Leading Stories, Articles

February 1st, 2010

Connecticut children’s program escapes budget cuts

By Phyllis Hanlon

In 1991, stringent efforts by the national advocacy group Children’s Rights resulted in the creation of the Voluntary Services Program, which is specifically for children in state custody and those in jeopardy of entering state custody. Budget cuts in December threatened the existence of this program and spawned protests from statewide advocacy groups. In 1989, Children’s Rights brought a class action suit against Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families (DCF). The group cited unacceptable and inadequate child protective services; inordinately long waiting times in state custody and overworked and inadequately trained caseworkers as some of the most prevalent systemic problems. [More]

February 1st, 2010

Maine focuses on efficacy of services

By Ami Albernaz

Maine is gearing up for sweeping changes in how the efficacy of services is evaluated and how clients make progress toward mental health goals. Implementing these changes will be the state’s main priority in 2010, says Ron Welch, MBA, director of Maine’s Office of Adult Mental Health Services. Training is now underway for the use of an assessment tool that will let clients and clinicians or case managers know whether treatment is meeting targets or needs adjustment. The assessment, developed by Ohio-based company OQ Measures, is relatively short and can be completed on a personal digital assistant, such as a [More]

February 1st, 2010

Psychologist advocates for psychological testing coverage

By Catherine Robertson Souter

What happens when a child is referred for psychological testing but his insurance does not cover even half of the cost? What about when this child has needs far greater than what a school’s counseling department can diagnose? Who will help him? Over the past 30 years, these questions and others have plagued Jerold Pollak, Ph.D., ABPP, ABN. A forensic psychologist with the Portsmouth, N.H.-based Seacoast Mental Health Center for the past 12 years, Pollak has seen countless adolescents and children for diagnostic testing. Pollak has seen how difficult it is for families to get proper testing for their children, [More]

February 1st, 2010

The Glass Ceiling in the 21st Century: Understanding Barriers to Gender Inequality

By Paul Efthim PhD

“The Glass Ceiling in the 21st Century: Understanding Barriers to Gender Inequality” Edited by Manuela Barreto, Michelle K. Ryan & Michael T. Schmitt American Psychological Association Washington, D.C., 2009 Compelling volume looks at discrimination in the workplace Reviewed By Paul Efthim, Ph.D. Recent references to the “glass ceiling” in public discourse suggest that women finally are breaking through this longstanding barrier. On the cover of the January 2 issue of the Economist, a wartime Rosie the Riveter flexes her bicep, declaring “We Did It!” An accompanying editorial notes that women now make up the majority of the American workforce, gushing [More]

February 1st, 2010

Case Studies in Emotion-Focused Treatment of Depression: A Comparison of Good and Poor Outcome

By James K Luiselli EdD ABPP BCBA-D

Case Studies in  Emotion-Focused  Treatment of  Depression:  A Comparison of Good and Poor Outcome By Jeanne C. Watson, Rhonda N. Goldman, and Leslie S. Greenberg American Psychological Association Washington, D.C., 2007 Depression treatment method examined in book Reviewed By James K. Luiselli, Ed.D., ABPP, BCBA Depression is a frequent clinical problem seen by mental health professionals. This book has to do with a specific therapeutic approach called Emotion-Focused Treatment (EFT). The theory behind EFT is that “depression arises from problems in affect regulation and results from maladaptive, blocked and unprocessed emotional experience.” Accordingly, the purpose of the book is to [More]

February 1st, 2010

Wish you were here

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

When the hospital closes, sometimes the best we can do for a patient is to transfer him or her to another hospital where they will receive similar care until they are ready to return to the community. For most of these people, such a transfer is a disappointment but not a defeat. It means getting used to a new environment with new sights, sounds, smells, rules and routines. It means learning to relate to new peers and treatment providers and telling one’s life story over again in pursuit of that elusive yet all important feeling of being understood. Often, a [More]

January 1st, 2010

Violence: balancing treatment efficacy with provider safety

By Phyllis Hanlon

Last October, shock waves rippled through the mental health community when a patient at the bipolar clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) stabbed his psychiatrist. While such events – although rare – grab media attention, they serve as reminders to providers of the importance of awareness and preparation. According to Steve Nisenbaum, Ph.D., J.D., past president of Division 18 (Psychologists in Public Service), Division 18’s public policy liaison to the American Psychological Association, and 30-year staff member at MGH, these violent episodes create a conflict between the efficacy of treatment and the safety of the provider. “This is a key [More]

January 1st, 2010

Jobless have increased mental health woes

By Pamela Berard

A national study shows Americans affected by the economic downturn displaying symptoms of severe mental illness at a much greater rate than those who haven’t been affected. Unemployed Americans are four times as likely as those with jobs to report symptoms consistent with severe mental illness and twice as likely to report concern with their mental health, according to a September survey conducted for Mental Health America and the National Alliance on Mental Illness in collaboration with the Depression is Real Coalition. Additionally – workers who are employed full-time but faced involuntary changes in their employment status – such as [More]

January 1st, 2010

Name change for day program reflects services

By Jennifer E Chase

What’s in a name? To the Massachusetts organization formerly known as Handi Kids., everything. For one thing, this vocational and life skills program for clients ages three to-22 with wide-ranging disabilities, Handi Kids no longer serves just “kids” … especially with its popular therapeutic riding program that attracts a number of adult participants. But aside from issues of accuracy, aesthetics (there’s a bridge on the property) and location (Bridgewater, Mass.), the board of directors learned that the organization’s name was sending a subliminal message it wanted to stop. “We’d heard that some families chose not to look at our program [More]

January 1st, 2010

Health care quality progress slowed in ‘08

By Nan Shnitzler

A report released this past October by the private, non-profit National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) finds that the overall quality of health care delivered through both commercial and public health plans was static in 2008. “This breaks a 12-year run of significant progress. While it could be a one-year blip, I fear it may be the beginning of a troubling trend,” writes Margaret E. O’Kane, NCQA president, in the annual “State of Health Care Quality” report. NCQA estimates that if every health plan performed as well as those ranked in the top 10 percent, up to 115,000 lives and [More]