In the dark days of December, recollections of the activities of
Section VII at the APA convention in Hawaii bring back bright and
warm memories. A high point of the Section VII program was the Presidential
Address by Dr. Lanny Berman. Lanny’s address
was entitled “The Psychological Autopsy in Clinical and Forensic
Practice”. He focused on taking a fresh look at the psychological
autopsy, a method for attempting to determine if suicide was the
cause of death, in light of the recent emergence of the so-called
Daubert standard in court proceedings. The Daubert standard requires
that evidence presented in court on issues such as cause of death
have a firm scientific basis. Given the retrospective nature of the
psychological autopsy, this new standard presents challenges in terms
of establishing the reliability and validity of the method.
VII also sponsored a two hour symposium entitled “Responding
to Violence in Hospitals and Communities: Two Innovative Programs”.
This symposium featured Dr. Connie Best from the
Crime Victims Center in Charleston, SC, who presented on a hospital-based
program for seriously injured crime victims, and Dr. Dean
Kilpatrick (President-Elect of Section VII) who presented
a paper by Dr. Heidi Resnick (who was unable to
be at the convention) entitled “Addressing the Psychological
Impact of Mass Violence Via Internet Based Interventions”.
Dr. Resnick’s paper was based on research that she and her
colleagues at the Crime Victims Center had done examining the mental
health impact of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks
on the World Trade Center.
Phil Kleespies and Bruce Bongar presented the Section VII
Career Achievement Award to Dr. Larry Beutler at
the Division 12 Awards ceremony on July 30,2004. Dr. Beutler was
honored for his many contributions to the science and practice of
clinical psychology, and for his support of issues relevant to Section
VII. Elizabeth Dexter-Mazza, a graduate student
at Pacific University and a pre-doctoral psychology intern at Montefiore
Medical Center in New York, received the Section VII Graduate
Student Research Award (in absentia) for her excellent dissertation
entitled “The Effectiveness of a Standard Suicidology Curriculum
Developed by the American Association of Suicidology: A Preliminary
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