Psychiatry & Behavioral Science – September 2017

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the articles contained in the Academy News are those of the identified authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Academy.

Source:  Dean Michael De Crisce, MD, Section Secretary

Dear Colleagues,

Summer is coming to a close and preparations are underway for our next annual meeting in February in Seattle, WA. Program Chair Paul Fedoroff and Program Co-Chair Sebastien Prat have assembled an innovative and stimulating schedule in line with this year’s topic of Science Matters. We hope you will not only join us, but also bring additional colleagues to our section. Paul and Sebastian have submitted the following:

Mishaps and misdeeds occur, but by systematically analyzing what happened, hypothesizing what might have been done differently, testing our predictions, and revising our theories, the future does not necessarily repeat the past. This is why Science Matters. This year, we are fortunate to have Professor Vernon Neppe presenting both a Plenary Session to the Academy and a two-hour seminar to our section regarding aspects of neuropsychiatry and hypothesis testing.

An increasingly important facet of science is collaboration. Therefore, your program committee has decided to condense the Psychiatry & Behavioral Science Section’s presentations to fit into three days (Wednesday to Friday) in order to encourage our section’s members to network with each other and with other members of the Academy. We will do this by introducing a new category of presentations called Brief Communications in which presenters get right to the point with a (maximum) five-minute presentation followed by equal time for Q & A. We hope this will encourage people to listen to presentations they may have snoozed through and join new collaborations.

Poster presentations will start us off on Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Thursday, we will begin with a session on Youth and Adolescents from 8:30 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. Presentations will include research on the recognition of signs of child neglect, suicidal risk behaviors in adolescents, and symptoms of acute stress disorder in youths who commit crimes. The next session, Sexual Offenders, switches from youths and crime to youths as victims of crime. Topics will include sexual crimes committed by priests and by women. The past cannot be changed, but evidence indicates that problematic interests and behaviors can be. Presentations in this section will include research on sexual offending and its relationship to IQ and important assessment and treatment considerations for sex offenders who have intellectual deficits. This session will wrap up with data from a new study on whether men in sex offender treatment programs secretly re-offend while in treatment.

At 10:20 a.m., we will expand on the Sex Offender session to consider the topic of Criminal Analyses and Psychopathy. There will be four presentations before lunch and six after. A brief review of behavioral forensics and various criminal analyses of violence and homicide will be presented. Presentations on violent crime, psychopathy (male and female), and narcissism are included in this session. While people with psychopathy and narcissism can cause harm, this block will end with a presentation that provides some hope that they can be treated.

Our first Brief Communications session will begin at 3:05 p.m. A blitz “speed-dating” or, as the Program Committee prefers to call it, “speed-collaborating,” round will take place with authors presenting their findings for five minutes, followed by a five-minute Q & A session. This year, presentations will include stress faced by forensic technicians, the implications of manifest injustice, legalized recreational cannabis, female sexual offenders, autism and its association with violence, as well as a case study of a super-imposed factitious disorder.

After criminal offenses are committed, forensic behavioral scientists assess and evaluate the offender. In Thoughts for the Forensic Psychiatrist, Vernon M. Neppe, MD, PhD, will present on issues of forensic neuropsychiatry, hypothesis testing, and bias. This theme will continue with five presentations discussing various challenges and factors forensic mental health experts should consider when conducting evaluations. Diagnoses of complex cases and the controversy of whether to prescribe stimulants will also be discussed.

At 1:50 p.m., our session on Legal Considerations and Those Involved will begin. At the root of it, criminal offenses are based on the current legal system. However, no matter how terrible the alleged offense may be, professionals involved in the case must maintain an ethical, unbiased stance. This includes considerations of freedom of speech and social media, biased evidence submissions, jury instructions, mental health of legal professionals, consent to treatment, and society’s attitudes toward hiring ex-offenders. Presentations in this section will cover all these issues and more.

The program of presentations for the Psychiatry & Behavioral Science section will formally wrap up on Friday at 4:30 p.m. Please check the official program as last-minute changes may occur.

The Program Committee would like to thank all the people who submitted proposals. We want to assure everyone that your submission was reviewed carefully and without bias according to AAFS rules. If your submission was not accepted, please consider discussing your submission with a member of the Program Committee or others in the Psychiatry & Behavioral Science section and re-submitting next year. We think the quality of the presentations this year is exceptional, wide-ranging, and should encourage both collaboration and collegiality. We are looking forward to seeing you all in Seattle.

In other AAFS news, our members and fellows have been active in contributing to our field. Raymond Hamden was consulted for a rap song and documentary piece on the psychology of terrorists, a fun and productive contribution toward forensic psychology. Watch

Paul Fedoroff received the designation of Distinguished Fellow in the American Psychiatric Association this past May. He also has, prolifically, presented two papers at the International Consensus Meeting, National Institute of Mental Health, in Prague in May 2017 on sexual offender assessment and treatment techniques with Lisa Murphy. He also gave two presentations at the World Association of Sexual Health (WAS) Annual International Conference, International Academy of Sex Research (IASR) Seminar in Prague on assessing sexual arousal in the lab and Paradigms and Paraphilias as a Plenary speaker

Gregg Dwyer also presented at the International Consensus Meeting on Assessment and Treatment of People with Problematic Sexual Interests and Behaviors held in Prague, Czech Republic. There were representatives from Canada, Czech Republic, Great Britain, Russia, and the United States. Gregg will also be participating this year as a representative from our section to the Young Forensic Scientists’ Forum (YFSF) at our next meeting.

Samuel Leistedt recently published an article, the Behavioral Aspects of Terrorism:  Brain Washing and Radicalization in the French language journal Annales Medico-Psychologiques, Revue Psychiatrique in March 2017.

Annarita Franza has published an article with Vincenzo Lusa entitled Forensic Science and the Stars:  A Protocol for Keeping Space Criminal Free in the June 2017 edition of Forensic Magazine. They also published an Italian language work on the Roso Case, Legal, Anthropological and Criminal Issues on Sex and Gender with Alpes Publishing.

Dean De Crisce has participated as a co-author, with Donald Reeves and Richard Cevasco, on a book chapter, The Pathway from Prison to Civil Commitment to Release in New Jersey in Sexually Violent Predators:  A Clinical Science Handbook, to be published in the near future by Springer Publications. He was also invited to serve as the luncheon seminar Assistant Chair for our 2019 Annual Meeting.

Finally, the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law (AAPL) will hold its 48th Annual Meeting in Denver at the Hyatt Regency, with a special invitation to correction psychiatrists. Our own Fellow at Large Christopher Thompson is the President-Elect of AAPL. Please be sure to support him in this major accomplishment.

Thank you all for your submissions. If you have noteworthy accomplishments or articles relevant to our section, please send them to Also, as always, please consider an application to upgrade your status to Member or Fellow, as applicable. Please invite your colleagues to participate with us. I look forward to seeing everyone in Seattle in February.