Articles, Leading Stories

August 21st, 2010

Setting up a practice

By Phyllis Hanlon

With degree in hand and passion in their hearts, many newly graduated psychologists seek to launch their own businesses. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-11 Edition reports that 34 percent of psychologists are self-employed, either as private practitioners or independent consultants. For those just starting out, the idea of setting up a practice may be daunting, but with a bit of investigation, legwork and diligence, this goal is certainly attainable. Anne Perschel, Psy.D., leadership and business psychologist and president, Germane Consulting in Worcester, Mass., emphasizes that psychologists opening a practice should consider themselves entrepreneurs and, as such, [More]

August 21st, 2010

Sleep changes proposed in DSM

By Ami Albernaz

As work continues on the newest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), still three years away, one of the sections that might see the greatest overhaul relates to sleep disorders. Around 10 disorder names are expected to be added to the category, while just as many might be removed or subsumed under other categories. Most of the traditional sleep disorders will be classified in the primary groups’ insomnia, hypersomnia, and arousal disorder, with “specifiers” that give more detail but don’t suggest a possible cause, as the current manual does. The sleep disorders work group believes [More]

August 21st, 2010

Q&A: Pioneer discusses mind/body perspective

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Have you gone to a store to get mustard and come home with three bags of groceries…but no mustard? When we are lying on our death beds, how many of us will slap our foreheads and claim, “Oh no, I forgot the mustard!”? It’s an interesting tale, or life lesson, but an important one, says Jim Manganiello, Ed.D., a Massachusetts-based clinical psychologist. It’s about how people need to become aware of what direction they want to head and not let themselves get distracted by the other issues in life. Manganiello is former director of the Center for East-West Psychology and [More]

July 1st, 2010

Excessive emailing/texting: The newest addiction?

By Phyllis Hanlon

In June 2008, the British Broadcasting System (BBC) published a story about two adolescents in Spain undergoing treatment at the Child and Youth Mental Health Centre near Barcelona for dependency on their mobile phones. Studies out of South Korea, China and Australia have also raised questions about potential cell phone addiction. While concerns around the globe about compulsive emailing and texting via cell phone are growing, the jury is still out on whether or not this behavior actually constitutes addiction. To date, no formal studies have been conducted in the United States, but some respected groups have released pertinent data. [More]

July 1st, 2010

Vermont’s Challenges for Change seeks reductions via efficiencies

By Nan Shnitzler

Last November, the Vermont Department of Mental Health faced budget cuts in excess of $20 million for the 2011 fiscal year. When the legislature adjourned its session in the wee hours May 13, the cut had been trimmed to about $3 million. Credit a slightly improved economy, a few more federal dollars and a state budget approach called Challenges for Change. Challenges for Change is legislation designed to fund desirable outcomes by focusing on efficiencies rather than eliminating services and hiking taxes. On paper, it saved nearly $38 million of a $150 million budget deficit in a total state budget [More]

July 1st, 2010

New Hampshire Hospital trims services/staff

By Phyllis Hanlon

Budget shortfalls are once again prompting staff and service cuts in the Green Mountain State. According to Nancy Rollins, associate commissioner for the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), both programmatic and physical changes planned for New Hampshire Hospital are intended to accommodate patients’ needs and work within a reduced budget. As of June 30, the Anna Philbrook building, originally constructed as a long-term residential facility with a full school program, will be shuttered. While admissions have continued to decline, Anna Philbrook’s physical condition also raised concerns in recent years. “Several proposals suggested building a new unit or adding [More]

July 1st, 2010

Lawsuit seeks delay or revision of parity regulations

By Catherine Robertson Souter

The fight for full parity between mental health and physical health care coverage could soon be drawing to a close…or not. In February, several federal agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services, released a series of regulations governing how the 2008 Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) will be implemented. The Interim Final Rules (IFR) would become law for group health plans and group health insurance issuers for plan years beginning on or after July 1, 2010. However, shortly after the release of those rules, a lawsuit was filed by the Coalition for Parity, which represents [More]

July 1st, 2010

Firms place limits on mental health treatment

By Elinor Nelson

Psychologists may be seeing more managed care from their patients’ insurers. Faced with increasing costs, some employers and insurers are controlling utilization by authorizing limited numbers of sessions and requiring forms or phone calls to allow additional sessions. A year ago, one major employer changed its policies. That party was the Group Insurance Commission, which insures about 180,000 Massachusetts state employees and retirees and their dependents, totaling about 340,000 people. Executive Director Dolores Mitchell explains the changes actually affect the policies of about 294,000 of those people, and amounts to about the approximately 10 percent of that group who access [More]

July 1st, 2010

Programs seek to assist children with mental health issues

By Ami Albernaz

Mental health care doesn’t carry the stigma it once did and more is understood about mental health disorders than ever before. Yet millions of those meeting the criteria for a psychological disorder still don’t receive care, presenting an ongoing challenge in how to improve access and make sure effective treatments are delivered. Around 26 percent of U.S. adults meet the criteria for a disorder within a given year, while the lifetime prevalence is around 46 percent. These were the conclusions of the National Comorbidity Survey (NCS), a National Institutes of Mental Health-funded study of more than 9,000 adults first done [More]

July 1st, 2010

Is excessive tanning a disorder?

By Ami Albernaz

You’ve perhaps known someone with a seemingly insatiable need to tan, no matter how bronzed he or (probably) she already is. And though these so-called “tanorexics” will probably never enter therapy for their sunbathing habit, there do indeed appear to be some psychological factors that entice people to ignore the well-publicized health risks. Excessive tanning is nothing new. Yet when summer rolls around, efforts to get people to think twice about that “healthy,” sun-kissed glow are renewed. Although melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, kills about one person an hour in the U.S., the threat pales in comparison to [More]

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