Columnists, Articles

July 1st, 2017

Not only a game

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

Of all the things I thought I would be doing after I retired, I never expected that playing an internet game would be one of them. We all know these things can be addictive but I jumped at the chance to play a word game with my son when he introduced me to Words with Friends, an app based version of Scrabble with some important differences. Exactly what these differences are I would learn as I played, first with my son and daughter, and later with a friend who knew a lot more about the game than I did. In [More]

June 1st, 2017

Welcoming the stranger

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

In recent weeks, small signs have been springing up on the lawns of our little town, refreshingly different from the usual appeals to vote for political candidates or issues facing the community. The message in Spanish, English, and Arabic says simply, “No matter where you are from, you’re welcome in our neighborhood.” Anyone can say you are welcome, but making you actually feel welcome is something else again. Yet it’s heartening to see that the effort is underway even as decisions made at higher levels of government are restricting access to our country to millions of refugees and others who [More]

May 1st, 2017

Working from home

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

Since I retired nearly two years ago, I have been finding more opportunities to work from home and not just in the way the term is usually meant. Unless you see patients in your home office, working from home is not the way clinical psychologists typically do business. Professionals in other fields can always work from home during snowstorms, transit strikes or even during the odd hours left over after a long business trip. For me, this was never an option, at least not until I retired. So now here I am at my desk, reflecting on what has been [More]

April 1st, 2017

Health care economic changes on the horizon

By Edward Stern J.D.

An interesting circumstance is happening in health care. The government, including state and federal entities and private enterprises are both funding health care and providing health care. The funding and provision of health care are two entirely separate issues and, although inter-related, should not be confused with each other. As the federal government appears to be planning to reduce its economic footprint in health care, the states may need to make economic choices regarding who will provide particular services in their states. Mental health crisis teams in Massachusetts are now fully served by private vendors. In a process that began [More]

April 1st, 2017

Back to square one

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

In a recent Thursday night, my wife and I drove into Harvard Square to hear a talk by Damion Searls, the author of “The Inkblots,” a new book about Hermann Rorschach and the test that Searls described as once having been as emblematic of the psychologist as the stethoscope is of the physician. The square is a short drive from our home over a long road rich in memories and connections to the beginnings of my career as a psychologist. I have not traveled this road alone and have always been grateful for my companions on the way – my [More]

March 1st, 2017

Where have all our heroes gone?

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

If ever we needed heroes, the time is now. Every day, the morning paper brings news of drastic actions taken by President Trump and widespread public demonstrations of outrage and solidarity with those he maligns or endangers with his policies of exclusion. Building a wall between us and Mexico, closing our borders to refugees and immigrants and acting to endanger the prospects for universal health insurance repudiate the values that have always made America great. Never mind making America great again. In 1630, when John Winthrop called the Massachusetts Bay Colony a “city on a hill,” watched by the world, [More]

February 1st, 2017

From the window

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

As we stand here watching the birds at our winter feeder, I remember writing about the challenge of keeping the squirrels away nearly 10 years ago. By the time we had run through our repertoire of clever strategies to foil our hungry visitors, I was beginning to doubt that I could ever find a way to enjoy the birds without raising my blood pressure trying to chase away the squirrels. We had failed at every attempt, each time being out-maneuvered by squirrels that were smarter, stronger and more agile than the ones our feeding devices were designed to thwart. In [More]

January 1st, 2017

Ask me about my granddoggie

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

Some of the nicest people I know have dogs. Either their number is increasing or they are poised in an ever-tightening circle around me until I shall soon hear nothing but their heartwarming stories of canine companionship. The stories are seductive and so are the photos, proudly displayed on smart phones or sent in text messages and emails. It’s enough to make me go out and get a dog. On the other hand, dog ownership is a big responsibility and not something to take lightly, especially not if you are just starting to enjoy the freedom that comes with retirement. [More]

December 1st, 2016

A walk through time and history

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

Sometimes we have to remind ourselves to slow down, especially when we travel. And so my wife and I started the morning with breakfast in a park near our London hotel, relaxing at an outdoor café overlooking an expansive lawn punctuated with beds of autumn flowers. For our main event of the day, we planned a visit to Westminster Abbey. The rest we left to chance and whim, never considering that we would spend most of the day in church or what we would take with us when we left. I had been coming to London since my days in [More]

November 1st, 2016

Traveling with the eyes of faith

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

I thought I knew all the benefits of travel but a recent trip to England introduced me to one I had yet to consider, travel as an act of faith. In its theological meaning, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. When I said good-bye to my checked baggage in Boston, the substance of my hope was simply that we would meet again in London the next morning. Between now and then, both of us would travel on the same two airplanes, my wife and I in a pressurized cabin, our baggage out of [More]