Articles, Leading Stories

November 1st, 2017

Weight-based bullying can lead to psychological distress

By Phyllis Hanlon

Fashion magazines, television shows, movies and other media have promoted the idea that “thin is in” for decades. While there has been a slight shift in thinking recently, bias against larger individuals continues to be an issue that can have medical and psychological consequences. According to Joan C. Chrisler, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Connecticut College, many clinicians don’t understand that a person’s weight is based on several factors, including genetics and physiology, as well as race, gender, age, income and culture, which collectively is known as intersectional identification. Negative attitudes toward weight are also based somewhat on body mass [More]

November 1st, 2017

Psychologist management jobs are highest paid

By Janine Weisman

The median annual salary for full-time psychologists holding doctorates or highest professional degrees in the United States was $85,000 in 2015, up from $80,000 in 2013, according to a recent report from the American Psychological Association. Management positions had the highest median salary among all position types ($110,000), followed by research positions ($95,000) while teaching positions had the lowest median salary ($62,000), the report APA’s Center for Workforce Studies released last May finds. The highest management salaries were found in the private sector, especially within the private for-profit sector ($150,000), excluding self-employment. Salary levels differed by the number of people [More]

November 1st, 2017

Union wants metal detectors at Department of Mental Health sites

By Susan Gonsalves

Representatives of workers at inpatient mental health facilities around Massachusetts fear that it’s inevitable people will be seriously injured or killed if action is not taken to ensure their safety. They’ve taken their concerns to the governor’s office. Earlier this year, officials from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) hand-delivered a petition signed by 1,100 workers seeking the installation of metal detectors at seven locations. James Durkin, director of legislation for AFSCME Council 93 said that although metal detectors would not solve the security issues completely, the “simple first step,” would “drastically reduce the possibility,” of [More]

November 1st, 2017

Online program to address insomnia in young cancer survivors

By Susan Gonsalves

Pediatric cancer survivors suffer the effects of insomnia even after treatment has ended. Untreated, lack of sleep can cause an array of physical problems as well as impact behavior, social relationships, school performance, mood and more. Eric Zhou, Ph.D., instructor at Harvard Medical School and staff psychologist at Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children’s Hospital, is developing a Web-based cognitive behavioral therapy program for these adolescent cancer survivors, hoping to effectively intervene for this common disorder. The pilot, launched on September 30, is called Sleep Healthy Using the Internet (SHUTi). Participating in the six-sessions of 20-30 minutes each are [More]

November 1st, 2017

Virtual reality: a clinically useful tool for psychologists

By Phyllis Hanlon

Middle-school children from a rural school in Vermont recently “connected” with peers in South Sudan. Some younger students studying ancient civilizations “traveled” to Mayan ruins where they witnessed sacred ceremonies firsthand. Both of these groups engaged in virtual reality (VR) experiences that immerse the individual in a scenario through sight and sound. VR is slowly becoming part of the educational process, not only imparting academic lessons but also fostering a sense of empathy for and understanding of others. Katy Farber, Ed.D., professional development coordinator at the Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education at the University of Vermont, explained that these immersive [More]

November 1st, 2017

Grant to fund integrated care delivery system in Vermont

By Pamela Berard

The Vermont Department of Mental Health was recently awarded a five-year, $9.9 million federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to establish the Vermont Family Centered Healthcare Home Project (VFCHP). VFCHP is an integrated care delivery system – including mental, emotional and physical health – for children who have been diagnosed with, or are at risk of, severe emotional disturbance. It also is designed for youth and young adults receiving mental health services who are transitioning to adult services and their families. In its grant application, organizers noted that Vermont is the second most rural state [More]

November 1st, 2017

Prediction shows drop in opioid fatalities

By Catherine Robertson Souter

There may be a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel for the New Hampshire opioid crisis. At the very least there is some positive news coming from the state’s Office of Chief Medical Examiner which released statistics for the number of drug overdose deaths in 2016 along with a prediction for 2017. According to the data, 2016 did see an increase in drug-related deaths over 2015 but the overall rate of the increase dropped as compared to previous years. Four hundred and thirty-nine people died in 2015 and 485 in 2016. Over the past two decades, the [More]

November 1st, 2017

Walden tackles LGBTQ eating disorders

By Eileen Weber

The statistics for eating disorders in the LGBTQ community are unsettling. According to the International Journal of Eating Disorders, 42 percent of men with this issue identify as gay or bisexual. The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) states that gay, lesbian, and bisexual people report binge-eating and purging as young as 12-years-old. Many seeking treatment for an eating disorder also have a co-occurring disorder – anything from anxiety and depression to obsessive compulsive disorder or posttraumatic stress disorder. Statistics from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse also show that up to 35 percent of people who abuse alcohol [More]

November 1st, 2017

Program to focus on social justice, human rights

By Catherine Robertson Souter

After spending nearly a decade fighting for a change in how psychologists work with the Department of Defense around torture techniques, Stephen Soldz, Ph.D., a professor at the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis (BGSP), decided to put everything he learned to use in teaching others how to work for social justice. Between 2006 and 2015, Soldz, also a 2016-17 fellow-in-residence at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, led a successful campaign to uncover how psychologists were involved in DoD human rights abuses and to change American Psychological Association policy around the ethics of using psychological techniques [More]

October 1st, 2017

Behavioral disorders: accurate diagnosis proves challenging

By Phyllis Hanlon

Children placed in residential care present with a variety of behavioral disorders, sometimes with more than one. Determining a specific diagnosis can be daunting for the clinician. Ashley Warhol, Psy.D is director of clinical services and internship training at Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health – MA & RI. She said that the two most common diagnoses she has seen at Devereux are attention deficit hyperactive disorder and oppositional defiant disorder, although others do exist. “We are starting to see an increase in disruptive mood dysregulation disorder – or DMDD,” said Warhol. “Some DMDD is seen as the youth version of bipolar [More]

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