Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Another Opportunity to Participate in Online Research

For Mental Health Information

Survey on male and female attitudes and practices related to the clitoris

Conducted by Innovations Relationship and Sexuality Relationship Counseling Services:  Excerpts provided below.  The researchers are currently recruiting male participants.

We are undertaking a sexuality research, titled: "A cross cultural study of male and female attitudes and practices related to the clitoris," as part of the our doctoral studies at the American Academy of Clinical Sexologists in Orlando, Florida.

This study will be centered on four cultural groups, namely Caucasians and African-Americans living in North America, Hispanics (specifically  Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic), and the English speaking Caribbean. It will focus on men and women between the ages of 20 and 60 who are currently sexually active in heterosexual relationships. .  .

Please choose either the male or female questionnaire based on your sex. The choice of questionnaires should appear once you point your cursor to the survey tab. There will be 18 statements on the female questionnaire and 17 on the male questionnaire. There are two types of statements in each questionnaire. One type will ask you to select from the provided answers, the one which best describes your attitude or practice. The other type will ask you to check as many of the statements that apply from a list of suggested responses. Please make sure to respond to ALL statements. . .

Please be assured that 
there is no way for us to identify your questionnaire once you submit it.

Your participation will make it possible for us to gather data for this study of human sexual behavior. 

If you are interested in learning the results of the survey, please contact us at info@innovationsrscs.com.  

Thanks in advance for taking the time to complete this survey.   

Here is the link to the page http://www.innovationsrscs.com/survey.html

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Opportunity to participate in an Online Research Study!

For Mental Health Information

If you are 18 years of age or older and have experienced harassment on the internet, check out this opportunity to participate in an online research study. 


Are you a person, 18 years old or over, who has experienced harassment on the Internet? If so, we would appreciate your taking the time to complete a survey.

Our names are Dan Taube, Keely Kolmes and Colette Vogele, and we would like to request your participation in our research on the experience of online harassment. Being harassed online includes things like having someone intrude into your privacy online, someone using the Internet or mobile phone technology to harm your reputation, or someone stalking you online. We want to learn about the kinds of experiences people have, how they cope, and the resources they use to address the problem.
This study has been approved by the Institutional Review Board of Alliant International University.
As a participant, we will ask you a number of multiple choice questions, and some short answer questions, regarding your experiences of harassment on the Internet. Next, we will ask you to give us information about your age, sex, and similar things. It will take at most 15 minutes to finish the survey.

Your input may help in developing better services and resources for people who have experienced online harassment.  

No names or personal information will be linked to the study and your participation will be completely anonymous so long as you do not put your name in your responses. If you should wish to contact the researchers directly, your participation may become confidential rather than anonymous, although your name will not be linked to any of the data you submit.

To be eligible for the study, you must be 18 or older, have had (or be currently having) an experience of online harassment, and be able to read and understand English.

If you meet these requirements and want to participate, you can find the survey at:http://goo.gl/pPg5G

If you do not qualify for the study but you know others who might be interested in participating, feel free to forward this notice or URL.

Thank you for your interest and participation.
Keely Kolmes, Psy.D. drkkolmes@hushmail.com
Dan Taube, J.D., Ph.D. dtaube@alliant.edu
Colette Vogele, J.D.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Mistakes Make us Vulnerable

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."

- Albert Einstein

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick
 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Who among us likes to make mistakes? I dare say that even the most highly evolved among us would not relish the thought of making a mistake.
Although mistakes have led to many great inventions, are a necessary part of growth and change, and assures us that we are card carrying members of the human race, making a mistake brings unmistakable discomfort. 


“Have no fear of perfection- you'll never reach it."

- Salvador Dali


Depending on our personality style, the discomfort that we experience as a result of making a mistake may last minutes, days, weeks, months or even years.  

Of course, the severity of our reactions to our blunders may also be influenced by the personal or professional costs that come about from these moments of imperfection.   

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Mistakes large or small may bring feelings of vulnerability and in some cases shame. Unlike primary emotions (i.e. surprise, interest, joy, anger, sadness, fear and disgust), which are present within the first 6 month of life, shame is considered a "self-conscious" emotion These "self-conscious" emotions are present only after we have developed the cognitive ability to evaluate ourselves.

The emotion of shame is present sometime around the second year of life.  Shame has been described as a very intense emotion that causes pain.  This feeling of shame causes us to want to hide or disappear.

It tends to occur when we have compared our actions to the standards and rules we have for our behavior and judged ourselves a failures.   We  then further connect this perceived failure in one situation to an overall self label of failure.

A close cousin of shame, called "evaluative embarrassment" doesn't pack the same emotional punch as shame but nonetheless causes a definite sense of discomfort.


For Mental Health Information

The presence of these strong or uncomfortable emotions may, in part, explain why we tend to avoid making a  mistake.

While our instincts may be to hide our failings, in the digital age, it may be near impossible.  Once published, our
mistakes take on a life of their own and we may be forced to confront those mistakes over and over again. 


 "If we all hold on to the mistake, we can't see our own glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror; we can't see what we're capable of being." 

 - Maya Angelou

The good news!

Taking responsibility for and owning up to our mistakes, managing our tendencies towards perfectionism, forgiveness of our imperfections, and managing the ways that we think about successes and failures can help us cope with what is the inevitability of making mistakes.


See more on self- conscious emotions:


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Change is a Process: Where are you now?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

It has been three months since many of us resolved to do things differently in the New Year; so, where are you with those goals that you set for yourself?  

Are you in the full swing of things are you just kind of limping along?  

Chances are the answer is, "it depends on the hour, day, week."   

Perhaps you have periods of time where you are really actively engaging in the new behaviors.  There may also be those days where it seems like you are at the bottom of a very steep hill wondering how you will have the energy to make your way up. 

Both of these experiences are commonplace when trying to change behavior. Remember that as you are trying to change behavior there may be many fits and starts, so don't despair.

Conduct a Self Assessment


Whether you are right on schedule with the implementation of your new behaviors or woefully "behind" on your goals,  this may be a good time to assess where you are in the process of change.   
Image courtesy of Stay2gether/

Taking a realistic look at where you are can help you identify supportive strategies to take another step towards your goals.  


If you have veered off track by returning to self destructive or unhealthy behaviors, a self assessment can help you determine the likely causes of your derailment and help you chart a course for returning to your desired behaviors. 

Alternatively, if you have been achieving the milestones set at the beginning of the year, a self assessment can help you keep track of your accomplishments as well as determine what impending obstacles could thwart your efforts.

For Mental Health Information
As a start, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Were the goals I set at the beginning of the year realistic?
  • Are there people, who may be contributing to my success and/or failure?

  • Are my thought or attitudes about change hindering or furthering my goals? 

If you are having a difficult time with honest self appraisal, a trusted support person or support network can be instrumental.    

Where ever you may be in your change process, compassion for yourself at this point in your journey is important for moving forward.  

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Stress: The new normal?

For Mental Health Information
For the last five years, the American Psychological Association (APA) has investigated the national impact of stress in association with its Mind/Body Health Campaign.    

On February 7, 2013 the APA released the results of its Annual Survey on Stress in America survey (APA, 2013). This online study conducted by Harris interactive, on behalf of the APA,  surveyed 2020 Americans 18 years of age and older during a one month period (August 3-31, 2012).

2012 Stress in America Survey Highlights

More than 70% (1424) of the participants surveyed had previously been diagnosed with a chronic illness, which included but was not limited to diseases such as Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, chronic pain, obesity (See APA, 2013, report for full list).   This is noteworthy as previous studies have found a connection between stress and physical (e.g. hypertension, cardiovascular disease) and mental disorders (e.g. depression, anxiety).  

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Women Report Higher Stress Levels Than Men

The survey found gender differences in the amount of stress reported by participants (APA, 2013).  Women reported higher stress levels than men, were more likely to report extreme levels of stress (defined as 8, 9, or 10 on a 10 point scale with 10 being the highest level of stress), and were more likely to report their stress as increasing.    

Exercise and listening to music were the top identified sources of stress management by both and women (APA, 2013).  However, about 50% of women as compared to 29% of men were more likely to report engaging in activities labeled as "sedentary" (e.g. reading).  Additionally, 27% of women as compared to 22% of men report using eating as a stress management tool.   

Further, the survey revealed that men and women view their abilities to manage stress very differently.  Thirty-nine percent of men described their stress management as excellent or good as compared to (34%) women.  Finally, both men and women report that the leading causes of their stress were money, work and the economy.   

Americans Ages 18-47 Report High Stress Levels

The survey also found generational and regional differences in the report of stress.   The Stress in America survey classified participants into four age categories: participants ages  18 to 33 were classified as Millennials,  participants between the ages of 34 and 47 were classified as Gen Xers, 48 to 66 year olds were classified as Boomers, and, those ages 67 and older were classified as Mature.    Those individuals in the Millennials and Gen Xers reported the highest levels of stress and did not believe that they were doing a good job of managing their stress. 

Check the full report to see how Americans in your region manage stress. 


Talk to a Mental Health Professional About Ways to Manage Stress

Finally, the APA survey found that while Americans reported  that it was important to discuss stress management and behavior changes with their healthcare providers, many Americans did not.  Specifically, the report states:

Twenty-one percent report that they never talk with their provider about lifestyle or behavior changes that could improve their health, 27 percent never discuss progress they are making toward their lifestyle and behavior goals, 33 percent never discuss ways to manage stress and 38 percent never discuss their mental health (APA, 2013, p. 4).



American Psychological Association (2013).  Stress in America: missing the healthcare connection.   Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/index.aspx

Sunday, February 3, 2013

History Making in Psychology

Check out this link related to the first African-American psychologist Dr. Francis Cecil Sumner and the first African-American female psychologist Dr.  Inez Beverly Prosser who earned their doctorates in psychology in 1920 and 1933, respectively (http://www.apa.org/pi/oema/resources/ethnicity-health/psychologists/sumner-prosser.aspx).                     

Also check out this link about Dr. Kenneth B.  Clark who was the first African-American to receive a degree from Columbia University http://c250.columbia.edu/c250_celebrates/remarkable_columbians/kenneth_mamie_clark.html 

Dr. Clark and his wife Dr. Mamie Clark, who was the first African-American woman to receive a doctorate from Columbia University, are known for their research on the effects of segregation on African-American children known as the “Doll Test.”    See the Doll Test revisited in this Anderson Cooper CNN special.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What Treasures are you Hiding?

© Dariusz Sas | Dreamstime.com
When was the last time you took an inventory of all your accomplishments and talents rather than your failures and shortcomings?  

Does the time it takes you to list your short comings equal the time it takes to list your talents and accomplishments?  And, does the list of your accomplishments flow as easily as the shortcomings? 

Fear, self judgment, and self criticism conspire to have us believe that we are not smart enough, good enough, strong enough, kind enough, brave enough, cool enough, insert your own judgment here  enough.  These forces unite, forming a powerful alliance, and inserting themselves into our daily self-talk.  Its presence in our internal dialogue causes us to bury or fail to develop the treasures we have; treasures, which were meant to be shared.

Often our friends, family members, co-workers, and even those who barely know us, bear witness to our strengths and areas of excellence, we just have to stand still long enough to listen and have the courage to believe.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

It Takes a Village: A Community in Mourning

Photo taken by J. Langley, 2008
It has been one month since the devastating events at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  Knowledge of the horrific details of the shooting shook the residents and families of the community in Newtown, Connecticut and sent reverberations that could be felt throughout the nation.  Traumatic events may lead to changes in our lives for which we cannot truly prepare.  

Who’s to Blame?

When a tragedy occurs we tend to have number of “what if” thoughts about events leading up to the unwelcome change in our lives.   We may find ourselves thinking maybe if I had done this or that, this would not have happened.   

In cases where the individual who committed the act of violence had a documented mental health history, one of the places the community turns for both answers and support is the mental health community.    

In a recent New York Times article, the author references a study published in JAMA Psychiatry indicating that most teens who commit suicide have had therapy prior to planning or committing suicide (Carey, 2013).  

According to Stanton Peele, PhD, J.D.,   “the best interpretation of these data is that therapy -- as it is currently administered and experienced -- is a cultural excuse for not addressing family, social, and life problems that we as individuals, family members, and a society face but cannot deal with (2013).”  This comment, perhaps suggests that it takes all of us, not just those in the mental health community, to address serious mental health issues.


What IS the Responsibility of the Mental Health Community? 

To start, the mental health community is made up of a variety of professionals who provide services to individuals struggling with a wide range of mental health problems (Grohol, 2006).   The general rule is that communication between a mental health professional and her client is confidential. However, the law allows mental health professionals to break confidentiality in cases where an individual is at risk for hurting himself and/or others.  

Specifically, the law requires mental health professionals to assess the dangerousness of the individual and take appropriate action.  One such action may be the involuntary confinement of the individual who has been found to be a danger to himself and/or others, in a process called civil commitment.   

The criteria for determining whether a person may be committed is different in each state (see, Treatment Advocacy Center, 2011)Generally, state laws allow commitment if:
  • The individual is a danger to himself or others and this danger is clear and immediate.
  • The evidence that supports this conclusion is convincing.   
Additional criteria include being unable to care for oneself and lacking the support to care for oneself; being unable to 
make responsible decisions about treatment/hospitalization and being in an unmanageable state. 

Can We Predict Dangerousness?

Predicting dangerousness has proven to be a challenge for mental health professionals and we are seeking ways of improving our accuracy at assessing and predicting dangerousness.   However, addressing mental illness takes a village.  

As parents, immediate or extended family members, teachers, peers, neighbors, and clergy, we can do our part by: ending the stigma associated with mental illness, communicating with others about troubling behaviors we have seen, communicating with our loved one about our concerns, taking steps ourselves to have a loved one civilly committed by calling 911 or try to persuade our loved ones to enter an inpatient or residential facility voluntarily.  

Carey, B. (2013, January 8).  Study questions effectiveness of therapy for suicidal teenagers.  The New York Times.  Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/09/health/gaps-seen-in- therapy for-suicidal-teenagers.html

Grohol, J. (2006). Types of Mental Health Professionals. Psych Central.  Retrieved on January 13, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/2006/types-of-mental-health-professionals/

Peele, S. (2013, January 10). Therapy as a cultural cop out.  Psychology Today. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/addiction-in-society/201301/therapy-cultural-cop-out

Treatment Advocacy Center (2011). State standards for assisted treatment-Civil commitment for inpatient and outpatient psychiatric treatment.  Treatment Advocacy Center.org. Retrieved on January 13, 2013 from http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/storage/documents/Standards-TheText-June_2011.pdf