Leading Stories, Articles

January 7th, 2019

Outreach program assists children exposed to trauma

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Realizing that more must be done to reach out to children who have witnessed traumatic events, representatives from several agencies joined in Manchester NH to craft a unique outreach program. Launched two years ago, ACERT, or the Adverse Childhood Experiences Response Team, has experienced some amazing results. Several times each week, a member of the Manchester Police Department, a crisis service advocate from the Manchester YWCA and a community health worker from the Manchester Community Health Center (MCHC) head out to knock on doors of homes where children were exposed to trauma. The plan, said program founding partner Lara Quiroga, [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]

January 5th, 2019

Forensic psychologists bring psychological science to court

By Phyllis Hanlon

Television shows give the impression that forensics involves allure and excitement while specially trained professionals unravel subtle clues to track down serial killers. But those who are in the field of forensic psychology tell a different story. Shannon Bader, Ph.D, ABPP, chief of forensic evaluations for the state of New Hampshire, dismissed the notion of “glamour” in relation to forensic psychology; rather she noted that she occasionally gives testimony in court, but spends a significant amount of time reading, interviewing, and writing reports. Bader said that her religious background, in part, led her to this particular field where prisoners and [More]

January 4th, 2019

Home for the holidays

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

In exile, the heart longs for home. You can hear the longing in the voice of the man from the other side of the world, who has been stuck in the hospital for a decade through a combination of mental illness and legal problems. He recalls his childhood in a rural village and the spring where he filled a wooden bucket every day with fresh water for his family. That was long ago, and the world has changed. The spring is still there, and it still draws people from throughout the region, but that is about the only thing that [More]

January 4th, 2019

Debate over effectiveness of skin shocks continues

By Janine Weisman

When the Food and Drug Administration will finally issue its final ban on electrical stimulation devices for treating self-injurious and aggressive behaviors is anyone’s guess. But there is no doubt about how firmly a Massachusetts school embraces using a device to deliver either 15.25 or 44 millilamps of electric current to the arms or legs of individuals with intellectual disability and autism, many of whom also have psychiatric disorders. Skin shocks — not to be confused with the voluntary depression treatment known as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) — are designed to make a patient stop an undesirable behavior by causing them [More]

January 3rd, 2019

Connecticut ranks high on study of psychopathy by location

By Susan Gonsalves

Washington D.C. has the highest number of psychopaths, according to a nation-wide study. But Connecticut ranked second overall and first per capita. The research, conducted by Ryan Murphy, Ph.D., research assistant professor at Southern Methodist University, also showed the states with the most psychopaths were clustered in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. Murphy said that he expanded on research that argued in favor of mapping psychopathy to the Big Five personality traits (extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness to experience). His study “Psychopathy by U.S. State” used a sample of 1.6 million people across the country and calculated how frequently [More]

January 3rd, 2019

Networking still relies on personal interaction

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Networking once meant going golfing with the sales team or chatting with local bank executives at a Chamber of Commerce event. But how has it changed in the technological age? In many ways, it hasn’t. While there are countless options for on-line networking through apps like “Linked-In,” a good old-fashioned handshake and shared lunch should never be overlooked. “I think maybe early career psychologists and graduate students especially are missing out on going to conferences and networking events in person,” said Jacquelyn M. Reinert, Psy.D., LMHC, member-at-large for the New Hampshire Psychological Association Board of Directors. “A lot of people [More]

January 2nd, 2019

Yale report shows corrections agencies are reducing use of solitary confinement

By Janine Weisman

The total number of people spending time alone in a U.S. prison or jail cell for an average of 22 hours or more per day for 15 continuous days is decreasing. So is the number of those with serious mental illness (SMI). That’s according to the most comprehensive study of national data on the number of prisoners in restrictive housing — or what is more commonly known as solitary confinement. “Reforming Restrictive Housing,” released in October from the Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA) and the Arthur Liman Center for Public Interest Law at Yale Law School, estimated that 61,000 [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]

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]