General, Articles

July 15th, 2020

Racial Identity: Key to self-understanding

By New England Psychologist Staff

Recent race-related protests have brought deep-seated inequity and injustice that pervades our national consciousness to the forefront. Those who seek to understand the importance of racial identity aim to bring about change in attitude, reduce racism, and promote equitable public policy. According to Oyenike Balogun-Mwangi, Ph.D, full-time assistant professor at Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island, racial identity is “…how we come to understand ourselves as racial beings.” As a private practitioner in Boston, Balogun-Mwangi reported that in order to effectively treat a person, it’s important to examine their racial identity. “It’s difficult to understand a person’s experience of [More]

July 14th, 2020

COVID-19 means different approach to Stress in America survey

By Phyllis Hanlon

Since 2007, the American Psychological Association (APA) has been gauging the nation’s attitudes and perception of stress with its annual Stress in America survey. “Every year, we take a look at what is causing stress among U.S. adults, how they are managing or failing to manage their stress and how that stress impacts their lives, relationships, work and health,” said Sophie Bethune, APA’s director of Strategic Communications Initiatives. She added that the results of the survey highlight the serious physical and emotional implications of stress. “By drawing attention to stress, we are able to start a conversation about emotional and behavioral [More]

July 14th, 2020

Working with clients of color requires training, more listening

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In a perfect world, the color of one’s skin should not affect a therapeutic relationship. However, this is America 2020 and it apparently does. For instance, studies have shown that therapy dropout rates are significantly higher for Blacks than for whites when they work with white therapists. “In general, African-Americans tend to have higher drop-out rates because therapy has historically been considered an institutional privilege,” said Martin Pierre, Ph.D, the president-elect of the Massachusetts Psychological Association (MPA). In a 2014 study by the Trauma Research Institute, at Alliant International University, San Diego, CA, researchers found communication problems cited by 82 [More]

July 14th, 2020

COVID-19 changes in training lead to access improvement

By New England Psychologist Staff

In late March, the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) decided to revise what counts toward clinical psychology graduate student training hours, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The APPIC change now allows students to include telehealth services, which includes therapy and assessment via video or phone, in their log of hours. Given that it is recommended that students complete approximately 800 hours of clinical activities before applying for internship, this is an important and positive change for psychology graduate students and the population as whole. Here’s why. First, clear guidelines are now provided for which specific modalities [More]

June 26th, 2020

Self-care for psychologists in a time of uncertainty

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Coping with the ongoing uncertainty of the pandemic can lead to a barrage of symptoms most people don’t know how to manage. That is where psychologists come in, with advice and guidance on self-care that can help to steady the ship while we all navigate unsettled and unchartered waters. But what about the therapists themselves; what does self-care look like from the other side of the couch? “Even though everyone has been impacted differently, this trauma is unique in that we are experiencing this along with our clients,” said Ana Rodriquez, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist and founder of the Self-Care [More]

May 8th, 2020

Researchers at UMass Amherst create device to understand schizophrenia

By Eileen Weber

What if there is a way to better understand schizophrenia just by having patients wear a device? Two researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst are in the process of finding out. With the help of a $1.15 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, the wireless device is likely to reveal how often a patient interacts socially—how many people they talk to, how close they stand, their breathing and other movements—and that may determine whether medication is working or if other treatments are necessary. Because patients with schizophrenia tend to maintain physical distance from others because of their [More]

April 19th, 2020

Litigation continues in CT couple’s discrimination lawsuit concerning parental rights removal

By Janine Weisman

The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut will appeal a federal judge’s ruling against a couple who say they were discriminated against because of their mental disabilities when the state’s child welfare agency removed their two infant sons. Joseph Watley and Karin Hasemann are challenging a decision last December by U.S. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny dismissing their claims that they were never given the opportunity to show they could be fit parents. Their two sons were taken away at birth in 2005 and 2006 and are now teenagers being raised by adoptive parents. The couple’s parental rights were terminated [More]

April 19th, 2020

Report: New England states fare well in national mental health rankings

By Janine Weisman

In 2012, Rhode Island’s youth mental health care system ranked 29th in the nation in a major survey of mental health data indicators. But in six years, the smallest state rocketed to fourth place because of a dramatic performance in getting adolescents and teens into treatment. Rhode Island reduced the rate of untreated youth with depression aged 12 to 17 from 67.1 percent in 2012 to 39.5 percent in 2017. It also increased the rate of youth with severe major depressive episode (MDE) who received consistent treatment from 23.7 percent to 47.6 percent during this period. Rankings of all 50 [More]

April 19th, 2020

Programs seek to address ME youth suicide

By Eileen Weber

The suicide rate in Maine has become a major issue. It has one of the highest rates in the nation and it is the second leading cause of death among kids and people between the ages of 10 and 35. According to the 2019 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey, there has been a significant increase in students with mental health issues. In Sagadahoc County alone, nearly 36 percent of students reported negative feelings and more than 19 percent considered suicide. Nationally, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. The CDC reports the suicide rate increased a [More]

April 19th, 2020

Vermont mental health services for children doubles in last two decades

By Eileen Weber

In the past two decades, the number of young people 18 and under accessing mental health services has doubled. A recent report showed that one in three children in the state experience at least one “adverse childhood experience” before age nine. The report from Building Bright Futures, a non-profit organization in Vermont that monitors early care, health, and education systems for potential legislative policy improvements, explained that adverse childhood experiences, or ACES, typically involve living in a home that struggles to cover basic needs. It can be anything from divorce to living with someone who has a substance abuse disorder [More]