Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Embracing tension, space, and the unknown in music therapy research

Every three years, the international music therapy community gathers at the World Congress of Music Therapy. This meeting of students, clinicians, educators, and scholars offers opportunities to examine culturally embedded assumptions about the nature of “music” and “health”; to learn how the relationship between music and health differs across cultures; and to directly connect with colleagues from across the globe.

Read More

Women’s healthcare and the concept of mind-body interaction

Throughout history, and across many different cultures, the human being has been considered to consist of a mind with body (and sometimes a soul). Despite this, across much of modern medicine there has been a tendency to conceive of these aspects as distinctly separate entities, whether in disease generation or in its management. The problem of such an approach is that it engenders a sort of Cartesian confusion.

Read More

Why should I trust you? AMBIT: helps where it’s hard to help

Teachers to nurses, youth workers to psychiatrists, psychotherapists to social workers—you name it, we are legion; the “helping professions”. We’ve made progress over the past century, finding effective ways to help many – perhaps most – of the difficulties our clients face, but we shouldn’t be complacent. Even the most “evidence-based” of our interventions are only effective for 50-60% of the cases that they are used with.

Read More

Reducing the harm done by substances: key strategies

The most recent data on life expectancy for the United States show stagnation over the past three years. This stagnation has happened at a time when the most important causes of death, such as cardiovascular diseases or cancers, have decreased. So, what causes of death are responsible for the stagnation in life expectancy?

Read More

Why do I wake up every morning feeling so tired?

The alarm rings, you awaken, and you are still drowsy: why? Being sleepy in the morning does not make any sense; after all, you have just been asleep for the past eight hours. Shouldn’t you wake up refreshed, aroused, and attentive? No, and there are a series of ways to explain why. The neurobiological answer: During the previous few hours before waking in the morning, you have spent most of your time in REM sleep, dreaming.

Read More

Bipolar disorder and addictions

Bipolar disorder consists of two major types. Bipolar disorder, type I is the classical and well-known disorder, which used to be called manic-depressive illness. Episodes of hypomania and depression tend to alternate, with each phase lasting for days or weeks. Bipolar disorder, type II, is characterized by shorter-lived episodes of abnormal mood (it is sometimes termed “rapid cycling”) and there is a predominance of depressive phases.

Read More

Is suicide rationalizable? Evidence from Italian prisons.

After cancer and heart disease, suicide accounts for more years of life lost than any other cause of death, both in the United States and in Europe. In 2013 there were 41,149 suicides (12.6 every 100,000 inhabitants) in the US. To contextualize this number just think that the number of motor vehicle deaths was, in the same year, around 32,719 (10.3 every 100,000 inhabitants).

Read More

Police violence: a risk factor for psychosis

Police victimization of US civilians has moved from the shadows to the spotlight following the widespread adaptation of smartphone technology and rapid availability of video footage through social media. The American Public Health Association recently issued a policy statement outlining the putative health and mental health costs of police violence, and declared the need to increase efforts towards understanding and preventing the effects of such victimization.

Read More

Mental health at all ages

This May, Mental Health Awareness Month turns 68. To raise awareness of the fact that mental health issues affect individuals at all stages of the life course, we have put together a brief reading list of articles from The Journals of Gerontology: Social Sciences Series B. These articles also explore aspects of mental health that may be under-appreciated in the traditional social psychological literature.

Read More

Adult ADHD: myths and reality

One out of every 5-10 adult psychotherapy clients probably has attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Key studies and writings emerged in 1995 supporting the idea of adult ADHD, but it took many years of reading and research to confidently recognize and appropriately treat adult ADHD. It continues to be underrecognized by mental health clinicians, even when clients with ADHD are already in treatment for other mental illnesses, and considerable misinformation is circulated.

Read More

The impact of intergenerational conflict at work

Recently, several colleagues and I noted that conflict in the workplace can emerge as a result of perceptions of differences related to what members of various generations care about, how they engage in work, and how they define self and others. We also noted several ways in which these conflicts might be resolved including achieving results, managing image in the workplace, and focusing on self in challenging interactions.

Read More

Reflections on Freud, the first “wild analyst”

Sigmund Freud was a more radical and speculative thinker than many have been willing to concede. This is apparent in his many discussions of childhood sexuality. For example, few really understand how Freud’s conclusions about childhood sexuality predate by decades the clinical observations of actual children – later done by dutiful analysis, most often by women analysts like Melanie Klein and Freud’s own daughter Anna Freud

Read More

Johnny had Parkinson’s…and music helped him walk

One day we stumbled upon something that would end up helping Johnny on this twice daily haul. Given our shared history as musicians, it’ll come as no surprise that Johnny and I often talked about music. As Johnny was prepping to take the first step, we joked about singing a march so he could march his way down the hall. It was Johnny’s idea to use Sousa’s Stars and Stripes, a march he liked.

Read More

Slipping expectations for child outcomes

Certainly we should be happy that kids from “at risk” environments graduate from high school and do not end up in prison for life. But is this enough to aim for? We may not score their life outcome as minus 5 (on a -10 to +10 scale), but Chiron’s life outcome does not warrant much more than a zero. Why? Because his intelligence, unique gifts, and potential were not fostered (which would go on the plus side of zero).

Read More

Celebrating 100 years of Urie Bronfenbrenner

n the United States, currently, about 15 million children (almost a quarter of the global child population) live in families whose income falls below the federally established poverty level. The damaging effects on children’s and families’ development were something that was a life-long concern of Urie Bronfenbrenner.

Read More

Modern life and clinical psychology

It’s a sad but very modern paradox. Despite the many wonderful opportunities and options like education, technologies, internet resources and travel that are open to young people today, young people’s mental health today has never been so fragile. In contrast to the frequently portrayed images of happy, successful, and socially connected millennials in selfies, in fact many millennials seem to feel more empty and lost than ever.

Read More