Articles

What is Learned Helplessness?

Dr. Linda Hancock Self Improvement

What is Learned Helplessness?

Many years ago, long before some of the legislation regarding harm of animals, some psychologists conducted research projects. In one of them, they placed a dog in a cage which was fitted in the middle with a vertical grate that rose to half the height of its walls. The psychologists had rigged a device that would give the dog a small electric shock. When the dog received the shock, it would jump over the center grate to the other side of the cage. The psychologists would then move the dog to the original side of the cage and give it...

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Professionals That Start with the Letter "P"

Dr. Linda Hancock Business Careers Employment

Professionals That Start with the Letter "P"

Sometimes I tell my clients that it is important that they have three people in their lives who can work together to help them with their health challenges. All three start with the letter "P". Physicians are medical doctors who have been trained primarily to look after your body. They usually have hospital privileges and clinical appointment times which allow interview, examination, and specific testing to determine illness. After assessments are completed, doctors then treat the "patients" usually with medications. We all know how busy doctors can be and I have noticed signs in some of their offices informing patients that...

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Having ADHD Can Be a Good Thing!

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health

Having ADHD Can Be a Good Thing!

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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What Does "Informed Consent" Mean?

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health

What Does "Informed Consent" Mean?

I recently heard the sad story of a woman who woke up from an investigative surgery to find to her horror that one of her breasts was missing. She had obviously signed consent for the hospital and doctor to do the surgery but did not have enough information to know what the results of that might be. Sometimes we give permission, approval or agreement to something but don't have enough information to understand the process to be used or the risks associated with it. Have you ever taken your car to a mechanic and returned to a large and unexpected...

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What If We Didn't Have Drugs?

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health

What If We Didn't Have Drugs?

Many individuals would lose their livelihood - like those who grow, package, transport and traffic them. The Court system and jails would likely be much emptier and less money would be needed for policing. Organizations such as MADD would be unnecessary. We wouldn't lose millions of dollars and man hours a year because of addictions. People would have to socialize without a martini and cigar. Individuals who couldn't cope with their feelings would need to find other ways to "escape" or deal with their problems. If we didn't have drugs schools wouldn't need drug dogs or "zero tolerance" policies. Parents...

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What is Asperger's Disorder?

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health

What is Asperger's Disorder?

Autism and Asperger's Disorder are both classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV) published by the American Psychiatric Association as Pervasive Development Disorders. Asperger's Disorder causes clinically significant impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning. The criteria for diagnosis involves two specific categories. Qualitative impairment can be evidenced in use of nonverbal behaviours, failure to develop appropriate peer relationships and lack of social or emotional reciprocity. Eye contact, facial expression, postures or gestures are observed by professionals who are charged with making the diagnosis. Patterns of behaviour which include repetitive and stereotyped interests and activities can occur in preoccupation or...

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Label Or Diagnosis?

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health

Label Or Diagnosis?

Frequently I hear individuals state that they do not like to see people being "labeled" with a diagnosis. I find this a little difficult to understand as I like to be able to name the problems in my life before I try to deal with them. For example, when my bank balance was lower than I expected, I was relieved to learn that an error had been made which resulted in double debits to my account. When my mechanic identified the problem with my car's air conditioning as being a broken switch, I knew that it could be fixed quickly...

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Client Behaviour Can Be Confusing!

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health

Client Behaviour Can Be Confusing!

Have you ever wondered if your child is really sick - or just trying to avoid attending school? Does it seem convenient that someone who is charged with a criminal act claims that s/he cannot be responsible for their actions because of mental illness? Do you wonder why someone who is receiving a disability payment appears to be healthy? Are there times when you watch individuals "doctor" for years without being diagnosed? Humans are complex. Most people who claim to be physically or psychologically ill, really are experiencing legitimate symptoms and can be diagnosed and treated. There are, however, cases...

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What is Alzheimer's Disease?

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health

What is Alzheimer's Disease?

Two of my grandparents and my father-in-law had Alzheimer's Disease. Although I was not the primary caregiver for any of them, I found it sad and frustrating to watch them change from the people I knew and loved to people whose personalities and memories disappeared over time. Alzheimer's Disease was named after a German physician, Dr. Alois Alzheimer, who first spoke a scientific meeting in 1906 about a patient who had symptoms that he had not previously observed in others. His 51 year old female patient had problems with her memory, unfounded suspicions that her husband was unfaithful and difficulties...

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The Complexity of Schizophrenia

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health

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!

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health

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?

Dr. Linda Hancock Health and Fitness Mental Health

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

Dr. Linda Hancock Holidays Home and Family

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

Dr. Linda Hancock Finance Personal Finance

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

Dr. Linda Hancock Finance Personal Finance

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

Dr. Linda Hancock Grandparenting Home and Family

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

Dr. Linda Hancock Grandparenting Home and Family

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

Dr. Linda Hancock Grandparenting Home and Family

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?

Dr. Linda Hancock Home and Family Parenting

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"

Dr. Linda Hancock Home and Family Parenting

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

Dr. Linda Hancock Home and Family Parenting

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?

Dr. Linda Hancock Home and Family Parenting

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

Dr. Linda Hancock Home and Family Parenting

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!

Dr. Linda Hancock Home and Family Parenting

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

Dr. Linda Hancock Home and Family Parenting

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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