General, Leading Stories, Articles

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]

July 14th, 2020

COVID-19 changes in training lead to access improvement

By New England Psychologist Staff

In late March, the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) decided to revise what counts toward clinical psychology graduate student training hours, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The APPIC change now allows students to include telehealth services, which includes therapy and assessment via video or phone, in their log of hours. Given that it is recommended that students complete approximately 800 hours of clinical activities before applying for internship, this is an important and positive change for psychology graduate students and the population as whole. Here’s why. First, clear guidelines are now provided for which specific modalities [More]

April 18th, 2020

Working towards cultural competence in therapy

By New England Psychologist Staff

For the therapist, cultural competence is the ability to provide therapy than can overcome cultural barriers that exist between the patient and the therapist. The more a therapist knows about a patient’s culture, the more likely that person will feel comfortable. In a world where therapists and clients shared homogenous backgrounds, cultural competency would not be an issue. For therapists practicing today in the United States, however, this is not the case. According to the U.S. census, 23.5 percent of the population identifies as non-white and 13.4 percent are foreign-born. The United States is home to people who come from [More]

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]

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 12th, 2019

Telepsychology: Is it the future of treatment?

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Technology has become an integral part of our daily world. We ask Alexa about the weather, tell Siri to place a phone call and use voice recognition software to write emails. How far a step is it, then, to reach out to a therapist via technology? Telepsychology, or telehealth, the practice of providing psychological services over telecommunication equipment, is not exactly a new facet of the profession. Since video conferencing equipment was first developed in the 1990s, there has been a slow, but steady, expansion of therapists who offer the option. Insurance coverage has been a bit slow to follow, [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]

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]

May 11th, 2018

Book on play is research-based, practical

By New England Psychologist Staff

In “Play and Creativity in Psychotherapy,” Terry Marks-Tarlow, Marion Solomon, and Daniel J. Siegel demonstrate that play can have a significant role in the healing process. Taking the time to relearn how to play as an adult can help build resilience, creativity, and spontaneity for both clients and therapists. As children, it is natural to explore and use play as a way of learning. But as adults, we are supposed to be more serious. We are often overly concerned with how we appear to others, and too often move through life with the logical parts of our brains. Fortunately, it [More]

February 9th, 2018

Psychologists grapple with issues of racism, diversity in therapy

By Pamela Berard

As the world becomes more diverse, it’s a good time for psychologists to have a social justice philosophy for their practices, according to Charmain F. Jackman, Ph.D. Everybody benefits when we’re all working toward cultural competency,” said Jackman, a licensed clinical/forensic psychologist whose metro-Boston area private practice, Innovative Psychological Services, recently hosted a panel discussion, “Join the Conversation: Navigating Racism & Other ‘Isms’ in Therapy.” Attendees discussed strategies for mental health professionals to effectively address issues such as racism, xenophobia and heterosexism, whether working with clients who have experienced discrimination, with clients who express offensive comments in sessions or through [More]

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