Category Archives: Front Page Story

Dr. Claire Houtsma Recognized for Early Career Contribution in Suicide Prevention

Dr. Claire Houtsma, a research scientist in suicide prevention, was honored this spring by the Louisiana Psychological Association with their Early Career Psychologist Award.

Dr. Houtsma is the Suicide Prevention Coordinator at Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System. She is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and the Core Investigator at South Central Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center.

Dr. Houtsma is also Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral  Sciences, Tulane University, School of Medicine, and Research Assistant Professor in Section of Community Population Medicine, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, School of Medicine.

The Times asked Dr. Houtsma what she views are her most important contributions at this point in her career.

“My most important contributions have probably been in the area of firearm suicide  prevention,” Dr. Houtsma said. “My research related to firearms has been designed to clarify  contexts under which risk for firearm suicide is heightened, as well as to develop and test  interventions that reduce risk for firearm suicide. I am particularly proud of my projects that  have involved active collaborations with Veteran and civilian firearm owners,” she said.

“Through my work with the Veteran-Informed Safety Intervention and Outreach Network  (VISION), I collaborated with firearm owning Veterans and civilians to create a suicide prevention learning module, including a PowerPoint slide deck and brief video, that can be used in Louisiana firearm training courses,” said Dr. Houtsma. “I am currently working with a number of firearm course instructors to test the acceptability and effectiveness of this learning module.”

Spokesperson for the Louisiana Psychological Association, Dr. Amanda Raines, said, “The impact that Dr. Houtsma will make on the field of psychological science is best reflected in her timely  and innovative program of research. At a time when suicide remains the 11th leading cause of  death in the United States, her program of research aims to identify and examine risk factors that underlie firearm suicide,” Raines said. “In addition, her body of work focuses on the  development and dissemination of novel methods of prevention and intervention. To date, Dr. Houtsma has published 28 peer-reviewed articles and presented her work at various local and  national conferences. Further, she serves as a co-investigator or principal investigator on six  federally funded projects.”

Dr. Houtsma’s work is ongoing. “I am also in the midst of recruiting for a study that will examine the feasibility and acceptability of peer-delivered lethal means counseling among  firearm owning Veterans,” Dr. Houtsma said. “This study will evaluate whether conversations about implementing safer firearm storage practices are acceptable among Veterans and  whether they actually lead to behavior change. I feel these projects are among the most important contributions I have made so far because they focus on a population at high risk for firearm suicide, use a partnered approach in research design and implementation, and provide  practical outcomes that may help save lives now,” she said.

Dr. Houtsma has authored numerous important studies. For her article, “The Association  Between Gun Ownership Dr. Claire Houtsma Recognized for Early Career Contributions in  Suicide Prevention, continued and Statewide Overall Suicide Rates,” the aim was to “expand on extant research by examining the extent to which gun ownership predicts statewide overall  suicide rates beyond the effects of demographic, geographic, religious, psychopathological, and  suicider-elated variables.” According to the abstract, “By extending the list of covariates utilized,  considering those covariates simultaneously, and using more recent data, the study sought to present a more stringent test. Gun ownership predicted statewide overall suicide rates, with the full model accounting for more than 92% of the variance in statewide suicide rates. The correlation between firearm suicide rates and the overall suicide rate was significantly stronger  than the correlation between non-firearm suicide rates and the overall suicide rate.”

Another article by Dr. Houtsma, “The Association Between State Laws Regulating Handgun Ownership and Statewide Suicide Rates,” examined the impact of three state laws––permit to  purchase a handgun, registration of handguns, and license to own a handgun on suicide rates. According to the abstract, “They used 2010 data from publicly available databases and state  legislatures to assess the relationships between the predictors and outcomes. The Results  largely indicated that states with any of these laws in place exhibited lower overall suicide rates and suicide by firearms rates and that a smaller proportion of suicides in such states resulted  from firearms. Furthermore, results indicated that laws requiring registration and license had significant indirect effects through the proportion of suicides resulting from firearms. The latter  results imply that such laws are associated with fewer suicide attempts overall, a tendency for  those who attempt to use less-lethal means, or both. Exploratory longitudinal analyses indicated a decrease in overall suicide rates immediately following implementation of laws  requiring a license to own a handgun.”

In Dr. Houtsma’s “Moderating Role of Firearm Storage in the Association Between Current Suicidal Ideation and Likelihood of Future Suicide Attempts Among United States Military  Personnel,” researchers hypothesized that how soldiers store their firearms would moderate  the relationship between suicidal ideation and the self-reported likelihood of engaging in a future suicide attempt, and that this relationship would be explained by fearlessness about  death, noted the abstract. “There were 432 military personnel who endorsed current ownership of a private firearm and who were recruited from a military base in the southeastern United States (94.5% National Guard). Firearm storage moderated the relationship between suicidal  ideation and the self-reported likelihood of engaging in a future suicide attempt, but this relationship was not explained by fearlessness about death. Individuals who reported keeping  heir firearms loaded and stored in an unsecure location exhibited higher mean levels of fearlessness about death. Findings highlight the need for research examining contributors to  suicide risk in the context of firearm storage and provide support for suicide prevention efforts  involving restricting means.”

Dr. Houtsma regularly shares information and research at conferences across the country. Examples include:

Houtsma, C., Powers, J., Raines, A. M., Bailey, M., Constans, J. I., & True, G.  (November, 2022). Adaptation and evaluation of a lethal means safety suicide prevention module for concealed carry courses. Symposium talk submitted to the National Research  Conference on Firearm Injury Prevention, Washington, D.C.

Houtsma, C., Sah, E., & Constans, J.  I. (November, 2022). The firearm implicit association test: A validation study. Symposium talk  submitted to the National Research Conference on Firearm Injury Prevention, Washington, D.C. 

Houtsma, C., Tock, J. L., & Raines, A. M. (November, 2022). When safe firearm storage isn’t  enough: Comparing risk profiles among firearm suicide decedents. Symposium talk accepted at  the annual meeting of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT), New York  City, New York.

Houtsma, C., Anestis, M. D., Gratz, K. L., Tull, M., Butterworth, S. E., Richmond, J., & Forbes, C.  (November, 2021). The role of opioid use in distinguishing between suicidal ideation and attempts. Symposium talk presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Behavioral  and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT), Virtual Conference.

Houtsma, C. (August, 2021). Feasibility and acceptability of Caring Contacts for suicide prevention among veterans recently separated from military service. Symposium talk presented at the Mississippi Health Disparities Conference, Biloxi, Mississippi.

Dr. Houtma is the investigator or coinvestigator for numerous grant projects including: Demonstration Project – Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention (OMHSP) Title: Measuring Feasibility and Effectiveness of a Lethal Means Safety Suicide Prevention Module in  Concealed Carry and Firearm Safety Classes, and Veterans Rural Health Resource Center FY22  Project – Office of Rural Health (ORH) Title: Preventing Firearm Suicides Among Rural Veterans  by Engaging Military Caregivers.

In her career so far, what is she most thankful for?

“I am endlessly thankful for the mentors who have helped me reach my goals,” Dr. Houtsma  said. “My graduate school mentor, Dr. Michael Anestis, provided me with the skills, encouragement, and support I needed to become a successful, research-oriented graduate  student. He has continued to be a mentor to me after graduate school and I am so grateful to know I can reach out to him for guidance as I navigate my career. I am also thankful for the  mazing mentors I gained during my clinical internship year. Drs. Amanda Raines, Laurel Franklin, Gala True, and Joseph Constans were critical in Dr. Claire Houtsma Recognized for  Early Career Contributions in Suicide Prevention, continued helping me transition from trainee  to early career psychologist,” she said.

“The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is a fantastic workplace,” Dr. Houtsma said, “however,  it is not always clear how to forge a research career in this setting. My mentors at the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System have provided invaluable assistance, reassurance, and  support in moving my research program forward within VA. I feel very lucky to have such amazing people on my team and I wouldn’t have achieved success as an early career  psychologist without them,” she said.

Does Dr. Houtsma have any advice for other early career psychologists?

“I would encourage other early career psychologists to stay in close contact with their mentors,” she said. I have found it immensely helpful, not only in navigating the minutia of research  studies, but also in determining how to balance work-life priorities. I realize not everyone has  the opportunity to gain desired mentorship in a naturalistic way, so I would encourage early  career psychologists to reach out to others in your field who have careers you admire. I have  gained mentorship from individuals at other institutions, simply by reaching out via email or  Zoom. It’s very hard to make it on your own in this field and the good news is, you don’t have  to!”

What has Dr. Houtsma enjoyed the most?

“Working with and learning from Veterans and firearm owners,” she said. “My work with VISION  as exposed me to the world of community-engaged research and I have found this to be an  extremely informative and rewarding experience. Being able to connect with individuals for  whom firearm suicide is a very real and personal experience reminds me why I’m doing this  work and reinforces my passion to find solutions,” said Dr. Houtsma.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Dickson Honored for Distinguished Service

Dr. Amy Dickson has been named recipient of the 2022 Award for Distinguished Service in  Psychology by the Louisiana Psychological Association, announced at the spring convention. Dr.  Dickson is Assistant Professor at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, (LSUHSC),  Department of Psychiatry, New Orleans, Louisiana. She is a license Clinical Psychologist, Infant Team Director, and Psychology Section Deputy Chief.

“This award is given to an individual who has made significant contributions to the professional  field of psychology in Louisiana and beyond by their professional service, particularly in the area of diversity, or demonstrated community involvement in support of less privileged or oppressed groups,” said Dr. Amanda Raines, spokesperson for the Association.

“Dr. Dickson works to support some of the most vulnerable populations in our community,”  said Dr. Raines. “She works with the Department of Child and Family Services where she provides services to families involved in the court due to suspected abuse and neglect of  children. In her previous role as Director of the Victims Assistance Program for the Department  of Psychiatry at LSUHSC, Dr. Dickson managed a crisis hot line to assist families in the New  Orleans area impacted by violence. In addition, she has worked as the co-director for the Harris  Infant Mental Health program at LSUHSC for the past 17 years where she has trained social work interns, psychiatry fellows, and psychology interns to have a deeper understanding for the mental health needs of young children,” said Dr. Raines.

Dr. Dickson is the Psychology Section Deputy Chief and the Child Coordinator of the Psychology  Internship Training Program at LSUHSC. She is a Child-Parent Psychotherapy trainer and she is  the Director of the Orleans Parish Infant Team which treats children ages 0-5 years in the foster  care system. She is part of a Safe Baby Court and trains around the country on infant mental  health and court team work.

Dr. Dickson also consults to local child protection agencies, and sees clients at the Behavioral  Sciences Center and at a federally qualified health clinic Dr. Dickson considers the training of others to be one of her important contributions. “Training the police to respond to incidents of  violence involving children was incredible work,” said Dr. Dickson. “I was able to ride along on shifts with police officers, often at night and attend their daily staffings. I got to know many  officers on a personal level and could hear the stress of their job and their helplessness, at  times, when confronted with various scenarios. The officers truly wanted to help the families  and often did not know how. Getting to work with these families, who would not have come to  the attention of mental health professionals, was immensely rewarding,” she said.

Dr, Dickson co-directs the Harris Infant Mental Health training with Dr. Joy Osofsky. According to their website, the LSUHSC Department of Psychiatry began the Harris Center for Infant Mental  Health over a decade ago. The Center offers training to predoctoral psychology interns (through an APA approved infant-child internship), child psychiatrists (as a required part of their  residency training program), post-doctoral psychologists, social workers, and other professionals seeking infant mental health specialization.

The officials note that the program is multidisciplinary and unique in fulfilling requirements for  psychology and child psychiatry training programs, being the first predoctoral internship in  infant mental health recognized and approved by both the American Psychological Association  (APA) and Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC). The child  psychiatry rotation began as a six-month experience, explained officials. However after learning how much residents were benefitting from the rotation, the child psychiatry faculty at LSUHSC  made it a mandatory part of training. All trainees, from all disciplines, consistently rank their  experience in the Harris Center for Infant Mental Health a top part of their training, according to
officials.

Dr. Dickson noted her role after Hurricane Katrina. “The police reached out to our team as they  were so traumatized during and after the hurricane and they had built trust in us after working  together for so many years. They let us come and hear their stories and provide support. That is a tough group to get to open up and we all felt honored to join those brave individuals on their  healing journey,” she said.

For the Orleans Parish Permanency Infant and Preschool Program, Dr. Dickson has conducted  extensive relationship-based evaluations to assess whether parental rights should be  terminated, or children ages 0-5 years should be reunited with their biological parents as part  of a state funded multidisciplinary team. She also conducted out-patient relationship-based  family therapy with all available caregivers and their infants, individual therapy with the young  children and their parents, psychological evaluations with the caregivers, and/or developmental evaluations with the children if needed. Her services include providing court testimony as an  expert witness as needed and supervising the trainees. She presents to local child protection  agency staff on a variety of mental health topics. Dr. Dickson has been a provider to Zero to  Three funded Court Team since 2007. She has been the Program coordinator since July 2002 and Director since March 2004.

“I was able to provide evaluations when I saw undiagnosed learning disabilities or disorders,”  said Dr. Dickson, “work with the children’s teachers to help them understand that the child’s  response was often due to their trauma versus oppositional behavior, and helped change the  way each family functioned as they understood the impact of their life events on them and  could treat each other in a more compassionate and supportive manner. The program enabled  me to build connections with so many people who never would have connected to someone like me before.

Due to our grants, we were able to see people free of charge. I still keep in touch with some of  my earliest clients as they call to tell me about their own children now and they have referred friends and family members. It’s so wonderful to hear from them.”

In her work at the Harris Infant Mental Health Program, Dr. Dickson has been co-director since  2010. Her services include conducting out-patient family therapy with parents and their infants.  She assists in the coordination and teaching of a weekly didactic seminar on infant mental  health to a yearly group of fellows. She supervises trainees and has been part of the Harris Professional Development Network since 2008. She has also been part of the Child Welfare  Professional Development Network within the Harris network and the Fatherhood Engagement  Committee.

“I enjoy watching people make substantial, positive changes in their lives and seeing the ripple  effects of those changes as ensuing generations and family members and friends benefit from  the clients’ greater emotional health and positive functioning,” she said. “Learning from each  other, we all benefit.”

“My work in child protection is also immensely rewarding,” Dr. Dickson said. “These caregivers  rarely have a supportive person in their life and many later thank the team for all they have  learned. It is always hard to see a child injured, but it is also hard to see a parent who was not  protected themselves. Child abuse work is hard, and all the professionals who choose to work  in this area truly want to help. Building shared knowledge, learning from one another, and  providing emotional support not just to my team and the families- both biological and foster- but also my foster care caseworkers and the attorneys has made us all better at our jobs and  better able to find new ways to keep families together or connected to one another in healthier  ways.”

Her many accomplishments and recognitions include:

Featured Poster Presentation at the  Annual ISTSS

Conference: Childhood Maltreatment and Developmental Delay in Miami, Florida  November 6, 2014

One of New Orleans City Business’ Power Generation for 2003 YLC: Volunteer of the Year 2002

Project Leader of the Year 2001

Project (NRP) of the Year 2000

Commendation from Total Community Action for work with local Head Starts

Commendation from CASA for volunteer teaching to incoming classes

Commendation from NCTSN for work given on published materials

Dr. Dickson’s publications include:

Zeanah, P., Larrieu, J., Osofsky, J., Dickson, A., & Zeanah, C.H. (2021). Enhancing Developmental  Trajectories: The Critical Importance of Increasing & Supporting Evidence-Based Services for  Louisiana’s Most Vulnerable Citizens.

Hines, E.N., Thompson, S.L., Moore, M.B., Dickson, A.B., & Callahan, K.L. (2020). Parent-child  separation due to incarceration: Assessment, diagnosis, and treatment considerations. Zero to  Three, 40(4), 22-29.

Family Time Resources: A Series of Publications for Foster Care Workers, Foster Parents, CASAs,  Judges, Parents, and Attorneys- in collaboration with the Harris Professional Development  Network committee members, October 2020.

Hines, E., Thompson, S., Moore, M., Dickson, A. & Callahan, K. (2020) Parent-child separation  due to incarceration: Assessment, diagnosis & treatment considerations. Zero to Three Journal,  40 (4), 22-29.

Dr. Dickson said she is grateful to the many people who have trained her over the years, but  she is most thankful for Dr. Joy Osofsky.

“I have been taught by many fabulous people who are so good at what they do,” Dr. Dickson  said. “I have had the incredibly good fortune of being mentored by Dr. Joy Osofsky who has  exposed me to so many wonderful learning opportunities and provided the grants and vehicles  to be able to do such meaningful work. LSUHSC is involved in great community work, and I feel  so grateful to have landed here to be exposed to such wonderful opportunities and people who
keep the work challenging and interesting and relevant to society.”

Dr. Dickson believes you should never stop training. “Listen to the community members,” she  said. “Learn that despite your advanced training, we can always learn from others. Our team  has never entered a system thinking we know the answers. Even when called into help, we learn the most from listening and observing and then partnering with others to see what will be  beneficial. We co-create wonderful interventions together when we do this. I have definitely  learned more from my clients and colleagues than they have learned from me,” Dr. Dickson  said.

Dr. Dickson said, “I love going to work each day. My colleagues and trainees are awesome, and  you never know what will happen that day. Kids, in particular, are so unpredictable and can  bring such joy. I love to watch people heal from their traumas and fully engage again and find  joy, meaning and happiness. It is a humbling experience to be a part of someone’s journey and I feel grateful every day that I get to do the work I do.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

State Psychology Board Embarks on Major Overhaul of Rules & Regulations

In their February minutes, posted on July 11, the state psychology board outlined major  changes and updates they intend to make to the regulatory law governing psychologists.

Central to these changes is the new section of administrative Rules on registration of assistants  to psychologists, including regulations on who may be an assistant, their credentials, how the  board will investigate complaints, and how to regulate supervision of the assistants.

According to the minutes, board members discussed numerous changes and additions to the  rules and regulations for psychologists. The following excerpts (Italicized) were included in the  reporting.

Chapter 11: Assistants to Psychologists (registration) –

Define “Assistant to a Psychologist” (ATAP), “General Professional Supervision”, “Continuous Professional Supervision”, “Supervisor” or “Supervising Psychologist”

Establish minimum criteria for an ATAP to qualify for registration (age, high school diploma, Criminal Background Check).

Establish titles that may be used when identifying ATAP’s. Clarify the boundaries that establish the  legal functional authority of the Supervising Psychologist, and the responsibility that the Supervising  Psychologist has for their clients.

Establish clear criteria to ensure that the Supervising Psychologist is responsible for ALL activities (administratively, clinically, ethically, functionally and legally) of the ATAP including registration,  renewal, directing the provision of psychological services, the outcome of work, the welfare of the  client, general communication and disclosures to clients, services delivered by ATAP’s, and  advertisement.

Define the minimum criteria of general professional supervision (direct, in person) to ensure the  welfare of the client, and the ethical and legal protection of the assistant.

Clarify that a registration is not a property right of the ATAP; shall not be construed to allow the ATAP to independently engage in the practice of psychology; or render any diagnosis; or sign any  evaluations or reports as the provider of record; or independently advertise psychological services; or assign or delegate psychological duties to others;

Define those activities an ATAP may perform with regard to psychological testing/scoring.

Outline the statutory authority of the board to conduct investigations in matters involving the ATAP  and/or their Supervisor; […]

The minutes also included discussion and possible changes in numerous other chapters of the rules  and regulations.

Chapter 3: Training Requirements

Update language for identifying acceptable accrediting bodies for doctoral-level psychology programs. Update standards to ensure training equivalence in the nine profession-wide competencies equivalent to the current American Psychological Association (“APA”) Commission on Accreditation Implementing Regulations. The new APA training requirements include competence in  supervision prior to graduation, which allow the board to eliminate the hurdle of additional  experience post licensure prior to engaging in supervision.

Provide a clause in consideration of individuals trained prior to 2015, that they will be assessed  under the training standards in place at the time of their graduation.

Classify specialty designations into “Health Service Psychology” and “General Applied Psychology”.  Necessary to provide a fair and consistent review of individuals who are graduates of programs  without APA Accreditation; necessary to provide an alternate route to licensure for individuals not trained in a Health Service area of psychology; and necessary to make clear that individuals who  attend graduate programs without internship training do not meet the criteria for practice in a  Health Service area of psychology.

Clarify current training requirements for the registration of a Clinical Neuropsychology specialty consistent with Houston Conference Guidelines; also clarifies those overlapping areas that do not  require the registration of a Clinical Neuropsychology specialty.

Chapter 7: Supervision Requirements –

Provide a definition for “General Professional Supervision” to clarify that which is the direct, in person supervision required as part of training.

Provide a definition for “Continuing Professional Supervision” as ongoing supervision which  establishes the legal and functional responsibility of the licensed psychologist for the client and the services provided to a client by a supervisee.

Clarify that the Supervisor owns or is an employee of the entity employing the supervisee to quantify  legal functional responsibility of the licensed psychologist for the client and the services provided to a client by a supervisee.

Chapter NEW: Telepsychology and Telesupervision

Facilitate the process for a Louisiana Licensed Psychologist to provide psychological services via  telecommunications.

Chapter 8: Continuing Professional Development

Add a requirement that (2) of the 40 hours that are currently required must be within the area of multiculturalism or diversity.

Remove the categorical requirement in consideration of the least restrictive requirements for license  renewal.

Define activities that are “automatically approved” by the Board as Workshops, Conference Workshops/Training Activities that have Board approved sponsors.

Chapter 9: Licenses (Emeritus)

Create a retired status for licensees: “Psychologist Emeritus: Retired”.

Create definitions, criteria and a procedure for requesting the status.

Create a procedure to return to practice.

Provide that “Psychologist Emeritus: Retired” are exempt from Continuing Education requirements.

Provide a procedure and requirements for renewal of a Psychologist Emeritus.

Chapter 15: Complaint Adjudication process – Draft changes were not ready for presentation.

Chapter 19: Public Information (petitions to the board)

Dr. Gibson presented draft amendments to Chapter 19 which establish a procedure for any  interested person to petition the LSBEP to request the adoption, amendment, or repeal of a rule according to Title 49. Section 953.C(1).

Chapter 40: LSSP CPD Requirements –

Ms. Monic presented previously approved changes to Chapter 40 which will reduce the number of  continuing education hours required for the renewal of a license from 50 to 40 hours.

******
[Editor’s Note: Minutes are available at the board’s website which
include all notes on discussion of new rules.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Legislative Auditors Review Strengths, Weaknesses of State Psychology Board

A performance audit by the Louisiana Legislative Auditors Office has found problems in the  complaints process of the state Psychology Board. The audit, led by Ms. Emily Dixon, Performance Audit Manager, and begun in August 2021, examined the Board’s processes for  licensing, monitoring, and enforcement. The performance of the board was compared to the requirements set forth in the Psychology Practice Act, and found to be in compliance with “most best practices.”

However, the auditors found numerous problems with the complaints committee performance. They said that the average time for resolving a complaint was 338 days and that the Board had  no internal time frames for accomplishing its investigations. The auditors also stated that the  board had no “disciplinary matrix,” and no way to track the nature and outcomes of complaints  or to analyze the data. They also found numerous errors, inconsistencies, and lack of follow up.

The auditors sampled internal documents from fiscal years 2019 through 2021. During this  three year time, LSBEP received 71 complaints and closed 63 of these complaints. Eight, or 12.7%, resulted in a public, disciplinary action. There was one, non-public, impaired psychologist procedure and 11 Letters of Education, also nonpublic. According to this data, 43 of the cases  were dismissed with no action. A total of 85.7% were either dismissed or received a letter with  educational information.

The auditors found that the board required an average of 338 days to resolve a complaint. The  time ranged from eleven days to more than three years. Eight (12.7%) of the 63 complaints took more than two years to resolve, and an additional 13 (20.6%) of the complaints took more than  one year to resolve.

” […] LSBEP has not established internal timeframes for resolving complaints, and its process for tracking complaints does not record accurate and complete information. As a result, the Board  cannot ensure that it is investigating and resolving complaints in a timely manner,” they said.

The auditors found that LSBEP’s process for tracking complaints included inaccuracies and inconsistencies.

“LSBEP tracks complaint information in a spreadsheet, an investigation log, and a complaints  log. However, we compared these three documents to each other and to LSBEP’s paper  complaint files and Board meeting minutes that contain complaint outcomes, and found that  none of the tracking documents were accurate or complete. For instance, the spreadsheet did  not include all complaints, incorrectly listed some closed complaints as open, and did not  include all instances of disciplinary action.

“[…] we found that three Letters of Education were sent to the licensees more than five months  after the Board voted to send them.” And, “… we identified five complaints that LSBEP did not ensure were fully closed. These five complaints included one licensee who was never sent a Letter of Education that the Board voted to send in June 2019 about mandatory reporting of  abuse.” The auditors sound that four complaints were never presented to the Board for closure.”

The auditors also found that “LSBEP has not adopted a disciplinary matrix that aligns with  regulatory best practices to ensure that disciplinary actions are consistent and appropriately  escalated based on the number and/or severity of violations.”

 The auditors found the following categories and percentages of allegations. (See Audit Exhibit below.) The most frequent category of 25% came in from allegations of “Substandard Care,  Negligence, or Malpractice.” This was followed by 20% for “Unprofessional Conduct, Discrimination, or Rude Treatment.” Next was “Failure to Maintain or Provide Accurate Patient  Records” at 16%, “Multiple Relationships or Conflict of Interest,” and ‘Practice Without  License, Misrepresentation of Credentials, or Practice Outside of Scope,” both at 14% of allegations.

The auditors noted, “According to LSBEP, staff create separate spreadsheets to track the compliance of each disciplined licensee and use calendar reminders for monitoring specific  activities.

“However, these processes are not formalized in policy and staff have not followed them consistently. In addition, the Board does not have a process for systematically and periodically  monitoring whether all disciplined licensees have performed required corrective actions,  reimbursed disciplinary costs as ordered, and continue to comply with ongoing Board restrictions.”

The auditors noted that, “LSBEP did not report four (44.4%) of the nine adverse actions it issued during fiscal years 2019 through 2021 to the NPDB in accordance with federal law.”

The auditors recommended that the Psychology Board require all licensees to undergo a background check, Instead of just new licensees. And, they recommended that the Board query  the National Practitioner Data Base for enforcement information when making license decisions and for continuous monitoring.

The auditors also indicated that the Legislature may want to authorize the Psychology Board to  impose fines for discipline and administrative noncompliance.

In a response, the Board agreed with all the auditors’ recommendations. Specifically, they  agreed to “… establish a system where complaints are prioritized and investigated on a case-by- case basis considering risk to the public in accordance with the Audit, the Act, LAPA, and other  applicable law and oversight. This system will ensure complaints are processed within reasonable time periods, factoring in the complexity of the case. These procedures are  currently in practice, but not explicitly stated in policy. Additionally, the board has recently hired two full-time employees including in-house counsel whose primary focus is on the complaint  adjudication process. Timeframes for internal monitoring will be determined to ensure compliance.”

The Board agreed to “… establishing a process for tracking complaints that includes  documenting the status, nature, and outcome of all complaints; periodically reviewing open  complaints; and regularly analyzing complaint data to assess compliance with agency policy and identify opportunities for improvement. Over the past 3 years, the board has worked to  improve financial stability in order to employ staff who can develop these processes understanding that this is vital to operations and best practice.”

The 37-page report is available online at https://app.lla.state.la.us/publicreports.nsf/0/dd11af03beda7797862588540052a678/$file/0002f3.pdf?openelement&.7773098

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Lin Named 2022 Janet Matthews, PhD, Outstanding Psychology Mentor

Dr. Hung-Chu Lin, Professor of Psychology at the University of Louisiana Lafayette, has been  named by the Louisiana Psychological Association as the 2022 Janet R. Matthews, PhD, Outstanding Psychology Mentor.

“This award recognizes and honors Dr. Janet R. Matthews for her lifetime of mentoring work  and the impact she had on psychologists in Louisiana,” said Dr. Amanda Raines, spokesperson  for the Louisiana Psychological Association, at the group’s spring convention.

Dr. Raines announced that the Association was honoring Dr. Lin for 2022. “Her dedication to  supporting, encouraging, and guiding undergraduate and master’s level psychology students is  truly remarkable,” said Dr. Raines.

“Each semester, she mentors an average of 15 undergraduate and graduate students in her  lab,” said Raines. “Students not only learn critical thinking skills but how to design sound  research studies, test hypotheses, and communicate findings. In the classroom, Dr. Lin creates  a space that is welcoming and accessible for those with learning disabilities and/or non- conforming identities. She further assists students who are facing financial hardships or  experiencing psychological distress. In summary, she provides essential, foundational  experiences, through her research and teaching, to facilitate the growth and development of  her students.”

As well as a professor at University of Louisiana Lafayette (ULL) Dr. Lin is also the Chair of the  Institutional Review Board and she holds the endowed SLEMCO/LEQSF Regents Professor in  Liberal Arts.

Her research focus includes the development of emotions, parenting, attachment relationships, and developmental disabilities. She runs the Developmental Science Laboratory (DSL), which  takes an interdisciplinary approach to examine the complexity of adjusted and maladjusted developmental processes.

She is a Sponsored Collaborator with The Developmental Risk and Cultural Resilience Laboratory at Pediatric Newborn Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical  School. Among her other collaborators are the Cecil J. Picard Center for Child Development and  Lifelong Learning, College of Behavioral, Social, and Health Sciences, Clemson University, and the Cognitive Science of Language & Education Lab, Department of Psychological Science, the  University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Dr. Lin earned her doctorate in developmental psychology from the University of Connecticut  and it is a board certified specialist of academic pediatric dentistry in Taiwan and holds a DDS  degree from the school of dentistry in the national Taiwan University.

Also this year the ULL Graduate School selected Dr. Lin as the recipient of the 2022 Outstanding Master’s Mentor Award.

In ULL News, Dr. Amy Brown, department head for Psychology, said, “She is very supportive of  the professional development of her master’s students: encouraging them to apply for grants  and awards, and to present research at conferences. In interacting with graduate students, Dr.  Lin is warm and supportive, but also holds high standards—she expects hard work and improvement, and creates an environment where students feel empowered to work hard and succeed.”

Dr. Lin directs the Developmental Science Laboratory (DSL) where interested faculty and  students take an interdisciplinary approach to studying The complexity of adjusted and  maladjusted developmental processes. The DSL projects include:

•The long-term physical and mental sequelae of adverse childhood experiences.
•The relation between adverse childhood experiences and sexual self-esteem.
•Mindfulness and resilience as protective factors for individuals with childhood trauma.
•Social stigma (explicit and implicit) towards individuals with developmental disabilities/LGBTQ populations.
•Perceived parental behaviors, relational identity, and internal working models.
•The development of empathy and understanding of theory of mind.
•Using simulation paradigms to observe emotional responses and physiological arousal.
•Interpersonal problems, emotional regulation, and anxiety disorders.

Dr. Lin said to ULL News, “No words can express how rewarding and fulfilling it is to grow along  with my research children academically, professionally, and personally,” Lin said. “I’m grateful to play a role in these students’ lives as they pursue their academic and personal development.

“As a mentor, I constantly question and examine my preconceived assumptions and beliefs  about mentees and strive for bias-free mentoring. By actively listening and discerning, I convey  my unconditional respect and emphatic care with affirmation, understanding, and acceptance.”

What does she believe are the most important characteristics that have supported her in being  such a successful mentor?

“Being grateful to play a role in these students’ lives as they pursue their academic and  personal development,” said Dr. Lin. “Being unconditionally respectful to individual differences  in students’ competencies, learning styles, communication patterns, and personality qualities. Being clear when setting goals and expectations for their works while maintaining flexibility to tackle with unexpected events.”

What are some of the most enjoyable experiences she has had as a mentor to her students? “To grow academically and personally together with them,” Lin said.

Dr. Lin sets out her methods and philosophy in her Mentorship Statement, including:

“Unconditional respect for individual differences. Mentees come from various racial/ethnic and sociocultural backgrounds. Every one of them displays distinctive approaches to learning and  dispositional characteristics when tackling challenges or stressful situations. As a mentor, I constantly question and examine my preconceived assumptions and beliefs about mentees and strive for bias-free mentoring. By actively listening and discerning, I convey my unconditional  respect and empathic care with affirmation, understanding, and acceptance. At the core, each  mentee is a unique individual; thus, my mentoring is tailored to the uniqueness of the  individual’s needs to maximize the mentee’s academic progress and personal growth.

“Mentoring is like parenting. It was at the end of a departmental award ceremony a couple of  years ago when one of my mentees (who was recognized as the outstanding graduate for that  academic term) introduced me to her mother, ‘Mom, I’d like you to meet my research momma!’  Feeling tremendously touched and proud, I regarded this title of research momma beautifully  represented my relationships with my mentees.”

UUL News reported that Madeline Jones, master’s candidate in psychology, describes Dr. Lin as  “an amazing mentor” who “has given me strength and confidence throughout my time in this  program. I would describe my relationship with Dr. Lin as one filled with mutual respect,  kindness, communication, support, and positivity. I attribute my success as a graduate student to her qualities as a mentor, especially her resourcefulness, efficiency, and determination.”

Five of Dr. Lin’s researchers have been accepted to various doctoral programs around the  country. Madison Holmes has been accepted to the PsyD program at Mercer University.  Maddison Knott has been accepted to the doctoral program in clinical psychology at Southern  Mississippi University. Lindsey Held has been accepted to the doctoral program in experimental psychology with a concentration on developmental psychology at the University of Alabama.  Kylie Garger has been accepted to the doctoral program in developmental psychology at the  University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Michelle Grisham has been accepted to the doctoral  program in developmental psychology at the Northern Illinois University.

Reviewed publications with student coauthors include:

Lin, H.-C., & Janice, J. (2020). Disengagement is as revealing as prosocial action for young children’s responding to strangers in distress: How personal distress and empathic concern come into play. International Journal of Behavioral Development;

Flynn, N. S., Harrington, J. H., Knott, K. M., & Lin, H.-C. (2020). Job satisfaction in direct support professionals: Associations with self-efficacy and perspective-taking. Societies;

Lin, H.-C., Bourque, J., Zeanah, P., & McFatter, R. (2018). Perceptions of stress and enrichment in  caregivers of children with autism spectrum disorder: Implications for community support. Societies.;

Conference Presentations with Student Coauthors (All Peer Reviewed) include:

Lin, H.-C., Held, L., & Malley, K. The Associations between adverse childhood experiences,  emotion regulation, and adult distress symptoms. Poster proposal accepted to be presented at  the 2019 International Convention of Psychological Science, March, 7-9, 2019, Paris, France.

Lin, H.-C., McDermott, M., Zeanah, P., & Held, L. (2019, March). Posttraumatic stress disorder in the association between childhood trauma and somatic symptoms. Poster proposal accepted to
be presented at the 2019 SRCD Biennial Meeting, March 21-23, 2019, in Baltimore, Maryland,  USA.

Lin, H.-C., Knott, M., LaHaye, L., Flynn, S., Stringfellow, S. Latiolais, B., & Holmes, M. (2019, May).  Difficulty in emotion regulation exacerbates the association of adverse childhood experiences with depressive symptoms. Poster proposal accepted to the 31st Convention of the Association  for Psychological Science, May 23-26, 2019, Washington D.C., USA.

Lin, H.-C., Hughes, A., Held, L., Malley, K., Kinsland, M., & Barker, N. (2019, May). The role of  difficulty in emotion regulation in the association of adverse childhood experiences with  attachment insecurity. Poster proposal accepted to the 31st Convention of the Association for  Psychological Science, May 23-26, 2019, Washington D.C., USA.

How did she make the shift from dentistry to psychology?

“Indeed, I have a degree in Doctor of Dental science (DDS). My certified specialty is Pediatric  Dentistry. I had worked at the National Taiwan University Hospital for 10 years,” Dr. Lin said. “A  large part of my work as a pediatric dentist involved behavioral management to help my child  patients comply to and gain positive experiences from dental procedures. I also observed many teenagers suffering from myofascial pain dysfunction syndrome. I became increasingly  interested in behavioral sciences and the intricate connections between mind and body to an  extent that I made a big career change and came to the US to study developmental psychology.  I miss practicing in dentistry (I enjoyed it so much), but I also have been extremely happy with  what I am doing now as a researcher and a teacher. Psychology is such an exciting field that  keeps amazing me,” Dr. Lin said.

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Constans Recognized for Contributions

Dr. Joseph Constans, clinical psychologist and Senior Manager for Suicide Prevention within the Department of Veterans Affairs, has been recognized by the Louisiana Psychological Association for the 2022 Contributions in Psychological Science Award.

Presenting the award and spokesperson for the association, Dr. Amanda Raines explained that  this honor is given to those in the psychological community who have used their time and resources to expand and propagate the knowledge of psychological concepts through rigorous research and the publication of these findings.

“Dr. Constans was recently promoted to Senior Manager for Suicide Prevention within the Department of Veterans Affairs where he manages the suicide research portfolio for the Office  of Research and Development,” Dr. Raines said.

“Previously he served as the Associate Chief of Staff for Research at the Southeast Louisiana  Veterans Health Care System where he successfully led the activation of our state of-the-art  research program following the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. Dr. Constans’ own  program of research involves understanding and modifying belief systems in trauma-exposed  individuals prone to either homicidal or suicidal violence,” she said.

“In his role as the Senior Manager for Suicide Prevention at the Department of Veteran Affairs,  Dr. Constans is instrumental to the Office of Research and Development, where he maintains  the suicide research portfolio,” said Dr. Raines.

She also explained that Dr. Constans has published over 50 peer-reviewed manuscripts and  book chapters, serves as an ad hoc reviewer for over 20 peer reviewed journals and has secured funding for over $12 million in grants.

“I’m truly honored,” Dr. Constans told the Times, “that my colleagues selected me as the  recipient for the Louisiana Psychological Association 2022 Contributions in Psychological  Science Award. The Boulder model served as the framework for my graduate education in  clinical psychology, and I continue to strongly support the scientist/practitioner approach.  Therefore, I am particularly grateful to have received this award.”

Dr. Constans is also Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Neurology at Tulane  University School of Medicine, and a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Louisiana State University School of Medicine.

He is a member of the Tulane University  Violence Prevention Institute (VPI), which focuses its research on violence both in the local  community and across the globe. The Violence Prevention Institute mission is to be “an equity- focused hub supporting communities to foster transformative research, training, and advocacy  to address systemic, structural, and interpersonal violence.” Local research has shown that the prevalence of sexual assault and domestic violence in the New Orleans area needs to be  addressed with research and community collaboration.

Dr. Constans is a member of both the Internal Advisory Committee at the Louisiana Clinical and  Translational Science Center, whose objective is to transform the clinical and translational  research efforts of our region away from the status quo, to a unified, comprehensive approach  targeting the theme of “prevention, care and research of chronic diseases in the underserved  population.”

He also serves on the Advisory Board at Louisiana Violent Death Reporting System in the  Louisiana Office of Public Health.

Dr. Contans is also the President of Louisiana Veterans Research and Education Corporation.  Dr. Constans’ evidence-based methods utilized to combat anxiety disorders are rooted in  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for which he publicly advocates. He is passionate about  serving his clients and the psychological community through research and treatment. His  federally-funded research program is designed to understand and treat emotional disorders,  and his extensive training with some of the early pioneers of CBT, including Drs. Andrew Mathew and Edna Foa, grant him the expertise which catalyzes this research.

In addition to his boots-on-the-ground work, Dr. Constans has been able to gather the  Resources needed to fund research integral to his expertise. To facilitate his research surrounding trauma-exposed individuals, where he studies the thought process behind their  belief systems and strives to achieve modification in this area, Dr. Constans has procured over  $12 million in grants. This research is instrumental in preventing homicidal and suicidal  violence, and his commitment to this work is evidenced in the 50-plus peer-reviewed  manuscripts and book chapters he has published to date.

Working with the VA and Department of Defense, he has served as the Principal Investigator or  Co-Investigator on countless studies and has been an ad hoc reviewer for over 20 peer- reviewed journals. He also has reviewed various grants funded by both the federal government  and private entities.

Dr. Constans’ research includes the following major areas.

Understanding attention, judgment, and memory bias in pathological anxiety:

Constans, J. I. & Mathews, A. M. (1993). Mood and the subjective risk of future events. Cognition  and Emotion, 7(6), 545-560.

Constans, J. I., Foa, E. B., Franklin, M. E., & Mathews, A. (1995). Memory for actual and imagined  events in OC checkers. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 33(6), 665-671.

Constans, J. I., Penn, D. L., Ihen, G. H., & Hope, D. A. (1999). Interpretive biases for ambiguous  stimuli in social anxiety. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 37(7), 643-651.

Peters, K., Constans, J. I., & Mathews, A. (2011). Experimental modification of attribution  processes. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 120(1), 168-173.

Cognitive bias and neuropsychological deficits associated with PTSD:

Constans, J. I., Foa, E. B., Franklin, M. E., & Mathews, A. (1995). Memory for actual and imagined events in OC checkers. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 33(6), 665-671.

Constans, J. I., Penn, D. L., Ihen, G. H., & Hope, D. A. (1999). Interpretive biases for ambiguous  stimuli in social anxiety. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 37(7), 643-651.

Peters, K., Constans, J. I., & Mathews, A. (2011). Experimental modification of attribution  processes. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 120(1), 168-173.

The prevention of death, including homicide and suicide:

Wamser-Nanney, R. A., Nanney, J. T,  & Constans, J. I. (2019). PTSD Symptoms and Attitudes Towards Guns. Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

Wamser-Nanney, R. A., Nanney, J. T., Conrad, E., & Constans, J. I. (2019). Childhood Trauma  Exposure Among Victims of Gun Violence. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, and Policy, 11(1), 99-106.

Wamser-Nanney, R., Nanney, J. T., & Constans, J. I. (2019). The Gun Behaviors and Beliefs Scale:  Development of a new measure of gun behaviors and beliefs. Psychology of Violence, 10(2),  72–181.

Wamser-Nanney, R.A., Nanney, J.T, & Constans, J.I. Trauma Exposure and Attitudes Towards  Guns. Psychology of Violence. Manuscript submitted for publication.

Dr. Constans told the Times, “When I began my professional career in the Veterans Health Administration 1993, I thought I’d last about 5 years in the organization. Now, almost 29 years  later, I’m still a VA employee. Reflecting on why my prediction was so inaccurate and why I have  stayed with this organization for so long, I can say that a primary reason is because of the  opportunities that the VA provided me in pursuing a career as a clinician scientist,” he said.

Dr. Constans specializes in the non-medical treatment of a variety of emotional disorders  including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Panic Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, mild to moderate depression, and stress- related emotional issues.

After completing his undergraduate studies in Psychology at Louisiana State University (LSU),  Dr. Constans went on to receive his M.S. at Colorado State University and a PhD in Clinical  Psychology from LSU. He then completed his internship at the Medical College of Pennsylvania.

What does he view to be his most important contributions? “There have been three phases in  my career as a clinician scientist,” Dr. Constans said. “For the first 15 years of my career, I  investigated how biases in judgment and attention served as causative or maintaining factors  for psychopathology, particularly posttraumatic stress disorder.

“In the second phase, beginning approximately 10 years ago, my focus evolved from studying  the sequelae of trauma to one that is concerned with prevention. My interests became and remain the prevention of suicide and homicide with a particular emphasis in understanding  how beliefs and behaviors surrounding firearms contributes to violent death,” he said.

“The third part of my career was and is as an administrator for scientific endeavors. I served as  the Associate Chief of Staff for Research at the New Orleans VAMC from approximately a year after Hurricane Katrina until October of 2021. In this administrative position, I was able to  advance and grow the scientific mission in our healthcare facility, and hopefully during this  time, I served as a particularly strong advocate for psychological science,” he said.

“Now, I working for Office of Research and Development in VA’s Central Office, developing and  managing the suicide prevention research portfolio, allowing me to assist in the advancement  of psychological science to address an important public health issue,” Dr. Constans said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Cohen’s Newest Research in Clinical Psychological Science

Dr. Alex Cohen, clinical psychologist and professor at Louisiana State University (LSU), continues his efforts to adapt behavioral technologies for investigating a wide range of clinical issues,  including suicidality, depression, psychosis, mania, and anxiety. His newest publication is “High Predictive Accuracy of Negative Schizotypy with Acoustic Measures,” published recently in the  flagship clinical journal, Clinical Psychological Science. He is widely recognized for his work using automated computerized analysis of behavior and has been featured in top psychology and  psychiatry journals.

In an interview with the Times, Dr. Cohen said, “I think we are pushing the boundaries of what  clinical science can do in measuring symptoms of serious mental illness.

“Psychology has not sufficiently addressed many areas of human suffering, and innovation is  needed. I believe that Psychology can’t fulfill its potential alone, and will require cooperation between other academic disciplines, and also community partners, big tech, advocacy and political groups, business, government regulators, law enforcement and above all, people from  the communities we are serving,” he said.

“Finding ways to cooperate and overcome the inevitable ‘tower of babel’ problem between  these groups, in my opinion, is essential to solving many of the big problems that we face right  now. Who else is trained so effectively in bringing people together? I think psychology can  occupy a central role in coordinating these efforts.”

What does he think are the major and most important findings of this new study? “We were  trying to use objective vocal data to predict personality traits associated with psychosis risk,” Dr. Cohen said. “Given the nature of our data, we used supervised machine learning. Our models  were highly accurate, generally 85% or so in classifying people with versus without the traits.

“More importantly, we were exploring how this kind of model building should be done, and this  problem extends well beyond psychosis risk research. Our models didn’t actually predict  personality traits or psychosis risk, but rather, people’s report on ‘gold-standard’ self-report  scales. Predicting psychosis risk and predicting scores from a gold-standard measure are not the same, and our secondary analyses speak to this.

“Generally speaking, ‘gold standard’ measures are good enough for many purposes in  psychology. If the goal is highly accurate prediction using objective data however, our measures are often inadequate. This is an unrecognized obstacle to implementing predictive analytics into psychology,” Dr. Cohen said.

This most recent work was a collaboration with the LSU Department of Psychology, the LSU  Center for Computation and Technology, the Department of Psychiatry at University of Utah,  and Department of Psychology at University of Central Florida.

Dr. Cohen worked with Dr.  Christopher Cox on this project, an Assistant Professor of Psychology at LSU. Dr. Cox is involved in various research endeavors, including focusing on experimental machine learning tools, exploring the context sensitivity of semantic knowledge, building computational models of reading.

What was it like collaborating with Dr. Cox? “Dr. Cox is one of the most thoughtful people I have  had the pleasure to work with,” said Dr. Cohen. “He is extremely bright and methodical, and  cares deeply about students and learning. He seems to operate on a higher level of consciousness than most, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he sees the world in streams of binary  data like Neo from the Matrix movies.”

Dr. Cohen is also an adjunct professor at Pennington Biomedical Research Center and LSU  Health Sciences, where he manages a team of doctoral students and graduate assistants. His  current research projects focus on understanding and helping those with severe mental illness,  notably schizophrenia, and those at risk of developing various psychotic-spectrum disorders.

Dr. Cohen’s current research projects are multi-tiered. He is currently working on a project that  involves adapting biobehavioral technologies for use in assessing mental well-being. This  project involves a highly constructed collaboration between industry and academia and uses  “Big Data” methods to measure and predict cognitive, affective, and behavioral states in those with serious mental illness.

A few years ago, LSU helped Dr. Cohen and some of his colleagues to commercialize his  technologies for “digital phenotyping.”

“Digital phenotyping involves quantifying aspects of mental health using complex, objective  data streams,” he said. “In our case, these data are from automated language, facial, vocal,  location and movement analysis from a smart phone. Since then, we have created an app using  these technologies to support clinical trials. We are starting to explore digital phenotyping to  support clinical management of patients with serious mental illness, and I am proud to have community partners in Baton Rouge for this. The methods used in our clinical psychological science paper were central in advancing these technologies.”

Dr. Cohen is in collaboration with an international consortium involved in researching the links  between disturbances in natural speech and symptoms of mental illness and genomics. Pattern recognition and advanced machine learning are being utilized in this research. In addition to  these projects, he facilitates research investigating how emotion, cognition, motivation, and  social functions in those predisposed for developing serious mental illness and those already combating serious mental illness. This project uses “small data” and basic psychological science  methods are used, including self-report, behavioral and electrophysiological measures, and performance measures.

Dr. Cohen has been working for nearly 20 years on these innovations, and explains that with  the help of many colleagues, “… we are getting closer – though this process has been anything  but time efficient.”

“What I have found is that digital data and symptoms ratings rarely agree,” he said. “Using  machine learning, one can engineer solutions that show impressive agreement in one setting,  but they don’t generalize. What is considered flat and unresponsive speech in one setting by  one group of people is considered unremarkable in another setting for other people. That is one major thing we found in the CPS paper, and have replicated in a number of other studies.”

“Why don’t they agree? Are clinicians wrong? Are digital technologies missing a critical human  element? The answer is, of course, both. So we are trying to develop methods for optimizing and evaluating these digital technologies. This field is huge right now, but I am afraid many of  the solutions being proposed are superficial and will fade quickly. I think my colleagues and I  are in a unique position to advance this field.”

Some of Dr. Cohen’s recent work helps to explain these complexities. • Cohen, A. S., Rodriguez,  Zachary Warren, K. K., Cowan, T. M., Masucci, M. M., Granrud, Ole Edvard Holmlund, Terje B  Chandler, C., Foltz, P. W., & Strauss, Gregory, P. (2022). Natural Language Processing and  Psychosis: On The Need for Comprehensive Psychometric Evaluation. Schizophrenia Bulletin, In Press.

“Evaluation of digital measures falls far short of what is expected of most psychological tests,” Dr. Cohen said. “This is part of a themed issue Brita Elvevåg and I are finalizing for the journal  Schizophrenia Bulletin.”

• Cohen, A. S., Cox, C. R., Tucker, R. P., Mitchell, K. R., Schwartz, E. K., Le, T. P., Foltz, P. W., Holmlund, T. B., & Elvevåg, B. (2021). Validating Biobehavioral Technologies for Use in Clinical Psychiatry. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 12. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.503323

“In this paper,” he said, “we compare evaluation of objective measures in other areas of science (e.g., physics, computer sciences, engineering) to that of psychology. There are some critical differences, particularly surrounding how ‘resolution’ is handled. The upshot is that psychology  should do a better job of defining exactly when, where and how a phenomenon is occurring. . . at least with respect to validating objective measures.”

• Cohen, A. S., Schwartz, E., Le, T. P., Cowan, T., Kirkpatrick, B., Raugh, I. M., & Strauss, G. P.  (2021). Digital phenotyping of negative symptoms: the relationship to clinician ratings. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 47(1), 44-53. https://doi.org/10.1093/schbul/sbaa065

“In this paper, we demonstrate how objective technologies often disagree with what a clinician  says. We attempt to unpack why that is – with the idea that neither is inherently wrong. Rather,  they are looking a different phenomenon,” he said.

• Cohen, A. S., Cowan, T., Le, T. P., Schwartz, E. K., Kirkpatrick, B., Raugh, I. M., Chapman, H. C., &  Strauss, G. P. (2020). Ambulatory digital phenotyping of blunted affect and alogia using objective facial and vocal analysis: Proof of concept. Schizophrenia Research, 220, 141–146.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.schres.2020.03.043

“In this paper, we evaluate a method of evaluating aspects of psychosis using smart phone  technologies. We are currently trying to implement these technologies with Capitol Area Human Services District ––though, in early stages.”

Besides pushing the boundaries of what clinical science can do in measuring symptoms of serious mental illness, what was the most enjoyable thing for about the work for Dr. Cohen?

“This is a necessarily multidisciplinary endeavor, and I really enjoy being challenged by my students and colleagues. When trying to objectify aspects of mental illness, we need to be very  mindful of the role that demographics, culture and other individual differences play. I am blessed to have a network of colleagues from a variety of walks of life that can help challenge us to create culturally appropriate, and ultimately better, measures.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Slaton Named 2022 Distinguished Psychologist by LPA

Dr. Karen Slaton, who has been at the forefront of psychology’s transition to integrated health care for most if not all of her career, and engaged in practice, research, and teaching, has been named the 2022 Distinguished Psychologist by the Louisiana Psychological Association.

Dr. Slaton is the Program Manager of Behavioral Medicine/Health Psychology/Primary Care  Mental Health Integration at the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System. She developed and manages the Primary Care Mental Health Integration Program at the Care  System. She implements the Veterans Administration mandated effort to fully integrate  behavioral health as part of the extended Patient Aligned Care Team. This team consists of  psychiatry, social work, nursing and psychology, and is essential in assuring veteran access to same-day care.

Dr. Slaton also coordinates behavioral medicine services, such as services for pain, palliative  care, cardiology, physical medicine & rehabilitation, and integrated health services (including  yoga and hypnosis).

Dr. Slaton also serves in additional roles including Health Behavior Coordinator, Pain Psychologist, Complimentary Integrated Health VISN lead and Lead Tobacco Cessation Clinician.  She provides health promotion and disease prevention services to veterans such as tobacco cessation and weight loss coaching.

She trains other clinicians in the Interdisciplinary Pain Program, Bariatric Treatment Team, and  Controlled Substances Oversite Board. She collaborates in other teams and committees  including Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Committee, Women’s Health Committee,  Employee Wellness Committee, and the Opioid Safety Initiative.

Dr. Slaton is Clinical Assistant Professor of Behavioral Sciences at Tulane University School of  Medicine and Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at Louisiana State University Health  Sciences Center School of Medicine. She provides invited lectures to trainees in the Tulane  School of Medicine Clinical Psychology Internship Training Program and the LSU School of  Medicine Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Residency Program.

Dr. Slaton is an APA accredited clinical psychology internship and postdoctoral fellowship  Training Committee Member, providing didactic training and supervision to interns and post- doctoral fellows in the areas of primary care mental health and behavioral medicine.

Dr. Slaton is a nationally Approved Consultant in Clinical Hypnosis and a Registered Yoga  teacher.

Dr. Slaton has also owned and operated her own private practice through Northshore  Psychological Services, LLC, Covington, and the Center for Wellness and Peak Performance, LLC,  Covington. She provides a wide range of psychological services including psychotherapy, assessment and evaluation, consultation, and professional training. Her areas include posttraumatic stress disorder, marriage, couples and relationship counseling, food, weight and  body image issues including eating disorders and bariatric psychology, depression, anxiety,  sport and performance psychology, clinical and sports hypnosis, personal growth and  development and counseling patients with medical illness.

Dr. Amanda Raines announced the award in April, at the annual meeting of the Louisiana  Psychological Association. “This award is given to an individual who has made significant  contributions to psychology research, practice, or both, during the course of their career,” said Raines. “This year we are recognizing Dr. Karen Slaton. Dr. Slaton currently serves as the  Program Manager for Primary-Care Mental Health Integration and the Health Behavior  coordinator at the New Orleans VA. She is actively involved in more local and regional committees within the VA than I can count,” Raines said.

“She maintains academic appointments at Tulane and LSU and actively stays involved in both  training and research related endeavors. Dr. Slaton is certified by the American College of  Sports Medicine as an Exercise Physiologist and by the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis. She is also a certified & registered yoga teacher and somehow manages to incorporate all of  these skills into her integrative practice at the New Orleans VA.”

Dr. Slaton’s research includes:

Slaton, K. (2000). An investigation of the relationship between  parental bonding and body image disturbance among male and female college students. Dissertation.

Slaton, K. & Lyddon, W. (2000). Cognitive-experiential reprocessing and rape: A case study.  Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 14, 189-200.

Slaton, K. & Westphal, J. (1999). The Slaton-Westphal functional assessment inventory for adults  with serious mental illness: Development of an instrument to measure functional status and psychiatric rehabilitation outcome. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 23, 119-126

Raines, A. M.,  Primeaux, S. J., Ennis, C. R., Walton, J. L., Slaton, K. D., Vigil, J. O., Allan, N. P., Zvolensky, M. J.,  Schmidt, N. B., & Franklin, C. L. (2021). Posttraumatic stress disorder and pain
in veterans: Indirect association through anxiety sensitivity. Manuscript submitted for publication.

Vigil, J.O., Slaton, K.D., Raines, A.M., & Franklin, C.L. (2018, September). Examining the Effects of a Comprehensive Pain Rehabilitation Program among Veterans. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Southern Pain Society, Atlanta, GA.

Lyddon, W., & Slaton, K. (2001). Promoting healthy body image and the prevention of eating disorders among adolescent women. In C. Juntunen & D. Atkinson (Eds.), Counseling strategies  for developmental concerns. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Her training lectures are  numerous, and include: Use of Hypnotic Language in Non-hypnosis Clinical Encounters.  Presented at 6th Dabney Ewin, MD FACS Hypnosis Lecture. 2022 Tulane Brain and Behavior Conference.

Primary Care Psychology. Presented to Psychology Interns at Tulane University School of Medicine and Southeast Louisiana Veteran Health Care System.

Motivational Interviewing: Effective Communication with Veterans. Presented at the Southeast  Louisiana Veterans Health Care System 2020 Fall Women’s Health Summit.

Motivational Interviewing Skills for Dealing with Challenging Patient Encounters. Presented at LSUMC PM&R Pain Conference.

Behavioral Intervention for Chronic Pain. Presented at LSUMC Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Resident Didactic Lecture.

Motivational Interviewing. Presented to the LEND program staff at Louisiana State University  School of Medicine.

Motivational Interviewing Skills for Dealing with Challenging Patient Encounters. Presented at LSUMC PM&R Pain Conference.

“My career as occurred in phases,” Dr. Slaton said, “I started in academic medicine at Tulane School of Medicine and like many of my Tulane colleagues, left after hurricane Katrina for  private practice. I enjoyed a thriving practice in Covington for almost a decade before joining  the New Orleans VA 10 years ago. I always say I have the best job ever! I work as a clinical health psychologist in various medicine services and have the privilege of serving Veterans in honor of my grandfather who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his service in WWII,” she said.

“I’m lucky to be able to provide clinical hypnosis to Veterans and to teach hypnosis at the National level for the VA, teach a weekly yoga class to Veterans, lead the Primary Care Mental  Health Integration team, and serve the facility as a consultant for patient education. However,  my favorite part of all is training the next generations of psychologists in our APA accredited  internship and fellowship programs,” Dr. Slaton said

 

 

Cybersecurity Expert Offers Essential Ideas for Defending Yourself and Your Clients

by Leslie Todd, LCSW, ACSW
AFCC Correspondent

Those of us who work with victims of intimate partner violence or vengeful ex-partners have  seen how badly technology can be misused to harm our clients. And we also know that just as  private citizens, we have to be on guard against cyber shenanigans. Then there’s our offices, our
electronics files, our phones….it’s pretty daunting, right?

Fortunately, there are folks who specialize in educating us so we can keep our clients and ourselves safe. 

Steven Bradley began his career with the FBI, starting a task force which investigated  technology and cyber-related crimes. Later, he worked with state coalitions and local domestic  violence/sexual assault center as a liaison between law enforcement and community partners  to better support survivors and victims. Today, he works with Our Family Wizard to promote  healthy communication between co- parents via technology. He has been an international  trainer for over 25 years, and recently presented at the AFCC-LA State Conference on March  18th on this subject. He agreed to share further information with The Psychology Times regarding handling the very difficult cyber abuse issues our clients may bring in—and tips for  protecting ourselves as well.

First, let’s start with Bradley’s pet peeve: people who don’t use passwords, or use them poorly.  Your first defense against hacking is to have a complex password, and to keep it private. Too  many of us still use lazy and highly guessable ones like “12345” or “password”– and many  people don’t even put a password on their smartphones. If you worry about not being able to  keep up with all your passwords (and no, you should not use one password for everything),  then allow your device to generate a complex password which will then be stored for you. And  do NOT tape it to your laptop or otherwise leave it handy for others to discover.

So—sloppy security starts with sloppy passcode management. If you have a client who is  endangered or may be at risk of being stalked, have them list ALL their social media and other  sensitive sites and discuss changing their passwords and security questions to things the stalker could not possibly know. That means no birthdays, pet or child names, or any other easily-guessed information. Remember to have them check medical portals as well.

Thanks to “the internet of things,” it is possible that your client is being monitored via a car’s nav system or some other device. Make sure you discuss with your clients what technologies are being used such as Bluetooth, GPS, On-Star, etc.

Bradley stresses that we should all keep our Bluetooth OFF unless we are actively using it,  because it is easily hacked. Also public access internet, such as in hotels or cafes, is highly  vulnerable to hacking. Malicious software can be installed, including tracking devices. And  remember to check the location services in a phone’s settings to be sure you or your client is  not giving away your location. Bradley noted that when he was to meet an abused client at  court, he would first meet with them near the courthouse in a fast-food place, where they  would both then turn off their location and Bluetooth settings. After court, they would return to  the same fast-food place or gas station and turn them back on. That way, anyone monitoring  would only track them to the innocuous site and not know about Court or other more sensitive destination.

Also, check with your vulnerable client to see if they have devices that were provided by the  suspected person. If a cellphone has been provided by the abusive party, ask your client to  consider using a donated or new cell phone. Same for a computer. If the client is looking for a  new place to live or making travel plans, ask them to use a computer at a public library.

The client should also update all privacy settings on any dating sites and social media sites  (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, TikTok, etc.) and be very wary of what they post. Remember that pictures and images can be searched as well as names and words.

Another way to safeguard a phone is to choose an optional service, like Google Voice, to keep a  personal number safe. Some of these services will let you forward calls and messages to up to five different phones while you simple have one phone number. That way, if the client’s number is compromised, they can log in and change one phone number instead of having to contact the phone company to change many.

Other than tracking people, cyber-hacking can allow the bad guys to “spoof” your phone. This  means that you may answer a call which looks like it’s coming from your mom, but it is really  the hacker. Spoofing allows threatening texts to show up from anonymous numbers (or  highjacked ones, like Mom’s.) In one of my high-conflict divorce cases, each of the spouses was  spoofing their OWN phones with threats ostensibly from their ex.

As a mental health professional, you may have tried to secure your office space and your files— but your cellphone and your car may betray you. Bradley points out that a judge may feel safe  in her courtroom, but once she gets in her car, she is as vulnerable as the next person unless  she takes cyber precautions to safeguard her devices (including her car). In a world where our  clients can Google images of our home and family, we need to keep this in mind.

If you do work with court systems or government agencies, you should know that they often  publish records online. Ask them how they protect or publish your records and request that access to your files is sealed or restrict to protect you and your client’s safety.

Bradley lives in this cyberworld everyday, but understands that we are far less aware than he is. He notes that he most common mistake he sees professionals make is to brush off a client’s suspicion that someone may be monitoring them. Since abusers love to make their clients feel  or look crazy, we should be wary not to add to the gaslighting. Abusers can use highly subtle  methods that will make your client sound paranoid. For instance, I had a client who would frequently find she had a flat tire in the morning. She assumed she was hitting nails around a  construction site—until her mechanic pointed out the frequency and types of punctures and boldly asked her if she was going through a divorce. Bingo. She ended up seeking counseling,  and we discovered many more dangerous indications of stalking.

Bradley’s talk was such a hit at our AFCC-LA State Conference that we are going to have him  return to do a half-day training later in the year, specifically for mental health and legal  professionals. We’ll be sure to publicize that event. Meanwhile, if you’d like a handout from  Bradley on this basic information, email me at Leslie.todd@leslietodd.com and I’ll pass it along to you.

[Editor’s Note: Leslie Todd served as the founding President of the Louisiana Chapter of the  Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC). Her contributions were acknowledged by AFCC  when they named her an “AFCC Ambassador,” a designation exemplifying the collegial and  collaborative spirit of AFCC membership.]

 

 

 

 

Experts Point to Alarming Trend of Increased Opioid Related Overdose Fatalities

A new report warns of soaring overdose deaths from the opioid crisis. Authors from the  Lancet’s, “Responding to the Opioid Crisis in North America and Beyond: Recommendations of  the Stanford-Lancet Commission,” published in February, said that in the USA and Canada, 2020 was the worst year on record for fatal opioid overdoses. The US overdoses rose 37%.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that provisional data analysis  estimates for the 12 months ending in May 2021, there were 75,387 deaths from opioid toxicity.

Opioids—mainly synthetic opioids (other than methadone)—are currently the main driver of  drug overdose deaths, said the CDC, with 72.9% of opioid-involved overdose deaths involving  synthetic opioids. And, overdose deaths involving psychostimulants such as methamphetamine  are increasing with and without synthetic opioid involvement.

Also in February, Medscape reported a surge in the rate of Black Americans dying from a  combination of opioids and cocaine, an increase of 575%. The rate for White Americans  increased by 184%.

A recent analysis in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found that in the South, deaths from  cocaine and opioids increased 26% per year among Black people, 27% per year among Latinx  people, and 12% per year among non-Hispanic Whites.

Dr. Marc Zimmermann is a neuropsychologist and medical psychologist in Baton Rouge, with over 30 years experience. He  is noted for his work in forensic psychology having testified in multiple states and jurisdictions, and he has been a consultant to many chemical dependency programs such as the Serenity Center and Lane Recovery Solutions. He is also a staff member at PTI in Baton Rouge.

Dr.  Zimmermann said that according to the Louisiana Department of Health, the bulk of all  recorded opioid overdose deaths occurred in the parishes of Southeast Louisiana. St. Tammany Parish experienced an average of over 47 opioid overdoses a year and Jefferson Parish  averaged over 71 opioid overdoses a year.

While their age-adjusted rates are not as high as St. Tammany and Jefferson Parishes, Orleans  and East Baton Rouge Parish experienced high average numbers of deaths from opioid  overdoses during the same time period.

Dr. Tiffany Jennings is a Louisiana native who is the Rural Health Coordinator for the Louisiana  Psychological Association and in full time private practice. Dr. Jennings has worked in a variety  of settings, including outpatient, inpatient, state and Federal agencies. She was previously an  Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology, at Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport and a Neuropsychologist at Overton Brooks VAMC in Shreveport, and for the US Army’s Traumatic  Brain Injury Clinic at Fort Polk in Leesville.

How serious does she feel the opioid crisis is in rural settings for Louisiana? “The opioid crisis  continues to be a serious crisis that has not shown any signs of abating,” Dr. Jennings said.

“The COIVD-19 may have exacerbated the crisis. The Louisiana Dept of Health’s website notes  an increase in fatal and nonfatal opioid overdoses as people are ‘cut off from services and  disconnected from support systems, have made it difficult for individuals to seek help.’

“The Louisiana Opioid Surveillance Program has noted an increase in deaths from overdose,”  she said. “This was noted to be in part due to availability of synthetic opioid drugs, which are  much more powerful than morphine. This results in a higher chance of death from use –– such  as fentanyl.”

Has she seen any changes over the last couple of years? “There’s been several high-profile  lawsuits against drug manufacturers for their alleged role in the opioid crisis,” Dr. Jennings said. “I believe there currently four US companies in the process of settling, to the tune of  approximately $26 billion. This has certainly brought attention to the extent of the current  opioid epidemic.

“Many insurance agencies, including Medicaid, expanded telehealth access due to the ongoing  COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, I have not seen much change with regard to access to service for rural health settings in Louisiana. There continues to be a wait list to see Medicaid providers. Reimbursement remains an issue. Also, those in rural areas may not have the  technology to fully utilize telehealth services,” Dr. Jennings said.

The Lancet Commission Report pointed to the lack of accessible, high-quality, non-stigmatising, integrated health and social care services for people with opioid use disorder in the USA. The  authors recommended reforming public and private health insurance systems to address this issue, including cutting off funding for care that is likely to be harmful.

Dr. Geralyn Datz is a licensed Clinical Health and Medical Psychologist and a national educator  of healthcare providers, attorneys and the public. Dr. Datz is licensed in Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi, and specializes in pain psychology, forensic assessments, and public speaking. She is President and Clinical Director of Southern Behavioral Medicine Associates PLLC, in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, a group specialty practice devoted to treating patients with chronic  pain, She is a past president of the Southern Pain Society, and previously with New Orleans Veteran Affairs Medical Center and Pennington Biomedical Research Center

We asked Dr. Datz if there is adequate treatment available? “No there is not,” she said. “The  treatment of opioid use disorder is a very large, systems based issue that right now is in dire  straits and vastly underfunded. The short answer is that we need more insurance reimbursed  programs, and the treatment needs to extend well beyond ‘rehab’ as it is traditionally defined. Private treatment centers are one component of treatment, but cannot meet the needs of this  diverse population, which often has serious mental health issues and/or comorbid pain  conditions. There are effective treatment models like Pain Rehabiliation Programs, that help
people with medical conditions come off of opioids, but sadly these are no longer reimbursed  by insurance.

In addition, the treatment of opioid misuse is ideally multidisciplinary and  requires medical and mental health follow up, which frequently does not occur. The Commissions comment on using the Chronic Disease Model for treatment, and in healthcare, is exactly on point.”

Is treatment covered by funding such as insurance for those who need help? “.Again…no. There  are wide ranges in what insurance will and will not cover in treating opioid overuse and addiction. Often, comorbidities, such as pain or severe or even mild mental illness, are left  untreated. In addition, there are variations between what private addiction centers will accept which insurances if any at all. As a result, care ends up being parsed out for opioid-dependent  individuals and not as effective. Furthermore, many individuals do not have insurance coverage at all, further complicating the problem,” Dr. Datz said.

“The 2008 Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act was designed to make treatment of  mental health and substance abuse conditions as easily and fairly reimbursed as medical conditions. This Act was a step in the right direction but is still not fully realized. A recent report  showed that many insurances are non compliant, and showed wide disparities between  behavioral health care and medical/ surgical healthcare. Mental health parity needs increased  attention, and enforcement, in order to address the public health needs that we are now facing.”

Dr. Jennings agrees. “Given the number of deaths from opioid overdose, I would say there is not nearly enough treatment, recovery and support systems in place for this population. This is especially true of those in rural settings,” she said.

“The state has enacted laws in an attempt to better regulate prescriptions and to reduce the chance of ‘doctor shopping’ for those addicted or who have developed a tolerance to their pain medication. Government agencies on federal and state levels are holding providers accountable for illegal prescriptions for opioids,” said Dr. Jennings.

“Louisiana is expecting to receive approximately $325 million from a national settlement of  opioid lawsuits. The intention is to divide monies into addiction treatment, response and recovery services. The goal is to send the monies–divided up over a 20-year period–to local  agencies that directly work with those suffering from opioid addiction,” she said.

“For some patients, education into the nature of chronic pain and their ability to manage pain  can be helpful. There are evidence based psychotherapy treatments (such as Cognitive  Behavioral Therapy for Chronic Pain) that can be used to help a patient manage pain. For  patients in need of an increase in structure or level of care, there is certainly a need for  agencies that provide this care. Again, insurance and location can often be a barrier to treatment.”

Pain costs society up to $635 billion annually, according to the CDC, and is the number one  reason for disability. Pain is becoming better understood as a multifaceted phenomenon with  psychological factors.

In 2016, CDC authors published Guidelines and said that there was no evidence for a long-term  benefit of opioid pain medications. The authors found strong evidence for serious risks, including overdose, opioid use disorder, and motor vehicle injuries. The CDC said that other  treatments, including psychological approaches, had long-term benefits, without the high risks of opioids.

“It is now widely accepted that pain is a biopsychosocial phenomenon,” Dr. Datz, told the Times  in a previous interview. “The Guidelines are really exciting because they explicitly state that  physicians should be using nonpharmacological strategies including cognitive behavioral  therapy as well as exercise for patients with pain,” Datz said.

“This is a departure from the traditional belief that pain was primarily physical, and to be only  treated by medical means, which was the biomedical model,” Datz said.

“The benefits of pain psychology are that the person experiencing chronic pain ultimately has more control over their pain process, their reaction to it, and their life,” Datz said. “This is  accomplished by teaching patients about how their expectations, their attention, and their  stress levels interact with chronic pain and can greatly exacerbated.”

“A large body of research,” said Datz, “has shown that use of structured cognitive behavioral  therapy, and in particular cognitive behavioral therapy combined with physical therapy, as happens in functional restoration programs, are extremely effective ways of dramatically  improving physical function, mental health, and overall well-being in patients with chronic pain,” she said.

“Unfortunately, these methods have been sorely underused, partly due to insurance coverage  issues. With the advent of the ACA however, this is getting a lot better. Also, I think providers and patients are more open to these ideas now that the opioid epidemic has become such a  hot topic nationally,” she said. Among the key messages of the Lancet Commission report, the authors noted that “The profit motives of actors inside and outside the health-care system will  continue to generate harmful over-provision of addictive pharmaceuticals unless regulatory systems are fundamentally reformed.”

Dr. Datz will be presenting “Forced Opioid Tapers and the Culture of the Opioid Crisis: Time to revisit pain psychology” at the American Academy of Pain Medicine in Scottsdale Arizona on  March 19. She will speak about how the approach of using pain psychology during opioid  therapy is not new, but is enjoying a renewed urgency in the context of rising rates of opioid  tapers and the safety issues surrounding preventable side effect from forced opioid tapers.

Lancet Commission authors warned that pharmaceutical companies based in the USA are  actively expanding opioid prescribing worldwide, and are using fraudulent and corrupting tactics that have now been banned domestically.

Discrimination Complaint about LSBEP Discussed in Private

A Request for Investigation, stating that board members at Louisiana State Board of Examiners  of Psychologists are operating outside of their area of competence in regard to selection testing and racial discrimination, was reviewed in an executive session of the Board last month

The psychologists, Drs. William Costelloe, Julie Nelson, and Marc Zimmermann, are all business psychologists who have extensive experience with high stakes selection testing in the private  sector.

On February 15, Dr. Zimmerman emailed Executive Director Ms. Jamie Monic asking her, “It has  been in excess of 30 days since this was sent. We have not received any response. I am writing  to be sure the Request was received and if there has been any action on this matter.”

Ms. Monic replied, “Your Request for Investigation was received on January 11, 2022. I will send you a formal acknowledgment of receipt and response following the Board Meeting on  February 18, 2022.

“The agenda for the February meeting of the board included the Executive  Session item “Legal Issues and Strategy [LSA-R.S.42.17.A(4), 44:4.1] – AttorneyClient Privilege”  and numbered “P21-22-09P Received 1/11/2022.”

No additional information has been received as of publication.

In their Request for Investigation, Costelloe, Nelson, and Zimmermann wrote: “We submit this  request for investigation because we believe that the psychologists serving on the board (Drs.  Gibson, Gormanus, Moore, Harness, and Sam) are currently in violation of ethical principle  §1305, A.1., 2., 5., & 6. This is because the board members do not have the specific competences to develop an  anti-discriminatory selection program, then members are in violation of the ethics code.

“There is evidence that confirms that the EPPP has adverse impact against African-Americans  and Hispanics. Dr. Brian Sharpless proved adverse impact for the EPPP in New York. He studied  4,892 New York applicants and first-time EPPP takers over 25 years. He found that Blacks had a  failure rate of 38.50% and Hispanics had a failure rate of 35.60%. Whereas, Whites had a failure rate of 14.07%. Dr. Sharpless also studied 642 applicants to the Connecticut State Board of Examiners of Psychologists with similar results. Whites had a 5.75% failure rate, Blacks had a 23.33% failure rate, and Hispanics had a 18.6% failure rate.

“Once adverse impact has been shown for a test it is improper to ignore the selection problems.
Furthermore, the way in which the test is used by the Board members drives up adverse  impact. As just one example, the use of a hard cut off, and one that sets a higher bar  considering the restricted sample, on a test with proven adverse impact, is an error in  professional selection testing design.

[…] “Finally, we are sympathetic to the situation that very few psychologists have developed  expertise in this subspecialty of selection testing, and in particular, ways to reduce or totally  avoid discriminatory practices. To that point, we are open to a resolution in concert with the  aspirational goal of working closely with colleagues when we perceive an ethics code violation  regarding area of competence.

“Summary We submit our complaint that the psychologists who are serving on the Board are unwittingly authorizing an inadequately designed selection program and therefore participated in unfairly denying African-American and Hispanic individuals licenses. This process may also be
harming the public by restricting the number of minority psychologists who serve the diverse  citizens of our state.

“We request an investigation and make ourselves available for additional questions and a collaborative review of the matter.”

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Matthew Holcomb Receives Majority in LSBEP Election

Dr. Matthew Holcomb captured the majority of votes in a state psychology board election  conducted online by the Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists, reported at the  board’s long-range meeting last month. Holcomb received 152 votes of the 256 votes cast.  Eligible voters, those licensed under the state board as psychologists, total 820 individuals. Dr.  Jesse Lambert received 78 votes. Both names will be submitted to the governor by the  Louisiana Psychological Association, with their customary recommendation that the Governor appoint the individual with the most votes.

The Gov. may appoint any individual submitted on the list, however.

The individual who is appointed will fill the position to be vacated by Dr. Gina Gibson, currently  the chair and who will finish her service in June this year. Dr. Gibson filled the unexpired  position of Dr. Crouch when she had to unexpectedly relocate.

Dr. Holcomb is from New Orleans and was originally licensed in 2015. His specialty is clinical  neuropsychology and he works with the Jefferson Neurobehavioral group. he is also a  Consulting Clinical Psychologist Pine Grove Behavioral Health Assessment Clinic. He earned his  degree in 2012 from Ball State University in school psychology.

On his candidate statement he said, “The main function of our licensing board is to protect the  people of Louisiana from the “unqualified and improper application” of psychology. That’s a  broad mission statement, which often puts our board in a position to affect change within the  field of psychology. There can be no doubt that the next few years will see additional and potentially major changes in our field. Affecting change and having a voice when those changes  are discussed are a motivation for serving on the LSBEP.

“Nationally, organizations like ABPP often push agendas that may not benefit psychologists or  the public in Louisiana. Issues such as the EPPP-2 and PsyPACT could harm the practice of  psychology in Louisiana. LSBEP has a history of standing against efforts which would not benefit our state, and I wish to continue that legacy. Locally, our board faces financial issues and concerns of over-reach. I want to serve on the LSBEP to be a positive force for change.

“I have served on LPA’s legislative affairs committee for several years and am currently the  Treasurer of the Louisiana Psychological Association (LPA) and a member of the Executive Committee. […] I believe I am prepared to sit in the LSBEP.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Governor’s Budget Includes Help for Higher Education

On Jan. 24, Gov. Edwards announced his budget priorities for the next fiscal year, which include  new, recurring investments in education at every level, from funding better opportunities for  Louisiana’s youngest learners to increasing salaries for K-12 teachers, support staff and higher education faculty.

In higher education, the Governor’s proposal dedicates $31.7 million for higher education  faculty pay raises, in addition to an increase of $97.2 million in other funding increases. The  Governor’s budget proposal includes an increase of $5 million for Title IX offices across the  state, $15 million increase in GO Grants, $25 million into the Higher Education Initiatives fund. The proposal also includes depositing $10.5 million into the MJ Foster Promise Program Fund,  which provides financial support for non-traditional students to earn credentials from  community and technical colleges that align to high-demand jobs in growing industry sectors  across Louisiana.

The budget proposal includes $148.4 million for K-12 teacher and staff pay raises. The proposed teacher pay raise of $1500 is significantly higher than the raise teachers received in the current  year, and the fifth proposed by the Edwards administration. In addition, the Governor supports  using additional revenues recognized by the Revenue Estimating Conference later this spring to  increase these proposed raises for teachers and staff.

“Louisiana’s educators have always  deserved more pay … but the coronavirus pandemic has further highlighted the need for high  quality, well-teachers at every level of education in Louisiana,” Gov. Edwards said.

For early childhood education, the Governor is proposing a $43.4 million increase, which includes more than a $17 million increase for the LA-4 Early Childhood program. In addition, the Governor will be recommending a significant investment into the Early Childhood Education  Fund.

The Governor’s budget proposal also includes more than $1.1 billion in funding for critical  infrastructure, including $500 million for a new Mississippi River Bridge in Baton Rouge, $100  million for I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge in Lake Charles, $100 million for the I-49 Lafayette  Connector, and $500 million for water and sewer improvements statewide.

The Governor’s  budget proposal also dedicates $550 million in federal American Rescue Plan funding to  replenish Louisiana’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, which had a historically high fund balance prior to the global coronavirus pandemic. If the fund is not restored to a balance of  $750 million by September of this year, taxes will automatically be raised on businesses to  replenish the fund.

“This is a budget I am proud of, this is a budget the Louisiana people can be proud of, and this  is a budget I believe the Legislature can proudly support,” Gov. Edwards said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tulane’s Dr. Courtney Baker Leads Project DIRECT in New Orleans

Dr. Courtney Baker and her team members are partnering with 13 New Orleans childcares, Head Starts, and pre-K/K classrooms within charter schools, which serve low-income children, in a program named Project DIRECT, a community-engaged approach, aimed to reduce disparities in mental health and academic achievement.

Baker and her team are reaching children who live in poverty, racial and ethnic minority children, and children who have experienced trauma. The efforts created by Dr. Baker and her team are designed to deliver high-quality evidence-based prevention and improve intervention programs for real-life applications, especially for children who are vulnerable to poor outcomes.

Dr. Baker, Project DIRECT Team Leader and Principal Investigator, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Tulane University. She is a licensed clinical psychologist with a specialty in child clinical psychology and directs the APA-Accredited School Psychology doctoral program. She also co-directs the Tulane University Psychology Clinic for Children and Adolescents.

Dr. Baker notes that her career is committed to bridging the gap between research and practice, with a particular focus on understanding and facilitating the translation of evidence-based programs into school and community settings that serve children, youth, and families at risk for poor outcomes.

Following the best practices for working with marginalized communities, Baker and her group use a community-engaged research approach, to create high-quality, community-based mental health programs. They work to bridge the gap between research and practice and to ensure the results deliver effective prevention and interventions.

In order to achieve these essential and complex goals, Dr. Baker focuses on three interrelated objectives:

1) understanding developmental contexts that are central to disparities in the health and academic outcomes of vulnerable populations;

2) elucidating the barriers and facilitators of high-fidelity implementation; and

3) developing and testing system-level interventions that boost implementation quality, thus improving programs’ effectiveness.

Dr. Baker hopes to increase understanding and facilitate effective programs into community settings that serve children. One of the foundations of her work and scientific plan is the community-engaged research approach––to make sure all efforts are “relevant, culturally competent, and with a partnership focus and commitment to capacity building.”

She and her team use a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach, where community partners are “equitably involved in identifying and evaluating relevant research questions.”

The programs activities are monitored by a Community Advisory Board, composed of individuals who are local educators, administrators, mental health professionals, and parents.

What are some of the most significant accomplishments so far in her community based projects?

“Community-based research strives to center the voices and needs of the community within projects,” Dr. Baker said, “that also use best practices in terms of research methods and study design. The rationale is that we can work as a team to create programs or tools that are effective, relevant, and useful. The process in and of itself is incredibly gratifying,” she said.

“However, a few accomplishments, in particular, come to mind when you ask this question,” she said. “First, we worked closely with pre-kindergarten teachers, administrators, and parents of preschoolers to create a flexible, easy-to-use classroom curriculum called PreK TIPS. The goal of PreK TIPS is to help children learn the social and emotional skills they need to be successful in school,” she said.

“Our randomized controlled trial of PreK TIPS happened to be ongoing when the tornado struck New Orleans East in 2017, including directly affecting one of our partner schools. One of the teachers we were working with at the time let us know afterward that the children were using our PreK TIPS coping and calming strategies to get through that extremely stressful and scary moment. I could not be more grateful that our teacher partner and his students had these tools and were able to use them to get through that crisis,” Dr. Baker said.

Project DIRECT involves a strong goal of information and skill transfer. The team “Trains the next generation.” The program provides advanced training and professional development in child development, mental health, and early education. Activities include hands-on training opportunities for Tulane students and development to community members.

“The consultation model we use in our clinical and research efforts builds teacher skills, contributes to the sustainability of evidence-based practices in preschools and schools, and increases site capacity.”

The Project DIRECT team provides training on a variety of topics, including:

Creating Safe and Supportive Schools

Expectations for Behavior through a Developmental Lens

Social-Emotional Learning in Preschool

Understanding Preschooler Development: Self-Awareness, Self-Control, and Delay of Gratification Creating Trauma-Informed Schools: Rationale and School Wide Approach

Working with Children who have Challenging Behavior Behavioral Assessment and Intervention in Schools

De-escalating Upset Children (and Angry Parents, too)

School-Related Anxiety

Understanding Normal (and Abnormal) Behavior in the Preschool Setting

 

The team also provides workshops for parents as a service to our community partners. Recent topics have included:

Discipline without Tears

Getting your Preschooler to Do What You Ask: Giving Effective Commands.”

Additionally, the team actively recruits partners for its ongoing research projects. These include: Project Pre-K TIPS, funded by the Louisiana Board of Regents; Safe Schools NOLA, funded by the National Institute of Justice; and Trauma-Informed Schools Demonstration Project, funded by the Department of Justice and United Way through the City of New Orleans Health Department.

Efforts to measure, evaluate, and study the implementation of trauma informed care, is conducted in partnership with Steve Brown and Pat Wilcox at the Traumatic Stress Institute. This includes developing the “Attitudes Related to Trauma Informed Care Scale.”

The team also provides clinical services in their efforts help each child get the healthiest start possible. To support this effort, additional services can be provided in Tulane’s Psychology Clinic for Children and Adolescents. This clinic is evidence[1]based practice, uses a sliding fee scale, and is co-directed by Drs. Baker and Sarah Gray.

Training Tulane students in community[1]based research includes engaging undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral students in developing competencies related to research and practice with children and their families. Undergraduates provide on-site classroom support to teachers, graduate students serve as clinicians-in-training, and both assist with ongoing research projects. Dr. Baker also trains one or two school psychology predoctoral interns in the context of their LAS*PIC Summer Rotation.

“My greatest privilege as the team leader has been to train my students,” Dr. Baker said. “I have an incredible group of ten to fifteen students each year, ranging from undergraduates to postdoctoral fellows. Their contributions to our team, our community-based research, and my own continued growth and development as a psychologist are considerable. Although I’m always sad to see them go, they move on to do truly amazing things, from attending top graduate and professional programs to working in world-renowned research labs to developing their own independent research and practice careers,” she said.

Dr. Baker’s research program is guided by the fields of dissemination and implementation science and prevention science. She strives to bridge the gap between research and practice.

Implementation science addresses the use of strategies to integrate evidence-based interventions and change practice patterns within specific settings. The approach involves taking a multilevel approach and understanding the context into which the intervention is to be implemented. Adapting interventions when needed to address contextual factors, while preserving the essential core elements of the interventions, is one goal.

Dissemination involves the distribution of an intervention or innovation to a specific audience. One of Dr. Baker’s main research goals is to disseminate findings nationally via conference presentations, invited presentations, and publications in academic journals and books. Project DIRECT’s undergraduate and graduate students are actively involved in this effort.

Some of publications are:

Baker, C. N., Peele, H., Daniels, M., Saybe, M., Whalen, K., Overstreet, S., & the New Orleans Trauma-Informed Schools Learning Collaborative. (in press). The experience of COVID-19 and its impact on teachers’ mental health, coping, and teaching. School Psychology Review;

Baker, C. N., Brown, S. M., Overstreet, S., Wilcox, P. D., and the New Orleans Trauma-Informed Schools Learning Collaborative. (in press). Validation of the Attitudes Related to Trauma-Informed Care (ARTIC) Scale. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy;

Robey, N., Margolies, S., Sutherland, L., Rupp, C., Black, C., Hill, T., & Baker, C. N. (in press). Understanding staff- and system[1]level contextual factors relevant to trauma[1]informed care implementation. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy;

Wagner, A. C., Bartsch, A. A., Manganaro, M., Monson, C. M., Baker, C. N., & Brown, S. M. (in press). Trauma-informed care training with HIV and related community service workers: Short and long term effects on attitudes. Psychological Services;

and Wittich, C., Rupp, C., Overstreet, S., Baker, C. N., & the New Orleans Trauma-Informed Schools Learning Collaborative. (2020). Barriers and facilitators of the implementation of trauma-informed schools. Research and Practice in the Schools, 7, 33- 48.

She also has earned funding from numerous sources, including:

  • Center for Supportive and Compassionate Schools (Category II Center) – SAHMSA, National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative, Co-PI, $3,000,000;
  • An Efficacy Trial of Pre-K TIPS in Preschools Serving Low-Income Children (Initial Efficacy) – U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, PI, $3,796,673; and
  • Development and Pilot Testing of PD Camp: An Experiential Classroom Behavior Management Training (Development and Innovation) – U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, PI, $1,950,797.

What are some of the challenges she and her team have faced?

“My two greatest challenges as a community-based researcher are funding and time,” said Dr. Baker. “Though we’ve been lucky in terms of funding, it is increasingly difficult to win federal grants. In addition, although the need for community[1]based research is clear, funding mechanisms generally continue to favor biologically-focused projects. Efforts at increasing translational science, including not only ‘bench to bedside,’ but also ‘bedside to best-practices,’ are laudable but have yet to swing the pendulum in any meaningful way toward community-based research. This is true even as it becomes increasingly clear how critically important it is to consider the social determinants of health, which is another word for the contextual and social factors that shape each individual’s exposure to risk and resilience.”

What plans does she have for future efforts and activities?

“We always have a number of things in the pipeline, of course! We’d love to get our large randomized controlled trial of the PreK TIPS program I mentioned above funded. That would solidify the evidence that the program works and open the doors for it to become available nationally (and for free!).

“We are also invested in developing and testing best practices for systems like schools and hospitals that aim to reduce the impact of trauma, stress, and adversity on children and families,” she said. “This intervention is called trauma-informed care, and it is really understudied. We are doing our best to move the needle on this lack-of[1]evidence problem by developing validated instruments, exploring the “black box” of how trauma-informed care works, and determining the effectiveness of the intervention.

“I would love for our future work to bring together trauma-informed care, which sprung from the experiences of individuals who came up through systems they found harmful rather than healing, with best practices in measurement, research, and evaluation.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Findings in Dr. Walczyk’s Deception Theory

Louisiana Tech’s Dr. Jeffery Walczyk and his co-author Natalie Cockrell have published  new findings on Walczyk’s popular theory of deception, the ActivationDecision- Construction Action Theory.

This most recent article, “To err is human but not deceptive,” was published in Memory  and Cognition, one of the top journals in the field of cognitive psychology. This addition  to Walczyk’s theory explores what there is to deception beyond simply answering a question incorrectly.

Jeffrey Walczyk, PhD is the Mary Robin Dorsett Endowed Professor in the Department of  Psychology at Louisiana Tech University. He is currently working on a chapter for the edited scholarly text Morality and Creativity and has served as Guest editor for special  edition of Frontiers in Psychology on “Deception, honesty, and cognitive load: Is lying  always more effortful than truth telling?”

The Activation-Decision-Construction-Action theory, the ADCAT, is regarded as one of the  leading cognitive theories of deception in psychology. Based on citation data, it is having  an impact in terms of inspiring research and application.

Natalie Cockrell, now attending graduate school in clinical mental health, served as  research assistant to Walczyk while an undergraduate psychology major at LaTech.

Walczyk ‘s work in lie detection has been ongoing but gained significant exposure in 2014 when he proposed refinements in his comprehensive cognitive theory of deception. He  included four stages of mental processes that individuals engage in when telling “high  stakes” lies, those situations with significant consequences.

His model explains that when an important answer is solicited by a questioner, such as  during a job interview when the employer asks––“Have you ever stolen anything from the workplace?”––several factors come into play.

Walczyk and his co-authors explain that the question will cause the interviewee or  respondent to search for truth and activate long-term memory, and then transfer to the  working memory. Based on the information that has been activated, and the social  context, the respondent may decide whether or not to lie and how to lie.

Lying becomes more likely in those situations when telling the truth would interfere with  the individual reaching his or her goal, such as getting a job.

Next, the lie is embellished if needed in order to go undetected and achieve the  respondent’s goal. This is the construction component. Individuals who lie will modify  truths as much as possible to make their lies plausible.

Finally, the lie is delivered to the receiver during the action component.

“An obvious and important application of the theory pertains to lie detection,” said Dr.  Walczyk. “The polygraph, the most commonly used method of lie detection, was not  based on a theory. It was based on the questionable assumption that people exhibit  more anxiety when lying than when truth telling. This assumption has been discredited,”  he explained.

“ADCAT is an attempt to understand deception as a cognitive rather than an emotional event,” Dr. Walczyk said. “The more we understand deception from different  perspectives, the more likely new cues to deception will emerge. For instance, my research suggests that lying takes about 250 milliseconds longer than truth telling. More  cognitive cues may emerge as our understanding of deception deepens.”

In “To err is human but not deceptive,” Walczyk and Cockrell wanted to increase  researchers’ understanding of the cognition of deception regarding what lying entails beyond simply erring.

“Guided by ADCAT, we hypothesized that, unlike intentionally erring, an intention to lie  activates ToM [theory of mind] inferences and other social-cognitive processes needed to deceive plausibly when communicating with another. This intention also entails higher  levels of proactive interference of honest responding with lying,” the authors noted.

Their findings regarding response-time data suggest important processing differences  between truth telling, intentionally erring, and deceiving. There are implications for those who study deception in the laboratory. “Specifically, in order to capture authentic deceit,  mental processes hypothesized by ADCAT (e.g., ToM inferences) must be activated in  research participants by instructing them to communicate deceptively with another or  imagine doing so,” authors noted. They concluded that research in which participants are instructed to intentionally err capture important parts of deception, but may ignore other aspects that are crucial.

What does Dr. Walczyk think are the most important findings from this recent publication and research?

“The most important finding is that when people decide to lie, they are not just  intentionally erring,” Dr. Walczyk said. “Rather, they are considering what other people  would find believable in generating a deceptive response. They are also thinking about  how to solve social goals. Also, implausible deceptions are strongly inhibited.”

Dr. Walczyk explained his theory in his 2014 paper, “A social-cognitive framework for  understanding serious lies: Activation-decision-construction-action theory.”

The publication laid out highlights of his work and included: The theory was the first  cognitive account of high-stakes lying; It underscored the pervasive roles of cognitive load
and theory of mind; It detailed mathematically how decisions to lie are made; the roles of motivation, emotion, and social cognition were central to the theory; and The theory  contained implications for lie detection The ADCAT theory elaborated on the
roles of executive processes, theory of mind, emotions, motivation, and specified  cognitive processing, and considered the rehearsal of lies. 

Dr. Walczyk’s and co-authors, in the 2014 article, gave the four processing components:  (a) activation of the truth, the (b) decision whether and how to alter deceptively the  information shared, (c) construction of a deception, and (d) action––acting sincere while delivering a lie.

Walczyk and colleagues addressed core constructs of “theory of mind” and cognitive  resources. “Specifically,” they write, “throughout serious deception, individuals are  inferring the current or potential mental states of targets and taking steps to minimize  the allocation of cognitive resources during delivery to appear honest and lie well.”

Dr. Walczyk’s efforts are aimed at addressing the need for a cognitive theory of serious  deception, he writes. Deception “… comes in many forms, including falsification (lies), equivocation (evasion, ambiguity), omission (withholding important information),  exaggeration, and understatement […]

“The cognition of deception is poorly understood. We present a cognitive theoretical  framework for understanding serious deceptions, including those that are fundamentally perceived as threats, transgressions and betrayals that result specifically in relationship problems; that endanger people’s reputations and that are forbidden by organized  religion and indictable by law. […]

“Scientists studying lying have often postulated that it is more cognitively demanding  than truth telling, an intuitively appealing notion that is not always so,” authors explain.  “A theory can illuminate when lying draws more on attention and working memory.”

Walczyk and others have noted that one of the major criticisms of the Control Question  Technique (CQT) of the polygraph as a lie detector is its lack of a valid theoretical foundation. A well-specified cognitive theory of deception can advance cognitive based lie detection efforts that overcome this limitation, the authors note.

The four components are believed to be initiated during most instances of serious  deception. The sequence is usually in the order described, but not always occurring  closely in time.

Although components are presented sequentially, write the authors, “… they often  execute automatically, unconsciously, seamlessly, and in parallel. Moreover, they draw  on modules of the mind providing output to WM whose processing occurs beneath conscious awareness.”

One caveat Walczyk and co-authors note is that, unknown to respondents, “truths” may  be unavailable or inaccurate due to “memory distortions, especially with long intervals  between encoding and retrieval. Essential to deception is respondents’ intent to deceive,  not the accuracy of what they believe is true.”

In his earlier work, Walczyk assumed that lies were constructed and truths retrieved. However, the ADCAT notes that rehearsed deception entails retrieved lies, and truths sometimes are constructed. “The theory advances understanding of when lying is more  cognitively demanding than truth telling, vice versa, and informs when indices of cognitive load signal deception.”

Some examples of Dr. Walczyk’s other research includes:

Walczyk,J.J., & Newman, D. (2020). Understanding reactions to deceit. New Ideas in
Psychology, 59.

Walczyk, J.J., & Fargerson, C. (2019). A cognitive framework for understanding development of the ability to deceive. New Ideas in Psychology, 54, 82-92.

Walczyk, J.J., Sewell, N., & DiBenedetto, M.B. (2018). A review of approaches to detecting  malingering in forensic contexts and promising cognitive load-reducing lie detection  techniques. Frontiers in Psychiatry.

Walczyk, J. J., Tcholakian, T., Newman, D. N., & Duck, T. (2016). Impromptu decisions to  deceive. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 30, 934-945.

Walczyk, J. J., Harris, L. L., Duck, T. K., & Mulay, D. (2014). A social- cognitive framework for  understanding serious lies: Activation- Decision-Construction -Action Theory. New Ideas  in Psychology. 34, 22–36.

Walczyk, J. J., Griffith, D. A., Yates, R., Visconte, S., & Simoneaux, B. (2013). Eye movements and other cognitive cues to rehearsed and unrehearsed deception when interrogated  about a mock crime. Applied Psychology in Criminal Justice, 9, 1–23.

Walczyk, J. J., Igou, F. P., Dixon, A. P., & Tcholakian, T. (2013). Advancing lie detection by  inducing cognitive load on liars: a review of relevant theories and techniques guided by  lessons from polygraph-based approaches. Frontiers in Psychology, 4, 1–13.

Walczyk, J. J., Griffith, D. A., Yates, R., Visconte, S. R., Simoneaux, B., & Harris, L. L. (2012).  Lie detection by inducing cognitive load: eye movements and other cues to the false  answers of “witnesses” to crimes. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 39, 887–909.

How did Dr. Walczyk first get into this area of research?

“I have always instinctively been a cognitive psychologist. I got interested in the cognition  behind deception when watching a politician on television lie. I thought that this might be a interesting, new area of inquiry and it has been,” he said.

Dr. Walczyk earned his PhD in Educational Psychology, with Concentrations in  Measurement, Statistics, & Cognitive Psychology, from Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY,  in 1988.

He studied in New York for both his masters and undergraduate. He came to LaTech in  1996.

How does he like it at Louisiana Tech?

“Louisiana Tech is a great school. It is large enough to offer a variety of majors but small  enough so that you can be part of the Tech family. I have enjoyed working here and  interacting with our students,” Dr. Walczyk said.