July 15th, 2011

Was justice served in Phoebe Prince case?

By Edward Stern J.D.

What is justice? This question has been the basis of a debate since the conclusion of the cases resulting from the harassment and suicide of Phoebe Prince in South Hadley, Mass. This case has been used to support the need for the new anti-bullying law in Massachusetts (see “In Wake of Suicides, Anti-Bullying Bill Passed,” New England Psychologist, June 2010). Bullying deals with persistent or unreasonable hurtful acts against another of unequal power. The six defendants faced different charges. The charges were begun under a district attorney who was no longer in office at the time of the trial. According [More]

August 21st, 2015

Web site to track parity

By Rivkela Brodsky

A new Web site for tracking parity state by state was announced during the opening session of the third annual Kennedy Forum National Conference held in Boston in June. ParityTrack.org, a project of the Kennedy Forum and the Thomas Scattergood Behavioral Health Foundation, tracks implementation of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 through reports that analyze legislation, regulatory actions and litigation at federal and state levels, according to information provided by the forum. “It’s to find out where your state stands on the implementation of a federal law that guarantees all your state’s residents who have [More]

May 28th, 2019

Weighing the pros and cons of insurance is crucial

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Setting up a new practice, while potentially rewarding in many ways, can also be stressful and overwhelming. There are decisions to be made, from location and staffing to marketing, hours, and when to open your doors. One of the most important decisions to make for anyone starting out, changing locations, or moving into solo or a new group practice will be whether to accept insurance payments. While there are pros and cons to both sides, it’s a personal decision based on several factors including the practice type, location, and professional goals. No one answer can suit every practice and the [More]

November 1st, 2017

Weight-based bullying can lead to psychological distress

By Phyllis Hanlon

Fashion magazines, television shows, movies and other media have promoted the idea that “thin is in” for decades. While there has been a slight shift in thinking recently, bias against larger individuals continues to be an issue that can have medical and psychological consequences. According to Joan C. Chrisler, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Connecticut College, many clinicians don’t understand that a person’s weight is based on several factors, including genetics and physiology, as well as race, gender, age, income and culture, which collectively is known as intersectional identification. Negative attitudes toward weight are also based somewhat on body mass [More]

June 1st, 2017

Welcoming the stranger

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

In recent weeks, small signs have been springing up on the lawns of our little town, refreshingly different from the usual appeals to vote for political candidates or issues facing the community. The message in Spanish, English, and Arabic says simply, “No matter where you are from, you’re welcome in our neighborhood.” Anyone can say you are welcome, but making you actually feel welcome is something else again. Yet it’s heartening to see that the effort is underway even as decisions made at higher levels of government are restricting access to our country to millions of refugees and others who [More]

January 1st, 2010

Westborough State Hospital to close ahead of schedule

By Elinor Nelson

In a money saving plan expected to help meet the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health’s $14 million shortfall entering fiscal year 2010, the state will be closing Westborough State Hospital in April, two months ahead of schedule. The plan to close the hospital and build a new state-of-the-art facility on the campus of Worcester State Hospital has been in the works for about eight years, and the new hospital is expected to open in 2012. At the moment, the Department of Mental Health is “in the middle of transition and discharge plans for [Westborough State’s] patients” until patients can be [More]

March 1st, 2013

What can be done to prevent horrendous acts?

By Edward Stern J.D.

On Dec. 14, 2012, a 20-year-old male shot and killed his mother in their home and then killed 20 children and six adults at a Connecticut elementary school The perpetrator reportedly broke into a locked school by shooting his way through a glass door, carrying a Bushmaster XM-16 rifle, a 10mm Glock 20SF handgun and a 9mm SIG Sauer handgun. A shotgun, allegedly owned by his mother, was also found in his car. He allegedly killed his mother with a .22 Marlin rifle which was left at her home and there was also a .45 Henry repeating rifle and a [More]

January 1st, 2013

What I didn’t get for the holidays

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

This is a story that began 40 years ago. When I was just starting out in psychology, it all seemed so complicated that I was never quite sure I knew what I was doing. Then one night an old man appeared to me in a dream. He held a large diamond-shaped crystal which he described as the crystal of wisdom. So I did what any resourceful but insecure beginner would do in that kind of situation. I asked him to give me the crystal. That’s exactly what I need. May I have it? Not so fast, the old man replied, [More]

July 4th, 2019

What I imagined in the psychology aisle

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

About once every decade, I go down to my local bookstore to scan the shelves in the psychology aisle and simply let the titles speak to me. These rare excursions are not meant for shopping or browsing. As a book store junkie, I shop and browse often enough, but scanning and waiting for an insight is a special activity reserved for special occasions. I suppose if I were more systematic in my observations, I might be able to discern the Zeitgeist of every decade from the titles of the books on offer, but I go more out of curiosity and [More]

July 4th, 2019

What is the meaning of patient silence?

By Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D.

Midway through a session, Grace, age 24, says she just doesn’t want to talk anymore – and doesn’t. Joe, age 15, enters your office and slumps in a chair, legs spread apart, arms crossed, head down, hidden under the hood of his sweatshirt. “Hello,” you say. He grunts. You are in a couple’s session. The louder Mike gets, the quieter Evie becomes. He piles statements and accusations like cordwood. She goes silent. Kiisha has been doing well during the first 3 months of therapy. Today, she is looking more down than usual. Answers to your questions are in monosyllables. She [More]