Articles, Leading Stories

October 1st, 2015

Conference addresses Hoffman report findings

By Phyllis Hanlon

This year’s annual American Psychological Association conference addressed a wide variety of topics. But topping the list was reaction to and resolution of some of the findings in the recently released Hoffman report. Susan H. McDaniel, Ph.D., Dr. Laurie Sands Distinguished Professor of Families & Health and 2015 APA president-elect, explained that the APA Council of Representatives discussed the main results of the Hoffman report and voted on a number of motions. “They voted to create a Blue Ribbon panel to evaluate and make recommendations for changes to the ethics policy, benchmarking against other organizations to find the best processes [More]

October 1st, 2015

Initiative focuses on child homelessness

By Pamela Berard

Homeless children face immediate needs – such as food and shelter – but the experience also leaves them with more permanent scars. Among them, homeless children are at risk for PTSD because they’ve often been in unsafe traumatic conditions, said Ellen Braaten, Ph.D., associate director of the Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at Massachusetts General Hospital and director of the Learning and Emotional Assessment Program (LEAP). “Even for kids who haven’t been through a trauma, they are frequently in and out of different schools so their education is disrupted, which leads to insufficient performance in academic subjects.” In addition [More]

October 1st, 2015

MassHealth claims have new stipulations

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In order to comply with a section of the Affordable Care Act that went into effect in 2011, Massachusetts recently changed its regulations to require that claims to MassHealth must include the NPI (National Provider Identifier) of the provider as well as that of any provider who ordered or referred the patient for a service. The new ruling took effect on September 1, although MassHealth will not immediately deny claims not properly completed. Instead, providers will receive an informational notification with the paid claim. After November 1, claims will be denied that do not include the proper information. “The initial [More]

October 1st, 2015

Law would expand screening tool

By Rivkela Brodsky

Lawmakers and an organization dedicated to reforming the children’s mental health system in Massachusetts are working to expand a substance abuse screening tool in all public schools across the state. According to information released in April 2014 by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, 338 residents died because of  unintentional opioid overdoses in 2000. That rose to 668 deaths in 2012, although age was not specified. However, the Children’s Mental Health Campaign – a statewide coalition pushing for the use of Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment, or SBIRT, in Massachusetts public schools – points to national data that [More]

October 1st, 2015

Mobile app at Walden monitors recovery

By Pamela Berard

A Massachusetts private psychiatric hospital is using a mobile app for co-managing eating disorder recovery in real time. Walden Behavioral Care of Waltham, which provides inpatient, residential, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient care for patients with eating disorders, is using the mobile health platform Recovery Record, which can be used on an iPhone, iPad or Android and enables patients and their providers to continuously monitor progress. The app allows users to self-manage their recovery with behavioral monitoring. The system incorporates Cognitive Behavioral Therapy; personalized meal plans; clinical goals; and motivation enhancement, such as aspirational songs and supportive statements and emoticons. [More]

October 1st, 2015

Digital Playground popular

By Janine Weisman

His name is Alex and he was in the eighth grade last February when he anchored the “Greenwood News.” He enthusiastically reports the arrival of new students on campus and the basketball team’s recent victory after four losses. He reacts with comical shivering after another student finishes a snowy weather report and reminds viewers about the upcoming Annual Gettsyburg Gala, where students continue the tradition of reciting the Gettysburg Address before a panel of judges. “He’s a highly energetic kid, but when he’s working on these movies, he’s in one spot,” said Benjamin Stimson, who runs his own film production [More]

October 1st, 2015

EChO program challenges youth

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Visitors to a small school in the scenic New Hampshire town of Northfield may be surprised to find students climbing walls, skiing hills, biking trails or paddling the nearby waters that make the region so attractive to residents and tourists alike. For these children, overcoming a fear of heights on a ropes course may mean a little more than it would for most people. At Spaulding Youth Center, a day and residential school that caters to students from five to 21 who are dealing with autism and other emotional, behavioral, intellectual and developmental challenges, educators learned early on that using [More]

October 1st, 2015

Psychologist’s career has happiness focus

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Everyone wants to be happy. At least, they say they do. But, although we all purport to seek happiness, how many people make it a true priority? In some cases, we chase things that we only think will make us happy and in others, we don’t make time for those that we know will. For Catherine Sanderson, Ph.D., James E. Ostendarp Professor of Psychology at Amherst College, the subject of happiness has become a major focus of her professional career. Although her own re-search focuses on social-personality psychology, close relationships and health-related behavior, she has become somewhat of an expert [More]

October 1st, 2015

Therapy, recreation integrated

By Howard Newman

The Grove School, a therapeutic boarding school in Madison, Conn., provides a holistic environment for students in grades 6-12. By integrating education, therapy and recreation into a year-round program, the school creates a family-type structure that allows residents to heal, learn and enjoy group activities in a non-restrictive setting. Utilizing the “Educateur” program model, teachers have roles that extend well beyond the classroom. “They are dormitory parents, activity leaders and mentors,” explained Executive Director Peter Chorney, M.Ed. “This requires our teachers to work long hours and live on site. They understand that part of the work to heal and connect [More]

August 21st, 2015

Review finds APA ethics compromised

By Phyllis Hanlon

In July, Attorney David H. Hoffman of Sidley Austin LLP released an independent investigative review of the American Psychological Association’s ethics guidelines, national security interrogations and torture. The findings are sending shockwaves throughout the psychology community. Rosanna Lak, executive director of the Vermont Psychological Association, reported that its full board of directors issued a letter stating in part, “… its shock in response to the findings of the Hoffman report and the corruption it details. As your state organization, we intend to do our best to both support and hold APA accountable as it strives to implement institutional reforms in [More]

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