About Erlanger A. Turner, Ph.D.

I am a clinical psychologist and assistant professor of psychology at the University of Houston-Downtown. I have been licensed as a psychologist in Maryland and Virginia. In addition to my clinial work, my research focuses on access to child mental health services, ethnic minority mental health, and cultural competency in clinical practice. You can learn more at www.drerlangerturner.com

Unwinding After Convention

Whew! We survived another awesome APA convention. The weather in Washington D.C., was tolerable (and for me quite nice compared to the heat in Texas). The hustle and bustle of convention usually takes a toll on most people by Sunday of the convention. So it’s nice to be home to decompress after three to four days of back-to-back activities.

As I reflect on my convention experience this year, I realize that APA has allowed me the opportunity to connect with so many driven and dynamic people. The past few days have been rewarding on so many levels. Walking through the halls of the convention center and socializing withDSC02145 friends and colleagues, I can say I will be attending the APA convention for many years to come — not just for the research and earning continuing education credits, but also to stay connected to the profession.

This year at convention was a little different for me than typical years. In the past, I have presented poster sessions, participated in symposiums and attended sessions and social hours. Busy, right? Somehow, I was able to do that this year, as well as, serve as one of four early career psychologist bloggers. You can imagine that at the conclusion of convention, self-care is needed.

So how do you unwind once you leave APA convention? For me the answer is pretty simple.

My luggage will probably be sitting a few days. PackingDSC02143 and unpacking have never been a fun activity for me. So thinking about unpacking is the last thing I consider doing after returning from convention.

 

I have a love-love relationship with my sofa! As I sit here now composing this post, I’m looking forward to getting comfy on my sofa to watch some television. I’m not sure about you but my guilty pleasure is reality TV. Since I hDSC02142aven’t had much time for TV while at convention, I definitely had some catching up to do earlier today.

We all need to relax and rejuvenate after a busy schedule. I hope you have some time  to refresh before getting back to your weekly routine. Unless you’re a super hero, remember, we can’t take care of others without taking care of ourselves. I hope to see some of you again next year in Toronto.

 

Researcher says “cultural expression starts in early childhood”

One of the ethical standards for psychologists is to provide culturally sensitive services. Multicultural Guidelines have also been developed in the past (see below) after the ethics code was revised in 2002.

  • Guideline 1: Psychologists are encouraged to recognize that, as cultural beings, they may hold attitudes and beliefs that can detrimentally influence their perceptions of and interactions with individuals who are ethnically and racially different from themselves.
  • Guideline 2: Psychologists are encouraged to recognize the importance of multicultural sensitivity/responsiveness to, knowledge of and understanding about ethnically and racially different individuals.
  • Guideline 3: As educators, psychologists are encouraged to employ the constructs of multiculturalism and diversity in psychological education.
  • Guideline 4: Culturally sensitive psychological researchers are encouraged to recognize the importance of conducting culture-centered and ethical psychological research among persons from ethnic, linguistic, and racial minority backgrounds.
  • Guideline 5: Psychologists are encouraged to apply culturally appropriate skills in clinical and other applied psychological practices.
  • Guideline 6: Psychologists are encouraged to use organizational change processes to support culturally informed organizational (policy) development and practice.

diversityGiven the growing diversity of the population, it’s more important than ever before to be “culturally competent.” Culturally competency has been defined as a system that acknowledges the importance of and incorporates culture, assessment of cross-cultural relations, vigilance toward the dynamics that result from cultural difference, expansion of cultural knowledge, and adaptation of interventions to meet the culturally unique needs at all levels of service (Whaley & Davis, 2007). During a session (chaired by Shamin Ladhani, PsyD) titled Culturally Sensitivity in Health: Health Psychology’s Role, Health Beliefs, and Assessment (held on Saturday morning), the presenters discussed key components of being culturally sensitive in a health care setting and outlined practical approaches to meeting the needs of a diverse population.

Tips to be more culturally sensitive may include:

  • Understanding communication methods
  •  Recognizing and responding to language barriers
  •  Clarifying cultural identification
  • Identifying religious and spiritual beliefs
  • Managing your own biases and prejudice
  • Being aware of your body language and privilege

diversity2All of these aspects of cultural sensitivity are important. The panel also highlighted that we need to be careful about not recognizing variation and diversity within ethnic groups. For example, Gurung noted that Latino might include individuals who are Mexican-American, Puerto Rican, Cuban or Dominican. Each of these groups has its own traditions, beliefs and rituals that may affect how you work with members to address their needs. According to Regan Gurung, PhD, “cultural expression is a developmental process that starts in early childhood.” Given the developmental nature of cultural expression, you can imagine that for anyone different from someone else could have a different world view on causes and coping for a particular concern.

Sessions to See: Making the Most of the Last Day

at APA 2014

at APA 2014

Convention is winding down and many people are preparing for the last day of sessions before heading home. After a busy three days of activities, most people are ready to skip out on sessions to sleep in or go to the airport to beat the afternoon madness.

However, the convention still offers lots of exciting and interesting sessions. Plus, it’s a great time to visit the bookstore to make your purchases. As the convention comes to a close, below are some sessions that may be interesting to see if you’re still wondering, “What session should I go to?”

8AM

Therapist Self-Care – A Lifespan Perspective: Evidence-based Expressive Writing as a Tool

CC Room 145A (1 hour, 50 minutes)

The session will cover empirical studies of expressive writing, an experiential portion involving expressive writing, and discussion.

How Do Psychologists with Privilege Respond to the Stigmatized Others?

CC 209A (50 minutes)

The session will focus on individual, cultural and contextual barriers and assets, as well as training implications for working with culturally stigmatized others.

9AM

Integrating Individual, Family and Systems- Focused Interventions: A Video Illustration

CC 101 (50 minutes)

The session will illustrate the interdependent nature of individual-, family- and systems-based interventions in a program focusing on family-based treatment of adolescent substance abuse and delinquency.

Taking a Stand? Sport Psychology, Media and GLBT Athletes in Sochi

CC 158 (1 hour, 50 minutes)

The session will focus on the experiences of GLBT athletes competing in the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi.

Autism Spectrum Disorder and the Criminal Justice System

CC 209A (50 minutes)

The session will present on overview of ASD by a psychologist and a parent of a child with autism who is also a former judge.

10AM

Children’s Resilience in the Context of Military Deployment and Their Aftermath

CC 204C (1 hour, 50 minutes)

The session will discuss how scientific knowledge about resilience can provide the evidence base for programs to support and enhance the resilience of military-connected families.

11AM

Influence of Culture and Context on Family: School Partnerships

CC 209A (1 hour, 50 minutes)

The session will explore various influences of culture and context on the development and implementation of family-school partnerships.

12PM

Global Violence Toward Women: Interventions and Strategies for Change

CC 152A (1 hour, 50 minutes)

The session will explore global violence toward women through an examination of sexual assault and rape in Africa, domestic violence and international sex trafficking, emphasizing treatment methods and interventions.

1PM

Interprofessional Training: Preparing Psychology Students for the Changing Health Care Market

CC 154B (50 minutes)

The session will showcase an interprofessional training program for psychology graduate students and interns to address changes in health care.

Self-Care and the APA Convention

As psychologists, we know that self-care is important to well-being. Life can be a challenge at times for everyone and having a balanced approach helps to prevent burnout and physical health problems.

Sometimes life gets busy and makes it extremely difficult to engage in self-care. One of those busy moments is the APA convention. As I write this blog at the end of a busy convention day, I realize that self-care takes about as much effort as it takes to do other important task.

photo 1Throughout this convention, I have been working to balance my schedule and engage in self-care. For example, exercise and fitness have been an integral part of my life since being a graduate student. Being at convention with a full day of activities sometimes makes me feel like I should avoid practicing my typical self-care activities Yet, I have been motivated thought the past three days to have a little balance.

My self-care activities have included:

  1.  Went to the gym to exercise
  2.  Walked to the convention center from my hotel, which is several blocks away, instead of taking a cab
  3.  Took the stairs instead of the escalator (if possible)
  4.  Used relaxation techniques
  5.  Watched a little reality TV
  6. Attended division social hours

    photo 4

    Food truck festival

According to the APA Practice Organization (APAPO), balancing a healthy mind and body enhances our personal and professional lives. Engaging in my self-care activities definitely gave me the energy to make it through the day. Below are some additional tips for the APAPO:

  • Maintain awareness of stressors
  • Use self-assessment and plan coping strategies
  • Get enough sleep
  • Maintain a healthy diet
  • Nurture meaningful relationships
  • Allow for leisure time

 

receiving Judy E. Hall, PhD Early Career Psychologist Award from the National Register of Health Service Psychologist (L-R, Dorothy Holmes, Ph.D. (Board member), Erlanger Turner, PhD., and Sammons

Receiving Judy E. Hall, PhD Early Career Psychologist Award from the National Register of Health Service Psychologist (L-R, Dorothy Holmes, PhD (board member), Erlanger Turner, PhD, and Morgan Sammons, PhD (executive director)

Integrative Primary Care & Psychologists

integrative healthI attended a session Friday morning titled “Improving Outcomes for the Underserved: The Role of Integrated Primary Care.” The panel provided an overview of models of service delivery and highlighted key components to make integrative systems work effectively. I assume that this is an important topic for many psychologist and mental health professionals as the room was packed with standing room only (or floor seats for those who chose).

Why is this important to psychologists?

Health care reform and integrative primary care have been hot topics for several years. The Obama administration and Congress have played a major role in integrating mental health into primary care. The APA has also been involved in these discussions and highlighting the role of psychologists who work in primary care settings. You can visit the APA website for more information on health care reform and APA’s priorities (http://www.apa.org/health-reform/index.html).

Psychologists are experts in behavioral change. Therefore, it is imperative that they have a seat at the table when policymakers are discussing ways to improve mental and physical health. Psychologists have been working in integrated primary care settings for decades, providing behavioral health services. According to the APA, psychologists play a vital role in health promotion and disease prevention.

Roles of psychologists in integrative care include:

  • Psychologists possess the essential therapeutic skills for delivering treatment to substance abuse clients, including empathy, good listening skills and training in evidence-based methods known to curb addictive behaviors.
  • By assessing a client’s needs, abilities or behavior using a variety of methods, including psychometric tests, interviews and direct observation of behavior, psychologists help tobacco users quit smoking.
  • Psychologists have the ability to address factors associated with risky sexual behaviors and devise strategies for patients to meet their individual needs.
  • Psychologists possess the ability to devise and monitor appropriate programs of treatment, including therapy, counseling or advice, in collaboration with colleagues to assist adults and children in coping with the psychological factors associated with injury and violence.
  • Psychologists possess the skills necessary to assist patients in making behavioral changes to adopt physical activity to increase their mental well-being.
  • Psychologists can address both parent and infant anxiety before and during the immunization process and can develop materials and information on the behavioral aspect of immunization.

How is this important to meeting the needs of the underserved?

According to Dr. Dennis Freeman, under-served populations are the highest users of primary care services. “To improve cost and outcomes, we need to understand the impact of psychosocial factors,” he said. Given the shift in intgrative2health care reform to from traditional care to  community mental health centers, psychologists need to know how to be involved in these changes.

Whereas underserved populations over-use primary care and emergency room services, we know from the literature that they often under-utilize mental health services. Integrating mental and physical health care bridges a gap for psychologists to work with underserved groups. Dr. Freeman also noted “patients with mental disorders often have co-morbid medical conditions,” which may another reason why underserved seek medical care before seeking behavioral health services.

The True Convention Experience

DSC02104APA convention is fun all around. It’s more than just men in suits and ties, or women in pants, dresses or fancy attire. APA convention is an experience like no other. You can go from a day of scholarly presentations to fun at social hours; and connecting with old and new colleagues.

Today was truly a rewarding experience, which solidified why I love psychology.This convention experience was full of high moments and anxiety about presenting my first solo symposium. My day started bright and early with attending the Minority Fellowship Program breakfast, which allowed me the opportunity to meet other fellows and mentors. This was followed by a busy day of seDSC02098ssions to gain valuable psychological knowledge, stopping by the APA art project in the convention hall, and then having my stomach in a knot while feeling anxious about presenting my symposium on parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT).

Convention attendee doing art.

Convention attendee doing art.

Overall, my day was busy yet rewarding. I used my own cognitive-behavioral techniques that I often use with my therapy clients to calm myself before giving my talk, which must have worked really well. I was very pleased that I was able to give my talk to a packed room waiting to hear me present on treating disruptive behaviors in children. The highlight was after my presentation getting a comment from Karen Budd, PhD (professor at DePaul University who does research on PCIT), who complimented me on doing a great job presenting and encouraged me to continue my work. Who knows, this could open doors for future collaboration. That’s what I love about APA convention. There are so many opportunities to network.

DSC02114

The celebration continued, and ended with attending social hours sponsored by the
Committee on Early Career Psychologist (CECP), as well as, the Division 42 S/ECP social hour. I am truly excited to be in this profession and look forward to continued involvement in APA. I hope your convention experience is full of fun.

APA members at ECP social

APA members at the ECP social

Resilience Among Black Gay and Bisexual Men

photoAPA convention is a great way to obtain continuing education. As an early career psychologist, I find one of the most beneficial things about attending convention is being able to improve my knowledge in areas in which I’ve had limited training during my graduate career. Earlier today, I attended a session sponsored by APA Div. 44 on Resilience in the Face of Minority Stress Among Lesbians, Gay Men and Bisexuals (LGB). The presenters highlighted the importance of resilience in coping with the stigmatizing experiences of LGB individuals.

Highlights from the session:

Patrick Wilson, PhD, of Columbia University, emphasized how young gay black men have significant poor outcomes (e.g., mental health, physical health, substance use, risky sexual behaviors). Dr. Wilson also noted that resilience is a “multideminsonal construct and is context dependent.”

Ilan H. Meyer, PhD, of the University of California, Los Angeles, noted that resilience involves both individual and community-level variables. These variables include things such as community resources, having a sense of belonging, staying connected and living with authenticity.

Nadav Antebi, MA, also from Columbia, identified four important themes related to resilience among young black gay youth based on qualitative research. These themes included:

  • moving forward (e.g., not worrying about the past and focusing on the future)
  • indifference about others’ opinions (e.g., having self-confidence in one’s own actions and beliefs despite others’ stigmatizing views)
  • developing a thick skin
  • stress-related growth, or psychological growth that results from confronting minority stress.

Given the impact of intersecting identities and help-seeking behaviors of men, it is important as a clinical psychologist to be aware of these factors that affect resilience in black gay youth. This session provided a starting point for increasing my awareness of working with this population.

Please contact the researchers for more information about their research.