Ask Dr. E

How to manage depression and marital problems. Plus: the validity of intelligence tests.

By Robert Epstein Ph.D., published on March 1, 2001 - last reviewed on June 9, 2016

Answers to your questions about rapecounseling, depression, anger management and more.

Dear Dr. E,

I was raped last year, and since then I've had trouble forming intimate relationships. What can I do to get over this?

A, South Carolina

Dear A,

On your own, you'll probably find it difficult to make significant progress, but an experienced rape counselor can help you move on fairly quickly. To locate an appropriate counselor call the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network at (800) 656-4673.

Dear Dr. E,

I'm a 16-year-old girl with a history of depression. I'm on medication, but it's not helping me. I've attempted suicide, and I've started cutting myself. When I tell my parents about my pain, they tell me I'm lying. What can I do?

M, via e-mail

Dear M,

First of all, don't give up on your parents. Show them your scars, tell them more details about your problems and ask again for their help. You might even bring a friend or relative over to help your parents understand. Even without your parents' aid you can still get professional assistance, and it's important to do so. Contact your school's counseling department, call the APA referral line at (800) 964-2000 or try online services such as Depression can be conquered. And please, don't give up.

Dear Dr. E,

I'm a married woman and I'm attracted to the father of one of my son's classmates. I left a note on his car saying that I'm crazy about him, and now he's avoiding me. Should I just let this go, or should I apologize for my behavior?

D, Seattle, Washington

Dear D,

Leaving the note sounds like an impulsive act which you now regret; impulsive acts are often followed by such feelings. Do you truly want to apologize and then move on, or are you looking for an excuse to have further contact? How you answer this question should lead you down the appropriate path.

Dear Dr. E,

My husband pushed me to the ground during an argument. He spent two clays in jail and then went to an anger management class. Now I'm having a difficult time trusting him. I feel like I'm waiting for his next violent act. Is this normal? Can I get over these feelings?

E, Montrose, Colorado

Dear E,

Your fears are quite normal. Through a process called "classical conditioning;' the fear you felt when your husband pushed you has been transferred to him. If no further incidents occur, the fear will probably fade over time, but a skilled behavior therapist can speed the process. For referrals, contact the Association for Advancement of Behavior Therapy at or (212) 647-1890. To help keep your husband from sliding, urge him to get periodic booster sessions in anger management.

Dear Dr. E,

Are intelligence tests valid?

V, Milton, Pennsylvania

Dear V,

Experts on testing use the term "valid" in a special way, mainly to indicate that a test can make accurate predictions. The validity of major intelligence tests (like the WISC, the Stanford-Binet and others) has been determined in hundreds of research studies, meaning that test scores have been shown to predict outcomes such as grades, income and other variables. Be warned, though: validity studies apply to only groups, not to individuals.

Dear Dr. E,

In a dream I've had repeatedly since childhood, "Sesame Street" characters are chasing me in a baseball stadium. I run as fast as I can but move very little. In each dream I get closer to the gate, but I always get caught. What does this mean, and why does the dream keep occurring?

M, Brick, New Jersey

Dear M,

Research on dreams suggests that you might be struggling with some unresolved issues. Freud's preoccupation with the symbolism of dreams is largely unsupported by scientific research, but we do know that people feel better in the morning when dreams have happy endings. If old issues are troubling you, a counselor or therapist can help move Big Bird to the sidelines.