Leading Stories, Articles

February 5th, 2020

Are more psychologists serving only self-pay patients? Difficulties with insurance companies highlighted

By Catherine Robertson Souter

The complaints documented in a 2019 survey released by the Connecticut Psychological Association (CPA) illustrate the on-going difficulties that psychologists have with insurance companies. From understanding administrative requirements, to filing claims, following up on reimbursements, submitting further documentation, waiting on telephone hold, and accepting low reimbursement rates, the range of complaints covers just about every step of the process. It would be no wonder if, as recent news and opinion articles posit, fewer and fewer psychologists are agreeing to join insurance panels, leaving patients with nowhere to turn. While it is difficult to ascertain just how many psychologists currently accept [More]

January 5th, 2020

Giving back to the community

By John Grohol, Psy.D.

Few psychologists get into the profession for the enormous paycheck. Over the years, my colleagues have shared a range of reasons why they decided to become a psychologist. Not once has someone mentioned money. Many of us already give back to the community in some way. Whether it’s through volunteer work for a favorite charity, stepping up to help out with a local sports team, or helping out at school or the library, there are a multitude of volunteer opportunities from which to choose. Psychologists can give back more in one way—that is, by doing work for people who might [More]

January 4th, 2020

Can you gig it?

By Janine Weisman

It depends on the state where a psychologist lives Make your own hours. Choose your own patients. Keep records the way you want to. The advantage of being an independent contractor is maintaining control over the work you do. That’s why the California Psychological Association declared victory when psychologists in that state were exempted from a new law making it more difficult for employers to classify workers as independent contractors instead of traditional employees who receive Internal Revenue Service W2 statements from their employers. Physicians, podiatrists, and dentists are also exempt from the law set to take effect January 1, [More]

October 10th, 2019

How to choose what age group with which to work

By Catherine Robertson Souter

For a psychologist just starting out or an established clinician looking to expand her practice or switch focus, the prospect of working with a different age group can be daunting. But, of course, there are plenty of others who have taken the path ahead of you and advice to follow. The first step is to really think about what age group(s) you have a passion for working with on a day-to-day basis. From young children to adolescents, adults and seniors, there are benefits to working with each group and no one can say which is objectively “better.” It really comes [More]

March 25th, 2019

Setting boundaries: an essential practice for psychologists

By Catherine Robertson Souter

We live in a time where boundaries, between people, between cultures, between sexes, are crashing down all around us. Boundaries are the walls that keep us from fulfilling our destiny or getting close to another human or limit freedom of speech and exchange of ideas and information. In the world of therapy, however, setting boundaries plays a different role. From protecting clients from being preyed upon to protecting the therapist from allegations of misconduct, strong boundaries can be crucial both ethically and legally. While it may be obvious that setting boundaries with and for patients benefits both client and therapist, [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 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]

May 13th, 2018

Psychologists weigh benefits, challenges of working in inpatient hospital settings

By Phyllis Hanlon

Psychologists today have opportunities to pursue several different professional career paths. New England Psychologist spoke to psychologists who practice in inpatient settings and found that this venue offers both rewards and challenges. Before retiring, Robert J. Kamman, Ph.D, of Raymond, Maine, spent 32 years working at the Buffalo Psychiatric Center in New York, where he conducted initial screenings on every admission and determined the necessity for assessments. His responsibilities also included administering tests, running group therapy sessions, collaborating with the art and music therapist, occasionally treating patients on an individual basis and frequently working with families. Throughout his career, the [More]

April 8th, 2018

Record keeping, licensing issues among legal concerns

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In general, people hire a lawyer only as a last resort. For a psychologist, that may mean a subpoena for a patient’s records has arrived, a contentious situation has arisen with an employee who needs to be let go, or the state licensing board has sent a notification of a disciplinary hearing. Legal issues can be overwhelming for anyone without a law degree but they can’t always be avoided. Questions that need to be answered correctly may include: When do confidentiality laws apply? How should a contract be terminated? What happens when one partner in a practice retires or dies? [More]

February 9th, 2018

Painting a life

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

When you reach a certain age and start thinking about retirement, you will get plenty of advice about how to stay healthy and mentally sharp when you stop working at the job that defined your career for most of your adult life. One thing you will hear over and over again is the importance of learning something new – a new language, skill, hobby or maybe even a whole new career. Lately, I’ve been learning about painting. To be clear about this statement, I am not actually taking art lessons and, while I enjoy doodling as much as the next [More]