Sunday, March 25, 2012

Out of the Shadows - Children's Mental Health

On April 12th, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's Continuing Education Office will be hosting a community event to raise awareness about children's mental health. Entitled, "Out of the Shadows: Children's Mental Health," the program is intended for "families, communities, educators, and others affected by children's mental health to talk with one another about child and adolescent mental health issues, hear from a variety of professionals that touch the lives of children with mental health needs, and discover how everyone can better work together."

The event, which will be held at the Sacred Heart Hospital Auditorium in Eau Claire, will take place from 5:30 - 8:00 PM and feature a viewing of the film Are the Kids Alright?, a documentary film examining the crisis in mental health care for children and adolescents at risk. A panel discussion on children's mental health in the Chippewa Valley will follow the film. Pre-registration and payment ($15) for the event is required, as participants will be treated to a hors d'oeuvre reception and receive educational materials to accompany the program.

Since this event coincides perfectly with our in-class coverage of psychological disorders and their treatment, it is a very timely topic for AP Psych students. As such, Mrs. Welle is offering up hefty extra credit for those who ultimately attend. Due to the expense and effort outside of school, 10 POINTS extra credit will be awarded to attendees. Keep your ticket/program to demonstrate proof of attendance, though you likely will also see Mrs. Welle there.

If you wish to register online via credit card, you may do so by following this link. However, since many students may prefer to pay via cash or check (and...if the number of participants is limited, Psych Club may be able to kick in some of the cost), Mrs. Welle will collect registration forms & payments from interested students up until the end of this week (March 30th). Copies are available in the classroom. (If paying by check, you can make checks payable to UW-Eau Claire.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Practice: Applying Personality Theory

Today in class we will be practicing applying the four major personality theories we've discussed over the past couple of weeks. Here are some SNL videos with characters we'll use for analysis: Surprise Party Sue and The Googly Eyes Gardener.

Surprise Party Sue

FYI: Sue also gets excited about surprise proposals...

The Googly Eyes Gardener

Monday, March 19, 2012

Personality Theory Vocab Review

Hard to believe, but our Personality unit is drawing to a close. This means a test is on the horizon, and knowing your vocab terms will be necessary for your success. However, keep in mind that the ability to apply these terms to relevant examples is more important than simply being able to rotely memorize the definition for later repetition. You will need to be able to recognize and identify each concept in scenarios that you are given (in the MC section and possibly the FRQ); you may also be asked to generate examples (frequently a task on FRQs).

Monday, March 12, 2012

Did Freud have an Extramarital Affair?

From L to R, Minna Bernays, Martha Bernays Freud, and Dr. Freud (1929) 
As a supplement to our in-class discussions of Sigmund Freud and psychoanalytic theory, my students recently read this Newsweek article from 2006 that attempted to capture the Austrian psychologist's impact on modern psychiatry on what would have been his 150th birthday. As student questions often do, one student's inquiry into a detail from the article that I had glossed over and essentially dismissed drew my attention to the need for further investigation on my part.

The article hinted at the possible existance of an extramarital affair between Freud and his sister-in-law, Minna Bernay (sister to his wife, Martha). My students wondered whether this was true. It turns out there has been interest in this possible episode in Freud's life since Carl Jung claimed, in a 1953 interview, to have been told of the affair by Minna herself. Freud biographer Peter Gay had explored these allegations in 1989 when a number of letters in the Freud archive of the U.S. Library of Congress became publicly available, but the information offered by this source was inconclusive at best. Some letters exchanged between Minna and Freud were missing, others revealed nothing more than a friendly, if close, relationship between in-laws who lived in the same household for some time.

Such rumors apparently resurfaced in 2006, when a hotel log was uncovered that revealed Freud and Minna had spent a week together at a hotel in the Swiss Alps, registered as husband and wife. This NYTimes article explores the significance of the revelation, including speculation about whether a pregnancy scare followed the trip.

Defenders of Freud's otherwise unmarred sexual history (ok...unmarred in the sense of conscious behavior...we all know what he believed about unconscious sexual impulses) find this evidence to be lacking. It doesn't actually prove the existance of an affair. Critics might wonder, what proof would one need?

One could easily argue, "What does it matter, anyway?" Yet, given what we know about how much Freud's personal life influenced his theories, one might expect that an illicit love affair (if it happened) would have had a rather significant impact on his already complicated view of human sexuality.

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Exciting developments this past week in AP Psychology! Upon returning from Mid-Winter Break, students received their 40-Day Countdown Packets, which will be their constant companions up until the AP Psych Exam on May 7th. As I write this, only 38 school days remain until that fateful afternoon.

This year, for the first time, students will be very visibly tracking their progress on their review packets via progress charts that I've posted in my classroom. For each completed "Day" of the packet, students can add a shiny star sticker next to their names. Who wouldn't want to do that?! (Admit it: since elementary school you've been longing to see more gold stars next to your name.)

So far, this strategy seems to motivating for some. In any case, it's a nice visible reminder every time we walk in the door that spaced practice will pay off (and that procrastination is an enemy to be challenged daily).