Articles, Columnists

October 1st, 2014

Parade of stars

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

The arrival of our new psychology interns at the hospital in September is surely as much a sign of fall as the first hints of color in the New England foliage. Their appearance is the culmination of a year-long process of updating our program brochures and online descriptions, reading scores of applications, interviewing our top candidates and biting our nails through the mutual selection process that somehow delivers these fledging psychologists to our doorstep. The suddenness of their appearance suggests there is magic at work but the work is really done by our directors of training, psychologists from our hospital [More]

August 22nd, 2014

Time and summer time

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

This was the summer of hellos and goodbyes, the summer when I played with time and time played with me. It was the summer of reunions, my 45th college reunion and the 49th time that my closest high school friends and I came together to celebrate our long association and enjoy one another’s company.   It was hello to our son’s future wife and our daughter’s future husband. For every hello, there was a goodbye. Friends gathered and scattered. Children sailed away to distant shores leaving the memory of their laughter and the promise of future visits. With most of [More]

August 22nd, 2014

Should we rethink our procedures?

By Edward Stern J.D.

Over the past year and a half, Massachusetts has been dealing with the custody of a minor from Connecticut. Normally, the name of a minor child would remain confidential but this one has been in the news with great frequency. Her name is Justina Pelletier.   The facts for background purposes, as reported by FOXCT on its Web site: “Justina had been…diagnosed with mitochondrial disease at Tufts Medical Center in 2011. Her parents admitted her to Boston Children’s Hospital in February 2013 with flu-like symptoms. Doctors at Boston Children’s questioned the Tufts diagnosis and said they believed her symptoms including [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

How to build a model ship

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

Since the first Egyptian was entombed with a miniature boat to meet his travel needs in the afterlife, people of all cultures have been building model ships. Sailors whiled away the time at sea carving replicas of their vessels and often left these models in churches throughout Europe in thanksgiving for their safe return. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, naval architects in England built exquisitely detailed ship models to submit to the Admiralty Board for approval. Admiralty models remain the finest examples of the model shipwright’s craft and the standard to which serious builders aspire. Needing neither a boat [More]

May 1st, 2014

Becoming a group

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

When it comes to psychotherapy, the coin of the realm in our hospital is group treatment. If there’s a human malady or body of knowledge associated in any way with mental illness, we have a group where it can be discussed, taught, explored, contemplated in respectful silence or ignored. In bigger groups all of these things can happen at the same time. Someone opens the discussion about how to handle the stigma of mental illness and a few people share their personal experiences and ideas on the topic. Others sit quietly, some following the speakers with their eyes, a few [More]

April 1st, 2014

The Psy who came in from the cold

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

It’s cold – deep, penetrating, bone-chilling, soul-killing cold. That sentence may be a peculiar thing to read when this issue hits the streets on the first of April but now, as I write at the beginning of March, it’s cold. It has been one of the coldest winters in history with snow as far south as Georgia and the entire eastern part of the country swallowed up in one polar vortex after another. Last year, no one even knew what a polar vortex was and now it’s just another phrase to describe the weather, taking its place alongside familiar Bermuda [More]

March 1st, 2014

Counting what we do and doing what counts

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

These days, we count everything in the hospital. On Tuesdays, an email comes to remind me to submit my weekly encounter form by 10 o’clock the next morning. That’s where we count how many patients we’ve seen and how many minutes we spent seeing them. Risk assessments ask us how many times a patient has been arrested, charged with violent crimes, convicted, hospitalized, restrained and secluded. We need to know how many times they’ve run away from home, tortured animals, set fires, skipped school, bullied classmates, sassed teachers, got suspended, expelled or expunged from the rolls of the good and [More]

March 1st, 2014

Telepsychology guidelines worth examination

By Edward Stern J.D.

The American Psychological Association has begun planning for the future. In July of 2013, the APA approved Guidelines for the Practice of Telepsychology. Rather than repeat the text and history for these guidelines here, those interested may proceed to the Web site www.apa.org/practice/guidelines/telepsychology.aspx The site reports that the Telepsychology Task Force that put together the guidelines were focused on two issues: the psychologist’s own knowledge of and competence in the provision of telepsychology; and the need to ensure that the client/patient has a full understanding of the potential increased risks to loss of security and confidentiality when using technologies. In [More]

February 1st, 2014

Recovery thoughts for the day

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

There are new faces everywhere in the hospital and I am not just talking about new patients or staff. Just the other day, I ran into Jimmy Carter in the chapel and a colleague swears she caught a glimpse of Audrey Hepburn in the beauty salon. Larry Bird and Michael Jordan were into a fierce one on one match up in the gym while coach John Wooden smiled serenely from the sidelines. These are just a few of the celebrities who have been spending time with us over the past several months as part of a new recovery initiative spearheaded [More]

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