Columnists, Articles

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 [More]

March 23rd, 2020

Living in three worlds

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

The 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 [More]

January 4th, 2020

Navigating layers of change

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

One 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 [More]

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 [More]

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. Anderson, [More]

July 5th, 2019

Research: Patients gain benefits from exercise program

By Susan Gonsalves

Inpatients 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. In [More]

July 5th, 2019

NH aims to reduce emergency boarding

By Catherine Robertson Souter

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 [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]

May 12th, 2019

Walden’s CEO combines clinical background with business skills

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In the country’s convoluted health care system, forging a path towards recovery can be frustrating at best and a setup for failure at worst. A patchwork system, grown organically over the years as need arises or funding is available, US health care encompasses a wide variety of services, both public and private, for and not-for-profit. It can be overwhelming for individuals trying to navigate and find help for themselves or  loved ones, especially for mental health services. With its whole person approach, Walden Behavioral Care, a Waltham, Massachusetts-based mental health care system that specializes in treating eating disorders, looks to [More]