Leading Stories, Articles

October 9th, 2019

Adventure programs: Learning to confront and overcome fears

By Phyllis Hanlon

The benefits of engaging in outdoor activities have been well documented. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests that play in an outdoor environment enables children “…to explore both their world and their own minds.” AAP adds that outdoor activity can enhance “…creativity, curiosity and associated developmental advances.” Some residential schools are embracing this message and offer a variety of adventure and wilderness programs for children with behavioral issues. The residential program at Mountain Valley Treatment Center in Plainfield, New Hampshire, accepts children with a variety of diagnoses, from anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and depression to autism, eating disorders, and [More]

August 26th, 2019

An introduction to dual diagnosis for the new therapist

By Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D.

When I was newly licensed and newly in private practice, a patient told me at intake he had to have therapy before he could be granted visits with his young daughter. He seemed heartsick that he couldn’t see her. He said he wanted to be a good dad. He wanted to pay for her braces. They always had good times together. Concerned about what I was getting into, I asked him why he had been referred. He reluctantly admitted that he had been addicted to crack cocaine but also claimed that he was in recovery and his daughter was more [More]

July 5th, 2019

Specialists address the complexities of treating women’s emotional health

By Phyllis Hanlon

Statistics show that women are twice as likely as men to experience depression and several types of anxiety; females are also approximately nine times more likely to have eating disorders than males. But women may present with complexities that require therapy from psychologists who specialize in treating this population. Wendy F. Habelow, Ph.D, owner of Beacon Behavioral Services, LLC in West Hartford, Connecticut, certified mediator and collaborative divorce coach, said that only a woman can truly understand what other women are experiencing. Embracing a feminist perspective on life and in therapy, she believes there is “personal and professional value in [More]

May 28th, 2019

New Hampshire organization uses peer approach to provide kinship, hope

By Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

One of the worst parts about struggling with mental illness is the loneliness. You feel like you’re the only person on the planet to suffer with these symptoms or stressors. You feel like you’re abnormal, inherently wrong, or “other.” So, when someone truly listens to you, cares, and says “me, too,” it can be transformative. People who have felt alone their entire lives can find connection and purpose, said Peter Starkey, executive director of the Monadnock Area Peer Support Agency (MPS) in Keene, New Hampshire. MPS is one of 10 agencies of this type across the state. Staff was involved [More]

March 25th, 2019

Gen Z’s worries highlighted in annual stress survey

By Susan Gonsalves

Generation Z, individuals ages 15 to 21, feel stressed out about ripped-from-the- headlines topics like school and mass shootings, sexual assault, and immigration according to the annual Stress in America™ survey by the American Psychological Association. The Harris Poll was conducted last summer online among 3,458 adults and 300 15 to 17-year-olds in all 50 states. Although 75 percent of Gen Z members found mass shootings `significantly’ stressful and 72 percent felt that way about school shootings, those kids of voting age were least likely to vote at 54 percent. The overall average had seven in 10 adults expecting to [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 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]

October 3rd, 2018

Latham Centers offers unique program for kids with Prader-Willi Syndrome

By Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

Most people have heard of equine therapy, but the term asinotherapy probably would draw many blank stares. Originally developed in Germany, this lesser-known therapy is actually a successful program that uses miniature donkeys. Since 2009, it’s been an integral part of Latham Centers, a residential care, education, and treatment center for children and adults with Prader-Willi Syndrome on Cape Cod. Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) is a complex genetic disorder that affects one in 12,000 to 15,000 births. It is characterized by an insatiable appetite, developmental disabilities, skin picking, and emotional and behavioral problems. “PWS is a spectrum disorder,” said Patrice Carroll, [More]

April 9th, 2018

Helping to manage fear and anxiety

By Phyllis Hanlon

The recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida rocked the country and launched calls for stricter gun laws and better security measures in the nation’s schools. While such events are rare, all schools experience their share of crises on a smaller scale that challenge students’ well-being. To address a spectrum of situations, schools should implement a comprehensive plan that engages students, teachers and parents, and creates an environment of trust in partnership with community agencies. Arlene Silva, Ph.D, NCSP, chair in the school psychology department at William James College, emphasized that proactive measures are the best practice. “Number one is preparation,” [More]