Discussions Regarding the World of Psychology (www.lapsych.com)

Tag Archives: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy


A new study from the Archives of Sexual Behavior supports the notion that certain facial irregularities which are developed during the first and second trimester of pregnancy are positively correlated with future pedophilia. This study also found that left-handedness is also more common in pedophiles. I see positive and negative implications of this study based on the way it can be interpreted by people with various agendas. If used as a potential tool for early intervention, I believe that it can be a great benefit to help kids and adolescents who are at risk for becoming potential future pedophiles learn their triggers and coping mechanisms for such urges. However, if this study is misinterpreted by individuals, it can be used to alienate and red-flag individuals with possible features and can lead to discriminatory actions. It also brings up the argument of nature versus nurture and how much of this behavior is controlled by genetic predisposition or the environment and manner in which one was raised. Very interesting study…

Dr. Sheyda Melkonian


We’ve all heard the saying ” I perform better under stress”.  Although this may be true for some of us, it is not the case for everyone.  A recent study from the University of Chicago found that during times of stress (measured by elevated levels of cortisol), people who tend to perform better are the one’s who have a higher level of confidence to begin with.  However, people who are anxious and unsure of themselves tend to perform poorly when faced with situations of increased stress.  It appears that the cortisol associated with stress helps individuals who are confident but it hinders those who are anxious.

This study is very helpful for individuals living with anxiety as well as for the general public.  It also brings home the importance of self-confidence and esteem in future success.  It appears that stress is a benign entity, but rather, it’s your mind’s interpretation of that stress that causes one to succeed or to fail.  Confident people seem to interpret the stress as a driving force.  On the contrary, anxious people interpret this same stress in a negative manner, engage in a series of negative thoughts regarding themselves, end up failing or performing poorly, and  as a result of the poor performance, they increase their negative thoughts and level of anxiety.  It’s a vicious cycle that needs to be addressed.

Psychological treatment can be very helpful for individual with anxiety.  With the use of cognitive behavioral therapy, one can learn to identify the negative thoughts and work toward stopping and replacing them with positive ones.  In addition, therapy can help one identify the source of their anxiety and work through those issues.  In addition, this study brings up thoughts of the importance of positive parenting.  More than ever, the research is showing us that the most important thing that we can give our children is a high level of self-confidence.  It is more important for them to believe that they will be able to solve a problem as opposed to being the first to solve it.  For example, it’s more crucial for the healthy development of a child for his/her parents to teach the child to believe that he/she is good at math as opposed to instilling in the child the need to get the answer correct every time.  We can’t be next to our children at every moment to make sure that they do every problem correctly, but we can instill the self-confidence and positive thought patterns to help them get through those future stressful situations in a successful manner.  It’s not the stress that causes us to fail; it’s how we interpret the stress that makes or breaks us…

Dr. Sheyda Melkonian

Have you ever felt confident in your level of knowledge regarding a certain topic only to feel yourself getting anxious before the test and blanking out?  If so, this is more common than you think.  Test anxiety can be your worst enemy when you are in school.  It can literally be the obstacle between you and the career that you are meant to pursue.  The truth of the matter is that the majority of professional career paths require you to participate in a great deal of standardized testing as a means of achieving the end result… obtaining your license.

The good news is that test anxiety is not something you need to live with or accept.  You do not need to give up on achieving the career you have always dreamed of due to fear of failure caused by anxiety.  There are a variety of therapy techniques to treat test anxiety.  As with most other forms of anxiety, the most common approach is cognitive behavioral.  This orientation focuses on addressing the negative thoughts which give rise to the feelings of anxiety.  It also looks at the repertoire of behaviors that are associated with the anxiety and focuses on changing those behaviors.  The basic idea is that if you change your thoughts and behaviors, then your feelings and reactions will change also.  Other routes of treatment may focus on how your previous life experiences have shaped your reactions to testing situations and have resulted in this pattern of feeling significantly anxious before a test.  Whichever modality fits your needs best is a decision that you and your therapist will need to make together. 

The take away message of this post is to make students aware of the fact that ignoring the issue of test anxiety will not make it go away… it needs to be addressed.  There are many options available to treat this issue, but the first and most important step is to acknowledge it, ask for help, and talk about the problem with a therapist.  Recent research from the University of Chicago has found that even the mere process of journaling feelings of anxiety for 10 minutes before a test has resulted in students improving their high-stakes test scores by nearly one grade point.  That is a BIG DEAL!  When you give yourself the opportunity to identify, acknowledge, and process the feelings that are holding you back from achieving your dreams, they lose the power that they have over you.  All emotions feel significantly heavier when they reside inside of you and are not allowed to be expressed.  Once people express these feelings, they will often feel like a weight has been lifted off their shoulders and they are then able to tackle the real issues behind it.    

If you are interested in discussing possible treatment options for test anxiety or anxiety in general, please call my office at 818-523-9394 or you can reach me by e-mail at drmelkonian@lapsych.com

Dr. Sheyda Melkonian

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