How To Use The Best Of Psychology In Your Next Job Interview

Photo credit: Canary Pete

Looking for a new job? That process can be exhausting! And overwhelming. And exciting. And exhausting again. So much has changed about the job search process in recent years: on-line job boards and resumes, computerized personality assessments, LinkedIn!

But one thing that hasn’t changed much are good face-to-face interview skills. I recently wrote an article over at Health eCareers about how to use psychological science in your job interviews.

Here’s a tip:

Want to read the full article with more tips about how to ace your interview? Check out the whole thing over at Health eCareers.

Managing Your Emotions When Coming Back From Maternity Leave

Photo credit: Health eCareers

Did you know that 47% of the American workforce is women? And up to 90% of women become mothers at some point in their lives? That all adds up to lots of folks taking maternity (or paternity!) leave at some point in the professional lives.

But it’s not always easy to manage the emotions around going back to work when maternity leave is over. Just like with every other aspect of becoming a parent – the struggles we might have are not always the ones we expect.

I recently wrote and article over at

about how to deal with the varied, and often-changing emotions when coming back from maternity leave. Here’s one tip:




To read the entire article, check out Health eCareers

Thoughts About Sexual Orientation Change Efforts

Have you been reading the Colorado Sun? If you live in Colorado, I suggest you check it out. Here’s a a bit about them from their site:

“The Colorado Sun is a journalist-owned, ad-free news outlet based in Denver but which strives to cover all of Colorado so that our state — our community — can better understand itself.”

Recently, the folks over there published a story about a “conversion therapy” bill that had been introduced to the Colorado Legislature. I thought the reporting was great, but they missed a mental health professional’s perspective on why Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE) are not only unhelpful, but also damaging. So I wrote a letter to the editor. Here it is:

Dear Editor:

I am writing to add some information to the article Colorado lawmakers for a fifth — and likely final — time will weigh whether to ban gay “conversion therapy”

While I appreciate the balanced approach you attempted to take in explaining the history and effects of “conversion therapy,” I think you missed an important voice: licensed mental health professionals who have long been opposed to the practice.

Sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE, also commonly known as “conversion therapy”) operate under the assumption that there is something wrong, bad, abnormal or disordered about identifying as lesbian, gay or bisexual. In fact, the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the gold standard in mental health diagnoses) stopped identifying homosexuality as a mental health disorder in 1973. Since 1973, all mainstream health and mental health organizations (American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychological Association, etc) have come to understand that lesbian, gay, bisexual and questioning adolescents are simply a part of the normal spectrum of human sexual expression.

But not only does every health and mental health organization oppose SOCE, I, as a clinical psychologist have seen first hand the harm lack of support, understanding and evidence-based mental health treatment can do to a young person struggling to understand who they are. Shame, guilt, low mood, anxiety, self doubt, trouble concentrating – these are all potential outcomes for a young person who is told they aren’t “normal,” “healthy,” or worthy of respect and acceptance exactly as they are. Sadly, this is exactly the message SOCE sends.

Adolescents who identify with a same sex orientation or are questioning their sexual identity can face enormous challenges – during a time in life when things are already pretty hard. In addition to trying to figure out everyday things associated with adolescence: What classes to take, how to get homework done, what to do after high school, who to hang out with – they can also be met with lack of support (at best), discrimination, prejudice and violence (at worst) by family, friends, and community members. We know youth who identify as lesbian, gay and bisexual have higher rates of substance abuse, emotional distress and suicide attempts. We also know that some of the reason for this is because of the lack of support and genuine acceptance these kids find in homes, schools and society as a whole. We, as adults and caregivers, need to do all we can to guarantee that these kids will have access to safe places to express themselves and receive appropriate, effective mental health care that will be accepting of all pieces and parts of the wide range of human sexual expression.

Respectfully,

Stephanie S. Smith, PsyD
Licensed Psychologist

Promoting Health Body Image

https://www.produceforkids.com/episode-19-promoting-positive-body-image-with-kids/

I was recently interviewed for the awesome Healthy Family Project podcast by Produce for Kids. If you haven’t checked out the podcast yet, you should! It’s full of interesting, helpful episodes.

I love being interviewed for podcasts. Maybe it’s that I like to talk a lot, but they feel much more useful than short, tip-filled articles. Especially when the topic is as nuanced as body image. I also love that you can listen while doing something else like taking a walk or driving to work. Here are some other episodes of Healthy Family Project that I’ve been a part of:

https://www.produceforkids.com/episode-8-anxiety-around-back-to-school/
https://www.produceforkids.com/episode-3-managing-screen-time/

Preparing for a Smooth Transition Into Retirement

Is retirement part of your New Year’s resolution? Preparing for it? Actually doing it? We hear a lot about financial planning aspect of retirement, but not so much about the psychological, emotional and social planning aspects of retirement.

I recently wrote an article over at Health eCareers about some strategies for planning for a smooth transition into retirement. Here’s one tip:

Talk to the important people in your lives.

It’s easy to assume that our spouses, children, grandchildren and friends have the same ideas about our retirement as we do, but that is often not the case. Your kids might have the expectation that, once retired, you will pick up your grandchildren from school more often, or your friends might assume that you can go to lunch or play golf every day. Perhaps your spouse is expecting lots of travel. Whatever the assumptions of the people closest to you, it’s possible that they’re not the same as yours. Check in well ahead of time with questions like: “How are you thinking our life might change once I retire?” and “Do you have any expectations of me once I’m no longer working?” Once you understand their ideas, you can share your own plans, and no one will be caught off guard.

Want to read the entire article? Check out Health eCareers for more info and tips!

Photo credit: Health eCareers

Returning to Work After Maternity Leave: Emotion Management

I recently wrote an article over at Health eCareers about coping with the expected – and unexpected – emotions around returning to work after maternity leave. It’s a complicated issue that’s rarely talked about, which is strange given that women make up 47% of the American workforce. What’s more, more and more fathers are taking paternity leave, and may face the same emotional ups and downs when they return to work.

Here’s one tip:

Stay flexible.

Just as there are many ways to become a parent, birth a baby and then actually care for your newborn once she arrives, there are also many emotions that might (or might not!) come up when returning to work. Some women are sad and teary, others guilty and still others ecstatic to be back — perhaps all of these things at the same time! The point is, emotions are varied and variable. What you feel one day might not be what you feel the next. And that’s OK. Keeping your expectations flexible is a good strategy for managing the variability of emotions.

To read the entire article, head over to Health eCareers

It’s That Time of Year Again…

The holiday season is upon us.  For some that’s a reason for celebration:

For others, this season of the year elicits a reaction more like this:

Or if you’re like me, the impending holidays have you doing this:

Whatever your reaction, the last quarter of the year likely brings up some “stuff” for you:

  • Happy memories
  • Regrets
  • Sadness over things, people and relationships you’ve lost
  • Frustration over things you cannot have
  • Gratitude for the people, things and relationships you do have
  • Sense of anxiety over the crowds, noise and busy-ness that can accompany this time of year
  • Feelings of loneliness over the lack of busy-ness this time of year
  • You get the idea

It can be helpful to talk about these things with a psychologist. Friends and family are great, but sometimes we need an impartial ear to listen. To make an appointment, call 303-828-3080 or email: stephaniesmithpsyd@gmail.com