Fall 1998           Special Interest Group Newsletter         Volume  3
President's Column 

Hi.  My name is Bruce and I'm a recovering technoholic.  I signed a contract with my wife stating that I will not go into an electronics store more than...  What's that  --Oh, oops, sorry, wrong column... 

Hello again.  I'm Bruce Gale, your new President for 1997-1999.  Andrea Seidner is now Past-president, and Liana Peña is now President-elect.  We have a new Student Representative, Ryan Russon who is also our Web Site designer.  More about that in a minute. 

In This Issue:   

  President's Column 
  Special Feature:   
   ABBY for Windows: Innovative Software for Mental Health Services      
   CHiP-SIG AABT Events   
   Other Computer-Related 
   AABT Events 
  Call For Papers 
  Editor's Note 

Our membership has remained stable, we added about 6 new members this past year.  From what I've gleaned off our Listserv, life continues as usual for our membership, with resources and other announcements being passed along.  By the way, if you're not on it, I ascertain Liana has done her usual excellent job of telling people how to join.  Look for her instructions elsewhere in this newsletter. 
I did not receive any poster submissions this year for the SIG Poster Expo which occurs during the Welcoming Cocktail Party.  We will have a spot set aside for our SIG with applications and information about the SIG for prospective members.  If you have any computer programs or projects other technology you are working on that you would like to demonstrate at the Expo, contact me by email (bgalephd@aol.com) so I can keep track of what members bring.  Remember, there's no electricity available.  The Welcoming Cocktail party will be from 6:30p.m. to 8:30p.m in the Washington Ballroom.   

Our annual SIG meeting will be on Saturday from 9:00a.m. to 11:00a.m. in the Kennedy Room.  The first portion will be to take care of general business.  Following Andrea's format, I intend to keep this portion of the meeting as short as possible.  We'll then have a chance for members to meet and learn about each other's interests and make general announcements about job openings, grants, and other topics of general interest.  Last year, we had a roundtable discussion on SBIRS, which seemed of interest to many who attended.  I sent an email last March to those on the Listserv soliciting topic suggestions for the second portion of our meeting, but have not received any suggestions.  If there are no other  
specific suggestions, I had thought of putting together a roundtable discussion of some of the technology tools can be useful in clinical practice.  Please put any suggestions you have on the Listserv or send them to me by email or fax (310-652-4913).  If you like the idea of a technology roundtable and have something to contribute, get in touch. In any case I look forward to seeing you at the meeting.


Bruce M. Gale, Ph.D.
CHiP-SIG President 

Liana M. Peña, M.A.    
President Elect    
Newsletter Editor    

Reid K. Hester, Ph.D.    
Steering Committee Member    

Ryan Russon, B.S.    
Student Representative    

Two things before I sign off.  First, The Web Site.  At the annual meeting last year, Ryan Russon offered to use his considerable talents to help us launch a site.  If you've visited the AABT site, you know that there's a "link" just waiting for us.  Ahem, except we seem to have no content.  I plan to make this a topic as part of our annual meeting.  If you have thoughts please send them to me and I will forward your ideas and comments to the rest of the steering committee.  You may also contact Liana or Ryan directly.  Their addresses and emails appear elsewhere in this newsletter. 

Finally, is there anyone out there interested in reviewing software to submit an article for publication in AABT? If you're a Mac user and have interest in trying a demo program for a course on cognitive theory, let me know. 

Have a great rest of the year and I hope to see you in Washington D.C. 

ABBY for Windows:  Innovative Software for Mental Health Services  
by Jim Luttgen, Ph.D. & M. Sugawara 

The following article was submitted on our software ABBY for Windows.  ABBY is being used in mental health services in North America. We have a new product being released soon "Workload Measurement Plus for Windows" 

Although we are living in the "Information Age," many mental health care professionals find that collecting, analyzing and reporting data is still an onerous chore. This is the case whether they are conducting research, doing program evaluation, searching file records or recording behavior or scores. ABBY for Windows takes advantage of the new generation of personal computer hardware and software. It uses this technology to greatly simplify the recording, analysis and reporting of clinical data. With ABBY one can easily plot the effect of a medication on health, behavior or test score. 


  • To provide a powerful stand alone clinical database to a single unit or office.  
  • To simplify clinical data entry and provide for its safe storage. 
  • To easily view, sort and search clinical data. 
  • To collect and report data in a format useful for behavioral analysis. 
  • To produce presentation quality clinically useful reports and graphs.  
The Microsoft Windows interface was chosen to reduce the need for staff training.  Untrained staff cannot "blow away" important data by pressing the wrong key. The interface supports data entry and screen commands with a mouse. The database engine permits keyboard shortcuts to speed up data entry. System defaults are programmed so that repetitive data entry is eliminated. 

Data are encrypted so that a PC can be left with front line staff on a treatment unit. Stolen or copied database files cannot be read. Three levels of password protected access allow assistants to enter data, but only the clinician can view data and print reports and graphs.  The database holds up to two billion records. Current data is easily accessible because historical data are never deleted but merely hidden.  Data integrity is ensured by a built in integrity checker. 

Data are classified as target behaviors (for cumulative, all or none data), test results (non-cumulative, numerical data), and significant events (cumulative, numerical data). Each data classification has unique characteristics for graphing and reporting. Comments can be entered with any record. 

The software was programmed so that the sorting parameters do not have to be typed in.  Standard sorts are accomplished by clicking a mouse on the sort type desired. Similarly, data searches are accomplished by clicking on the client name and on the behavior, event or test and then typing a range or accepting the default range. 

The database includes fields for antecedents, target behaviors and consequences so that incidents can be analyzed behaviorally.  Comments can also be recorded with any record. Report output in ABC format greatly simplifies applied behavioral analysis. 

After sorts and searches are accomplished, it is not necessary to import them to a word processor to generate a simple report . One click of the mouse sends the report on screen to the printer.  The user can accept the generic report title or type in a different report title.  The range that the report covers is automatically displayed in the report. 

Data selected in searches are automatically displayed as a line graph for "eye-balling" with one click of the mouse. One can easily plot the effect of a medication on health or behavior. The system warns the users when too much data are selected to be meaningfully displayed on screen.  The user can select grouping intervals from one day to literally years. 

A second click of the mouse prints the graph with generic labels. The user can change the  report title, graph title, X and Y axis labels. The user can select from bar, line, pie, radar and area graphs, as well as several three dimensional variations of these graphs. 

Exporting data for statistical analysis is accomplished with a password and a click of the mouse.   The software uses the universal export format of ASCII comma delimited text. The software can also automatically open Microsoft Excel and display the imported data. 

A fully functional, time limited copy of ABBY for Windows can be downloaded from Health Sciences Software's homepage at: http://www.compusmart.ab.ca/jhealth 
ABBY for Windows requires a 486 with 8 MB Ram VGA or better, Windows 3.1 or 95  $229.00 US from  
Health Sciences Software & Consulting Inc.  
30 Sunset Blvd.  
St. Albert, Alberta l  Canada T8N 0N5  
E-mail: jhealth@compusmart.ab.ca  
Fax/Voice Mail 403-460-9839  


As our membership list becomes larger and larger, we have an ever growing source of computer-related information - you.  Please share your knowledge and ideas with our group.  Listed below are some ideas for newsletter submissions: 

  • Feature Articles
  • Questions to members
  • Surveys relevant to our area
  • Letters to the Editor
  • News relevant to our members
  • Special topics of interest
  • Book reviews
  • Information about up-coming events
  • Suggestions for newsletter improvement
Please send submissions to:
Liana M. Peña
CNS School, McLean Hospital, Rec 148, 
Belmont, MA  02178 

or send e-mail to lpena@garnet.acns.fsu.edu 


I'd like to thank by Jim Luttgen & M. Sugawara for their submission "ABBY for Windows:  Innovative Software for Mental Health Services" which can be found on page 1.  It is very informative and smooth reading.  Storm A. King also deserves thanks for contributing the announcement for out newsletter.  Also, many thanks to Reid K. Hester for his contribution to our next annual meeting's agenda. 

Unfortunately, I won't be able to be at the annual meeting.  I have a personal engagement that I must attend.  However, I will be sending my agenda with one of the other steering committee members.  Again, thank you for all your contributions and I encourage everyone to send in not only submissions, but also ideas for upcoming newsletters. 

Happy Computing,


The International Society for Mental Health Online (ISMHO) is a new Internet based non-profit organization for mental health  professionals, consumers, and interested others. Its purpose is to promote the understanding, use and development  of online communication, information, and technology for the international mental health community. ISMHO was formed during a  gathering of mental health professionals and consumers at the  American Psychological Association's annual convention in 1997. ISMHO has a broad mission that includes multiple goals,  such as: 

  • Assisting and promoting mental health professionals and consumers in the development of new online technologies and applications in the online mental health field
  • Educating mental health professionals and consumers about existing online information and communication technologies and applications
  • Exploring and developing the use of computer assisted communication in the work of mental health
  • Highlighting endeavors by members consistent with the goals of the society
  • Providing online discussion forums and news concerning the work of  mental health professionals online
  • Developing guidelines for online interactions between mental health  professionals and consumers.
An ISMHO committee is currently working on the development and implementation of guidelines to help evaluate the validity and  quality of online mental health resources. 

ISMHO members held an informal meeting at the American  Psychological Association's annual convention in San Francisco in 1998, during which members of the organization  discussed issues relevant to their work online. ISMHO sponsors  an e-mail discussion that is free and open to all interested parties.   Recent topics range from guidelines for electronic communication  with clients to the ethics involved in telehealth efforts.   There is also a members only e-mail meeting where general meetings  of the organization take place. 

ISMHO is in the process of incorporating as a non-profit organization.  Bylaws, a mission statement, an executive board were formed in early 1998.  John Grohol, Psy.D., a noted authority in the  online mental health field, is the organization's current president.  All professionals and consumers interested in mental health issues  online are encouraged to join ISMHO and help shape the future  direction of mental health on the Internet.  For additional  information about membership or the organization, please consult  the ISMHO Web site at http://www.ismho.org/ or contact John Grohol at 1-800-467-1482. 

Storm A. King  astorm@concentric.net   [ICQ #2490493] 

President-Elect, The International Society  for Mental Health Online (ISMHO)  http://www.ismho.org/ 

A Resource Site for the Analysis of the  Psychology of Virtual Communities: http://www.concentric.net/~Astorm