Leading Stories, Articles

July 16th, 2020

Psychologists study what inspires protestors

By Eileen Weber

The most recent Black deaths at the hands of police have fueled protests across the country. But for some psychologists, their interests lie not in what they are protesting, but why they protest in the first place. And when they protest, why does it sometimes turn violent? As we have seen from a few of the recent George Floyd protests, there has been some rioting and looting. A 2018 collaborative study between the University of South Carolina, Stanford University, and the University of Toronto, posed that question: does violent protest backfire? In it, the researchers theorized that when things become [More]

July 14th, 2020

Working with clients of color requires training, more listening

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In a perfect world, the color of one’s skin should not affect a therapeutic relationship. However, this is America 2020 and it apparently does. For instance, studies have shown that therapy dropout rates are significantly higher for Blacks than for whites when they work with white therapists. “In general, African-Americans tend to have higher drop-out rates because therapy has historically been considered an institutional privilege,” said Martin Pierre, Ph.D, the president-elect of the Massachusetts Psychological Association (MPA). In a 2014 study by the Trauma Research Institute, at Alliant International University, San Diego, CA, researchers found communication problems cited by 82 [More]

June 26th, 2020

Self-care for psychologists in a time of uncertainty

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Coping with the ongoing uncertainty of the pandemic can lead to a barrage of symptoms most people don’t know how to manage. That is where psychologists come in, with advice and guidance on self-care that can help to steady the ship while we all navigate unsettled and unchartered waters. But what about the therapists themselves; what does self-care look like from the other side of the couch? “Even though everyone has been impacted differently, this trauma is unique in that we are experiencing this along with our clients,” said Ana Rodriquez, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist and founder of the Self-Care [More]

February 4th, 2020

Survey: Mass shootings, healthcare among top stressors

By Susan Gonsalves

Healthcare, mass shootings and the 2020 election are among the top stressors for Americans according to a survey by the American Psychological Association. Between August 1 and Sept. 2, 2019, the poll asked 3,617 adults to rate their level of stress as well as identify a variety of potential sources. Concerns about healthcare significantly affect about seven in 10 adults. More than half (64 percent) acknowledge that healthcare is stressing them out as least “sometimes.” Individuals with private insurance (71 percent) are more likely than those with public insurance (53 percent) to cite it as a stressor. Additionally, 55 percent [More]

January 4th, 2020

Pro Bono work provides benefits to all

By Catherine Robertson Souter

The best way to feel good is to do good. Not only does altruism help the world, but it has the added benefit of being therapeutic for oneself. For psychologists, doing pro bono work, sharing both time and expertise, meets both professional ethics guidelines and can contribute to a self-care regimen. “In the general principles of the APA Ethics Code, it states that, ‘psychologists strive to contribute a portion of their professional time for little or no compensation or personal advantage,’” said Sue Kim, Ph.D, New Hampshire Psychological Association secretary and membership committee chair. “While we know that the general [More]

August 28th, 2019

Even providers need help overcoming addiction stigma

By Janine Weisman

The instructor is explaining what addiction is to a group of health care providers at the Veterans Administration Connecticut Healthcare System campus in West Haven. But while the instructor talks, all of the physicians, nurses, administrators, psychologists, chaplains, social workers, and others assembled in the conference room are holding their breath. Fifty seconds into the discussion, the participants in this mini-residency on substance use disorders are not really focused on the topic anymore. But once they resume normal breathing, it’s an opening to talk about what addiction can feel like, said Brent A. Moore, Ph.D., research psychologist at VA Connecticut [More]

August 28th, 2019

Practical Practice: Continuing ed can provide learning, networking opportunities

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Nearly every state in the U.S. requires continuing education (CE) for renewing a psychology license. The requirements vary from Idaho’s 30 hours every three years to 60 hours every two years in Vermont, Arizona, and Washington. There are a few states that have no required amount of continuing ed credits and South Dakota inexplicably asks for “some” with no guidance on the exact amount. In New England, the requirements vary. New Hampshire and Maine ask for 40 hours every two years, Rhode Island is at 24 and Massachusetts requires 20. Of these hours, each state allows for a certain amount [More]

August 26th, 2019

APA calls on CMS to revise auditing practices after notices alarm psychologists

By Janine Weisman

The letters psychologists starting receiving last fall from a Medicare contractor stated they were for “educational purposes.” No reply was necessary. But they alarmed many who provide mental health care for those aged 65 and over and people with disabilities enrolled in Medicare, the federally-funded health insurance program overseen by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Recipients were sent a comparative billing statement (CBR) comparing their Medicare billing and service patterns with the averages for psychologists regionally and nationally. CMS calls a CBR an educational tool allowing a health care provider or supplier to compare their billing practices [More]

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]

January 5th, 2019

Where is the leadership in Mass. compensation debate?

By John Grohol, Psy.D.

Psychologists in Massachusetts are letting down their fellow citizens, as more and more clinical psychologists refuse to accept traditional health insurance for payment. In an in-depth article in the Oct. 21, 2018 issue of the Boston Globe, Liz Kowalczyk details the challenges citizens in Massachusetts face in getting psychological care through their insurance provider or through the government’s Medicaid program. The typical finger-pointing ensues in the article, with insurance companies and Medicaid claiming they are paying market rates ($72 for a 45-minute session) while trying to cut back on burdensome paperwork costs. Psychologists and other therapists claim it’s still not [More]

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