Wednesday, July 12, 2006

brain exercise

smart mama has been doing some serious brain exercise the last two days. you know how stiff you are after not working out for a while- well i can say the same thing applies to heavy duty learning-I used to read hundreds o pages of research a week and now slogging through a paper at a mere 30 pages (although i must say some was quite intense) was mentally exhausting.

Every 5 years i have to recertify as a child life specialist- with load of hours of professional development. So smart nanay (my mom) was kind enough to come up and enjoy some quality time with her smart grandboys so i can get part of my requirements. So in 2 days i delved into 20 hours of hard core learning... And in case you are feeling academic today- here are little blurbs of my classes...

Counseling Children using Cognitive Behavior Therapy (using developmental theories)
CBT is a great approach which changes "errors" in thinking that lead to negative emotions and behavior, i love developmental theory and it was fun to apply it in a therapeutic modality. It focused on using freud, piaget, erikson, havinghurst, and Lazarus Basic ID to tailor CBT to children. This was probably my favorite and definitely the most brain stretching.

The Spiritual Needs of Ill Children
Great discussion on our avoidance of talking to children in general about life and death. Our fears to discuss these things because of not wanting to intrude on peoples religious beliefs. Reaffirmed our need to be open to children especially those at end of life and allow them a voice in decision making and find peace through questions and discussion.

The Impact of Social Support on Health Status
This is something we take for granted but people need support in different ways and it varies by the personality, diagnosis, etc. It was a great at defining different modalities of support.

Coping Strategies for the Depressed Medically Ill
My MS thesis was on stress and coping- so i was cozying up again to the works of Lazarus. And as much as most people don't think about coping and stress in a day- i am so conditioned to break down my emotional responses to what the stressors is and then brainstorm strategies to alleviate it. One day i will write a great post on "coping" because really i think it is an amazing life skill to acquire (to be honest your coping skills will kind of make or break you and most people are automatic in their coping responses which are generally acquired in their family of origin) and one you can use to help children, friends, family members.

Understanding Grief: A Journey Towards Healing
This was also really great- kind of a twist on the generally accepted Kubler-Ross theory- but using new language that more appropriately frames the experience- like instead of acceptance, acknowledgement. Talking about death as death and our cultural avoidance of death. With my pregnancy loss work i have done a lot with grief work, and loss in general (with illness, infertility, expectations, not just death) Another great post for some day- dealing with grief and loss- (we'll call it the smart mama self help series when i will impart my wisdom to you blog readers at no extra charge!)

Childhood Depression and Anxiety
A discussion of temperamental influences in making children at risk for anxiety, depression and some mediating factors. The comorbity of the dx of depression and anxiety.

It has reminded me how much i miss school, love learning, and will i undoubtedly return to academia at some point and eventually get a PhD, that is when I think i handle a dissertation (the true evil). I can handle classes anyday! But i need to pass to forget the evil or writing a thesis (although i think that fact that my mother wrote her master thesis while pregnant with me- cause so very negative in- utero research vibes)

Still at the end of the day a good brain work out feels great!!


Sabra said...

i totally used to be smart :p

Thoroughly Mormon Millie said...

Yikes... good for you, but yikes. But good for you.

This is the result of no brain workouts for quite some time, coupled with the 5 kids-having... now I just sound like Jar Jar Binks.

melnel said...

This stuff sounds awesome! I especially liked the one about the coping mechanisms, because you're right--most people cope but don't cope well. :)

Found your blog through Friday Flip Up at Tripping Over Cobblestone. I'll be back...

(mwhahahaha) :)