Deep Blue
There’s nothing more annoying than running into a bunch of information that contradicts something you always believed, you always knew, you were sure about.1 Fortunately (or not... ) it appears that most of us are quite capable of avoiding information if we think it is not going to tell us what we want to hear. How can otherwise sensible people believe that cutting taxes creates new jobs or that autism is caused by vaccinations?
It was not so long ago that the whole idea of mental illness was something we kept locked away in a closet (or an institution).
I was having a shower this morning and suddenly the solution to a problem I had been wrestling with for a few days came to me. It was an “ah-ha” moment. 
One of the hot trends in psychology these days is the concept of “mindfulness.”
I am in the midst of another round of assessments for police wannabes. As usual, almost all the candidates are lovely young people, with much cleaner personal histories than mine, who appear virtuous (to the point of being nauseating), and who generally want to save the world.
A friend of mine is developing a course about critical thinking. If I had to guess, I’d say he was doing this because he is trying to figure out why otherwise rational people voted in a rather peculiar manner in the last American presidential election. I think his premise is that if we can just teach people to think critically, evaluate information and weigh consequences, then people will make rational decisions. He has a point — but making rational decisions is actually more complex than it appears on the surface.
I was talking to some HR people the other day who were musing about the increased focus on employee well-being in recent years. Some reflected with a chuckle about the “good old days” when they thought everything would be peachy once they offered something like R2MR (Road to Mental Readiness) training to the masses.
One of the things police and psychologists have in common is we are both often trying to get people to stop doing things that they shouldn’t be doing; we try to get people to change their behaviour.
I am a big fan of British TV shows and so I often find myself watching British “cop” shows. One thing that always strikes me is the obtuse wording they use for the Miranda-like warnings they give. I had to watch quite a number of British shows before I figured out exactly what the words were — and even more shows before I figured out what they actually meant. Part of my difficulty had to do with accents; I am really bad at understanding accents. But the language they use also seems a little convoluted to me.
Two of the local hospitals recently amalgamated here in my hometown. It is an interesting pairing between your basic government-type psychiatric hospital and a long-term care/geriatric hospital, operated by a Catholic organization. Some years ago, the government decided to get rid of its psychiatric hospitals, so the psych hospital was handed over to the Catholic organization. Ergo these two organizations came under the same governance structure but were maintained as two different physical facilities. Although there was a degree of shared higher management, generally the two institutions retained some level of separation. But only until April 2017.
A few years back, in the dead of winter, I decided I might be coming down with the plague and decided to visit my local after-hours clinic.
I was reviewing the details of a training program about interactions with people with mental illnesses recently, and I noted that the prescribed course devoted a whole lot of time to addressing people’s attitudes toward mental illness.
Ever feel like screwing up on the job just because your boss treats you like you are an accident waiting to happen? You’re not the only one. Consider this study:
Care for some cod with lemon? I can give you a fish knife if you’d like. I just finished reading Consider the fork: A history of how we cook and eat, by British historian Bee Wilson, and now know why we have fish knives. I also know why Brits cook things till way past dead and people from China stir fry rather than roast.
I’m writing this on a miserable Saturday morning, one of those dark, dreary, wet days when staying in bed seems the only reasonable option. Some days, the idea of doing NOTHING really appeals, but given the length of my to-do list, it’s not going to happen.

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