Columnists

April 12th, 2021

What I learned on the Mount Misery Trail

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

It was one of those perfect winter days, cold and clear with the bluest of blue skies above six inches of blindingly white snow that blanketed the frozen pond, the trail through the pines and the meadow below.

The trail skirted the base of a small hill, Mount Misery, which gives its name to this reservation where Thoreau used to amble on excursions from his cabin at Walden Pond. My wife and I were ambling in his footsteps, enjoying the beauty of nature and taking photos to inspire her landscape paintings.…

April 12th, 2021

Survey: Households with children reported feeling down, depressed, or hopeless

By Eileen Weber

Since last March, feelings of hopelessness, loneliness, and isolation are simply commonplace. What initially was presumed to be a shutdown for a few weeks has been prolonged into a year. People of all ages are experiencing the effects of the lack of normalcy. But children, adolescents, and young adults in particular are showing the strain.

In an American Medical Association podcast in mid-February, Patrice Harris, M.D., M.A., discussed the mental health issues resulting from the pandemic. In her estimation, it’s necessary to have serious conversations—and serious action—about what she called “COVID fatigue” or “hitting the wall.”…

April 12th, 2021

Five ways professionals can cope with suicide

By New England Psychologist Staff

Professionals who work in the mental health field are not immune to loss by suicide. In fact, they and professionals in every field can succumb to suicidal thoughts themselves or lose patients or family members they are trying to help. The aftermath is often filled with additional burdens centering around their career role.
Counselors, ministers, and others may or may not have specialized training or experience in this area but often feel they should have been able to help. This is a common agony before and after suicide, but when you are responsible for care and aware of this kind of dangerous situation, the pressure is enormous.…

April 12th, 2021

Psychologists ponder the future of their profession

By Phyllis Hanlon

When the COVID-19 virus invaded the United States last year, life as we knew it changed dramatically. For many psychologists, this shift prompted changes to the way they practiced.

According to John F. Todaro, Ph.D., clinical associate professor in Brown University’s department of psychiatry and human behavior, many psychologists shifted to telehealth-based therapy within a couple of weeks following the pandemic-induced lockdown.

Todaro, also clinical psychologist and director at Providence Behavioral Health Associates, feels for the most part that psychological therapy via a virtual platform has proven to be effective for a range of patients.…

April 12th, 2021

APA resolution opposes gender identity change efforts

By Phyllis Hanlon

In 1997 and 2009, the American Psychological Association (APA) issued resolutions that focused on sexual orientation change efforts. Earlier this month, the APA again adopted a resolution that, this time, addressed gender identity change efforts (GICE).

According to Clinton W. Anderson, Ph.D, this resolution takes a broader focus against efforts to force individuals to conform to rigid gender identities. The resolution is directed at the public, consumers, and policy makers as well as psychologists.

Anderson is deputy chief, Public Interest Directorate and director, Office on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity.

He explained that this resolution takes a stance against pressuring or coercing an individual to conform to their sex assigned at birth.…

April 12th, 2021

Data shows pandemic as ‘collective traumatic experience’

By New England Psychologist Staff

A year’s worth of data on mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic has found that 40 to 50 percent of the general population is showing clinical levels of depression. “Which is what we’d expect,” said clinical psychologist Luana Marques, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School.

Marques is also the Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport Massachusetts General Hospital Research Scholar 2020-2025.

“Think about COVID-19 as a collective traumatic experience with a real threat,” she says. “And that threat is intensified by the economic turndown and other factors, such as systemic racism that were uncovered by the pandemic.”…

April 12th, 2021

Continuing education credits for all

By John Grohol, Psy.D.

Continuing education (CE) is a vital part of a psychologists’ on-going training and keeping up with the latest developments in the field. Twenty years ago, the only way to attain your continuing education credits was by attending an in-person seminar or workshop. While this is a great format for learning, we’ve seen the benefits of learning through other, more convenient options.

One of those options is through taking your continuing education courses online. As we’ve learned during the pandemic, online learning is a powerful choice because it provides the convenience and access that in-person courses don’t.…

March 21st, 2021

Dispatch from the COVID-19 vaccine scheduling front

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

Dateline: February 25, 2021, the little room at the top of the stairs.

The little room at the top of the stairs is quiet now. The extra chair where my wife sat with her Ipad is back in the bedroom where it belongs, our insurance cards are tucked safely into our wallets, and my Twitter feed with real-time updates on vaccine availability is silent. The smoke has cleared and so have our heads.

I am back here six hours after a four-hour battle this morning with various websites where I attempted and ultimately succeeded in scheduling an appointment for my first COVID-19 vaccine.…

March 8th, 2021

Medicaid reimbursement benefits post-grads and patients

By Phyllis Hanlon

After several years of advocacy, New Hampshire has changed its Medicaid reimbursement policy to include coverage for psychological services provided by post-graduate residents enrolled in the licensure process and working under the supervision of a licensed practitioner. This policy change is expected to benefit psychology residents, mental health centers, and the patients they serve.

Bethann Clauss, LICSW, executive director of Maps Counseling Services in Keene, New Hampshire, explained that the new Medicaid reimbursement policy will allow private mental health centers like hers to increase capacity to meet client needs.

She pointed out that the state has had a workforce shortage for some time, but private mental health centers have historically been able to hire only licensed clinicians; individuals working to complete requirements for a professional license did not qualify for Medicaid reimbursement.…

March 8th, 2021

Impact of pandemic on ’emerging adults’ should not be overlooked

By Catherine Robertson Souter

The pandemic has thrown a monkey wrench into everyone’s plans. From weddings to holidays to vacation travel, we have all been impacted. School children struggle with online classwork and parents with managing a house full of people. Seniors have had to face increased health risks and the effects of the isolation meant to protect them.

“There is something lost,” said Jeffrey Arnett, Ph.D, senior research scholar at Clark University. “We have all cancelled parties and family events and vacations and little things like dinners with friends. You do lose something and I think we all have to be honest about that.…