Dr. Jeff Zimmerman

Wow! As I start this year as your President, I am awed by all we are doing. We just had our winter Board of Directors meeting. What a great meeting, with a great group of people. We are an increasingly diverse group in so many different respects. Yet, when we sit down to work, we focus on the matters at hand with kindness, respect, and a desire to make values-based decisions. I was honored to facilitate the meeting.

In a moment, I will share some of our initiatives with you as it can be hard to keep up with the many things going on in the Society. Of course, this will be a partial list of highlights, as I cannot detail every activity. My apologies, in advance, for what I omit.

First though, I want to express my gratitude to all members of the Society for their efforts large and small: our Liaisons, Student Representative, Committee Chairs and their members, Domain Representatives, Council Representatives, Publications Board, Officers, and Tracey Martin (our Administrator). You have done so much to help the Society expand its mission and its focus. I also want to thank our prior members of the governance group who have stepped away from their leadership positions.

Thank you all. I could fill all the allotted space I have for this announcement with each of your names and accomplishments. Please know how grateful I am for all your contributions.

I do want to single out our two most recent Past Presidents, Armand Cerbone, PhD, and Rod Goodyear, PhD. Armand and Rod are mentors and friends. They have paved the way for much of what you will read below and have helped foster a culture in the Society that is collegial and respectful. Thank you both for your brilliance, kindness, dedication, and hard work.

The Society is also in good hands for 2018 and will be well served by Mike Constantino, PhD, President-Elect. Mike has already started getting to work on his Presidential initiatives. One thing he will be doing is heading a Task Force on Psychotherapy Dissemination, comprised of our Domain Representatives, to get new and pertinent research out to psychotherapy clinicians.

I considered listing the initiatives below by ascribing them to one Domain or another. However, this would not be representative of what we are doing. I was so impressed that our Board did not function as separate silos. Rather, there was synergy and integration of ideas. So, instead I am going to present some of the initiatives and you can hopefully see how many represent a convergence of interests from many different parts of the Society.

So, let’s look at some of the great things happening in the Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy:

  • We have a program of 5 symposia to be presented at the upcoming meeting of the World Congress of Psychotherapy. My Presidential Symposium at the World Congress (and at APA this summer) will be on bringing psychotherapy to underserved populations. We will also have a social hour to meet our international colleagues and spend time with our members who are present.
  • The partnership with Oriental Insight is going well and we expect to welcome 73 new international members into the Society.
  • We are continuing work on new outreach initiatives to form other international relationships.
  • Keep an eye out for more articles from our international colleagues in our publications. I am hopeful you will see articles about psychotherapies in other cultures.
  • We are in the midst of developing a training clinic outcome measure.
  • We are looking at bringing resources to clinicians working in some of the most impoverished communities.
  • We are also planning to provide resources (possibly to schools) to help make a constructive difference in communities that are underserved.
  • We are looking at how to reduce barriers to access and how to incorporate these initiatives into programs of research, training, and practice.
  • The 5-year impact factor of Psychotherapy is almost double what it was in 2011.
  • Our Bulletin published 40 articles in 2016 and this year is inviting submissions from each Domain on “Difficult Dialogues.”
  • Our website year-to-date in December 2016 had been visited almost 110,000 times! 
  • We are looking to create a series of webinars and may collaborate with other divisions as well. At this point, ideas are being exchanged with Division 42 (Independent Practice).
  • We have an ongoing project of interviewing clinicians in private practice about their needs. The Board noted that of course a great deal of psychotherapy occurs in settings other than in independent practice, and sees its charge as relating to all licensed or certified mental health clinicians here and abroad.
  • The issues of diversity permeated most of our discussions on a micro and macro level, as the Board strove to be responsive to the many points of views and needs expressed. We plan to have interviews on the website related to diversity. Similarly, there will be efforts to increase the awareness of diversity via future convention programming.
  • Psychotherapy will have a special section (possibly a special issue) on cultural competencies (articles due May 15th).  
  • The Board discussed many issues related to membership, addressing the needs of students and early career professionals, as well as the importance of retaining our current members, some of whom have been members for decades. The Board was clear that we need to concentrate on being of value to all our members, new and longstanding, here in the U.S. and abroad.
  • The Board expressed interest in exploring the possibility of partnering with other divisions and organizations in and outside of APA (in addition to Oriental Insight and Division 42).

While the minutes of our Board meeting have not yet been approved, some of the initiatives that were passed include:

  • Supporting Division 19’s (Society for Military Psychology) letter regarding opposition of torture and/or abusive treatment;
  • Supporting APA’s letter of full apology to Native American, Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiian peoples;
  • Offering (beginning in 2018) two APA Division 29 Awards for the International Advancement of Psychotherapy: Distinguished Award ($500) & Student or Early Career Grant ($1,000);
  • Implementing a strategic initiative to provide up to 5 complimentary memberships to people in international settings who demonstrate need and can advance the international mission of the Division;
  • Providing the Education and Training Domain $3,000 to continue the development of the training clinic outcome measure; and
  • Approving the 2016 Psychotherapy Most Valuable Paper Award (and corresponding $500 prize). The results will be announced after the winners are notified

None of what we are doing could be done without our members. You are the foundation of the Society; our prior and our future leadership. If you have even just an inkling of wanting to get involved, please reach out to me at drz@jzphd.com. I will help you connect with the right person(s).

Whether you are a student, early career, mid-career, or late-career professional you can be an active part of one or more of our initiatives and you will be welcomed. The Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy is an international community of practitioners, scholars, researchers, teachers, health care specialists, and students who are interested in and devoted to the advancement of the practice and science of psychotherapy. I am thrilled and honored to be among you.