June 13th, 2018

The power of hard stories

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

As I sat listening to a discussion on the topic of writing hard stories at the recent Newburyport literary festival, I thought of my colleagues in psychology and wished you could hear the message the panel came to deliver. Perhaps some of you were in the audience and heard what the presenters had to say, but for those of you who had better things to do on a springtime Saturday, this one is for you. Psychologists, like writers, are all about the story. When we listen to our patients telling us about the challenges in their lives, we are listening [More]

March 1st, 2013

The professional chef: Behind the menus

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Running a restaurant, with its long hours, demanding schedules and high rates of failure, would be the epitome of the nightmare job for some people. For others, it’s the dream of a lifetime spent preparing for just that role. What does it take to become a restaurant chef/owner? Who succeeds and why? Scott Haas, Ph.D., chief psychologist at Human Resource Institute in Brookline and a food writer who has contributed to a number of national publications and was the recipient of the James Beard Award for radio work in 2005, spent 18 months trying to answer those questions. After working [More]

May 1st, 2012

The Providence Center helps bring first recovery school to R.I.

By Jennifer E Chase

Teens recovering from substance abuse have benefited from New England’s recovery high schools, which bridge the time between their discharge from treatment and the rigors of reentering their former school environment. With a unanimous vote in March by its Board of Regents, Rhode Island has approved a 2-year pilot program for the Ocean State’s first recovery high school, which will be run by The Providence Center (TPC) and will open this September for 10-20 students. TPC is a four-site non-profit organization that provides mental health and substance use services to more than 11,000 children, adolescents and adults across the state. [More]

April 1st, 2014

The Psy who came in from the cold

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

It’s cold – deep, penetrating, bone-chilling, soul-killing cold. That sentence may be a peculiar thing to read when this issue hits the streets on the first of April but now, as I write at the beginning of March, it’s cold. It has been one of the coldest winters in history with snow as far south as Georgia and the entire eastern part of the country swallowed up in one polar vortex after another. Last year, no one even knew what a polar vortex was and now it’s just another phrase to describe the weather, taking its place alongside familiar Bermuda [More]

August 15th, 2011

The psychologist’s role as expert witness

By Edward Stern J.D.

At times, a psychologist will be called upon to be an “expert” witness in a case that may proceed to a court trial. Today in the United States, although the figures vary greatly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, about 10 percent of cases started in a court actually proceed to a completed trial. In any given court case, the psychologist could take on many roles. In addition to participation as an expert, a psychologist could be the therapist for a patient and be asked or required to testify in that capacity. As a therapist, the issues of patient privilege and waiver [More]

June 15th, 2011

The Psychology of Prejudice: From Attitudes to Social Action

By Paul Efthim PhD

Despite drawbacks, book sheds light on prejudice “The Psychology of Prejudice: From Attitudes to Social Action” By Lynne M. Jackson American Psychological Association Washington, D.C., 2011 By Paul Efthim, Ph.D. This well-written book mostly succeeds in its mission to present the latest theory and research on prejudice. A chief selling point is its sophisticated integration of several key domains not often brought together in a social psychology text, ranging from evolutionary biology to psychodynamic theory to religious and environmental concerns. Author Lynne Jackson, a social psychologist at the University of Western Ontario, is a nimble guide to this fascinating but [More]

February 1st, 2015

The psychology of romantic relationships

By Phyllis Hanlon

Consider all the songs, poems, magazine articles and novels that focus on romance and it would appear that nearly everyone is looking for love. Sometimes finding Mr. or Ms. Right may be relatively easy, but establishing a romantic relationship typically involves some distinct behavioral patterns and maintaining that relationship requires nurturing. “When trying to form a relationship, you are on your best behavior,” said Margaret S. Clark, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Yale University, adding that three processes are important to relationship initiation: strategic self-presentation, partner evaluation and self-protection. “You must present yourself to a partner in a manner that [More]

July 1st, 2014

The retirement readiness test

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

The question I hear more and more often these days concerns when I’m planning to retire. Never mind that I’m the one doing most of the asking, but I hear it from friends and colleagues as well. It’s a stage of life thing, something my fellow baby boomers and I toss around in meandering conversations about life, work and our hopes and plans for our so-called golden years. My first response to this question was a glib, “When I meet my first happy retired person or after I’ve paid all my big bills, whichever comes first.” It didn’t take much [More]

August 21st, 2010

The risks of restraint and seclusion

By Edward Stern J.D.

Last month, New England Psychologist looked at the use of restraint and seclusion. In this installment, the column examines some of the risks of these methods to both patients and mental health care workers. Restraint and seclusion have their own risks because restraint can involve physical struggling, pressure on the chest or other interruptions in breathing. JCAHO reviewed 20 restraint-related deaths and found that in 40 percent, the cause of death was asphyxiation, while strangulation, cardiac arrest or fire caused the remainder. Reported deaths (Hartford Courant) in cases where restraint or seclusion was a factor were caused by asphyxia, cardiac [More]

August 19th, 2016

The surprising life of Sister Mary

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

At the risk of appearing to be living a cliché of the retired life, I must say that I have been spending more time these days reading obituaries. It could be because I have more time to read the morning paper and the obituaries are printed in the same section as the funnies. I always turn to the funnies after a brief glance at the bad news on the front page. Bad news can wait and, if I somehow miss it in the paper, that’s what television and Internet news programs are for. I also receive obituaries by email from [More]