Columnists, Articles

January 1st, 2014

At the turning of the year

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

A gentle rain is falling outside the upstairs window as I write these words at the turning of another year. The holiday season is upon us with Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas and New Year’s Day stacked up on the runway poised to take off, one after another, until the tarmac stands empty except perhaps for the snow. The season prompts gratitude and hope, gratitude for the many good things that have happened to us over the past year, hope that we will find the good we seek in whatever the new year brings. It is easy to overlook our everyday blessings [More]

December 1st, 2013

It’s all happening at the dump

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

It’s not every day I get a chance to attend a world premiere, so when my neighbor Joe sent me the invitation, I promptly accepted. Never mind that it wasn’t exactly Hollywood. A student documentary about our town’s recycling center, affectionately known as “the dump,” complete with pre-screening hors d’oeuvres in the company of friends and neighbors was reason enough to break out the black tie and tails or a least put a fresh shine on my old wing-tips. Of course, since the subject matter was the dump, none of that is necessary. I went on a lark and returned [More]

November 1st, 2013

It’s a big world after all

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

If dreams, as Freud famously wrote, are the royal road to the unconscious, then perception must surely be at least a serviceable two-lane highway to our understanding of reality. After cataract surgery gave one of my eyes a very different focal point than the other, I find myself in a strange no-man’s land where I can literally choose between two views of reality. The world I see through my left, now less nearsighted eye, is noticeably bigger than the smaller world to which I have become accustomed and which I still see through my extremely nearsighted right eye. The effect [More]

October 1st, 2013

Test data access examined

By Edward Stern J.D.

Are clients/patients entitled to test data as part of their records if they request a copy of their records or request their records be forwarded to others? In 2002, the American Psychological Association changed its Ethics Code to include “test data” as part of a client/patient’s records. Standard 9.04 defines test data as “raw and scaled scores, client/patient responses to test questions or stimuli, and psychologists’ notes and recordings concerning client/patient statements and behavior during an examination.” Notice that “test data” does not include “test material.” Test material is the actual test administered to the client/patient. Test data, however, is [More]

October 1st, 2013

Remembering two voices of hope

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

Confronted by the many faces of depression and despair that we see in our offices, we listen and speak, choosing our silences as carefully as we choose our words, never forgetting the power of the right word at the right time. This year on the last three days of August, as we searched for words of hope to offer our patients, the world took notice of hope filled words of two of our greatest inspirational leaders, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Seamus Heaney. August 28th marked the 50th anniversary of Reverend King’s “I Have a Dream” speech delivered on the [More]

August 21st, 2013

Finding happiness in the psychology aisle

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

Don’t Roll Your Eyes when you see what’s coming but every nine years or so, I use this column to report on a visit to my local bookstore to peruse the current psychology offerings. On my recent visit, I got in the back door shortly before closing time and sidled unobtrusively into the psychology aisle just as a celebrity chef was winding up a book signing. There were three people there before me, the Quiet man, The Dude and the Zen Master. The quiet man held a banner proclaiming Introvert Power and, when I asked what was going on, he [More]

July 1st, 2013

Should 17-year-olds be prosecuted in adult criminal court?

By Edward Stern J.D.

It appears to be time for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to raise the age for juvenile court jurisdiction to 18 to become compatible with federal juvenile law and other legal areas. Presently in Massachusetts, children who have reached their 17th birthday are prosecuted as adults in criminal court. There is now and shall remain a youthful offenders’ concept in which juveniles age 14 and older may be prosecuted in adult court for certain crimes (such as murder) and under certain other conditions. Presently, nine other states prosecute 17-year-olds in adult criminal court: N.H., Mass., S.C., Ga, La., Texas, Mo., Wis. [More]

July 1st, 2013

Reflecting on our other lives

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

There is nothing like a graduation to remind us of the choices that shape our lives, the ones we have already made and the ones yet to come. This morning as I sit in a treatment team meeting for a patient exactly my own age, I watch and listen as his therapist with a newly minted doctorate reminds him that he will be leaving at the end of the training year in July. There are cheers all around and words of congratulations for the new psychologist, not the least of which come from the man he is leaving behind. There [More]

June 1st, 2013

Not quite all Bostonians now

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

I learned about the marathon bombings somewhere on the New Jersey Turnpike when our daughter, who lives and works in Boston, called to say that she was safe. It was an odd way to check in but we assured her that we were safe as well and asked what else was new. Then out came the story that would have us transfixed for the rest of the week as it held the attention of the entire Boston area, the nation and the world. Whether you were standing along the marathon route as we usually did or traveling, there was nowhere [More]

May 1st, 2013

A funny thing happened on the way …

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

Funny things can happen on the way to anywhere and if your life is anything like mine, it’s important not to miss them when they do. It is raining hard in the morning on my way to the hospital, one of those heavy downpours where the sheer volume of water would obscure visibility even without the low clouds that seem to have come down like a curtain over the road ahead. I can just make out the red light at the next intersection or maybe I only know it’s there because I have driven this road so often. A small [More]