Columnists, Articles

June 1st, 2010

In wake of suicides, anti-bullying bill passed

By Edward Stern J.D.

Bullying. The word itself conjures up images of uneven relationships and unfair advantages. The differentiation or inequality is primarily in size, power and strength. “Merriam-Webster” online defines “to bully” as “to treat abusively” and “to affect by means of force or coercion.” Based on this definition, you would think everyone would be against bullying. Two recent incidents have been in the news involving young people committing suicide. These suicides are thought to have been the result of bullying by schoolmates. Bullying in society appears to be on the rise. This belief and other theories regarding the causes of bullying are [More]

June 1st, 2010

The Interpersonal Theory of Suicide: Guidance for Working with Suicidal Clients

By James K Luiselli EdD ABPP BCBA-D

“The Interpersonal Theory of Suicide: Guidance for Working with Suicidal Clients” By Thomas E. Joiner Jr., Kimberly A. Van Orden, Tracy K. Witte, and M. David Rudd American Psychological Association Washington, D.C., 2009  Interpersonal theory of suicide outlined in valuable work Reviewed By James K. Luiselli, Ed.D., ABPP, BCBA-D Mental health professionals require specialized training to properly assess clients at risk for suicide. Understanding the threat of lethal self-harming behavior, in part, should be based on theories of suicide and respective clinical implications. This book is intended to “demystify clinical work with suicidal patients by grounding this work within a [More]

June 1st, 2010

Cultural Competence in Trauma Therapy: Beyond the Flashback

By Paul Efthim PhD

“Cultural Competence in Trauma Therapy: Beyond the Flashback” By Laura S. Brown American Psychological Association Washington, D.C. 2008    Author links trauma to culture in groundbreaking work Reviewed By Paul Efthim, Ph.D. Seattle psychologist Laura Brown, a master therapist and pioneer in the field of ethics, boundaries and feminist psychotherapy, has released an outstanding book that addresses a significant gap in what we know about trauma treatment. At a time of excessive emphasis on the technical aspects of therapy, Brown argues persuasively that cultural competence is essential to delivering good treatment. Brown begins the book by linking trauma and culture: [More]

June 1st, 2010

Mass. joins lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson

By Elinor Nelson

Massachusetts is joining a U.S. Attorney-filed federal lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson. It alleges that the drug company paid kickbacks to boost the number of elderly nursing home patients taking anti-psychotic drugs like Risperdal. According to the complaint, the company’s actions during 1999 to 2004 violated the federal anti-kickback statute and False Claims Act. It alleges Johnson & Johnson paid its customer Omnicare, Inc., the nation’s largest long-term care pharmacy, tens of millions of dollars to have Omnicare pharmacists recommend Risperdal for nursing home patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia symptoms. The payments, it alleges, were structured to subvert federal law [More]

June 1st, 2010

Suicide prevention plan updated

By Catherine Robertson Souter

When it comes to suicide, statistics alone don’t tell the whole story. On one hand, New England and the entire Northeast have the lowest overall rates of suicide. In a 2005 study, the Northeast had an average suicide rate of 8.1 compared to a high of 12.1 in the west. Montana had the highest and the District of Columbia the lowest. But, even though Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island came in 44th, 47th and 48th, the more rural New England states had higher rates of suicide. Maine was 18th, Vermont was 22nd and New Hampshire, with its overall ranking of [More]

June 1st, 2010

Number of homeless youth on the rise

By Ami Albernaz

The APA task force report on homelessness offered a sobering picture of homeless youth, noting that around 7.6 percent of young people ages 12-20 spend at least one night per year in a shelter. That statistic, though, is from 1998; in recent years – particularly given the downturn in the economy – the numbers of teens and young adults without homes appears to be growing. For the 2008-2009 school year, the number of homeless youth enrolled in schools nationwide increased 17 percent. In Massachusetts, there are now around 12,000 homeless teenagers, of whom 5,000 are unaccompanied (meaning not in the [More]

June 1st, 2010

Maine passes assisted outpatient treatment law

By Phyllis Hanlon

In April, Maine enhanced its existing Progressive Treatment Plan, which authorized two public hospitals – Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center in Bangor and Riverview Psychiatry Center in Augusta – to ask the courts for a commitment order of community-based treatment for six months with services provided by the Assertive Community Treatment program. Some of the provisions in the new law include expanding the criteria for involuntary commitment, extending the treatment timeframe from six to 12 months and allowing licensed physicians, registered physician’s assistants, certified psychiatric clinical nurse specialists, nurse practitioners and licensed clinical psychologists to sign involuntary commitment papers. Maine’s assisted [More]

June 1st, 2010

Safety standards passed in school use of restraints, seclusion

By Pamela Berard

The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation aimed at preventing and reducing the use of physical restraint and seclusion techniques in schools. “The Keeping All Students Safe Act” was passed in March, outlining federal minimum safety standards in schools, similar to protections currently in place for hospitals and other community-based facilities. Sen. Chris Dodd, (D-Conn.) introduced the Senate version, “Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act,” in December and hopes to move this legislation by the end of this Congressional session, whether as a stand-alone bill or part of a larger piece of legislation. Dodd wrote and helped pass [More]

June 1st, 2010

Rhode Island program helps siblings of special needs kids

By Jennifer E Chase

At the beginning of her career, Debra Lobato, Ph.D., was an intern in a program that provided in-home services for very young children diagnosed with special needs. While Lobato consulted the parents of children newly diagnosed with illnesses that were already wreaking havoc on the family, the same thing happened, a lot: “I’d have the other little kids jumping all over me.” The “other little kids” were the siblings of the diagnosed child, but that wasn’t the scenario in every household. Other times she’d meet with the parents and diagnosed child privately, while the siblings peeked around corners to catch [More]

June 1st, 2010

Fourth recovery high school planned for Massachusetts

By Jennifer E Chase

Hearing the concerns of his community, Brockton, Mass. superintendent Matthew Malone, Ph.D., is supporting a regional initiative to bring a high school for students with addiction to his corner of the Bay State. Recovery high schools, sometimes called “sobriety high schools,” operate under the premise that students leaving a detox or similar program who return to the same environment from which they came have a harder time staying clean. But, surround them in a drug-free environment staffed by teachers and psychology professionals and you strengthen their chance for success. Three such programs are in Massachusetts – Northshore Recovery High School [More]