Columnists, Articles

July 17th, 2020

A world turned upside down is also a time for new opportunities

By John Grohol, Psy.D.

Online counseling services have gotten a big boost in the past few months, as the coronavirus pandemic closed down much of the face-to-face world. In fact, the only way for most to do psychotherapy during this time was either via some sort of teleconferencing or online therapy service, or going old-school and using just the phone. (You shouldn’t be using email to do therapy, because it is insecure). Unbeknownst to many, online counseling is now in its third decade. It got its start in the mid-1990s as a way of offering therapy services to people who would otherwise not get [More]

July 16th, 2020

Bookmarking a life

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

When I was a young psychologist just starting my second job, someone gave me an office and a title that were bigger than I needed, and like hand-me-down clothes, both gave me room to grow. They called me the chief psychologist and director of training, but I was just a kid. In equal parts scared and honored, I was called out of a closing state hospital on the margins of the city and into a new mental health center at its very heart. One day, I was looking out the window of my cramped office at the pheasants that made [More]

June 3rd, 2020

Discovering What Matters Most

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

After almost three months into the Coronavirus lockdown in Massachusetts, we are cataloguing our losses and discovering new sources of vitality. So many things that we took for granted have changed or simply disappeared. This is true of our daily routines and of the larger societal rituals that sustained us in ways we may have never even stopped to consider. We are changing the way we work, worship, use our leisure time, and relate to one another, and along the way, we are discovering what matters most. Many of us are working from home using videoconferencing platforms like Zoom, Doxyme, [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 [More]

January 5th, 2020

Giving back to the community

By John Grohol, Psy.D.

Few psychologists get into the profession for the enormous paycheck. Over the years, my colleagues have shared a range of reasons why they decided to become a psychologist. Not once has someone mentioned money. Many of us already give back to the community in some way. Whether it’s through volunteer work for a favorite charity, stepping up to help out with a local sports team, or helping out at school or the library, there are a multitude of volunteer opportunities from which to choose. Psychologists can give back more in one way—that is, by doing work for people who might [More]

January 4th, 2020

Navigating layers of change

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

One day last fall, my colleague Martin asked if I had seen what had become of the hospital where we used to work. Martin is the hospital’s memory, and his passion for history and the natural world makes him someone I take very seriously. So, when he told me that they had turned the place into luxury condos, I had to go and see for myself. Later that same afternoon, I turned off the main street onto the hospital road and into a landscape that bore little resemblance to the grounds I had walked with my patients for nearly two [More]

November 5th, 2019

NEP in 2020

By John Grohol, Psy.D.

With another year ending, it’s time to share news of New England Psychologist’s (NEP) print future with you. As I’ve mentioned here previously, traditional publishing has become increasingly challenging with the rise of printing and mailing costs year after year. How often we publish in print form impacts our ability to keep publishing. With that in mind, we’ve decided to change our print publishing schedule to go to publishing once each quarter in 2020. We will also be discontinuing the psychiatric treatment facilities special directory, but keeping the residential schools directory (which will be published in the fourth quarter issue [More]

November 4th, 2019

The magic of found objects

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

There are few things better able to stimulate the imagination than finding an interesting, unknown object. The first time I had this experience I was a boy playing in the vacant lot at the corner of our block. The block was really a triangle, with the town hall and World War II honor roll near the apex, three two-story houses in the middle, and the first-aid building and vacant lot occupying the two corners. Against all odds, grass grew in the lot, which was bisected by a dirt path worn diagonally into the earth by ironclad men taking a shortcut [More]

October 10th, 2019

What astronomy offers psychology

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

It had been a long time since I took the telescope out onto the front lawn for a spell of stargazing, just over a year according to the calendar built into the electronic guidance system of my small glass. Time gets away, new concerns take precedence, and the town installs brighter streetlamps. The stars fade. But one night this past summer before Jupiter slipped beneath the treetops, a quick glimpse reminded me of what astronomy has to offer psychology. A heightened sense of awe, perspective, humility, and a feeling of wonder are all there at the price of simply looking [More]

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