I was surprised by the March article “This won’t hurt a bit” about attempts to alleviate the chronic pain of children, for it lacked reference to hypnotic procedures. These are widely used to reduce the discomfort of cancer and burn patients and completely safe when used professionally. Moreover, the best hypnotic subjects are young children, although they lose this natural ability as they grow older in response to pressure from adult society and so must be retaught this skill.

Stanley Goldstein, PhD
Middletown, N.Y.

Bringing back memories of Dad

Your March article “Spotting the enemy” filled out some personal history for me. My dad taught Navy pilots recognition during World War II, and as a child I remember his showing me the slides he used with students whose reaction time and peripheral vision he used to comment on with amazement.

He told me about going out to Ohio State to receive training to do this, but until the article I never knew a psychologist, Samuel Renshaw, was behind it. Talk about applied psychology!

Carl Pickhardt, PhD
Austin, Texas

When I was a kid, my dad, who was in the Navy during World War II, had a deck of playing cards that had been issued to him, every card of which had a “friend or foe” shadow of an airplane (side, front and bottom views). He said that they were used much like “flash cards” to help sailors spot and quickly identify planes (well, OK as well as play poker or cribbage). Thanks for sparking a fun memory.

Timothy J. Jovick, PhD
St. Louis

Menopause, the makeover

I am one of those women to whom menopause was as much a psychological issue as a physical one (March Monitor). The inconvenient night-sweats led to daily forgetfulness and sluggishness that interfered with my education and routine activities. I was a doctoral intern at the time and the year of rapid estrogen decline was suspected, but not seen as the primary cause of confusion, exhaustion, lack of adequate ambition, forgetfulness or general malaise. My problem was never the societal attitude toward menopause, but my own difficultly in seeing myself as old enough to think about it.

Then I took a seminar on menopause from a former classmate on women in mid-life. I learned that hormones don’t just fall off rapidly, but diminish in a long downward wave over as much as 12 years. For me, menopause was a root cause for what appeared to be sudden changes in psychological and cognitive functioning.

My experience cost me an internship and postponed my graduation by three years. I believe every woman should do what one does when they are confronted with professionals who either don’t care or listen to their concerns or who are patronizing or dismissive: 1. Find someone who listens and expresses caring and concern. 2. Find someone who is knowledgeable on the subject. 3. Educate yourself. 4. Build a support system, partially by explaining your situation to those who are closest to you, and by networking with other women who are also experts on menopause.

Jody Deutsch Moore, PhD
Los Angeles

Don’t forget Div. 22

Thank you for highlighting the important role of psychologists in cardiac rehabilitation in “Heartfelt intervention” (February). However, there was no mention of APA’s Div. 22 (Rehabilitation), nor did the author include the perspective of psychologists trained in the specialization of rehabilitation psychology.

Rehabilitation psychology is a distinctive body of theory, current and past research, and approaches to intervention. Rehabilitation psychologists address the physical, mental and social health of individuals with all types of disabilities, including those with cardiovascular and other chronic health conditions.

The field is not a subspecialty of medical or health psychology, although roles may be similar depending on clinical setting or population. Contrary to the author’s findings (see sidebar: “Is cardiac rehab practice for you?”), training in rehabilitation psychology is more than the transfer of skills from other psychological disciplines.

We would encourage those individuals wishing to learn more about rehabilitation psychology to seek information from Div. 22 and its APA journal, Rehabilitation Psychology.

Emma K. Hiatt and Matthew T. Wilson
Madison, Wis.

Please send letters to Sara Martin, Monitor editor, at the APA address. Letters should be no more than 250 words and may be edited for clarity or space.