General, Articles

October 10th, 2019

Evidence doesn’t support claim linking mental illness, mass shooters

By Janine Weisman

The evidence suggests mass shootings perpetrated by individuals with mental illness account for less than one percent of gun-related homicides. But you wouldn’t know it from President Donald Trump’s comments after a pair of mass shootings during the first weekend in August killed more than 30 people in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Among Trump’s widely reported quotes: “Mental illness and hatred pull the trigger, not the gun.” “The president is poorly informed about the research on gun violence generally and mass gun violence in particular,” said Robert Kinscherff, Ph.D., JD, a professor in the doctoral program in clinical [More]

October 10th, 2019

Conrad’s law

By Susan Gonsalves

A proposed law in Massachusetts would make it illegal to coax someone to commit or attempt suicide. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Barry Finegold (D-Second Essex and Middlesex) and Rep. Natalie Higgins (D-4th Worcester District) would make this type of coercion punishable by up to five years in jail and has been dubbed, “Conrad’s Law.” Conrad Roy, 18, killed himself at the urging of his girlfriend Michelle Carter in 2014. Carter of Plainville was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and is serving a 15-month prison sentence. “Like everyone else, I followed the case and was horrified by what happened,” said Finegold [More]

October 10th, 2019

How to choose what age group with which to work

By Catherine Robertson Souter

For a psychologist just starting out or an established clinician looking to expand her practice or switch focus, the prospect of working with a different age group can be daunting. But, of course, there are plenty of others who have taken the path ahead of you and advice to follow. The first step is to really think about what age group(s) you have a passion for working with on a day-to-day basis. From young children to adolescents, adults and seniors, there are benefits to working with each group and no one can say which is objectively “better.” It really comes [More]

October 10th, 2019

What astronomy offers psychology

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

It had been a long time since I took the telescope out onto the front lawn for a spell of stargazing, just over a year according to the calendar built into the electronic guidance system of my small glass. Time gets away, new concerns take precedence, and the town installs brighter streetlamps. The stars fade. But one night this past summer before Jupiter slipped beneath the treetops, a quick glimpse reminded me of what astronomy has to offer psychology. A heightened sense of awe, perspective, humility, and a feeling of wonder are all there at the price of simply looking [More]

October 10th, 2019

Different theories examine causes of pedophilia

By New England Psychologist Staff

According to the DSM-5, the criteria to diagnose Pedophilia (Pedophilic Disorder) is defined as recurrent experiences of intense sexual arousal, fantasies, sexual urges or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children, usually under the age of 14. The person has acted on these sexual urges or these sexual urges or fantasies cause the person distress or problems in interpersonal relationships. In order to be classified with this disorder, the person must be at least 16 years of age and five years older than the child or children for whom he has these feelings that are possibly acted [More]

October 9th, 2019

Reducing mental illness stigma is everyone’s responsibility

By John Grohol, Psy.D.

It may seem that trying to reduce the prejudice and discrimination that’s commonplace when talking about mental illness is a never-ending job. Because it is. But I believe that every single one of us needs to be responsible for helping to forward the conversation about mental illness. It can’t just be left to advocacy groups, government agencies, or professional associations. To me, that means challenging friends and even family members if they say something that is stigmatizing to people with mental illness, or suggest that a person with mental illness is somehow “less than.” After all, we wouldn’t let people [More]

October 9th, 2019

Kurn Hattin celebrates an historical milestone

By Phyllis Hanlon

In 1849, when Boston clergyman Charles Albert Dickinson started Kurn Hattin on a pristine Vermont hillside overlooking the Connecticut River Valley, the school consisted of two students, one teacher and two house parents. Fast-forward to 2019 and approximately 85 students are now enrolled and staff has increased as the school celebrates its 125th anniversary. In those early days, Kurn Hattin served as a safe haven for children living in dysregulated homes. Today, the school continues to provide a secure, nurturing environment for children who would otherwise be living in households with social, financial and other challenges. Steve Harrison, executive director, [More]

October 9th, 2019

Link between video games, violence again examined

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Following recent mass shooting tragedies that killed 31 people in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, President Trump condemned the “glorification of violence in our society,” specifically “the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace.” This claim of a link between the tragedies and the use of video games was repeated by other lawmakers, who claimed that the rise of video game use is directly linked to the rise in gun violence. But is it true? Does playing violent video games cause violent behavior? Or, maybe more importantly, would removing these types of games from our culture curb [More]

October 9th, 2019

Wayside launches new program for children impacted by opioid crisis

By Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

In response to the devastating effects of the opioid crisis on kids’ mental health, the non-profit service agency Wayside Youth & Family Support Network recently launched the Children Impacted by Substances (CIS) program. The program is part of Wayside’s Trauma Intervention Services in Milford. The CIS program serves clients in Middlesex, Norfolk, and Worcester counties, which includes 26 surrounding towns. According to Massachusetts Department of Public Health data, between 2010 and 2018, Middlesex had the highest number of opioid-related deaths. Worcester had the third highest. The CIS program can serve youth between ages five and 18 who’ve been affected by [More]

October 9th, 2019

Adventure programs: Learning to confront and overcome fears

By Phyllis Hanlon

The benefits of engaging in outdoor activities have been well documented. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests that play in an outdoor environment enables children “…to explore both their world and their own minds.” AAP adds that outdoor activity can enhance “…creativity, curiosity and associated developmental advances.” Some residential schools are embracing this message and offer a variety of adventure and wilderness programs for children with behavioral issues. The residential program at Mountain Valley Treatment Center in Plainfield, New Hampshire, accepts children with a variety of diagnoses, from anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and depression to autism, eating disorders, and [More]