Leading Stories, Articles

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]

November 10th, 2018

Another chance to get it right

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

As much as anything, fall offers us another chance to get it right and another chance to think about what that really means. In this time of endings and beginnings, we put the garden to bed for the winter, gather up and dispose of summer’s answer to springtime’s promise, and once again prepare the earth for a new carpet of green that we can only hope will cover the bare spots in the lawn. Done right, these chores should produce a tidy landscape where nature can work her magic over the long, cold New England winter just so the cycle [More]

November 8th, 2018

In the #METoo era, psychologists adopt various strategies to assist victims of sexual abuse

By Phyllis Hanlon

The #MeToo movement opened a floodgate, giving a voice to victims of sexual abuse and harassment. While public revelations have empowered some women, others are reliving past sexual abuse incidents, leading to recurrence of psychological issues. In recent years, stigma surrounding sexual abuse has decreased somewhat, according to New York psychologist Julia Vigna Bosson, Ph.D. “It’s not completely gone, but as more come forward, it seems to break down barriers and give survivors courage to seek help,” she said. On the other hand, watching a woman talk about her story could be a trigger. “This doesn’t mean the person should [More]

June 13th, 2018

The power of hard stories

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

As I sat listening to a discussion on the topic of writing hard stories at the recent Newburyport literary festival, I thought of my colleagues in psychology and wished you could hear the message the panel came to deliver. Perhaps some of you were in the audience and heard what the presenters had to say, but for those of you who had better things to do on a springtime Saturday, this one is for you. Psychologists, like writers, are all about the story. When we listen to our patients telling us about the challenges in their lives, we are listening [More]

April 8th, 2018

School shootings offer no easy answers

By John Grohol, Psy.D.

Not a year goes by in America where we don’t suffer through another horrible mass shooting at a school, perpetrated by a young adult or teenager with a gun. Despite the outcry from both sides, however, there are no clear or easy answers on how to reduce or altogether stop school shootings from taking place. We are a nation born of violence, which we then codified into our Constitution. And while it’s perfectly sensible to suggest reasonable limitations on gun purchases, such solutions all but turn a blind eye to the reality of guns in our nation. Today, there are [More]

February 11th, 2018

Transitions

By John Grohol, Psy.D.

Life is all about transitions. It’s what keeps things interesting and challenges our complacency. I’m honored to take over the reins of New England Psychologist, an independent voice that began life as Massachusetts Psychologist in 1993 by Denise Yocum, Psy.D., expanding to all of New England in 2002. Dr. Yocum approached me at the beginning of October to discuss the possibility of purchasing the publication after deciding the time was ripe for retirement. Following a few discussions, it became clear we were aligned in both interests and beliefs. I want to take a moment to thank Dr. Yocum for her [More]