General

February 11th, 2021

Maine launches initiatives to address pandemic-related issues

By Phyllis Hanlon

Approximately nine months after the COVID-19 virus was identified in the United States, Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) launched StrengthenME, an initiative designed to provide coping mechanisms for pandemic-related stress and anxiety before it becomes a more serious mental health issue. According to Jessica Pollard, Ph.D, director of the Maine DHHS Office of Behavioral Health, the state recognized the need for mental health supports and immediately looked to expand existing services, such as the Intentional Peer Warm Line. “We also launched new services, such as the Maine Frontline Warmline to support health care staff and first responders, [More]

December 7th, 2020

Psychologists offer advice to parents during this chaotic time

By Catherine Robertson Souter

To say this has been a trying year for humans is to put it mildly. Everything has been thrown up into the air. From fears of a loved one getting sick to the stress of financial or housing instabilities, to the overarching political and social turmoil, 2020 will go down as a year that showed us all what we are made of. For parents, add keeping kids of all ages on task with school work, arguing with teens about what constitutes safe behavior, and becoming a de facto entertainment director for the cruise ships we call home, and it’s no [More]

November 6th, 2020

COVID-19 has tripled depression rate

By New England Psychologist Staff

A new study finds that 27.8 percent of U.S. adults had symptoms of depression as of mid-April 2020, compared to 8.5 percent before the COVID-19 pandemic. “This represents a three-fold increase over what it was before COVID,” says lead author Catherine Ettman, a doctoral student at the Brown University School of Public Health and director of strategic development in the Office of the Dean at Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH). Not surprisingly, the study found that money was a defining factor in who was reporting new symptoms of depression. “People with lower income were twice as likely to [More]

October 7th, 2020

Long term results of parental alienation to the alienated child

By New England Psychologist Staff

(Source: Dr. Lori Love, Custody Evaluations 101: Allegations and Sensitivities) What are the long-term effects of parental alienation on the child who has been alienated? The results are devastating for the alienated child and can last a lifetime. Not only does the child miss out on a lifetime of having an enjoyable and fulfilling relationship with the parent they have been conditioned to reject, they also develop some serious pathological behaviors and attitudes that carry in to their adult lives. Following are descriptions of some of these disturbing effects: • Splitting: This is the psychological phenomenon of seeing people as either “all [More]

October 7th, 2020

Understanding collective trauma

By New England Psychologist Staff

Collective trauma can be understood as a response to a one-time event, or as a response to a long-term event. The first type of collective trauma can occur when a “cataclysmic event that shatters the basic fabric of society” happens, such as a natural or human-caused disaster (1). Collective trauma also occurs because of on-going collective physical and emotional injury due to repeated exposure to race-based stress (2). The experience of collective or historical trauma by colonized communities such as Canadian, Australian, and American indigenous peoples is well established in the literature (3). The accumulated evidence of trauma reactions in [More]

October 7th, 2020

Woodside’s fate remains up in the air

By New England Psychologist Staff

The fate of Woodside Juvenile Rehabilitation Center, Vermont’s only juvenile detention facility, is up in the air. While state officials work to figure out what’s next for the embattled facility, there are no children housed at the 30-bed secure facility. “There are no youth being served by the Woodside facility currently,” said Luciana DiRuocco, executive staff assistant, public information officer, for the state’s Department for Children and Families (DCF). “We are currently using in- and out-of-state programs to serve the youth traditionally served by Woodside for the time being while we see if we can stand up a new program [More]

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]

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