Dialogue With Nick Lalone

by Victoria Jesswein published 2016/04/13 12:15:00 GMT-7, last modified 2022-11-12T09:28:31-07:00

Yesterday 1:27 PM

Greeting Nick Lalone. It has been interesting seeing your postings pop up here and there. I am glad to see you are following the efforts, though it appears you have a very specific approach to your responses that seems less supportive than other's responses. Hopefully these are just legitimate concerns you have, and not my having somehow personally offended you in some way?. Hopefully I can address some of your concerns here: 1. I am registered with the Washington State department of Health as a Recreation Therapist and under their disciplinary processes. 2. Where required to undertake IRB review that doesn't qualify for oversight by the university or state, I have found resources outside of the university to provide IRB oversight when required for future research programs. 3. The Mental Health First Aid certification is helpful for activity coordinators/facilitators and recreation therapists (including those not yet CTRS) knowing the correct processes to handle mental health emergencies, so it is relevant and of value in this context. 4. For now the research outside of the university is observational rather than controlled experiments (for example the gender bias questionnaires). 5. The pilot programs with Autism spectrum and others have been under guardianship of the university professors. 6. Until I am ready to fully implement full therapy programs, the benefits to participants are the intrinsic benefits of participation in RPG used as a recreational activity in general. Over time it is hoped later to use Recreation Therapy techniques to develop targeted programs, controlled experiments, etc., but I am waiting on those until all my own requirements are met: degrees, CTRS, etc. Please let me know if there are any other areas of concern you have that I may address. Thank you.

Nick Lalone
Yesterday 2:20 PM

+rpgresearch I am neither personally nor emotionally offended by your work. Professionally, I see problems of legitimacy and rigor that I often advise my students to anticipate and avoid. My two posts about your work, here and on Facebook, reflect that. So i guess I would label my concerns as academic in nature. That you paid 205 dollars and sat through a course on AIDS Education to obtain your Recreation Therapy license is not necessarily a testament against my concerns.

More directly, I am simply worried for your subjects and outside ethical / quality oversight. I say quality due to your instrument you used in the gender bias post you just made. Many of the questions are problematic, leading, or just confusing. If you had had cooperation from faculty at your institution, they no doubt would have helped correct that while also offering a means through which to gain some legitimacy through publication.

I suppose in the end as long as you are out and about in Washington carrying out legally permitted exercises, there isn't much else to say. It is the attempt at legitimacy through:

the clinical feel of your website,
the addition of lab coat in your header,
the sort of vague nature of your academia.edu account in that your papers have no affiliation, nor publication other than your site

that makes things feel suspicious.

Not even I would attempt to seem legitimate and i'm at the tail end of my PhD program.

Yesterday 4:56 PM

Nick Lalone, my apologies for confusing you with someone with a very similar name that has been focusing on the current lack of credentials since 2011, and kepts derailing the topics of conversation when The Examiner posted an article about my efforts. He keeps popping up, sometimes very rudely so. The admins kept removing his comments and blocking him (not due to any efforts on my part, I don flame-retardent clothing every time I post online :-) ). After your response I see now that person had a one letter difference to their name, and I mistook you for him.

I don't know how to address the other topics without going into more detail, so apologies for the even lengthier response, I hope it is helpful. I am responding at length to address questions from you, and others from other sites, so there is a lot combined here. I hope it doesn't become TLDR for everyone.

On the other topics, I very much agree with making every effort to address concerns about the well-being and safety of others, and am doing all I can to address those one by one. The academic path is not the only means for addressing it, and I am working on addressing it through multiple paths, over time including academia. If I wasn't, I would long ago have been implementing many controlled studies on my own, instead I have tried to carefully and slowly only use low-risk approaches within the bounds of ethical, moral, and appropriate approaches as best as possible. I have projects in the works that will be undergoing submission for IRB review prior to implementation. It might not be the most typical or ideal route, but hopefully over time will prove out.

The registration with Washington state provides 2 benefits (besides title protection for the TR industry): 1. As a health care worker registered by the state health department and passing a lengthy state and federal background check, I am answerable to them for any ethics violations (though they don't provide oversight in advance of interaction, they are reactive rather than the proactive IRB process). Any problems become public record that prospective participants (or future clients, or anyone for that matter) can look up and citizens can report any issues to the department. 2. I fall under their disciplinary domain which can include a wide range of enforcements and penalties that would not otherwise be as easily implemented. While it has shortcomings, it is far better than existed just a few years ago (no oversight, no record keeping, no recourse).

I had been sitting on the Gender-bias questionnaire since Summer 2013, because I knew my background would cause a stir and ran the risk of derailing the conversation about the content, causing people to focus more on ad hominem issues, rather than the work itself .

In recent weeks I was encouraged by other university professors to at least share some of the results, while including all the caveats I state about the process, etc. And basically encouraging folks to consider along the lines of a market-opinion-poll. That is part of why I never felt comfortable following through with it going to a journal. Hopefully future works will be more worthwhile. The discussions generated by the data, so far, have been very helpful in formulating future plans. While it languished untouched, nothing was to be learned from it.

The questionnaire itself before use was previewed by two experienced researchers with MSW's and a PhD psychologist. They were part of the pairing down process from 20+ questions to 11, and helped me with the phrasing as best as possible. But they did so in an unofficial capacity. After the fact, several professors from several departments, and now 3 different universities (of course also unofficially at this point, though that could be changing (fingers crossed)), and the IRB have looked at the questionnaire itself, and at least thought it was acceptable for the function in which it was intended, and didn't have any strong recommendations for change for a first-stage process. Plenty of suggestions for future improvements of course! :-) Are there many areas for improvement? Definitely! With each effort it is hoped the relevance, quality, and validity keeps improving.

These responses from everyone have been hugely helpful, and I have been reticent for years to put this out there, for many reasons.

As for the ewu.Academia.edu URL, they do not allow me to control the subdomain alas, and the school required registration with them for a project some time ago. I come from an opensource approach in technology which believes sharing information with the rest of the community helps everyone, whatever stages (prototype, alpha, beta, release-candidate) the efforts might be, this then helps with future iterations to improve. It has become clearer that in academic circles not following the standard process for sharing ideas does cause some upset.

I am not sure what you mean by suspicious however. Do you believe I am trying to run some sort of scam or other fraudulent effort?
To date I run everything out of my own pocket, do not charge anyone. I have no intention to be billable until I have my degree and CTRS. I am very up front about my status academically and professionally, constantly reiterating the details. If there are specific areas you think I am being dishonest (goodness I hope not), please provide me with the opportunity to address those concerns. I certainly don't want to seem something along the lines of shady. New to the field? Yes. Willing to make mistakes during the learning process? Yes. I believe I understand those concerns. But hopefully you don't think I am trying to defraud people by doing something intentionally illegitimate in my efforts?

As for the trailer idea. It seemed a stretch to me too. But it seemed worth trying. I believe in the concept, however doubtful others might be about the cost-benefits, and that it would greatly improve the reach of future research and later therapies to help those in need. Initially it would just make running RPG sessions possible for a larger base around the continent, and of course I observationally learn much from these standard sessions. Most of my players allow me to record all sessions too, which is very helpful on many levels. All this simply adds to my body of knowledge through experience and generation of new ideas meeting a wider range of players, which helps planning for more formal research and therapy plans in the future.

I have often had "vision" about new concepts (VOW, WISP, and others) in other fields that were scoffed at in the early stages, but once a reality, have been for the most part accepted as being self-evident in their benefits (to paraphrase Schopenhaeur).

Yes, I am in a very non-standard situation, and the complexity of it can be confusing for people only stepping into portions of a long process. I come from a very atypical but successful entrepreneurial approach to helping others through problem solving in other disciplines.

What is your definition of "legitimate"? Do you only consider research through an academic institute valid and legitimate? Or are you open to other paths of scientific discovery?

I am working daily to address the credentials paperwork for this profession, while at the same time making every sincere effort to be as careful as possible. Since I am trying to develop a whole other area, that at least in the TR profession no one seems to have addressed, and in recent years has been getting encouragement as innovative, it is expected that a new modality is going to be received with a lot of criticism. Over time I hope a building body of work will address that.

I do want to address any issues anyone has, to the best of my abilities of course, and within the current stage of progression in acquiring the various credentials to help allay the concerns of those that understandably take such issues seriously.

The explanations of your statements and concerns are appreciated and helpful and further refining the communications with others to address such issues.

Thank you for your civil responses (the other person I mentioned has not been so), and for taking the time to have further discourse to clear up any misunderstandings. I don't know that I can persuade you to become a supporter in what I'm trying to achieve (at least unless I acquire a doctorate), but I do appreciate the civil fashion of your bringing up concerns.

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