Loren Bryant, DDS, PhD
After retiring from his second profession because of medical reasons, Loren turned his attention toward a project that he began several years ago, a children's book. This book was initially a thought, then a dream, then a set of refined ideas, then rhyming couplets followed by a manuscript. Now, thanks to Brad Fregger of 1st World Library, and Benjamin Vincent, one of the premier illustrating artists in the profession today, you will soon be holding Lorenís dream in your hands.
Loren began his professional career in dental surgery with a D.D.S. degree from Baylor University College of Dentistry, having achieved his undergraduate degree from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Following a successful career in dentistry, which he left only because of personal medical problems, Loren returned to academia to earn a Ph.D. degree from Nova Southeastern University in the School of Social and Systemic Studies in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He then spent several years in private practice providing consulting, counseling, and psychotherapy with individuals, couples, and families. His continued success carried him into academia where he accepted the role as the Director of Behavioral Science in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, School of Medicine. His experiences with the social sciences in medical school made him aware of the need for change regarding how people, both lay and professional, talked about emotional problems. The language they used was fraught with pathological terms which made many people uneasy, often making them feel more ill than they actually were. Through his training, he knew it was possible to change that language and help patients feel well more quickly.
Even though the current psychological jargon was created to help the patient, Loren found it difficult to concur with the heavy-handed diagnoses included under the guise of "mental illness," especially in his interactions with younger patients. Diagnosing behaviors and feelings in children often adds an additional burden to their already troubling experiences. Loren wanted to change the way people talked with children about their problems; he wanted to offer the children an alternative that wouldn't pathologize their ups and downs, making them feel broken, bad, or abnormal. So his hope of change evolved into this book, an attempt to contribute a way children, their physicians, their teachers, their psychologists, their parents, and others could change the current language about emotional problems. Thus the story of Frimps, Smiles, and Twinkles is becoming a reality. The story offers children a brighter and lighter way of discussing their problems. In psychological terms, this means that through metaphor, improvisation, and externalization of discourse, there can be an alternative way of talking about troubling emotional experiences without pathologizing labels.
Because of his many years in, and in relationship with, academics, Loren has already contributed several presentations to many different types of audiences. As an Associate Professor at a major health institution, Loren's credentials and provocative ideas have already elevated his level of influence, even though the ideas are not new. The concepts he is using are already common knowledge and practice in many of the state-of-the-art, cutting-edge institutions. The notions presented in Frimps, Smiles, and Twinkles are already supported by many psychotherapists, and other professionals who care for children with emotional problems who are likely to need and use the story as a starting place to begin their own discussion about the ups and downs in the child's life experience.
So it is Lorenís hope that, should you awaken one morning with a "frimp" on your face, you'll immediately chase it away with an invincible smile and twinkle!
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