Articles, Subscribers

July 10th, 2021

When your patient gets angry

By Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D.

If you’ve grown up on Marvel Comics, you know the Incredible Hulk’s line: “Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.” Some of our patients are like that. Underneath their seemingly calm presentation, they are angry. They are angry at the world. They are angry at life. They are angry at everyone they think wronged them. They even get angry at us! When such patients are triggered, they can be as intimidating as the Hulk.

If we are to deal with significantly depressed patients or individuals who have been terribly wronged or people with borderline personality disorder or those in the throes of a schizophrenic episode, or couples who are at war, we need to be able to ride out the storms of patient anger unafraid.

July 9th, 2021

Hallucinogenic agents: pros and cons of psychedelic therapy

By Phyllis Hanlon

As a young man, Rick Barnett sought to “find himself” through psychedelic drugs. His journey began as exploration but in time became problematic.

However, during this experimental stage, Barnett, Psy.D, LADC, MS clinical psychopharmacology in Stowe, Vermont, discovered that hallucinogenic substances “had the potential to change people’s minds and perceptions.”

Some 25 years later, Barnett became reinvigorated and reinterested in benefits attributed to hallucinogenic drugs through Michael Pollan’s book, “How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence.”

Barnett’s past personal experience and newfound interest in this area led him to enroll in the Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS).…

October 8th, 2020

FDA ban on shock device affects one school

By Eileen Weber

This past spring, the Food and Drug Administration banned the use of electrical stimulation devices (ESDs) because they present an “unreasonable and substantial risk of illness or injury” to patients with aggressive or self-injurious behavior.

The ban is nation-wide but directly impacts one school—the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center (JRC) in Canton, Mass. The device has been used for decades at the residential school for people with autism and other psychiatric, developmental, or mental disabilities. It is the only facility in the U.S. that uses the technique on its residents.

“Since ESDs were first marketed more than 20 years ago, we have gained a better understanding of the danger these devices present to public health,” said William Maisel, MD, M.P.H.,…

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 help.…

March 23rd, 2020

Living in three worlds

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

depressionThe man is smiling now, released from the grip of the terrible depression that brought him to the hospital so many years ago. He smiles often as he anticipates his next trip to a restaurant in the city with his social worker. Movement from the locked hospital setting to the community is slow.

Evaluations for safety must be completed, tribunals of experts convinced, judges brought on board, permissions given, obstacles anticipated, solutions planned, and steps taken, one at a time, into the wider world.

He has run the course of illness and recovery, guilt and forgiveness, and has begun the journey back to a better version of the life he left behind.…

January 4th, 2020

Navigating layers of change

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

hospital Bodnar photoOne day last fall, my colleague Martin asked if I had seen what had become of the hospital where we used to work. Martin is the hospital’s memory, and his passion for history and the natural world makes him someone I take very seriously. So, when he told me that they had turned the place into luxury condos, I had to go and see for myself.

Later that same afternoon, I turned off the main street onto the hospital road and into a landscape that bore little resemblance to the grounds I had walked with my patients for nearly two decades.…

November 4th, 2019

Psychologist Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin weighs in on vaping

By Catherine Robertson Souter

E-cigarettes were originally introduced as a tool to help cigarette smokers quit. It was probably a sign of things to come, though, when retailers set up booths in shopping malls to reach clients. Flash forward 13 years from when the products were introduced to the United States, to where the market for e-cigarettes has seen unparalleled growth, a new nickname, “vaping,” and devices that no longer resemble the cigarette of yore.

With greater awareness around teens using the products in schools and a recent spate of as-yet-unexplained lung-related illness and deaths, vaping has been more in the news in the past year or two.…

October 10th, 2019

Psychologist disseminates autism research, best practices

By Catherine Robertson Souter

According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in 59 children will be diagnosed with autism, many by age four.

This number has grown over the past few decades, perhaps because of greater recognition or to changes made in the diagnostic criteria. And, right along with the increase in prevalence, the amount of research being done on the disorder has expanded. But, as is typical with research in many fields, the path from the laboratory to the clinician’s office is not always a straight line.

Getting that information out to organizations, schools, and practitioners is key, said Cynthia M.…

July 5th, 2019

Research: Patients gain benefits from exercise program

By Susan Gonsalves

Excercise for mental healthInpatients with a range of mental health disorders reported improvements in mood and self-image following participation in an exercise and nutrition program at the University of Vermont Medical Center.

Lead author David Tomasi, Ph.D., Ed.D-Ph.D, said that implementation of the research program was a natural progression of the “integrative modalities,” UVMC has used before in its clinical psychology practice. Tai chi, free body movement, and psycho education topics like self-esteem were incorporated into patient care.

“We are pretty unique in that the University of Vermont has always been one of the first pioneers of natural-based, integrative approaches,” Tomasi said.…

July 5th, 2019

NH aims to reduce emergency boarding

By Catherine Robertson Souter

New Hampshire As part of a much broader plan to institute changes to a mental health care system that has seen serious degradation over the past three decades, the New Hampshire legislature recently passed a bill aimed at addressing the issue of emergency room boarding for men and women facing mental health crises. The bill was signed into law by Governor Chris Sununu in late May.

New Hampshire’s mental health care system was once listed as the second best in the country according to the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) but had sunk to 32nd by 2011 (and risen slightly to 20th by 2014).