Leading Stories, Articles

April 18th, 2020

Sport psychology: Promoting performance & protecting health

By Phyllis Hanlon

The study of sports psychology can be traced to 1925 when Coleman Griffith founded the first American sports laboratory at the University of Illinois, which operated until 1932. Since those early days, the specialty of sport psychology has evolved, involving a significant amount of research, theoretical study, and specialized knowledge. According to John P. Sullivan, Psy.D, a sport psychologist embraces three important roles: practitioner, educator, and researcher. “All three inform each other and increase sensitivity to how to intervene in an effective way,” he said. As a sports scientist and clinical psychologist, Sullivan has worked with Olympic national teams and [More]

April 18th, 2020

Pets help as co-therapists

By Catherine Robertson Souter

A cat who knows when someone is distressed. A rabbit who bonds with clients more than its owner. A dog who nudges a child who is panicking during a neuropsychological evaluation. This is the world of the pet co-therapist. From dogs to cats, rabbits, birds, and more, a wide range of animals are being used in offices, on college campus counseling centers, and in grade school settings as part of solution-focused therapy. Imagine walking into a therapist’s office to be greeted by a wagging tail or a ball of fur waiting for you to give her a lap to snuggle [More]

April 18th, 2020

A review of the less talked about mood disorders

By New England Psychologist Staff

Depressive disorders represent an extremely broad, heterogeneous group of disorders. These clinical syndromes share some common symptoms (especially dysphoria) but, in fact, reflect a number of disorders that have diverse etiologies: characterological, acute reactive, and biologic. The symptoms, course, prognosis, and response to treatment vary considerably depending on the particular type of depressive disorder seen clinically as well as a person’s genetic makeup and psychosocial circumstances. Below is a review of some of the less talked about mood disorders. Seasonal Affective Disorder Organisms evolve in ways that promote adaptation to the environment. Examples of this, seen in numerous species (both [More]

April 18th, 2020

Working towards cultural competence in therapy

By New England Psychologist Staff

For the therapist, cultural competence is the ability to provide therapy than can overcome cultural barriers that exist between the patient and the therapist. The more a therapist knows about a patient’s culture, the more likely that person will feel comfortable. In a world where therapists and clients shared homogenous backgrounds, cultural competency would not be an issue. For therapists practicing today in the United States, however, this is not the case. According to the U.S. census, 23.5 percent of the population identifies as non-white and 13.4 percent are foreign-born. The United States is home to people who come from [More]

April 18th, 2020

A help line for new moms & medical professionals

By Phyllis Hanlon

In June 2014, the state launched the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Program for Moms (MCPAP for Moms) to provide assistance to pregnant women and new mothers who have behavioral health issues. The program also helps medical professionals better address anxiety, depression and other psychological matters. MCPAP for Moms is modeled after the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Program (MCPAP), which was founded by John Straus, MD, in 2004. This program created a regional system of consultation teams that helps manage the behavioral health of pediatric patients. Strauss credits the Massachusetts legislature and Representative Katherine Clark (D – 5th district) with creating [More]

March 26th, 2020

Boston Child Study Center had head start in rapid shift to 100% telehealth

By Janine Weisman

Prep work required for clinicians to deliver remote treatment effectively, founder says The coronavirus pandemic forced the temporary closure of many mental health treatment programs for high risk youth, leaving them without the structure, social interaction, and emotional support essential to recovery. The Boston Child Study Center was in a good position to bridge this gap. In January, 40 percent of patients served by its offices on Boylston Street and in Natick, Massachusetts, saw a therapist virtually and 60 percent of patients served by its Los Angeles office did. As part of the center’s shift to 100 percent telehealth delivery, [More]

March 23rd, 2020

Living in three worlds

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

The man is smiling now, released from the grip of the terrible depression that brought him to the hospital so many years ago. He smiles often as he anticipates his next trip to a restaurant in the city with his social worker. Movement from the locked hospital setting to the community is slow. Evaluations for safety must be completed, tribunals of experts convinced, judges brought on board, permissions given, obstacles anticipated, solutions planned, and steps taken, one at a time, into the wider world. He has run the course of illness and recovery, guilt and forgiveness, and has begun the [More]

March 23rd, 2020

Reducing anxiety during a world-wide health scare

By John Grohol, Psy.D.

The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, is sweeping the world. With documented cases in more than 70 countries, people are understandably concerned about their risk and exposure to the virus. Like the seasonal flu, COVID-19 is spread through contact with someone who has the coronavirus via coughing, sneezing, or touching a germ-infected surface. Symptoms appear two to 14 days after infection and include a fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Most people who get the coronavirus experience only mild symptoms and recover quickly. People who are already immuno-compromised are at much greater risk. The fatality rate appears to be between one and [More]

March 23rd, 2020

How psychologists are helping clients with anxiety disorders cope with Coronavirus concerns

By Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

The Coronavirus has sparked widespread concern, particularly now that the World Health Organization has declared it a pandemic. Supplies are flying off the shelves. Conferences, concerts, and sporting events are all canceled. In most areas, school closures are in effect. A  travel ban has been instituted, and we’re encouraged to keep our distance from others. It’s an anxiety-provoking situation for anyone—and for those with diagnosable anxiety disorders, it can be especially difficult. At her practice, the New England Center for OCD and Anxiety, in Cambridge and Melrose, Mass., psychologist Lisa W. Coyne, Ph.D, is seeing patients with “increased health anxiety.” [More]

March 5th, 2020

Creating a professional will

By Catherine Robertson Souter

No one likes to think about dying or becoming unexpectedly incapacitated. Still, as human beings, we all know our time is limited, even if we do not know exactly how long we have. Beyond the frightening prospect of “what comes after,” the logical next thought should be, what will we leave behind? Just like for parents of young children, the idea that there are people who depend on you, who rely on your care, your expertise and the practical aspects of the relationship, should be of great concern to therapists. And, as many new parents do, setting up alternative plans [More]