Columnists, Articles

March 4th, 2018

Causes of disenfranchised grief: A reminder for therapists

By New England Psychologist Staff

I’ll never forget my first lesson in the meaning of disenfranchised grief. While interning, I was assigned to a young woman who had been referred by her doctor for depression. In our first session, I heard her story. She had miscarried her first pregnancy only a few months before. “Everyone tells me to get over it,” she said. “When I was crying in the hospital, a nurse told me that miscarriage is nature’s way to end pregnancies that aren’t quite right and that I’m young so I will have other babies. But I wanted this baby I had already named. [More]

March 2nd, 2018

You know you’re getting old when…

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

We’ve all heard it said that you’re only as old as you think you are, but I’m proud of my three score and ten. This milestone is a privilege denied to many and each new day is a gift to be used well, enjoyed, and savored. I am also aware that 70 is not especially old. According to gerontologists, it is threshold of our senior years, the midpoint of a stage of life beginning at 65 called the young old to be followed, if we are lucky, by the old beginning at 75, and the oldest old at 85. Still, [More]

March 2nd, 2018

Interview with Katie Lewis, Ph.D., recipient of the Robert S. Wallerstein Fellowship in Psychoanalytic Research

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Katie Lewis, Ph.D., a research psychologist at the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, Mass., is the recipient of the Robert S. Wallerstein Fellowship in Psychoanalytic Research. The fellowship carries with it a minimum of five years. The San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis chose to support Lewis’ research on the impact of interpersonal relationships on suicidal ideation and urges. The study will track up to 150 residents of Austen Riggs, a psychiatric hospital and residential treatment program, over a period of two weeks through a smart phone app designed by Lewis’ team. The purpose of the research is to understand how [More]

February 11th, 2018

Transitions

By John Grohol, Psy.D.

Life is all about transitions. It’s what keeps things interesting and challenges our complacency. I’m honored to take over the reins of New England Psychologist, an independent voice that began life as Massachusetts Psychologist in 1993 by Denise Yocum, Psy.D., expanding to all of New England in 2002. Dr. Yocum approached me at the beginning of October to discuss the possibility of purchasing the publication after deciding the time was ripe for retirement. Following a few discussions, it became clear we were aligned in both interests and beliefs. I want to take a moment to thank Dr. Yocum for her [More]

February 10th, 2018

New Hampshire to develop 10-year mental health plan

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Looking to design a better system, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recently awarded a contract to Keene University’s Center for Behavioral Health Innovation to develop a 10-year mental health plan for the state. To be released in June, the report will offer a roadmap for the state’s mental health services moving forward. “The last plan was issued in 2008. A lot has changed since that time,” said Katja Fox, director of the DHHS Division for Behavioral Health. “The state wants to be able to look at how services can be delivered to address the needs [More]

February 10th, 2018

Mental health, harassment among Vermont’s priorities

By Eileen Weber

Vermont’s House Speaker Mitzi Johnson (D-Grand Isle-Chittenden) and Senate President Pro Tempore Tim Ashe (D/Prg-Chittenden) want to collaborate with Governor Phil Scott this year on legislation for education, clean waterways, a $15 minimum wage, better mental healthcare and stronger sexual harassment policies and procedures. In the wake of rampant opioid addiction and the #MeToo movement, the two relevant issues are mental health and sexual harassment. Ashe and Johnson are in favor of legislation that not only addresses the high cost of prescription drugs but also limits prescription pain killers. Johnson said the opioid epidemic may account for the rise in [More]

February 9th, 2018

Psychologists grapple with issues of racism, diversity in therapy

By Pamela Berard

As the world becomes more diverse, it’s a good time for psychologists to have a social justice philosophy for their practices, according to Charmain F. Jackman, Ph.D. Everybody benefits when we’re all working toward cultural competency,” said Jackman, a licensed clinical/forensic psychologist whose metro-Boston area private practice, Innovative Psychological Services, recently hosted a panel discussion, “Join the Conversation: Navigating Racism & Other ‘Isms’ in Therapy.” Attendees discussed strategies for mental health professionals to effectively address issues such as racism, xenophobia and heterosexism, whether working with clients who have experienced discrimination, with clients who express offensive comments in sessions or through [More]

February 9th, 2018

Painting a life

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

When you reach a certain age and start thinking about retirement, you will get plenty of advice about how to stay healthy and mentally sharp when you stop working at the job that defined your career for most of your adult life. One thing you will hear over and over again is the importance of learning something new – a new language, skill, hobby or maybe even a whole new career. Lately, I’ve been learning about painting. To be clear about this statement, I am not actually taking art lessons and, while I enjoy doodling as much as the next [More]

February 8th, 2018

Rural Massachusetts experiences psychiatric bed increase

By Phyllis Hanlon

Across the Commonwealth, particularly in rural areas, the need for more inpatient care for patients with mental health issues continues to grow. In recent months, small towns in the central part of the state have seen an uptick in the number of psychiatric inpatient beds and services. In October 2015, Heywood Healthcare in Gardner purchased a former teaching convent in Petersham that had housed the Sisters of Assumption. Rebecca Bialicki, Ph.D, vice president for Community Health and Chief Change Agent at Heywood Healthcare, noted that the property encompasses 21 acres and a 75,000 square foot building with two wings. “It [More]

February 8th, 2018

Psychologists help people navigate life transitions

By Phyllis Hanlon

Psychological intervention can help ease life’s transitions–everything from positive events like marriage, a new baby or career advancement to more dire situations such as divorce, chronic illness, injury or the death of a loved one. Emily Mohr, Ph.D, defines life transition as anything that shifts someone’s sense of self or identity that is not temporary, but happens because of the passage of time.” Mohr, public education coordinator for the Massachusetts Psychological Association (MPA), southern regional representative for the MPA Board of Directors and practitioner at Child & Family Psychological Services, PLLC, in Weymouth, Massachusetts noted, “Both happy and unhappy events [More]