Monitor on Psychology - October 2011 - (Page 15)

From toilet to tap: Getting people to drink recycled water As the world’s population grows and the climate continues to change, many locales are facing severe shortages of drinking water. And while the technology exists to turn sewage into drinkable water, the trick is convincing people to swallow the stuff. Psychologist Carol J. Nemeroff, PhD, discussed this problem in a presentation entitled “Public Acceptability Psychologists are working to convince of Recycled Water: people that sewage treatment really Getting the Cognitive can create potable water. Sewage Out After the Physical Sewage Is Gone” at the 2011 Annual APA Convention. Nemeroff, an expert in so-called magical thinking and contagion research, talked about the challenge of moving people beyond the image they have of “toilet to tap.” She described a technology called tertiary recycling, a three-level system that starts with sewage and ends with “really excellent, good quality water.” It’s great stuff, she said, but people don’t want to drink it. A tertiary recycling system is in place in Los Angeles, for example, but the water is used primarily for irrigation. “Currently, nobody drinks it,” she said. The problem is what’s been termed the magical law of contagion, she said, which essentially says once something has come in contact with something disgusting, it’s always in contact in people’s minds. She described a five-city survey she conducted to gain better understanding of the level of purification that would move people toward drinking recycled water. When respondents were asked whether they were willing to drink recycled water (it was defined in the question), 38 percent said they were willing, 49 percent were uncertain and 13 percent said no. “We need to break the perceived connection between water and its history of sewage,” she said. —K. MILLS OCTOBER 2011 • MONITOR ON PSYCHOLOGY What’s ahead for psychology practice? To keep practice moving forward, psychologists need to continue the fight for proper implementation of parity for mental health and substance use disorder treatment, appropriate reimbursement for psychological services, leadership roles for psychologists in evolving systems of care under health-care reform, and prescriptive authority for appropriately trained psychologists, said panelists at an APA 2011 Annual Convention session. Over the past 30 years, the profession has made significant strides, such as securing a place for psychological services in health-insurance reimbursement, said Sanford Portnoy, PhD, chair of APA’s Committee for the Advancement of Professional Practice (CAPP). But now as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act gets implemented, he said, psychologists must work to ensure that they’re properly compensated for their services and that they determine evidence-based treatment guidelines for practice — and not insurers. “We ran into a situation a few years ago where the insurance companies began to develop their own treatment guidelines — for example, Blue Cross Blue Shield in Massachusetts — and slashed reimbursement rates,” said Portnoy. “It was at that point that CAPP and some other groups at APA decided that we needed to take that back.” An association-wide effort to develop evidence-based clinical treatment guidelines is under way. APA has also forestalled cuts to Medicare psychotherapy reimbursement rates and is working to ensure that psychological testing data is given the same privacy protection as psychotherapy notes in the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, said Katherine C. Nordal, PhD, APA’s executive director for professional practice. But more challenges are coming, she said. “With the Deficit Reduction Act that just passed, we are headed for some rough-and-tumble times, which could include additional cuts in fees paid to all Medicare providers,” she said. Psychologists can help fight these and other legislative threats through the APA Practice Organization’s Legislative Action Center, http://capwiz. com/apapractice. —B. MURRAY LAW 15

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Monitor on Psychology - October 2011

Monitor on Psychology - October 2011
President’s Column
Subtle and stunning slights
From the CEO
Live science on the showroom floor
Zimbardo re-examines his landmark study
Ready, set, mentor
Attention students and ECPs: Self-care is an ‘ethical imperative’
Suicide risk is high among war veterans in college, study finds
Psychotherapy is effective and here’s why
From toilet to tap: getting people to drink recycled water
What’s ahead for psychology practice?
A push for more accountability is changing the accreditation process
Peer, parental support prove key to fighting childhood obesity
Popular media’s message to girls
Bullying may contribute to lower test scores
A consequence of cuckoldry: More (and better) sex?
Manatees’ exquisite sense of touch may lead them into dangerous waters
Building a better tomato
How will China’s only children care for their aging parents?
‘Spice’ and ‘K2’: New drugs of abuse now on the market
Many suspects don’t understand their right to remain silent
In Brief
Boosting minority achievement
Where’s the progress?
And social justice for all
Helping new Americans find their way
Segregation’s ongoing legacy
A new way to combat prejudice
Retraining the biased brain
Suppressing the ‘white bears’
How to eat better — mindlessly
Protect your aging brain
Must babies always breed marital discontent?
Outing addiction
Flourish 2051
The danger of stimulants
Keys to making integrated care work
Is technology ruining our kids?
Facebook: Friend or foe?
The promise of Web 3.0
NIMH invests in IT enhanced interventions
Science Directions
Science Directions
PsycAdvocates work to safeguard key programs
The psychology of spending cuts
APA’s strategic plan goes live
Visionary leaders
Vote on bylaws amendments

Monitor on Psychology - October 2011