March 1st, 2012

APA to develop treatment guidelines

By Nan Shnitzler

For the first time, the American Psychological Association has launched an initiative to develop evidence-based clinical treatment guidelines. The Council of Representatives approved the move at its February 2010 meeting. Since then, a nine-member steering committee has been formed that chose depression and obesity as the first topics to take on. “The APA has been talking about treatment guidelines for quite a few years,” says Jeffrey Magnavita, Ph.D., ABPP, of Glastonbury, Conn., the only full-time practitioner on the steering committee. “APA realized if we’re not the ones leading the movement, other groups would do it without the same level of [More]

March 1st, 2017

APA: 21st Century Cures Act promises to reform system

By Phyllis Hanlon

In December 2016, the Senate passed the 21st Century Cures Act, a law that, according to the American Psychological Association, promises to reform the mental health system nationally. The law emphasizes research, education, changes to the criminal justice system, coordination between state and federal government on mental health matters and a focus on children. Three years in the making, the 21st Century Cures Act is a “strongly bipartisan law,” said Laurel Stine, JD, MA, director of Congressional Affairs with the APA Practice Organization. “The law is very comprehensive in scope and represents the intersection of mental health conditions in adults [More]

February 1st, 2017

APF names Terence Keane, Ph.D., to top post

By Catherine Robertson Souter

After nearly 17 years under the same leadership, the American Psychological Foundation (APF) recently announced that Terence M. Keane, Ph.D, was elected to assume the organization’s top post as of January 1. Keane, who is professor of psychiatry and assistant dean for research at Boston University School of Medicine, stepped in as APF president at the conclusion of a highly successful capital campaign that raised nearly $20 million. Keane is also director of the National Center for PTSD-Behavioral Sciences Division and associate chief of staff for research and development at VA Boston Healthcare Systems and has been recognized with many [More]

May 1st, 2017

App designed to predict aggressive behavior

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In 2014, a group of parents in California sued a neighbor over the problem behaviors of their autistic child. According to one report, the plaintiffs claimed that they were “not upset about him being autistic” but about his violence towards other children, claiming it made the neighborhood unsafe and even affected home sales. A lawsuit may not be a common reaction to autism, but any parent with a child who exhibits violent or aggressive behaviors can understand what the parents of the autistic boy must have felt. While experts say that aggressive behaviors are not a part of autism, but [More]

October 1st, 2013

Apps embraced by mental health professionals

By Janine Weisman

As a teen with an anxiety disorder growing up in Wilton, Conn., Brandon Cohn felt frustrated spending the first 20 minutes of every therapy session explaining what happened to him over the previous week while the last 10 minutes were devoted to scheduling the next appointment. “Then when I’d left, I would question if I had told her everything I should have told her,” Cohn, now 21, recalls. “I’d realize that I hadn’t slept very well that week so maybe it was just my sleeping habits and she didn’t know about it. All of a sudden, it felt like everything [More]

December 1st, 2012

Are “three strikes” laws the solution?

By Edward Stern J.D.

Ensuring the safety of its citizens is one of society’s most important functions. However, everyone does not agree on how to achieve this outcome. One school of thought is based on the concept of deterrence. There are two types: general and specific. Both types are based on the idea that if punishment is severe enough, a person will not want to be caught and punished for committing a crime and therefore will be deterred from doing the crime. Another argument in favor of lengthy punishment is that the punishment (incarceration) will isolate the perpetrator from law-abiding citizens, thereby protecting society. [More]

July 1st, 2017

Area of brain impacts anxiety about the future, study says

By Rivkela Brodsky

A  group of researchers at Dartmouth College have found a connection between an area of the brain, the striatum, and a person’s intolerance of uncertainty – anxiety or worry about the unknown. “We were interested in how uncertainty and ambiguity of potential future threat contribute to the generation of anxiety and how that might be represented in our brain,” said Justin Jim, Ph.D., lead author of the study, “Intolerance of Uncertainty Predicts Increased Stratial Volume,” which was published in the APA journal Emotion in May. “For some individuals, the uncertainty of what ‘might happen’ tomorrow, is actually worse than the [More]

March 15th, 2011

Arizona shootings raise legal reporting issues

By Edward Stern J.D.

On Saturday, Jan. 8, there was a horrific event in Tucson, Arizona where it is alleged that Jared Loughner shot into a crowd of people who met in a supermarket shopping area to meet and listen to the local U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. She was shot in the head. It is expected that she will survive the attack. However, six others, including a U.S. District Court judge and a nine-year-old girl, were killed. Similarities exist between this incident and previous ones at Columbine and Virginia Tech. The violent and intentional nature of the acts makes us all feel vulnerable. Each [More]

February 1st, 2013

Arts participation linked to higher rates of teen depression

By Janine Weisman

Teens involved in after-school arts activities report more depressive symptoms than those participating in only sports according to a study published last November in the American Psychological Association’s journal “Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts.” Boston College researchers assessed how frequently 15-and 16-year old respondents experienced poor appetite, difficulty concentrating, depressed mood, lack of energy/motivation, poor sleep and sadness. Girls were more likely to take part in the arts after school and reported slightly higher rates of depression. Adolescents involved in the arts had higher verbal IQ and working memory scores than those not involved. Studies have shown a [More]

October 1st, 2010

Arts programs make inroads with DYS students

By Jennifer E Chase

The Mass. Department of Education holds youth who are serving time in juvenile detention centers to the same state-mandated compliance standards as their counterparts “on the out.” So when their sentences for convicted misbehaviors are completed, they must be prepared to integrate back into whatever school setting from which they came. Middle and high school is difficult on kids – and that’s barring the emotional and situational obstacles that land youth in court-appointed facilities in the first place. Coupled with the state’s Department of Youth Services’ (DYS) Education System factoring in special needs that can make their learning more difficult [More]