Specific clinical assessment tools, case management and judicial interventions and psychological interventions have been developed to track and prevent additional harm to the victims of stalking, as well as to reform perpetrators.
Philadelphia, PA (PRWEB) September 03, 2013
HealthForumOnline (HFO), a nationally-approved (APA, ASWB, NBCC, CA-BBS) provider of online continuing education (CE) is pleased to announce a new course entitled, The Psychological Factors in Stalking: Victim and Stalker Characteristics, to its extensive online CE resource library for psychologists, social workers, counselors, and other allied healthcare professionals.
Stalking is on the rise, with an estimated 3.4 million people stalked annually in the U.S. alone (1). One third of stalkers stalk more than one person and 78% use multiple methods of stalking, in part facilitated by advancing technology (2). While stalker characteristics vary, they are generally characterized as rejected, incompetent or predatory in type, the latter associated with criminal history and high rates of violence. Stalker characteristics can differ from other criminal profiles in persistence, relentless obsession, motivations and childhood histories.
For the victim, stalking can result in serious physical and emotional harm, at times lethal (3). Recent data suggest that approximately 33% of stalking victims are assaulted and 6% are murdered by their stalkers (2). Emotionally, stalking victims and survivors often experience long-term disruption in their lives and significant psychological trauma. Although varied, victims generally experience a loss of peace of mind, restricted freedoms, escalating fear and depleted coping abilities. Some 40% of victims report a feeling of helplessness, 56% experience depression, 41.5% have sleep disorders and 25% are suicidal or turn to drug use (2). Not surprisingly, anxiety disorders such as Stalking Trauma Syndrome and/or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) often emerge.
Specific clinical assessment tools, case management and judicial interventions and psychological interventions have been developed to track and prevent additional harm to the victims of stalking, as well as to reform perpetrators. For example, risk assessments assist law enforcement to make a determination of the level of risk for valid stalking cases (4). The organic, emotional, behavioral and environmental factors of the stalker are taken into account, as well as the victim’s level of fear, when conducting threat assessments to determine and predict the probability of violence and dangerousness.
Predicting violent behavior is a complex task and not a precise science. It relies on professional judgment and experience along with careful clinical analysis of comprehensive data sets. As such, stalking cases not only require multi-disciplinary professional teams, but also targeted and tailored risk assessment tools to be effective (4).
Comprehensive psychological assessments also guide diagnosis among victims (e.g., Stalking Trauma Syndrome; Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); Adjustment Disorder) and stalkers. Lastly, specialized assessment can identify specific individualized areas of treatment focus (5).
This online CE course provides clinicians with information and skills necessary to assess and treat victims of stalking for psychological injury; identify categories of stalkers; consult and assist law enforcement officials in specific stalking cases and provide clinically relevant interventions to those involved in stalking.
Psychologists, social workers, counselors, and other allied health professionals can chose from HFO’s 19 topic categories related to health psychology and behavioral medicine containing over 85 online CE courses that are fast, convenient and cost-effective. For more information on this course or a complete listing of titles in our online CE resource library, visit HealthForumOnline.com.
1. Baum, K., Catalano, S., Rand M., & Rose, K. (2009). Stalking Victimization in the United States. Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report. US Department of Justice.
2. Jacquin, K. (2012). Psychological Evaluation in Stalking Cases. Conference Presentation American College of Forensic Psychologists Annual Conference: San Francisco, Ca.
3. Kropp, P., Hart, S., Lyon, D., & Storey, J. (2011). The development and validation of the guidelines for stalking assessment and management. Behavioral Science & Law, 29(2), 302-316.
4. Davis, J.A. (Ed.) (2001) Stalking Crimes and Victim Protection, Prevention, Interventions, Threat Assessment and Case Management. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press LLC.
5. Mac Kenzie, R., & James, D. (2011). Management and treatment of stalkers: problems, options and solutions. Behavioral Science & Law, 29(2), 220-239.
HealthForumOnline (HFO) is approved as a provider of CE courses by the American Psychological Association, the National Board of Certified Counselors, the Association of Social Work Boards, and the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. HFO’s CE Program’s Advisory Committee and authors are comprised of over 60 nationally-recognized experts in behavioral medicine.