The mission of the APA Interdivisional Task Force on the Pandemic is to enable psychologists with expertise in trauma share knowledge and resources about the psychological impact of the pandemic, how we can cope with it, and how we can minimize deleterious impact. These resources, including human resources, are being developed to help other psychologists, first-line responders, caregivers, families, and children who are impacted by this trauma.
- Lead: Division 56* (Trauma Psychology)
- Division 10 (Society for the Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts)
- Division 20 (Adult Development and Aging)
- Division 24 (Society for Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology)
- Division 27 (Society for Community Research and Action: Division of Community Psychology)
- Division 32 (Society for Humanistic Psychology)
- Division 37 (Society for Child and Family Policy and Practice)
- Division 38 (Society for Health Psychology)
- Division 39* (Society for Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Psychology)
- Division 42 (Psychologists in Independent Practice)
- Division 46 (Society for Media Psychology and Technology)
- Division 50 (Society of Addiction Psychology)
- Division 52* (International Psychology)
- Division 53 (Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology)
*Indicates founding divisions of the Task Force
- UCSF Trauma Recovery Center
- Stanford Center for Integrative Medicine
Others APA Divisions and partners are welcome.
Task Force Admin Group:
Membership on the Interdivisional Task Force includes psychologists with trauma expertise and who are connected with others with expertise in trauma, crisis, grief reactions, disasters, violence and related areas. Collectively Task Force Members, working in one or more Work Groups, meet regularly to create new resources and amalgamate existing ones. These relevant resources include reading and reference materials, video productions, reading materials and links to services and training. Workgroups are focusing on the following areas, with several under development. All seek membership and assistance from Task Force members:
Crisis Intervention Teams / Trauma Consultation
- The Crisis Intervention Teams/Trauma Consultation working group's mission is to provide varying resources depending on crisis stage to individuals and organizations in emergent crisis affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly emergency/crisis responders (e.g., fire dept, police dept, EMTs), other essential workers, and mental health providers registered through state crisis registries. The group is also working on the development of a new framework of providing crisis management and emergency services to meet the unique needs of the current COVID-19 pandemic and evaluating current models of crisis intervention services. In addition, the working group is reviewing systemic barriers, gaps, and resources currently available.
- Co-Chairs: Falu Rami and Melissa Wasserman
Higher Education Students
- The Higher Education Workgroup is comprised of student leaders across the country. We are dedicated to build on the strengths and resiliency of the student and trainee community to provide resources and support during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Co-Chairs: Ayli Carrero Pinedo, Emily Lutringer, Rita Rivera, and Denise Carballea
Hospital Workers, Patients & Families
- The mission of this working group is to address the vast psychological needs of the people in the many hospitals treating patients infected with the Coronavirus. We address the particular needs of the medical first responders: physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and others; non-medical clinicians: psychologists, social workers, chaplains, etc. In addition, we recognize that the pandemic can also have a psychological impact on non-clinicians working in potentially infected environments, yet whose distress may remain unrecognized or under-appreciated: janitorial staff, support staff, security, food preparers, administrators and all other paid and unpaid people going into COVID hospitals. And that the dynamics and psychological issues arising will be quite different. We include the needs of the families of all of these workers, as we anticipate that many of them are being psychologically affected as well.
We now include hospitalized COVID patients and their families. In addition to their illness, they experience the added distress of being separated from loved ones, and perhaps even dying alone. This then further increases the stress placed on clinicians treating them.
Our primary goal is to provide resources, education, and training to help the hospitals to recognize and handle the psychological needs of all. These resources will help them to intervene to increase resiliency and prevent or reduce traumatic stress, moral injury, compassion fatigue, depression, suicide and other negative psychological sequelae in hospitals during this pandemic. We recognize that their understandable grief, as well as spiritual and existential issues, also require attention.
We are comprised of trauma-informed psychologists of many varieties, including those with expertise in medical settings and those with national and international reputations and accomplishments. While we do not perform clinical services as part of this working group, we do provide (and create) resources that can be utilized to address the psychological impact of the Coronavirus pandemic within the hospital community.
We also work in collaboration with the Older Adults and Caregivers working group of the Task Force.
Immigrants and Refugees
- The mission of the Refugees and Immigrant Concerns (RIC) Working Group is to provide psychologists and interdisciplinary providers with the knowledge and support necessary to serve the mental health and psychosocial needs of refugees, immigrants and related communities and groups as a result of the COVID19 pandemic. Our goal is to identify and disseminate helpful resources addressing the diverse and multicultural needs of these communities, and the harmful effects of marginalization. The committee recognizes the strengths and resiliency of these communities and will continue to find ways to leverage that strength in meeting ongoing needs.
- Co-Chairs: Falu Rami and Monica Indart
International Whole Person Approaches
- A growing number of studies now demonstrate that words alone may not always be enough to help heal trauma. First, we know that trauma is in the body; “speechless terror” needs to be met with nonverbal approaches such as QiGong, tai chi, akido, yoga, EMDR, EFT, and established arts and body psychotherapies. Second, trauma is a crisis of mortality, meaning, and identity. It shatters our existential worldview, raising profound questions of what it means to be human. We therefore need existential, humanistic and spiritual perspectives to address the meaning of suffering and of life. Third, trauma is about loss of faith. Spiritual approaches that include mindfulness, meditation, and prayer can help us find a larger perspective, and transform reactive responding into active receptivity and compassion. Fourth, trauma is about “stuckness,” “numbness,” and the “inability to play” therefore needing creative, imaginal, movement and emotion-focused approaches to facilitate interaction, relatedness, connection, and integration. An integrative approach to trauma recognizes the multiple dimensions of traumatization: biological, psychological, social, and spiritual: The Whole Person.
- The creative and somatic arts therapies are Whole Person therapies that are uniquely suited to address all these dimensions. Therapeutic outcomes from these approaches include helping heal the mind/body split from dehumanizing terror; creating means for containing, discharging and channeling aggression; and, strengthening individual and cross-cultural community resilience and connection. They can help participants face the terror of death and rekindle life force. The creative and somatic arts therapies can decrease compassion fatigue and caregiver burnout, build caregiver regeneration and resilience, and address the interconnected individual. Finally, the arts can transport us into the transpersonal realm, symbolizing traumatic losses, and glimpse hopes for the future.
- Function: This committee will gather resources from Trauma-Informed Whole Person Care Approaches from the United States, China, Israel, Jordan, Istanbul, and other countries to meet cross-cultural challenges from trauma, especially those amenable and/or specific to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Co-Chairs : Ilene Serlin and Rita Rivera
- The mission of the Interpersonal Violence Working Group is to find, create, and disseminate psychological resources to assist those people who are in danger of experiencing and or perpetrating physical, sexual and/or psychological abuse during the pandemic. We promote the use of tools for emotional regulation to help manage overwhelming emotions arising from the pandemic and enhance safety.
- It is understood that the stress of the novel coronavirus and necessary sheltering-in-place may exacerbate domestic violence and child abuse in families. The CDC has found a three-fold increase of intimate partner violence since the onset of the stressors brought about by the coronavirus. Also, children brought to emergency rooms following abuse are more seriously injured. Murder-suicide rates are rising. This is consistent with reports from other countries. In addition to leaving the situation, new ways need to be found to better protect vulnerable populations such as strengthening emotional regulation tools and decreasing power and control needs. We will disseminate resources on the social media we have created as well as other places available to this group.
- Co-chairs: Lenore Walker, Rita Rivera, and Denise Carballea
Round Table Talks with COVID IPV Group
The COVID IPV Group host live round-table talks about how to address interpersonal violence during this time when we are still dealing with uncertainties about the virus and its impact on our lives. Although we will focus on mental health professionals and first responders, our presentations also will be useful to people who are living with domestic violence, sexual abuse, and other psychological trauma. Our presentations will occur on Thursdays at 12pm (EST). Each roundtable will be 15 to 30 minutes. There will be about 3 designated speakers and time for introductions and sharing our social media links. Professionals who are not members of the COVID IPV group previously will be part of the panels initially. We will practice a few sessions before we go live. We will record the talks on zoom and edit and make them available for later viewing at no charge and no CE credit.
Older Adults and Caregivers
- The Older Adults and Caregivers subgroup will focus on the needs and priorities of seniors during Covid-19, as well as on those of their caretakers and the agencies that provide services to the elderly. The group will collect and summarize available resources, including relevant academic material as well as effective interventions that have been rapidly adopted and developed by different agencies in response to Covid-19 in order to allow continuation services to the elderly while maintaining social distancing. These resources will be organized and made accessible so they can be disseminated rapidly and widely. The group will also develop resources based on the expertise of its members in specific areas, such as geropsychology, trauma, and community psychology. From a perspective emphasizing the whole-person, Trauma-Informed Person-Centered approach, there will be a focused attempt to address and learn about the experiences during Covid-19 of seniors who have suffered and endured prior traumatic situations in their lives. Understanding how these past experiences contribute to the difficulties and concerns, as well as to adaptive coping and resiliencies exhibited in reaction to the pandemic will enhance effective interventions with individuals and on a programmatic level..
- Co-Chairs: Irit Felsen an Patricia Bach
Professional Support for Psychologists
- Psychologists working with patients who have been directly or indirectly affected by COVID-19, including front-line health care workers, and who are providing support to front-line COVID-19 workers, often experience secondary traumatic stress and compassion fatigue which can affect their professional work and personal lives. This work group within the APA COVID-19 Task Force will assess the needs and preferred forms of support of psychologists and other mental health providers, and will develop and guide the implementation of needed peer-to-peer professional support for managing these impacts. The support will include virtual discussion groups and educational presentations designed to enhance mental health professionals' personal wellness and to facilitate the delivery of psychological and other mental health services that are tailored to the unique needs and circumstances of front-line workers and other persons directly affected by the pandemic.
- Co-Chairs: Melissa Wasserman & Julian Ford
Resources: The American Psychological Association's Interdivisional COVID-19 Task Force is pleased to announce a new resource for mental health clinicians. The Professional Support for Psychologists subcommittee will
be hosting video conferencing support meetings throughout the week. These meetings will provide an informal, supportive space for mental health clinicians to join and connect during the pandemic. Access is free and available to mental health providers.
Disclaimer: This is not a formal consultation group or a supplement for supervision. Our group hosts are donating their time to coordinate a supportive community and are not providing a clinical service.
CONTACT US: CLINICIANCOLLABORATIVE@GMAIL.COM
Sign up online! WWW.CLINICIANCOLLABORATIVE.EVENTBRITE.COM
Research Initiatives WorkingGroup (RIWG)
- The RIWG is committed to compiling a collection of currently available knowledge base on the psychological impact of Covid-19 in a multidisciplinary and international perspective. The goal is to inform students, researchers, policy makers, practitioners, stakeholders, professionals and relevant scholarship on the multidimensional impact of Covid-19 and related psychological treatment, prevention and intervention resources. To this end, RIWG advances the knowledge base through a repository and dissemination of newly published materials and resources such as peer-reviewed articles, reports, calls for papers, funding opportunities, conferences, webinars, symposia as well as a Covid-19 research map with scholars conducting relevant work in international, multidisciplinary and global settings.
Support for Children and Families
- The APA COVID-19 Support for Children and Families workgroup’s overarching mission is to help support children, caregivers, and families who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We will collect and disseminate resources related to COVID-19 to children, caregivers, and families. Our group is particularly interested in investigating the effect of the pandemic on young children, trauma-exposed children, and under-served families and communities. We also aim to provide COVID-19-related resources to support professionals who are working with children, caregivers, and families affected by the pandemic. We will collaborate with professionals and organizations to share expertise, collect and develop new resources, and disseminate information to interested parties. Our group will also collaborate with researchers on COVID-19-related research endeavors.
- Co-Chairs: Rachel Ann Wamser and Sandra Rafman
Webinar Series: Trauma Psychology in the World of the Coronavirus
Given the severe nature of the Coronavirus and the effects on our patients, families and colleagues, Division 56 will be conducting a series on "Trauma Psychology in the World of the Coronavirus". You may find a listing of the webinar series here.
Let Your Division 56 Community Help You
During the best of times, we thrive when we have communities to rely on. But in times of adversity, turning to our communities is especially critical. Please remember that Division 56 is one of the communities you can turn to during this stressful time, and anytime, and you are encouraged to take full advantage of it. Our members include leading experts in first response, tending to mental health needs of first responders, teaching and training, telehealth, caregiver health, dealing with stress within families, and so much more.
We will get through this together.