Volume 30, Number 3, July 2008
1. Assessment of Family Custody Issues Using Mental
Implications for Mental Health Counselors
Samir H. Patel; Karyn Dayle Jones
In the past 30 years high-conflict families seeking resolution of child custody disputes have inundated
family courts. Custody-related evaluations conducted by mental health counselors provide family courts
with a thorough and unbiased assessment about the functionality of a family and offer recommendations
about custody issues. The authors present (a) a description of mental health evaluations in child custody
disputes; (b) ethical considerations involved in the evaluation process; (c) recommendations for conducting
custody-related mental health evaluations; and (d) a format for the written report.
2. Counseling Clients Involved with
Violent Intimate Partners:
The Mental Health Counselor’s Role in
Promoting Client Safety (Pages 200-210)
Victoria E. Kress; Jake J. Protivnak; Lauren Sadlak
Mental health counselors regularly counsel clients who are in intimate relationships with partners who
are violent. There is a dearth of literature addressing safety-related considerations when counseling
clients in relationships that involve intimate partner violence (IPV). The authors draw on the literature
to address safety-related counseling considerations that can be applied when counseling these clients.
This article provides information about how to accurately assess IPV, explores safety-related ethical
issues that arise when counseling clients in IPV relationships, and explains the use of safety plans as a
tool for promoting the safety of clients in IPV relationships.
3. A Qualitative Study of Potential Suicide Risk Factors in Returning Combat Veterans (Pages 211-225)
Lisa A. Brenner; Peter M. Gutierrez; Michelle M. Cornette; Lisa M. Betthauser; Nazanin Bahraini
Pamela J. Staves
According to the interpersonal-psychological theory of attempted and completed suicide (Joiner, 2005)
suicide-related behavior is contingent upon three factors: acquired ability, burdensomeness, and failed
belongingness. Qualitative research methodology was employed to explore these concepts among a
group of returning Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) combat veterans.
A sample of 16 individuals participated in interviews. Themes emerged regarding combat as a context
for exposure to pain, subsequent coping strategies, and perceptions of burdensomeness, failed
belongingness, and increased pain tolerance. Suicidal behavior was also articulated as a means of coping
with risk factors outlined by Joiner. These results highlight the potential utility of this theory for
OEF/OIF veterans. Interventions aimed at decreasing emotional dysregulation, and lessening perceptions
of burdensomeness and failed belongingness may reduce risk for suicidal behavior.
4. Perceptions of Multicultural Counseling Competency: Integration of the Curricular and the Practical
Linwood G. Vereen; Nicole R. Hill; Donell T. McNeal
A national survey of counselor trainees was conducted to investigate variables that influence the development
of perceived multicultural competencies. The development of multicultural counseling competencies
from an integrative educational perspective was overviewed as a framework for empirically
exploring these factors. The group differences on counselor trainees’ scores of perceived multicultural
competence was explored based on clinical supervision, number of multicultural classes, and number of
non-White clients. Results indicate that receiving clinical supervision related to multicultural issues and
conducting counseling with more non-White clients interacted significantly with higher scores of multicultural
competence. Such findings highlight current curricular and practical issues within mental
health counselor education and frame the need for ongoing research that evaluates our emphasis and
commitment to multicultural counseling in the 21st century.
5. Superficial Self-Harm: Perceptions of Young Women Who Hurt Themselves (Pages 237-254)
Katherine Ryan; Melissa Allen Heath; Lane Fischer; Ellie L. Young
Although only 1% to 4% of the U.S. population engages in superficial self-harm (SSH), this behavior is
much more prevalent in adolescents, with estimates ranging from 14% to 39%. While current studies primarily
focus on clinical interventions, few have investigated SSH from an individual’s perspective, and
there is little guidance for family, friends, and others who desire to provide assistance. In particular,
those in close contact with youth, particularly in schools, need basic information on SSH and suggestions
for responding to students at risk. One-on-one, day-to-day, practical and effective intervention is
needed. This study investigated the perspectives of 96 young women with a history of SSH. Based on
their responses to an Internet survey, friends and mental health professionals were perceived as most
helpful in acknowledging the individual’s emotional pain and distress. Participants also wanted others
to be nonjudgmental, to permit emotional expression, and to acknowledge their availability to offer help.
Translated into practice, young women who engage in SSH consider an accepting supportive relationship
to be a critical element in their recovery.
6. Indirect Victimization from Terrorism: A Proposed Post-Exposure Intervention (Pages 255-266)
Michelle Slone; Anat Shoshani
Indirect victimization from media exposure to terrorism manifests in a variety of psychological distress
symptoms. Risks for the public inherent in this exposure prompted construction of a post-exposure therapeutic
intervention for moderating emotional responses. For empirical rigor, efficacy was tested in a
laboratory study in which 168 participants were exposed to a terrorism or nonterrorism media clip and
for each exposure type to a therapeutic or control intervention. State anxiety and anger were measured
before and subsequent to experimental manipulation. The first hypothesis predicting higher post-test
anxiety and anger in the terrorism than the nonterrorism exposure group was confirmed, validating the
negative effects of exposure. Testing the efficacy of the therapeutic intervention, the second hypothesis
predicting, in the terrorism exposure, lower post-test levels of anxiety and anger in the therapeutic than
control intervention group was also confirmed. These results support the utility of integrated emotional
and cognitive therapeutic intervention. Clinical implications of these results suggest a potentially effective
therapeutic strategy for indirect terrorism exposure victims, which is especially important during
this new era of terrorism.
7. A Study of Mental Health Counselors’ Use of and Perspectives on Distance Counseling (Pages 267-282)
Anthony J. Centore; Fred Milacci
Using a survey measuring 21 factors proposed in recent literature to be advantages or disadvantages of
distance counseling, with a sample of 854 mental health professionals, we investigated perceptions and
use of counseling by telephone, e-mail, text chat, and videoconference. Most participants reported using
distance counseling in some form, but they perceived more disadvantages than advantages.
Recommendations are provided for professionals considering the practice of distance counseling.