For Immediate Release

Contact: Deborah Gilleran

Georgian Court University to Host Psychology Conference

“Mental Health in the Schools: Policies and Practices” Geared toward School-Based Professionals

Lakewood, N.J., Mar. 16, 2009—The Georgian Court University Department of Psychology will hold its spring conference entitled “Mental Health in the Schools: Policies and Practices” on Friday, April 3, 2009, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The conference is geared toward school psychologists, school counselors, school social workers, directors of special services, parents, and anyone interested in the mental health of children.

“I chose the topic for this conference because it provides not only an update on the Mental Health in the Schools Act now pending in Congress, but also a series of five evidence-based counseling approaches that are effective with school-age children and adolescents,” says Joseph E. Colford, Ph.D., GCU assistant professor of psychology and conference organizer.

“These are hands-on approaches to providing mental health services to children for practitioners in the field,” he adds.

The event will feature the keynote address “Mental Health in the Schools: Where Are We Now and Where Are We Going?” delivered by Stacy Skalski, Ph.D., director of public policy for the National Association of School Psychologists.

“Dr. Skalski is at the forefront in advocating for mental health services for children in the schools and will discuss the Mental Health in the Schools Act of 2007 as well as other pertinent federal legislation as it pertains to children’s mental health needs,” says Dr. Colford.

After the keynote address, participants will choose from five breakout sessions, each focusing on a specific evidence-based mental health practice in the schools.

“The topic is a timely one, since people have become all too aware of school violence issues. The approaches to counseling covered in this conference are designed to provide for safe and effective schools, to prevent violence, and to provide interventions for troubled students. People also should be made aware of the pending mental health legislation,” Dr. Colford explains.

He says the conference will teach participants about current federal legislation and its impact on the provision of mental health services to children in schools; offer participants different techniques and strategies for providing mental health services to children in schools; and update participants on recent and upcoming developments in the field.

The conference has been designated an Approved Provider of Continuing Professional Development by the National Association of School Psychologists.

The following is a list of workshops, workshop presenters and a brief description of each session.

The Role of the Mental Health Professional in School Crisis Intervention
Presented by Terry Molony, Psy.D., school psychologist and President of the New Jersey Association of School Psychologists
In the aftermath of a crisis event that resonates throughout a school community, what must be done? The presenter will answer these questions and more as they pertain to working with children and adolescents affected by crisis.

Cognitive-Behavioral Interventions for Children in the School Setting 
Presented by Rosemary Mennuti, Ed.D., Professor and Director of School Psychology Programs at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine; and Ray Christner, Psy.D., Clinical Assistant Professor of School Psychology at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Both presenters have recently co-authored their second textbook on cognitive-behavioral interventions that work with children and adolescents in need. The evidence strongly suggests that this approach holds promise for use by school-based mental health professionals.

Brief Solution-Focused Counseling in the Schools
Presented by Kathleen Minke, Ph.D., President of the National Association of School Psychologists
Solution-focused counseling stresses understanding the child’s view of the problem and moving quickly to generate possible solutions. Based on a large body of research on “what works” in helping people change, this approach builds solutions from the strengths, resources, and feedback of students and others.

Play Therapy in the Schools
Presented by Jay Cerio, Ph.D., Professor of Counseling and School Psychology at Alfred University and author of numerous practice and research articles on play therapy
This workshop will present a practical approach to the skills and knowledge necessary for using play therapy with children. Topics include toy selection, play room set-up, therapeutic responding, limit setting, use of games, and cultural issues. Its use within the school setting also will be explored.

Response to Intervention (RTI): The Role of the Mental Health Professional in the Process
Presented by Stacy Skalski, Ph.D., Director of Public Policy for the National Association of School Psychologists
Response to Intervention (RTI) is receiving increased attention as an evidence-based model for addressing the academic, behavioral, and social-emotional needs of children and adolescents. Dr. Skalski will lay out a plan for school psychologists and school counselors in particular to collaborate and contribute to this process for the benefit of all children.

The conference is open to the public but advance registration is required. The registration fee is $100 per person, which includes breakfast, luncheon, and all training materials. The fee for graduate students is $50 with adviser’s signature. For registration and more information, call Dr. Colford’s office at 732.987.2658 or e-mail

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is a comprehensive university with a strong liberal arts core and a special concern for women. A forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, Georgian Court serves over 3,000 students of all faiths and backgrounds in a residential Women's College and a coeducational University College with undergraduate and graduate programs. Georgian Court's main campus is located at 900 Lakewood Avenue, Lakewood, N.J., on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, now named a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court also offers classes at its site at 90 Woodbridge Center Drive in Woodbridge, at Coastal Communiversity in Wall, and at Cumberland County College in Vineland.

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