Member News – Summer 16

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Complied by: Amy Ellis, PhD

Nora Baladerian, PhD recently published A Risk Reduction Workbook for Parents and Service Providers to Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, a book that provides a detailed strategy to reduce the risk and impact of abuse. This versatile workbook can also be used for individuals without disabilities. She also published two articles to Autism Spectrum News, one on social media and one on abuse, and recently submitted an invited article for Autism Notebook on social media. Dr. Baladerian was invited to write a chapter on abuse of children with disabilities for the STM publishers’ new book on child abuse, pending publication. Her report on the results of the 2012 National Survey on Abuse of People with Disabilities is now being quoted at the highest federal levels in reports looking at prevalence and incidence of abuse. She is also working on a program that rolled out on May Day 2016 called “The Rule Out Abuse-Physicians Education Program,” which has ambassadors in several states. On June 4, 2016 she presented at the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology as part of a panel describing humanitarian teams responding to various world tragedies. She spoke about her experiences bringing three trauma teams to New Orleans after Katrina. The teams worked primarily at Charity Hospital with medical staff, conducting Thought Field Therapy with over 200 survivors, reducing overall SUDS from 8 (scale of 1-10) to .87. She will be presenting in Detroit, MI, in September for the Department of Rehabilitation on “How to Reduce the Risk and Impact of Abuse and Trauma” by using a strategic planning process. She will be presenting in various counties in Ohio to law enforcement, first responders, prosecutors, judges, investigators and protective services professionals: “How to Interview Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities” and “How to Improve First Response When Victims Have Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities.” To support the training, she will be screening two training DVDs from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime: “Victims with Disabilities: The Forensic Interview” and “Victims with Disabilities: Multidisciplinary, Collaborative First Response,” both of which she authored. She will be conducting two one-day trainings for APS in California on how to best respond when the potential victim has cognitive and/or communication disabilities. In July, she presented a plenary session to the National Conference of Executives (of the ARC of the United States) on the Risk Reduction Model.

Jen Bakalar, MS defended her dissertation titled “The Association Between Childhood Adverse Life Event History, Eating Disturbance, and Body Mass Index in Active Duty Military Personnel,” which she plans to submit for publication. She also had the following manuscript accepted for publication in Military Psychology: Bakalar, J. L., Carlin, E. A., Blevins, C. L., & Ghahramanlou-Holloway, M. (in press). Generalizability of evidence-based PTSD psychotherapies to suicidal individuals: A review of the Veterans Administration and Department of Defense Clinical Practice Guidelines.

Laura Barbir, MS successfully defended her dissertation proposal on May 27th titled “Posttraumatic Growth in Combat Veterans: The Roles of Mindfulness and Experiential Avoidance.” Her dissertation abstract is as follows: Combat veterans are at risk for developing a host of mental health concerns, especially posttraumatic stress disorder, a defining feature of which is experiential avoidance. However, positive psychological changes can also occur following combat exposure, referred to as posttraumatic growth (PTG). Evidence highlights that PTG serves as a protective factor, indicating the importance of expanding treatment opportunities to increase PTG among combat veterans. Recent research suggests that mindfulness enhances PTG, but the mechanism through which this occurs is not understood. The current study aims to examine the impact of mindfulness and experiential avoidance on PTG. It is hypothesized that experiential avoidance will mediate the relationship between mindfulness and PTG.

Michael Eigen, PhD‘s latest book is Image, Sense, Infinities, and Everyday Life. You can read about it at: He has also published a number of papers and book chapters, including: (1) “Tiger Stripes and Student Voices” in Teaching Bion: Modes and Approaches, ed. Meg Harris Williams; (2) “Where is Body?” in Speaking of Bodies: Embodied Therapeutic Dialogues, eds. A. R. Ben-Shahar. L. Lipkies, & N. Oster; (3) “O, Orgasm, and Beyond,” in Psychoanalytic Dialogues; and (4) “Just Beginning,” in New Therapist.

Melanie Hetzel-Riggin, PhD recently published two manuscripts. The first is: Diamond-Welch, B. K., Hetzel-Riggin, M. D., & Hemingway, J. A. (2016). The willingness of college students to intervene in sexual assault situations: attitude and behavior differences by gender, race, age, and community of origin. Violence and Gender, 3(1), 49-54. doi:10.1089/vio.2015.0023. The second publication is: Bonnan-White, J., Hetzel-Riggin, M.D., Diamond-Welch, B.K., & Tollini, C. (in press). “You Blame Me, Therefore I Blame Me:” The importance of first disclosure responses on mental health outcomes after trauma. Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

Ani Kalayjian, EdD organized, co-chaired and presented at the United Nations Conference on “Transforming Refugee Crisis: Lessons Learned and Continued Challenges” where over 100 diplomats and members of civil society and academia gathered for an informative conference, followed by a mind-body-eco-spirit festival. Children of PS 10 in District 13 of Brooklyn sang international peace songs, practiced meditation and listened to a musical interlude. Dr. Kalayjian presented on the integrative model for healing the trauma of migration and being a refugee. Dr. Kalayjian also co-chaired a conference on May 19th at the UN as part of CSVGC-NY’s working group on Health, Transformation & Spirituality; the title of this presentation was “Migration Crisis: Sustainable Peace through Arts, Integrative Healing, and Films”. Dr. Kalayjian completed a chapter with Dr. Toussaint and Dr. Diakonova on “Trauma, Forgiveness and Meaning-Making: Perspectives from Muslim Survivors: Meaningfulworld’s Humanitarian Relief in Muslim and Christian Communities.” Dr. Kalayjian also spearheaded a team of experts for Meaningfulworld Humanitarian Mission to Haiti: Empowerment, Compassion, Empathy, EQ, and Meaning-Making, which took place June 17-July 3, 2016. She was recently interviewed on regarding refugee trauma and made a film on the last humanitarian mission to Haiti: Meaningfulworld Humanitarian Mission to Haiti 2015. You can watch this video here: Dr. Kalayjian was recently elected the Chairperson of the Psychology Coalition at the United Nations, and elected Vice Chair for the second time for the UN Committee on Spirituality, Values, and Global Concerns-NY.

Sacha McBain, MS recently defended her dissertation in April 2016. The project is titled “Exploring Provider Gender Preference and Perceptions of Providers in Male and Female Veterans Who Have Experienced Military Sexual Trauma.” In collaboration with her dissertation chair, Jessica Turchik, PhD at Palo Alto VA, they were able to recruit a national sample of 618 male veterans and 1,290 female veterans who had experienced MST to complete a survey on barriers to accessing MST-related care within VHA. The aims of her dissertation were to 1) examine provider gender preference when discussing MST and how often veterans were able to discuss MST with the provider gender of their choice, and 2) explore how not receiving the provider of one’s gender preference is related to veterans’ comfort with VHA providers, the perception of the competency of their provider, and their endorsement of perceived provider barriers when communicating about MST. She found that not receiving the provider gender of preference was significantly related to lower perceived provider competence, greater discomfort with providers, and greater perceived provider barriers.

Walter Penk, PhD recently published a handbook that includes reviews of specialized rehabilitation techniques for those working with military personnel and veterans who have experienced trauma. The reference is: Nathan Ainspan, Craig Bryan, and Walter Penk, (Co-Editors) (2016) Handbook of Psychosocial Interventions for Veterans and Service Members: A Guide for the Non-Military Health Clinician. New York: Oxford University Press.