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University Specializing in Psychology and Counseling Addresses Mental Health Issues Impacting Children, Families, and the Safety of our Communities

May 19, 2022

May 17 & 18 at 11 a.m. (PST)


Palo Alto, CA – During Mental Health Awareness Month Palo Alto University (PAU), dedicated to psychology and counseling, is convening a host of experts to examine two pressing mental health issues:  the children’s mental health crisis that is impacting children and families nationwide and the issue of policing and mental health as it relates to the work that police departments everywhere are doing to revamp the way officers respond to mental health calls. 

The discussions will be presented live, on-line and are free and open to the public.  A question-and-answer session will follow each discussion. Also, as part of Mental Health Awareness Month, Palo Alto University is offering a host of free on-line mental health and wellness resources to help individuals navigate self-help and mental health support.

“Palo Alto University addresses society’s most pressing and emerging mental health issues through research and training in psychology and counseling,” says PAU President Maureen O’Connor. “During Mental Health Awareness Month, we invite the public to join us in these important discussions as they relate to the mental health and well-being of children and the safety of the communities in which we live and to take advantage of our free on-line resources.”

About the Panel Discussions

May 17, 2022, 11 a.m. (PST)

Good Treatment Matters: Mitigating the Crisis in Children’s Mental Health

Recently, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent panel of national experts in disease prevention and evidence-based medicine, recommended that children between the ages of 8 and 18 be screened for anxiety. This call to action follows the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), and the Children’s Hospital Association (CHA) sounding the alarm on a national emergency in child and adolescent mental health.  This panel discussion moderated by Dr. Robert D. Frieberg, head of PAU’s Pediatric Behavioral Health program will discuss the issues and approaches to addressing this crisis in children’s mental health.

 The panelists include:

  • Jennifer Paternostro, PhD (she/her/hers) is a pediatric psychologist in Iowa City, IA. She is clinical faculty at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. She specializes in the assessment and treatment of youth with chronic medical conditions using a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) framework. Dr. Paternostro also is a co-editor with Dr. Robert Friedberg on their book titled “Handbook of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Pediatric Medical Conditions.”
  • Erica Rozmid, PhD, ACT, is a Los Angeles-based Clinical Psychologist practicing in California, Colorado, and Rhode Island. She specializes in working with children, adolescents, and adults using: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Exposure Therapy.
  • Micaela Thordarson, PhD, is a clinical child psychologist and the program supervisor for a DBT intensive outpatient program at Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) in Orange, CA.
  • Michael Tompkins, PhD, ABPP, is a licensed psychologist and board certified in Behavioral and Cognitive Psychology, co-director of the San Francisco Bay Area Center for Cognitive Therapy, and is the author of Zero to 60: A Teen’s Guide to Manage Frustration, Anger and Everyday Irritations.

About the Moderator

Robert Friedberg, PhD, ABPP, is a licensed psychologist focusing on children, adolescents, and families. He is recognized as one of the leading experts in applying Aaron T. Beck’s model of cognitive therapy to children.  Beck's approach is considered the gold standard psychosocial intervention for a variety of psychiatric conditions. Friedberg is Board Certified in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (Clinical Child Psychology, Div.53) and the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. He is the author of twelve books and numerous scholarly articles.

May 18, 2022, 11 a.m. (PST)

On the Front Lines: Policing and Mental Health

Nationwide police departments are working to revamp the way officers respond to mental health calls.  As a result, more police departments are teaming with mental health clinicians—including psychologists—out in the field or behind the scenes via crisis intervention training. The panel is moderated by Patricia Zapf a forensic clinical psychologist and Vice President for Continuing and Professional Studies at Palo Alto University. 

The panelists include:

  • Robert Jonsen, Palo Alto, CA, Chief of Police / CCT Certified Teacher / UCLA MARC trained Mindfulness Facilitator
  • Ellen Kirschman, PhD, aka The Cop Doc. As a clinical psychologist, Dr. Kirschman’s specialty is treating first responders, cops and fire fighters who are suffering with work-related traumatic stress
  • Dr. Mark Kamena, PhD, ABPP, is board certified in police and public service psychology. He teaches at the Wright Institute in First Responder Psychology
  • Mark Kamena, PhD, ABPP is board certified in police and public service psychology. He teaches at the Wright Institute in First Responder Psychology.
  • Angélica Hendrix, AMFT, is a registered Marriage and Family therapist at Integrated Psychological Assessment Services. She is the wife of a former law enforcement officer.
  • Kathryn Parlet, MS, LPCC, LMFT, AEM, has worked for the County of Santa Clara for over 20 years.
  • Michelle Hoy-Watkins, PsyD, ABPP, is Board Certified in Police & Public Safety Psychology American Board of Professional Psychology

About Palo Alto University

Palo Alto University (PAU), a private, non-profit university located in the heart of Northern California’s Silicon Valley, is dedicated to addressing pressing and emerging issues in the fields of psychology and counseling that meet the needs of today’s diverse society. PAU offers undergraduate and graduate programs that are led by faculty who make significant contributions to in their field. Online, hybrid and residential program options are available.

PAU was founded in 1975 as the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology and re-incorporated as Palo Alto University in August 2009. PAU is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).  PAU’s doctoral programs are accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) and its master’s in counseling programs by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP).