February 1st, 2015

All you need is love

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

In the dead of winter, Valentine’s Day reminds us of the healing power of love in all of its many forms. Cut through the commercial dross of the manufactured holiday and you might be able to see acts of kindness in places you never thought to look. Avoid print and television news where stories of violence and crime predominate and see what’s happening where you spend your time every day. Take along a guidebook to orient yourself to the landscape of love and stroll the boulevards and back streets of familiar places looking for evidence that we have not forgotten [More]

October 21st, 2010

Ambushed by insight

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

Metaphors abound in everyday speech but psychologists use them mindfully, most often to clarify something that we think is important for our audience to remember. We like to think we are the masters of our metaphors but, once expressed, they have a way of doubling back and sneaking up on us with an unexpected lesson. Setting ourselves up to be ambushed by insight, my wife and I recently boarded a westbound train in a Boston suburb and traveled to Seattle and back home again. Having done something like this before, we had an idea of what to expect and no [More]

April 1st, 2017

Americans’ stress levels on the rise, survey says

By Catherine Robertson Souter

For the first time in a decade of surveys, the American Psychological Association has seen a significant rise in stress levels in America. In 2016, after hearing from APA members that the 2016 presidential election was a growing issue for clients, the organization decided to address the elephant/donkey in the room and add a question about politics and stress to its annual Stress in America survey. “We were shocked when we got the data,” said Vaile Wright, Ph.D., a member of APA’s Stress in America team. “We released that original data and were immediately asked by members if we were [More]

August 26th, 2019

An introduction to dual diagnosis for the new therapist

By Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D.

When I was newly licensed and newly in private practice, a patient told me at intake he had to have therapy before he could be granted visits with his young daughter. He seemed heartsick that he couldn’t see her. He said he wanted to be a good dad. He wanted to pay for her braces. They always had good times together. Concerned about what I was getting into, I asked him why he had been referred. He reluctantly admitted that he had been addicted to crack cocaine but also claimed that he was in recovery and his daughter was more [More]

November 10th, 2018

Another chance to get it right

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

As much as anything, fall offers us another chance to get it right and another chance to think about what that really means. In this time of endings and beginnings, we put the garden to bed for the winter, gather up and dispose of summer’s answer to springtime’s promise, and once again prepare the earth for a new carpet of green that we can only hope will cover the bare spots in the lawn. Done right, these chores should produce a tidy landscape where nature can work her magic over the long, cold New England winter just so the cycle [More]

January 1st, 2018

Anti-clawback bill makes progress in legislature

By Janine Weisman

A proposed six-month limit on the ability of insurance companies to retroactively deny claims for mental health and substance abuse services has advanced in the Massachusetts Legislature. Language to impose the limit was included in an amendment in the comprehensive health care control bill that passed the Senate in early November 2017. The measure seeks to restrict managed care insurance companies from recouping payments already made to health providers for services rendered. The practice is known as a clawback, and it can happen when a later determination is made that a patient was not covered at the time of services [More]

March 1st, 2010

Antidepressants study raises questions

By Ami Albernaz

A dozen years ago, rumblings began that antidepressants perhaps really weren’t as effective as people thought. A 1998 analysis of 38 manufacturer-sponsored studies found that although antidepressants did help people who were depressed, they offered little more boost than did a placebo. Four years later, another analysis, this time also including unpublished studies sent to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, suggested antidepressants offered even less of an advantage than the minuscule benefit shown in the previous report. The latest salvo came two months ago, when another analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) indicated that [More]

January 1st, 2014

Anxiety patients get treated via primary care

By Rivkela Brodsky

Patients dealing with anxiety disorders in primary care appear to get treatment – although it sometimes takes years for it to happen – and this situation occurred less for minorities, according to a recent study by Brown University researchers. The study, which appeared online in the Nov. 4 issue of the journal Depression and Anxiety, looked at the types of treatment for 534 patients with anxiety symptoms in primary care over five years at 15 sites in the Northeast (N.H., Mass., R.I. and Vt.). “In a way this is almost a follow up to a paper that came out in [More]

August 26th, 2019

APA calls on CMS to revise auditing practices after notices alarm psychologists

By Janine Weisman

The letters psychologists starting receiving last fall from a Medicare contractor stated they were for “educational purposes.” No reply was necessary. But they alarmed many who provide mental health care for those aged 65 and over and people with disabilities enrolled in Medicare, the federally-funded health insurance program overseen by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Recipients were sent a comparative billing statement (CBR) comparing their Medicare billing and service patterns with the averages for psychologists regionally and nationally. CMS calls a CBR an educational tool allowing a health care provider or supplier to compare their billing practices [More]

February 1st, 2015

APA consumer guide promotes parity awareness

By Janine Weisman

Four percent of Americans know there is a federal mental health parity law that requires insurance coverage of services for mental health and substance use disorders comparable to physical health coverage. Such low public awareness measured in an online survey commissioned last year by the American Psychological Association has prompted efforts to educate consumers and policymakers about the existence of the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. Passed in 2008 and taking effect Jan. 1, 2011, the mental health parity law prohibits annual limits on sessions and higher co-pays or deductibles for treatment of [More]