Behavioral Emergencies Update
In this issue...

The President's Column:
Behavioural Emergencies: Some Current Issues for Clinical Psychologists

Highlights from the 110th Annual APA Convention

Psychology and Terrorism

Adolescent Growth Spurt

Challenges in the Field of Adolescent Suicide Research

Taskforce on Education and Training in Behavioral Emergencies

An Editorial Comment: Assessment of Self-harm, Suicide and Violence Potential

Minutes from the Section VII Business Meeting

Special Offer for Section VII Members



Section VII Home

Task Force on Education and Training
in Behavioural Emergencies

Phil M. Kleespies, Ph.D.
Treasurer and Task Force Chair

In the preceding issue of Behavioral Emergencies Update, it was noted that the Task Force on Education and Training in Behavioral Emergencies had initiated a survey of all 561 pre-doctoral internship programs that are members of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC). The purpose of the survey was to determine which internship programs offer training in behavioral emergencies so that internship applicants who desire such training might know where to apply. I am pleased to announce that, with the cooperation of the APPIC Board of Directors, we have now completed that survey. I would like to thank Section VII’s former Student Representative, Jason Spiegelman (University of Akron), and our current Student Representative, Daniel DeBrule (University of Southern Mississippi), for their invaluable assistance in all aspects of this project.

One hundred and fifty-four (154) of the 561 APPIC programs (@27%) responded to a questionnaire stating that training in behavioral emergencies was a component of their internship programs. A Directory of these programs has been compiled and includes information related to whether the training is required or optional, how much time is devoted to clinical experience with behavioral emergencies and crises, whether there are lectures or seminars on emergency-related topics, and whether there is supervision specifically for emergency cases. It is hoped that this directory will be a resource not only for internship applicants, but also for graduate and professional program faculty who are interested in seeing that their students have this important training opportunity.

The Directory can be accessed on the APPIC web site under Training Resources or by going directly to: It is also posted on the Section VII web site at:

Although we are pleased to have completed and posted this directory on the internet, we believe that there is one sobering implication of the findings for graduate and professional programs; i.e., if only 27% of internship programs have indicated that they offer training in behavioral emergencies, it can hardly be assumed that students will necessarily obtain such training when they go on their internships. Section VII’s position continues to be that there is a need (at all levels - graduate school, practicum, and internship) for an increased emphasis on education and training in this critical area of practice. The Section VII Task Force Report on Education and Training in Behavioral Emergencies (accessible on our web site at the internet address given above) provides evidence that (1) nearly all Psychology practitioners need to deal with clients or patients who are at risk of life-threatening behavior at some time in their professional careers; (2) the impact of dealing with such behaviors can be very stressful for clinicians and especially for those still in training; and (3) graduate education and training in this area of practice seems inconsistent across programs and is generally in need of far greater emphasis. The Section VII Task Force will continue to advocate that all psychology practitioners receive training of this nature.

Phillip M. Kleespies, Ph.D.
VA Boston Healthcare System

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