September 2019-The Joker Psychology

Why so serious???

Dr. Alexander co-authored a chapter in the recently released book The Joker Psychology: Evil Clowns and the Women Who Love Them, edited by comic book psychology expert Dr. Travis Langley.

The co-authored chapter is entitled Therapy: Can Counseling Cure the Clown? and Dr. Alexander contributes a section entitled Empathy Training for Psychopaths, which discusses research on the effectiveness of victim empathy training with psychopaths.

You can purchase the book on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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August 2019-APA Convention 2019

This year’s APA convention was held in Chicago, Illinois where Dr. Alexander indulged in deep dish pizza and Chicago Dogs!

Additionally, she was awarded the 2019 Early Career Award for Outstanding Contributions to Benefit Children, Youth, and Families from APA’s Committee on Children, Youth, and Families. The committee citation read, “The committee was impressed with [her] research, examining the impact of childhood maltreatment, on sexual behavior, sexual recidivism, and treatment of adolescents who commit sexual offenses. [Her] past and ongoing work has not only significantly shaped scientific thinking about vulernabilities, but also is directly influencing policy and practice regarding the well-being of children and families.”

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Dr. Alexander and colleagues (Drs. Graham Danzer, Jennifer Hsai, Nicholas Grant) held a Emerging Leader panel entitled The Trainee Experience of the Supervisor with Signs of Impairment: A Critical Discussion, where Dr. Alexander discussed supervisors who are experiencing problems in professional practice.

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July 2019-MFP Psychology Summer Institute

Once again Dr. Alexander traveled to Washington D.C. Dr. Alexander received the highly competitive Psychology Summer Institute (PSI) Fellowship, a week-long intensive training which provides mentoring and career development to early career psychologists to develop their research on ethnic minority issues, by the Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) of the American Psychological Association (APA).

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Additionally, two students from her department also received MFP student/predoctoral fellowships; one under the direct mentorship of Dr. Alexander.

Amber Jackson (MAFP ’19) received the Services for Transition Age Youth (STAY) Fellowship, which provides financial support and training opportunities for master’s students in order to further their development in areas related to mental health services for ethnic minority youth ages 16 through 25 and their families. Marshall Schroeder (PsyD student) received the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (MHSAS) Postdoctoral Fellowship, which aims to promote culturally competent behavioral health services and policy for ethnic minority populations.

Amber Jackson (MAFP ’19) received the Services for Transition Age Youth (STAY) Fellowship, which provides financial support and training opportunities for master’s students in order to further their development in areas related to mental health services for ethnic minority youth ages 16 through 25 and their families. Marshall Schroeder (PsyD student) received the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (MHSAS) Postdoctoral Fellowship, which aims to promote culturally competent behavioral health services and policy for ethnic minority populations.

July 2019-Cyberbullying

On July 23, 2019, Frank Rzucek, the father of Shanann Watts spoke out about the online harassment and false accusations he and his family have faced after the tragic murder of his daughter and two granddaughters, Bella and Celeste. Listen to his remarks here.

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Dr. Alexander spoke with Denver ABC and NBC about the negative consequences of cyberbullying and why individuals engage in cyberbullying or trolling behavior. To see the interviews, click here for ABC7 and here for NBC9.

Additionally, Dr. Alexander was interviewed by Fox31 about some countries and Instagram removing the ‘like’ feature on their social media platforms. Learn more about her thoughts here.

June 2019-Black Panther Psychology

Wakanda Forever! Dr. Alexander contributed two chapters in the recently released book Black Panther Psychology: Hidden Kingdoms, edited by comic book psychology expert Dr. Travis Langley and award-winning writer and comic book creator Alex Simmons.

Dr. Alexander and Dr. Tracy Vozar co-authored a chapter entitled The Raising of a King: Father-Son Attachment between T’Challa and T’Chaka, which analyzes the characters relationship using attachment theory.

Additionally, Dr. Alexander authored a chapter entitled Black Girl Magic: Black Women as Leaders of Wakanda which discusses media tropes, misogynoir, and the importance of Black women as leaders.

You can purchase the book on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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May 2019-Across the Pond

Dr. Alexander was selected to participate in the American Psychological Association’s MOU Partner Collaboration and Exchange program. She attended the British Psychological Society’s annual conference in Harrogate, England. The theme of this year’s conference was The Psychological Impact of Inequality and Dr. Alexander provided a presentation on the school-to-prison pipeline. She also networked with colleagues from throughout the UK and beyond regarding public policy and advocacy efforts (and enjoyed a lot of British foods).

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February 2019-New Publication

Dr. Alexander co-authored a manuscript published in the Journal of the Academy of Psychiatry and the Law with several other leading clinicians and researchers in competency restoration. Dr. Alexander serves as the Director of the Denver FIRST Outpatient Competency Restoration Program.

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Abstract: The optimization of trial competency restoration is a topic of growing interest and controversy in the fields of forensics, psychology, criminal law, and public policy. Research has established that adult defendants who have severe psychotic disorders and cognitive impairments are more likely than defendants without these conditions to be found incompetent to stand trial and are less likely to be restored to competency thereafter. Research has also identified some of the benefits of attempting restoration in hospitals, jails, or outpatient settings for defendants with different diagnoses or levels of cognitive functioning. Rates of restoration, length of stay necessary to achieve restoration, and, in some cases, how quickly defendants are found non-restorable are primary indicators of positive outcome. We sought to review the extant literature on competency restoration, with the goals of identifying implications for current practice and generating inquiries for future research. We found that there are significant advantages and disadvantages of attempting restoration in a hospital, jail, or outpatient setting on rates of restoration, length of stay necessary to achieve restoration, or length of time necessary to determine non-restorability, while controlling for several relevant factors (e.g., diagnosis, cognitive limitations).

November 2018: New Publication

New publication in College Student Journal is a collaboration between Dr. Alexander and her Auburn University student colleagues. Two of the co-authors were undergraduate students at the time it was written!

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Abstract: Risky sexual behavior (RSB) is common among undergraduate students in the United States and previous studies indicate an increased likelihood of engaging in RSB while under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol use is highly prevalent among college students, especially those students involved in sororities. The present study aims to examine the frequency of RSB in a sample of 330 sorority and non-sorority students at a Southeastern university using validated measures of RSB and RSB related to alcohol use. Results indicated no significant differences between sorority members and non-sorority members on measures of RSB. Implications for prevention and intervention strategies for college women are discussed.

 

September 2018: New Publication

New publication in the Victimization and the Life Course Special Issue of Criminal Justice Review. A collaboration between Dr. Alexander and her Auburn University student colleagues.

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Abstract: Current research suggests a link between childhood sexual abuse and risky sexual behaviors (RSBs) in emerging adults. However, previous studies neglect evaluating the influence of high levels of cumulative childhood victimization. The present study examined the relationships among polyvictimization, six aggregate categories of childhood victimization, and RSB in college women. This study first examined the relative contributions of polyvictimization and individual categories of childhood victimization in predicting RSB and then tested whether polyvictimization contributes any unique variance, beyond that accounted for by the combination of all six aggregate categories, in a sample of 321 college women in a Southern state. Regression analyses reveal that (a) polyvictimization accounts for a significant proportion of variability in scores for RSB, beyond that accounted for by any of the six categories of childhood victimization alone; (b) the categories of childhood victimization contribute little to no variability beyond that accounted for by polyvictimization, and (c) polyvictimization accounts for a significant proportion of variability in RSB, beyond that already accounted for by the simultaneous entry of all six categories as predictor variables. Results suggest treatment providers working with college students should assess polyvictimization in relation to RSB and inform their prevention efforts given this link.

 

August 2018: APA Convention

Dr. Alexander headed to San Fransisco, California for the annual APA Convention! This year she had several presentations across the four-day conference. Here are a few brief snapshots:

  • Panel: Can Racism Be Treated Therapeutically? Answers From the Next Generation of Psychologists. Chair: Graham Danzer, PsyD

Can we treat individuals engaging in racist ideology? Five early career psychologists discussed how the field can address racism.  Dr. Alexander discussed conceptualization approaches to racism as a potential clinical syndrome, as well as discussed current interventions used to counter implicit biases.

  • Symposium: Special Topics in Assessment and Treatment--Sexual Offenders and People at Risk of Perpetrating. Chair: Oona Appel, PsyD. Discussant: Apryl Alexander, PsyD

Dr. Alexander discussed the importance of providing culturally competent care to individuals who have committed sex offenses and the limited research on diverse populations within this population despite the emphasis of cultural competence and humility in the field of psychology.  Further, the panelists discussed critical areas need in sexual violence prevention.

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  • Paper: Improving Competency Restoration Through Placement Decisions. Lead Author: Graham Danzer, PsyD

Colleague Dr. Graham Danzer (Florida State Hospital) presented an upcoming paper entitled The Association Between Specific Competence-Related Abilities and Competence Restoration. Dr. Alexander serves as a co-author of the manuscript — discussing her experiences as director of an outpatient competency restoration program. The manuscript will be published in the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law in early 2019!

  • Symposium: The Disinvited--Opening Spaces for Our Marginalized Selves in Training and Practice. Chair: Apryl Alexander, PsyD. Discussant: Neil Gowensmith, PhD

The symposium explored the role intersecting, marginalized identities in supervision and training context. The presenters, GSPP forensic faculty, explored how these identities impact practitioners and their clients; how conventional approaches to supervision may overlook or discount the importance of these identities; and practical ways to open a space for exploration of these identities within the parameters of ethical and effective training and social justice practice.

June 2018: Colorado Advocacy in Action

Dr. Alexander headed to the mountainous Vail, Colorado with colleague Dr. Lynett Henderson Metzger to attend the Colorado Advocacy in Action (CAIA) conference. A full day of learning about the latest research and approaches to interpersonal violence and advocacy for persons impacted by interpersonal violence. Drs. Alexander and Henderson Metzger presented a 90-minute presentation providing an brief literature review on the impact of non-fatal strangulation in domestic violence cases.

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Non-fatal strangulation refers to those who have survived an episode of strangulation (a form of mechanical asphyxia caused by direct pressure on the neck by one or two hands or arm). It is estimated 3-9.7% of U.S. women who have experienced interpersonal violence have also experienced non-fatal strangulation in their lifetime (Sorenson, Joshi, & Sivitiz, 2014). Further, strangulation attempts has been linked to acts of mass violence. For instance, Omar Mateen (who murdered 49 people at Pulse nightclub in Orlando) allegedly strangled two of his ex-wives and was never charged.

Drs. Alexander and Henderson Metzger hoped to bring awareness to this important issues, emphasize the need for proper assessment of victims of interpersonal violence, and begin a dialogue regarding proper intervention.

May 2018: DU Grand Challenges

Dr. Alexander was invited to present at the University of Denver's Grand Challenges forum on addressing violence. She provided a 5-minute "lightning talk" discussing poly-victimization in children, adolescents, and young adults, as well as in juveniles adjudicated for illegal sexual behaviors. She ended her talk with outlining areas of prevention (e.g., need for medically accurate and culturally informed sexual education, removing juveniles from registries) in addressing violence in our communities. Check out here lightning talk (beginning at the 11:42 mark) here!

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April 2018: Social Media and Sexting

Colorado Community Media has a Time to Talk series which focuses on community mental health issues. Part 1 focused on barriers to mental health treatment. Part 2 focused on mental health and incarceration. Part 3 of the series, which focuses on mental health in schools and issues affecting teens, was released this week. Dr. Alexander was interviewed and her remarks on sexting and social media use among adolescents were featured in the two articles written by Alex DeWind below:

Time to Talk: Sharing concerns about social media

Sexting poses legal, psychological risks for teens

 

April 2018: Grants!

Such exciting news for the DU Prison Theatre Program!

Dr. Alexander and Dr. Ashley Hamilton were a Community-Engaged Learning Mini-Grant from the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning (CCESL) at DU to help support the program. Additionally, they were awarded a large Professional Research Opportunities for Faculty (PROF) grant which provided two years of support for the project entitled The DU Prison Theatre Project: Theatre as Rehabilitation; allowing for Dr. Hamilton to implement a theatre arts program at the Denver Reception and Diagnostic Center (DRDC) and Dr. Alexander will assist in program evaluation of the efficacy of the program. 

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March 2018: APLS & VSOTA 2018

Off to Memphis! Dr. Alexander headed to the annual conference for the American Psychology-Law Society (AP-LS). Her presentation titles included:

  • Examination of the confluence model of sexual aggression in college males
  • The relationship between childhood poly-victimization and psychopathy in college students
  • Competency restoration for adult defendants in different treatment environments: A future direction for research and policy
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While at AP-LS, she continued her work on the Teaching, Training, and Careers Committee, as well as the Externally Focused Initiative Committee. This year, APLS President Dr. Eve Brank began this initiative to provide service to the community in which the conference was held. Dr. Alexander assisted in bringing 50 local high schoolers to the conference to attend sessions, attend the plenary about Kalief Browder, and have lunch with graduate students. What a great event!

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Dr. Alexander also traveled to Williamsburg, Virginia to present at the Virginia Sex Offender Treatment Association (VSOTA) annual conference. She was invited to provide two workshops entitled, Cultural Awareness and Competence in Sex Offender Treatment.

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November 2017: In the News! Street Harassment

Dr. Alexander was interviewed by Denverite about street harassment in the Denver community. Approximately 85% of women have experienced street harassment in their lifetime--with 30% having experienced confrontational forms (e.g., being followed in a manner that frightened them). Denverite writer Ashley Dean also notes important issues related to street harassment and violence against LGBTQ+ and non-binary individuals. It's important to combat hypermasculine/toxic masculine attitudes and beliefs to combat identity-based violence.