Articles

What is Asperger's Disorder?

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

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...

Read more →


Label Or Diagnosis?

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

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...

Read more →


Client Behaviour Can Be Confusing!

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

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...

Read more →


What is Alzheimer's Disease?

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

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...

Read more →


The Complexity of Schizophrenia

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

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....

Read more →


Don't Panic! You Are in Control!

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

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...

Read more →


What is Trichotillomania?

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

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...

Read more →


Every Day Should Be Thanksgiving

Dr. Linda Hancock Ethics Holidays Home and Family Thanksgiving The Third Year

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...

Read more →


Getting Control Over Your Money - Spend Less

Dr. Linda Hancock Budgeting Finance The Third Year

Getting Control Over Your Money - Spend Less

We are living in a society where it is very easy to have financial problems. In fact, it is tempting to be consumers on a twenty-four hour basis. Stores are open seven days a week for extended hours. Television and internet marketing allow us to make purchases without even leaving home. Debit and credit cards trick us into spending money without actually touching it - often money that we don't have. The cardinal rule for good financial health is to spend less than you earn. Those who do well over time are not always the ones who earn the most...

Read more →


Getting Control Over Your Money - Earn More

Dr. Linda Hancock Finance Personal Finance The Third Year

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...

Read more →


The Rules

Dr. Linda Hancock Grandparenting Home and Family The Third Year

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...

Read more →


Communicating With Your Grandchildren

Dr. Linda Hancock Grandparenting Home and Family The Third Year

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...

Read more →


Who's the Parent?

Dr. Linda Hancock Home and Family Parenting The Third Year

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...

Read more →


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...

Read more →


Who is Your Child's Hero?

Dr. Linda Hancock Home and Family Parenting The Third Year

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...

Read more →


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

Dr. Linda Hancock Home and Family Parenting The Third Year

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...

Read more →


Three Bite Rule

Dr. Linda Hancock Home and Family Parenting The Third Year

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...

Read more →


Best Interests of the Child - Separation and Divorce

Dr. Linda Hancock Home and Family Parenting

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...

Read more →


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

Dr. Linda Hancock Home and Family Parenting

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...

Read more →


An Old-Fashioned Christmas

Dr. Linda Hancock Christmas Holidays Home and Family The Second Year

An Old-Fashioned Christmas

Christmas in Indian Head was always a joyous and giving time that we greatly anticipated as children. We didn't start the season in November like we do now, but made a point of putting up the artificial tree before the round of staff parties began. Dad would invite his Credit Union co-workers over for a meal and mom would ensure that the teachers had an opportunity to celebrate the half-way point in the school year by coming over to the house for a little "cheer". We always tried to guess who would send us the first Christmas card and then,...

Read more →


A Business Plan is Your Career Roadmap

Dr. Linda Hancock Business Strategic Planning The Second Year

A Business Plan is Your Career Roadmap

Four years ago, I decided to write a Business Plan for what was then a part-time endeavour. That year end I was shocked and pleased to discover that my income had increased by several thousand dollars over the previous year. This was a good return on my investment of only a few hours of creating the plan. Everyone knows that contractors do not begin working until they have a blueprint. Teachers develop a curriculum before starting a semester. Producers and directors require a script while sports enthusiasts play by rules and time limits that were previously established. A story is...

Read more →


Cleaning Up Your Life

Dr. Linda Hancock Organizing Self Improvement The Second Year

Cleaning Up Your Life

When I walk into my condo at night, I can tell exactly what condition my life is in at the time. You see I use my living environment as a gauge or thermometer that reveals my emotional situation. When there are shoes in the doorway, piles of unread newspapers on the couch and dishes in the sink I know that life, which has made many demands on my time and energy, has also drained my personal resources. Taking a couple of hours to put things in order not only improves the appearance of my home but also allows me to...

Read more →


Remorse Or Repentance?

Dr. Linda Hancock Relationships The Second Year

Remorse Or Repentance?

Frequently I am asked to work with clients who have behaved in a manner that leads to serious consequences. When someone assaults another person, abuses substances while working a safety-sensitive job position or commits a criminal act, they may be Court-ordered or required by an employer to have a a psychological assessment. During the initial clinical interview, I frequently observe nervousness, fear reactions and even tears. The client may minimize his or her actions, state that this was the first time that this circumstance had occurred or try to assure me that "this will never happen again". Despite their sincerity,...

Read more →


What is Learned Helplessness?

Dr. Linda Hancock Self Improvement The Second Year

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...

Read more →


Boundaries and Limits

Dr. Linda Hancock Home and Family Parenting The Second Year

Boundaries and Limits

It was 10:30 p.m. and I was driving home from work tonight. At every corner of downtown there were young people chasing each other, visiting and riding their bikes. I couldn't believe it! After all, it was 10:30 p.m. and this is a school night. And then it hit me - it is 10:30 p.m. and I was just coming home from work! Things have changed over the years. I remember when I grew up in a small town that had a 9 p.m. curfew. Everyone knew that the alarm from the fire hall would ring and we had better...

Read more →