news! At its March 23-26 meeting, the Board of Educational Affairs
(BEA) of the American Psychological Association reviewed the "Report
on Education and Training in Behavioral Emergencies" which had been
submitted to the BEA in February by our Section's Task Force on Education
and Training. I have received a memorandum from Dr. Robert G. Frank,
Chair of the BEA, thanking the Task Force for submitting the report
and stating that the BEA has asked the Council of Chairs of Training
Councils (CCTC) to disseminate it to its respective constituencies.
At this writing, the following Training Councils have stated that
they will distribute the report: The Council of University Directors
of Clinical Psychology Programs (CUDCP), the Council of Counseling
Psychology Training Programs (CCPTP), and the Council of Directors
of School Psychology Programs (CDSPP). In addition, Dr. Nadine Kaslow,
a BEA member and the current Chair of APPIC (Association of Psychology
Postdoctoral and Internship Centers) offered to have a shortened version
of the report published in the APPIC Newsletter, and, in response,
an abridged version has been submitted to APPIC for publication. Dr.
Kaslow praised the work of the Task Force on this report as "invaluable
to internship and postdoctoral trainers". She further offered to collaborate
with us in making the full report available on the APPIC web site,
something that should happen in the near future.
stated in the Task Force Report, behavioral emergencies such as patient/client
suicidality, potential for violence, and vulnerability to interpersonal
victimization can occur in virtually any clinician's practice. These
emergencies confront us with the need to make decisions that can have
very serious, possibly irreversible consequences. We are held responsible
ethically and legally for observing a reasonable standard of care
in what are often difficult and intense clinical situations. Yet,
as clearly demonstrated in our Task Force Report, professional education
in Clinical and Counseling Psychology currently provides very little
systematic and formal training in the evaluation and management of
such emergencies and related crises.
would like to thank the members of the Task Force - Alan L. Berman,
Ph.D., Thomas E. Ellis, Psy.D., Richard McKeon, Ph.D., Dale E. McNiel,
Ph.D., Matthew Nock, B.A., Heidi Resnick, Ph.D., Joe Scroppo, Ph.D.,
Edwin S. Shneidman, Ph.D., Jason S. Spiegelman, M.A., Anthony Spirito,
Ph.D., and Robert I. Yufit, Ph.D. - for their assistance and contributions
to making this report possible. I consider the very positive responses
of the BEA and the leadership of APPIC as an excellent beginning to
a process in which we are attempting to impact the graduate and internship
education and training of Psychologist practitioners. With these responses
as a base of support, we have now submitted the Task Force Report
to the APA Committee on Accreditation and the Committee has agreed
to place it on the agenda for their July, 2000 meeting.
we are successful with our agenda, my hope is that the Section will
become very involved in helping to develop a curriculum for graduate
education and training in behavioral emergencies. (A proposed curriculum
is included in the Task Force Report.) At the post-doctoral level,
I would hope that we might also become involved in the development
of training modules or workshops on particular emergencies; e.g.,
evaluating and managing the potentially violent patient or assessing
and assisting the victim of violence, and so forth.
involvement in education and training, however, I hope that our Section
will initiate other Task Forces or Committees on such topics as professional
and forensic issues in behavioral emergencies and the status of research
and science relative to behavioral emergencies. I hope that we may
be able to encourage and support efforts to give an empirical base
to emergency and crisis work and efforts to develop outstanding clinical
programs. Such support might come through the programs that we sponsor
at the APA convention as well as through awards for outstanding research,
scholarship, and clinical service. We have initiated a newsletter
(Behavioral Emergencies Update); however, my hope is that the future
will see us as either affiliating with a journal focused on behavioral
emergency issues or developing our own journal.
web site has been established (www.apa.org/divisions/div12/section7)
and our Task Force Report on Education and Training is now available
for viewing there. The web site has a great deal of potential for
future development. Thus, we might eventually be able to make bibliographies
on particular emergency topics such as youth violence or suicide among
the elderly available to our members. We might also put resources
for clinicians who have been stressed by trauma work or by patient
violence on the web site.
is clear that Section VII has a bright future. It is up to those of
us who are involved at the ground level to make sure that it realizes
its potential. I know that I speak for all of the members of the Board
of Directors when I invite members to become active in helping to
move the Section in some of the directions that I have noted. We are
eager to hear about your ideas and interests, and welcome your input.
Return to top of page.