General, Leading Stories

January 4th, 2019

Debate over effectiveness of skin shocks continues

By Janine Weisman

When the Food and Drug Administration will finally issue its final ban on electrical stimulation devices for treating self-injurious and aggressive behaviors is anyone’s guess. But there is no doubt about how firmly a Massachusetts school embraces using a device to deliver either 15.25 or 44 millilamps of electric current to the arms or legs of individuals with intellectual disability and autism, many of whom also have psychiatric disorders. Skin shocks — not to be confused with the voluntary depression treatment known as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) — are designed to make a patient stop an undesirable behavior by causing them [More]

January 3rd, 2019

Connecticut ranks high on study of psychopathy by location

By Susan Gonsalves

Washington D.C. has the highest number of psychopaths, according to a nation-wide study. But Connecticut ranked second overall and first per capita. The research, conducted by Ryan Murphy, Ph.D., research assistant professor at Southern Methodist University, also showed the states with the most psychopaths were clustered in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. Murphy said that he expanded on research that argued in favor of mapping psychopathy to the Big Five personality traits (extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness to experience). His study “Psychopathy by U.S. State” used a sample of 1.6 million people across the country and calculated how frequently [More]

January 3rd, 2019

Networking still relies on personal interaction

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Networking once meant going golfing with the sales team or chatting with local bank executives at a Chamber of Commerce event. But how has it changed in the technological age? In many ways, it hasn’t. While there are countless options for on-line networking through apps like “Linked-In,” a good old-fashioned handshake and shared lunch should never be overlooked. “I think maybe early career psychologists and graduate students especially are missing out on going to conferences and networking events in person,” said Jacquelyn M. Reinert, Psy.D., LMHC, member-at-large for the New Hampshire Psychological Association Board of Directors. “A lot of people [More]

November 9th, 2018

Market conduct review leads to new fund to supplement behavioral health care system in RI

By Janine Weisman

Blue Cross Blue Shield Rhode Island stopped requiring prior approval for in-network mental health or substance use disorder services on Aug. 1, a move the state’s largest health insurer said was part of a larger focus on improving access to care. Out-of-network services will still be subject to what’s known as utilization review for behavioral health services. But left out of the BCBSRI news release when this policy change was initially announced last May was the fact that the discontinuation of the process known as utilization review came about during discussions with state regulators. That’s after examiners from the Rhode [More]

November 9th, 2018

UNICEF report: Peer-to-peer violence in schools is pervasive around the world

By Janine Weisman

School is a safe place — but only for half of the world’s students. A new UNICEF analysis finds that half of students aged 13 to 15 globally report experiencing peer-to-peer violence in and around school. That’s about 150 million teens, according to the report “An Everyday Lesson: #ENDviolence in Schools,” which outlines a variety of ways students face violence in and around the classroom. The report measures peer-to-peer violence as the number of children who report having been bullied in the previous month or having been involved in a physical fight. And, the report’s data shows the prevalence of [More]

November 8th, 2018

In the #METoo era, psychologists adopt various strategies to assist victims of sexual abuse

By Phyllis Hanlon

The #MeToo movement opened a floodgate, giving a voice to victims of sexual abuse and harassment. While public revelations have empowered some women, others are reliving past sexual abuse incidents, leading to recurrence of psychological issues. In recent years, stigma surrounding sexual abuse has decreased somewhat, according to New York psychologist Julia Vigna Bosson, Ph.D. “It’s not completely gone, but as more come forward, it seems to break down barriers and give survivors courage to seek help,” she said. On the other hand, watching a woman talk about her story could be a trigger. “This doesn’t mean the person should [More]

November 8th, 2018

Avoidance of triggers may have negative consequences

By Catherine Robertson Souter

With the public testimony and accusations around sexual assault in the national spotlight in recent months, there has been increased attention paid to how these reports may be triggering psychological responses in the general public. Reportedly, reading about or hearing testimony from Christine Ford Blasey, Ph.D, a professor of clinical psychology at Palo Alto University and a research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, has led women and men around the country to experience their own emotional and physiological responses. Ford testified about her accusations of sexual assault perpetrated during their teen years by Judge Brett Kavanaugh. It [More]

October 24th, 2018

Despite lack of attention, cults continue on

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Texting and driving, opioids, vaping: these are the dangers facing young people that rule the media today. But take a look at a newspaper from 30 years ago and you’ll find a different danger constantly in front of parents’ faces – the prevalence and peril of cults. These stories don’t seem to grip the nation like they once did. While we still hear of occasional groups, such as one in New York that has been branding young women, are cults still as rampant? Yes, they are, according to Eric Sweitzer, M.T.S., Ph.D, a clinical psychologist and director of the Charis [More]

October 3rd, 2018

Residential schools: Helping students get back on track

By Phyllis Hanlon

Residential, or boarding, schools serve different populations and have different goals. Schools that address behavioral issues in children admit students with a variety of diagnoses. Those diagnoses include a number of psychological and emotional issues that range from anxiety, mood and eating disorders, attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) to fire setting, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other behavioral problems. In recent years, more children have presented with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum. According to Valentina M. Parchin, Ph.D, director of education for the Adelbrook Learning Center in East Hartford, Connecticut, this agency has moved [More]

October 2nd, 2018

Behavior analysts must be licensed in Connecticut

By Janine Weisman

On July 1, Connecticut became the 30th state in the country to require behavior analysts to obtain a license to practice what has become the best-known approach to treating children with autism. Behavior analysts help individuals change behaviors associated with negative consequences to improve outcomes. Being licensed will allow behavior analysts to be reimbursed by insurers. And, it ensures that families, public school districts, the state Department of Developmental Services (DDS), private insurance, and Medicaid providers have a means of regulating the practices of behavior analysts. Behavior analysts have earned a graduate degree in behavior analysis, education, psychology or a [More]