Leading Stories, Articles

March 11th, 2019

Survey: Access to mental health, substance use disorder care is a challenge for Massachusetts adults

By Susan Gonsalves

Data from the 2018 Massachusetts Health Reform Survey showed that 56.8 percent of adults ages 19 to 64 who sought help for mental health or substance abuse disorders experienced difficulties obtaining care. The problems included finding a provider who would see them at all or getting an appointment in a timely manner when it was needed. As a result, more than one-third of those adults went without help and 12.7 percent visited an emergency department to address those issues. The Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation and Urban Institute collected the information using data from a random telephone survey involving 2,201 [More]

March 11th, 2019

Physician burnout not as prevalent for psychologists?

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In January, several healthcare organizations in Massachusetts took the unusual step of declaring a public health crisis over the rising rates of “burnout” among physicians. In a paper published by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Harvard Global Health Institute, the Massachusetts Medical Society, and Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association, the group outlines both the concerns and proposed directives for addressing the problem. According to the paper, nearly half of physicians in one survey experienced symptoms of burnout including emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced feelings of professional accomplishment. The paper also pointed to research that burnout may [More]

March 11th, 2019

Legislation provides mental health support for first responders

By New England Psychologist Staff

First responders to emergencies have a heavy burden to bear and often do not ask for emotional support. Massachusetts recently passed a law specifically to help this population. Senator Michael Moore (D-Second Worcester District) was instrumental in passing legislation for mental health services for first responders. It highlights the mental trauma related to specific events on the job. The bill went into effect on January 16 and applies to firefighters, paramedics, and law enforcement officers. “When you respond to a fire or a baby dies and you’re trying to save them,” he explained. “I don’t know how you wouldn’t take [More]

March 8th, 2019

Closing a practice requires thoughtful planning

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Shuttering a psychological practice is not a step to be taken lightly. It’s not like one can simply hang a “Closed” sign on the door and turn off the lights. In reality, there are many issues to be taken into consideration, including the ethical, legal, financial, and practical aspects of ending relationships with patients, colleagues, insurance companies, and even with landlords and other vendors. Then there is the question of what comes next, both personally and for your business. Should it be closed or sold? How do you help patients finish their therapy or move on to another therapist? Can [More]

March 8th, 2019

New APA guidelines for boys and men sink in after making a splash

By Janine Weisman

It took the American Psychological Association (APA) 13 years to issue professional practice guidelines for clinical psychologists who work with a demographic badly in need of care and attention. It’s a subpopulation with higher rates of substance abuse, death by suicide, disciplinary action and school suspensions, learning disabilities and behavioral disturbances, and problems with family relationships. Drawing on 40 years of research, the new “APA Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Boys and Men” were finally adopted at the association’s annual meeting in San Francisco in August 2018. They are the latest in a series of APA guidelines for psychological practice [More]

January 7th, 2019

Outreach program assists children exposed to trauma

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Realizing that more must be done to reach out to children who have witnessed traumatic events, representatives from several agencies joined in Manchester NH to craft a unique outreach program. Launched two years ago, ACERT, or the Adverse Childhood Experiences Response Team, has experienced some amazing results. Several times each week, a member of the Manchester Police Department, a crisis service advocate from the Manchester YWCA and a community health worker from the Manchester Community Health Center (MCHC) head out to knock on doors of homes where children were exposed to trauma. The plan, said program founding partner Lara Quiroga, [More]

January 5th, 2019

Forensic psychologists bring psychological science to court

By Phyllis Hanlon

Television shows give the impression that forensics involves allure and excitement while specially trained professionals unravel subtle clues to track down serial killers. But those who are in the field of forensic psychology tell a different story. Shannon Bader, Ph.D, ABPP, chief of forensic evaluations for the state of New Hampshire, dismissed the notion of “glamour” in relation to forensic psychology; rather she noted that she occasionally gives testimony in court, but spends a significant amount of time reading, interviewing, and writing reports. Bader said that her religious background, in part, led her to this particular field where prisoners and [More]

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]