April 1st, 2014

Consumer protection bill filed to restrict use of ‘psychotherapist’

By Pamela Berard

Proposed Massachusetts legislation would restrict use of the terms “psychotherapist” or “psychotherapy” to only those professionals licensed with “psychotherapy” included in their statutory scope of practice. “An Act to Protect Psychotherapy Patients” (Bill H. 3466), submitted by Rep. Ruth B. Balser (D-Newton), states that the division of professional licensure may, after a consent agreement between the parties or after an opportunity for an adjudicatory hearing, assess and collect a civil administrative penalty for people who represent themselves to the public as “psychotherapists” or represent their services as “psychotherapy” unless they are currently licensed by the board of registration in medicine, [More]

February 1st, 2010

Consumers rate their satisfaction on N.H.’s mental health services

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In a new research report, consumers of New Hampshire’s 10 community mental health centers (CMHCs) have shown that although they are overall pleased with the services that they receive, there are many areas where the system still falls short. In the second consecutive year of this survey, the Institute on Disability (IOD) at the University of New Hampshire asked adult, youth and the families of consumers of the health centers to provide feedback on the level of satisfaction that they had in working with them. Questions were asked about their satisfaction with the services themselves, access to those services, participation [More]

April 1st, 2012

Conversion disorder: medical mystery with psychological underpinnings

By Phyllis Hanlon

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders fourth edition (DSM-IV) classifies conversion disorder as one of the somatoform disorders characterized by medically unexplained complaints of multiple physical symptoms, such as inability to speak, blindness, paralysis or numbness with underlying psychological issues or conflicts. In spite of the definition, conversion disorder, a rare occurrence, is difficult to diagnose and remains somewhat of a mystery to medical professionals. Christine T. Finn, M.D., director, Psychiatry Residency Training Program and director of Crises and Consultation Services in the department of psychiatry at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., says, “People don’t have the [More]

August 31st, 2018

Conversion therapy ban passes in New Hampshire, fails in Massachusetts and is vetoed in Maine

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In a movement that seems to be growing, a ban on mental health professionals providing conversion therapy for people under 18 has been signed into law in 15 states. There have been five bans this year alone. In June, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu signed a bill banning the practice in that state. “There has been a real cultural shift,” said Shannon Bader, Ph.D, A.B.P.P., the legislative chair for the New Hampshire Psychological Association. “We were the 14th state with an outright ban.” Historically, conversion therapy has included everything from instruction on why and how to change to shaming the [More]

February 1st, 2016

Conversion therapy effects shown

By Phyllis Hanlon

In 1974, the American Psychological Association voiced strong opposition to discrimination, prejudice and violence based on sexual orientation. Until that time, those with homosexual tendencies were often treated with “aversion” therapy that included electric shock, systemic desensitization and other techniques. In 2007, the APA established a Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation, which was charged with conducting research on Sexual Orientation Change Efforts. In response, some states have passed legislation that bans conversion/reparative therapy. Rachel Gaillard Smook, Psy.D., owner of Birchtree Psychology in Northborough, Massachusetts, reported that 18 states have legislation pending to ban the practice of [More]

November 1st, 2010

Cough medicines to stay available

By Nan Shnitzler

A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel voted 15 to nine to continue to allow cough medicines containing dextromethorphan (DXM) to be sold over the counter despite recreational use that sends thousands of people to emergency rooms every year. Approved by the FDA in 1958, DXM is found in more than 120 over-the-counter cough medicines like Robitussin, Coricidin, Dimetapp and generics. Taken at recommended doses, DXM can occasionally cause a mild high. But abusers consume it in doses 10 to 20 times higher for euphoriant and hallucinogenic effects, referred to as “robo-tripping” or “tussing.” The DEA, which requested the FDA’s [More]

October 8th, 2020

Could walk and talk therapy become the norm?

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Before we all were forced to slow down, most of us tended to think of spending time in nature as a benefit, something we squeeze in between all our running around. But, as studies have shown, getting outside should be considered more than a luxury. We should think of it as a requirement for both physical health and optimal cognitive function. In fact, one 2019 United Kingdom study shows that a minimum of 120 minutes of outdoor time per week is associated with higher levels of self-reported health and well-being. As the 2020 pandemic churns onward, therapists are looking for [More]

March 1st, 2014

Counting what we do and doing what counts

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

These days, we count everything in the hospital. On Tuesdays, an email comes to remind me to submit my weekly encounter form by 10 o’clock the next morning. That’s where we count how many patients we’ve seen and how many minutes we spent seeing them. Risk assessments ask us how many times a patient has been arrested, charged with violent crimes, convicted, hospitalized, restrained and secluded. We need to know how many times they’ve run away from home, tortured animals, set fires, skipped school, bullied classmates, sassed teachers, got suspended, expelled or expunged from the rolls of the good and [More]

May 1st, 2016

Couple adjusts to rural life, career opportunities

By Catherine Robertson Souter

As any realtor will tell you, it’s all about location. For one married psychologist couple just finishing their post-doctoral training in Boston and making decisions about their next steps in life, the real question was not “what to do?” but “where to do it?” In 2010, newly-minted psychologists Adam Ameele, Psy.D., and Kristen Hurd, Psy,D., decided to move to rural Vermont to kick off their careers. While Hurd struck gold with her first opportunity, finding work as the district psychologist for the 1,500-student Springfield school system, Ameele bounced around a bit before landing with the Springfield Medical Care System where [More]

March 26th, 2019

Couples face challenges but long for love, security

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Healthy marriages are good for everyone involved – the couple, of course, but also the rest of the family, the community, colleagues… everyone benefits. But, with a reported 50% of marriages ending in divorce, the on-going need for couples therapists seems like a niche that will never be fully filled. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, New England Psychologist’s Catherine Robertson Souter had a chat with Robert L. Miller, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist with a practice in Cambridge and Stoneham, Massachusetts about his work with couples and how it has changed over the past several decades. A supervisor in the [More]

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