Columnists, Articles

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]

November 10th, 2018

Maine to assess behavioral health services for children

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Looking to address issues of long wait times and limited access to mental health care, the state of Maine has initiated a system-wide assessment of its behavioral health services for children. With a series of surveys geared towards stakeholders including children and families, providers, law enforcement and corrections personnel, advocacy service providers, educators and behavioral health providers, the state hopes to gather a wide range of feedback about the system, its strengths and areas where corrections are needed. “The review will examine the service array, regulatory structure, and operational processes across Children’s Behavioral Health Services or CBHS,” said Emily Spencer, [More]

November 9th, 2018

Market conduct review leads to new fund to supplement behavioral health care system in RI

By Janine Weisman

Blue Cross Blue Shield Rhode Island stopped requiring prior approval for in-network mental health or substance use disorder services on Aug. 1, a move the state’s largest health insurer said was part of a larger focus on improving access to care. Out-of-network services will still be subject to what’s known as utilization review for behavioral health services. But left out of the BCBSRI news release when this policy change was initially announced last May was the fact that the discontinuation of the process known as utilization review came about during discussions with state regulators. That’s after examiners from the Rhode [More]

November 9th, 2018

UNICEF report: Peer-to-peer violence in schools is pervasive around the world

By Janine Weisman

School is a safe place — but only for half of the world’s students. A new UNICEF analysis finds that half of students aged 13 to 15 globally report experiencing peer-to-peer violence in and around school. That’s about 150 million teens, according to the report “An Everyday Lesson: #ENDviolence in Schools,” which outlines a variety of ways students face violence in and around the classroom. The report measures peer-to-peer violence as the number of children who report having been bullied in the previous month or having been involved in a physical fight. And, the report’s data shows the prevalence of [More]

November 9th, 2018

Public still confused about memories of sexual assault

By John Grohol, Psy.D.

If the U.S. Senate hearings of now-confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh taught us anything, it’s that the public has a very poor understanding of the science behind trauma and memory. Republican senators convinced themselves that the victim – Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault back in high school – must have mixed up Kavanaugh’s face with her actual attacker. Of course, psychologists know that such a belief flies in the face of all the science, research, and thousands of victims’ stories that have been documented over more than the past five decades. Sadly, psychologist and [More]

November 8th, 2018

Study gives insight into how people experience emotion

By Phyllis Hanlon

Emotions run the gamut, from sadness and grief to happiness and euphoria and many others in between. But little is known about how and why those emotions change at different times and during different stages of life. A team of researchers at Harvard University recently conducted a study to explore these questions. Leah Somerville, Ph.D, associate professor psychology, and director, Affective Neuroscience and Development Lab, oversaw the study, which involved 143 subjects between the age of five and 25. Clinical psychologist graduate student Erik Nook, the “resident expert” on this work – according to Somerville – has long been interested [More]

November 8th, 2018

In the #METoo era, psychologists adopt various strategies to assist victims of sexual abuse

By Phyllis Hanlon

The #MeToo movement opened a floodgate, giving a voice to victims of sexual abuse and harassment. While public revelations have empowered some women, others are reliving past sexual abuse incidents, leading to recurrence of psychological issues. In recent years, stigma surrounding sexual abuse has decreased somewhat, according to New York psychologist Julia Vigna Bosson, Ph.D. “It’s not completely gone, but as more come forward, it seems to break down barriers and give survivors courage to seek help,” she said. On the other hand, watching a woman talk about her story could be a trigger. “This doesn’t mean the person should [More]

November 8th, 2018

Avoidance of triggers may have negative consequences

By Catherine Robertson Souter

With the public testimony and accusations around sexual assault in the national spotlight in recent months, there has been increased attention paid to how these reports may be triggering psychological responses in the general public. Reportedly, reading about or hearing testimony from Christine Ford Blasey, Ph.D, a professor of clinical psychology at Palo Alto University and a research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, has led women and men around the country to experience their own emotional and physiological responses. Ford testified about her accusations of sexual assault perpetrated during their teen years by Judge Brett Kavanaugh. It [More]

October 29th, 2018

The dilemma: to join a group practice or go solo

By Catherine Robertson Souter

It is perhaps the most important question to answer for anyone just starting out in a clinical practice. Does it make sense to take a “safe” position in a group practice or would it be wiser in the long run to set out on your own, rent an office, and start building your brand? There is, of course, no “right” answer, only many factors to consider. Among them, the administrative benefits of each option, the financial impact, the social impact and the market itself must each be considered before deciding which path to follow. Of course, it’s also important to [More]

October 24th, 2018

Despite lack of attention, cults continue on

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Texting and driving, opioids, vaping: these are the dangers facing young people that rule the media today. But take a look at a newspaper from 30 years ago and you’ll find a different danger constantly in front of parents’ faces – the prevalence and peril of cults. These stories don’t seem to grip the nation like they once did. While we still hear of occasional groups, such as one in New York that has been branding young women, are cults still as rampant? Yes, they are, according to Eric Sweitzer, M.T.S., Ph.D, a clinical psychologist and director of the Charis [More]