Archive for August, 2010


50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology: Shattering Widespread Misconceptions about Human Behaviorby Scott Lilienfeld, Steven Lynn, John Ruscio, and Barry Beyerstein.

Do most people in their 40’s to early 50’s experience a midlife crisis? Do psychiatric admissions go up during a full moon? Can playing Mozart to infants boost their intelligence? Do most people only use 10% of their brain power? Is low self-esteem a major cause of psychological problems?

From Oprah and Dr. Oz to the nightly news, we are constantly exposed to psychological concepts on a daily basis.  While some of this information is factual and can be useful, a great deal of what we believe to be true is actually myth and misconception.  Professors Lilienfeld, Lynn, and Ruscio have taken on the task of “Mythbusting” in the field of Psychomythology.  This is a refreshing and fun look at many of the concepts that have been accepted as fact by our popular culture.  It is refreshing to find a scientific, evidence-based approach to psychological ideas in a time that has become so dominated by subjective experience.  This books reviews 50 of the most popular psychological myths and explores both the facts and misconceptions  surrounding each of these topics.  This book is sure to spur interesting conversations at your next cocktail party or social gathering.  Prepare to join the ranks of the Mythbusters as you will soon be equipped to set the record straight.

The Kitchen Shrink: A Psychiatrist’s Reflections on Healing in a Changing World by Dora Calott Wang, M.D.

Have you ever wondered what it is like to be a psychiatrist? To know the intimate thoughts and struggles that go on in the minds of those who are charged with the restoration of health and well-being? The Kitchen Shrink might be the book for you.

The Kitchen Shrink is a beautifully written memoir by Dr. Dora Wang detailing her life as a psychiatrist, wife, and mother and her experience of the shift that has occurred in medicine over the past twenty years.  Dr. Wang is an incredibly gifted writer and storyteller.  Unfortunately, the story she has to share is not as beautiful: there has been a paradigm shift away from patient-centered, “cradle-to-grave” medicine to a more business-centered, insurance driven model that focuses, not on quality, but rather on efficiencies–where the patient has been removed from the center of attention and remade as a “cog” in the health care machine.  I found myself wanting to share my patient-care stories with Dr. Wang as I read her poignant and all-too-familiar accounts.  While I know that her story is both emotionally-wrenching and true, I am left to wonder who, outside of physicians and those interested in health care reform, will find and read this book. While Dr. Wang does not suggest any specific health care reform options, she does a wonderful job of illuminating many of the problems with our current state of health care while reminding us of medicine’s noble history as the healing art.  Through the intimacy shared in her writing, Dr. Wang feels like a kindred-spirit in the quest for balance, happiness, and contentment.  I look forward to reading more from her in the future.