Articles, Leading Stories

February 1st, 2014

A look at the profession: then and now

By Phyllis Hanlon

Psychology has been around since the time of ancient Greek, Egyptian, Chinese and Indian civilizations. In the ensuing years, the profession has evolved into a field with numerous notable figures, significant discoveries, various subspecialties and an array of treatment interventions. In the last 50 years, the discipline has continued to progress and grow thanks to curriculum changes, more opportunities for hands-on practice and publication and the prevalence of technology. When Ethan Pollack, Ph.D., faculty member at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology and partner and founder of private, group practice Needham Psychotherapy Associates, received his doctorate in 1968, he deviated [More]

February 1st, 2014

Mental health funding makes progress

By Pamela Berard

State funding allocated for mental health services is on an upswing, according to a report from the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Thirty-six states – including every New England state but Maine – will see an increase in mental health funding for Fiscal Year 2014, according to the report. Reasons for the increase vary – from an improving economy, response to the shootings at Sandy Hook in Newtown, Conn., and other factors. Mary Kate Mason, a spokeswoman for the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services says, “We’ve always had a very robust system and good resources (in Connecticut) [More]

February 1st, 2014

Framingham ZBA blocks Walden’s new center proposal

By Phyllis Hanlon

In May 2013, Walden Behavioral Care, LLC signed a purchase and sales agreement to buy a 28-acre property at 518 Pleasant St. in Framingham, which is owned by the Marist Fathers. Although initial indications pointed toward approval for a special permit, the zoning board chair denied the request, which requires a unanimous vote. Subsequently, Walden and the Marist Fathers filed a joint suit in Massachusetts Land Court to overturn the board’s decision. According to Stuart Koman, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Walden Center and Walden Behavioral Care, the proposal calls for the development of an additional 35,000 square feet [More]

February 1st, 2014

Primary care practice opens at Butler

By Janine Weisman

A new primary care practice on the campus of Rhode Island’s only private, nonprofit psychiatric and substance abuse hospital reimagines the design and purpose of the traditional waiting room. For starters, it’s not called a waiting room. “It’s a reception area,” says Butler Hospital research psychologist Lisa Uebelacker, Ph.D., who has led the development of integrating behavioral health services into Affinity Primary Care East Side. The new practice opened last November in a renovated building attached to Kane Gym on Butler’s Providence campus. Patients who visit the office find a television screen displaying a staff-created slideshow of beautiful scenery from [More]

February 1st, 2014

Will more screenings correspond with more treatment?

By Janine Weisman

It took a federal judge’s order to make Massachusetts implement routine behavioral health screenings during well-child visits and get the state’s Medicaid agency to reimburse pediatricians for them. But it’s unclear what will make sure children identified as having mental health concerns get the treatment they need, even as Massachusetts leads the nation in screening the youngest and most vulnerable children. “The bottom line is that there are far too few providers willing to see children, whether they’re psychologists or social workers, who take insurance, because the reimbursement is still way too low,” says Michael Yogman, M.D., a pediatrician who [More]

February 1st, 2014

Team hopes to de-escalate situations

By Rivkela Brodsky

New Hampshire’s community based model of treatment for those with mental illness has meant fewer hospital beds and more interaction with law enforcement. Police officers are often the first line in dealing with crisis situations, says Lt. Ron Mello, who heads up the Manchester Police Department’s Crisis Intervention Team (CIT), which began in 2011. “When you think about it, when I started 27 years ago, at least in Manchester, the number of beds at psychiatric facilities was a lot more than it is now,” he says. “With the reduction in the number of beds available, you are getting a lot [More]

February 1st, 2014

Eyewitness testimony at heart of court cases

By Pamela Berard

The Connecticut Supreme Court in December considered several cases related to eyewitness testimony, including one in which the Connecticut Psychological Association is asking the court to reform its standards for reviewing eyewitness identifications. The CPA filed an amicus brief along with the Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (CCDLA) in the case of the State of Connecticut v. Dashawn Revels, asking the court to revisit the criteria it considers to determine reliability of eyewitness testimony, when an identification procedure is shown to be unnecessarily suggestive. At the very least, the parties are asking the court to end the use of what [More]

February 1st, 2014

Early psychosis treatment offered

By Howard Newman

Often, individuals experiencing an early episode of psychosis are hospitalized and medicated. It’s a relatively simple and cost-effective approach. But is it effective? What are the long-term outcomes? And are there alternatives? By funding the development of a small Burlington facility that offers non-traditional treatment for early-episode psychosis, the state of Vermont is examining these issues. Soteria Vermont is a proposed five-bed rehabilitation home in a supportive residential setting where residents would not be forced to take antipsychotic medication. Pathways Vermont, a nonprofit human services agency that promotes community-based treatment solutions, is coordinating this project. Amos Meacham, project manager for [More]

February 1st, 2014

Study examines teen sexual violence

By Janine Weisman

Nearly one in 10 young people between ages 14 and 21 say they have committed sexual violence, often toward a date, in a national study that found links to exposure to violent pornography. The study published online last Oct. in JAMA Pediatrics highlights how sexual violence may be different for older and younger adolescents and for males and females: 98 percent of those reporting sexual perpetration before age 16 were male but at ages 18 and 19, males and females are equally represented as perpetrators. Females were more likely to target older victims while males were more likely to go [More]

February 1st, 2014

Psychiatric hospital re-opens in Brookline

By Catherine Robertson Souter

After being closed for new admissions this fall, a Brookline psychiatric hospital has been re-opened for admission of most patients. Complaints of a forced strip search of a female patient in October at Arbour-HRI prompted a surprise visit from state licensing inspectors. The ensuing report cited concerns of inexperienced staff and unsanitary conditions causing the Department of Mental Health to first reduce and then stop all admissions to the facility in late November. “Given the seriousness of the complaints and incidents that occurred at Arbour-HRI in the past several months, our number one priority is to protect patient care,” says [More]

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