Tag Archives: Vol 3 No 3

Regional Group News

From The Psychology Times, Vol 3, No 3

• Baton Rouge Area Society of Psychologists

In November Dr. David Post, a Baton Rouge psychiatrist, is planning to talk on the hypnosis of Adolph Hitler for hysterical blindness during WWI, and the possible connection with his grandiosity and rise to power before WWII. The date is being arranged. For more information, President Dr. John Pickering can be reached at jpickering7@cox.net.

• Lafayette Region Psychology Group

The Lafayette Region Psychology Group is meeting on the second Thursday of November at 7:00 pm, said Dr. Gail Gillespie. She told the Times that the meeting would be a planning session. If you are interested in attending, please contact Dr. Gail Gillespie gailgill@ msn.net 337-783- 9953.

• New Orleans Regional Psychologists

Dr. Carolyn Weyand told the Times that The New Orleans group met Friday, Oct 28. The group changed its name to the Crescent City Area Psychological Society (CCAPS). “With our name solidly in place,” she said, “we will go forward with our website and facebook page thanks to two of our younger psychologists, Meagan Medley and Chavez Phelps.” “And also,” she noted, “our bylaws, thanks to Michele Larzelere’s work with input from Kim Van Geffen, John Fanning, Arnold James.” Dr. Weyand said that “bylaws will, hopefully, be ready for a vote at the next meeting.”

CCAPS, formerly NORP, will meet next on Friday, January 20, 2012 at 6:30. Our meeting place is still to be determined.

For information contact Carolyn Weyand, by email carolynweyand@gmail.com or by phone 504-895-2901.

SEPA Annual Meeting February 15-18, in NO

The Southeastern Psycho- logical Association will hold its Convention in February 2012 in New Orleans. The main hotel is the Sheraton. More information is available online at www.sepaonline.com

Self-Nominations For LSBEP To Close This Friday

From The Psychology Times, Vol 3, No 3

Self-nominations are open until Friday, November 4, for a 2012 position on the Louisiana Board of Examiners of Psychologists.

Applications can be obtained from LPA Executive Director, Ms. Gail Lowe. They can be postmarked or faxed by Friday.

If fewer than four psychologists volunteer to serve, the nominations will remain open.

Dr. Tony Young is the current Chair and will be completing his term on June 30, 2012.

Dr. Noell’s Work in Teacher Effectiveness Being Emulated In Other States

From The Psychology Times, Vol 3, No 3

– S. Booth, Times’ Intern

Last December, The Times talked with Dr. George Noell about his ongoing project, the value-added Teacher Preparation Program Assessment Model. Teacher effectiveness has become an important topic in the national debate because of continued focus at state and national levels for greater accountability and productivity in all areas of government.

Recently we had the chance to chat with Dr. Noell again about the current status of the project, and his innovative work with predictive models on a statewide scale, a program that was discussed at the Board of Regents meeting in September.

Dr. Noell is a school psychology professor at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, a licensed school psychologist with clinical experience, and an expert in multivariate statistics.

Louisiana’s teacher preparation program assessment is the product of the combined efforts of Dr. Noell, the Louisiana Board of Regents, the Louisiana Department of Education, and the various teacher preparation institutions around the state.

The purpose of the value- added Teacher Preparation Program Assessment Model is to acquire information about the impact of new teachers in Louisiana on students. Dr. Noell described the program as a “forward looking” effort to strengthen teacher preparation programs so that future graduates of the programs continue to improve from previous years.

Through the investigation of both new teachers in the public school system and the teachers’ institutions from which they got their degrees, Dr. Noell devised a method to assess the quality of training that teachers are receiving. This type of assessment has allowed him and his team to develop a way to objectively score the teacher preparation institutions on the effectiveness of new teachers they recommend for certification.

According to Dr. Noell, the program, which started operating over 4 years ago, is continuously undergoing adjustments and improvements to help the teacher preparation institutions provide the best education that they can to the students in the public school system. Furthermore, Dr. Noell mentioned that although it takes time to see the results of his and his teams’ efforts to improve the quality of teacher preparation, results have improved for programs that made the earliest programmatic revisions based on outcome data.

Dr. Noell told the Times that one of the best decisions that he made on this project was to include and work with the community members who are directly involved in this program, specifically those at the teacher preparation institutions. By talking and working with those at the prep institutions, he said that he feels that his program was able to obtain the “buy in” and support needed to meaningfully impact results.

Although Dr. Noell and the value-added Teacher Preparation Program Assessment Model have received national recognition, including an article in the New York Times, one of the biggest impacts to date is the adoption of programs like this in other states around the nation, he noted. Several states are in the process of implementing their own teacher preparation assessment. Colleagues in Tennessee, Washington and North Carolina have already released parallel reports, while officials in other states are working toward the first release of their teacher assessment program in the near future.

When asked how he felt about his project being replicated in other states, Dr. Noell said that he is nervous. “You want it to be right,” he said, explaining that since the project has reached the national level, he simply wants to ensure that the work is sound and productive. It is especially important because the potential implications at this level are very high, he said.

Despite these concerns, Dr. Noell is optimistic because the work in Louisiana is a collaborative effort across many institutions and colleagues that was cautiously developed over time.

(Suzanne Booth, MA, is an IO graduate student at LSU, and Psychology Times’ Intern.)

APS Observer Notes “Identity Shift” In US Psych Departments

From The Psychology Times, Vol 3, No 3

In a recent lead article for APS magazine Observer, author Eric Jaffe reported on a trend in academic departments to emphasize the scientific nature of psychology in names.

The review pointed to problems in understanding with what psychology does and is. “Sometimes this lack of understanding led people to question psychology’s scientific basis, as was the case with parents who refused to believe their child could major in psychology and also be pre-med. Other times the confusion came from mistaking psychology for psychiatry,” the report noted. The report indicated that the Department of Psychology name also did little to help indicate where research was “heading in the future.”

The article followed the changes of the psychology departments and cited Dartmouth University change to “Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences” in the late 1990s. Other examples were cited such as the department at Duke, now called the “Department of Psychology and Neuroscience.” Chair Harris Cooper at Duke said, “We refer to ourselves as studying behavior from culture to chemistry,” and include “clinical, developmental, social, cognition and cognitive neuroscience, and systems of integrative neuroscience.”

Psychologists Say Sunset Threat Is Real and Serious

From The Psychology Times, Vol 3, No 3

On October 15, Dr. Darlyne Nemeth addressed attendees at the Fall Conference of the Louisiana Psychological Association. She spoke about threats of the Sunset process.

Nemeth asked the attendees to take the Sunset issues seriously, saying that the possibility of losing the licensing law for psychologists was real and that psychologists should consider this a serious threat.

She urged those attending to make a donation to the newly established political action committee, organized by Baton Rouge psychologist and LPA Secretary, Dr. Alicia Pellegrin.

Dr. Pellegrin recently posted a request on the LPA listserve for psychologists to contribute to the PAC, asking for contributions of $200 so that the political action committee could deal with Sunset problems and other political threats to psychology.

Pellegrin also noted in her message that the challenges during the upcoming legislative session are considered to be serious.

 

Times Asks LSBEP About 251 And Open Meetings Law

From The Psychology Times, Vol 3, No 3

Last month the Times wrote to the Psychology Board to ask for more information regarding the board’s 2009 discussion about Act 251. The Times’ publisher asked for information to determine if the exception the board called upon in 2010 was still in effect.

The board reviewed the Times’ request at the recent meeting on October 28. The new Chair, Dr. Tony Young, told the Times’ publisher that he could see the importance of the request and that the board would need time to further study the issue.

Dr. Young, and several other board members, indicated that the question had to do with the balance between the exceptions allowed in the open meetings law, and the responsibility for transparency. “We need to study the issue a little more,” Dr. Young said. “I think your objection is important, and has to do with transparency,” he told the publisher, who attended the meeting. “We must defer until we get all the data.”

In June 2010 the Times asked the board about its deliberations regarding Act 251, which occurred at its May 8, 2009 meeting. The Times asked, “Was it discussed that shared regulatory control over the profession of psychology could confuse the public? If so, what were your findings?” and “Was it discussed that having a non- psychology board regulate psychology would lower the quality of psychological service delivered to the public? If so, what were your findings?” The publisher also included questions about conflict of interest for medical psychologists serving on the board and whether any of those board members recused themselves from the Act 251 deliberations.

The Times also asked for a copy of a memo from board attorney Mr. Lloyd Lunceford. This memo was mentioned in the minutes of May 8, 2009. The minutes noted

“…Concerns over the effects of this Bill [Act 251] on the financial and regulatory operations of the Board, the practice of psychology, and the practice of medical psychology were discussed by all present. The LSBEP elected to request a legal opinion from Attorney Lloyd Lunceford concerning the impact on the LSBEP for future consideration by the Board.”

The topics listed in the May 8, 2009 minutes, and the “impact on the LSBEP,” does not appear to fall in the list of exceptions to the open meetings rules.

Dr. Joseph Comaty wrote back to the Times publisher on July 23, 2010. He said in this letter that the board takes its responsibility under the Open Meetings Law seriously. However, none of the Times’ questions were answered. Rather, Dr. Comaty referred the publisher back to the minutes, which the publisher had already reviewed and which did not answer the questions.

“Anticipation of Litigation”

In Dr. Comaty’s response, he also noted that the memo from Mr. Lunceford was exempt from being reviewed by the public. He said the memo about 251 was protected under an exception to the open meetings law and/or general attorney client privilege.

The exception he noted was R.S. 44:4.1C, which is: “C. The provisions of this Chapter shall not apply to any writings, records, or other accounts that reflect the mental impressions, conclusions, opinions, or theories of an attorney or an expert, obtained or prepared in anticipation of litigation or in preparation for trial.”

In this latest request for more information, the Times publisher asked “1) Are you involved in litigation regarding issues addressed by Mr. Lunceford’s memo? 2) What type of claim are you involved in or anticipating? 3) When does the statue of limitations expire for the issue that you are anticipating?”

Dr. Young indicated to the publisher that the Times would receive a response after the board could study the issues.

Dr. Tony Young, licensed psychologist and associate professor from Louisiana Tech, is the current Chair of the LSBEP. Dr. Young took over for Dr. Joseph Comaty who finished his five-year term on the psychology board this past spring.

Board Decides To Study Issue of Telepsychology

 From The Psychology Times, Vol 3, No 3

The Psychology Board discussed the ongoing issues regarding telepsychology at their recent meeting on October 28.

Members agreed that they might consider a consultant to help study the issue, because it is complex. They decided to look at how other states’ approach the problem, and to compare what different states view as the major concerns and solutions.

The board will probably address the issue at their future long- range planning session, one member remarked.

Psychologists Emphasize Importance of Sleep

From The Psychology Times, Vol 3, No 3

“From birth to death a normal person spends more time sleeping than doing any other activity,” explained Dr. Denise Sharon, current President of the Southern Sleep Society and Director at the Comprehensive Sleep Medicine Center of the Gulf Coast. “Sleep is a 1/3 of our lives,” she told the Times.

Dr. Sharon’s clinical emphasis is in sleep disorders, a rare specialty for psychologists. She works to help those with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, restless legs syndrome, narcolepsy, circadian rhythm disorders, insomnia, and other sleep disorders associated with medical or psychiatric disorders.

Dr. Sharon is Associate Professor of Medicine, Sleep Medicine Fellowship Faculty, and Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans. Sleep is a behavior, she said, and it is an important one for health and safety.

Dr. William Waters, long-time expert in the area of sleep would agree. “The whole country is sleep deprived,” he explained to the Times. “You can’t do sleep deprivation research without feeling a little scared about traveling on the highway at night or early in the morning.”

Dr. Waters developed his interest in sleep during his years as Clinical Director at Louisiana State University throughout the 80s. An ABPP in clinical psychology with a strong psycho- physiological background, Dr. Waters trained psychologists in sleep research and sleep medicine while Director and Full Professor at LSU. His first publication in the area of sleep was also in the 80s. He continues his interest as the Director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Ochsner Clinic in Baton Rouge.

“Sleep deprivation, memory, attention, emotion, cognition … it’s all interlocking,” Dr. Waters said. “For example sleep is really the other side of the attention coin. You can’t actually sleep while attending to something. And you can’t actually attend to something while sleeping. Attention impairs sleep and sleep impairs attention,” he explained.

“There are huge numbers of people who are sleep deprived. And it is a state in which negative emotion tends to prevail, like other strong need deprivation states.”

“It’s not just sleep deprivation,” he said, “but the quality of sleep is very poor for many of those who actually do get enough sleep. For example sleep apnea produces fragmented and light sleep that is not restorative, and causes the same functional decrements that are caused by sleep deprivation, including negative affect.”

According to Harvard Medical investigations have pointed to sleep deprivation as a factor in the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident, the disaster at Chernobyl, and sleep deprivation played a part in the Exxon Valdez oil tanker accident. And the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger revealed critical issues of sleep deprivation.

The Institute of Medicine estimates that between 50,000 and 100,000 deaths are caused each year because of inadequate sleep, and that “drowsy driving” may cause a minimum of 20 percent of all car crashes.

Poor sleep patterns appear connected with a number of chronic illnesses. Researchers are linking inadequate sleep with weight gain and also with a greater risk of diabetes and body mass.

“…And increased morbidity and increased mortality,” noted Dr. Sharon. “If we add intermittent hypoxemia, even mild, to the mix, the result is an inflammatory response that challenges the autoimmune system and contributes to plaque build-up.”

Poor sleep can lead to high stress hormones and research has found that even one night of poor sleep for a person with hypertension can result in elevated blood pressure the next day.

As important as a full night of quality sleep is, the National Sleep Foundation’s 2010 survey, “The Sleep in America Poll,” revealed that 33.7 percent of responders said they did not get the amount of sleep they needed. Only 40 percent said they get a good night’s sleep every night or almost every night.

“Look for an middle-aged, overweight male or female,” said Dr. Waters, “and you are likely to find a problem with quality of sleep because they are likely to have sleep apnea. For psychologists, it is worth noting that sleep apnea will look a lot like depression,” he said.

“The one thing that will reliably destroy sleep is stress,” Dr. Waters told the Times. “No matter what the psychiatrists say, it is all continuous. If you want to take a point on the continuum and call it a disease you can. But stress–the psychophysiological responses–are aimed at getting you to deal with threat,” he said. “And then how likely are you to go to sleep?”

“Keep in mind that negative emotion is a stress response,” he said, “and therefore predictably disrupts sleep, delaying its onset, and making it light and interruptible. In other words, non-restorative.”

Helping a person get the rest and quality night sleep he or she needs was one of the first things that Dr. Sharon enjoyed in this specialty area.

“Coming from psychiatry,” she said, “the first thing I liked about sleep medicine was instant gratification. The majority of our patients [obstructive sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome] improve immediately after diagnosis and correct treatment with minimal if any side effects.”

She explained a classic example of a bus driver she helped who was struggling with obstructive sleep apnea or OSA. “After diagnosis and a good C-PAP titration,” she said, “he wakes up the next morning and thanks everyone for the best night sleep he has ever had.” “We made the patient happy,” Dr. Sharon said, and we “ensured the safety of tens or hundreds of school kids, other drivers, and pedestrians. Believe me, it’s the best high.”

While Sleep Medicine is considered a medical specialty, psychologists, neuropsychologists, and neurophysiologists had a major role in the development of the field, explained Dr. Sharon.

Dr. Waters told the Times that the field of sleep is perfect for psychologists. “Sleep is the kind of area that clinical psychologists should be doing, it is just made for us,” he said. “We have a whole scientific discipline at our fingertips that is applicable.” He explained that the basic principles of behavior, applied to the treatment of sleep, is a perfect fit.

“Sleep hygiene and stimulus- control therapies are nothing more than applying what we know about sleep related behavior to make the person more likely to sleep,” he said. “Relaxation therapy is what we do to tone down activation. And remember that it is activation, particularly emotional activation, that causes insomnia and reduces the quality of sleep.”

The sleep cycle in most healthy adults begins as the person goes from wakefulness to an orderly set of sleep states. The first cycle is from wakefulness to non-REM sleep, that includes several stages, followed by the first REM period. The two sleep states and the sleep stages continue to alternate throughout the night with an average period of about 90 minutes. A host of difficulties can disrupt the cycle, called fragmentation of the sleep architecture.

“Obviously sleep disorders pose challenges in defining genetics and pathophysiology and developing more and better cures,” said Dr. Sharon, who is currently involved in developing the new edition of the International Classification of Sleep Disorders. She will be reviewing several disorders in the Sleep Related Movement Disorders section for this publication.

“There are many tasks ahead of us,” she noted. “Some relate to education about the importance of sleep to promote adequate development, maintain performance, reduce accidents, morbidity, mortality and overall health costs, as opposed to the on the go 24/7 mentality,” she said. “The importance of ascertaining adequate amounts of sleep in children and teenagers, also, who are among the most sleep-deprived group.”

Researchers at Louisiana Tech in Ruston have a program of research attempting to help unravel some of the complex issues in this area with college students.

“Basically what we’re finding is people that have poor sleep quality tend to consume more food and weigh more over time,” said Dr. Buboltz, Psychology Professor at Louisiana Tech. “Our hope eventually is to give them interventions or strategies to sleep better which would keep them healthier and decrease their weight,” he told the Times.

Dr. Walter Buboltz, Dr. Janelle McDaniel, Rebecca Hoffmann, Eric Robbins, and Barbara Calvert presented “Analysis of food Consumption Behavior and Sleep Patterns in College Students as Measured by Diaries,” at a recent American Psychological Society conference.

The researchers concluded, “College students have a very erratic eating patterns, with some eating regular meals while a large percentage had fairly erratic dietary habits.” And, “Students consumed approximately a whole day’s more of fat during the week than recommended, while at the same time having about a day’s less of calories consumed across the 7 days.”

Dr. Janelle McDaniel, Assistant Professor at LA Tech, com- mented on the study saying, “It’s important to consider the interaction between different factors such as sleep and eating habits when thinking about wellness globally because treating one particular factor may not address underlying conditions.”

“The relationship between sleep and eating habits and food consumption may be more complex than initially believed,” the researchers concluded.

Dr. Buboltz said that the group has “developed an intervention program for college students called the ‘step program’ and it’s basically training students to learn appropriate sleep habits, sleep hygiene and sleep education.”

Sleep hygiene, explained by Dr. Buboltz, is “Doing things that promote sleep, like not drinking coffee past five, not working out at midnight or eating a lot of food before bed, but relaxing before going to sleep.

“What we do is look at the impact of sleep quality and sleep durations, and various outcomes,” Dr. Buboltz said. “We look at how it relates to college adjustment, physical health, mental health, food consumption, and attention.”

Drs. Buboltz and McDainel, and also Lauren Tressler, also presented “Eating Habits and Patterns of College Students: A Preliminary Study, at the American Association of Behavioral and Social Sciences, 14th Annual Meeting in Las Vegas in February this year.

He noted that their goal for these types of studies was “learning about what’s appropriate. Most people don’t know you’re supposed to sleep eight to nine hours a night. Most people don’t know about the amount of caffeine in food. Chocolate is actually worse for caffeine content than Coke! Colleges are bad about having intramural sports events at nine and ten o’clock at night and that prevents them from going to sleep.”

Dr. McDaniel said, “Sleep is a particularly vital factor in college students health.” And for college students even technology can be a crucial element in sleep health. One of the pilot studies that Dr. Buboltz and his team conducted was to examine the relationship between youngsters and their cell phones. “They became little mothers to their cell phones,” he explained. “They became hyper vigilant to answering their cell phones rather than sleeping,” and this can be a habit that can follow one into adulthood.

Future research for the group will be “anything that deals with sleep quality or sleep duration we’re either working with it or planning a study, but we’re mainly focused on its effect on health,” Dr. Buboltz said.

It is a growing and interesting field according to Dr. Denise Sharon. “I got into sleep medicine completely by chance,” she told the Times. She stayed with the field because she enjoyed the “newness” of the area and “the chance to make a difference.”

“When I started I knew everybody or almost,” she said. “The AASM [American Academy of Sleep Medicine] had only about a thousand members … It was easy to get involved and participate and become part of related sleep organizations such as the Southern Sleep Society, which is the oldest regional society.”

Dr. Sharon is now president of the Society. “We are going to have our 34th annual meeting next March,” she said. “The Sleep Research Society, the World Association of Sleep Medicine that tries to promote Sleep Medicine education around the world, the International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group… It was a welcoming atmosphere to present research, to review papers, to participate in the making, to be recognized for contributions … I easily made numerous friends.”

“Sleep affects major area of life from birth to old age, multi-faceted, new and developing, exciting and friendly colleagues, all but one, treatable conditions with good response. So who in his right mind would not love it?” Dr. Sharon said.

With the overlap between major areas of psychology, psycho- physiology, attention, emotion, Dr. William Waters still finds this area to be perfect for those in psychology and for himself an enjoyable professional activity. “The best clinician you can have is one with an integrated perspective,” he said. And, “It’s fun,” he added “and intellectually satisfying.”

(–Natasha Jordan is a student at ULM, and the Times’ North Louisiana Correspondent)

 

ULM’s SSRL Works To Help The Pink

From The Psychology Times, Vol 3, No 3

- S. Lowery, Times Intern

The Social Science Research Laboratory (SSRL) at the University of Louisiana at Monroe recently assisted the Northeast-Central Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Foundation in developing their 2011 “Community Profile for Northeast and Central Louisiana.”

The “Community Profile” is created every two years and aims to assess the breast health needs and barriers in different areas of the state. The survey, along with other projects, support the Komen mission to raise awareness of breast health issues, educate the community, and raise funds for education, treatment, and research.

“This is the third Komen Community Profile for the SSRL,” the SSRL Co-founder Dr. Joseph McGahan told the Times. Dr. McGahan is a Psychology Professor at the University of Louisiana Monroe (ULM) and co- directs the lab’s community psychology projects.

“We helped Shreveport-Bossier [Northwest Affiliate for the Susan G. Komen Foundation] with data analysis,” Dr. McGahan noted. “We helped direct the Northeast Affiliate from top-to-bottom, and we helped Alexandria this time in two ways– assisting in both survey analysis and telephone interviews.”

Through this most recent effort, the SSRL helped the Northeast and Central Affiliate in two areas of their profile.

First, a group of three undergraduate students, led by ULM senior Matt Van, entered and analyzed data obtained from a community survey previously administered by the Foundation. The survey asked questions related to breast cancer treatment options, potential barriers to treatment, and awareness.

“Komen supplied us with close to 600 surveys that had been previously administered,” said Matt Van. “As a team, we inputted all of the surveys and myself and Logan Hale analyzed the data and produced reports on it according to Komen’s requests.” Matt has worked in the SSRL lab since 2010.

The second part of the project involved conducting phone interviews with breast cancer survivors. The structured interview, created by Shannon Manning and Amanda Ardoin, was designed to assess why late detection rates for breast cancer are so high in the area.

Amanda told the Times, “I have felt the pain of families whose lives were changed by the loss of their mother, wife, sister…. And it was enough to move me into action when presented with the opportunity.”

The analysis by Ardoin and Manning revealed important issues. “The results indicated that the barrier to early intervention lies not it medical access or lack of cancer awareness information, but in the connection between information and emotion,” said Ardoin, “Without a woman’s gut level awareness of her statistical vulnerability to the potentially lethal condition of breast cancer, motivation for early detection appears to be missing.”

The SSRL offers training in social and community psychology explained Dr. McGahan. “In addition to experience collecting and analyzing data,” he said, “students have written reports and, in some cases, served as project leaders. Add to that, they are working on community-based research. In this case, dealing with health related issues –which is a natural for many psychology majors. Hopefully, along the way, students are discovering they can be helpful to others as a result of research –as opposed to “the talk” associated with clinical and/or counseling psychology.”

Matt Van echoes that sentiment. “The main thing that interested me in this project was the chance to gain true research experience. I had only previously worked in research lightly so I was excited to work with the large amount of data that was promised with this project. I learned a lot about data management and data analysis. Managing and analyzing almost 600 surveys wasn’t easy at first but I learned first-hand how to solve all of the problems that arose and got very comfortable with the process.”

For more information, visit the affiliate’s website at http://www.komennecla.org/. And for more information about ULM SSRL go to www.ulm.edu/ssrl

(Shane Lowery, MA, is an IO graduate student at LSU, previous student at ULM, and Psychology Times Intern.)

Dr. Janet Matthews Named New Co-Editor

From The Psychology Times, Vol 3, No 3

Dr. Janet Matthews will become one of the associate editors for the APA-published journal, Professional Psychology: Research and Practice.

She will begin on January 1. Dr. Matthews is a Loyola University Professor and licensed psychologist.

Dr. Matthews has been a member of the Editorial Board for the prestigious journal, making regular reviews for several years. “In my new position,” Dr. Matthews told the Times, “I will be involved in assigning articles for review, integrating the reviews and making publication recommendations to the editor.”

She also noted that the five editors will conduct “ regular conference calls–probably monthly–to address consideration of special sections or even a special issue, recommend topical specialists, and so on.”

Professional Psychology: Research and Practice publishes research articles on applications in the field, for both scientific and professional directions. The journal editors encourage articles on assessment, treatment, and practice implications, according to the APA website information.

The journal is for “state-of-the-art literature reviews of clinical research on specific high- incidence disorders,” and “research and theory on public policy as it affects the practice of psychology.” Also, the journal seeks work that reflects advances in health psychology, community psychology, psychology of women, clinical neuropsychology, family psychology, and other areas.

Dr. Janet Matthews was named the 2011 Distinguished Psychologist by the Louisiana Psychological Association. She is a clinical and neuropsychologist, and holds the diplomat in clinical from the American Board of Professional Psychology.

Suicide rate high for 9-11 veterans

The Psychology Times, Vol 3, No 3

11-11-11 Veterans Day Marks Pride, Gratitude and Concern

This month the country honors its veterans on a date that won’t come around again in this form for a thousand years, 11-11-11. The multiples of eleven punctuate the origins of the day, first called Armistice Day for the WWI ceasefire that went into effect on the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918. It was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.

The Times talked with psychologists from around the state about the meaning of the day, their thoughts and memories, and also some of the ways they are helping the nation’s military.

Dr. Kelley Pears is a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder/ Substance Use Disorders psychologist at the Alexandria VA Medical Center in Pineville, Louisiana. He explained to the Times that his group always celebrates the day. “We have a Veterans Day Parade every year on the hospital grounds,” he said. The veterans come out to see the parade and there are some servicemen and women in the parade, he said. “It is a special year, it being 11-11-11,” he noted and said that the celebration is often a small group. “Many of the veterans like it that way.”

For Dr. John Magee, Chief Psychologist at Overton Brooks VA Medical Center in Shreveport, the day takes on personal as well as professional meaning. “There is a Northwest Louisiana Veterans Cemetery in Keithville – –maybe 15 miles out in the country–– that I will probably go to on 11/11,” he told the Times. “And, I will also visit my father’s gravesite as well,” he said. John’s father was a combat veteran who served in WWII.

Dr. Dana Boose, Clinical Psychologist at the Post Deployment Healthcare Clinic, Alexandria VA Medical Center, has many reasons to reflect on the meaning of the day.

“My father and numerous other family members and close friends of mine are veterans,” Dr. Boose told the Times. “Ever since my first practicum experience at the Dayton VA Medical Center I’ve been hooked—working in this setting with veterans has always been my preferred choice of employment.”

“This year, more than ever, Veterans Day has taken on an even greater personal significance,” she said. Dr Boose was recently commissioned as an Officer in the Louisiana Army National Guard. “I experience an immense amount of pride and honor,” she noted, “as I serve my state and country in this capacity, helping soldiers and veterans. I plan to spend Veterans Day as I do every other day, appreciating the freedoms afforded to us by the sacrifices our veterans have made and doing my part to help veterans in any way I can.”

Pride and gratitude are parts of this year’s celebration, but there are also growing concerns for the welfare for returning veterans.

“The 9/11 Generation” of Veterans

The group of veterans President Obama has named the “9/11 Generation,” now numbers over five million American men and women serving since 2001. Of this group, 1.6 million have been deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The group is different than any other military group in the nation’s history.

In an October 2011 report, “The Military-Civilian Gap: War and Sacrifice in the Post–9/11 Era,” the PEW Research Center authors state, “America’s post– 9/11 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are unique. Never before has this nation been engaged in conflicts for so long. And never before has it waged sustained warfare with so small a share of its population carrying the fight.”

The PEW researchers noted, “Only about one half of one percent of the U.S. population has been on active military duty at any given time during the past decade of sustained warfare.” And that there is a gap in understanding, with 84 percent of these veterans saying, “The public does not understand the problems faced by those in the military or their families.”

Almost half of the veterans (44 percent) report having problems in readjusting to civilian life, even thought they are “proud of their service” (96 percent), say that the experience has helped them get ahead in their lives (74 percent), to mature (93 percent), and build self-confidence (90 percent).

But almost half report family problems, and almost half report outbursts of anger, and one third say “there have been times where they felt they didn’t care about anything.” Whether diagnosed or not, 37 percent report they suffer from post- traumatic stress.

Modern technology has helped troops survive combat at the highest rate in history. But at the same time, the percentage of 9- 11 veterans returning home with serious physical and psychological injuries is higher than ever before.

High Suicide Rates

According to Army Times, 18 veterans commit suicide each day. The report noted that more troops have died from suicide over the last two years than have been killed by the enemy. In an August online report, CNN noted that army suicides reached a record high in July.

In a story in the Independent News, Pensacola, retired Marine Lt. Col Dave Glassman was quoted, “We have 18 veterans a day killing themselves–6,500 since the beginning of the year.” He said, “This is a tragedy of monumental proportions.”

The Army Times noted that these numbers come at a time when VA is strengthening its suicide prevention programs. The VA’s suicide hotline has been receiving about 10,000 calls a month from current and former service members.

Dr. John Magee told the Times, “One of my sad remembrances about Veterans Day was when a Veteran committed suicide on that day. Although he was not my client, a relative of his was and the relative was an inpatient in a PTSD program at the time of the suicide. Both were Vietnam Veterans.”

Dr. Magee continued adding, “The Veteran whom I was treating later helped another Veteran who was ready to leave a drug treatment program against medical advice.” Dr. Magee explained, “They were both were Marine Corps Vets which immediately formed a bond between them. I asked my client to just talk to his fellow Marine about not leaving the program.”

“I left them alone and trusted “the universe” to provide guidance,” Dr. Magee noted. “But I knew if anyone could reach that Veteran that day, it was my client and apparently not any staff member. I never asked my client what was said but the other Veteran did later share the conversation.”

“The bottom line,” explained Dr. Magee, “was that the Veteran remained in the program, has 8 years of sobriety and has moved to Shreveport to be closer to the VA Medical Center that helped him. Those are the success stories that keep me connected to something here that is hard to describe.”

Throughout the decades, psychologists who have served have come home to assist their fellow veterans in the VA. Dr. John Magee is one of them, having served in the US Air Force. “I have told people that I thought this VA “saved me” some years ago, because here is where I found a place that I am supported. Believe me, whatever I give back, I think I have received many times more,” he said.

“Give An Hour”

More psychologists are needed to assist those who are dealing the stresses of deployment, the trauma of combat and the pain of reintegration, said Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, a clinical psychologist, in an APA Monitor report this spring. Dr. Van Dahlen founded the nonprofit organization “Give an Hour” program in 2005, and has organized a volunteer group of licensed mental health professionals who donate an hour of service a week to help veterans and their families

The network, which Van Dahlen wants to expand, complements services offered by U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense providers.

“We are responding to the mental health needs of military families by asking mental health professionals nationwide to literally give an hour of their time each week to provide free mental health services to military personnel, their families, and their communities,” noted the Give An Hour website.

Dr. Leslie Higgins is a clinical psychologist practicing in Metairie, Louisiana, and she is a member of the Give An Hour network. Dr. Higgins explained to the Times that she sees a number of children whose fathers are deployed. She also said that one of the very helpful aspects of the Give An Hour program is that parents and siblings of the servicemen and women are free to receive the help.

“An important aspect of Give An Hour is to address the impact on the relatives, that don’t have access to mental health care,” Dr. Higgins said. “So many family members are struggling because of their child’s deployment. I’d encourage them to seek out this service, particularly because it’s at no cost to them.”

Dr. Andrew Thrasher, licensed psychologist from Sulphur, Louisiana, is a veteran and also a member of the Give An Hour program.

“This is a great organization for veterans and their families,” he told the Times. “As you can imagine, veterans returning home from war—suffering from traumatic brain injury, post- traumatic stress disorder, and a gamut of other mental health issues—need help readjusting to our society.”

“The service is provided pro bono and typically involves both the soldier and her/his family,” Dr. Thrasher noted. “This is a much needed service.”

“I got involved with Give an Hour a couple of years ago because I am a veteran and because my son is completing his Health Professions Scholarship Program scholarship and will be entering a military psychology internship next year,” he said.

Dr. Thrasher recommended that those interested in assisting veterans review Looking After the Soldier, Back Home and Damaged.

“This article is a documentation of one soldier and his family’s attempt to deal with the aftermath of the impact of his war experiences,” Dr. Thrasher noted. “This type of scenario is being duplicated daily by returning soldiers and they do indeed need our help.”

Dr. Thrasher noted the article is available from the New York Times at: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/28/us/ looking-after-the-soldier-back-home- and-damaged.html?_r=2&hp.

The VA suicide prevention hotline number is 1-800-273-8255. Service members and veterans should push 1 for veterans’ services. To join the Give An Hour network go to http://www.giveanhour.org/skins/gah/h ome.aspx