Articles

July 15th, 2020

Black voices working in a predominately white field

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Within the field of psychology, there are very few Black professionals. According to the American Psychological Association, in 2015, only four percent of all psychologists were Black/African-American. Meanwhile, the general population of this country is just over 13 percent Black. How does that play out for Black psychologists, working in a field that is predominately white? What stressors are they seeing in patients and colleagues? Are there things that should be done to increase Black representation in the field? And, in these turbulent times, is there hope that social justice will prevail? Charmain Jackman, Ph.D, is a clinical psychologist in [More]

July 15th, 2020

Racial Identity: Key to self-understanding

By New England Psychologist Staff

Recent race-related protests have brought deep-seated inequity and injustice that pervades our national consciousness to the forefront. Those who seek to understand the importance of racial identity aim to bring about change in attitude, reduce racism, and promote equitable public policy. According to Oyenike Balogun-Mwangi, Ph.D, full-time assistant professor at Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island, racial identity is “…how we come to understand ourselves as racial beings.” As a private practitioner in Boston, Balogun-Mwangi reported that in order to effectively treat a person, it’s important to examine their racial identity. “It’s difficult to understand a person’s experience of [More]

July 14th, 2020

States look at mental health beyond the pandemic

By Phyllis Hanlon

To date, the COVID-19 virus has exacted a tremendous toll on the nation’s economy, uncovered serious flaws in the health care systems, brought long-standing systemic racism to the forefront, and disrupted everyday life. Of paramount importance are the potential long-term effects on psychological well-being. The New England states are taking measures to help ameliorate any adverse effects once the pandemic begins to wane. According to Jessica Pollard, Ph.D, director of Maine’s Office of Behavioral Health, her state has operated a number of crisis phone lines for several years. In response to COVID-19 , Maine set up a “Warmline,” a resource [More]

July 14th, 2020

COVID-19 means different approach to Stress in America survey

By Phyllis Hanlon

Since 2007, the American Psychological Association (APA) has been gauging the nation’s attitudes and perception of stress with its annual Stress in America survey. “Every year, we take a look at what is causing stress among U.S. adults, how they are managing or failing to manage their stress and how that stress impacts their lives, relationships, work and health,” said Sophie Bethune, APA’s director of Strategic Communications Initiatives. She added that the results of the survey highlight the serious physical and emotional implications of stress. “By drawing attention to stress, we are able to start a conversation about emotional and behavioral [More]

July 14th, 2020

Research examines link between COVID-19 & racial disparity

By Eileen Weber

A number of studies have shown a disturbing trend in this pandemic: more people of color have contracted and died from coronavirus than other demographics. In May, a study conducted by Yale School of Medicine parsed the available data on race and ethnicity to show a disparity among people who contract coronavirus. Based on their findings, Blacks were 3.57 times more likely to die from the disease and Hispanics were nearly 1.9 times more likely than whites. Cary Gross, MD, professor of medicine at Yale and co-author of the study, said it’s impossible to determine whether access to health care, [More]

July 14th, 2020

Working with clients of color requires training, more listening

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In a perfect world, the color of one’s skin should not affect a therapeutic relationship. However, this is America 2020 and it apparently does. For instance, studies have shown that therapy dropout rates are significantly higher for Blacks than for whites when they work with white therapists. “In general, African-Americans tend to have higher drop-out rates because therapy has historically been considered an institutional privilege,” said Martin Pierre, Ph.D, the president-elect of the Massachusetts Psychological Association (MPA). In a 2014 study by the Trauma Research Institute, at Alliant International University, San Diego, CA, researchers found communication problems cited by 82 [More]

July 14th, 2020

COVID-19 changes in training lead to access improvement

By New England Psychologist Staff

In late March, the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) decided to revise what counts toward clinical psychology graduate student training hours, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The APPIC change now allows students to include telehealth services, which includes therapy and assessment via video or phone, in their log of hours. Given that it is recommended that students complete approximately 800 hours of clinical activities before applying for internship, this is an important and positive change for psychology graduate students and the population as whole. Here’s why. First, clear guidelines are now provided for which specific modalities [More]

June 26th, 2020

Domestic violence helpline callers are just trying to manage

By Janine Weisman

Numbers don’t tell the whole story when it comes to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on rates of domestic and family violence. Calls to SafeLink — Massachusetts’ statewide domestic violence hotline at 1-877-785-2020 — initially decreased about a third and then ramped back up in April and May to about 90 percent of what they were pre-pandemic, according to Casa Myrna, Boston’s largest provider of domestic violence shelter and supportive services. Maine’s domestic violence resource centers also saw an initial decline in helpline calls and reach-outs when COVID-19 hit. Then, requests for emergency shelter were significantly down through the [More]

June 26th, 2020

Self-care for psychologists in a time of uncertainty

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Coping with the ongoing uncertainty of the pandemic can lead to a barrage of symptoms most people don’t know how to manage. That is where psychologists come in, with advice and guidance on self-care that can help to steady the ship while we all navigate unsettled and unchartered waters. But what about the therapists themselves; what does self-care look like from the other side of the couch? “Even though everyone has been impacted differently, this trauma is unique in that we are experiencing this along with our clients,” said Ana Rodriquez, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist and founder of the Self-Care [More]

June 4th, 2020

Why Suicide Prevention Advocates Right Now Don’t Despair

By Janine Weisman

Mental health infrastructure has come a long way since 1918-1919 influenza pandemic. Social isolation, a key strategy to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19 , is considered a significant risk factor for suicidality. So school closures, mandated face masks, and bans on large gatherings along with the most rapid change in the employment sector ever recorded in the U.S. have led to growing dread that suicide rates might rise. But is an increase in the suicide rate inevitable? Not according to Jerry Reed, Ph.D., MSW, a nationally recognized leader in the field of suicide prevention. “I think it’s really important [More]

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