Articles


The Complexity of Schizophrenia

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

The Complexity of Schizophrenia

In 1911 a Swiss psychiatrist who headed a psychiatric hospital at Burgholzli introduced the term schizophrenia. His work, which was known as "Bleuler's four A's" involved disturbances in affect, association, ambivalence and autism. Today, the American Psychiatric Association has identified criteria which is used in diagnosis for many disorders including schizophrenia. Three specific categories regarding symptoms must be present and three specific things must be absent before a diagnosis is given. A psychiatrist or mental health professional examines the presence and severity of characteristic symptoms which may include delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, grossly disorganized or catatonic behaviour or other negatives....

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Don't Panic! You Are in Control!

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Don't Panic! You Are in Control!

You are sure that you are having a heart attack! You are sweating, trembling and shaking. Your heart is pounding at an accelerated rate and you have severe chest pain accompanied by numbing or tingling sensations in your arms. While you wait for the ambulance you notice that you have shortness of breath, a feeling of choking and wonder if it will arrive in time. You fear that you will die before you reach the hospital. Nausea and abdominal distress are added to feelings of dizziness while, at the same time you are experiencing an eery type of detachment or...

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What is Trichotillomania?

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

What is Trichotillomania?

Have you ever met someone whose eyebrows appear to be drawn on with pencil or been curious about people who have patchy bald spots on their head? Have you observed individuals who twist hair repeatedly before pulling it out? Perhaps you know people who are obsessed with removing hair from their bodies by pulling it out with their fingers. Trichotillomania is an impulse-control disorder that begins with increasing tension and is followed by a person's unsuccessful resistance to pulling hair out of the body. This is usually followed by feelings of relief, pleasure or gratification. The act, however, can result...

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Every Day Should Be Thanksgiving

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Every Day Should Be Thanksgiving

Things have changed in the last few days! The stores have put away their summer stock and are now decorated in fall's traditional orange and brown. We see paper turkeys and wicker table centers representing the horn of plenty. Greeting cards offer best wishes mixed with thoughts of gratefulness for the season. Soon church altars will be laden with fruit, vegetables and other produce that represent completion of the growing season. It's Thanksgiving! Often I think about stories of the original Pilgrims, dressed in their modest habits. They immigrated to this country and had to make a new start without...

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Getting Control Over Your Money

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Getting Control Over Your Money

There is an old adage that states "Money makes the world go 'round" but sometimes it just keeps you at home. Problems with money can not only interfere with your credit rating but also jeopardize your relationships. We live in a very commercialized environment where everyone not only seems to want to "keep up with the Jones'" but also pass them. If you are having money problems, the first step to correcting this is to keep an accurate accounting of your income and all your expenses. Begin with a ledge and write down every single thing that you spend in...

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Getting Control Over Your Money - Earn More

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Getting Control Over Your Money - Earn More

I often hear individuals state "I can't afford that". The person who is talking may be referring to a trip, vehicle or item of furniture. What would you do if you had an extra $2,600.00 a year? Would you travel, purchase a dream or start a savings account? Do you think that you could earn $10.00 a day more than you earn now? This would give you $50.00 a week which is $2,600.00 a year. Here are a few ideas about how you can increase your income a little each day and ultimately enjoy the benefits at the end of...

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A Mutually Beneficial Relationship

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

A Mutually Beneficial Relationship

I once read an article that asked, "Why do grandparents and their grandchildren get along so well?" The answer was "Common Enemy". I'm sure that the intent of this story was to illicit a chuckle from the reader but often, in my private practice, I see an unhealthy alliance between these two separate generations against the parents of the children. Being a grandparent has a number of advantages. Often retirement allows time and finances that were not present for individuals when they raised their own children. Grandparents have "experience" and "wisdom" that they may have lacked in previous years and...

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The Rules

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

The Rules

Often my adult children, with shocked expressions, ask me "How did you get them to do that?" They are referring to the fact that their children who are "picky eaters" enjoy stew or other foods that they won't eat at home. Sometimes they surprise their parents by doing laundry, baking, or cleaning up their messes when they are staying with me and again, I hear "How did you get them to do that?" My grandchildren know the rules - and they follow them. I believe that we have wonderful times together, partly because we all know where we stand and...

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Communicating With Your Grandchildren

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Communicating With Your Grandchildren

The subject line of the email simply read "Tee-hee". I was surprised to open it and realize that it was from my ten year old granddaughter. She obviously was happy and had used what I thought was an old-fashioned term to describe her mood. Inside were a number of flashing icons including stars, happy faces and hearts. I couldn't help but smile just to see them. I don't know when I will hear from my granddaughter, but her emails are always uplifting. Janaya's messages are usually full of news. She told me about the music festival where she had done...

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Who's the Parent?

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Who's the Parent?

I just watched another episode of the popular television program "Nanny 911" and again was surprised by how difficult it is for some individuals to parent their children. It seems that many don't have the skills required while others seem to think that they would rather be a friend than a parent for the child. A "good parent" is one who does everything possible to meet the needs and the wants of the child even if it is not in the child's best interest. This person tends to let the "tail wag the dog". Curfews, rules and responsibilities are non-existent...

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

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

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

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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Leaving a Legacy For Your Children

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Leaving a Legacy For Your Children

Anyone who enjoys genealogy realizes that four basic things are required when preparing a family tree: a person's name, place of birth, date of birth and position in the lineage. An historian may expand this search to include specific titles or accomplishments as well as personality factors which were unique to those being studied. For many years I have been gathering information about my grandparents and other ancestors. I have taken pictures of tombstones, interviewed nursing home residents and spent hours on the internet searching for details from the past. It is so interesting to realize that some interests and...

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Who is Your Child's Hero?

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Who is Your Child's Hero?

When I grew up it was easy. We knew that in the western movie the cowboy with the white hat was the "good guy" and the one with the black hat was "the bad guy". We looked up to figures like Ann Frank or Jack and Bobby Kennedy who died for their beliefs. We heard stories of valour from our parents and their friends who had sacrificed through the World War. We watched Terry Fox run rather than rest so that the next generation might not have to suffer as he did. Yes, it was easy to identify the heroes...

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Dear Parents

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Dear Parents

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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I Don't Want My Baby to Have a Baby!

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

I Don't Want My Baby to Have a Baby!

The news announcement concerning a "pregnancy pact" by seventeen teenagers in Massachusetts has caused concern for media and parents alike. The reports include stories of the girls, some who are younger than sixteen years of age, who repeatedly took pregnancy tests and showed disappointment if they didn't get the results they were wanting. Apparently the group had decided to all have babies at the same time so that they could raise them together. Television interviews have focussed on identifying targets to "blame" for this situation. Some of the professionals who were interviewed state that children have babies when they want...

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Three Bite Rule

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Three Bite Rule

I have six grandchildren and each of them is a unique individual. There are, however, similarities in their attitudes and behaviours based on the way they were raised. One of them is a good eater, two are what I would call "excellent" eaters and three are "horrible" when it comes to food. I have watched what goes on at mealtimes and discreetly asked questions that have provided insight into the behaviours. Because of this, I have been able to work with the children and also provide strategies to help the parents of "picky eaters". My 3 ½ year old, who...

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What is Your IQ?

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

What is Your IQ?

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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Telling the Truth

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Telling the Truth

One day my uncle and I were having a discussion about the effectiveness of the justice system. He stated "It may be slow but it works" and went on to explain his position to me. He had been a judge for many years and noted that when a person tells a lie they have to tell another lie to cover it up. Then they tell another to cover that one and so forth until they finally get to the point that they can't remember what the first lie was. At that point, they are "caught" and the justice system can...

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Adult Children

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Adult Children

Lately I have been working with a number of individuals who referred themselves because they don't know how to deal with their adult children. Some are concerned about relationship problems and others with financial dealings. Still others are worried about choices that the adult child has or is making. Several couples have boundary and respect difficulties. Dealing with family members can be difficult at times. Some parents want to be "just like my parents" and others want to be "nothing like my parents". Some view children as a gift, others as a burden. There are parents who want to be...

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Troubled Teens

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Troubled Teens

It is sad to think about the young celebrities who have recently been making headlines because of their drug and alcohol abuse, law-breaking antics and disrespect for society. They tend to blame those around them and the justice system because they are facing jail terms or ordered into rehabilitation. It seems pretty obvious that these individuals have not been held accountable for their actions for so long that they have begun to believe that they have the right to do as they please. I have been part of discussions where some people blame the teen or young adult for their...

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Best Interests of the Child - Separation and Divorce

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Best Interests of the Child - Separation and Divorce

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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Let's Table It! - Communications Around the Family Table

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Let's Table It! - Communications Around the Family Table

When I grew up we had several tables in the house. The picnic table helped us to appreciate nature (and the neighbours). The card table taught us about laughter and being a good sport. The dining table was for special holidays and for entertaining guests. Our kitchen table was the most used. We always had breakfast together. Often dad would start the coffee and the rest of us worked together to set and clear items. At noon (which everyone enjoyed from 12 o'clock to 1:30 p.m.) was usually a lighter meal whereas dinner (always around 6 p.m.) was meat, potatoes...

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We All Have Troubles!

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

We All Have Troubles!

There once was a young boy whose mother died when he was nine years of age. His older brother had previously died in infancy. The boy and his sister were left to look after each other for some time while his father went to another area to seek a wife. This boy and his father had relationship problems serious enough that he did not attend his father's funeral when he died. The boy didn't have more than a few years of schooling. When he was 7 years of age he was saved from drowning and at 10 years of age...

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