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Are We (Virtually) There Yet?

Technology continues to have a dramatic effect on the practice of psychology. For example, a virtual reality environment may provide access for those unable to attend in-person sessions. This might include those with physical limitations, remote locales, or those with severe mental distress, such as agoraphobia. Patients who are fearful of stigma, or who wish to avoid any disclosure that they are in therapy, might also appreciate this approach as technically it is not a person but an online avatar that interacts with the psychologist’s online avatar.

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Announcing 2018 Winners of the National Register Awards

It is our great honor to announce the winners of our 2018 awards. Katherine L. Dixon-Gordon, PhD, was selected for the Judy E. Hall, PhD, Early Career Psychologist Award. Betsy D. Kennard, PsyD, and Walter E. Penk, PhD, will be presented the Alfred M. Wellner, PhD, Lifetime Achievement Award.

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From the Executive Officer’s Desk—Adverse Childhood Experiences and Immigration Policy: An Issue on Which Psychology Can Speak with One Voice

In recent days, national attention has been drawn to a new policy implemented this spring by the current administration that has resulted in the forcible separation of children from immigrant families. No one needs the opinion of a doctoral-level psychologist to understand that such separations are devastatingly cruel to the families involved. What policy makers are less likely to understand are the pernicious and often life-long effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). How will we as a profession respond?

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From the Executive Officer’s Desk—Overcoming the “DSM Fallacy”: Is It Time to Start Crowdsourcing Mental Health Treatments?

It is the nature of scientific inquiry to seek greater specificity in understanding natural phenomena, and our clinical research colleagues strive valiantly to do so. But the scientific method can lead us astray in that it demands a focus on problems, not patients. In this column, I analyze our lack of success in ameliorating the global burden of mental distress and suggest that crowdsourcing, a strategy enabled by widespread electronic communications, might provide a solution towards making effective interventions more widely available.

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From the Executive Officer’s Desk: There’s Gold In Them There Pills—Or Is There?

A recently published database tracking pharmaceutical company donations to not-for-profit associations provides data indicating that industry funding provides significant revenue to patient advocacy groups. Other data suggest that this funding might be intended to create informal lobbying groups that can act on behalf of drug manufacturers. While drug company promotional activities are not newsworthy, the absence of mental health associations from the list of funded groups raises questions about the influence of mental health advocacy.

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From the Executive Officer’s Desk—So Let’s Talk About Guidelines…

APA’s Council of Representatives has recently approved a Clinical Practice Guideline for the treatment of PTSD. Arguments for and against the use of clinical practice guidelines have been extensively—even ferociously—debated in psychology. Some point to accrued evidence supporting the use of specific therapies, others fear a devolution to prescriptive, mechanized treatments. Whether pro or con, discussions of guidelines must take into consideration the fact that regardless of the modality employed, effect sizes for mental health interventions are not terribly convincing to begin with. In this column, I’ll examine the new guideline and some of the assumptions underlying it.

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MHLG Letter to Veterans Affairs

National Register signed the Mental Health Liaison Group’s letter to Veterans Affairs requesting more information on their next steps for implementing the recommendations made from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) new report.

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Registrant Spotlight: Helene Satz, PsyD, ABPP

Registrant Helene Satz, PsyD, ABPP, CGP, will be presented the 2018 Harold S. Bernard Group Psychotherapy Training Award by the International Board for Certification of Group Psychotherapists. Congratulations!

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