Articles, Leading Stories

March 1st, 2017

DSM-5 open to suggested updates

By Catherine Robertson Souter

The world of information has changed since 1952. That was the year that the American Psychiatric Association released the first version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM. A listing of diagnostic criteria and codes used by mental health professionals, across the country and around the world, the current DSM-5 was released in 2013. But, while that version took more than a decade to craft and publish, ongoing updates are now released immediately via a dedicated Web site (www.dsm5.org). Since the release of DSM-5, the manual has already seen changes to several codes. In the online [More]

March 1st, 2017

APA: 21st Century Cures Act promises to reform system

By Phyllis Hanlon

In December 2016, the Senate passed the 21st Century Cures Act, a law that, according to the American Psychological Association, promises to reform the mental health system nationally. The law emphasizes research, education, changes to the criminal justice system, coordination between state and federal government on mental health matters and a focus on children. Three years in the making, the 21st Century Cures Act is a “strongly bipartisan law,” said Laurel Stine, JD, MA, director of Congressional Affairs with the APA Practice Organization. “The law is very comprehensive in scope and represents the intersection of mental health conditions in adults [More]

March 1st, 2017

Study: Mindfulness programs prevalent

By Pamela Berard

More than 60 percent of all U.S. medical schools have a mindfulness program to support students, residents or providers, according to a study by researchers at Cambridge Health Alliance and the University of Southern California, published in the journal, Mindfulness. Mindfulness was most commonly integrated into medical schools as an option for health care providers looking for ways to care for themselves and enhance resiliency, such as through mindfulness-based therapies or wellness groups. “This is the first attempt to capture the national scope of mindfulness activity within academic medicine and it suggests that mindfulness is no longer a fringe concept [More]

March 1st, 2017

‘Deconstructing Stigma’ project unveiled at airport

By Phyllis Hanlon

When Nathaniel Van Kirk, Ph.D., administrative director of research at McLean Hospital’s OCD Institute, learned of the “Deconstructing Stigma: A Change in Thought Can Change a Life” project, he was quick to volunteer. Diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder, he hopes his story will help break down stereotypes, misinformation and stigma through this public education campaign. Early in 2016, McLean partnered with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the International OCD Foundation, the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health, the National Alliance on Mental Health and Project 375 to produce this unique project, which was unveiled on Dec. 9, 2016 at Logan [More]

March 1st, 2017

Study: Lying with the truth is risky

By Janine Weisman

During the Sept. 26, 2016, presidential debate, Donald Trump responded to a question about a 1973 federal lawsuit charging his family’s company with housing discrimination this way: “We settled the suit with zero – no admission of guilt. It was very easy to do. But they sued many people.” The U.S. Justice Department had charged Trump, his father and their company, Trump Management Inc., with violating the Fair Housing Act for refusing to rent to African-Americans. A New York Times story on the case reported there was no evidence that Trump personally set rental policies, but consent decrees customarily don’t [More]

March 1st, 2017

Extreme form of picky eating is a disorder on the rise

By Catherine Robertson Souter

While it is not uncommon for children to have a limited palate when it comes to food, (heck, restaurants have special menus just for this segment of the population) when does food aversion become pathological? When does the self-restriction to certain textures, colors, tastes or smells necessitate further intervention? In 2013, with the release of the DSM-5, the American Psychiatric Association first recognized the extreme form of picky eating that can lead to malnutrition and slower development, known as Avoidant-Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID), as an eating disorder. New England Psychologist’s Catherine Robertson Souter spoke with Renee Nelson, Psy.D, clinical [More]

February 1st, 2017

Repairing, rebuilding and restoring at heart of psychology of relationships

By Phyllis Hanlon

According to the American Psychological Association, healthy marriages can be beneficial for physical and mental health and for offspring’s well-being. Unfortunately, the APA also reports that 40 to 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. For any couple facing rocky times, professional intervention might help get the relationship back on track. The grand themes that bring couples to therapy have remained the same through the years, although there are variations, according to Bruce Chalmers, Ph.D., private practitioner in South Burlington, Vermont. “People come when there has been some kind of crisis,” he said, noting that common triggers include the death [More]

February 1st, 2017

Massachusetts high court upholds privatization plan

By Janine Weisman

A recent Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision clears the way for replacing the last state-run mental health crisis teams with staff employed by two private vendor human service agencies, a move projected to save the state more than $7 million. On Dec. 9, 2016, the state’s high court upheld State Auditor Suzanne Bump’s March 2016 approval of a privatization plan for emergency mental health services in southeastern Massachusetts. Three unions – Service Employees International Union, Local 509, the Massachusetts Nurses Association, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 93 – challenged Bump’s decision on the grounds [More]

February 1st, 2017

R.I.’s legislative focus includes telehealth services

By Pamela Berard

The Rhode Island Psychological Association 2017 legislative agenda will include a focus on telehealth services as well as the goal of improving the ability of the Board of Psychology to investigate and adjudicate disciplinary complaints faster. Peter M. Oppenheimer, Ph.D., chair of the RIPA Legislative Committee, said for the second consecutive year, RIPA will introduce the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact (PSYPACT), which enables interstate telepsychology practice for psychologists in participating states. PSYPACT, approved in 2015 by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards, becomes operational once seven states enact it. In 2016, Arizona became the first state to enact PSYPACT [More]

February 1st, 2017

Maine Gov. LePage intends to move stepdown unit to Bangor

By Janine Weisman

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) has moved on after abandoning plans to build a proposed 21-bed stepdown unit next to the Riverview Psychiatric Recovery Center in Augusta. As in nearly 80 miles to the north. Two days before last Christmas, the LePage administration revealed it had picked a site in Bangor to build the psychiatric facility for forensic patients in state custody who no longer need hospital-level care. The new facility is part of the effort to free up space and resolve safety issues that led to the loss of Riverview’s hospital certification in 2013 along with $20 million in [More]

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