Articles, Leading Stories

April 1st, 2014

N.H. bill for gun purchase background checks defeated

By Howard Newman

In the wake of the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, gun-control activists in some states have called for more expansive background checks on those who purchase weapons. It stands to reason that selling firearms to people with criminal records is an invitation for trouble. Many gun-control opponents, however, feel that the process of making universal background checks for all purchases unnecessarily penalizes the honest majority. Federal law requires all licensed dealers to perform a background check, through the national database, for any firearms sale. This statute, known as the Brady Law, has been in effect since [More]

April 1st, 2014

Efforts hindered to eliminate restraint and seclusion in schools

By Janine Weisman

To understand the challenges facing reformers who want to eliminate the practice of physical restraint and seclusion of schoolchildren, look no further than numbers reported in Connecticut and Massachusetts. A Connecticut Department of Education report released in February documents 33,743 incidents of restraint or seclusion involving children with disabilities because of behavior during the 2012-2013 school year. But in that same time period, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education reported only 165 such incidents. Massachusetts requires school officials to report the use of any physical restraint that results in any injury to a student or staff member or [More]

April 1st, 2014

Psychologist defines vicarious traumatization

By Catherine Robertson Souter

It’s a fact of human nature that Hollywood banks on: humans are both extremely empathetic and have an amazing ability to put ourselves into a storyline. While those talents might work well for losing ourselves in an action scene or in a good book, are there times when being attuned to others’ experiences can hurt us? For a therapist helping a patient work through a traumatic event, hearing the details, sharing the emotions, visualizing what they describe and the ability to empathize can lead to the therapist experiencing symptoms of PTSD themselves. This type of vicarious traumatization, says Ghislaine Boulanger, [More]

March 1st, 2014

Psychology of failure

By Phyllis Hanlon

Addressing rejection, self-esteem and fear Just about everyone has experienced some type of setback in life, but reactions to those experiences vary from one individual to the next. A person’s belief system, temperament and environment may influence response and help determine appropriate treatment. Wendy Grolnick, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Clark University and co-author of “Pressured Parents, Stressed-Out Kids” attributes fear of failing to a person’s belief system, i.e., the perception that ability, intelligence and talent are either fixed or changeable. “The person might be a perfectionist and think ‘If I make a mistake, I’m inadequate, so I’ll never do [More]

March 1st, 2014

Practice issues examined

By Catherine Robertson Souter

For many psychologists, the issues that come up outside the therapy room are the ones that cause the most stress. From dealing with insurance regulations to communicating with patients beyond scheduled session times to understanding laws of inter-state commerce, practicing psychologists need to keep abreast of issues that could seriously impact their business. In this article, we address a few of the concerns that have been brought recently to our attention: Email communications The prevalence of email has opened up new channels for communicating with clients, but it has also brought up a multitude of privacy concerns. Does email comply [More]

March 1st, 2014

N.H. 10-bed unit could happen sooner

By Rivkela Brodsky

As a means to ease an emergency room crisis, state lawmakers hope to accelerate the timetable on a plan to add a 10-bed stabilization unit to New Hampshire Hospital. The state’s Senate Capital Budget Committee in January approved $375,000 in additional funds for the $2.1 million project that was originally slated to be completed in 2016, says committee chairman Sen. David Boutin, (R-Hooksett). The additional funding is meant to get the unit finished faster. “At the end of the day, [the project] gets moved up about a year. That’s a big help here in the state. It provides some relief [More]

March 1st, 2014

Conn. mandates coverage for transgendered individuals

By Howard Newman

The state of Connecticut wants to make things absolutely clear when it comes to residents seeking medical treatment, psychological counseling and other related services. No one will be denied medically necessary care because of race, creed or sexual orientation. As of Dec. 19, 2013, the latter group now specifically includes transgendered individuals. A bulletin issued by the Connecticut Department of Insurance prohibits insurance companies from withholding treatment “because of the individual’s gender identity or expression.” It mandates that “health insurers are required to pay covered expenses for treatment provided to individuals with gender dysphoria where the treatment is deemed necessary [More]

March 1st, 2014

Stigma keeps veterans away from services, N.H. study says

By Rivkela Brodsky

The health needs of veterans in New Hampshire are going unmet, according to a recent report by a legislative commission on PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI. The 23-member panel issued a report in January that cited stigma as the main hindrance to treatment in a state with the fifth highest per capita population of veterans. “Veterans, of course, do seek health services from non-veteran providers with general success. However, the greater challenge comes when the injuries are invisible, and the struggles deeply personal,” reads the report. “The challenge of stigma with regard to disorders of mental health and [More]

March 1st, 2014

Vermont mayors cite mental health reform as priority

By Janine Weisman

The mayors of eight Vermont communities have named mental health reform their top legislative priority for 2014 to draw attention to the plight of emergency rooms and law enforcement agencies across the state coping with rising demand for services. “There is a fairly acute problem in this area right now. We see that in the strain of law enforcement. We see it in the strain on our hospitals,” says Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger. “We have seen some unfortunate events, very high profile events, that have affected Vermonters over the last year and there is an active policy discussion going on [More]

March 1st, 2014

New England states address mandate to end vet homelessness

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In 2009, the Obama Administration, in conjunction with the Department of Veterans Affairs put forth a bold challenge, announcing a mandate to end homelessness among military veterans. The goal, to get all veterans off the streets by the end of 2015 is a lofty one, but one that the federal government, with bi-partisan support from the U.S. Congress, has put some serious financial resources behind, including vouchers for short term housing help and family support. With only 20 months to go before the deadline, the various programs have helped to drive a 24 percent decline in veteran homelessness according to [More]

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