April 1st, 2014

Study reports adolescent psychotropic drug use

By Rivkela Brodsky

About six percent of teens use psychotropic drugs, mostly antidepressants and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder medications, according to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study, released in December by the CDC, shows 6.3 percent of adolescents aged 12-19 saying they have taken any psychotropic medication within the last month, according to data collected using National Health and Nutrition  Examination Survey data from 2005-2010. The study shows 4.5 percent reporting taking one psychotropic medication, while 1.8 percent reporting taking two or more drugs. Of that, the use of antidepressants and ADHD medication was highest, each [More]

April 1st, 2014

Stress in America 2013 focuses on teens

By Phyllis Hanlon

The American Psychological Association recently released the results of Stress in America™ 2013, which for the first time focused on teens. The survey “portrays a picture of high stress and ineffective coping mechanisms that appear to be ingrained in our culture, perpetuating lifestyles and behaviors for future generations.” Specifically, the survey indicates that teens report stress levels during the school year that exceed what they believe to be healthy. Teens are more likely than adults to report a slight impact on their physical or mental health or none at all. However, teens described emotional and physical symptoms of stress that [More]

April 1st, 2014

Study: Online tool effective

By Susan Gonsalves

Researchers at Yale University have developed a program to teach coping skills to alcohol and substance abuse patients. Lead author Kathleen Carroll, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry, hopes that eventually the computer-based cognitive behavioral therapy tool can be made available to practitioners throughout the northeast. “It was a creative endeavor,” she says of CBT4CBT (Computer Based Training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), an interactive online program that is driven by video and audio and provides skills training in an entertaining way. A study in 2014 replicated results from a 2000-2002 pilot project with its findings published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. [More]

April 1st, 2014

R.I. has access to complementary program

By Pamela Berard

As part of a partnership between Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) and ValueOptions, Rhode Island mental health clinicians have access to ValueOptions’ On Track program, a client-centered outcomes informed care program. On Track does not make recommendations or decisions about appropriate clinical care. It is intended as an information aid to network clinicians. Abbe Garcia, Ph.D., treasurer of the Rhode Island Psychological Association and a member of the multidisciplinary Coalition of Mental Health Professionals of Rhode Island (COMHPRI), has participated in meetings between COMHPRI and representatives of BCBSRI and ValueOptions, to discuss questions and concerns. Some [More]

April 1st, 2014

N.H. bill for gun purchase background checks defeated

By Howard Newman

In the wake of the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, gun-control activists in some states have called for more expansive background checks on those who purchase weapons. It stands to reason that selling firearms to people with criminal records is an invitation for trouble. Many gun-control opponents, however, feel that the process of making universal background checks for all purchases unnecessarily penalizes the honest majority. Federal law requires all licensed dealers to perform a background check, through the national database, for any firearms sale. This statute, known as the Brady Law, has been in effect since [More]

April 1st, 2014

Efforts hindered to eliminate restraint and seclusion in schools

By Janine Weisman

To understand the challenges facing reformers who want to eliminate the practice of physical restraint and seclusion of schoolchildren, look no further than numbers reported in Connecticut and Massachusetts. A Connecticut Department of Education report released in February documents 33,743 incidents of restraint or seclusion involving children with disabilities because of behavior during the 2012-2013 school year. But in that same time period, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education reported only 165 such incidents. Massachusetts requires school officials to report the use of any physical restraint that results in any injury to a student or staff member or [More]

April 1st, 2014

Psychologist defines vicarious traumatization

By Catherine Robertson Souter

It’s a fact of human nature that Hollywood banks on: humans are both extremely empathetic and have an amazing ability to put ourselves into a storyline. While those talents might work well for losing ourselves in an action scene or in a good book, are there times when being attuned to others’ experiences can hurt us? For a therapist helping a patient work through a traumatic event, hearing the details, sharing the emotions, visualizing what they describe and the ability to empathize can lead to the therapist experiencing symptoms of PTSD themselves. This type of vicarious traumatization, says Ghislaine Boulanger, [More]

April 1st, 2014

“Humanity’s Dark Side: Evil, Destructive Experience, and Psychotherapy”

By Paul Efthim PhD

“Humanity’s Dark Side: Evil, Destructive Experience, and Psychotherapy” Edited by Arthur C. Bohart, Barbara S. Held, Edward Mendelowitz & Kirk J. Schneider American Psychological Association Washington, D.C. 2013 Book addresses working on the ‘dark side’ in treatment Reviewed by Paul Efthim, Ph.D. If the current zeitgeist is any indication, there is no shortage of psychologists extolling the virtues of positive psychology. Remarkably, our professional conversations routinely neglect (or avoid) facing destructive human emotions. How refreshing to encounter a book that brings intellectual rigor to the important question of how psychotherapists think about and work with the dark side in treatment. [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]

March 1st, 2014

Psychology of failure

By Phyllis Hanlon

Addressing rejection, self-esteem and fear Just about everyone has experienced some type of setback in life, but reactions to those experiences vary from one individual to the next. A person’s belief system, temperament and environment may influence response and help determine appropriate treatment. Wendy Grolnick, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Clark University and co-author of “Pressured Parents, Stressed-Out Kids” attributes fear of failing to a person’s belief system, i.e., the perception that ability, intelligence and talent are either fixed or changeable. “The person might be a perfectionist and think ‘If I make a mistake, I’m inadequate, so I’ll never do [More]

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