School Psychology Forum

Volume 2 Issue 2
Volume 2, Issue 2 (Winter 2008 )

Editor: Ray Christner


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  • Developing and Strengthening School-Based Crisis Response Teams

    Amanda B. Nickerson and Melissa Allen Heath

    Abstract: Strength-based assessment is the measurement of internal and external emotional and behavioral competencies that enhance one’s ability to develop relationships, deal with stress, and promote optimal development. An overview of strength-based assessment and the arguments supporting its use are provided. Potential barriers to the routine use of strength-based assessment, such as lack of appropriate, standardized measures, bureaucratic and role constraints, and the absence of evidence suggesting that adding strength-based assessment lead to better outcomes, are reviewed. Possible solutions to overcoming these barriers, based on theory and extensions from related research, are provided. The article concludes with suggestions for and limits to how school psychologists can use strength-based assessment at universal and individual levels in assessment, treatment, and program planning.

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  • The Role of Memorials in Helping Children Heal

    Melissa Allen Heath, Rebecka Bingham, and Brenda Dean

    Abstract: From a historical viewpoint, this article reviews how memorials facilitate grief. In particular, memorials have the potential to assist children in integrating the past with the present, building hope for the future. Sensitive to key aspects of children’s grief, suggestions are made to assist school personnel in not only structuring immediate activities, but in planning long-term memorials that promote healing and move students beyond the initial disaster.

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  • Targeted Threat Assessment: Ethical Considerations for School Psychologists

    Amy-Jane Griffiths, Jill D. Sharkey, and Michael J. Furlong

    Abstract: There is a continuing need for school psychologists to provide expert advice about procedures to follow when a student makes a threat of violence. Given the essential impossibility of predicting specific future acts of violence, rendering judgments about the danger posed by circumstances surrounding threats often raise challenges to follow best practices while respecting professional ethical principles. Our focus is to examine ethical practices in the context of current practice to stimulate discussion surrounding possible unintended consequences when professionals respond to students who threaten violence. First, we briefly review targeted threat-assessment practices to provide a foundation for discussion. We then summarize ethical considerations as they apply to threat assessment in general. Finally, ethical considerations are applied to procedures proposed by the Virginia Model for Student Threat Assessment (Cornell & Sheras, 2006), which has a record of successful impleme

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  • Principles for Intervening With Suicide

    Jonathan Sandoval and Sheava Zadeh

    Abstract: Suicide transcends the boundaries of class, ethnicity, gender, and geographic location. During the 1980s youth suicide became a prominent problem in our society, and it has now reached alarming proportions. This paper reviews the dynamics of depression and suicide in late childhood and adolescence. Based on these dynamics, principles for intervening with students displaying suicidal ideation are enumerated. A protocol for a proactive response to students at risk for suicide is outlined and strategies for dealing with the aftermath of a suicide are enumerated. Ultimately, suicidal behavior is a problem that committed school psychologists in partnership with other school personnel and community-based professionals need to address.

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  • Self-Injury and Youth: Best Practices for School Intervention

    Linda M. Kanan, Jennifer Finger, and Amy E. Plog

    Abstract: There is growing awareness and concern about youth who engage in selfinjurious behavior. School mental health practitioners need strategies and skills to work with these students in schools, to communicate about the problem with caring adults in these youths’ lives, and to collaborate with treatment professionals. This article focuses on self-injurious behavior such as cutting, scratching, and burning of skin in nonclinical populations. It outlines some of the misconceptions about the behavior, clarifies the distinction and overlap between self-injury and suicidal behavior, and discusses comorbid disorders and possible motivations for self-injurious behavior. The authors suggest best practice strategies to intervene with students, assess risk, notify parents, collaborate with community support, and work with these students in school settings.

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