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Larned State Hospital will sponsor mental health meeting
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LARNED — The Larned State Hospital will host its 12th Annual Mental Health Conference Aug. 10-12 in the Larned Community Center, 1500 Toles Street.
Among the topics to be addressed in depth at the conference are the assessment sexual offenders who have developmental disabilities, behavior management procedures with individuals who exhibit psychiatric and aggressive behaviors, overcoming bipolar disorder, moving from Assertive Community Treatment to rural community reality, and ethics.
“Larned State Hospital conducts this conference each summer to aid the professional development of our staff and others working in the fields of psychology, psychiatry, nursing, social work and corrections,” said Larned State Hospital Superintendent Tom Kinlen said. “It is open to anyone with an interest in mental health.”
The conference will be co-chaired by Larned State Hospital Superintendent Dr. Tom Kinlen and Staff Training Specialist Travis Reed.  For enrollment information, please contact Travis Reed @ or by phone at 620 285-4010.
“Larned State Hospital has put together an excellent lineup of speakers on topics relevant to our daily hospital operations,” said Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services Secretary Kari Bruffett. “This conference will enhance the knowledge and treatment skills of all who attend.”
Featured speakers at the conference include:  
• Michael R. Dixon, Ph. D., LP, Chief Forensic Psychologist for the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, Director of Psychology at Parsons State Hospital and Training Center, and Adjunct Faculty at Wichita State University.
As Chief Forensic Psychologist, Dr. Dixon oversees the annual review process for the Sexual Predator Treatment Program at Larned State Hospital. He supervises operations and treatment at both Reintegration Facilities. He has also worked for the Labette Center for Mental Health Services as a Licensed Psychologist and Utilization Reviewer.
Dr. Dixon’s research interests have focused on the suppression of deviant sexual behavior through covert sensitization; the use of medications, such as Fluoxetine and Medroxyprogesterone, to decrease deviant sexual arousal; and on the acquisition and generalization of relapse prevention procedures with sexual offenders with an intellectual disability.
• Dr. Leslie Bissell, Southwest Guidance Center director in Liberal. Dr. Bissell earned both her Masters of Arts degree and Doctor of Psychology degree in Clinical Psychology from Wheaton College, Ill.  
As a clinical psychologist, she has served in a variety of settings including the state psychiatric hospital, college counseling center, private practice sector, and community mental health center system.
In 2008 she moved to Liberal to join the staff of Southwest Guidance Center as the Clinical Director, and assumed her current duties as Executive Director in 2012.
As an advocate for mental illness recovery, Dr. Bissell uses her clinical skills to empower faith-based organizations and other community partners to meet the needs of the underserved.
She is involved in education others about the importance of good mental health, decreasing the barrier of mental health stigma and ensuring adequate professional behavioral health resources are available to the rural/frontier residents of Seward, Stevens, Meade, and Haskell Counties.
• Gina Smith, licensed clinical psychotherapist and instructor at Fort Hays State University. She earned her Masters of Science in Clinical Psychology from Emporia State University. She is a current member of the Southwestern Psychological Association and the Midwestern Psychological Association.
Smith teaches graduate courses in psychology, including professional ethics, practicum in applied psychology and approaches to psychotherapy. In addition she instructs undergraduates in courses including abnormal psychology and introduction to therapeutic skills. She serves as academic advisor to 68 undergraduates as well as sits on the undergraduate committee and clinical graduate committee. Her duties also involve research activities.
Smith’s teaching experience previous to her current assignment was as an instructor and psychotherapist at Fort Hays State University, as an instructor for North Central Kansas Technical College. Her clinical experience has included private practice at Nurturing Hope Counseling in Hays; Lead Clinician and Clinician at United Methodist Youthville in Hays; as well as an outpatient therapist at both High Plains Mental Health Center of Kay and Franklin County Mental Health Center in Ottawa.
 She holds professional Licensure as a Licensed Clinical Psychotherapist (LCP) and Licensed Master Level Psychologist (LMLP).
• Meg Hutchinson, Boston-based singer-songwriter, poet, and recording artist on Red House Records. At 19, she began struggling with the deep depression that accompanied the onset of bipolar disorder, but waited nearly a decade to seek treatment.
After becoming suicidal and being hospitalized several times in summer 2006, Meg took control of her treatment and now tells her story of recovery through art, spiritual practice, and mental health advocacy.
Hutchinson graduated from Bard College at Simon’s Rock with a degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in creative writing.
She is a touring musician and poet who has won a Kerrville New Folk Award, was nominated for a Boston Music Award, and has been featured as part of her collaborative group, Winterbloom, at Lilith Fair.
Hutchinson has studied meditation at the Sakya Institute in Cambridge, Mass. under the guidance of the Harvard Buddhist Chaplain since 2009 and is a certified yoga instructor.