Monday, October 21, 2019

November 9 - Bizarre Psychological Disorders

Presented by Brian A. Sharpless

Visiting Research Fellow at Goldsmiths, University of London and
Adjunct Professor at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Have you ever believed that you were abducted by aliens? Do you ever wake up to the sound of explosions, only to discover that everything is fine? Are you convinced that you can transform yourself into a different species of animal? What about having sex while you’re sound asleep?

People are nothing if not confusingly complex, and some end up thinking, acting, and behaving in unusual, odd, and extreme ways. Some of the strangest psychological disorders that they can acquire are not well-known to the public or even many mental health professionals, despite some – such as isolated sleep paralysis – actually being fairly common in the general population.

Dr. Sharpless will focus on five interesting conditions. He'll place them in historical or cultural context and will summarize their scientific literatures. You'll learn, for example, how sexsomnia has complicated criminal proceedings.  You will learn how those afflicted with clinical zoanthropy might have been involved in Medieval werewolf panics. You will also learn how “exploding head syndrome” is associated with a popular conspiracy theory.

Brian Sharpless is currently a visiting research fellow at Goldsmiths, University of London and adjunct professor at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology's Washington DC Campus.  He was formerly on faculty at Pennsylvania State University, Washington State University, and the American School of Professional Psychology.  He received his PhD in clinical psychology and MA in philosophy from Pennsylvania State University and completed post-doctoral fellowships at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Dr. Sharpless has broad interests in abnormal psychology and psychotherapy.  He has over 45 publications on common and lesser-known disorders, psychodynamic therapy, professional issues, and the history/philosophy of clinical psychology.  His three books, Sleep Paralysis: Historical, Psychological, and Medical Perspectives (co-authored with Dr. Karl Doghramji), Unusual and Rare Psychological Disorders: A Handbook for Clinical Practice and Research, and Psychodynamic Therapy Techniques:  A Guide to Expressive and Supportive Interventions are all available through Oxford University Press.  This research been featured on TV, radio, and in other media outlets, and he is a frequent speaker at conferences and public events in the United States and abroad.  Along with his scholarly interests, Dr. Sharpless also maintains a small private practice in the DC area.

Saturday, November 9, 2019
1:30 pm

B-CC Regional Services Center
4805 Edgemoor Lane
2nd Floor (West Room)
Bethesda, MD

FREE admission – Everyone welcome, members and non-members