Articles — The First Year(32)

The Psychology of Sports

Dr. Linda Hancock Psychology Reference and Education The First Year

I'm not much of an athlete but I have been described by others as being "a good sport". That has more to do with my attitude than my ability. Over the past few decades, the combination of Psychology and sports has become big business. Teams and individuals frequently seek out the services of a psychologist to help them improve their game and win in their chosen field. Imagine each of us as a triangle that is suspended from the ceiling in mobile fashion. The top angle is our thinking or cognition. The angle on the left side is our feeling...

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Attitude is Important - Develop One That Embraces Gratitude

Dr. Linda Hancock Happiness Self Improvement The First Year

Often parents come to complain to me because their child has "an attitude"! The dictionary defines attitude as a "state of mind or feeling". We all have attitude! Some of us have an attitude that is defeatist while others believe anything is possible. There are attitudes involving self-esteem where some people feel unworthy of respect allow others to harm them and still others have a narcissistic attitude stating that they are so wonderful that they deserve everything. Grief can be an attitude as can celebration. Attitude can change depending on one's circumstances, associates, and experiences over time. Recently, I was...

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The Psychology of Winter!

Dr. Linda Hancock News & Society The First Year Weather

It's winter! That cold and snowy time of year when people change their lifestyle to suit the environment and wonder about times past and future. We welcome the sight of pure white snow piled in amazing configurations over ground and trees. Jack Frost paints his masterpieces on windowpanes for our delight. We watch children with red cheeks build forts and snowmen. Furs and touques, mitts and scarves cover bodies with fading tans. Winter brings the sounds of snow crunching under boots, graders searching for traffic lanes and children yelling jovial threats as they prepare piles of snowballs for the fight...

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These Are the Heroes!

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Multiple Sclerosis The First Year

I hate it when people are rude. I hate war and abuse and systems that don't work well. But today, most of all, I hate Multiple Sclerosis because it has attacked my sister. Debbie was a very lively, risk-taking child who adopted a carefree "do it my way" lifestyle. She lived every day as though it was her last - having fun, taking chances and stretching the boundaries. One day, as a young adult, Debbie went to the doctor because a bright spot was blocking her vision. She was told that her eye had been burned from the sun's reflection...

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Parenting - Knowing What to Expect in Your Child's Development Starting With Adolescence (Part Two)

Dr. Linda Hancock Home and Family Parenting The First Year

Last time we studied Erik Erikson's four stages for adolescents and adults. Adolescence: 12 to 18 Years (Identity vs Role Confusion) is confusing in that the person is neither a child nor an adult. Rather than "what is done to us" it is primarily about "what we do". Life is more complex as the child attempts to find identity, struggles with social interactions and grapples with moral issues. The task is to discover who the person is in wider society, separate from family of origin. Success results in devotion and fidelity whereas problem in this stage can result in role confusion...

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Having ADHD Can Be a Good Thing!

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health The First Year

Place the palm of your hand over your forehead. The area behind the palm is the frontal lobe of your brain. It houses executive function which is similar to the principal of a school setting the direction for the body and telling it how to behave. According to research, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is associated with abnormalities in the white and gray matter of this area of the brain. Some studies claim that 3-10% of children and 1-6% of adults are diagnosed with a type of ADHD. Boys are 3 times more likely than girls to have this disorder....

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Best Interests of the Child - Separation and Divorce

Dr. Linda Hancock Home and Family Parenting The First Year

Because I have had the privilege of working in Child Welfare, three school systems, Mental Health and private practice I have learned a great deal about how people think. Frequently I hear the term "best interests of the child" and am surprised to learn that the parent believes that this situation is ONLY possible if the child lives with him or her. In fact, I am constantly amazed that couples like each other well enough to make a child but not well enough to work together in order to parent the child or ensure that a healthy environment exists for...

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Sleep Problems Can Be Turned Into "Rock-a-Bye-Baby" Habits

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Other Health and Fitness The First Year

Don't think of elephants? What are you thinking about? Elephants, right? Frequently I hear clients who repeatedly state "I can't sleep". They don't realize that our brains tend to do what they hear and by saying this, we actually invite the body to stay awake. There are a number of factors which can initially interfere with good sleep patterns but, once a pattern has begun it is frequently deepened and made rigid by our thought patterns. According to a recent study based on the 2002 Canadian Community Healthy Survey (CCHS), an estimated 3.3 million Canadians aged 15 and older experience...

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A Public or Private Matter?

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Healthcare Systems The First Year

I'm confused! Over the past few months there has been a great deal of controversy at both federal and provincial levels about the possibility of creating a two-tiered system of health care in our country. Former Premier Klein introduced what he termed the "Third Way" but, when questioned about the details of this, the then Minister of Health Iris Evans stated, "Nothing has been cast in stone yet". I guess what is confusing to me is that I don't really understand the meaning of the term "health-care" and thought we already had a two-tiered system. In fact, if we were...

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Judging Can Cause Problems

Dr. Linda Hancock More from Self Improvement Self Improvement The First Year

On February 27, 2006 Canada made history by publicly interviewing a candidate who had been nominated for the Supreme Court of Canada. In a television forum lasting more than 3 hours, The Honourable Justice Mr. Marshall E. Rothstein of Manitoba openly reviewed his personal and career biography followed by a period of questioning by a number of prominent Canadians. Mr. Rothstein defined the role of a judge and indicated that it is important that he bring to the bench his ability to apply the law to cases without allowing his own personal feelings to get in the way. Others had...

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Recognizing We're All in This Together!

Dr. Linda Hancock Inspirational Self Improvement The First Year

A couple of years ago I travelled to Jamaica. I'm not a typical tourist who sits on the beach with a Margarita. I loaded my luggage with supplies for this third-world country and arranged to visit three schools and an orphanage. Then I decided that it would be fun to visit Family Court! Jamaica has a murder every thirty minutes and despite warnings about not leaving the resort, I hired a taxi and headed for the Court House. Well, what an old primitive building. Crooked cement stairs up the side allowed me to view the first floor which housed used...

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What is Your IQ?

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health The First Year

In 1905 Alfred Binet, a psychologist, developed and published the first Intelligent Quotient (IQ) test in response to France becoming a country with education for all children. Before that the offspring of the rich were the only ones in school. In 1916, a Stanford psychologist, Lewis Teiman, published the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale which was a standardized instrument or psychometric to determine IQ score for children and adults. Many other researchers have worked over the years and continue to improve the numerous tests available to assess intelligence quotient. The most commonly-known instruments were named after David Weschler, a man who has...

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Parenting - Knowing What to Expect in Your Child's Development (Part One)

Dr. Linda Hancock Home and Family Parenting The First Year

There are many theorists in the field of psychology who use their ideas to help explain why people think, feel and behave as they do. Erik Erikson is one of those who has outlined eight specific developmental stages that each person experiences as they grow and mature. They are based on the chronological age of the individual and identify two outcomes that can result from the struggles within the stage. Infancy: Birth to 18 months (Trust vs Mistrust) is also referred to the Oral Sensory Stage. The most significant relationship is with the maternal parent or most significant and constant caregiver. Emphasis...

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Parental Alienation - Hurting Your Child Instead of Your "Ex"

Dr. Linda Hancock Home and Family Parenting The First Year

When a couple goes through separation or divorce, there is frequently a tendency for one or both parents to "bad mouth" the other parent to the children. Dr. Richard Gardner, an American child therapist and forensic psychiatrist developed two terms that he believed described this situation. The words "Parental Alienation" involve behaviours of a parent in his/her attempts to discredit the other parent and influence the child not to be with that parent. "Parental Alienation Syndrome" is a term that was used by Dr. Gardner to describe the resulting behaviours and attitudes in the child after Parental Alienation had occurred....

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Balance is Important For Healthy Living

Dr. Linda Hancock Inspirational Self Improvement The First Year

In 1990, Dr. Seuss, published the book "Oh, the Places You'll Go" in which he claims "Life's a Great Balancing Act". Unfortunately our world is out of balance and full of contradictions. We can transplant a human heart but are not able to protect it from breaking. We can make a baby in a test tube but not feed all the millions of hungry children in the Third World. We give out Peace prizes but do not know how to make peace where over 100 wars are now occurring. We have developed a way for man to walk on the...

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Nature Vs Nurture

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health The First Year

One day I asked my friend, Paul, "Why are you so smart?" He replied "Well, both my parents are doctors so I inherited the genes and I was raised by parents who are both doctors so I had a good environment for learning." In the 1970s there was a debate about whether genetics or environment contributed the most to one's personality. Twins separated at birth and then studied in adulthood were used as evidence that biological inheritance was more powerful than environment. Often twins who had never met were found living in the same type of house, being married to...

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The Psychology of Technology

Dr. Linda Hancock Communications The First Year

I'm glad we don't have "party lines" in the telephone system anymore. Some of you might remember the protocol of waiting until your rural neighbour had talked for 30 minutes before you interrupted to ask if you could make a call. We would keep lifting the receiver over and over again waiting for our chance! Next came an improved dialing system - and then telephone numbers that had been four digits suddenly were extended by area codes into ten number sequences. How frustrating to get to the seventh turn around the dial only to have your finger slip and have...

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Perspective Helps to Turn Trouble into Good Choices

Dr. Linda Hancock Reference and Education The First Year

Recently there have been a number of tragedies and horrible events that have traumatized individuals at national and international levels. September 11th is burned into the minds of all those old enough to have comprehended the implications. The hurricanes in Louisiana last year shocked us. Deaths of world icons such as Princess Diana and the Pope threw citizens around the world into the grief. Medicine Hat has recently experienced a triple murder that has become a media focus throughout North America. I have been asked to do radio talk shows, newspaper and television interviews as well as presentations because of...

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Be Well-Seasoned in Your Life

Dr. Linda Hancock Inspirational Self Improvement The First Year

I've loved food my whole life. I love buying groceries, looking at weekly flyers and taste testing new recipes. I love restaurants and invitations to friends' for dinner and eating at home. I love lunch and dinner but mostly I love snacks. Ice cream cones, cookies, cheese cake, pies, rice pudding, chocolate covered almonds, muffins, O Henry bars... Yes, I love food ... and the Food Channel. The trouble is that every show seems to feature a chef who loads their recipes with everything that my doctors (and common sense) warn me against - like sugar, butter, salt and various...

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Six Landmines For Couples

Dr. Linda Hancock Conflict Relationships The First Year

My friend, Richard, has been a marriage counsellor for years and is kind enough to share his ideas with me. He has narrowed relationship problems into six specific categories and claims that if you can identify the areas of concern you will have a framework into which you can develop strategies for change. Richard's template includes problems with: Communications - On almost a daily basis I hear my clients complain that s/he didn't listen, talk, understand or follow through. Communicating with others takes effort. It involves words, tone and body language - each of which relays messages to the other...

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Wanna Hang Out?

Dr. Linda Hancock Dating Relationships The First Year

I love working with teenagers - even when I don't understand them. One of the most interesting topics to discuss with teens is dating. I don't think we have the same context. I first stumbled upon this when a young girl said she and another fellow were "going out". Because I was interested, I asked, "Where do you go?" and she gave me the strangest look. She said, "We didn't go anywhere. We just see each other, if you know what I mean". My next question was "Where do you see each other?" and her reply was "On MSN" to...

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Divorce in Three-Part Harmony

Dr. Linda Hancock Divorce Relationships The First Year

Divorce rates are high. In fact, some statistics claim that more than half of first marriages end in divorce and the rate is higher for subsequent marriages. This can be rather scary for all the individuals contemplating or involved in a relationship as well as for society! In some countries, ending a marriage can be as simple as looking at the spouse and stating "I divorce thee" three times. In Canada, however, it hasn't been that simple. Traditional practice has been for each partner to hire a lawyer to "represent" him or her. That lawyer then would lead the individual...

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Codependency - Caring Too Much

Dr. Linda Hancock Addictions Self Improvement The First Year

Often people do not know how to handle their emotions. They may choose to avoid or numb them with alcohol, drugs, gambling or excessively doing any number of behaviours such as shopping or eating. They often become "dependent" upon these in order to cope with their emotions and get through the day. Family and friends who care about them may be affected in an unhealthy manner or even develop a sole purpose in life of trying to change the loved one. They can become "codependent" on the situation. In fact, the person who suffers from codependency usually does not feel...

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Dear Parents

Dr. Linda Hancock Home and Family Parenting The First Year

Please note that the following column is a compilation of situations that I have heard about over the years and is NOT to be confused with any one family. Dear Parents: We always thought that you were good parents but now we're confused and hurt and angry. We thought that you should have told us that you weren't going to be married anymore and we didn't believe it when other people were talking about it. Then you lied. You said you were "here for us". How can you be "here for us" when you live in two different places? We...

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When I Grow Up

Dr. Linda Hancock Psychology Reference and Education The First Year

Many times, I receive telephone calls from individuals or hear clients express the fact that they would like to become a psychologist and are interested in knowing what that involves. They are often horrified to hear that I have the equivalent of 11 ½ years of university education as well as 2 years of Provisional internship. In Canada, licensure and discipline are provincial matters and in the United States are state matters. Most jurisdictions require that individuals have an approved graduate degree in psychology or the equivalent (6 years of university study) before applying for Provisional status. Then a supervision...

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