Draycen D. DeCator, PhD

Post-doctoral Fellow

A website maintained by Draycen DeCator, PhD. It contains content related to many subjects (psychology, health, statistics, grad school, and more), and professional materials (such as a copy of Draycen's CV, and materials to make your own!).


On this page you'll find collections of blog posts, resources, and so on. To view the items in each collection, simply click on the title of the collection and the content will expand. Click again to collapse the collection. All of the content is available on my site, so I encourage you to also explore other pages using the links at the top of the page.

An office with chairs

How to find a therapist

Blog Post

When people are interested in starting therapy, it can be surprisingly difficult to know where to start. Finding a therapist can be a confusing process if you've never done it before. But this post helps to give some guidance to make the process easier (at least for those in the US).

What to expect if you start therapy

Blog Post

A lot of people are curious about therapy, and they have at one time or another considered starting therapy. But most people do not know what to expect if they meet with a therapist. The uncertainty this causes can lead many to never even attempt therapy, and it may also lead to disappointment for some who do give it a try. Therapy really is nothing to be afraid of, but it does help to have accurate expectations when going into therapy.

A chalkboard with complicated formulas written on it

How to choose a (clinical psychology) graduate program

Blog Post

Before applying for grad school, there's one crucial but sometimes difficult question to answer: what degree should you persue? Here, I explain some of the differences between the degrees, but ultimately the choice is up to you. Not interested in a psychology graduate program? No worries, the other posts still apply.

How to write a CV

Blog Post

One of the most important documents for students/researchers is a CV that details all of their work and training. It's a crucial document when applying for grad school, but can be difficult to get started. This post helps walk you through the process of putting a CV together.

How to write a personal statement

Blog Post

Once you have your CV ready, the next step is to write a personal statement. This is often the most difficult task for an application. Most students write a personal statement that overlaps with their CV, but it should compliment it instead. In this post I help walk you through just what that means.

What grad school requires

Blog Post

There is no way to be fully prepared for the demands of grad school. The first year is a time of transition and learning how to handle everything. But the more you can anticipate, the more you can prepare in advance. This post discusses what is required for a clinical psychology doctoral program so you can know what to expect.

Grad school timeline

Blog Post

Along with understanding the requirements of a graduate program, you need to have a good sense of how long things will realistically take. That helps you to prepare, and to make sure you're continuing to progress through your program.

Professional networking

Blog Post

Once you're in grad school and are progressing towards your final career, professional networking becomes increasingly important. It's something that is easy to do well, but also easy to mess up. Here I discuss some tips on how to make sure professional networking is easy and beneficial.

5 tips for taking (graduate) classes

Blog Post

Once students are in grad school, the higher demands and expectations of the classes can lead to a rough transition. Here are some quick tips to help get the most out of graduate-level classes so the transition goes more smoothly.

Grad school tips (from a recent graduate)

Blog post

Having recently completed my PhD, I sat down to think through the overall grad school process. This post summarizes my tips for those entering into a doctoral program, or those who are in the middle of one. It includes some of the information from these other posts, but also a lot of separate pieces of advice.

SPSS window containing syntax

Tutorial 1: Breadcrumbs

Blog Post

Before getting into how syntax can be used for computation, I first describe a more basic benefit: saving a history of the analyses you did, in the order you did them. By saving yourself a trail of breadcrumbs, it will be much easier to work on analyses across multiple sittings.

Tutorial 2: Computation

Blog Post

Now that you've had a chance to see what SPSS syntax looks like, it's time to dive into making real use of its potential. In this tutorial, I cover how to create new variables based on computations.

Tutorial 3: Recode and ~

Blog Post

Once you know how to do basic computations with SPSS syntax, the next step is to learn how to run the computations only when certain conditions are true. The ~ character plays a big role in that. In addition, Recode makes it easy to prep your data for computations.

Tutorial 4: Double entry comparison

Blog Post

A common practice when entering data is to use a double-entry process. This helps to ensure the data are accurate. But how do you compare the two entries to identify mismatches? There's a helpful way it can be done with syntax, which I cover in this post.

Mother holding child

15 coping skills to teach kids

Blog Post

While it's clear that coping skills are important, it's not always obvious what types of coping skills are appropriate for kids. This post provides 15 examples of coping skills that parents can easily teach their kids.

7 tips to improve your child's sleep

Blog Post

Sleep is important, but many kids struggle to have good sleeping habits. As a parent, there is a lot you can do to help them sleep better and more consistently. This post contains 7 tips to give you some guidance.

How to improve child behavior

Blog Post

Helping your child learn good behaviors is more difficult than you probably expected. Thankfully, there are ways that have been proven to help. Here, I go through some general tips on how to begin improving your child's behavior.

Using sticker charts

Blog Post

When you want to improve a child's behavior, giving them rewards for their good behaviors is one of the best ways. The rewards can be small, like a sticker. By using a sticker chart, you can reward your child in a way that is structured and helps them learn more quickly.

Parenting as your child grows up

Blog Post

As a parent, you need to be very flexible in adapting to your child's changing needs, thinking patterns, and abilities. It's a difficult process to get right, and it can be easy to forget about. Here, I offer some tips on things to think about during crucial transitions.

How to help your child stop bedwetting

Blog Post

Bedwetting is a relatively common thing children go through, some into late childhood. But that doesn't mean it's not embarrassing for your child, or a headache for you. Thankfully, there are ways to help reduce how often your child wets the bed. Here, I cover some of those ways.

How to handle temper tantrums

Blog Post

One of the most common complaints we hear from parents is that their child has temper tantrums. It's fairly common, and an understandable behavior to address. Here, I discuss how we often suggest parents approach temper tantrums.

Promoting emotion identification

Podcast Episode

Emotion identification is an important skill for success in life. This episode gives parents some ideas of how to help promote its development in their children.

The ABC's of behavior

Podcast Episode

If you want to help improve your child's behavior, it starts with understanding what causes those behaviors. Thankfully, it's as easy as A-B-C, which I cover in this episode.

Young boy flexing arms

What is pediatric psychology?

Blog Post

A brief intro into a very important field, and my primary area of interest: pediatric psychology.

Overcoming diabetes in youth

Blog Post

A post that details how families can work through a child being diagnosed with diabetes. From managing responsibilities, to keeping things consistent.

Overcoming cancer in youth

Blog Post

A post that details how families can work through a child being diagnosed with cancer. In particular, working through the effect it can have on parents.

Understanding pediatric youth: Uncertainty

Blog Post

One of the biggest challenges kids and teens with medical conditions face is uncertainty. Illnesses are often unpredictable, and worries about what might happen next can take a toll on kids and parents.

Understanding pediatric youth: Visibility

Blog Post

When a medical condition is visible to others, it can lead to them treating you differently. Yet when it's invisible, you may not get the help you need and may have trouble accepting your limitations. This is especially hard for kids, and something we need to understand.

Understanding pediatric youth: Pain

Blog Post

Pain is something almost all of us experience from time-to-time. It can be difficult to manage, and others may not understand the extent of the pain because it's invisible. But we need to always be mindful that kids with medical conditions may experience pain in a variety of ways, and there are ways we can help reduce the pain.

Understanding pediatric youth: Chronicity

Blog Post

We often talk about medical conditions being "chronic," but it's not always obvious what that means. Some symptoms can be chronic, some just around sometimes, and some are rare but severe. Rather than thinking about whether a condition is "chronic," this post discusses the benefit of thinking about the patterns of symptoms.

Pediatric psychology

Podcast Episode

An episode summarizing what pediatric psychology is, and why it's important.

A large mechanical calculator

Quantitative vs. qualitative research

Blog Post

When talking about statistics, we're usually talking about quantitative research. But there is also qualitative research, which often plays a role in quantative studies and comes with its own set of analytical methods. Here, I help clarify the difference between the two approaches, and how they can compliment one another.

Video: Transforming data

Blog Post

Many analyses assume that the data you're using fall within a normal curve. But the reality is that our data are sometimes skewed, or are in some other way non-normal. Sometimes we can transform the data to address this problem.

Winsorizing and transforming data

Blog Post

When dealing with outliers, Winsorizing is one approach to help limit their influence on your analyses. This post discusses what Winsorizing is, when/how you would use it, and how it can be combined with transforming data.

Understanding criticism of psychology research

Blog Post

Not too long ago, psychology got a lot of attention because of research suggesting only a small portion of findings are reproducible. While this problem isn't unique to psychology, it's a valid concern and needs to be addressed. But what exactly is this debate about? This post helps to explain the problem by highlighting the limitations of using statistics, and the need to understand research findings in the context of those limitations.

Person sitting outside meditating

3 steps to resist temptation

Blog Post

There are a lot of things that can tempt us in life, like unhealthy foods. And it can be really difficult to get over those temptations. Thankfully, there are three simple steps you can take to help make it easier to resist those temptations.

Understanding family dynamics and systems

Blog Post

Families work as complicated systems, which can be hard to notice at first. But if relationships in the family are strained, it may be that things aren't balanced in a good way. This post highlights how to understand families as a system, and how to think about re-balancing.

How to think about mindfulness

Blog Post

Mindfulness is a really useful technique for many different symptoms, especially reducing worry thoughts in anxiety. But many people have a misunderstanding about how to approach mindfulness. This post helps to explain the purpose behind mindfulness, and ways you can be mindful without the need for meditation.