The National Alliance of Professional Psychology Providers (NAPPP) has a long history of blasting the trend toward physicians prescribing patients pharmaceuticals as a first-line of treatment for mental disorders. Last December, the organization contracted with a producer to make a pro-psychotherapy video to be aired on PBS, Fox News and CNN.
This month, NAPPP put a rough edit of the video on its website. “Keep in mind that this is a first edit,” John Caccavale, a member of the organization’s executive board, says in the new issue of The Clinical Practitioner. “The final will be available in a few weeks and in HD quality for TV broadcasting.”
Caccavale and other board members hope the video will reach 60 million viewers over the next year in a bid to confront the shift of mental health care to primary care physicians “head on. Psychologists must become ‘the adults in the room’ before it’s too late,” he says.
The video begins by setting up the argument: “The brain is the most complex organ in the human body, and perhaps the most remarkable,” a narrator says. “But one in five Americans will suffer at least one form of mental illness in his or her lifetime.”
It goes on to talk about the “over-prescribing of psychotropic drugs as a first line of treatment by primary care physicians who may be unqualified to treat mental disorders… [which] has been a concern of many mental health professionals.”
Drugs treat only the symptoms of problems like depression and anxiety, Nicholas Cummings, another executive board member and a former president of the American Psychological Association, says in the film. “If you give aspirin for a headache,” he says, “the person may get temporary relief from pain, but then may also die.”
In an article accompanying the release, Caccavale concludes: “Medications have their place in some treatment plans but not without an appropriate role for doctoral level psychologists.”
The watch the video, click here.
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Origins of the field of sports psychology were spotlighted–just in time for the opening of the 2012 baseball season–in the APA’s April issue of the Monitor on Psychology.
It tells the story of a Illinois psychologist Coleman Griffith, who was hired by Chicago Cubs owner Philip Wrigley to help bail out the 1938 season. The Cubs had tried everything that year, including bringing in a guy “in a checkered suit” to “put a whammy” on opposing teams.
But Griffith didn’t have any more success than the “unnamed voodoo expert,” according to the Monitor. In fact, manager Charlie Grimm was disgusted by the idea and ordered his players not to cooperate with the “headshrinkers.”
“Wrigley watched and did nothing,” says the Monitor. Griffith was kept on the payroll until 1940, after which he returned to the University of Illinois. Other managers looked at the experiment as a failure, but Griffith was declared “America’s first sport psychologist” in 1970.
- John Nelander, Contributing Editor