Columnists, Articles

September 10th, 2020

A good day out

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

One of our favorite ways to relieve the boredom of pandemic isolation is to take a drive. Most days, almost anywhere will do. A trip to the grocery store or a run to the town dump with our trash, recyclables, and yard waste neatly sorted makes for a satisfying change of scenery, but for a real break, we take to the open road. The Sunday paper gave us a plan for what looked like a fun day trip to Newport, and we earmarked Thursday for our adventure. The week passed in its usual round of daily chores and relaxing diversions [More]

September 9th, 2020

Uncertainty of pandemic leads to further mental health problems

By Eileen Weber

It should be no surprise that after months of shelter-in-place mandates, wearing masks in public, maintaining a six-foot distance from others, and a resurgence in COVID outbreaks in some states, our collective psyche is at the breaking point. Depression, anxiety, and substance abuse have been on the rise in this country, but those issues have become even more apparent during this pandemic. For many people, it has been a mental and emotional roller coaster. Steven Marans, MSW, Ph.D, a professor of psychiatry and director of the Childhood Violent Trauma Center at Yale’s Child Study Center, says the loss of normal [More]

September 9th, 2020

Confiding in others identified as the strongest protection against depression

By New England Psychologist Staff

A new study has found that strong social connections are the strongest protective factor for depression. “Depression is the leading cause of disability world-wide,” said Karmel Choi, Ph.D, an investigator in the department of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and lead author of the paper. “About one in five people will experience an episode of major depression in their lifetime. If we could prevent depression, we could not only reduce years of suffering, but also improve health and life outcomes.” That led researchers to ask the question: Which modifiable factors in [More]

August 18th, 2020

Running on comet time

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

There’s nothing like the appearance of a bright comet to remind us that beautiful surprises are always possible no matter what else is happening in the world. I had seen four of these celestial visitors over the years, Comets West, Halley, Hyakutake, and Hale-Bopp, and this summer of the corona virus brought the fifth, Comet NEOWISE. In the past four months, NEOWISE increased in brightness as it made its closest approach to the sun and then began to dim as it swung around to the other side and started its return journey to the outer edge of the solar system. [More]

August 18th, 2020

National survey measures pandemic’s emotional impact

By Phyllis Hanlon

After several months of quarantine, psychologists are eager to assess the emotional repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. Three psychologists teamed up to create a scale that evaluated mental health during this crisis and found both expected and some surprising results. Sarah Gray, Psy.D, director of outpatient rehabilitation psychology at Spaulding Rehabilitation in Boston, said, “As a health psychologist, the psychological effects of the pandemic in society and how that affects our patients is of particular interest to me.” Gray is also the founder/director, Integrative Psychology, PC in Arlington, Massachusetts. Gray explained that this national survey was developed “completely in reaction [More]

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 14th, 2020

Research examines link between COVID-19 & racial disparity

By Eileen Weber

A number of studies have shown a disturbing trend in this pandemic: more people of color have contracted and died from coronavirus than other demographics. In May, a study conducted by Yale School of Medicine parsed the available data on race and ethnicity to show a disparity among people who contract coronavirus. Based on their findings, Blacks were 3.57 times more likely to die from the disease and Hispanics were nearly 1.9 times more likely than whites. Cary Gross, MD, professor of medicine at Yale and co-author of the study, said it’s impossible to determine whether access to health care, [More]

June 4th, 2020

Why Suicide Prevention Advocates Right Now Don’t Despair

By Janine Weisman

Mental health infrastructure has come a long way since 1918-1919 influenza pandemic. Social isolation, a key strategy to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19 , is considered a significant risk factor for suicidality. So school closures, mandated face masks, and bans on large gatherings along with the most rapid change in the employment sector ever recorded in the U.S. have led to growing dread that suicide rates might rise. But is an increase in the suicide rate inevitable? Not according to Jerry Reed, Ph.D., MSW, a nationally recognized leader in the field of suicide prevention. “I think it’s really important [More]

May 7th, 2020

How to best present yourself while delivering telehealth

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Across the country, as we deal with the fall-out from the COVID-19 pandemic, therapists are turning to video platforms for delivering care. For some, it’s an extension of what they were already doing, but for others this is a whole new world. “Therapists are quickly shifting their practices online,” said Rachel McCrickard, LMFT, CEO & founder of Motivo, a video platform that provides clinical supervision. “Many have formal training and/or extensive experience in the delivery of telehealth, and many do not.” By this point, you have probably made the decision whether to do on-line therapy and have done the research [More]

May 6th, 2020

Pandemic affects everyone, especially autistic kids

By Eileen Weber

Coronavirus, or COVID-19 , has ground most of daily life to a halt for weeks. Small businesses are shut down. Children aren’t going to school. People are confined to their homes clinging tightly to toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Globally, there are more than two million cases of the virus with tens of thousands of deaths. The United States has hundreds of thousands of cases with hotspots in areas of New York and Massachusetts and growing pockets in the South and Midwest. But when it comes to issues surrounding the coronavirus, there is one thing that’s been largely overlooked: kids [More]