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Yellow Wallpaper Diagnosis

Terribly written in February  of 2001

Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story, “The Yellow Wall-Paper”, portrays the life of a young woman who is suffering from a “temporary nervous depression” (Gilman 153) with “a slight hysterical tendency” (Gilman 153). Trapped in a “colonial mansion” (Gilman 152) by her physician husband, who believes that the house will be therapeutic, her mental state begins to deteriorate to the point of hallucinations and chronic paranoid delusions. Her grip on reality seems to be made worse though the story by her husband and his parental-like treatment of her. If we use modern psychological diagnostic techniques to asses the young lady’s situation, we can get a much better idea of what is ailing her than a “temporary nervous depression”. Appling these techniques gives a picture of someone suffering from a personality disorder, “a continuing pattern of perceiving and relating to the world that is maladaptive across a variety of contexts and results in a notable impairment or distress” (Kendall and Hammen 407). Continue Reading →

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South African Foundations

Written in February of 2001, some sort of book review I believe…

Growing up in South Africa lends an interesting insight in reading literary works concerning my former homeland, such as Nadine Gordimer’s “Once Upon a Time”. In a what first appears to be a seemingly arbitrary introduction, Gordimer tells the story of her waking one night to fears of an intruder, only to realize that the noises she hears are from the creaking as her house, being built on top of the Johannesburg gold mines, begins to buckle under the stress. What is less apparent is that she is trying to show that South Africa is a country that is founded on the principles of exploiting black people for cheap labor to mine the richest gold and diamond fields in the world.

When Gordimer writes that the “passages of gold mines have hollowed the rock” (75), she is saying that the “house’s foundations” (75), the system of apartheid, is responsible for the fear that white people live in, waiting “already a victim” (75) of the next knifing by a “casual labourer…dismissed without pay” (75), or some other such “tsotsis” (77). She then proceeds to tell herself  “a bed-time story” (76) about a family living in a very South African city. Continue Reading →

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Fetal Responsibility

Written around January 2001 for a discourse essay

On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in the case of Roe v. Wade, announcing that the United States Constitution protects a woman’s right to decide whether or not to terminate a pregnancy (Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court transcript 14). Seven justices voted in favor legalized abortion under limited circumstances and two dissented.  This landmark ruling consolidated the rights won by women in the ‘60s and early 70s, and delivered instant benefits for women’s health and quality of life. It also delivered far-reaching social benefits to American society. The current threat to the ruling should be a matter of concern to all clear-thinking people. Continue Reading →

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Research and Telehealth

Written around December 2000

For psychologists, direct patient care involves a number of activities including assessment, psychotherapy, crisis intervention, patient education, case management, and, increasingly, medication support. Increasingly, this work is conducted using telecommunications devices such as telephones, electronic mail (e-mail), or even video teleconference equipment.

The literature on “telehealth” is growing rapidly, doubling approximately every 6 months. The quality of the research is quite varied. Some studies are completely uncontrolled surveys based on measures with unknown reliability. Other studies are controlled, randomized clinical trials. Much of the literature is still theoretical, or at best descriptive. Continue Reading →

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Psychometrics Class

Written around December 2000 – complete garbage 🙂

My group and I designed a test titled “So you think you’re a world traveler?” It was designed to measure a person’s world knowledge. In theory, it can be used to job screen a person for a social secretary position. The test measures whether a person has well-rounded knowledge of different countries, customs, foods, airports, currencies, capitals, and landmarks.

When designing the test, we divided up a map of the world into 6 blocks, using the 6 main continents of the world. From there, we generated 6 questions for each block using the categories of customs, foods, airports, currencies, capitals, and landmarks. Continue Reading →

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Genetic Factors in Nicotine Addiction

Written around November of 2000

I do not understand the mechanisms of addiction very well. I have been exposed to the “runner’s high” during competitive swimming, and while enjoying it, it didn’t move me on any level. Nicotine seems to have no affect on me, and alcohol is something that I enjoy at many occasions, but have never felt the need for a drink. My friends (many of whom smoke, exercise excessively or spend an unhealthy amount of time on Internet chat lines) attribute this to the fact that I don’t have an addictive personality. Is there such a thing? Well, it has become increasingly common knowledge that the sons of alcoholics are more likely to have a drinking problem, in fact I have a friend who abstains totally due to his father’s daily whiskey intake, but is do the sons of runners want to run more? Are the sons of smokers more likely to need nicotine to get through the day? Continue Reading →

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Effects of the Internet on mental health

Written around October of 2000

I have been using the Internet for almost ten years now. I have made many friends over the net, and actually do go out with them on a regular basis. I make my money for going to the movies from designing web sites, rather than serving food at the local Chili’s and I am still completely in love with my computer. But are there any negative effects that my long hours spent on the Internet are having on my mental health, and the health of my friends? New studies offer an interesting paradoxical view on the matter. Continue Reading →

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The Waste Land Water Symbolism

Completed somewhere around May 2001 – was published, so don’t copy too closely

T.S. Eliot is one of the most studied poets of today (Murphy 250). His poetry is masterfully planned and executed, filled with clever references and multiple meanings. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1948 “for his outstanding, pioneering contribution to present-day poetry.” His “pioneering” works include “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” “Preludes,” “Ash Wednesday” and “Four Quartets” but his most widely analyzed, and probably most often misunderstood, work is “The Waste Land.” It is a poem that has baffled critics for its entire existence. It is inherently ambiguous and filled with paradoxical symbolism, but it does carry a message for the reader. “The Waste Land” is an intensely symbolic work, with almost every line up for a different interpretation by a reader. Throughout the poem, Eliot uses a number of reappearing symbols such as death, rats, bones, bells, towers and beds, to name a few, but his most frequently occurring symbol is that of water in all of its forms. Eliot purposefully employs an ambiguous water motif to make points about nature, culture, religion and life in general and about how modern man in his reactions to each has become a “wasteland” and needs to be reborn. Continue Reading →

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The Waste Land Water Paper Outline

Written as a planning tool for the paper I’ll post on Monday – Written April 2001

Eliot purposefully employs an ambiguous water motif throughout the poem to make points about nature, culture, religion and life in general and how modern man in his reactions to each has become a “wasteland”, and needs to be reborn. Continue Reading →

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The White Tribe of Africa Speech

Speech Written in June 2002


Just before I immigrated to the United States, I saw a headline in the Johannesburg Star which read “Death Rate to Exceed Birth Rate by 2003”. Now for a European country, this might not seem so unusual, but this was Africa. It took a few days for the headline to fully sink in: This was not an announcement of success in birth control programs or positive in any way, but rather the fact that AID’s had finally been able to kill faster than South Africa’s expediential growth had been able to create. It is my experience that people around the world generally do not understand Africa and especially South Africa. They pass off the problems as part of the African experience, but know nothing about the place themselves. So to give you an understanding of country I lived in for 20 years, I will need to explain something of its past, its present and its future. Continue Reading →

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