Author Archives: K. Coomarsingh

About K. Coomarsingh

K. Coomarsingh holds a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology and is a former lecturer at the Northern Caribbean University in Jamaica where she taught several undergraduate psychology courses, including Introduction to Psychology, Physiological Psychology and Introduction to Psychological Testing. She currently conducts psychological assessments of children across Jamaica.

Psychodynamic Explanations of Conduct Disorder

boy with conduct disorderConduct disorder is typically manifested in a variety of antisocial behaviours such as bullying, stealing, vandalism and cruelty to others. According to Bird (2001), children with conduct disorder also tend to be socially incompetent and lacking in empathy.

He further explains that they usually have a “hypersensitive, quasi-paranoid attitude” (p. 58) where they interpret others’ intentions as threatening and therefore react with inappropriate hostility. Regardless of the consequences of their misdeeds, these children do not usually express guilt or remorse. Yet behind their façade of toughness hides a fragile sense of self (Bird, 2001). Continue reading

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Beliefs about Beliefs: Theory of Mind Development

four year old boy

An important aspect of a child’s cognitive development is the emergence of a representational theory of mind. Having a theory of mind means that one is able to impute mental states – such as beliefs, intentions, knowledge and desires – to oneself and others.  In simple terms, it involves knowing that other people have minds of their own and that their thoughts and knowledge can differ from one’s own. Continue reading

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Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Psychodynamic and Cognitive-Behavioural Therapies

posttraumatic stress disorder treatmentA variety of therapeutic interventions have been applied in the treatment of PTSD, including psychodynamic therapy, cognitive-behavioural therapy, family therapy and group therapy. Regardless of the orientation used, two factors appear to be critical for the success of psychotherapy with PTSD clients: 1) therapy should start soon after the traumatic experience, and 2) therapy should be brief and focused (Schawz & Prout, 1991). Continue reading

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What is Developmental Psychology?

grandfather and grandson playDevelopmental psychology is the scientific study of the age-related changes that occur over the course of the human lifespan. Although early developmental theorists were mainly concerned with children, the focus of this field has now expanded to include changes over the entire human lifespan from conception to death. Developmental psychologists study various domains of development,  including physical, emotional, cognitive, moral, personality and social change. Although in theory, these domains can be viewed as separate, they all influence and are influenced by each other. Developmental psychologists therefore investigate ways in which these areas of development interact, resulting in more complex patterns of change. For example, physical development during the adolescent years can result in emotional changes (e.g. reduced or heightened self-confidence) which could in turn, affect one’s pattern of social interaction. Continue reading

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What is Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

ADHD in childrenAttention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a childhood developmental disorder characterized by a persistent pattern of inattention and/or impulsivity and hyperactivity. These behaviours are more severe and occur more frequently than expected for a child’s age and developmental level. In order to be diagnosed ADHD, the pattern of inattention and impulsive/hyperactive behavior must be present in at least two settings (e.g., home and school). Additionally, some of the symptoms must have been evident before age 7. Although many individuals manifest symptoms of both inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity, some may display a predominance of one pattern over the other. Continue reading

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What is Conduct Disorder?

adolescent aggressionConduct disorder is a disorder of childhood and adolescence involving a persistent pattern of behavior in which social norms and rules, as well as the rights of others, are repeatedly violated. Children with this disorder may be described as cruel, impulsive, aggressive and out to control. The symptoms of the disorder are typically grouped into four main categories according to the diagnostic criteria outlined in the DSM-IV. Continue reading

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