Leading Stories, Articles

September 22nd, 2011

Task force debates gender identity

By Phyllis Hanlon

A select group of psychologists, psychiatrists and researchers is currently engaged in debate about diagnoses to include, delete and/or add to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), which was last updated in 1994. Much of that debate revolves around terminology and definition as it relates to gender. Ellen Schecter, Ph.D., clinical psychologist in private practice in Hanover, N.H., says, “Gender Identity Disorder (GID) is controversial already. Much like homosexuality being better understood as a normal variation rather than a disorder of individuals and hence removed from the DSM, many – including me – think of gender identity [More]

September 22nd, 2011

Vermont on the road to universal health care

By Nan Shnitzler

On May 26, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin signed into law a landmark healthcare bill designed to control escalating healthcare costs, expand insurance coverage to all residents and create the first publicly-funded, single-payer insurance system in the country. “This law recognizes an economic and fiscal imperative, that we must control the growth in health care costs that are putting families at economic risk and makes it harder for small employers to do business,” said the Democratic governor at the bill signing ceremony as he turned campaign promise into reality. The law does three main things, says Cassandra Gekas, M.S., health care [More]

September 22nd, 2011

Hospital fires psych unit staff

By Nan Shnitzler

Boston’s Carney Hospital fired the entire staff of its adolescent psychiatry unit at the end of May after allegations of abuse prompted an investigation that raised significant concerns about patient safety and quality of care, reported The Boston Globe and the Dorchester Reporter. On July 6, The Boston Globe reported that the state validated three complaints of abuse by mental health counselors plus one complaint of neglect. The hospital fired 13 nurses and 16 mental health counselors after engaging former Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, now a lawyer with Proskauer Rose LLP, to investigate and report on conditions on the 14-bed [More]

September 22nd, 2011

New gambling e-tool unveiled

By Pamela Berard

A new e-tool is said to be a breakthrough for the screening and intervention of gambling-related problems. The Division on Addictions at the Cambridge Health Alliance, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, this spring rolled out a free online screening and intervention device that they say is the first extremely brief online gambling screen for current gambling-related problems to provide targeted brief interventions. The three-item Brief Biosocial Gambling Screen is based on the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders criteria for pathological gambling. Individuals complete the anonymous, three-item screen, which then provides a brief intervention [More]

September 20th, 2011

Bills concern licensure for behavior analysts

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Last year, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts passed a law mandating health plans cover “medically necessary” services for the diagnosis and treatment of autism. Services covered under this law include habilitative or rehabilitative care such as evidence-based treatment programs including applied behavior analysis. Often called the “gold standard” of care for autism, behavior analysis as a field has grown exponentially in recent years with the explosion of the disorder. With more than 780 behavior analysts in the state (according to the Web site for the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, or BACB, a private certification corporation), the state is taking a closer [More]

September 19th, 2011

The perils of ‘puppy love’ bring teen dating violence to the forefront

By Jennifer E Chase

If you walk out of your office and pass a gaggle of kids in your community, one of them has been abused by their boyfriend or girlfriend. The numbers vary depending which national organization you listen to, but whether it’s one in 10, one in five, or one in three, the statistics for dating violence among youth are unsettling. Worse, two of three teens know someone in their circle who is being harmed by a partner. Adolescent dating violence can mirror adult domestic violence, so most professionals could recognize the signs. But with teens’ rapture with social media and today’s [More]

September 18th, 2011

Kennedy launches 10-year initiative

By Pamela Berard

Patrick Kennedy is beginning a new chapter, but his dedication to mental health issues continues. The former Rhode Island Congressman retired this year after eight terms in office, where he championed mental health causes, authoring the 2008 Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. The cause remains a personal one for Kennedy, who himself had a long-term struggle with depression and addiction and he has recently launched a 10-year initiative, One Mind for Research (1mind4research.org), which aims to unify research and funding initiatives for seemingly disparate brain ailments. Kennedy co-founded the initiative with California businessman and philanthropist Garen Staglin, who [More]

August 15th, 2011

The Aging Intellect

By Paul Efthim PhD

‘Marvelous’ resource looks at cognitive functioning’ reviewed by: Paul Efthim, Ph.D. “The Aging Intellect” By Douglas H. Powell Routledge New York, N.Y., 2011   At a friend’s recent 60th birthday party, I was struck by the sheer volume of jokes about the indignities of aging, especially one-liners about the loss of cognitive functioning. Hearing so many wisecracks about ‘senior moments,’ I felt I’d stumbled upon a hidden aspect of the boomer zeitgeist. Concealed beneath the generational focus on age-defying lifestyles, we baby boomers seem to harbor enormous anxieties about losing our minds. As we extend our life spans through healthy [More]

August 15th, 2011

The psychologist’s role as expert witness

By Edward Stern J.D.

At times, a psychologist will be called upon to be an “expert” witness in a case that may proceed to a court trial. Today in the United States, although the figures vary greatly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, about 10 percent of cases started in a court actually proceed to a completed trial. In any given court case, the psychologist could take on many roles. In addition to participation as an expert, a psychologist could be the therapist for a patient and be asked or required to testify in that capacity. As a therapist, the issues of patient privilege and waiver [More]

August 1st, 2011

Therapy with Coerced and Reluctant Clients

By James K Luiselli EdD ABPP BCBA-D

Book tackles issue of reluctant clients “Therapy with Coerced and Reluctant Clients” By Stanley L. Brodsky American Psychological Association Washington, D.C., 2011 By James K. Luiselli, Ed.D., ABPP, BCBA-D How would you describe coerced and reluctant clients? According to psychologist Stanley L. Brodsky, they include children, adolescents and adults who are forced into therapy by schools, employers and the courts. Similarly, patients in psychiatric hospitals may have mandated treatment as a prerequisite to their release. Whatever the conditions, people entering a therapeutic relationship involuntarily pose many challenges for mental health professionals. Brodsky is a recognized expert in forensic psychology, devoting [More]