Leading Stories, Interviews

March 26th, 2020

Boston Child Study Center had head start in rapid shift to 100% telehealth

By Janine Weisman

Prep work required for clinicians to deliver remote treatment effectively, founder says The coronavirus pandemic forced the temporary closure of many mental health treatment programs for high risk youth, leaving them without the structure, social interaction, and emotional support essential to recovery. The Boston Child Study Center was in a good position to bridge this gap. In January, 40 percent of patients served by its offices on Boylston Street and in Natick, Massachusetts, saw a therapist virtually and 60 percent of patients served by its Los Angeles office did. As part of the center’s shift to 100 percent telehealth delivery, [More]

March 23rd, 2020

Living in three worlds

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

The man is smiling now, released from the grip of the terrible depression that brought him to the hospital so many years ago. He smiles often as he anticipates his next trip to a restaurant in the city with his social worker. Movement from the locked hospital setting to the community is slow. Evaluations for safety must be completed, tribunals of experts convinced, judges brought on board, permissions given, obstacles anticipated, solutions planned, and steps taken, one at a time, into the wider world. He has run the course of illness and recovery, guilt and forgiveness, and has begun the [More]

March 23rd, 2020

Reducing anxiety during a world-wide health scare

By John Grohol, Psy.D.

The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, is sweeping the world. With documented cases in more than 70 countries, people are understandably concerned about their risk and exposure to the virus. Like the seasonal flu, COVID-19 is spread through contact with someone who has the coronavirus via coughing, sneezing, or touching a germ-infected surface. Symptoms appear two to 14 days after infection and include a fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Most people who get the coronavirus experience only mild symptoms and recover quickly. People who are already immuno-compromised are at much greater risk. The fatality rate appears to be between one and [More]

March 23rd, 2020

How psychologists are helping clients with anxiety disorders cope with Coronavirus concerns

By Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

The Coronavirus has sparked widespread concern, particularly now that the World Health Organization has declared it a pandemic. Supplies are flying off the shelves. Conferences, concerts, and sporting events are all canceled. In most areas, school closures are in effect. A  travel ban has been instituted, and we’re encouraged to keep our distance from others. It’s an anxiety-provoking situation for anyone—and for those with diagnosable anxiety disorders, it can be especially difficult. At her practice, the New England Center for OCD and Anxiety, in Cambridge and Melrose, Mass., psychologist Lisa W. Coyne, Ph.D, is seeing patients with “increased health anxiety.” [More]

March 5th, 2020

Creating a professional will

By Catherine Robertson Souter

No one likes to think about dying or becoming unexpectedly incapacitated. Still, as human beings, we all know our time is limited, even if we do not know exactly how long we have. Beyond the frightening prospect of “what comes after,” the logical next thought should be, what will we leave behind? Just like for parents of young children, the idea that there are people who depend on you, who rely on your care, your expertise and the practical aspects of the relationship, should be of great concern to therapists. And, as many new parents do, setting up alternative plans [More]

March 5th, 2020

Study shows social media isn’t all negative — or positive

By Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

Is social media helpful or harmful to our mental health? So far, the research has been “contradictory and inconclusive,” according to Mesfin A. Bekalu, Ph.D, a research scientist in the Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Bekalu noted that this was his inspiration to conduct a study examining the effects of social media. The study, published in the journal Health Education & Behavior, found a more nuanced response: how individuals used social media had a significant impact on their mental health and social well-being. “In essence, we found that [it] is not [More]

March 4th, 2020

Wild Acre & Mental Health Solutions uses home-based health care for mentally ill

By Eileen Weber

About five years ago, New England Psychologist reported the Wild Acre Inn in Belmont, Mass., was changing hands. The residential treatment program, with several sites located within the Boston area, shuttered all but one by the fall of 2014. Bernard Yudowitz, MD, who ran the program since its founding in 1972, could not continue the program because of health issues. He called on John Sciretta, LICSW, for help. Sciretta was Wild Acre’s chief clinical officer from 1983 to 1996. He moved on to build a private practice that included supported apartments and home-based management care in the area. “I already [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]

February 5th, 2020

Struggle to find affordable, in-network mental health treatment is real

By Janine Weisman

Health insurers are failing to comply with mental health parity laws for Americans with employer-sponsored health coverage and their families, according to a recent report. As a result, there are increasing disparities in access to behavioral health services for employees and their dependents who end up having to seek care from out-of-network providers at higher out-of-pocket costs. The report “Addiction and Mental Health vs. Physical Health: Widening disparities in network use and provider reimbursement” outlines problems with access to affordable in-network care for mental illness and substance use disorders. The report by the independent actuarial and research institution consulting firm [More]

February 5th, 2020

Urban or rural? Psychologists weigh the pros & cons

By Catherine Robertson Souter

When looking to set up or join a new psychological practice, there are so many questions to address. Whether it’s an early career choice, a move to a new part of the country, or a therapist looking to make major changes, the first hurdle is deciding where to practice. What matters most to you in your surroundings from both a personal and professional point of view? From the two extreme opposites, urban versus rural settings, we draw our examples today. (Suburban-based psychologists will fall somewhere in between the two, with access to a larger amount of resources, a bit more [More]