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Journal of Mental Health Counseling
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Volume 34, Number 2, April 2012

1. Adapting the Safety Planning Intervention for Use in a Veterans Psychiatric Inpatient Group Setting (Pages 95-109)

Jeffrey A. Rings, Patricia A. Alexander, Valerie N. Silvers and Peter M. Gutierrez

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently has adopted the Safety Planning Intervention (SPI; Stanley & Brown, 2011), a brief collaborative intervention, for use with veterans who are at high risk of suicide. The SPI is a hierarchical list of strategies for veterans to use in coping with a suicidal crisis. Its developers recommended that it be used with individual psychiatric inpatients working toward discharge, but its utility in a group format has not previously been addressed. This article describes the facilitation of a safety planning group with psychiatric inpatients at a large urban VA medical center. It depicts each step in the safety plan and offers case examples, anecdotal support, and specific considerations for its use in groups. Directions for further research are also discussed.
Full Article

2. Executive Functioning as a Component of Suicide Risk Assessment: Clarifying its Role in Standard Clinical Applications (Pages 110-120)

Beeta Y. Homaifar, Nazanin Bahraini, Morton M. Silverman and Lisa A. Brenner

Clinically, because executive dysfunction (e.g., impulsivity, insight, thinking process) is often thought of in the context of those with traumatic brain injuries and other neurologic conditions, its formal assessment has historically been seen as the domain of those who assess and treat patients with neurologic disease. However, mental health counselors (MHCs) could benefit from learning how executive functioning relates to suicide risk assessment and coping strategies. Assessment of executive functions can be incorporated in routine clinical practice without the need for formal neuropsychological measures or other time-consuming procedures. In fact, during standard clinical assessment, mental health professionals often informally assess components of executive functioning such as impulsivity, insight, and thinking processes. This article highlights aspects of executive functioning with which MHCs may already be familiar and demonstrates their clinical utility in enhancing assessment and management of suicide-related thoughts and behaviors.
Full Article

3. Minimizing Social Contagion in Adolescents Who Self-Injure: Considerations for Group Work, Residential Treatment, and the Internet (Pages 121-132)

Brent G. Richardson, Kendra A. Surmitis and Rebecca S. Hyldahl

Social contagion among adolescents is a growing concern as the numbers of youth who selfinjure increases. Mental health counselors face challenges in treating self-injurers in settings that are prone to social contagion. This article describes social contagion as one factor motivating self-harm in group settings, residential facilities, and audiences for social and electronic media. It reviews possible benefits and pitfalls of self-injury treatment in these environments and presents approaches to minimize social contagion. Responses to self-injury and social contagion are explored.
Full Article

4. The Effect of Childhood Trauma, Personal Wellness, Supervisory Working Alliance, and Organizational Factors on Vicarious Traumatization
(Pages 133-153)

Amy M. Williams, Heather M. Helm and Elysia V. Clemens

Scholars have identified vicarious traumatization (VT) as one of the most extreme effects of working with traumatized clients; however, not all mental health therapists develop VT (Pearlman & Saakvitne, 1995). Path analytic procedures were used to assess a comprehensive theoretical VT model based on constructivist self-development theory (CSDT).The model explained 46% of the variance in VT in mental health therapists surveyed.
Full Article

5. Explanatory Style as a Mediator Between Childhood Emotional Abuse and Nonsuicidal Self-Injury (Pages 154-169)

Trevor J. Buser and Harold Hackney

For this study the researchers recruited a random sample of college men and women (N = 390) and examined whether a pessimistic explanatory style mediated the relationship between childhood emotional abuse and frequency of nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) in the past year. The study found that pessimistic explanatory style was positively associated with NSSI and that pessimistic style functioned as a partial mediator of the childhood emotional abuse-NSSI relation. Clinical implications for mental health counselors are discussed.
Full Article

6. The Essence of Hope in Domestic Violence Support Work: A Hermeneutic-Phenomenological Inquiry (Pages 170-188)

Maggie Crain and Corinne Koehn

This study explored the lived experience of hope for domestic violence support workers. A hermeneutic-phenomenological approach was used to collect and analyze the experiences of six professional women, aged 37 through 69. Four themes, each with subthemes, emerged from the findings: Hope is visceral reveals the phenomenology of hope as experienced through bodily sensations, reactions, and emotions. Hope is contextual describes how experiences of hope are enhanced by personal perspectives and social environments. Hope is mutual reveals how interactions with other people inspire hope. Hope is a journey illustrates how hope evolves over the years to reveal new understandings of what it means to live hopefully. The article discusses implications for counseling, counselor education, and service provider organizations and presents suggestions for future research.
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