Psychoeducational Assessment

With the academic year coming to an end, many students are taking a breath after weeks of studying and exams, as they anxiously await report cards.  Was it particularly difficult to study this time? Were the exams very challenging? Did the information seem overwhelming? As the academic material becomes more and more complex, many students experience learning difficulties in areas that were once easy for them.

A psychoeducational assessment might help to identify any learning difficulties, learning style, academic strengths and weaknesses, as well as provide recommendations for remedial programs (e.g. to improve reading, writing, mathematics, comprehension, memory or executive functioning skills) and suggest accommodations (e.g. additional time during exams).

Psychovocational Assessment

Now that school is wrapping up and many of you may be wondering…“what do I do next?” It is tough to decide what direction or steps to take when trying to figure out what you are going to do in the years to come.

Some of you may also be looking for a career change. There are many decisions and factors to take into consideration… vocational or psychovocational assessments can help.

Completing a Psychovocational Assessment will allow you to learn how to use information about your interests, preferences, abilities and personal style to plan your career.

Dr. Alfonso Marino

Sleep Problems & Anxiety

We have all had sleepless nights, but what happens if the problem continues? When should I start to worry? Well that is part of the problem…once you start to worry then the sleep problem may begin to take on a life of its own. In order to sleep, you need to learn how to relax…heading off to bed concerned that you may have another sleepless night can work up a state of arousal, which actually contributes to the sleepless itself. Sleep will eventually come for most of us, we just need to learn how to relax, develop good sleep habits…yes counting sheep and having a nice warm glass of milk can help!

Dr. Alfonso Marino

Cogmed (Working Memory Training Program) & ADHD

A recent study assessing the efficacy of Cogmed, a working memory training program, found that working memory training is a promising treatment in addressing some core deficits commonly seen in children and adolescents with ADHD, based on parent and teacher reports of memory, executive functioning, and ADHD symptoms.  In fact, at a four-month follow-up, the benefits of the training were maintained.  The authors suggest that working memory training, such as Cogmed, together with other evidence-based ADHD treatment, should be further investigated.  At the Centre for Psychological Assessment, Treatment and Education, Cogmed is offered to children, adolescents and adults wishing to improve working memory.

Source: Beck, S.J., Hanson, C.A., Puffenberger, S.S., Benninger, K.L. & Benninger, W.B. (2010). A Controlled Trial of Working Memory Training for Children and Adolescents with ADHD, Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 39:6, 825-836.

Dr. Monique Costa El-Hage

Social Anxiety in Children and Adolescents

The Government of Canada, in their report on Mental Illness in Canada, estimated the one-year prevalence of social anxiety is 6.7%. So you are not alone. Social anxiety can be crippling for many children and adolescents, especially during a developmental period when peer relationships are developing and strengthening. Social Anxiety goes beyond the mere shyness that most people have experienced at some point in their lives. Symptoms of social anxiety include excessive fear or panic when in a social situation which is out of proportion with the actual risk that the situation presents. Most of the time, these feelings of anxiety, fear and panic are so intense that the child or adolescent avoids social situations at all costs or engages in them, but with significant levels of distress. For children and adolescents, the tendency to shrink back from social interaction can have a significant impact on the development of relationships, as well as their emotional functioning in general as it can lead to social isolation and/or feelings of sadness. Although social anxiety can lead to significant distress, overcoming social anxiety is possible. A well established and empirically-supported social anxiety treatment is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). This treatment addresses the worry thoughts that one has when presented with social situations and attempts to replace them with thoughts that are more realistic and therefore less anxiety-provoking. CBT for social anxiety also involves gradual exposure to the feared situations, first imaginally (e.g. role playing the situation) and later by actually entering the feared situation. Often, by the end of treatment (which may include some follow-up or booster sessions), children and adolescents can face many of their feared situations or do so with fewer symptoms of anxiety or panic.

Dr. Monique Costa El-Hage

Psychological Profile for Eric Clinton Newman, Luka Rocco Magnotta, Vladimir Romanov: The Arrest

Now that the Magnotta/Romanov/Newman has been arrested, new psychological questions are raised. From a forensic psychology perspective, we may ask what may get Rocco sexually aroused? What would Magnotta’s sexual interest profile looks like? What would Magnotta’s psychological profile reveal? How would Magnotta respond to a phallometric assessment?

But most of all, what really shocked is how relatively simple was his arrest. Was his arrest pre-planned? Was his internet ego-searching his downfall? Many psychological questions remain still unanswered, but we are (probably) getting closer to a clearer psychological forensic profile.

Dr. Giorgio Ilacqua

Psychological Profile for Eric Clinton Newman, Luka Rocco Magnotta, Vladimir Romanov

It looks like a James Bond movie; sex, murder, international police search and the bad guy with a big ego. The criminal make up of the most wanted porno star from Montreal could not be more exciting to follow, from a safe hiding place, for someone who probably has childhood issues, sexuality issues, a dysfunctional personality and a sense of entitlement common to few, but extremely dangerous psychopaths.

Until his arrest, Eric Clinton Newman alias Luka Rocco Magnotta alias Vladimir Romanov will remain a criminal puzzle. Why did he choose alias such as the latest Russian czar? Why he was not supervised more closely after his brief involvement in the criminal system (no personality assessment was carried out?). Why there was no authority intervention after the alleged video cruelty against animals? How much was this movie-like notoriety planned?

Most of these questions will likely be answered only after his arrest. In the meantime, we are left with one certainty; Eric Clinton Newman alias Luka Rocco Magnotta alias Vladimir Romanov has achieved the world fame he was aspiring to and he is probably basking in this negative notoriety…at least as long as it will last.

Dr. Giorgio Ilacqua