Tuesday, March 31, 2015

What is the difference between a PSYCHOPATH and a SOCIOPATH?

So many people use these words interchangeably when talking about people who commit heinous crimes. The question always comes up in conversation: What is the difference between a psychopath and a sociopath? 

They are  both under the heading of Antisocial Personality Disorder in the DSM 5. The distinct difference is that sociopaths can have attachments to people and CAN (not always) feel guilty after they have committed heinous crimes.  Psychopaths feel little to no  guilt or remorse and feel no attachment to others. 

Differences between psychopathy and sociopathy, aside from origin, have been cited. The capacity to feel attachment and empathy towards another and to feel guilt and shame after doing something wrong is not associated with psychopathy; however it is suggested that sociopaths can emotionally attach to others, and feel badly when they hurt those individuals that they are attached to. The sociopath will still lack empathy and attachment toward the greater society and will not feel guilt in harming a stranger, or rebelling against laws, but does not lack empathy entirely, as is typical with the psychopath.
Therefore, both psychopaths and sociopaths are capable of committing heinous crimes; however, the psychopath would commit crimes against family members or “friends” (as well as strangers) and feel little to no remorse.
The last main difference between psychopathy and sociopathy is in the presentation. The psychopath is callous, yet charming. He or she will con and manipulate others with charisma and intimidation and can effectively mimic feelings to present as “normal” to society. The psychopath is organized in their criminal thinking and behavior, and can maintain good emotional and physical control, displaying little to no emotional or autonomic arousal, even under situations that most would find threatening or horrifying.  The psychopath is keenly aware that what he or she is doing is wrong, but does not care.
Conversely, the sociopath is less organized in his or her demeanor; he or she might be nervous, easily agitated, and quick to display anger. A sociopath is more likely to spontaneously act out in inappropriate ways without thinking through the consequences. Compared to the psychopath, the sociopath will not be able to move through society committing callous crimes as easily, as they can form attachments and often have “normal temperaments.” The sociopath will lie, manipulate and hurt others, just as the psychopath would, but will often avoid doing so to the select few people they care about, and will likely feel guilty should they end up hurting someone they care about.
So, while these two terms seem interchangeable on the surface because they share many of the same characteristics, they are more like two sides of the same coin. Looking at the differences may seem futile; however, looking at psychopathy and sociopathy as different constructs may prove to be helpful in understanding the etiology of these disorders, and in the development of effective treatment methods.
Hare, R.D. (1993). Without conscience: The disturbing world of psychopaths among us. New York: Pocket Books.
Stout, M. (2005). The sociopath next door: The ruthless versus the rest of us. New York: Broadway Books.
Walsh, A., & Wu, H.H. (2008). Differentiating antisocial personality disorder, psychopathy, and sociopathy: Evolutionary, genetic, neurological, and sociological considerations. Criminal Justice Studies, 2, 135-152.

Dr. Melissa Samartano, PhD.,LMHC
Cell# 401-263-1599
Office# 508-819-0441

Friday, March 27, 2015


APRIL 20th - JUNE 15
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, involves meditative exercises to increase awareness in the present.  By increasing mindful attention, we are able to exert greater self-control and lessen the impact of stress in our lives.  This course includes guided meditation, group discussion, readings, gentle yoga and stretching, in addition to some individualized support sessions.  Assignments, weekly readings, class participation, and daily home practice are required. 
 The course consists of a mandatory orientation and weekly two-hour classes for eight weeks. 

Please contact Melissa if you are interested

Dr. Melissa Samartano, PhD.,LMHC
Holistic Counseling Center
Raynham, MA 02767
Cell# 401-263-1599
Office# 508-819-0441

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

SEATED SPINAL TWIST: An effective way to relax the mind, body, & spirit


This asana pose is very effective when working with children, adolescents, and adults who suffer from panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. It is also useful when working with people who suffer from PTSD. It helps calm down the central nervous system by activating the parasympathetic nervous system which helps the body calm down and feel more relaxed.

1. This pose is very rejuvenating because we are twisting and messaging the internal organs in the abdominal area.

2. It helps improve our digestive system

3. It helps relieve stress in the belly and hip area.

4. It helps relieve back pain and neck pain. 


1. Sit in a comfortable seated position (Indian style is fine) you may want to sit on a blanket or pillow so your knees can relax.

2. Shoulders should be down and away from ears.

3. Crown of head lifts to the sky

4. Muscles should be engaged in the stomach so back is nice and flat.

5. Sink glutes down into mat and raise head up to sky.


6. So many of us breath from our chest which is not good because we are never getting a full breath which helps the body relax. A full belly breath helps activate the parasympathetic nervous system so the body can feel calm and relaxed.

7. What I would like you to do is start flowing in and out of the twist from side to side which is a great warm up and then we can transition into the pose.

8. Inhale staying centered and then as we exhale turn. On the twist you want to put your right hand and place it on the outside of the opposite knee. So bring your right hand across to the outside of left knee. 

9. Then turn the torso to the side and left hand can rest on the floor right below the shoulder. You can use you fingertips if your hand does not feel comfortable flat on the floor. 

10. Then continue and inhale center and exhale on the twist. 

11. If you would like to deepen the stretch you can turn all the way around placing your hand behind your tailbone looking behind you trying to get your chin over your shoulder. Do NOT force your body into the twist more than it wants to go. Hold for 3-5 breath and repeat on the other side. 

12. On your last exhale close your eyes and come back to center noticing the work you have done on both sides of your body.