From the Practice Directorate

The APA Practice Directorate conducted a “Resilience for Kids & Teens” forum designed to teach young students how to better handle stress and respond more positively to traumatic events.

2005 State Leadership Conference

Psychology leaders from throughout the United States and Canada will participate in the APA Practice Organization's March 2005 State Leadership Conference, "Health and Behavior: Taking Psychology Back to the Future," March 5-8 in Washington, DC. Additional details will appear in the next issue of Division Dialogue.

Local Forums Target Resilience Skills

In early February, the APA Practice Directorate conducted a “Resilience for Kids & Teens” forum at Ft. Belvoir Elementary School in Ft. Belvoir, Virginia. The forum was designed to teach young students how to better handle stress and respond more positively to traumatic events.

Many of the children at the school, located on an Army post, have family members who have been deployed. Participating students learned that they have the ability to increase their own resilience skills through many different processes and activities, including having friends and being a friend, and looking on the bright side.

Ron Palomares, PhD, assistant executive director for policy and advocacy in the schools, led three resilience training sessions, for kids in kindergarten and first grade, second through fourth grade, and fifth and sixth grade. Surveys of students who participate in the forum will be used to gather preliminary data to evaluate the program.

The forum was based on the “Resilience for Kids & Teens” Toolkit developed in connection with APA's ongoing public education campaign.

”The staff at the school was so grateful that APA was able to come in and do this program for them,” said Helen Mitternight, Assistant Executive Director for Public Relations. “These are kids who have had to adapt to fear that their parents were involved in the Pentagon attack, to family members being deployed, and to frequent moves. School officials told us they really needed resilience skills.” 

Another Milestone: Louisiana Implements Prescriptive Authority Law

Professional psychology achieved another milestone in January as Louisiana became the second state in less than one month to implement a prescriptive authority law for appropriately trained and certified psychologists. The new law took effect Jan. 20, when regulations to implement the law were published in the Louisiana Register.

The law allows only psychologists who have completed a post-doctoral master’s degree in clinical psychopharmacology from a regionally accredited institution and have passed a national examination approved by the Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists to prescribe. The law limits prescriptive authority to medications for nervous and mental health disorders.

According to the statute and the regulations that implement it, the prescribing psychologist, termed a “medical psychologist” by the Louisiana law, will prescribe in consultation and collaboration with the patient's primary or attending physician, and with the concurrence of that physician. According to APA Executive Director for Professional Practice Russ Newman, PhD, JD, the regulatory framework for psychologists prescribing in Louisiana exemplifies good collaborative practice and will improve access to quality mental health services for residents in that state.

New Mexico was the first state to implement a first prescriptive authority law on January 7, 2005.

Call for Comments: Policy Statement and Position Paper from the APA Presidential Task Force on Evidence-based Practice

The APA Presidential Task Force on Evidence-Based Practice (EBP TF) Practice in Psychology is seeking comments from division leaders and members on its draft proposed policy statement and supporting position paper. The task force was appointed by 2005 APA President Ronald F. Levant, EdD, MBA, ABPP and held its first meeting in October 2004. Dr. Levant convened this task force to develop a definition of evidence-based psychological practice that could be widely supported across the many constituencies of APA and could be adopted as APA policy. Once adopted, the policy statement and supporting materials will be utilized to promote sound psychological practice while guarding against misuses of the concept of evidence-based practice in the health care delivery system.