The Wright Institute News & Events

Wright Institute Faculty Visit New York for Columbia Winter Roundtable

Wright Institute Faculty Visit New York for Columbia Winter Roundtable

Each February, the Columbia University Teachers' College annual Winter Roundtable calls together psychologists, therapists, professors, and social workers to discuss cultural issues ranging from immigration and racial justice to community-based trauma. Now in its 36th year, the Winter Roundtable is "the longest running continuing professional education program in the United States devoted solely to cultural issues in psychology, education, and social work."
Six Wright Institute faculty members presented at this year's Winter Roundtable, held at Columbia University in New York City on February 22 and 23. The theme of this year's gathering was "Rise Up," tackling issues in racial justice, immigration, social activism, education, unity, and psychology.

A new mental health jail vs. community mental health treatment

A new mental health jail vs. community mental health treatment

"We have won a tremendous victory at the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors," says Clinical Program faculty member Terry Kupers, MD. On February 12, the Board "voted not to build a 'mental health jail' to replace the dilapidated Men's Central Jail that has to be demolished."

Instead, the Board of Supervisors plans to move forward with building a new mental hospital.

"I worry lest a mega-hospital turn into a new iteration of the asylum," Kupers says. "But the key victory here is that the new beds will be run by the department of mental health, not the Sheriff. I am confident that community psychiatrists and psychologists in Los Angeles will now convince the Board of Supervisors that smaller and varied treatment and recovery facilities in the community, including an appropriate number of new inpatient beds, would be far better than a huge mental hospital."

Students Present Poster at 2019 National Multicultural Conference and Summit

Students Present Poster at 2019 National Multicultural Conference and Summit

Doctor of Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.) program students Melanie Schug, Kristi Guan, and Pratima Pathania presented posters at the 2019 National Multicultural Conference and Summit. The conference was held January 16-18 in Denver, Colorado. The posters, which were created by members of Wright Institute Students of Color (WISOC) and the White Privilege Accountability Group (WPAG), describe the groups' collaborative efforts to affect multicultural change at the Wright Institute.

The WISOC poster, entitled "Advocating for multicultural change from the perspective of Students of Color," was co-authored by Yani Chu-Richardson, Kristiana Guan, Iris Leung, Pratima Pathania, and Shiyu Zhang.

The WPAG poster, called "Advocating for multicultural change from the perspective of White students," was co-authored by Meital Bendet, Danielle Howell, Briana Robertori, Melanie Schug, Genine Schwartz, Max Sutton-Smolin, Valerie Velarde, and Anna Weicker.

Speaking the Unspoken: Dr. Stephanie Chen on the Modern Supervisory Relationship

Speaking the Unspoken: Dr. Stephanie Chen on the Modern Supervisory Relationship

On February 2, The Psychotherapy Institute will host the 2019 Supervisors' Symposium, featuring a keynote presentation from Wright Institute full-time faculty member Stephanie Chen, PhD.

For over 40 years, the Psychotherapy Institute (TPI) has provided continuing education and advanced training to psychotherapists, as well as as affordable psychotherapy to Bay Area residents. TPI's Supervision Study Program helps clinicians develop their skills, theoretical grounding, and personal authority as culturally sensitive relational, psychodynamic supervisors.

Surfing as Therapy: Introducing Surf Circle

Surfing as Therapy: Introducing Surf Circle

Surf therapy is a relatively recent addition to the mental health landscape. Best known for its use by the U.S. Navy, it is most often used to work with veterans suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Two graduates of the Wright Institute Clinical Psychology Program, Adam Moss, PsyD (class of 2016) and Nathan Greene, PsyD, (class of 2017) have partnered with two of their mentors to launch Surf Circle. The four psychologists are blending the surf therapy model with more traditional group therapy to provide a unique experience for adolescent boys and young men in the San Francisco Bay Area.

"We're passionate about creating an expansive therapeutic healing space that extends beyond what is accessible in a therapy room" says Adam, who began surfing in high school. "We're engaging in a process that supports the individual growth as well as the social engagement of each participant."

Student Spotlight: Ananya Rajaraman, first year Diversity Committee Representative

Student Spotlight: Ananya Rajaraman, first year Diversity Committee Representative

"I had a mentor that said stereotypes are like paper cuts - they may seem small and insignificant, and no one on the outside can really see them. But you feel each and every one, and they can really build up over time."

Fresh out of her Diagnosis & Empirically Supported Treatments class with Professor Beth Greivel, Ananya Rajaraman settles in for an interview. From her first answer, it's clear why she was elected as the representative of first year students on the new Counseling Psychology Program Diversity Committee. "Community advocacy is something I've always been interested in. Sometimes it feels like I can't change anything because I'm only one person, but I'll continue to make an impact in any way I can."

Alumni Spotlight: Jeri Mares ‘15, Mentoring Program Coordinator

Alumni Spotlight: Jeri Mares '15, Mentoring Program Coordinator

Jeri Mares"Humans have an innate drive towards attachment. In many ways, attachment is like survival," says Jeri Mares about her work with couples, which she calls her most impactful. Never one to cut corners, she cites research which supports that a healthy, loving, high-functioning relationship benefits several aspects of health. "But of course we know that to be anecdotally true as well," she adds.

Yet it's clear that Jeri's passion for her work and connections towards her clients is greater than the expertise and clinical acumen she clearly possesses. "Helping couples achieve more lasting and enduring satisfaction in their relationships means that we're making little ripples in the overall health of people themselves," she explains.

Helping Children Process Trauma

Helping Children Process Trauma

"Bibliotherapy can be a powerful medium to help process distress," says Dr. Ritchie Rubio, faculty member with the Counseling Psychology program and Director of Practice Improvement and Analytics for Children, Youth, and Families System of Care with the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

"With kids, my experience is that the books need to be as close as possible to what they went through but it doesn't have to be. My personal favorite is 'A Terrible Thing Happened' by Margaret Holmes. Another good one is 'When the Bough Breaks: A Story For Children Suffering Natural Disasters.'"

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