Riverside Trauma Center Newsletter
Winter 2015  
In This Issue


It has been quite a winter! Despite the incredible amount of snow that has come our way, we've been very busy. We're in the process of finalizing our plans for our 5th Annual Conference, which will be about understanding the role of trauma in the roots of violent behavior. Please see the details below and save the date -- October 23, 2015.


We've also recently held our first workshop in the Riverside Trauma Center Training Series. Through conversations with colleagues and others, we've found that mental health clinicians in the trauma field are very interested in expanding and fine-tuning their knowledge to even further enhance their clinical skills. Stay tuned for more details on workshops to come.


While winter offers its own sense of beauty, I'm sure that most of us can't wait to see our front yards again. Best wishes for the upcoming spring season -- it's just around the corner.



Larry Berkowitz, EdD

Director, Riverside Trauma Center

Riverside Trauma Center's 5th Annual Conference

This Year's Theme:

Understanding the Role of Trauma in the Roots of Violent Behavior


 Save the Date

Friday, October 23, 2015   8:30 am-4 pm

The Verve, Crowne Plaza, Natick, MA, 1360 Worcester Street-Rte 9


Conference Speakers:

Dr. Alan Lipman is a licensed clinical psychologist who is the Director of the Center for the Study of Violence in Washington, DC. He is a prominent expert in the areas of violence, violent behavior, the criminal mind, and terrorism. He has served as a commentator and analyst for CNN, MSNBC, The Associated Press, and other major news outlets.


Dr. Mary Cheyne is a clinical and forensic psychologist who has more than 14 years of forensic experience in threat and violence risk assessment and management, divorce mediation, and divorce/custody evaluations. In addition to serving as Diplomate for the National Center for Crisis Management, Dr. Cheyne is a founding member of the New England chapter of the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals.


Other presenters to be announced. Pre-registration will be required. As details become available, information will be posted online at www.riversidetraumacenter.org and provided in emails.

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Riverside Trauma Center Training Series  


Riverside Trauma Center's first in a series of workshops on trauma was held on January 30th at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Weston. The featured speaker was Betsy Groves, LICSW, the founder and former director of the Child Witness to Violence Project at Boston Medical Center, who spoke on "Identifying and Treating Early Childhood Trauma: Lessons from Research and Clinical Practice." Betsy is a nationally-recognized authority on early childhood trauma and the author of Children Who See Too Much: Lessons from the Child Witness to Violence Project.


More than 60 clinicians, educators, and parents from throughout the Commonwealth heard Betsy deliver a powerful description of how trauma impacts the development of young children and the impact chronic stress has on the developing brain and stress response system. Participants also learned how trauma manifests in behaviors of young children and what Post Traumatic Stress Disorder looks like in young children. Betsy ended her presentation by describing clinical interventions for young children impacted by trauma and noting the importance of involving parents in the treatment process.


Plans are underway for future workshops on topics such as children and grief, trauma and eating disorders, and trauma-informed care. If you have additional ideas about topics you would be interested in learning more about, please feel free to contact us.

How to Keep Colleges Safe 


Following the tragedy at Virginia Tech in 2007, a joint effort by the U.S. Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and U.S. Department of Education was undertaken to explore targeted violence occurring in institutions of higher education. The result of that effort, a study of 272 incidents of targeted violence involving institutions of higher education, was a 2010 report of findings on a variety of factors, including behaviors exhibited by attackers prior to the incidents as well as their motivation for conducting the attacks.* This report offered important implications for the prevention of targeted campus violence through the work of university threat assessment teams.


For the past year, Riverside Trauma Center has been partnering with a local university to provide case management services for its threat assessment and management team. The team is responsible for assessing threatening or potentially violent situations involving students, faculty, or staff to determine the degree of risk posed. Once the situation has been assessed, the team implements supportive services and ongoing case management to help minimize the likelihood of a targeted campus attack. At the heart of the team's work is the evidence-based idea that individuals who perpetrate targeted violence fall on a pathway to violence -- that is, they don't just "snap." For threat assessors, this comes as great news as it means that such incidents can often be prevented. Riverside Trauma Center's work in this capacity is preventative and responsive, stemming from the hope of avoiding further campus tragedies by getting individuals timely and effective assistance.



*Drysdale, Diana A., William Modzeleski, and Andre B. Simons. Campus Attacks: Targeted Violence Affecting Institutions of Higher Education. Washington, D.C. 2010. Available from URL: www2.ed.gov/admins/lead/safety/campus-attacks.pdf

Survivors of Suicide Loss Task Force



On February 20, eleven members of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention's Survivors of Suicide Loss Task Force , including Riverside Trauma Center's Larry Berkowitz, EdD, met at Riverside Trauma Center in Needham, MA. The committee co-chairs are pictured left to right: Franklin Cook, MA , a personal grief coach, John(Jack) R. Jordan, PhD , a psychologist and leading educator and writer on suicide bereavement, and Karen Moyer, Co-Founder, Chairman, and Vice President, The Moyer Foundation.

Members came from across the country to finalize a report that will be released in April. The report offers the first-ever national recommended guidelines for providing services and support to those exposed to, impacted by, and/or bereaved by suicide loss.

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Mobile Apps for Suicide Prevention 


In 2013, 41,149 suicides were reported -- making suicide the 10th leading cause of death for Americans.* With that in mind, it's no surprise that mobile applications (apps) are being created to supplement traditional suicide prevention efforts. There are many excellent apps available. Here are brief descriptions of three apps, which are free and available for both iPhone and Android.


A Friend Asks, launched by the Jason Foundation, Inc., offers information, tools, and resources to help a friend (or yourself) who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts. The app helps users recognize the warning signs of suicidal ideation, teaches them how to help a friend and what to do and what not to do in sensitive situations, and gives them easy access to resources.


My3 targets people who are depressed or suicidal themselves. It connects people to their support network, asking them to choose three of their closest contacts (i.e., friends, family, loved ones, therapist) that they would feel like reaching out to when they're depressed. It also helps them build a Safety Plan by asking them to list their own warnings signs, coping strategies, and members of their support network. The app also has suicide prevention resources and contact information.


The Virtual Hope Box (VHB), developed by the National Center for Telehealth and Technology, was tailor-made for a military population of clients, active duty and veterans, engaged in treatment with behavioral health providers, but it is also helpful for those not in the military. The clients work with their behavioral health providers to add content to the VHB that reminds the clients that their lives are meaningful and worth living. The user can add items like photos, videos, music, messages from loved ones, and a list of key contacts to call in a time of crisis. The VHB also contains relaxation exercises to aid in calming down the client, puzzles to distract the client from negative thoughts, coping cards the client can use to respond to common problem areas, and emergency contact information.



*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [online]. (2013) Available from URL:  www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars 

Please Let Us Know What You Think

If you would like to share some comments about our newsletter or provide us with some ideas for articles that you would like to see, please send an email to tcenter@riversidecc.org. We would love to hear from you.


Riverside Trauma Center is a service of Riverside Community Care, a non-profit organization. Services are primarily funded through donations and contracts from the Massachusetts Departments of Mental Health and Public Health. All contributions are welcome and appreciated.


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