VII had a highly successful program at the Annual Convention of the
APA in August in San Francisco. The diverse presenters covered topics
of central interest to the section, including suicide, violence, and
victimization, and emphasized the theme of assessment developed by
the Section VII President, Dr. Bob Yufit.
Dr. Yufit’s Presidential
Address on “Assessing Suicide Potential: The Vital Balance” was well
attended by a diverse audience including clinical psychologists, counseling
psychologists, school psychologists, and others. There was considerable
interest in his integrative and thought-provoking model for assessment
of suicide potential. Dr. Yufit was introduced by Dr. Phil Kleespies.
A highlight of
the program was the invited address given by John Monahan, Ph.D. on
“Violence as a Clinical Emergency: A New Approach to Risk Assessment”.
Dr. Monahan summarized major findings of the MacArthur Study of Violence
and Mental Disorder, considered by many to be the best designed study
of violence risk assessment ever done. [Those who were unable to hear
his address can read the details of the study and their implications
for clinical practice in Monahan, et. al (2001). Rethinking Risk Assessment:
The MacArthur Study of Mental Disorder and Violence. New York: Oxford
University Press.] In conjunction with his address, Dr. Monahan was
awarded the Section VII Career Achievement Award (see accompanying
A symposium on
“Emergency Psychological Assessment and Intervention with Victims
of Violence” generated much interest and a large audience. Heidi Resnick,
Ph.D. of the Medical University of South Carolina reviewed the epidemiological
and clinical aspects of emergency evaluation with victims of rape
and other violence. Daniel Weiss, Ph.D., of the University of California,
San Francisco provided a clinical and research update on emergency
intervention with victims of violence. Although it could not have
been foreseen at the time, some of the practical suggestions offered
by the presenters may well have provided a useful framework for audience
members who subsequently had to respond to the psychological needs
of victims of the terrorist violence that occurred within weeks after
The Section also
sponsored a symposium on Behavioral Emergencies in the Community:
Mental Health and Police Perspectives, in which each of the two main
presenters had backgrounds as both police officers and as psychologists.
Randy Borum, Psy.D. of the University of South Florida presented the
findings of a large-scale research project designed to improve the
outcome of high risk citizen-police encounters, such as when mentally
ill individuals are suicidal or violent in the community. Sgt. Forrest
Fulton, Ph.D., of the San Francisco Police Department, described some
of the practical considerations for psychologists when collaborating
with the police around management of patients’ behavioral emergencies
in the community. Discussants included Bruce Bongar, Ph.D., President-Elect
Designate, and Dale McNiel, Ph.D., President-Elect.
Thank you to
all of the Section VII members who made this year’s program such a
success. Any members who have ideas or suggestions for the 2002 APA
Convention in Chicago should contact the Section VII Program Committee,
Drs. Bruce Bongar (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Dale McNiel (email@example.com).
The theme of next year’s program will be Integrating Science and Practice
in responding to behavioral emergencies.