Columnists, Articles

May 29th, 2019

Looking both ways

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

Looking forward to my 50th college reunion this month and backward to what I learned during those four years, I am surprised by the power of a teacher’s words to strike a responsive chord that has been vibrating in my life through the passing decades. So, come with me to the leafy campus of suburban university in the late 1960s, to classroom in a Gothic style building made of gray Pennsylvania fieldstone. We sit at wooden desks on seats attached to a flat writing surface that spreads out from a single arm of our chairs, a right arm for right-handers, [More]

May 13th, 2019

The shame of United Behavioral Healthcare

By John Grohol, Psy.D.

I’m surprised United Behavioral Healthcare (UBH) – a part of behemoth UnitedHealthcare — can even show its face these days. After a scathing ruling against this disliked healthcare insurer was handed down in early March, it’s become clear – to me at least — that UBH only cared for its bottom line, not the highest quality patient care possible. It also once again illustrated the separate and unequal systems that exist in parallel – one that treats physical symptoms, and an inferior system setup to provide the most minimal of coverage to treat mental symptoms. In the case, Wit v. [More]

May 11th, 2019

Why we walk

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

When he was finally given permission to walk outside of the locked areas of the hospital with staff supervision, the man wasted no time in arranging opportunities to walk with his psychiatrist, to work in the hospital greenhouse, and to spend some of his weekly therapy hour with me in the open air. There is nothing new about walking during psychotherapy sessions. It was a common practice for Sigmund Freud to walk with his patients around the University in Vienna. The walks helped his patients clear their minds and speak more freely than they could have done in the office. [More]

March 25th, 2019

Playing the waiting game

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

In the depths of winter and longing for spring, I am finding reminders everywhere of how much our lives are consumed by waiting. In the hospital, patients wait to be examined, to be found competent to stand trial, not criminally responsible for the actions that led to their confinement, for the voices to stop, to be allowed to go home. Mothers wait for their babies to be born and people everywhere wait for the results of lab tests, CT scans, and biopsies that will unlock the mysteries of health and illness and give them a glimpse of the future. Every [More]

March 10th, 2019

Introduction to Psychology

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

Some things grab hold of us and never let go. Of all the things that might have had this effect on me, I would have never predicted that one of them would be my first psychology textbook, Introduction to Psychology by Clifford T. Morgan and Richard A. King. I kept the book for years, rarely looking inside and often not even knowing where in the house it was. It was enough to know that it was there somewhere, with me in companionable silence as I built my career and family life on other stories, written in other books, told by [More]

March 9th, 2019

It’s time for portability in psychologist licensing

By John Grohol, Psy.D.

There may have been a time in the not-too-distant past when the guild mentality that infects clinical psychology as a profession served a purpose. Not only did it emphasize psychologist’s greater training and educational requirements, but it helped to differentiate the profession from others that provided similar services (such as psychotherapy). But the guild mentality comes with heavy licensing requirements and continuing education quotas that don’t seem to make as much sense as they once did. The heavy burden of our profession’s licensing requirements has a real-world impact in psychologist’s lives and professional career trajectories. Want to move your family [More]

January 5th, 2019

Where is the leadership in Mass. compensation debate?

By John Grohol, Psy.D.

Psychologists in Massachusetts are letting down their fellow citizens, as more and more clinical psychologists refuse to accept traditional health insurance for payment. In an in-depth article in the Oct. 21, 2018 issue of the Boston Globe, Liz Kowalczyk details the challenges citizens in Massachusetts face in getting psychological care through their insurance provider or through the government’s Medicaid program. The typical finger-pointing ensues in the article, with insurance companies and Medicaid claiming they are paying market rates ($72 for a 45-minute session) while trying to cut back on burdensome paperwork costs. Psychologists and other therapists claim it’s still not [More]

January 4th, 2019

Home for the holidays

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

In exile, the heart longs for home. You can hear the longing in the voice of the man from the other side of the world, who has been stuck in the hospital for a decade through a combination of mental illness and legal problems. He recalls his childhood in a rural village and the spring where he filled a wooden bucket every day with fresh water for his family. That was long ago, and the world has changed. The spring is still there, and it still draws people from throughout the region, but that is about the only thing that [More]

November 10th, 2018

Another chance to get it right

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

As much as anything, fall offers us another chance to get it right and another chance to think about what that really means. In this time of endings and beginnings, we put the garden to bed for the winter, gather up and dispose of summer’s answer to springtime’s promise, and once again prepare the earth for a new carpet of green that we can only hope will cover the bare spots in the lawn. Done right, these chores should produce a tidy landscape where nature can work her magic over the long, cold New England winter just so the cycle [More]