Dr Stephen Behnke, JD PhD
Director, APA Ethics Office
Presentation Title: The United States and Australia: Partners in the Ethical Practice of Psychology
Wednesday, 9 October 2013
4.45pm – 5.30pm
The Memorandum of Understanding between the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Australian Psychological Society (APS) is the starting point for a discussion of ethics in the practice of psychology. Focusing on the role of a national psychological organisation in promoting the ethical practice of psychology among its members, this presentation both explores specific ways a national organisation may enhance the competent and ethical practice of psychology within its jurisdiction, as well as examines how national organisations may collaborate in working toward this important goal. A discussion of how psychology is regulated in the United States emphasizes that there are many viable models of psychology regulation, of which the U.S. is but one example. This discussion explains the role of licensing boards and local psychological associations in the regulation of psychology, as well as the role of organisations at the national level, with special attention paid to the evolution of relationships between psychological associations and regulatory entities in the United States. The presentation identifies specific ways in which the APA promotes the competent and ethical practice of psychology among its members, with particular attention given to the relationship between adjudication, education and consultation, in order to examine how the resources of a national association may be effectively allocated in its ethics program. Expanding on the role of ethics education in promoting ethical practice, including effective ways of teaching ethics to a broad range of psychologists at various stages of development, the presentation offers specific examples of educational materials to illustrate methodology in teaching ethics. Finally, the presentation identifies and discusses specific ways in which the APA and APS may collaborate as partners in promoting the competent and ethical practice of psychology and in forging new partnerships among individual members and between the two organisations.
Dr. Stephen H. Behnke received his J.D. from Yale Law School, his PhD. in clinical psychology from the University of Michigan, and his M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School. In 1996, Dr Behnke was made chief psychologist of the Day Hospital Unit at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center, a position he held until 1998, when he was named a faculty fellow in Harvard University’s program in Ethics and the Professions. He then directed a program in research integrity in the Division of Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School. In November of 2000, he assumed the position of director of ethics at the American Psychological Association. Dr Behnke holds an appointment in clinical ethics in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He co-leads an ethics discussion group at the meetings of the American Psychoanalytic Association.
Dr Behnke’s research interests focus on issues at the convergence of law, ethics, religion and psychology. He has written on multiple personality disorder and the insanity defense, on issues involving competence and informed consent to treatment and research, on forced treatment of the severely mentally ill, and on state laws relevant to the work of mental health practitioners.
Professor Stuart Biddle
Loughborough University, UK
Presentation Title: Too much sitting – take a stand! Towards a psychology of reducing sedentary behaviour
Wednesday, 9 October 2013
9.15am – 10am
Introduction: Physical activity has been recognised as an important health behaviour for centuries. Psychologists have devoted a great deal of time to understanding its antecedents and consequences as well as issues of behaviour change. Typically, this has been in the context of ‘moderate-to-vigorous’ intensity physical activity (MVPA) encouraged in national and international guidelines. This work must continue. However, in addition to moving more, for health benefits we also need to ‘sit less’. The two behaviours are not simply bi-polar opposites. Aim: To introduce the concept of ‘sedentary behaviour’ by a) defining it, b) outlining health consequences of high levels of sitting and, c) discussing how we might reduce sitting, including the role of psychological and non-psychological behaviour change strategies. Method: Overview, drawing on primary and review-level evidence. Results: Sedentary behaviour is not simply the opposite of MVPA and has significant health risks, including cardiometabolic health and, possibly, poor mental health. Behaviour change studies have been conducted with young people, mainly around screen time, and these show small positive effects. Little has been done with adults, but studies are now emerging. These interventions use educational, environmental and prompting strategies. Adoption of a theoretical framework is often lacking. Theories used for physical activity may not be wholly appropriate for changing sedentary behaviour and discussion will centre on notions of self-monitoring, prompting, habit, and environmentally determined social norms as viable ways of reducing this ubiquitous and highly prevalent cluster of behaviours. Conclusion: Sedentary behaviour is a serious health issue that requires further study by psychologists and other health researchers. It is gaining traction but many do not understand the subtle difference between too little ‘exercise’ and too much sitting. They are different behaviours and therefore may require different approaches to behaviour change.
Stuart Biddle is Professor of Physical Activity & Health in the School of Sport, Exercise & Health Sciences at Loughborough University, UK. His research adopts a behavioural medicine approach to the study of physical activity and sedentary behaviours and hence he is interested in a multi-disciplinary approach to health behaviour change.
Professor Biddle has just completed a Medical Research Council (NPRI-3) funded intervention designed to reduce sedentary behaviour in young adults at risk of diabetes, with another MRC grant about to start investigating the reduction of sedentary behaviour in older adults. He is a theme lead for the NIHR Leicester-Loughborough Diet, Lifestyle and Physical Activity Biomedical Research Unit. In 2009-10 he chaired the Government’s Department of Health’s Expert Group on ‘Sedentary Behaviour and Obesity’ which led to sedentary behaviour guidelines. Professor Biddle is Past-President of the European Federation for the Psychology of Sport & Physical Activity (FEPSAC) and the International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. In 2010 he received the British Psychological Society’s Division of Sport & Exercise Psychology Distinguished Contribution to the Field of Sport & Exercise Psychology Award. Professor Biddle is co-author of the book Psychology of physical activity (Routledge; 2nd edition, 2008).
Professor Mark Dadds, MAPS
University of New South Wales
Presentation Title: Helping troubled children: Seven things you should know about the origins of mental health disorders
Thursday, 10 October 2013
8.30am - 9.15am
Improving mental health has been a national priority for several years now in Australia and many aspects of the national effort are undergoing rapid reform, improvement, and thus beginning to bear fruit. But not all! In what follows, I take a look at one of the most important but relatively neglected aspects of mental health – childhood behaviour problems. I will ask several questions that speak to improving our effort in this regard: What are the earliest and clearest signs of mental health problems? What are the best interventions for behaviour problems in children? What role does parenting play? Do children and families in need access treatments? Does Australia’s health system support evidence-based treatments for these children? Can we improve existing treatments? The answers to these questions provide a diversity of good and bad news, and suggest major targets for improving the national mental health strategies over the next decade.
Mark Dadds is currently Director of the Child Behaviour Research Clinic, Professor of Psychology at the University of New South Wales, and Principal Research Fellow with the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia. Professor Dadds has had a significant and widespread impact on the practice of clinical child psychology. His current research is mapping early developmental and intervention pathways with aggressive and antisocial children, and the Child Behaviour Research Clinic has been established specifically to work with children with such early onset problems. Professor Dadds heads a large clinical research team of mental health practitioners, postgraduate students, postdoctoral fellows and junior academic staff as part of the Child Behaviour Research Clinic, funded by research grants worth over $9M in the last 5 years. He also practices as a child and family therapist.
Professor Eleanor Wertheim, FAPS
La Trobe University
Presentation Title: Towards a more forgiving world: Increasing
our understanding of barriers, facilitators and processes of forgiveness.
Thursday, 10 October 2013
3 – 3.45pm
Addressing grievances and hurts from the past has been argued as crucial in fostering and repairing relationships at both the interpersonal and inter-group levels. Recent decades have seen a substantial growth in psychological research into the role of forgiveness in this process. Forgiveness can be viewed as part of a spectrum of responses which includes conflict prevention, conflict resolution, forgiveness, restorative justice, and reconciliation. Aim: The aim of this presentation is to provide insights into the field of forgiveness theory and research. Definitions of forgiveness and related constructs are reviewed and compared to lay conceptualisations. Factors that facilitate and inhibit interpersonal forgiveness are described. Process models of forgiveness that have informed interventions are noted, and evidence supporting interpersonal forgiveness interventions presented. Finally, the importance of applying these ideas at a larger scale is discussed, including considerations in facilitating intergroup forgiveness and, beyond that, reconciliation within and between nations. Method: The talk covers a review of theory and research, including meta-analyses and individual studies. Results: Forgiveness has been conceptualised as a state and a process, with distinctions made between decisional forgiveness, emotional forgiveness, condoning or pardoning, and reconciliation. Numerous factors theorised to influence forgiveness have some support, including injured party characteristics (e. g. personality, ability to regulate emotions); offence-related factors (e. g. offence severity), injured party perceptions of the offender (e.g. intent, trustworthiness); relationship between the injured party and offender, and post-offence actions of the offender (e.g. apology, compensation). Process models have been developed, such as the REACH model, and interventions based on those models have suggested that forgiveness interventions can assist individuals to forgive others. Attempts have also been made to intervene at inter-group levels, including in the aftermath of violent conflict, with the focus being on assisting groups towards reconciliation. Factors particularly important in inter-group conflict have been identified, such as approaches to justice, addressing trauma, needs theory and inter-group contact. Conclusions: Research into forgiveness, as well as reconciliation, processes appears promising. As a society we need to continue to develop and foster methods for assisting individuals and groups to constructively address interpersonal and intergroup transgressions and grievances.
Eleanor H. Wertheim is Professor in the School of Psychological Science at La Trobe University. As a clinical and community psychologist, she teaches counselling, therapy and conflict resolution skills, and conducts research into conflict resolution and forgiveness processes, as well as body image and disordered eating concerns. She is a founder of the Enhancing Relationships in School Communities program, working with primary schools to develop effective processes to address interpersonal problems, and researching methods for supporting schools to create whole-school conflict resolution approaches. As a consultant for the United Nations Institute for Training and Research Programme in Peacemaking and Conflict Prevention (Geneva) for the past 20 years, she has co-facilitated and taught in programs for UN staff and diplomats from around the world. Professor Wertheim has conducted numerous workshops and training programs for psychologists, schools, legal studies students, helping professionals, mayors, UN staff, and international diplomats with the aim of developing skills for resolving conflict and addressing interpersonal and inter-group transgressions and grievances. She is author of two books on resolving conflict including Skills for Resolving Conflict. Professor Wertheim is an Australian Psychological Society Fellow and has been National Convenor of Psychologists for Peace interest group of the Australian Psychological Society.