Berlin Law Firm April 2019

From Our Associate, Kyle Killam

Have you ever thrown a stone into a still pond? I recently did, and from one small stone, the entire surface of that pond changed. That moment made me reflect upon how minor events in my life have shaped me and brought me to where I am today.

A pebble in the pond is an often repeated metaphor to illustrate how small things can have a greater impact and larger consequences. Much like anything in life, it can be a positive metaphor to show how small things can blossom into greater rewards, not only for ourselves but also for other people. It can also be a negative metaphor, showing how one small matter can have a much broader effect on everything and everyone around us. Domestic violence is no different than the small pebble thrown into the pond. Even the smallest acts of domestic violence ripple through people’s lives, their families, and even the generations to come. Just a simple act of violence between a husband and wife, observed by a small child, stays with and permeates that child’s life. Statistics show that children who grow up in homes where domestic violence occurs are 10 times more likely to perpetrate domestic violence or be victims. Putting statistics aside, I can speak from personal experience. In my life, from childhood to adulthood, I have been a victim of, a witness to, a first responder to, and an attorney for both victims and defendants of domestic violence. I have seen firsthand how domestic violence impacts individuals, families, and society. Upon reflection, I see how it has shaped my life and even my professional career. I grew up in a normal suburban home, and all was well until my parents divorced. Little did I know that my parents’ relationship wasn’t the only thing that was going to change; my life would change too. My mother’s subsequent marriage was to an individual who brought violence and abuse into our home. What followed was a few years of hard lessons that taught me there are not always good people in this world. I can see where a child, not knowing any different, would assume that all families were like this, thus perpetuating the cycle of violence. I, on the other hand, knew there was a difference. I didn’t realize how much these experiences would shape my future. I have every reason to believe that I went into the military, specifically into the military police, because of my childhood experiences. Then, from those experiences, I pursued a legal career. And now, with the opportunity afforded to me by the Berlin Law Firm, I am able to help those who are caught within the web of domestic violence, both in defending and pursuing treatment. From a small stone cast into the water, ripples of good can be spread.


The placebo effect works. Study after study has confirmed it. The question is how. Numerous studies have shown placebos are most effective for aches and pains, as well as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and depression. The placebo effect even works if you’re aware you’re taking a placebo. With that in mind, a person can’t just start taking placebos (or sugar pills) and expect a placebo effect. There is a strong psychological component. This may mean seeing a doctor or participating in a drug study to get the ball rolling. First, you need to be conditioned to accept the placebo as the real deal. For example, the placebo has to look like the medication it is meant to emulate. You might start treatment with the real medication and eventually transition to the look-alike. Then, you must expect it to work. There must be an indication that the placebo is “real.” This might be a doctor telling you it’s real and effective, or it might be previous experience taking a certain medication. In your mind, if the real drug worked, so will the look-alike. Lastly, you need to believe that when you take the placebo pill, it will do what you think it’s supposed to do. Belief is a powerful tool, and when you believe it’s going to help, the placebo will be most effective. In pain studies, for example, some people experienced the same reduction in pain as they would have experienced had they taken typical, over-the-counter pain medication. Keep in mind, however, that the placebo effect affects each person differently. There are three challenges a person needs to overcome for a placebo to be most effective: conditioning , expectation , and belief .

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