December 1st, 2010

Telemedicine protocol helpful to depressed elderly people

By Ami Albernaz

A telemedicine-based protocol for treating depression among homebound elders has shown promise in a preliminary study, pointing the way for more rigorous research. The study, conducted by Rhode Island Hospital in collaboration with the University of Vermont’s Telemedicine Program, applied telemedicine – now used by the homecare industry to help manage chronic illnesses, such as heart disease – to a condition known to afflict many of the elderly, though relatively few receive treatment. The 48 participants were already receiving home care for other medical conditions and either had depressive symptoms or were taking antidepressants. Pre-programmed monitoring devices alerted participants at [More]

April 1st, 2013

Telepsychology guidelines anticipated

By Janine Weisman

When patients initiate text messaging with Leslie A. Feil, Ph.D., she won’t text back on clinical issues but responds with a phone call instead. The Rhode Island Psychological Association (RIPA) past president also won’t Skype patients, considering it insecure communication. She added consent for text and email messaging to her patient information-HIPAA form. “I sometimes use text messaging to initiate changes in appointments with younger patients, who as a group appear to not listen to their voicemail messages,” Feil writes in an email, explaining how she incorporates telepsychology into her practice. It’s a subject of great interest to Feil, chair [More]

March 1st, 2014

Telepsychology guidelines worth examination

By Edward Stern J.D.

The American Psychological Association has begun planning for the future. In July of 2013, the APA approved Guidelines for the Practice of Telepsychology. Rather than repeat the text and history for these guidelines here, those interested may proceed to the Web site The site reports that the Telepsychology Task Force that put together the guidelines were focused on two issues: the psychologist’s own knowledge of and competence in the provision of telepsychology; and the need to ensure that the client/patient has a full understanding of the potential increased risks to loss of security and confidentiality when using technologies. In [More]

May 12th, 2019

Telepsychology: Is it the future of treatment?

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Technology has become an integral part of our daily world. We ask Alexa about the weather, tell Siri to place a phone call and use voice recognition software to write emails. How far a step is it, then, to reach out to a therapist via technology? Telepsychology, or telehealth, the practice of providing psychological services over telecommunication equipment, is not exactly a new facet of the profession. Since video conferencing equipment was first developed in the 1990s, there has been a slow, but steady, expansion of therapists who offer the option. Insurance coverage has been a bit slow to follow, [More]

October 1st, 2013

Test data access examined

By Edward Stern J.D.

Are clients/patients entitled to test data as part of their records if they request a copy of their records or request their records be forwarded to others? In 2002, the American Psychological Association changed its Ethics Code to include “test data” as part of a client/patient’s records. Standard 9.04 defines test data as “raw and scaled scores, client/patient responses to test questions or stimuli, and psychologists’ notes and recordings concerning client/patient statements and behavior during an examination.” Notice that “test data” does not include “test material.” Test material is the actual test administered to the client/patient. Test data, however, is [More]

February 1st, 2013

The Affordable Care Act: What it means for psychologists

By Phyllis Hanlon

The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has given the green light for partial application now with full implementation of the law slated for 2015. While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides more Americans with insurance coverage, including equal access to medical and mental health services, the role psychologists will play in the delivery of services remains unclear. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the ACA eliminates coverage exclusion due to pre-existing conditions; removes annual or lifetime caps on coverage; forbids rescinding coverage; and creates a basic benefit package [More]

August 15th, 2011

The Aging Intellect

By Paul Efthim PhD

‘Marvelous’ resource looks at cognitive functioning’ reviewed by: Paul Efthim, Ph.D. “The Aging Intellect” By Douglas H. Powell Routledge New York, N.Y., 2011   At a friend’s recent 60th birthday party, I was struck by the sheer volume of jokes about the indignities of aging, especially one-liners about the loss of cognitive functioning. Hearing so many wisecracks about ‘senior moments,’ I felt I’d stumbled upon a hidden aspect of the boomer zeitgeist. Concealed beneath the generational focus on age-defying lifestyles, we baby boomers seem to harbor enormous anxieties about losing our minds. As we extend our life spans through healthy [More]

May 1st, 2010

The Art and Science of Mindfulness: Integrating Mindfulness Into Psychology and the Helping Professions

By Paul Efthim PhD

By Shauna L. Shapiro and Linda E. Carlson American Psychological Association Washington, D.C., 2009 Mindfulness explained in clear, rigorous work Reviewed by Paul Efthim, Ph.D. The term “mindfulness” probably evokes a mixed or even negative response for some psychologists. This is unfortunate because we in the helping professions have much to learn from Buddhist thought and meditative disciplines. Why is the field of mindfulness not more fully embraced by psychologists? Possible explanations include a lack of accurate information about mindfulness, unfamiliar terminology, resistance to working with the body in a non-intellectual way and a general mistrust of spiritual and experiential [More]

March 1st, 2012

The birth of a new hospital

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

In the course of my career as a psychologist, I have witnessed the closing of many of the hospitals but I have never seen a new one open. That is about to change with the scheduled opening of the new Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital in July of 2012. Every day is a step closer to the awakening of the sleeping giant that shares a hilltop with the last functioning building of Worcester State Hospital, a 1950s era, eight-story afterthought to the original 1876 structure destroyed in a 1991 fire. All that remains of the original hospital are the shells [More]

June 1st, 2013

The Brattleboro Retreat addresses deficiencies

By Phyllis Hanlon

In response to a complaint, the Vermont Division of Licensing Protection completed a survey on Feb. 21, 2013 to determine if the Brattleboro Retreat met the Conditions of Participation for Psychiatric Hospitals. Peter Albert, senior vice president of Government Affairs at the Retreat says, “After an on-site survey in February by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Brattleboro Retreat received a letter on March 13 citing deficiencies. The Retreat has submitted a Plan of Correction and CMS conducted a follow-up survey the week of April 15. We are awaiting the CMS report in response to the Plan [More]