Articles, Leading Stories

July 1st, 2014

Yale psychologists launch Mood Meter App

By Janine Weisman

The room you’re working in is too warm. You can’t focus on your project because of repeated interruptions. And you have no idea what you’re going to do for dinner. Restless? Annoyed? Stressed? Can’t quite put your finger on how your feeling? Yes, you can. Because the feeling is probably somewhere in the red-orange zone that occupies the upper left quadrant of the new Mood Meter App.The app launched in May is based on research conducted at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and conceived by the center’s director, Marc Brackett, Ph.D., and its associate director, Robin Stern, Ph.D. They [More]

July 1st, 2014

Task forces address hoarding

By Rivkela Brodsky

Task forces to address hoarding in communities are piling up around the nation. So says hoarding expert Randy Frost, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Smith College in Mass., who estimates about 100 across the U.S. “They are springing up all over the place,” says Frost, co-author of “Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things.” “They are populated primarily by service professionals who run into the problem of hoarding.” That can include first responders, health department personnel, housing officials, child and family services, mental health and animal welfare agencies, he says. While Massachusetts has several hoarding task forces, other states [More]

July 1st, 2014

Psychologist helps with design of 9/11 Memorial

By Catherine Robertson Souter

On May 22, the National September 11 Memorial and Museum beneath the former site of the World Trade Center opened to the public. The task of designing a memorial to the 2,977 lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001, has been monumental. The designers needed to work with the families to honor those who perished especially because for many, this memorial is also their final resting place. They had to appreciate that some visitors may feel the events as though they were only yesterday and still design something that will be relevant in 30 or 50 years. Recognizing the impact that [More]

July 1st, 2014

“Controversy in the Psychology Classroom: Using Hot Topics to Foster Critical Thinking”

By James K Luiselli EdD ABPP BCBA-D

“Controversy in the Psychology Classroom: Using Hot Topics to Foster Critical Thinking” Edited by Dana S. Dunn, Regan A. R. Gurung, Karen Z. Naufel, and Janie H. Wilson American Psychological Association Washington, D.C., 2013  Guide offers teachers advice about ‘hot’ topics Reviewed by James K. Luiselli, Ed.D., ABPP, BCBA-D The discipline of psychology certainly generates its share of controversy. In this book, the editors contend that “Some psychology teachers shy away from covering controversial topics out of fear of classroom disruption, student discomfort and the worry of eliciting shocked responses or, worse still, profoundly awkward silences.” At the same time, [More]

July 1st, 2014

The retirement readiness test

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

The question I hear more and more often these days concerns when I’m planning to retire. Never mind that I’m the one doing most of the asking, but I hear it from friends and colleagues as well. It’s a stage of life thing, something my fellow baby boomers and I toss around in meandering conversations about life, work and our hopes and plans for our so-called golden years. My first response to this question was a glib, “When I meet my first happy retired person or after I’ve paid all my big bills, whichever comes first.” It didn’t take much [More]

June 1st, 2014

Is talk therapy a thing of the past?

By Rivkela Brodsky

College students are turning away from talk therapy and toward medication for anxiety and depression, according to a recent study. “The major finding of this review was that attitudes toward seeking mental health services have become increasingly negative, in more or less a linear manner, among American university students over the past 40 years,” according to the study published in the March issue of Clinical Psychology Review. Researchers looked at published studies that used the ATSPPHS (Attitudes Toward Seeking Professional Psychological Help Scale) on a sample of American college students and conducted a cross-temporal meta-analysis, finding that “help-seeking attitudes have [More]

June 1st, 2014

Jury’s still out on omission of bereavement exclusion

By Susan Gonsalves

One of the most controversial changes made last year was the removal of the “bereavement” exclusion from the major depressive disorder (MDD) diagnosis in DSM-5. Proponents of the change argue that the removal does not “medicalize” grief, stigmatize bereaved individuals, imply that grief transforms into depression after two weeks or lead to un-necessary prescribing of anti-depressants. Instead, they feel the elimination allows all people with MDD to receive care without ruling out the existence of interacting causes. Opponents, however, believe the change was motivated by political and financial agendas, confuses grief and prolonged grief disorder with bereavement and is not [More]

June 1st, 2014

Providers eye ‘Beth Israel experiment’ on sharing notes

By Janine Weisman

Clinicians at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston are venturing into unchartered territory: They’re posting outpatient mental health progress notes in patients’ electronic medical records so summaries of treatment sessions can be read at home. The Veterans Health Administration began making patients’ progress notes available via its online portal, My HealtheVet, in January 2013. But most hospitals hesitate to share such notes out of concern patients may misinterpret them. On March 1, all 15 of Beth Israel’s Department of Psychiatry staff agreed to share psychiatry notes with 10 percent of their ambulatory caseloads – approximately 350 patients – as [More]

June 1st, 2014

DSM-5 changes: controversy continues to swirl

By Phyllis Hanlon

The release of the DSM-5 launched a firestorm of criticism over some of the added diagnoses. Two in particular – premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and disruptive mood dysregulation (DMDD) – have generated much debate among mental health professionals. PMDD was included in DSM-IV as depressive diagnosis not otherwise specified (NOS) and also listed in the index; the DSM-5 elevated PMDD to the front of the book. Although premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is common, the condition presents with more physical rather than mental symptoms, says Joan Chrisler, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Connecticut College, and doesn’t qualify as a diagnosable illness. “In [More]

June 1st, 2014

Research shows patient involvement in care helpful for minorities

By Rivkela Brodsky

A little training can go a long way for mental health patients – especially for ethnic or racial minorities, according to a recent study by Harvard Medical School researchers. According to the article, published in the April issue of JAMA Psychiatry, previous studies have shown that patient involvement in their care is important for receiving better quality of care, especially for minorities who “may hold traditional role expectations against participation in clinical encounters and may leave treatment when services do not meet their needs.” Minority patients are less likely to state concerns, ask questions about medications, or seek information from [More]

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