May 1st, 2017

Study: Tablet use reduces agitation in dementia patients

By Susan Gonsalves

The idea of using tablet devices as an intervention for older adults, including those with severe dementia, was partially born at a restaurant dinner table, according to Ipsit Vahia, M.D.. He observed that his friends’ boisterous four-year-old, when handed an iPhone, was able to calm down enough so that everyone could enjoy their meals. Vahia, the medical director of Geriatric Psychiatry Outpatient Services at McLean Hospital, led a pilot study that built upon previous research showing how art, music and other therapies are viable non-pharmaceutical options for reducing dementia symptoms. The study involved using a wide range of free apps [More]

May 1st, 2017

UVM study links childhood emotional abuse to adult opioid use

By Phyllis Hanlon

Researchers at the University of Vermont (UVM) have found a correlation between emotional abuse endured during childhood with future opioid use as an adult. Matthew Price, Ph.D., professor in the department of psychological science at UVM and lead author, explained that the study involved 84 Vermont adults who presented with substance use problems. The researchers used the PTSD Checklist (PCL5) as an assessment tool and the UPPS Impulsive Behavior Scale to measure impulsivity. They also administered the Child Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ), which evaluates different types of maltreatment, including emotional, physical and sexual abuse and emotional neglect. The goal was to [More]

May 1st, 2017

Austen Riggs CEO talks about future of hospital, health care

By Catherine Robertson Souter

When he came on board at the Austen Riggs Center, a psychiatric hospital and residential treatment program in Stockbridge, Mass., as medical director and CEO two years ago, Andrew J. Gerber, M.D., Ph.D., had big plans for the nearly 100-year-old facility. Coming from a post at Columbia University Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry where he was the director of the MRI Research Program, Gerber was ready to move from a research setting to one where he had greater opportunity to put some of his work into practice both within the hospital and beyond its grounds. Gerber has begun to steer [More]

May 1st, 2017

“Practical Psychology in Medical Rehabilitation”

By James K Luiselli EdD ABPP BCBA-D

“Practical Psychology in Medical Rehabilitation” Edited by Maggi A. Budd, Sigmund Hough, Stephen T. Wegener, and William Stiers Springer International Publishing Switzerland, 2017   Breadth of topics makes compilation impressive By James K. Luiselli, Ed.D., ABPP, BCBA-D Rehabilitation psychology has a long tradition in medical settings serving people with complex physical and cognitive impairments. This edited book was conceived as a “go to” information source for rehabilitation professionals representing behavioral medicine, health psychology and related disciplines. The book is a robust compilation of 60 chapters distributed among six organizing sections: (1) basics and social practicalities, (2) populations, problems and procedures, [More]

May 1st, 2017

“Trauma, Meaning and Spirituality: Translating Research into Clinical Practice”

By Kerry Morrison, Psy.D

“Trauma, Meaning and Spirituality: Translating Research into Clinical Practice.” By Crystal L. Park, Joseph M. Currier, J. Irene Harris and Jeanne M. Slattery American Psychological Association Washington, D.C., 2017    Book looks at incorporating spirituality into trauma treatment Reviewed by Kerry Morrison, Psy.D. Trauma itself can be experienced as an assault on one’s spirituality or a religious violation for many victims. Many trauma survivors are often “angry at God.” Yet the pervasive roles that spirituality and religion can play in individual’s response to traumatic events and their attempts to cope with them is often overlooked in mainstream trauma treatment. How [More]

May 1st, 2017

Working from home

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

Since I retired nearly two years ago, I have been finding more opportunities to work from home and not just in the way the term is usually meant. Unless you see patients in your home office, working from home is not the way clinical psychologists typically do business. Professionals in other fields can always work from home during snowstorms, transit strikes or even during the odd hours left over after a long business trip. For me, this was never an option, at least not until I retired. So now here I am at my desk, reflecting on what has been [More]

April 1st, 2017

Mobile psychologists: House calls making a comeback

By Phyllis Hanlon

In the 1930s, approximately 40 percent of all patient encounters happened in the home, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. By 1950, that number had dropped to 10 percent and 30 years later, the practice was almost non-existent. Recently, however, house calls have been making a comeback, but with a twist. In some cases, behavioral health specialists are becoming part of an integrated care team that aims to treat the whole patient. Kirke McVay, MA, private practitioner in Bennington, Vermont, made his first mobile visit several years ago, when one of his patients had spinal surgery and was [More]

April 1st, 2017

Advocates worry about Medicaid reforms

By Janine Weisman

The state of Maine is seeking federal permission to limit the eligibility of “able bodied” adults for Medicaid benefits to five years among other coverage restrictions designed to lower costs. Maine Commissioner of Health and Human Services Mary C. Mayhew announced the state’s intention to seek demonstration waivers from the federal government in a Jan. 25 letter to then-incoming U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price posted on her state department’s Web site. The waivers would allow Maine to implement a series of proposed reforms changing the benefits and type of access Mainers have to MaineCare, as the [More]

April 1st, 2017

Task force studies custody status of voluntarily admitted children

By Pamela Berard

Under proposed Connecticut legislation, a task force will study voluntary admissions to the Department of Children and Families and determine whether general law amendments are needed to prohibit DCF from requesting or requiring that the parent or guardian of voluntarily admitted children terminate parental rights or transfer legal custody of the child to DCF. The task force is part of a substitute bill stemming from earlier proposed legislation (H.B. 6297) heard in the Joint Committee on Children and introduced by State Rep. Rosa C. Rebimbas, to prohibit DCF from “requesting, recommending or requiring” a parent/guardian terminate parental rights or transfer [More]

April 1st, 2017

Executive orders raise fears

By Pamela Berard

The Massachusetts Psychological Association (MPA) strongly condemned President Trump’s executive orders related to refugees, immigrants and other visitors to the United States. In a statement, the MPA said President Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order, which created extensive and in some cases indefinite, limitations on the admission of refugees and other visitors from specific countries, and the Jan. 25 executive order, which makes it easier to deport immigrants, are “very likely to increase stress and trauma among vulnerable populations, limit scientific progress and increase the likelihood of discrimination and stigma.” Jennifer Warkentin, Ph.D., MPA director of professional affairs, said the MPA [More]

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