MN Psychologist Online

Letter From MPA President Steve Girardeau

This is a challenging time for our profession. We face challenges on a day-to-day basis with our clients, and recently we have found ourselves facing significant challenges with insurance companies. First came challenges with the transition of BCBSMN to Magellan. MPA has helped to address some of those concerns through the efforts of our Payer Committee, and those efforts will continue. Unfortunately, unannounced rate reductions began on July 1st, followed by an explanatory letter from BCBSMN, which led to even greater levels of confusion, anger, and fear for many providers. MPA participated in a community meeting sponsored by NAMI last week and helped to facilitate a meeting with BCBSMN executives on 9/11/17, which included representatives from NAMI and other organizations.

From that meeting, BCBSMN acknowledged they had not communicated effectively and had not taken the concerns and needs of providers into account in their recent decisions. The other participants expressed a great many concerns related to their planned changes and how those decisions would impact providers in the short, medium, and long term. In an hour long meeting, it became apparent the rate changes have been rolled back as stated in the letter sent to MPA members last week. The overpayment correction remains in place, as it was a clear departure above the rate in contracts. Be that as it may, BCBSMN indicated it is their intention to work with providers on how to collect the overpayment in a manner that will not be detrimental to the practices impacted. It is MPA’s intention to continue to advocate for no return of overpayments, as doing so would be too great a hardship for providers.

Read More

MPA President-Elect Remarks

These are my first remarks in my role as President-Elect, and serve as a prelude to my year as President beginning January 1, 2018. I plan to use this forum to keep MPA members informed both about what the organization is doing and how it is doing it. My comments will appear on the website approximately every other month, and at times more frequently as is warranted. In each of my reports to you, I will provide some depth on a particular aspect of MPA and how it works. In today’s comments, I give my sense of what we are about, what we focus on, and what we believe. I also briefly mention some pressing matters regarding reimbursement for services and briefly discuss our annual meeting set to occur in April of 2018. I close by again introducing you to the Harrington Company, our new Association Management Company (AMC), and to our new Executive Director, Michelle Herr.

What are we about? Unlike a business, a practice, or an academic setting, our association is a group of psychologists who choose to affiliate through being members. Our purpose is to support both the field of psychology and the profession of psychology. Most of our members are professional licensed psychologists; it is important to promote the development of professional psychology and to protect our profession when needed. We also are part of a larger group of psychologists who embrace the broad aspirations of our field. This means we will speak out on broader issues that are important for all of us. Our recent statement on the tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia, is an example of our underlying beliefs and commitment to freedom from violence, discrimination, and support for free and respectful speech. We want our tent to be large and broad and provide a warm welcome to all psychologists - especially those who come from differing cultural backgrounds. We desire to be a diverse, inclusive, and respectful group that strives to assist, as feasible, in reducing unequal and inherent disparities in our various communities. These beliefs are a fundamental part of MPA’s core values.

Read More

Student Division Update

Hello from the Student Division. We are excited to give an update covering the last year’s events. First, I would like to start by introducing myself. My name is Bronwyn Neeser and I am a third year PsyD student at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. I was elected co-chair of the Student Division my first year in the program. My predecessor, C.J. Swanlund, left very large shoes to fill but am glad that I took on the challenge. I took my first year to learn what MPA is all about, how the association works, and what it can offer students.

Needless to say, I am honored to serve on the General Council. The way in which the council strives to have open and honest communication with the board and members--offering information, opportunities, and news--is impressive. I obtained a co-chair, Erika Brink, in January of 2017. She is also a third year PsyD Student at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. Together, we decided that a mission statement and a revamp of goals would benefit the Student Division. Although we missed the opportunity to represent the division at the Annual MPA Convention, we look forward to participating in 2018.

Read More

Lessons Learned: The Importance of Clinical Documentation

Lessons Learned: The Importance of Clinical Documentation

By Don Wiger, Ph.D., LP

Read More

Recognizing MPA Members

Sadly, Minnesota lost three distinguished psychologists over the past couple of months.

Bill Percy
Bill was a long time member and leader at MPA. Bill worked at HSI in Washington County (now Canvas Health) and the Range Mental Health Center. Bill was also a long time consulting editor for the Minnesota Psychologist.

Will Grove
Will was long time Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University and was also a volunteer at Walk-In Counseling for many years. 

Adrienne Barnwell
Adrienne had a forty year career in child and pediatric psychology holding lead positions in pediatric psychology at Regions Hospital, and then Gillette Children’s Specialty Health.

New Member Spotlight - Heidi Bausch

New Member Spotlight - Heidi Bausch

1) What is your background in psychology (e.g., education)

Read More

In Memoriam: Thomas Paul Carrillo, Ph.D., LP


January 21, 1952 - June 2, 2017

Read More

When You Leave a Clinic: Keep Your Reputation

It has been a pleasure working as a psychologist, in Minnesota, since the early 90s. During that time, I have learned many lessons that were not taught to me in graduate school. Some simply take common sense to figure out, while others are the result of falling down a few times. Here, I present a lesson never taught to me in grad school.

What happened? My first position as a psychologist was at a very large clinic in the Twin Cities. I was so proud to be hired by a place so well known. During my interview, I met the owner, manager, and several therapists. They certainly knew how to recruit. When I showed up for work a few days later, the only people there were the owner, one of the clerical staff, and a couple therapists. There were papers all over the floor, as if the place had been vandalized. I was told that one of their lead therapists, and others, had spent the night in the clinic copying clients’ charts. They had secretly told each of their clients they were opening a new clinic. The owner of my new clinic knew nothing about it. My new clinic eventually went out of business. To me, it was very sad for the owner, and quite greedy, or disheartening, for the therapists to take the business away from the clinic that spent much in time and money to obtain these referrals.

Read More

A Review of Becoming Nicole, by Amy Ellis Nutt

On April 14, 2017, Minnesota Public Radio reported that a group of parents in Virginia, MN had dropped a lawsuit against their school district. They had been trying to prevent students from using bathrooms appropriate to their gender identity. A few weeks earlier, the North Carolina legislature had overturned their own law that had stated that students must use the bathroom appropriate to the sex listed on their birth certificates. Money had prevailed over bigotry, the state having lost a great deal of money from corporations withdrawing business from North Carolina because of that law.  

Nicole’s earlier struggle for equality was heard by Maine Supreme Court in January, 2014. Becoming Nicole takes us to the late 90s when Wyatt, an identical twin who had identified as female from age two, encountered harassment when he used the girls’ restroom. His school, which had been supportive of him until a multiple stall bathroom for fifth graders raised this issue for the first time, failed to support him. Many years later, by the time a lawsuit against the school had been resolved, a boy who had bullied Nicole/Wyatt, wondered whether her identical twin was disappointed about losing a brother. Jonas never was, and once said to Nicole, “I never had a brother. You were always a sister to me.”

Read More

Letter from MPA President Steve Girardeau

A very happy spring to all my fellow Minnesota Psychologists.

A lot has happened since I last checked in with you all.

Read More

Rural and Greater Minnesota Division Update - April 30, 2017

The mission of the Rural and Greater Minnesota Division of the Minnesota Psychological Association is to enhance rural practice through advocacy, representation, and education. Rural psychological practice is highly rewarding as practitioners have a significant impact on their own communities and the state. Psychologists working in small communities are part of the first responders for critical incidents, emergencies, and the emotional well-being of rural residents. Rural psychologists often observe the direct impact of behavioral health services on their communities, while helping to maintain a productive rural workforce. It is this workforce that provides the agricultural and manufacturing resources that support larger cities in the state and nationally.

Recent Rural & Greater Minnesota Division activities include the on-going planning of the Rural Behavioral Health Conference by Coordinator Dr. Kay Slama, and co-chairs Dr. Scott Palmer and Dr. Willie Garrett. The conference is web-based and offers all practitioners rural-specific training. The conference is inexpensive and high value, with national speakers, for up to 7.5 CEs. Past training topics have included integrated behavioral healthcare ethics, substance abuse, GLBT, diversity and cultural minorities, suicide interventions, the Affordable Care Act, school based interventions, and military deployment and reintegration. Rural students and educators also present poster session research. Attendees cross seven time zones and offer diverse perspectives on rural practice. The next Rural Behavioral Health Conference is October 6, 2017.   

Read More

2017 Minnesota Psychological Association's Annual Convention Award Winners

Award:  Susan T. Rydell Outstanding Contribution to Psychology Award
Recipient:  Steven P. Gilbert, Ph.D., ABPP, LP

From left to right: Steven P. Gilbert and Duane Ollendick

Read More

In Memoriam: Sherman E. Nelson, Ph.D.

Born the youngest of six children in Northeast Minneapolis in 1928, Dr. Sherman E. Nelson died in February of this year. Sherm was the therapist’s therapist.  In 1966, I met him while he was treating another graduate student. Over the years, he treated many. He was a professor in the clinical psychology program at the U of M and taught and mentored many until his retirement in 2000.

He was the youngest in his doctoral class in 1952, and went to work at the Minneapolis VA Hospital.  After three years, Sherm became the second local psychologist to go into private practice.  His career was spent at the Minneapolis Clinic of Psychiatry and Neurology, where he headed the psychology department.  His wife, Denise Lillian Nelson, is also a psychologist as is one of his daughters, Liane Nelson.

Read More

Letter from MPA President Steve Girardeau

Greetings fellow Minnesota Psychologists,

It has been an interesting start to the year for MPA in ways that many of you are unaware. 

Read More

Welcoming Minnesota Psychologist Editor Kim Stewart

After four years of dedicated service, Beth Lewis stepped down as editor of the Minnesota Psychologist Online.  We will miss Beth, and are thankful for her commitment to delivering relevant and informative articles for our members over the years. 

We are pleased to introduce our new editor, Kim Stewart.  Kim graduated from the University of St. Thomas in 2016, with a master’s degree in counseling psychology, including a concentration in marriage & family therapy. 

Read More

MPA First Friday Forum: Health Disparities: The Psychological Impact of Breast and Prostate Cancer on African-American Families

On February 3, 2017, the Minnesota Psychological Association and the Metropolitan State University Psychology Department hosted a First Friday Forum titled: “Health Disparities: The Psychological Impact of Breast and Prostate Cancer on African-American Families.”  The presentation was led by Willie Garrett, M.S., LP, Ed.D.  Dr. Garrett is a licensed psychologist with over 35 years of experience working with children, adolescents, adults, and elderly clients both in urban and rural settings.  He is actively involved in MPA, and was the 2016 award recipient for Outstanding Career Achievement in Black Psychology (currently the John M. Taborn Award for Outstanding Contributions as a Mental Health Provider of African Descent).

Dr. Garrett’s presentation was very informative and eye-opening.  He provided various statistics related to breast and prostate cancer, and discussed emotional, psychological, and financial implications African-American families face as a result of this “invisible epidemic” (Garrett, 2017).  There was one statistic that stood out the most.  According to the American Cancer Society, trends in cancer death rates between 1975-2014 show that African-American women have higher death rates than White women.  What made this statistic so powerful was that African-American women actually have lower cancer incidence rates than White women.  

Read More

Frank B. Wilderson, Jr. Honored with John M. Taborn Award

On February 3, 2017, Frank B. Wilderson, Jr., Ph.D., LP, was recognized as the 2017 recipient of the John M. Taborn Award for Outstanding Contributions as a Mental Health Provider of African Descent.  A reception was held in his honor at the Metropolitan State University Founders Hall in St. Paul. 

Dr. Wilderson is a professor emeritus in the Department of Educational Psychology and co-director of the Center for Research on Correctional Education.  He received his B.A. in education from Xavier University in Louisiana and his M.A. and Ph.D. in child development and educational psychology from the University of Michigan.  He is now retired after 39 years at the University of Minnesota where he held multiple positions. He was a faculty member, becoming the first chair of the Department of African-American Studies; he was an Assistant Dean; and he was the first African American among the University’s vice presidents, serving for 14 years in that role. 

Read More

State Beat: Stories from the Hill

Several hundred psychologists traveled to Washington, D.C., to advocate for expanded mental health care coverage during the Practice Leadership Conference. (Note: This included our own Andrew Fink and Matthew Syzdek -- see end of article.)

Every March, psychology’s leaders from all over the United States and Canada convene in Washington, D.C., for the Practice Leadership Conference. On the final day of the conference — after three days of rigorous dialogue, education and advocacy training — delegates from each state go to Capitol Hill to lobby their senators and representatives on behalf of their patients and profession.

Read More

From MPA's President Steve Girardeau, Psy.D., LP: You asked for it, and we will provide it!

A new year has begun and with it my increased responsibilities to MPA.  I say increased, rather than new responsibilities because it is my belief that we have a responsibility to give back to the profession that we have chosen and to be a part of protecting and building psychology’s place in the future of health care.   To that end I have served on the MPA Legislative Committee, the Governing Council, the Executive Committee and now serve you all as president.

In that time, I have come to realize that in many ways MPA has lost its way.  It has moved away from our natural role of a professional association, with responsibilities as a “guild” for the profession.  This became especially clear in our survey of members last year which identified “protection” as the most important responsibility for the association.  We heard that message and have acted.

Read More

Integration of Behavioral Health in Population-Based Approaches to Caring for Patients in Primary Care (Based on the presentation given at the MPA Annual Convention April 2016)

In May 2008, the Minnesota legislature adopted health care reform legislation that allows primary care clinics in Minnesota to become certified as Health Care Homes (HCH).  The HCH program provides “an approach to primary care in which primary care providers, families and patients work in partnership to improve health outcomes and quality of life for individuals with chronic or complex health conditions (Minnesota Department of Health, Health Care Homes).”  The goals for HCH are based on the “Triple Aim” put forth by the Institute for Health Care Improvement.  These aims are 1) improving patients’ experience of care, 2) improving health from a population perspective, all while 3) reducing the cost of health care (Institute for Health Care Improvement).

This shifted the perspective of many primary care clinics, as clinics tended to focus on patients who showed up asking for care.  These aims ask clinics to proactively reach beyond their clinic walls and provide evidence-based care for patients in a systematic manner.  Population health has been defined as “the health outcomes of a group of individuals, including the distribution of such outcomes within the group.”  At the core of population management is defining a group of patients (e.g., those on chronic opioids, patients with elevated PHQ-9 scores, patients with diabetes with blood pressures over a set point, etc.) and using available data to actively follow and review patients to ensure the condition is being optimally managed in relation to available evidence-based guidelines for treatment.

Read More