The 109th Annual APA Convention
from the Section 7 Business Meeting
Youth Cope with Terrorism
Task Force Update
Offer for Section VII Members
FORCE ON EDUCATION AND TRAINING
IN BEHAVIORAL EMERGENCIES:
M. Kleespies, Ph.D.
Past President and Task Force Chair
I have not reported on this topic in a while, our efforts to advocate
for improved graduate education and training in the evaluation and
management of behavioral emergencies are alive and well. Our Task
Force Report on Education and Training was submitted to the APA Board
of Educational Affairs (BEA), the APA Committee on Accreditation (COA),
and the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers
(APPIC). It was positively received by all three of these groups,
and APPIC published an abridged version of the Report in their July,
of the Task Force and Section VII has been that all psychology clinicians
and counselors need training in this area of practice since all should
be prepared to deal with the life-threatening emergencies that can
arise in professional work with emotionally disturbed clients or patients.
Our Task Force Report details the deficiencies of our current educational
system in uniformly preparing psychology practitioners to evaluate
and manage clients or patients who may become suicidal, potentially
violent to others, or vulnerable to interpersonal victimization.
In this regard,
it is worthy of note that the Surgeon General of the United States,
Dr. David Satcher, in his recently published report "National Strategy
for Suicide Prevention: Goals and Objectives for Action" (2001), has
commented that "many mental health professionals are not adequately
trained to provide proper assessment, treatment, and management of
suicidal patients and clients" (p. 79). The report has made Objective
6.3 to read as follows:
2005, increase the proportion of clinical social work, counseling,
and psychology graduate programs that include training in the assessment
and management of suicide risk, and the identification and promotion
of protective factors (p. 82).
We fully agree
with the Surgeon General's objective, but would extend it to education
and training in the evaluation and management of the potentially violent
patient as well as to those who are vulnerable to victimization.
Through our contacts
with the BEA and the COA, we have been advised that in order to achieve
our objective, we will need to advocate not only with the relevant
APA organizational groups, but also with the influential and APA-affiliated
Training Councils such as the Council of University Directors of Clinical
Psychology (CUDCP), the National Council of Schools of Professional
Psychology (NCSPP), the Council of Counseling Psychology Training
Programs (CCPTP), the Council of Directors of School Psychology Programs
(CDSPP), etc. To this end, members of the Section VII Board began
discussions with representatives of CUDCP and NCSPP at the recent
APA Convention in San Francisco.
efforts were well received by the leadership of both of the above
organizations. NCSPP has circulated our abridged Task Force Report
to all of its member programs. The leadership of CUDCP has suggested
that CUDCP might pass a resolution affirming the importance of education
in behavioral emergencies and encouraging member programs to provide
appropriate training. It is hoped that NCSPP will also consider such
a resolution. Supportive statements from such important educational
councils inform those who develop training standards in APA (e.g.,
the COA) about what training and education is considered essential
by graduate programs.
our agenda for education and training have been uniformly positive.
We need to deliver our message to all of the concerned parties and
elicit their cooperation in making it a standard that practitioners
obtain training in this crucial area of practice. With your support,
I look forward to the continued pursuit of this goal as your Task
Dr. Bob Yufit is developing an informational brochure on the handling
of behavioral crises, especially with suicidal and violent individuals.
He would welcome any feedback from members who may have developed
such brochures on their own, or are aware of any such brochures developed
by others. If you have information to share, please contact him at