The U of M sponsors several programs designed to offset the effects of abuse/trauma,
|Dr. Gayle Beck
The Athena Project is a research clinic at the U of M that offers free services to women who have experienced
intimate partner violence or abuse. Dr. Gayle Beck, the Lillian and Morrie Moss Chair
of Excellence in Psychology, founded the clinic in 2008. Participants receive a free
mental-health assessment and possible treatment designed to alleviate the signs and
symptoms of post-trauma stress. The treatment includes weekly one-on-one sessions
that last for eight to 12 weeks.
Named after Athena, the goddess of war, the clinic has three goals: to provide free
services for an under-resourced sector of the community, to train doctoral students
how to work with this population and to generate data in an area that has minimal
research. Graduate students serve as the point of contact and conduct the assessments.
“The whole prevalence of intimate partner violence is immense,” says Beck. “One in
four is the statistic for women who have experienced an abusive romantic relationship
at some point in their lives. The Shelby County Sheriff’s Department had more than
24,000 calls that were domestic violence-based last year.”
Since the children of these women have been exposed to inter-parental violence, Dr.
Gilbert Parra, assistant professor of psychology, and associate professor of psychology
Dr. Katherine Kitzmann have a component that deals with mental health for kids between
the ages of 6 and 17.
The clinic is using the only empirically based treatment that focuses on post-traumatic
stress disorder in female survivors of domestic violence, and its developer serves
as a consultant. Beck hopes to eventually add small group treatment with additional
funding. Contact Beck at 901/678-3973 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
|Dr. Meghan McDevitt-Murphy
Project Bravehearts, a study led by Dr. Meghan McDevitt-Murphy, U of M assistant professor of psychology,
analyzes grieving families of homicide victims. The goal is to better understand the
grief process to tailor interventions for the homicidally bereaved population.
“Most interventions for grief and trauma are derived from experiences of other kinds
of losses,” says Dr. Bob Neimeyer, professor of psychology.
Participants had two assessments over a six-month period and were recruited from Victims
to Victory, a nonprofit organization providing services to people in the wake of homicides,
founded by Dr. Kitty Lawson (EdD ’91). Contact McDevitt-Murphy at 901/678-2891 or
email@example.com to learn more.