Articles, Leading Stories

June 1st, 2010

Q&A: Self destructive behavior analyzed

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Scars, burn marks, and teens who wear long-sleeved shirts in 90 degree weather – what do they have in common? Hint, it’s a behavior that is reported by one support group to affect up to 20 percent of adolescents. The answer? Self injury. Self-injury, which often takes the form of cutting and primarily occurs in adolescents, is nothing new. In fact, according to Matthew Nock, Ph.D, self injury has been around for thousands of years but it has only recently been looked at closely by mental health researchers. A professor of psychology and director of the Laboratory for Clinical and [More]

May 1st, 2010

The Art and Science of Mindfulness: Integrating Mindfulness Into Psychology and the Helping Professions

By Paul Efthim PhD

By Shauna L. Shapiro and Linda E. Carlson American Psychological Association Washington, D.C., 2009 Mindfulness explained in clear, rigorous work Reviewed by Paul Efthim, Ph.D. The term “mindfulness” probably evokes a mixed or even negative response for some psychologists. This is unfortunate because we in the helping professions have much to learn from Buddhist thought and meditative disciplines. Why is the field of mindfulness not more fully embraced by psychologists? Possible explanations include a lack of accurate information about mindfulness, unfamiliar terminology, resistance to working with the body in a non-intellectual way and a general mistrust of spiritual and experiential [More]

May 1st, 2010

Medical Illness and Positive Life Change: Can Crisis Lead to Personal Transformation?

By James K Luiselli EdD ABPP BCBA-D

Edited by Crystal L. Park, Suzanne C. Lechner, Michael H. Antoni, and Annette L. Stanton American Psychological Association Washington, D.C., 2009 Stress-related growth examined in challenging work Reviewed by James K. Luiselli, Ed.D., ABPP, BCBA-D Medical illnesses and chronic health problems are the focus of this book but not from a negative or fatalistic perspective. Rather, the book examines positive life changes as sequelae to serious illness. Akin to positive psychology, the concepts and applications detailed in the book have been described interchangeably as stress-related growth, posttraumatic growth and benefit finding. The editors assembled 12 chapters that are based on [More]

May 1st, 2010

Re-thinking the right stuff

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

The last time I changed jobs I thought I had found the best way to sort, pack and move important stuff from my old workplace to the new office. That was a time of volatility in the job market for psychologists much like today and the likelihood of a short stay at the new institution made me reluctant to unpack. So, after moving the really important things, I drove around with enough heavy boxes in my trunk to rack up a hefty repair bill for new rear shock absorbers. The experience held a valuable lesson – since we carry the [More]

May 1st, 2010

Sex addiction: bona fide condition or excuse for bad behavior?

By Ami Albernaz

It’s often helpful to have a celebrity spokesperson for a disorder: Doug Flutie for autism; Patty Duke for bipolar disorder. Yet when it comes to sex addiction, the star connection may hurt. Who wouldn’t be a sex addict, some may argue, given money, power and unlimited access to beautiful women? Some psychologists argue the condition is indeed real and that the recent spate of celebrity “sex addicts” are clouding what’s in fact a very painful reality for some. “You see these very rich, very handsome superstars and your perceptions of them are that they’re on top of the world,” says [More]

May 1st, 2010

The changing role of the hospital-based psychologist

By Phyllis Hanlon

While incidence of mental health-related hospitalizations hasn’t diminished, the model of inpatient care is shifting. Shrinking budgets, bed elimination and community-based care is creating a new treatment paradigm and changing the role of some psychologists who work in hospitals. In March, Eastern Maine Medical Center (EMMC) in Bangor laid off approximately 50 full and part-time staff because of financial issues and declining patient census. The cuts did not involve psychologists, according to Jill McDonald, B.S., MA, APR, EMMC’s vice president of communication and market development. “We do have a few psychologists on staff at EMMC in some outpatient capacity, but [More]

May 1st, 2010

Children’s groups part ways in philosophical rift

By Nan Shnitzler

The Harvard-affiliated Judge Baker Children’s Center and the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood have parted ways in a Rashomon-like saga that has left members of both organizations angry and hurt. Judge Baker says the aggressive tactics of CCFC are beyond its core mission and put its other programs at risk. CCFC thinks Judge Baker is reluctant to stand up to corporate interests that risk the health and well being of children. CCFC’s view According to Alvin Poussaint, M.D., head of Judge Baker’s Media Center, under which CCFC had operated since its inception 10 years ago, the trouble began in October [More]

May 1st, 2010

Program gives chance at healthy life

By Jennifer E Chase

Acadia Hospital in Maine is improving the odds for people who may develop psychosis through a program wholly dedicated to early detection. The Aware program’s mission is to research, educate and provide community outreach about the symptoms indicating that a person is at “ultra-high” risk, or prodrome, to develop a psychotic illness. Common diagnoses the program helps identify are schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder. According to the program’s director and lead investigator Jessica Pollard, Ph.D., a specialized assessment called the Structured Interview for Prodromal Syndromes (SIPS) is used to detect the warning signs, which include deficits with executive function, [More]

May 1st, 2010

VSH denied recertification – again

By Phyllis Hanlon

Since 2003, Vermont State Hospital (VSH) has lost, regained and once again lost its certification. In March, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) denied VSH’s bid for recertification yet again because of patient care issues and safety concerns about the aging facility’s physical environment. State Rep. Anne Donahue (R-Washington-2) says, “First, an interesting aspect is that CMS has become more clear in the past year that they are not considering recertification; they are treating [the hospital] as though it is a new entity seeking certification. This is important because it creates a different standard than simply remedying the [More]

May 1st, 2010

New scale created to measure anxiety

By Elinor Nelson

There is no shortage of self-report questionnaires to measure anxiety, but Mark Zimmerman, M.D. and his colleagues at Rhode Island Hospital and Alpert Medical School of Brown University have developed a new one – the Clinically Useful Anxiety Outcome Scale (CUXOS). What distinguishes CUXOS, Zimmerman states, is its “goal to be user-friendly, reliable, and valid.” His study of CUXOS, which was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, found it to take on average less than two minutes to fill out and just 15 seconds to score. The study also showed CUXOS to be reliable, valid and sensitive to change [More]

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