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]

July 1st, 2012

The many shades of grief: symptoms and treatments run the gamut

By Phyllis Hanlon

Life’s greatest pleasures can sometimes cause the greatest pain: a job loss because of company downsizing, a miscarriage after years of trying to have a baby, the death of a beloved spouse or parent. Regardless of the type of loss, traumatic events can lead to crying, insomnia, fatigue, confusion, deep sadness and a host of other symptoms. So how does a psychologist determine if symptoms have crossed the line and become something more serious than grief? Jill Colman, Psy.D., a private practitioner in Cambridge, Mass., says, “In almost all clients, there is a layer of grief. What brings the client [More]

January 1st, 2012

The Mind-Body Mood Solution: The Breakthrough Drug-Free Program for Lasting Relief from Depression

By James K Luiselli EdD ABPP BCBA-D

“The Mind-Body Mood Solution: The Breakthrough Drug-Free Program for Lasting Relief from Depression” By Jeffrey Rossman Rodale Books New York, N.Y. 2011 Author’s view will resonate with readers Reviewed By James K. Luiselli, Ed.D., ABPP, BCBA-D According to psychologist Jeffrey Rossman, “We are living in an age of depression.” Indeed, mental health statistics suggest that approximately 25 percent of Americans will experience depression in their lives. The annual cost of treating depression is billions of dollars with heavy emphasis on medication as a primary therapeutic modality. And yet, there is controversy about the actual effectiveness of antidepressant pharmacology and its [More]

June 1st, 2016

The next best thing to being there

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

Today there are more ways than ever to stay in touch with family and friends and, as I am discovering, each has its own preferred modes of expression, rules of etiquette, advantages, and risks. For a few days last month, I traded emails with three friends whom I have known for more than 50 years as we shared our reactions to the passing of Daniel Berrigan, the priest, poet and antiwar activist who inspired many of our generation. The constraints of time and distance limit our face-to-face encounters to only a few times a year but emails, texts, and periodic [More]

September 19th, 2011

The perils of ‘puppy love’ bring teen dating violence to the forefront

By Jennifer E Chase

If you walk out of your office and pass a gaggle of kids in your community, one of them has been abused by their boyfriend or girlfriend. The numbers vary depending which national organization you listen to, but whether it’s one in 10, one in five, or one in three, the statistics for dating violence among youth are unsettling. Worse, two of three teens know someone in their circle who is being harmed by a partner. Adolescent dating violence can mirror adult domestic violence, so most professionals could recognize the signs. But with teens’ rapture with social media and today’s [More]

June 13th, 2018

The power of hard stories

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

As I sat listening to a discussion on the topic of writing hard stories at the recent Newburyport literary festival, I thought of my colleagues in psychology and wished you could hear the message the panel came to deliver. Perhaps some of you were in the audience and heard what the presenters had to say, but for those of you who had better things to do on a springtime Saturday, this one is for you. Psychologists, like writers, are all about the story. When we listen to our patients telling us about the challenges in their lives, we are listening [More]

March 1st, 2013

The professional chef: Behind the menus

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Running a restaurant, with its long hours, demanding schedules and high rates of failure, would be the epitome of the nightmare job for some people. For others, it’s the dream of a lifetime spent preparing for just that role. What does it take to become a restaurant chef/owner? Who succeeds and why? Scott Haas, Ph.D., chief psychologist at Human Resource Institute in Brookline and a food writer who has contributed to a number of national publications and was the recipient of the James Beard Award for radio work in 2005, spent 18 months trying to answer those questions. After working [More]