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Specialized dockets conference features alternative therapy practices

Supreme Court
Public Information Office

Published: December 3, 2013

Alternative therapy practices, including the use of horses and drums, were new topics taught at the Ohio Specialized Dockets Practitioner Network 10th annual conference on Nov. 21.

Emphasizing a team approach to providing treatment for individuals served by specialized dockets in Ohio courts, the conference allowed judges, court staff, and treatment teams to learn about new strategies and treatment options. Around 450 participants who work in specialized dockets including mental health, drug, OVI, family, juvenile, veterans, and domestic violence courts participated in the conference.It was the largest turnout in the conference’s 10-year history.

There were 18 break-out sessions during the conference, which included emerging alternative therapies. Representatives from Marion County Family Court talked about how equine therapy helps build trust and social skills for at-risk youth and families.

Also new to the conference this year was the topic of therapeutic drumming. The Central Ohio Symphony helps Delaware County with a program that drives positive progress for certain individuals with the use of drumming circles.

“We highlight innovative programs that have promise for the future. Marion County has provided equine therapy for seven years that has helped change the lives of at-risk youth, and therapeutic drumming circles have proven successful in Delaware County,” said Stephanie Hess, the Ohio Supreme Court’s director of court services.

Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor told the group that Ohio is creating one of the first specialized dockets certification programs in the county. In November 2012, the Ohio Supreme Court adopted rule amendments that outline procedures to receive Supreme Court certification for a specialized docket program. Specialized docket programs are required to be initially certified by Jan. 1, 2014. There are currently seven courts officially court certified and more than 120 in the process of being certified.

“Ohio is committed to research-based practices for specialized dockets by having minimum standards. Ohio’s specialized dockets incorporate proven practices, which result in better outcomes measured by reduced recidivism, more efficient court processes, improved treatment, and cost savings,” Chief Justice O’Connor said. “Ohio’s specialized dockets have incorporated these evidence-based practices into their programs and found that they are effective in helping people to build new lives.”

Dr. Cardwell Nuckols served as the keynote speaker at the conference. Nuckols is a widely published clinician who spoke about the new standard for diagnosing individuals with psychiatric disorders. The conference is offered by the Supreme Court of Ohio, in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services.