about smoking, alcohol, and drugs, teach your child to trust her instincts, help your child say no and mean it, establish a code phrase, and count on the support of good friends. With establishing good communication, having a close relationship with your child can make it easier for them to resist peer pressure. Having daily conversations with them, listening, offering support and advice and answering their questions can make it easier for them to come to you from everything. Staying involved and spending time with your child helps as well. Don’t be a helicopter mom but knowing where they are going and who they are going with can show them that you care and they will trust you. Having some boundaries can be beneficial as well as setting rules and having consequences if they are broken. Making sure that your child understands the expectations that you hold can connect a strong relationship between you both. Making sure your child stays with the friend group that helps he/she grow will be important. Making lasting friendships and packs to not do certain things together can build great relationships with others. As well as giving examples of good friends versus the bad ones. Being encouraging and supportive for you child’s favorite activities can help them with their self-esteem and developing healthy relationships. Making it known of what’s good and what’s bad can make it known as to what is important and what is not. Following what your gut says can be important on deciding who to listen to and what to say as an answer for whatever that person asked. I personally enjoy making a pros and cons list and doing that helps me way out what is good and what is not. Having a code word can make it easy for your child to say they need your help in front of someone without actually saying it. Having a good support system at home and at school can encourage your child to let his friends know that they have each others backs. I think all of these can be very helpful as long as you stick to it and make them all happen. It’s not good to start a support system and then have it broken. You have to be careful on who you trust and who you cont on as friends. 

The next article I chose relates to many ages including college students and parents and how to eliminate peer pressure as best as you can. Peer pressure can involve many things like stealing, drugs, sexual activity, dangerous behavior, and alcohol. The article starts with explaining peer pressure and how some people can get dragged into it. Then it talks about tips that can stop you or persuade you to resist peer pressure. Lots of people are dragged into peer pressure because they are afraid of being rejected by others or they don’t want to be made fun of. They can resist peer pressure by making eye contact, not making excuses, and sticking up for themselves. The article discusses the different types of peer pressure like spoken, unspoken, positive and negative. Spoken peer pressure is the most visible and easily understood form of peer pressure. Unspoken can happen through the power of a look or gesture. It can be sufficient enough to coerce someone into doing something that makes them uncomfortable. Positive peer pressure is the most beneficial influence that opens up new horizons and reinforces the decision to stay away from bad behavior while negative peer pressure encourages a person to do harmful or dangerous things. It can be more subtle and manipulative. The article then discusses tips for parents on how to encourage your student to do the right thing. It goes into how college brings new environments, situations, and expectations. A few tips towards the end that the article gives for kids of all ages are: spend time with those who resist peer pressure, learn how to be assertive, ask for help if necessary, get out of the situation, choose friends carefully, use the delay tactic, think ahead, provide your own positive pressure and go with your gut. I think this article is very, very well written. It gives a sense of peer pressure for everyone and not just one group of peers. I think that there isn’t much more to say because it covered a lot of ground with peer pressure. 

Mental Health Treatment

--Original published at Tiffany'sCollegeBlog

For this week’s first impression post, I chose to do option 1 involving ranking the types of therapy according to how helpful they could be. The first type of therapy is psychodynamic therapy. Psychodynamic therapy derives from the psychoanalytic tradition, but it doesn’t involve the id, ego, and super ego. Instead psychodynamic therapists view individuals as responding to unconscious forces and childhood experiences, and seeks to enhance self-insight. The second type of therapy is humanistic therapy. The humanistic perspective emphasizes people’s inherent potential for self-fulfillment. The third is behavior therapy and that applies learning principles to the elimination of unwanted behaviors. Classical conditioning and operant conditioning are two of the techniques that go along with behavioral therapy. Lastly, cognitive therapy has to do with teaching people, new more adaptive ways of thinking and it’s based on the assumption that thoughts intervene between events and our emotional reactions. I already go to therapy, but in my opinion, I would rank these therapies in the order of: humanistic, psychodynamic, cognitive, and behavioral. I like humanistic therapy because it believes in human potential and your capacity to grow and change in positive ways. Humanistic therapy also helps you recognize and develop your personal values, unique strengths, and your creativity. I also like how it aims to boost people’s self-fulfillment by helping them grow in self-awareness and self-acceptance and that the path to growth is taking immediate responsibility for one’s feeling and actions. I like psychodynamic approach because it focuses on relationships and how their childhood was. I like that it involves face to face interactions and that it gains perspective through exploring defended against thoughts and feelings. The one thing I do dislike about psychodynamic is that it doesn’t really rely on id, ego, and superego. I think partially that’s kinda crucial in some case when you need a good, bad, and neutral party opinion. I like cognitive therapy because it allows both the patient and the therapist to be creative, it emphasizes what is healthy in the patient, and it’s easily accessible. I think that this is good and bad that it tries to help people change their minds with more and new constructive ways of perceiving and interpreting events. I think that the example in the book is good and bad, the loss of the job leading to depression and not leading to depression. In some cases, it’s good to think that it’s worthless and hopeless and in others, it is better to say it wasn’t a good fit. I think it mostly relies on the situation. 

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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Spotlight Blog Post #3

--Original published at Kirsten's Kreations

For this post I chose to do the second option of Hoarding. I have people who are close to me that are hoarders, thankfully not as extreme as the ones on the show, and I have seen the show a few times. It bewilders me to see how people can let their house get as bad as some people let it. Frankly, I am the kind of person who can’t stand messes. Recently I visited family and my uncles basement I stayed in had food crumbs all over the floor and the one room smelled awful do to the dogs sometimes using it as a bathroom. I felt so gross that I wouldn’t walk around the house without shoes and avoided the dog smelling room as much as possible. However, the people on this show can be so bad the one person was living in his backyard because his house was filled to the roof with trash.

No matter how extreme the one thing everyone has in common with each other on this show is the hoarding didn’t happen until after an extreme tragedy occurred in their life. Because their hoarding is a result of a tragedy it really raises a question as to if these shows are more harmful to these people rather than beneficial. Personally, I believe they are harmful because they are already feeling stressed and hurt from their family members forcing them to drastically change their ways. Showing their pain on t.v. for the world to see makes them feel even more stressed and vulnerable which can harm their mental health even more which seems highly unethical to me. If families are truly worried about their loved ones then they should help them in privacy rather than exploit them.

When preparing to do this post I did a lot of searching on sources to back up if these shows are beneficial or harmful. Frankly, I couldn’t find anyone who believed this show benefits the hoarders. Every source had reasons to believe the show is harmful to the people being shown. So instead of discussing two sources why this show is good and why it is bad, I am going to discuss three sources explaining why this show is harmful for the people on it. One of the sources does give a brief explanation as to why it can be good.

“Hoarding Reality Shows Might Do More Harm Than Good”

This article mostly discusses about how the shows are harmful but does also talk about how some people on the show say they have credited from it. Information from the British Psychology Society in the article discusses how reality shows should stop entertaining people with the mental illnesses of others. A researcher on the topic of hoarding also believes these shows promote pressuring people to get rid of all of their belongings (trash or not) which is not a healthy way of going about helping them because clearing the clutter isn’t going to help their mental well being. The people on this show would need long term cognitive behavior therapy in order to work on stopping the hoarding. Some people have claimed if it wasn’t for the show then they wouldn’t have come to terms with the fact that they have a problem which led them to seek the help they needed to clean their house and help their mental well being.

This source is credible because they found people who were affected by these shows and got first hand accounts and also included the links to where they found their sources of information.

“The Problem That Piles Up”

This article explains a lot as who what hoarding disorder is and what helps and doesn’t help people with the disorder. This source is credible because it references a lot to the source that they used for their information and also provides a link to that sources for people to use. In the article it references, Dr. David F. Tolin of Hartford Hospital’s Institute of Living, as saying people who have a hoarding disorder lost their ability to control their decision making. Because of this, when the people are forced to decide whether or not they should throw something out their brain overreacts leading them to believe everything is important even if it is a piece of trash. It seems the best way to try and get someone with a hoarding disorder to take care of themselves is by being gentle and having calm conversations with them. These show are more often than not the opposite of treating someone with a calm and gentle manner.

“Hoarding: why forced clean-outs are unsuccessful”

This article is credible because it has links to some of the information at the end of the article and it also credits a book that was used for research that was written by hoarding specialists.  This article points out what is mostly disturbing about these shows is they don’t educate the public on hoarding being a mental disorder but rather as people who are lazy and giving up on life. This article does a great job of transferring the information written by the specialists into the article. The specialists pointed out how it harms the hoarders to have a family member or the public (health departments) show up at their door ready to clean their house out without warning. In fact, they says it traumatizes them further because they see these things as their life and for someone to throw it away without them wanting to.  It also only changes the living conditions temporarily because the person isn’t getting the help for the disorder they need.

Spotlight #3

--Original published at Loretta Gabrielle

College students

The article gave different ways to combat peer pressure in college and the inevitably of facing it. A way to fight peer pressure is staying busy and avoiding parties. The point this tip is trying to discuss is to avoid situations pressures due to the environment. To do so, leaving and eliminating the party and potential negative environment will avoid these pressures. I find this tip useless and will just have college students get into more trouble than they are.  If you say the way to not feel peer pressured is to avoid college parties where inevitability there is alcohol, it is like using absence as the only way of safe sex. The point is, neither method works. The next tip they discussed was the difference between college and home and having more freedom. It later discussed if you are feeling pressure to just politely decline, leave a situation, anonymously call the police, and talk to adults you trust. I find this tip helpful. The idea of this tip can come from obedience pressures. If someone is stressed out because they are in a fraternity and are told to do a task given by their older fraternity brothers, they may feel pressured to go against their beliefs and take on the other person’s norm. The article later listed different way and resources on what peer pressure a student may be facing with different article attached to it. The solution from this is to avoid conformity from the pressures you face in school social settings. Instead of doing the steps which have worked for other people doesn’t always help you. If a student feels the need to take on the beliefs and ideas of another person, they are conforming. The only addition I would add to the article is using the college help centers and therapists the school provides as well. The article trustworthy and mildly resourceful.


Athletes deal with pressure in every aspect of their career. When dealing with sports a stressor can deal with an upcoming competition. The expectation can cause a lot of pressure to do well in the sport. The article described different ways in which to deal with pressure. First, reframing the situation and deciding whether or not it is positive or negative pressure. Negative pressure relates to negative thoughts and doubts surrounding the performance while positive pressure are nerves and excitement before a competition. The tactic the article gave is to reframe the pressure which is negative and make it positive. To do this it requires using key words and reinstating the positive pressures you feel. An example of this is connecting being nervous with preforming well so when you feel nervous it is a positive pressure. The next tip is reducing external source of pressure which can come from parents, coaches, friends, and other outside people who add to any uneasy feelings. This idea of pressure coming from your friends and family can correlate with situational pressure. The environment you surround yourself can change your belief or in this case, confidence, and negatively impact one’s performance. The purpose of this tip is to get rid of any external distractions and possible negative pressures. The next tip is reducing internal sources of pressure which come from self-set expectations. This differs from the athlete as some people perform well with internal pressure and some do not, so finding the balance and level of difficulty for the athlete is able to balance the internal pressure. Since some high preforming athletes work well under self-set expectations and internal pressure, as an athlete you may conform to their strategies. Although this may work for one athlete, it doesn’t ensure internal pressure will work for you and conformity will not benefit your preformace. Recognizing the symptoms of being under pressure can be butterflies or heart and breathing pick up. This tip suggested creating high pressure situation in a controlled setting and I understand the purpose and overall benefit of this step but I disagree with it. As an athlete, I do not find stimulating high pressure situations beneficial. I recognize the larger risk but this technique does not help manage peer pressure it just creates ways to detect them. The next tip regards training pressure which can come from other people and trying to match how much and how far they have gone in practice or in their athletic career. This is training with and against different athletes which can have different levels of peer pressure. I disagree with this point as no matter what sport you play you should be working as a team rather feeling peer pressured to keep up with a teammate. The purpose of a team is to support each other not drag each other down which this article alluded to. On the other end, following the training of your mentors and peers can be seen as obedience pressure. Freshman or younger players in sports may look up towards the older players on the team and feel the need to follow their behaviors and beliefs because of an authority figure. The article suggest having a checklist to ensure the athlete has everything they need in place. I didn’t find this article helpful at all. It gave some helpful tips but it lost track of the main question regarding peer pressure which it originally was discussing. I don’t find these tips helpful for athletes at all.


The parental peer pressure discussed in this article regarded the leniency of what rules to enforce and what responsibilities to allow your child and when. This stems from what other parents allow or don’t allow their kids to do. Other issues regarded social and cultural traditions one family has over the other and the children or other parents doing a certain thing different than how they do it. Parent’s struggle with feeling the need to conform and take on the beliefs and behaviors done by other parents. An example of this can be raising your voice at children. The social group norm in America is to try and not raise your voice at a child while in a Hispanic home it shows you care. If the parent with a cultural background see’s the way other parents raise their children without raising their voice, they may feel pressured to conform and take on the beliefs and lifestyles of other parents. Situational pressures differ and if as a parent you believe that your child shouldn’t have ice cream every day but the other parents let their kids get ice cream, you may feed into the environment. The environment you are surround yourself can impact your judgement based off of the situation.

The article listed several different ways a parent can deal with these peer pressures which were finding your inner strengths, strengthening your support system, go with your gut, be assertive, don’t debate, practice self-care, gain respect, and increase family time. So what does this mean? Finding your inner strength allows the parent to reflect back on how they were raised and the beliefs and lessons they want to teach their children. Strengthening your support system is finding other parents and children’s who have similar parenting techniques. Going with your gun is allowing the advice of other parents but doing what is right for your child and not what was right for some else’s. To be assertive you need to have confidence in what you are instructing or teaching as a parent rather than fall into peer pressure. Don’t debate with other parents as to what is right or wrong, do what works for you. For being assertive and debating, the topic of obedience comes into play. If one parent who seemingly has more experience with children and comes from authority, the parents may feel pressured to adopt their behaviors in parenting. Practicing self-care is important no matter what stage of life you are in, especially parenthood. Self-care helps take on challenges and focus on bettering the parent which betters the children. Gaining respect from children is important throughout development. During a child’s development, the parent isn’t supposed to try and be a friend to their child and please them but to protect them, instill culture, lessons, teach behaviors, and education. Lastly, spending family time for one parent might be a movie night when for another parent it is puzzles, either way it is quality time spent together as a whole. These are all methods on how to resist parental peer pressure and I believe the article did an excellent job in addressing helpful tools and strategies. I find all eight methods in the article to be useful tools parents who feel parental peer pressure should use.

Spotlight Blog 3

--Original published at KatieMillerPSY105

For this spotlight blog, I choose to address peer pressure and the effectiveness of recommendations to resist peer pressure. I wanted to see what recommendations websites promote as the best method to resist peer pressure and how these methods compare with what we learned in class. I found three different articles from web sources that discuss peer pressure resistance methods for college students, athletes and adults.

The first article I found is called “Resisting Peer Pressure in College” by Molly Dutmers on the Inpathy Bulletin website. This article provides insight into peer pressure faced by college students and describes that the college years actually have a significant amount of peer pressure on young adults. The article discusses that “everything you know is questioned” (paragraph 2) the moment that you step foot on campus. The primary reason for the change in college is the new people a student will meet who have different values, beliefs, religions, ethnic backgrounds and socioeconomic status. The college environment is one where people are exposed to new ideas, cultures and norms without the social institutions that they grew up with. Expectations are also set high for college in that it is supposed to be “the best four years of your life,” and the pressure to enjoy the college experience is very high (paragraph 3). With pressure to fit in with a new group, there may be instances where normative social influence will be high. In situations with new roommates and classmates, I may feel a stronger tendency to go along with behaviors even if I don’t necessarily believe that these actions are right.

The article provides some examples on avoiding compliance by holding onto values that you believe are right and to associate with people who have a similar moral compass (paragraph 8). I believe that this advice can be implemented as I start my college process. While I will be attending a school that is quite different from my background (urban setting vs. Central Pennsylvania, diverse student body with different races, religions and beliefs vs. a more homogenous environment), I was fortunate enough to find roommates with similar values and morals. Before selecting our roommates, we took mini profile tests to determine our preferences for people to live with. After finding people with similar interests, we then were able to have further discussions with potential roommates. I was able to have honest conversations with these students on their views on partying and other recreational activities. Since not all of us were in agreement on these behaviors, the group then split into different rooms based on their personal preferences. While I believe that college is a great opportunity to engage in new experiences, I do not want to go against my beliefs. I can still be friends with others who have different behaviors, and I will not judge them for their choices. However, I do want to be sure that I do not adjust my values to seek conformity.

The second article I found is one that gave advice to female athletes called “Female Athletes and Peer Pressure” on the Positive Performance Training website. This article provides a five-step solution to deal with group dynamics in female sports. The article discussed the author’s issue of negative feelings from teammates based on her individual success as an athlete. With her teammates wanting the author to fail, the author started holding herself back from success. This background seems similar to the Asch experiment where individuals change their outlook to fit in with the group. Rather than reach for individual goals, the author changed her behavior and expectations to conform with her team. This informational social influence negatively impacted the author’s desire for individual success. Her five-step solution to resisting peer pressure has some familiar points. Step one is to be aware that wanting to be liked is not a weakness unless it ruins your life. Acknowledging what is important to you and asking the right questions is the second step. The author suggests a more future approach to determine where you want to be in 10 years or whose happiness is most important. The third step is to find support in friends and family that are more similar to you and your beliefs. The fourth step is owning your choice to let go of peer pressure. The final step is to build inner strength.

While the article provides a five-step program, I believe that the advice comes down to holding onto one’s values and avoiding negative situations. This is like the other articles, but the message is not as succinct. I believe that the author has suffered from informational influence and changed her ideas and behavior to fit in with her team. She suggests avoiding this path by holding onto to your beliefs and not adjusting your outlook. The basketball team issue is interesting as one of the options we learned to offset peer pressure was to form smaller groups to avoid a group think mentality. Since the basketball team is a relatively small group to begin with, the author may have to change teams to find people with similar interests. I feel that this article provides more advice on building inner strength than to combat peer pressure.

The final article I read is “How to Deal with Peer Pressure as an Adult” found on the MentalHealthCenter website. This article tied in very well to our lessons learned in class. First, the article discusses that peer pressure can be positive or negative depending on the circumstances. Some of the positive impacts of peer pressure can be to quit smoking because of non-smoking friends or to pursue an advanced degree if your friends are going back to school (paragraph 5). Some of the negative impacts are drinking to fit in socially or to work overtime to afford lifestyles that your friends or siblings have (paragraph 3). These negative examples are described as behaviors that contract your true values. While adults tend to develop their own identities as they disengage from the influence of their parents, some still succumb to negative peer pressure if they had been heavily influenced as an adolescent (paragraph 8). The article describes the impact of negative peer pressure to mental health, including the loss of self-esteem and control over your life (paragraph 9). The article concludes with seven bullet points to handle adult peer pressure (paragraph 10). While most of these suggestions are not unique to adult peer pressure, they seem likely to be successful.

The suggestions include being true to yourself and reflect on core values, being assertive, having a wide range of friends, learning from mistakes, being mindful, not minding critics, and seeking people to affirm your values. These points encourage people to not change their core values which is one area where informational social influence can greatly impact conformity. If someone changes their ideas and behaviors to fit in, they have given up a part of their identity. If that change is harmful, the negative impacts can affect self-esteem and physical health. Another suggestion of keeping a wide range of friends can overcome unanimity as the more diverse a population is, the greater likelihood that they will not always agree. This diverse group of friends can also influence group size and allow a person the freedom to dissent by changing to a smaller group. The article encourages people to be open minded and to learn from mistakes while at the same time understanding what feels right and holding to those values. The article suggests to not pay attention to critics if you are acting true to yourself. That advice can help overcome compliance and normative social influence by not seeking to change behavior based on others’ opinions. This article reinforces many of the issues we learned about group behavior and provides realistic suggestions on avoiding negative peer pressure even as an adult.

Overall, I believe that these articles provided some good techniques on dealing with peer pressure. Most strategies can be best implemented if the individual is mindful of the potential harmful effects of peer pressure and is willing to hold onto their ideas and beliefs.



Spotlight 3

--Original published at Kealey's PSY105 Blog

Shows portraying people with mental illness has been a new and intriguing subgenre in the reality TV world. People are attracted to watching things out of the ordinary. Anything overly dramatic, bizarre, or even disgusting pulls in viewers. In many cases, people living with mental illness have characteristics that fit into at least one of these categories. Shows such as “My Strange Addiction”, “Hoarding: Buried Alive”, or “True Life” catches attention like a car crash. It’s something terrible and uncomfortable but you can’t look away. Many say mental illnesses are exploited by being turned into this type of entertainment. No matter how one views the ethics of these shows, everyone can agree that the coming of these cases to reality TV has increased public awareness of mental illness.

A reporter from “How Stuff Works”, Joe Perritano, argues that reality TV and its portrayal of hoarding is beneficial in shifting our culture to be more aware and understanding of mental illness. He adds and anecdote about Heather, who cured her own hoarding problem after watching TV shows about hoarders. She could identify with the people on TV and took it upon herself to clean up and donate her nonessential items, as the professionals on the shows suggest. Perritano compares hoarding shows to shows like “Teen Mom” and “16 and Pregnant”. Following the release of these shows, teen pregnancy in the United States dropped to the lowest its been in 70 years. 87% of teen viewers reported that watching the show educated them about becoming a parent at a young age, especially the negative consequences of accidental pregnancies (Perritano, 6-7). Optimists argue that exposing real people struggling with mental illnesses can lead to an increase in people seeking treatment. Hoarding shows may not just get the attention of the public and people struggling with hoarding, but media coverage on hoarding has also caused a spike in professionals’ interest. This revival of research on hoarding has led to a more mature understanding of the disorder and has improved treatments and therapy (Van Pelt).

In contrast, many argue that hoarding shows exploit the disorder and are not an accurate representation of most people who hoard. “Everyday Health” asked professionals what their take was on reality shows such as “Hoarders”. Debbie Stanley says, “Many people who hoard are otherwise high-functioning, and their homes reflect this. Unfortunately, the shows reinforce the perception of people who hoard . . . which interferes with the viewer’s potential for empathy and leads to further marginalizing and hiding of hoarding behavior.” In other words, reality TV reinforces stereotypes about hoarding, which discourages people who have the disorder to admit it and seek help. Many professionals also assert that the treatment processes depicted in these shows are not useful, long-term fixes. Many hoarders require months of cognitive behavioral therapy (Everyday Health). Cleaning out a house does not do anything to get hoarders to recede from their impulses. Many experts think that hoarding shows glamorize the disorder, an extreme-makeover kind of entertainment. However, hoarding isn’t a change in clothing style decisions, it is a mental illness that needs many hours of treatment and therapy to help people find peace and happiness (Almendrala).

Personally, I think that it is great that shows depicting real-life hoarders increases public awareness about mental disorders. Unfortunately, the saying, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”, applies here. Shows like “Hoarding: Buried Alive” tend to only show the most severe and unhealthy cases of hoarding disorders. Also, while they may show the hoarders getting temporary treatment through limited talk therapy and an intense clean up campaign, it is not accurate of the true therapy a client with a hoarding disorder needs to have a healthier life in the future. We should respect the struggles of people with mental illness and all strive to improve our own understanding about the trials of things such as hording disorders, so we may be able to help in our own way in the future.


Chap. 15 – Impression

--Original published at Kealey's PSY105 Blog

I do not think one therapy is necessarily better than another. All therapies can be useful, but depending on the person and their problems, some are more helpful than others. Cognitive, behavioral, humanistic, and psychodynamic therapies all aim to decipher the internal thoughts and feelings going on in a client’s mind and assist them in finding a way to live a happier, healthier life. If I were seeking professional help for a problem, I think I would look to cognitive therapy first. Cognitive therapy attempts to explain feelings based on your way of thinking. Sometimes, I have problems understanding why I am feeling the way that I am or even discerning between feelings. Because I cannot self-diagnose my unhappiness sometimes, I would turn to cognitive therapy to help me uncover unconscious thoughts that may explain how my thought process leads to negative emotions.

After cognitive therapy, I might try humanist therapy. I really like the idea of positive self-talk and a present and future-focused perspective. I believe that sometimes people feel a lot better just by being heard and understood by someone, and humanist therapists aim to make their clients feel valued and accepted. I imagine going through humanist therapy feels like a very healing process, because it is all about moving forward toward a brighter future. Next, I would attempt psychodynamic therapy. I think psychodynamic therapy is very interesting because it can reveal patterns caused by past experiences that someone might not even find relevant in their present lives. That being said, I can admit that my childhood and experiences have all been mostly positive and nurturing. I do not have many plights that I can look back on in my life to explain present or future unhappiness. Lastly, I would try behavioral therapy. While these techniques have been shown to be useful for people with repetitive behavioral issues, like phobias or addiction, I cannot relate to any problems that would improve through conditioning. Again, therapies are dependent upon the person, their situation, and the problems they face. This is just my hypothetical interpretation of what my personal therapeutic process would be like.

Chapter 15 First Impression Post

--Original published at KatieMillerPSY105

For this first impression post, I chose rank the four different types of psychotherapy. My ranking would be psychodynamic, cognitive, humanistic, and behavioral.

Psychodynamic therapy tries to help people understand their current symptoms by looking at important relationships, childhood experiences, and the therapist relationship. I believe that this therapy is the best because this takes a look at the childhood experiences for their self-evaluation. Many things happen during childhood, so if something traumatic happened, this could cause for some problems later in life. I think the only problem with this therapy type is that the focus is on relationships and childhood rather than the present and the individual them self.

Cognitive therapy assumes that out thinking can describe our feelings. This therapy type takes a closer look into our feelings to try and help the patients. Also, these therapies try to help people change their minds by coming up with new and constructive ways of interpreting events. The book said “between an event and our response lies the mind” which I believe to be true. What we think and do reflects upon us. Think type of therapy is good to get a closer look inside the person’s mind, but the problem is it only looks at the thoughts of someone. I think if they looked at behaviors as well, basically pulling both of these therapies together, it could be more effective.

Humanistic therapy is an attempt to reduce the inner conflicts that interfere with the development and growth. Therapists will give new insights to their clients in order to help them. I think it is important to find the problem with the clients and give them a better insight. I do not see a whole lot of problems with this therapy, but the other types were a little better than this one.

Behavioral therapists doubt the healing power of self-awareness. They assume that problem behaviors are the problem and that learning principles can help eliminate these behaviors. This type can help to eliminate bad behaviors or habits from the client, but I think that using cognitive therapy along with behavioral therapy would be beneficial to the clients.

Spotlight Post 3

--Original published at CatherinesCollegeBlog

Major depressive disorder is treated effectively with both methods of psychotherapy and medication, yet some still argue for one treatment over the other. When psychotherapy is paired with medication as a treatment plan, it creates the ideal situation for patients in most instances. Those who are pro medication argue that without these antidepressants, the brains of patients are not able to relax to a state that will allow for effective psychotherapy. Since the underlying cause of depression is a chemical imbalance within the brain, medication is sometimes a must for patients to ultimately reach a mental state where they feel better about opening up and solving more problems with psychotherapy.

The answer for which is the better treatment also depends on the severity of depression the patient is experiencing. People with moderate to severe depression, and especially those with chronic depression, are better off when they include medication in their treatment plans. Also the cost is another factor to consider when choosing between treatment options. Since many of the medications used to treat depression are available in generic form, more people suffering from this have easier access to treatment. The generic forms are more affordable, unlike most psychotherapy sessions, unless they happen to be covered by insurance. Additionally, these newer antidepressants have much more mild side effects as they continue to be developed, so they are more tolerable at this point. Certain people respond differently to each method based on their characteristics, as researchers have begun determining. After performing a study, they found that patients who responded more positively to psychotherapy treatment had very low activity in the region of their brains known as the anterior insula. On the other hand, those who responded more positively to medication, specifically Lexapro, had very high activity in this same region.

Those who favor psychotherapy as the better option do so for several reasons. It is as effective, if not more effective, than medication for depression that is diagnosed at mild or moderate levels. Although the process of psychotherapy typically takes longer to take effect, the benefits last much longer than those provided by medications, which are more likely to lead to a patient relapse. Additionally, there are far fewer side effects that result from psychotherapy sessions, aside from some emotional difficulties that will arise. There are also many issues associated with the side effects of medication, at least from this point of view. There is a risk of patients becoming addicted to their antidepressant drugs, as well as the likely possibility that patients would overdose on their medication in an effort to feel better more quickly. These medications are not particularly effective for mild or moderate symptoms of depression, yet doctors are so quick to prescribe them to their patients as an attempt at a quick fix. It has been discovered that psychotherapy has an effectiveness rate of about eighty percent, especially for these mild to moderate instances of depression that appear the most often among people. Another reason to choose psychotherapy over medication is that many clients actually want to know why they are experiencing their depression symptoms. While medication essentially temporarily numbs their systems from these depressed feelings, psychotherapy provides clients with an explanation along with ways to fix the issue. Adding to this, medications are typically prescribed in the same manner from patient to patient, at least in terms of dosage. The only personalized aspect of this treatment approach would be choosing another medication to try when the patient does not react well to the first choice. Therapists have the ability to tailor their sessions and attitudes to each patient based on their unique characteristics. Licensed therapists must also keep their knowledge of this field current, which means patients will be receiving the most up to date and applicable information for help with their situation.

I used several articles from Psychology Today to discuss both methods of psychotherapy and medication as effective major depressive disorder treatments. As a source for this assignment, I believe Psychology Today is credible because it provides the latest information regarding psychological issues. The articles I used cited specific research studies and examples, and also made sure to include statistical data, which helps establish credibility. You also mentioned in lecture that this is a website you recommend for people seeking help from a therapist, as anyone can search by zip code or demographic for a therapist who will be best for them. I also used The New York Times as a source. The particular article I chose referenced two universities, including Emory University and the University of Miami, from which the author obtained his research information, allowing him to make the claims he did. These research references make it a more credible source for me, as they are backed by professors who have their doctorates in the field. Forbes, which is a magazine mainly used for business articles and issues, was the final source I used. The particular article I chose discussed various methods of treating depression, offering pros and cons of each. I believe this made it a more credible source because it was not simply one sided, only providing evidence to support a single treatment as being the end all be all. Instead, it described why each method can be effective but also certain reasons to be cautious about these same methods.

Personally, I believe the most effective method for treating depression depends on the patient. I am not one to resort to medication as the solution because I would be afraid of developing a dependency on the drug. Other people recognize the amount of medication that makes them feel their best and are able to resist falling into the danger of overdose or addiction. If I was experiencing major depressive disorder, I would much rather try psychotherapy before being prescribed medication to treat the problem. I think the influence other people can have on us is powerful and underestimated. So often, people say that their friends or family members know them better than they know themselves. This can be true of therapists too, considering they have dedicated their lives to study the human mind and why we think, act, and feel the way we do. Psychotherapy can also be like having a friend whose only goal is to help you, which can create more of an optimistic outlook for the patient in this trusting relationship. Overall, I would agree that both medication and psychotherapy work effectively in reducing the symptoms of depression. It ultimately depends on the specific patient when the decision for which treatment is best must be made.