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]

January 1st, 2016

What we miss along the way

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

On a recent trip to Colorado to visit our daughter, I found myself obsessed by the desire to see the Rockies covered with snow. I had a particular view in mind, probably an amalgam of what I had seen in documentaries about climbing Mt. Everest, a scene from the movie, “Lost Horizon” and my ever active imagination. In my mind’s eye, I am standing on the top of a mountain or at least sitting in my car at a scenic overlook, looking out on layers of mountain tops receding into the distance, each layer smaller and fainter than the one [More]

March 1st, 2017

What will ACA replacement mean for mental health?

By Janine Weisman

Uncertainty surrounding President Donald Trump’s often repeated campaign promise to dismantle the Affordable Care Act has changed the way Republicans talk about it: Instead of “repeal,” the emphasis is now on “repair.” Even so, mental health advocates are worried that any fix to the 2010 federal health care law might mean the loss of historic protections requiring health plans to cover mental health and substance use disorder treatment and services. Before ACA made these services “essential benefits,” individual and small group market policies rarely covered them. “The Affordable Care Act, put in extreme terms, is a life-or-death issue for people [More]

August 31st, 2018

What’s in a name?

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

You’re sitting in your doctor’s waiting room when the receptionist calls the name of the next patient. No one responds, she calls the name again, and prompted by curiosity, you look up from your magazine to meet her puzzled gaze. She repeats the name, this time adding the surname, and you wonder why she is calling your father. No, wait, Dad is long gone, and then you realize the receptionist is calling you. If you’ve ever had this happen to you, then, like me, you were given a name at birth that no one ever used. In my case, my [More]

April 1st, 2012

Wheels Down: Adjusting to Life After Deployment

By James K Luiselli EdD ABPP BCBA-D

“Wheels Down: Adjusting to Life After Deployment” By Bret A. Moore and Carrie H. Kennedy American Psychological Association Washington, D.C., 2011   Self-help guide one of the best of its kind Reviewed by James K. Luiselli, Ed.D., ABPP, BCBA-D Military psychology encompasses many areas but none more valuable than supporting service personnel returning home from deployment. The authors of “Wheels Down” are experienced Army and Navy veterans, both psychologists who are at the forefront of helping women and men preparing for and going through the transition stateside. It is an exemplary self-help book that deserves the widest attention. The first [More]

March 4th, 2020

When an Asian-American student coughs in class, cue fear and xenophobia

By Janine Weisman

Since late January when the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency over the coronavirus outbreak that originated in Wuhan, China, members of Chinese communities in the U.S. and elsewhere have reported feeling more pressure and bias toward them. Social media posts have documented incidents of people of Asian descent being harassed in public spaces, signs banning Chinese people from businesses, and other mistreatment. Catherine Vuky, Psy.D., assistant professor of clinical psychology at William James College in Newton, Massachusetts, has seen a slight increase in referrals for children of Chinese descent who have been teased or bullied by peers [More]

April 1st, 2015

When laughter shows the way

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

In all the years I had known him, through hundreds of therapy hours that sometimes left me feeling as hopeless as he did; he had never stopped talking about killing himself. He had almost succeeded on a number of occasions and we believed him when he said that the only thing keeping him alive was the lack of means and opportunity in the hospital. Like many people who have abandoned hope, he had lost much. He would say everything and that would be only a slight exaggeration. Alone with his thoughts, he cried almost daily. And yet, he wondered out [More]

November 1st, 2017

When prayers are not enough

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

There is nothing worse than a mass shooting like the one in Las Vegas last month, except perhaps how easy it is to forget and to go about our lives as if nothing had ever happened. The killing of 59 (including gunman) and wounding of more than 500 of our neighbors gathered to hear a country music concert is one of those events that should burn itself into our memory and wake us up to the need for change. Since the news broke on night of Oct. 1, the details of the story have been accumulating quickly – 22,000 people [More]

March 1st, 2017

Where have all our heroes gone?

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

If ever we needed heroes, the time is now. Every day, the morning paper brings news of drastic actions taken by President Trump and widespread public demonstrations of outrage and solidarity with those he maligns or endangers with his policies of exclusion. Building a wall between us and Mexico, closing our borders to refugees and immigrants and acting to endanger the prospects for universal health insurance repudiate the values that have always made America great. Never mind making America great again. In 1630, when John Winthrop called the Massachusetts Bay Colony a “city on a hill,” watched by the world, [More]

January 5th, 2019

Where is the leadership in Mass. compensation debate?

By John Grohol, Psy.D.

Psychologists in Massachusetts are letting down their fellow citizens, as more and more clinical psychologists refuse to accept traditional health insurance for payment. In an in-depth article in the Oct. 21, 2018 issue of the Boston Globe, Liz Kowalczyk details the challenges citizens in Massachusetts face in getting psychological care through their insurance provider or through the government’s Medicaid program. The typical finger-pointing ensues in the article, with insurance companies and Medicaid claiming they are paying market rates ($72 for a 45-minute session) while trying to cut back on burdensome paperwork costs. Psychologists and other therapists claim it’s still not [More]