Presidential Voice – Summer 2017

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International Perspectives on Trauma

By: Elizabeth Carll, PhD

Elizabeth Carll, PhD

Prior to the last decade, we did not hear about international developments and occurrences on a daily basis in the news. In fact, watching our local TV news channel, the crawler recently reported on incidents in China and the Middle East.  Previously these types of stories were found in the sparse international sections of national newspapers and TV stations.  Much of the proliferation of international news appears related to the fall-out from the global refugee crisis which has mushroomed in the last few years.  This crisis has impacted all aspects of society in many countries around the world, affecting economic, social, and political arenas, as well as concerns for national safety and the threat of terrorism.

This global development was the impetus for the APA Refugee Mental Health Resource Network and database, an interdivisional initiative co-sponsored by Divisions 56, 35, 52, and 55, that you have been hearing about. A database being developed to locate psychologists and mental health professionals, who can provide pro bono support services, especially asylum and related evaluations.  Some of you may have attended the series of the four free skills building webinars about working with refugees, migrants, and internally displaced people (IDP), with more planned for the future.

In recognition for the need for additional information concerning how psychologists can be involved in working with refugees, two special programs have been organized for the convention. The Invited Address by internationally renowned psychologist and author, Dr. Kenneth Miller from the Netherlands, should not be missed.  Dr. Miller is the senior psychosocial advisor for War Child Holland, a transnational non-profit humanitarian organization that provides services for children and families in the wake of conflict.  His talk on The Refugee Crisis and Civilians Displaced by Armed Conflict is scheduled on Saturday, August 5th at 10:00 AM in Room 206 in the Convention Center.  He will discuss the transition from a “war-exposure” model to a more comprehensive, ecological framework and overcoming barriers to the development of effective mental health interventions.

Rather than the usual president’s address, we are having a president’s symposium on Successful Strategies for Intervening with Refugees in the U.S. and Worldwide. This event is scheduled for Friday, August 4th  at 10:00 AM in Room 152B in the Convention Center.  Presenters from North and South America and the Middle East include Elizabeth Carll, Leonidas Castro Camacho, Brigitte Khoury, George Rhoades, Betsy Gard, and Elaine LeVine, who will discuss their work and interventions with refugees in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Germany, Central America, as well as working with survivors of gender based violence in Colombia. Also discussed will be participation in the APA Refugee Mental Health Resource Network database.

Details of the complete Division programming can be found in the convention report in this issue.  We look forward to seeing everyone at the Division 56 Social Hour and Awards Reception taking place at 6:00 PM on Friday, August 4th in the Mint Room of the Marriott Marquis Washington DC Hotel. A great opportunity to network with colleagues and friends.