Articles, Leading Stories

May 1st, 2013

New study links mental disorders to common gene

By Jo Kadlecek

Though a new study links five mental disorders to a common gene, it’s too early to tell whether it could affect how practitioners care for patients. Usually viewed as distinct disorders, autism, attention deficit hyperactivity, bipolar disorder, major depression and schizophrenia actually share a genetic effect, according to a recent National Institutes of Health-funded study published Feb. 28, 2013, in The Lancet. Even so, lead researcher, Jordan Smoller, M.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, says that though the long-term effects of the study might influence how psychologists diagnose and treat disorders, any short-term or immediate implications are limited. “The [More]

May 1st, 2013

Telemedicine program launched on Block Island

By Greg Hitchcock

A telemedicine program to help serve people with mental illness was launched on a remote island 13 miles off the coast of Rhode Island. Stephen Hollaway, pastor of Harbor Church on Block Island and chairman of the island’s Mental Health Task Force, says he felt the need to help individuals with mental health conditions when he was called in 2010 by the Block Island Police Department regarding a suicide. According to Hollaway, the suicide victim’s family said it was difficult to get the help needed to prevent the tragedy from occurring. “No one from the mainland would send anyone here [More]

May 1st, 2013

Barbara Okun, Ph.D. follows her interests across the globe

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Given the relatively short amount of time we have on this planet, how do we choose to spend that time? For some, a single cause or subject matter takes center stage. For others, like Barbara Okun, Ph.D., variety is the key to contentment. Okun has spent a career as a teacher, writer, speaker, clinical psychologist and world traveler following her interests. Her 30-plus year trajectory has taken her from the corridors of Northeastern University, where she is a professor in the department of counseling and applied psychology, to writing a highly successful book on interviewing and counseling techniques, to teaching [More]

April 1st, 2013

Energy psychologists use variety of integrative therapies

By Phyllis Hanlon

In the mid-1980s when psychologist Roger Callahan, Ph.D., and psychiatrist John Diamond, M.D., formulated the foundations for energy psychology, few mental health professionals understood or accepted the paradigm. However, in recent years, this niche area has gained acceptance as integrative therapies, such as emotional freedom technique (EFT), thought field therapy (TFT), tapas acupuncture technique (TAT) and others, have been integrated into psychology practice. DeAnn Ewart, Ph.D., a private practitioner in Brookfield, Conn., uses EFT, a “simple, streamlined” technique that incorporates traditional psychological procedures with non-Western healing systems. “I teach clients to combine acupressure with cognitive restructuring and exposure,” she says. [More]

April 1st, 2013

DSM-5 includes changes

By Pamela Berard

Psychologists are preparing for major changes in the fifth edition of the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” (DSM-5), to be published in May. The American Psychiatric Association Board of Trustees approved the final diagnostic criteria after a decade-long revision process. Licensed psychologist Craig W. Knapp, Ph.D., president elect of the Vermont Psychological Association, who will give an upcoming conference presentation on DSM-5, says the whole system is changing. “DSM-5 is probably the most substantial revision that’s been done” and he foresees both benefits and challenges. “The good news is that one of the promised thrusts of the new [More]

April 1st, 2013

Telepsychology guidelines anticipated

By Janine Weisman

When patients initiate text messaging with Leslie A. Feil, Ph.D., she won’t text back on clinical issues but responds with a phone call instead. The Rhode Island Psychological Association (RIPA) past president also won’t Skype patients, considering it insecure communication. She added consent for text and email messaging to her patient information-HIPAA form. “I sometimes use text messaging to initiate changes in appointments with younger patients, who as a group appear to not listen to their voicemail messages,” Feil writes in an email, explaining how she incorporates telepsychology into her practice. It’s a subject of great interest to Feil, chair [More]

April 1st, 2013

Proposed disclosure bill raises legal, practice questions

By Susan Gonsalves

Part of a young person’s development involves separation from parents and becoming independent. A bill introduced to Congress late last year would disrupt that natural order and could deter the college age group from seeking psychological help, experts say. Former Rep. Laura Richardson (D-CA) filed the legislation, (H.R. 6712) shortly before leaving office. “The Elgin Stafford Mental Illness Information Disclosure Act,” or “Elgin’s Law,” would require mental health professionals to inform parents if their children under age 26 are receiving treatment for mental illness. The disclosure rule would apply to a minor child, an uninsured adult under 26 or an [More]

April 1st, 2013

GIC awards mental health contract to Beacon

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In a move that has drawn criticism from some local psychologists, the Group Insurance Commission (GIC), the Massachusetts agency that oversees insurance for state employees and retirees, recently announced that it awarded a mental health care contract to Beacon Health Strategies for several of its plans. The contract will cover members on the UniCare State Plans and Tufts Health Plans Navigator and Spirit. Members with Fallon or Neighborhood Health Plan will see no change, as Beacon is its current mental health provider. The commission will retain United Behavioral Health for the Harvard Pilgrim plan. The commission voted to award the [More]

April 1st, 2013

Study: parity provides relief for most vulnerable

By Howard Newman

We’re well aware of what “parity” – as it applies to mental health insurance coverage – is supposed to do. In a perfect world, parity mandates that insurance companies cannot differentiate between mental health benefits and traditional medical health benefits; they are to be treated equally in terms of allowable treatments, patient co-pays and benefit limits. This result is the goal of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA), which was implemented in 2010. There are, however, a number of parameters that can influence the way benefits are administered. One of them involves the individual’s diagnosis. Specifically, how [More]

April 1st, 2013

Report: Mental health care for children lacking

By Greg Hitchcock

According to a government report, requested by U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), and Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), children’s mental health care is lacking and several issues must be addressed. The findings of the Government Accountability Office (GAO), a nonpartisan “watchdog” agency of the U.S. Congress, include: Eighteen percent of foster children were taking psychotropic medications – including 48 percent of foster children who lived in group homes or residential treatment centers – as compared to 6.2 percent of non-institutionalized children in Medicaid nation-wide and 4.8 percent of privately insured children. Thirty percent of foster children who [More]

Site Developed by SteerPoint Design