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Behavioral Emergencies Update

In this issue...

The 109th Annual APA Convention


Awards Presented

Minutes from the Section 7 Business Meeting

Helping Youth Cope with Terrorism

Task Force Update

Graduate Student Spotlight

Publication Highlights

Special Offer for Section VII Members




Highlights From the 109th Annual
APA Convention

By Dale E. McNiel, Ph.D., Section VII Program Chair
University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine

     Section 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 article below.)

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 convention.

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 ( and Dale McNiel ( The theme of next year’s program will be Integrating Science and Practice in responding to behavioral emergencies.