Leading Stories, Articles

November 9th, 2018

Market conduct review leads to new fund to supplement behavioral health care system in RI

By Janine Weisman

Blue Cross Blue Shield Rhode Island stopped requiring prior approval for in-network mental health or substance use disorder services on Aug. 1, a move the state’s largest health insurer said was part of a larger focus on improving access to care. Out-of-network services will still be subject to what’s known as utilization review for behavioral health services. But left out of the BCBSRI news release when this policy change was initially announced last May was the fact that the discontinuation of the process known as utilization review came about during discussions with state regulators. That’s after examiners from the Rhode [More]

November 9th, 2018

UNICEF report: Peer-to-peer violence in schools is pervasive around the world

By Janine Weisman

School is a safe place — but only for half of the world’s students. A new UNICEF analysis finds that half of students aged 13 to 15 globally report experiencing peer-to-peer violence in and around school. That’s about 150 million teens, according to the report “An Everyday Lesson: #ENDviolence in Schools,” which outlines a variety of ways students face violence in and around the classroom. The report measures peer-to-peer violence as the number of children who report having been bullied in the previous month or having been involved in a physical fight. And, the report’s data shows the prevalence of [More]

November 8th, 2018

In the #METoo era, psychologists adopt various strategies to assist victims of sexual abuse

By Phyllis Hanlon

The #MeToo movement opened a floodgate, giving a voice to victims of sexual abuse and harassment. While public revelations have empowered some women, others are reliving past sexual abuse incidents, leading to recurrence of psychological issues. In recent years, stigma surrounding sexual abuse has decreased somewhat, according to New York psychologist Julia Vigna Bosson, Ph.D. “It’s not completely gone, but as more come forward, it seems to break down barriers and give survivors courage to seek help,” she said. On the other hand, watching a woman talk about her story could be a trigger. “This doesn’t mean the person should [More]

November 8th, 2018

Avoidance of triggers may have negative consequences

By Catherine Robertson Souter

With the public testimony and accusations around sexual assault in the national spotlight in recent months, there has been increased attention paid to how these reports may be triggering psychological responses in the general public. Reportedly, reading about or hearing testimony from Christine Ford Blasey, Ph.D, a professor of clinical psychology at Palo Alto University and a research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, has led women and men around the country to experience their own emotional and physiological responses. Ford testified about her accusations of sexual assault perpetrated during their teen years by Judge Brett Kavanaugh. It [More]

October 24th, 2018

Despite lack of attention, cults continue on

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Texting and driving, opioids, vaping: these are the dangers facing young people that rule the media today. But take a look at a newspaper from 30 years ago and you’ll find a different danger constantly in front of parents’ faces – the prevalence and peril of cults. These stories don’t seem to grip the nation like they once did. While we still hear of occasional groups, such as one in New York that has been branding young women, are cults still as rampant? Yes, they are, according to Eric Sweitzer, M.T.S., Ph.D, a clinical psychologist and director of the Charis [More]

October 3rd, 2018

Residential schools: Helping students get back on track

By Phyllis Hanlon

Residential, or boarding, schools serve different populations and have different goals. Schools that address behavioral issues in children admit students with a variety of diagnoses. Those diagnoses include a number of psychological and emotional issues that range from anxiety, mood and eating disorders, attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) to fire setting, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other behavioral problems. In recent years, more children have presented with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum. According to Valentina M. Parchin, Ph.D, director of education for the Adelbrook Learning Center in East Hartford, Connecticut, this agency has moved [More]

October 2nd, 2018

Behavior analysts must be licensed in Connecticut

By Janine Weisman

On July 1, Connecticut became the 30th state in the country to require behavior analysts to obtain a license to practice what has become the best-known approach to treating children with autism. Behavior analysts help individuals change behaviors associated with negative consequences to improve outcomes. Being licensed will allow behavior analysts to be reimbursed by insurers. And, it ensures that families, public school districts, the state Department of Developmental Services (DDS), private insurance, and Medicaid providers have a means of regulating the practices of behavior analysts. Behavior analysts have earned a graduate degree in behavior analysis, education, psychology or a [More]

October 1st, 2018

Youth Villages closes residential program for girls in Mass.

By Janine Weisman

A residential treatment program for girls with emotional and behavioral problems in Arlington, Massachusetts, shut down in September after a decision by its parent organization to shift focus to community-based services. That decision impacted 150 staff members at the Germaine Lawrence campus on Claremont Avenue operated by the national private non-profit Youth Villages. The vast majority of positions are direct care staff, including several master’s level and licensed positions, nursing and maintenance staff. The program is licensed to serve a maximum of 72 girls between the ages of 12 and 22. But there were only 48 girls on site when [More]

September 14th, 2018

Isolation and LGBTQ youth: Social, psychological and financial implications

By Phyllis Hanlon

This project was supported by a grant from the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA). In a 2017 Washington Post article, former Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy cited emotional well-being and loneliness as one of today’s big public health worries. While the average American might experience isolation and disconnectedness at various times during their lives because of intense career involvement, age discrimination, geographic remoteness or for other reasons, many youth who identify as LGBTQ endure isolation, broken relationships and disconnections on an ongoing basis, sometimes with devastating results. According to David Oberleitner, Ph.D, chair, department of psychology, University of [More]

August 31st, 2018

Conversion therapy ban passes in New Hampshire, fails in Massachusetts and is vetoed in Maine

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In a movement that seems to be growing, a ban on mental health professionals providing conversion therapy for people under 18 has been signed into law in 15 states. There have been five bans this year alone. In June, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu signed a bill banning the practice in that state. “There has been a real cultural shift,” said Shannon Bader, Ph.D, A.B.P.P., the legislative chair for the New Hampshire Psychological Association. “We were the 14th state with an outright ban.” Historically, conversion therapy has included everything from instruction on why and how to change to shaming the [More]