Vicarious Trauma

Vicarious Trauma

Eddie, a successful attorney and executive, looks out over the city from a windowed room in the skyscraper. Vicarious trauma, also known as secondary trauma, can be described as indirect exposure to a traumatic event through a first-hand account or narrative of that event. People in the helping professions—counselors and therapists, rescue workers, police officers, doctors, and lawyers—may be at risk of vicarious traumatization. Any person who has a significant relationship with a survivor of trauma may also come to experience secondary traumatization.

Mental Health Services


8 Insights – Divorce & Child Custody by Forensic Psychologist Jeffrey Arden

Divorce and Child Custody – Some Thoughts


Forensic Psychologist

A few things in life that a family goes through are upending as a divorce, and even more so when young children are involved. From working as a child custody evaluator for 20 plus years, I have gained some useful insights that seem to lessen the trauma.


Insight 1: Come up with a parenting agreement.

Divorcing parents are usually encouraged to come up with a custody agreement, also called a parenting plan, usually with the help of their attorneys. Ideally, a written parenting agreement or plan defines how both parents are going to share time and decision-making regarding the children. It helps set the stage for a successful post-divorce relationship because it sets clear expectations, which in turn can reduce conflict between the two of you and lessen a child’s confusion regarding roles, schedules, and commitments.

You can work with your spouse/partner to negotiate and write down a parenting agreement yourselves or you can seek the help of a child custody mediator or other specialists. Whatever agreement is reached, it’s important to know that your parenting agreement can be made a court order so that you can enforce it if your spouse doesn’t live up to its terms.


Insight 2: Know the different types of child custody.


Help with Dyslexia


Jeffrey Arden, Ph.D.

Educating educators about dyslexia, and teaching children with dyslexia has been a long-
standing major problem in the United State as well as in other countries. This is a problem that exists not just in public schools, but in private schools, expensive or otherwise. The problems in having remained ignorant and/or inert with respect to this issue are legion. Numerous studies have identified moderate to high correlations between non-identified dyslexics and children that have a number of mental health issues. Unfortunately, there are all too many well-documented cases whereby children attempted to conceal their difficulties by avoiding circumstances and situations where they were likely to fail and the adoption of dysfunctional diversionary problematic behaviors. The literature is replete with accounts of hundreds of children, now adults, who spoke of their embarrassment, anxiety, humiliation, and guilt. Consequently, they lost confidence in themselves as learners and often lost friends, and experienced many failures socially. I haven’t meant to tirade on, however, this is one particular issue that I feel passionate about, is fairly easy to remedy, and by teaching teachers to identify children with dyslexia, and have them educated accordingly is something that can and must be done both in the UK and in the United States.



Jeffrey Arden, Ph.D.

About 5.3 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, and this number is expected to triple to nearly 16 million by the year 2050 per the Alzheimer’s Association. Currently, there is no effective treatment or cure for the disease that is characterized primarily by eroding senses, cognition, and coordination, and ultimately death.

The loss of one’s sense of smell is known to be one of the earliest known impairments caused by Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers have found that by restoring a plaque-forming protein, a study utilizing research animals indicated that the sense of smell could be restored. The study led by a Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine researcher confirms that the protein called amyloid beta is the primary culprit. According to Daniel Wesson, Ph.D. “the evidence indicates we can use the sense of smell to determine if someone may get Alzheimer’s disease, and use changes in sense of smell to begin treatments, instead of waiting until someone has learning issues and problems remembering.” We know that the loss of smell can be caused by a number of ailments, exposures, and injuries, but since the 1970s, it has been identified as an early sign of a sign of Alzheimer’s.

ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE - Psychology & Alzheimer's on the Brain

The new research shows how and where in the brain this happens, and that the impairment can be treated. Further, it is believed that understanding smell loss will hold some clues about how to slow down this disease. In this particular study, it was noted that early on, the part of the brain called the olfactory bulb, where odor information from the nose is processed, became hyperactive. Over time, however, the level of amyloid beta increased in the olfactory bulb, and it became less active or hypoactive. The research team tried something interesting. They sought to reverse the effects and injected the animals with a drug that clears amyloid beta from the brain. After two weeks on the drug, the animals could process smells normally. After then withdrawing the drug for one week, impairments then returned. This is only one of a number of exciting new experiments that show great hope for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

Behavioral training improves connections in the brain

Behavioral training improves connections in the brain

by  originally posted on JULY 30, 2011 · in INTEGRATIVE HEALTHCAREMINDFUL THINKING

teaching and learningThe results of a recent study of children with poor reading skills who underwent an intensive, six-month training program to improve their reading ability showed increased connectivity in a particular brain region. This was in addition to making significant gains in reading, according to a study funded in part by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

The study was published in the Dec. 10, 2009, issue of Neuron. “We have known that behavioral training can enhance brain function.” said NIMH Director Thomas R. Insel, M.D.

“The exciting breakthrough here is detecting changes in brain connectivity with behavioral treatment. This finding with reading deficits suggests an exciting new approach to be tested in the treatment of mental disorders, which increasingly appear to be due to problems in specific brain circuits.”

For the study, Timothy Keller, Ph.D., and Marcel Just, Ph.D., both of Carnegie Mellon University, randomly assigned 35 poor readers ages 8?, to an intensive, remedial reading program, and 12 to a control group that received normal classroom instruction.

Sticks and stones may break my bones but names can really hurt me

by  Orginally posted on DECEMBER 7, 2010  · in MINDFUL THINKING

A recently published article in the American Journal of Psychiatry, penned by Martin H. Teicher, M.D., Ph.D., Jacqueline A. Samson, Ph.D., Yi-Shin Sheu, M.A., Ann Polcari, R.N., Ph.D., and Cynthia E. McGreenery, revealed some fascinating and troubling findings. Among these, the researchers note that exposure to physical and verbal aggression from peers, perpetrated by other children who are not siblings and are not necessarily age-mates, is a highly prevalent form of childhood stress.

Victims of peer aggression show the scars; they have increased rates of depression, suicidal ideation, loneliness, and even psychosis. Additionally, their grades are lower, their absentee rates higher, they are more likely to carry weapons to school and to engage in fights, they are likely to suffer more injuries, abuse over-the-counter medications, and intentionally hurt animals.