March 1st, 2013

The first 20 years

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

Last month marked the twentieth anniversary of New England Psychologist. This month is the twentieth anniversary of this column. It started with a telephone call from the publisher and an invitation to write a column about the day-to-day experiences of a psychologist and the reflections to which these experiences gave rise. And so we called the column, In Person. In all that I have written, I have always intended and hoped that my experiences would reflect yours as we journeyed together through our changing personal and professional lives. If you are reading these words in the later stages of your [More]

June 15th, 2011

The games therapists play

By Mitch Abblett Ph.D.

Tug-of-war is a silly game – all of that straining in order to move a rope a few yards. If you’ve ever played, the whole thing seems pointless, yet it is so easily and regularly played in our daily social lives. Husbands with wives, parents with children, co-workers and confidantes – no one, not even the experienced therapist, is above such game playing. One person feels an unmet need and pulls at an important other to meet it. The other misreads or rejects the person’s pulling and gives a yank themselves. Whether you call it a “power struggle” or a [More]

February 1st, 2010

The Glass Ceiling in the 21st Century: Understanding Barriers to Gender Inequality

By Paul Efthim PhD

“The Glass Ceiling in the 21st Century: Understanding Barriers to Gender Inequality” Edited by Manuela Barreto, Michelle K. Ryan & Michael T. Schmitt American Psychological Association Washington, D.C., 2009 Compelling volume looks at discrimination in the workplace Reviewed By Paul Efthim, Ph.D. Recent references to the “glass ceiling” in public discourse suggest that women finally are breaking through this longstanding barrier. On the cover of the January 2 issue of the Economist, a wartime Rosie the Riveter flexes her bicep, declaring “We Did It!” An accompanying editorial notes that women now make up the majority of the American workforce, gushing [More]

June 1st, 2010

The Interpersonal Theory of Suicide: Guidance for Working with Suicidal Clients

By James K Luiselli EdD ABPP BCBA-D

“The Interpersonal Theory of Suicide: Guidance for Working with Suicidal Clients” By Thomas E. Joiner Jr., Kimberly A. Van Orden, Tracy K. Witte, and M. David Rudd American Psychological Association Washington, D.C., 2009  Interpersonal theory of suicide outlined in valuable work Reviewed By James K. Luiselli, Ed.D., ABPP, BCBA-D Mental health professionals require specialized training to properly assess clients at risk for suicide. Understanding the threat of lethal self-harming behavior, in part, should be based on theories of suicide and respective clinical implications. This book is intended to “demystify clinical work with suicidal patients by grounding this work within a [More]

July 1st, 2011

The inventory of terrible things

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

When American architect Louis Sullivan coined the phrase, “Form follows function” in 1896, he certainly wasn’t thinking about how psychologists would be doing risk assessments more than a century later. Now here we are busily re-defining our functions throughout the spectrum of mental health services and looking for forms to help us categorize the things we consider important in understanding and changing human behavior. Especially in the realm of inpatient care, psychologists throughout New England, if not the entire nation, are shifting their focus away from doing therapy and toward providing specialized assessments and developing treatment plans to be implemented [More]

July 1st, 2015

The Jenner effect

By Janine Weisman

Psychologists reflect on celebrity’s transition Editor’s note: Because two interviews took place before the debut of Caitlyn Jenner regarding ABC’s 20/20 interview, the male pronoun was used in this article. Diane Sawyer asked Bruce Jenner during the two-hour “ABC 20/20” interview that aired April 24 if the “media circus” surrounding her subject was harming the dignity of the hard fought gains of transgender people. “I am not a spokesman for the community,” replied the 65-year-old celebrity who is now the most widely recognized transgender person on the planet. “20/20: Bruce Jenner – The Interview” drew more than 17 million viewers [More]

December 1st, 2013

The Kennedy forum

By Phyllis Hanlon

Uniting the community of mental health To mark the 50th anniversary of the Community Mental Health Act of 1963, signed by President John F. Kennedy, former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy created The Kennedy Forum. The event, which took place on Oct. 17 and featured panelists and speakers from several different health care sectors, addressed mental health care issues including policies, research and treatment. Patrick Kennedy launched the Forum by saying, “Civil rights are the struggle of our era.” The on-going fight for parity since Kennedy’s legislation was passed has continued to be a top priority for advocates, he noted. Steven [More]

January 1st, 2015

The lady in the chair

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

It was time for her annual review and she had been transferred only recently to my unit. A year in the hospital and this was the first time we would be talking together. The nurse pointed me in the direction of a woman sitting in the TV room in her bathrobe and slippers. We were strangers to each other and I can only imagine how odd it must have seemed to her when I explained that I would like to speak with her about her past year in the hospital. To my delight, the woman smiled and followed my lead [More]

January 1st, 2010

The Luckiest Man in the World

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

I just met the luckiest man in the world or at least, that’s what he told me. It turns out I have known him for many years, but like so much that we are learning about one another in the last days of the hospital, his disclosure came as a surprise. You would not think that a person who has suffered from a particularly virulent form of schizophrenia for over 30 years could consider himself lucky. That kind of self-assessment would surely be the mark of delusional thinking that would seal the diagnosis, if there were ever any doubt in [More]

November 4th, 2019

The magic of found objects

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

There are few things better able to stimulate the imagination than finding an interesting, unknown object. The first time I had this experience I was a boy playing in the vacant lot at the corner of our block. The block was really a triangle, with the town hall and World War II honor roll near the apex, three two-story houses in the middle, and the first-aid building and vacant lot occupying the two corners. Against all odds, grass grew in the lot, which was bisected by a dirt path worn diagonally into the earth by ironclad men taking a shortcut [More]