Opportunities for Members Abound as SAP Goes Global

The Society has taken important steps to position us for a significantly broadened global membership and the enriched understandings of psychotherapy that this will afford. In particular:

  • I hope all of you have noticed that our webpage has been completely redesigned, with content that is constantly fresh, interesting, and relevant to psychotherapy researchers and practitioners. Beyond that, webmaster Brad Brenner, PhD, has arranged that our webpages can be translated into most of the world’s major languages with a click of a button (see bottom right corner of the website). This is very exciting!
  • In adopting the name, Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy (SAP) we have signaled a wider focus than was the case with our previous identification as APA’s Division of Psychotherapy.
  • To support that wider focus, SAP has developed a new affiliate member category that requires neither APA membership nor even a psychology doctorate. This acknowledges, first, that most countries do not require psychologists to have a doctoral degree to practice, and, second, that psychology is only one of the professions that delivers psychotherapy services. Opening our membership in this way has the potential to enrich scholarly and professional conversations through the new cultural and cross-disciplinary perspectives.

Our journal, Psychotherapy, is a member benefit that is important in our efforts to become an international organization. Its continually increasing quality is evident both in its impact factor scores and in the steadily growing number of article downloads. That more than a third of those downloads occur outside the U.S. speaks to its perceived value to psychotherapists globally.

Our Board of Directors took an important additional step toward globalization in February when it created a new International Affairs Task Group, which Fred Leong, PhD, and Patrick Leung, PhD, are co-chairing. They discuss the Task Group and its purposes, as well as some other international possibilities, elsewhere in this issue of the Bulletin.

Growth of SAP internationally will be helped by our having a presence at key international conferences. To that end, I had the pleasure of representing both APA and SAP at the IX International Congress of Mental Health at the University of Guadalajara in March and will “fly the SAP flag” at the InterAmerican Congress of Psychology in Lima, Peru, in July. But many other SAP members also present at conferences outside the U.S. If you will be one of those, please do let Drs. Leong and Leung know so that we can consider ways you might represent or otherwise help SAP. I would add that if you are an SAP member who lives outside the U.S., we could use your help in various ways (e.g., through representing us in one way or another there, “on the ground” in your country; through providing an occasional contribution to the Bulletin; etc.), and I would encourage you also to contact Drs. Leong and Leung.

As an additional way of establishing its international presence, SAP is capitalizing on Dr. Changming Duan’s connections with the Chinese Clinical and Counseling Psychologists Registration System (CCCPRS) of the Chinese Psychological Society to cosponsor a supervision training program with them. Carol Falender, PhD, and I are delighted at the opportunity to provide that training. The CCCPRS is the only national professional organization that provides quality assurance for psychotherapy service in China, setting standards for training programs and certifying psychotherapists/counselors and supervisors. CCCPRS presently certifies about 660 therapists/counselors and 120 supervisors in the entire country (from among close to 400,000 individuals who have governmental permission to practice as therapists/counselors). We hope this pilot venture will lead to other training co-sponsorships, in China and elsewhere.

The SAP leadership also has begun some early discussions of how we might be more involved in global policy matters. As an initial step, Jeff Zimmerman, PhD, and Lauren Behrman, PhD, served as unofficial SAP representatives at the United Nations’ Psychology Day in April. Whether this is a direction SAP wants to take and how we might do that will be important future discussions among members of our leadership.

The Promise of Enriched Dialogue and Perspectives

SAP’s internationalization efforts will succeed only to the extent that all members, regardless of country of residence, are open to the influence of new ideas and perspectives. In recognition of this, SAP took the lead in developing the following two symposia for the upcoming APA convention. I should note that the second is in lieu of my offering a Presidential address: It is, I believe, that important. Please do put both on your convention calendar:

  • Clinical Supervision Around the Globe—Small World Isn’t It? (Thu 8/6/2015, 08:00 AM – 09:50 AM; Location: Convention Centre Room 716A).
  • Ecologically and Culturally Appropriate Treatment—The Present and Future of Indigenous Psychotherapies (Fri 8/7/2015, 09:00 AM – 10:50 AM; Location: Convention Centre Room 104B).
Ways You Can Help Advance Our International Agenda

So far I have described steps the Society’s leadership has taken or supported to make SAP more of a global organization. But I hope that all SAP members will join in this initiative as well.

Here are some possible ways:

  • If you have friends or colleagues who are psychotherapists in countries other than the U.S., please let them know of these important developments in the Society, and encourage them to join!
  • If you are an SAP member who lives outside the U.S. and will attend the APA convention in August, I hope you will join us in conversation during the SAP Social Hour on Friday August 7 from 5 to 6 pm at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel Library (this is not limited, of course, to international members; I invite all of you to attend!).
  • Please feel free to let any of us in the SAP leadership know as you have ideas about strengthening our internationalization efforts.
  • Finally, I would encourage you to consider getting international announcements on a biweekly basis from the APA Office of International Affairs via its announcement only listserv—International News Bulletin. This concerns news, resources, and international opportunities on Conferences/Meetings; grants for travel and international work; publication information; international opportunities; and training opportunities on international topics. To sign up, send an email to listserv@lists.apa.org with the subject line blank and the following in the body of the message: subscribe INTLANNOUNCE Your first name, Your last name -[hyphen] country of affiliation (e.g., subscribe INTLANNOUNCE John Doe-Panama).