The Wright Institute News & Events

Dedicated LGBTQ safe space established

Dedicated LGBTQ safe space established

Wright Institute faculty member Daniela Kantorová has worked with students Joshua Chow and Candice Bain to establish a safe space for LGBTQ-identified students enrolled in high school programs at Contra Costa College.

The new safe space was featured in the Contra Costa College student newspaper, The Advocate. Click here to read the article and learn more about the project.

Dr. Kantorová is a graduate of the Wright Institute Clinical Psychology Program, and is now on the faculty for both the Clinical Psychology Program and the Counseling Psychology Program.

Joshua and Candice are both first year students in the Clinical Psychology Program who are completing their practicum placement at Contra Costa High Schools Counseling Program.

Fostering Heroism in Fourth and Fifth Grade Students

Fostering Heroism in Fourth and Fifth Grade Students

Wright Institute Clinical Psychology Program alumnus Elisabeth Heiner, Psy.D., has adapted her dissertation into an article, which was recently published in The Journal of Humanistic Psychology. The article, "Fostering Heroism in Fourth- and Fifth-Grade Students," was published online by the journal in January 2018. The print version will be available later this year.

A desire to research prosocial, heroic behavior led Dr. Heiner to formulate a study that “empirically evaluated the potential effect of a training program...designed to foster heroism in children.” This grew to be her dissertation, which she completed with committee members Dr. Jerry Diller and Dr. Karen Wise.

Dr. Heiner researched the effectiveness of teaching children to think of themselves as “‘heroes in waiting,’ [who] can stand up to injustices they may witness, such as bullying,“ and measured how this affected their internal feelings of courage.

Dr. Diamond Deepening Our Understanding of Autism

Dr. Diamond Deepening Our Understanding of Autism

Since graduating from the Wright Institute Clinical Psychology Program in 2004, Faculty member Emily Diamond, PsyD has focused on gaining a deeper understanding of autism. In her groundbreaking International Autism Mapping Project, she found correlations between children with a confirmed diagnosis of autism and parents' proximity to toxic sites during the child's gestation.

Fueled by a desire to better understand the medical, genetic, and chromosomal issues which account for autism in the participants of her International Autism Mapping Project, Dr. Diamond and student Bridget Wieckowski are reviewing the records of over 8,000 project participants.

“This will help people doing assessments for autism to understand that the autism spectrum is made up of people with several conditions, and that medical and genetic testing is likely going to be a more and more important part of diagnosis,” Dr. Diamond explains.

Motivational Interviewing in Educational Settings

Motivational Interviewing in Educational Settings

Kristin Dempsey, EdD, is co-leading two presentations at the upcoming Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT) 2018 International Forum. The Forum for MINT trainers will be held in New Orleans November 1 - November 3, and will be preceded by pre-Forum workshops on October 30 and 31 that interested individuals may attend for a fee.

Wright Institute Professor Pens a Letter to the Editor to Protest "Dreadful Conditions at Alameda County’s Jails"

Wright Institute Professor Pens a Letter to the Editor to Protest "Dreadful Conditions at Alameda County’s Jails"

Professor Emeritus Terry Kupers, M.D. wrote a letter to the editor of The Mercury News arguing that the jails in Alameda County in Northern California are "entirely unacceptable and must be changed immediately."

Dr. Kupers is nationally recognized as an expert on the mental health impacts of solitary confinement on inmates. In 2017 he published Solitary: The Inside Story of Supermax Isolation and How We Can Abolish It. Click here to read more about the book and Dr. Kupers's work.

“I think society needs to be very careful that what we do to people in prison makes people more likely to succeed going straight when they get out, rather than less likely,” Kupers said.

Transformation Through Creative Ritual

Transformation Through Creative Ritual

For the last five years, Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program student Chandra Merry has worked on a project, the Participatory Arts Ritual, which she first developed within the field of community theater. “Community theater is like drama therapy, but focused on empowerment of participants through the use of participatory theater games. It was developed with a theoretical basis in liberation theory, or the ideas of Paulo Freire,” Chandra explains. Most recently, Chandra has been studying the applicability of her project to clinical group treatment.

Through three-hour workshops, Chandra guides a process in which participants create and facilitate a three-stage creative ritual based on a spontaneously chosen theme. Chandra explains that while she has a replicable protocol for her workshops, each is unique.

Student Spotlight: Jennifer Rillamas Building Clinical Skills with Middle School Youth

Student Spotlight: Jennifer Rillamas Building Clinical Skills with Middle School Youth

Jennifer RillamasWhen choosing a graduate program, Jennifer Rillamas was drawn to the diversity of thought and backgrounds represented in the faculty and student body in the Counseling Psychology Program at the Wright Institute. “I felt the Wright would support me in my own diversity, and that this is where I was meant to be,” she explains.

This feeling of belonging was strengthened when Jennifer and her colleagues decided to form an afternoon study group during their first semester. “This quickly became an incredibly supportive group,” Jennifer says. “We were able to bond outside of class while discussing academics and our personal lives. It was great that the Wright provided us with the space to form this group and support each other.”

Two Early Career Psychologists Support Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

Two Early Career Psychologists Support Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

The 2018 American Psychological Association (APA) Convention was held in San Francisco August 9 - 12, 2018. Over 10,000 attendees participated in workshops, viewed poster presentations, networked with colleagues, and more.

One well attended event during the convention was the Annual Education Advocacy Breakfast. The two speakers who were featured in this session are graduates of the Wright Institute Clinical Psychology program, Sarah Spinner, PsyD (Class of 2008) and Sara Pollock, PsyD (Class of 2015). Click here to read more about the event in the APA's latest email newsletter.

Click here to learn more about the Wright Institute’s Doctor of Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.) program.
Click here to learn more about the Wright Institute’s Master of Counseling Psychology (M.A.) program.

Get to know Kristin Dempsey, Ed.D. - Full-Time Faculty, Counseling Psychology Program

Get to know Kristin Dempsey, Ed.D. - Full-Time Faculty, Counseling Psychology Program
See Kristin's professional biography here.

Shayna Quilty (SQ): Tell me about your history with the Wright Institute.
Kristin Dempsey (KD): This is my second time around at the Wright Institute! Several years ago, I taught in my three areas of passion: Addictions Counseling; Crisis, Disaster & Trauma Counseling; and Community Mental Health. I took a break from teaching in order to pursue my doctorate, which I completed earlier this year. Now I'm back and I'm really excited because I believe in creating a socially responsible, recovery-oriented behavioral health workforce. I’m looking forward to teaching again, and to engaging with the warm, positive environment of this program.

The Wright Institute at the APA Convention 2018

The Wright Institute at the APA Convention 2018

The American Psychological Association (APA) is hosting their 2018 annual convention at the George R. Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco next week, August 9 - 12, 2018. Attendees will have the opportunity to engage with thought leaders, participate in lively events, network, and earn continuing education credits.

The Wright Institute will host a booth to celebrate our 50th Anniversary. Make sure to stop by between sessions to chat with us and learn about our dynamic history. The booth will feature posters, video interviews, and other exciting artifacts.

Several Wright Institute faculty members will be presenting on myriad topics, so make sure to include these in your plans for the convention:

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