Columnists, Articles

October 7th, 2020

You’re Not Alone: Pandemic Fatigue is Real

By John Grohol, Psy.D.

Pandemic fatigue is creeping into more and more of our lives. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage across the world, it’s getting harder and harder to continue on in our normal lives. With colder weather coming, the summer respite and spending good amounts of time outdoors is coming to an end. This is going to be a very challenging season for mental health. Too many people are still ignoring the fundamental science-based protections – such as simply wearing a mask when away from home – that will help reduce overall rates of the spread of coronavirus in the U.S. [More]

October 6th, 2020

Learning from life’s important places

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

The places where we live, work, or simply pass through on our life’s journey become part of who we are. Crucibles of growth and backdrops of memory, they are always with us, long after we have moved on to yet another place. The important places remain to instruct, entertain, and inspire confidence that, in a world of uncertainty and change, we learn on the way and arrive better prepared for whatever the next place holds in store. The Boston area, my home since graduate school, has taught me well, and some of its early lessons come on the first day [More]

September 10th, 2020

A good day out

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

One of our favorite ways to relieve the boredom of pandemic isolation is to take a drive. Most days, almost anywhere will do. A trip to the grocery store or a run to the town dump with our trash, recyclables, and yard waste neatly sorted makes for a satisfying change of scenery, but for a real break, we take to the open road. The Sunday paper gave us a plan for what looked like a fun day trip to Newport, and we earmarked Thursday for our adventure. The week passed in its usual round of daily chores and relaxing diversions [More]

August 18th, 2020

Running on comet time

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

There’s nothing like the appearance of a bright comet to remind us that beautiful surprises are always possible no matter what else is happening in the world. I had seen four of these celestial visitors over the years, Comets West, Halley, Hyakutake, and Hale-Bopp, and this summer of the corona virus brought the fifth, Comet NEOWISE. In the past four months, NEOWISE increased in brightness as it made its closest approach to the sun and then began to dim as it swung around to the other side and started its return journey to the outer edge of the solar system. [More]

July 17th, 2020

A world turned upside down is also a time for new opportunities

By John Grohol, Psy.D.

Online counseling services have gotten a big boost in the past few months, as the coronavirus pandemic closed down much of the face-to-face world. In fact, the only way for most to do psychotherapy during this time was either via some sort of teleconferencing or online therapy service, or going old-school and using just the phone. (You shouldn’t be using email to do therapy, because it is insecure). Unbeknownst to many, online counseling is now in its third decade. It got its start in the mid-1990s as a way of offering therapy services to people who would otherwise not get [More]

July 16th, 2020

Bookmarking a life

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

When I was a young psychologist just starting my second job, someone gave me an office and a title that were bigger than I needed, and like hand-me-down clothes, both gave me room to grow. They called me the chief psychologist and director of training, but I was just a kid. In equal parts scared and honored, I was called out of a closing state hospital on the margins of the city and into a new mental health center at its very heart. One day, I was looking out the window of my cramped office at the pheasants that made [More]

June 3rd, 2020

Discovering What Matters Most

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

After almost three months into the Coronavirus lockdown in Massachusetts, we are cataloguing our losses and discovering new sources of vitality. So many things that we took for granted have changed or simply disappeared. This is true of our daily routines and of the larger societal rituals that sustained us in ways we may have never even stopped to consider. We are changing the way we work, worship, use our leisure time, and relate to one another, and along the way, we are discovering what matters most. Many of us are working from home using videoconferencing platforms like Zoom, Doxyme, [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 [More]

January 5th, 2020

Giving back to the community

By John Grohol, Psy.D.

Few psychologists get into the profession for the enormous paycheck. Over the years, my colleagues have shared a range of reasons why they decided to become a psychologist. Not once has someone mentioned money. Many of us already give back to the community in some way. Whether it’s through volunteer work for a favorite charity, stepping up to help out with a local sports team, or helping out at school or the library, there are a multitude of volunteer opportunities from which to choose. Psychologists can give back more in one way—that is, by doing work for people who might [More]

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