Columnists, Articles

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]

April 1st, 2013

A walk to remember

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

We all love a good story. Outside of the office, I have found the best storytellers among fellow passengers on long distance train trips. The train ride offers long stretches of time in a confined space with complete strangers and nothing better to do than look out the window at the passing scenery. I could not have imagined a better place for storytelling, at least not until a walk I recently took down a city street that I had known for a long time but seldom visited in recent years. With our plans for a longer day trip scuttled by [More]

March 1st, 2013

What can be done to prevent horrendous acts?

By Edward Stern J.D.

On Dec. 14, 2012, a 20-year-old male shot and killed his mother in their home and then killed 20 children and six adults at a Connecticut elementary school The perpetrator reportedly broke into a locked school by shooting his way through a glass door, carrying a Bushmaster XM-16 rifle, a 10mm Glock 20SF handgun and a 9mm SIG Sauer handgun. A shotgun, allegedly owned by his mother, was also found in his car. He allegedly killed his mother with a .22 Marlin rifle which was left at her home and there was also a .45 Henry repeating rifle and a [More]

March 1st, 2013

The first 20 years

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

Last month marked the twentieth anniversary of New England Psychologist. This month is the twentieth anniversary of this column. It started with a telephone call from the publisher and an invitation to write a column about the day-to-day experiences of a psychologist and the reflections to which these experiences gave rise. And so we called the column, In Person. In all that I have written, I have always intended and hoped that my experiences would reflect yours as we journeyed together through our changing personal and professional lives. If you are reading these words in the later stages of your [More]

February 1st, 2013

All around the world

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

One of the great pleasures of being a hospital psychologist is the opportunity to carry on conversations with patients that go beyond the 50-minute hour to other settings where staff and patients regularly come together. The conversation can start anywhere about anything but once a good idea has been set free, it can bounce around the building and come back to you when you least expect it. This one started in our Wednesday morning community meeting and re-surfaced in the first therapy group of the day. I don’t know where it went from there because my own work took me [More]

January 1st, 2013

Gender Identity Disorder Case could set precedent

By Edward Stern J.D.

n September 2012, U.S. District Court Judge Mark L. Wolf determined that sex-reassignment surgery was the ‘only adequate treatment’ for Michelle Kosilek, who was previously known as Robert (Kosilek). The basis of this finding appears to be a diagnosis of ‘Gender Identity Disorder.’ Kosilek has been incarcerated in an all-male prison, serving a life sentence without parole for murdering his wife in 1990. From its inception, this case has raised sharp division. The act itself destroyed the framework of a family. Children lose both parents when one parent kills another as one dies and the other goes to jail. It [More]