April 10th, 2018

Saving our souls

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

Who knows why we do what we do? Why did I pick up that book at our town’s recycling center, start to read it, stop, and pick it up again all these years later? And, because it was there on page one of the prologue, this isn’t the first time that I read the passage that I have been turning over in my mind these last few months as if it were a newly discovered truth. The book is Roland Merullo’s novel, “In Revere, In Those Days,” and the passage is the narrator’s eloquent description of his knack of seeing [More]

April 10th, 2018

In law and language, gun control talk raises red flags

By Janine Weisman

“This was a person who was sick, very sick,” President Donald Trump said at a Feb. 21 White House forum. Trump was referring to the 19-year-old shooter who used an AR-15 style assault rifle to gun down teachers and students at a high school in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14. The mass shooting left 17 dead. Calls for limiting the right to bear arms for people with mental health issues increased after the Parkland shooting, especially for red flag laws that would allow police to take firearms away from people suspected of being a danger to themselves or others. But [More]

April 9th, 2018

Helping to manage fear and anxiety

By Phyllis Hanlon

The recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida rocked the country and launched calls for stricter gun laws and better security measures in the nation’s schools. While such events are rare, all schools experience their share of crises on a smaller scale that challenge students’ well-being. To address a spectrum of situations, schools should implement a comprehensive plan that engages students, teachers and parents, and creates an environment of trust in partnership with community agencies. Arlene Silva, Ph.D, NCSP, chair in the school psychology department at William James College, emphasized that proactive measures are the best practice. “Number one is preparation,” [More]

April 9th, 2018

Lawsuit challenges unlimited civil commitments in Connecticut

By Janine Weisman

A Google search of Gloria Drummer’s name explains what led her to be involuntarily committed at Dutcher Hall in the Whiting Forensic Hospital in Middletown, Connecticut, after being found not competent to stand trial. On Sept. 25, 2015, Drummer, then aged either 57 or 58 according to news accounts, attacked a 27-year-old woman at random with a large knife outside a West Hartford CVS. The woman was treated at a hospital for multiple stab wounds to her head that were deemed non-life threatening. Two psychiatrists testified last fall that Drummer is no longer a danger to herself or others. Yet [More]

April 8th, 2018

School shootings offer no easy answers

By John Grohol, Psy.D.

Not a year goes by in America where we don’t suffer through another horrible mass shooting at a school, perpetrated by a young adult or teenager with a gun. Despite the outcry from both sides, however, there are no clear or easy answers on how to reduce or altogether stop school shootings from taking place. We are a nation born of violence, which we then codified into our Constitution. And while it’s perfectly sensible to suggest reasonable limitations on gun purchases, such solutions all but turn a blind eye to the reality of guns in our nation. Today, there are [More]

April 8th, 2018

Record keeping, licensing issues among legal concerns

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In general, people hire a lawyer only as a last resort. For a psychologist, that may mean a subpoena for a patient’s records has arrived, a contentious situation has arisen with an employee who needs to be let go, or the state licensing board has sent a notification of a disciplinary hearing. Legal issues can be overwhelming for anyone without a law degree but they can’t always be avoided. Questions that need to be answered correctly may include: When do confidentiality laws apply? How should a contract be terminated? What happens when one partner in a practice retires or dies? [More]

April 7th, 2018

Psychologist strives to help others find ‘true’ life paths

By Catherine Robertson Souter

It’s a daunting task, trying to change the world one stressed out teen or dissatisfied adult at a time. But when it is a passion, as it is with Lisa Manzi Lentino, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist with a private practice in Sudbury, Mass., it is the only way. Lentino, who is also CEO of The Coaching Connector, an online directory of life coaches, has developed a three-phase plan for helping people to find their true path in life, the life they were destined to live. It is a plan that will help not only the individual but also society as [More]

April 7th, 2018

Parting words from our legal columnist

By Edward Stern J.D.

In 2001, I began writing this legal column. Over the years, I’ve written fewer and it is likely this one is the last. I am very appreciative of the opportunity to write and express views in this space, but now it is someone else’s turn with new energy and, perhaps, new viewpoints. It’s become concerning recently that issues that appeared to be resolved have re-surfaced to be debated and adjusted. Issues including “affordable care” and “parity” of treatment of mental health and physical health are again at the forefront. Another major concern is insurance as not all psychologists are able [More]

April 6th, 2018

Proposal to tax video games dropped by legislator

By Eileen Weber

With every school shooting, the conversation linking violence and video games resurfaces. The latest incident in Parkland, Florida was no exception. In some circles, video games were once again the suspected culprit. But, are they inextricably intertwined with violent crime? Shortly after the Florida shooting, Rhode Island Representative Robert Nardolillo (R-Coventry) proposed legislation taxing violent video games that are rated “mature” or higher using the subsequent revenue to fund school mental health counseling. He cited evidence that exposure to violence in young children indicates a likelier tendency toward aggressive behavior. Congressman Tom MacArthur (R) of New Jersey agreed with Nardolillo’s [More]

April 6th, 2018

Violence and Video Games: Are They Linked?

By Eileen Weber

Contentious debate continues over whether video games and other forms of media promote violent behavior, particularly in the wake of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting. Games like “Resident Evil,” “Manhunt,” and “Mortal Kombat” top the list. But, is there a one-size-fits-all answer to the question? “I don’t think you are going to find any media effects researchers willing to suggest that violent video games lead to school shootings,” said Kirstie Farrar, Ph.D, associate professor of communications at the University of Connecticut. “However, most media effects researchers agree there is a small but significant relationship between violent media exposure and outcome [More]

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