2019 Candidate Statements

Candidates for President-elect

Tony Rousmaniere, Psy.D.

I am honored and humbled by the nomination to serve the Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy (SAP) in the role of president.  The Division has long been my APA home.  I was pleased to be able to serve as Chair of its Continuing Education Committee from 2014 through 2018 and was privileged to be a co-recipient of the Division’s Early Career Award.  If elected, I would like to focus my Presidency on two areas where I believe the Division can further serve its members: (a) raising awareness about new methods for psychotherapy training, including Deliberate Practice, and (b) expanding our outreach to psychotherapists who work with under-served and disadvantaged populations.

One of the Division’s unique strengths has been the extent to which it represents both practitioners and researchers and that its leadership has always had a mixture of both.  This has special resonance to me as I identify with both groups.  I am Clinical Faculty at the University of Washington in Seattle, where I also have a private practice.  As a supporter of the “open-data” movement, I post the clinical outcome data from my private practice on my website for free access by potential clients and researchers.  Additionally, I run the clinical training website, which provides free webinars, lectures, and interactive Deliberate Practice exercise videos for training programs around the world.  I have authored/co-edited four books on clinical training and professional development and published over 30 peer-reviewed empirical research articles and chapters.  In my writing I encourage therapists to embrace their strengths and challenges with honesty and vulnerability (for example, see my article “What your therapist doesn’t know” in The Atlantic.)  My newest writing project is serving as co-editor (with Rodney Goodyear) of the American Psychological Association’s forthcoming series of Deliberate Practice clinical training books, The Essentials of Deliberate Practice, in collaboration with an international team of leading researchers.  Previously I was Associate Director of Counseling & Director of Training at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Student Health and Counseling Center, where I founded and ran a practicum for psychologist trainees.

If elected, my first goal is to raise awareness about the opportunity to use Deliberate Practice to improve the effectiveness of psychotherapy across the career-span, from beginning trainees achieving competence to seasoned clinicians acquiring advanced skills or new specializations.  My presidential initiative will focus particularly on using Deliberate Practice to help trainees and psychotherapists provide more effective multicultural services and better assist populations that are under-served and disadvantaged.

In the past few years the Division has made considerable progress expanding its outreach, such as adding an international Domain and establishing itself as an international association.  If elected, my second area of focus will be supporting and expanding these efforts.  Particularly, I would like to expand our outreach and services to psychotherapists who work with under-served and disadvantaged populations.

Thank you very much for considering my candidacy to serve the Society.

Gary R. VandenBos, Ph.D.

Psychotherapy is a robust clinical intervention.  When skillfully performed, adjusted to the individual and the circumstance, it can help improve many psychological problems and challenges.

Psychotherapy should be able to all who wish to undertake it.

Our division efforts over the past three years have done much to advance the value and utilization of psychotherapy. Doctors Zimmerman, Constantino and now Murdock have lead efforts to bring psychotherapy to the underserved, refine personalized mental health care, and design psychotherapeutic services for diverse clients and settings.  I wish to continue to lead the Division is these efforts to shape the focus and effectiveness of psychotherapy to serve all Americans and aid them in living happier and healthier lives within the context of their lived experience.

Division 29 must be among the leaders in advancing public information and professional information about psychotherapy.  Our advocacy must be directed towards the public, professionals in other health care disciplines, and insurance and government officials.  The message of how psychotherapy can relieve psychological pain and suffering, support recovery and growth, and strengthen future functioning is needed.  The Division should use its resources to continue to support such goals and expand on them.

Division 29 is not alone in such efforts, as we can work collaboratively with other Divisions and with the Central APA in such efforts.  I urge us to systematically examine how we are collectively communicating “our story” to the world – looking for any gaps in coverage and any aspects that need to be communicated clearer or better.  Division 29 can be leader in coordinating such an examination and developing specific proposals for improvement.

I am grateful to have received both the Division 29 Early Career award and the Division 29 Lifetime Achievement award.  Division 29 is the first APA Division I joined, and I have always considered it my “home Division.”  I would be honored to serve Division 29 as President. Thank you.

Candidates for Council Representatives (2 positions to be filled)

Lillian Comas-Díaz, Ph.D.

It is an honor to be nominated to run for a position of Council Representative for a second term.  As a current Council Representative for our division, I believe that a second term enhances my efficiency in serving our Division in this role.  I am a psychotherapist in full time private practice. Ialso serve as a Clinical Professor at the George Washington University Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.   As a practitioner-scholar-activist, most of my publications are about psychotherapeutic issues.  My main professional areas of interest are multicultural and feminist psychotherapies, social justice, international psychology, and psycho-spirituality.  I believe in giving psychology away and do so through media presentations in the Spanish language.

I trust that I can continue to well represent the Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy at the Council of Representatives.  I have extensive experience in APA governance, both as a past director of the APA Office of Ethnic Minority Affairs and as a past member of numerous governance groups.  Previously I have served as Council Representative for Divisions 12 (Clinical Psychology) and 35 (Women’s Issues).   Additionally, I have been president of Division 42 (Independent Practice), chair of the APA Committee of International Relations,  a Consulting Editor for Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, and Practice (and past member of the Editor Search Committee), and a Fellow of our Society.

I will be honored if you vote for me.  If you vote for me, you will be voting for passion, experience, and commitment to psychotherapy.

Stewart Cooper, Ph.D. ABPP

As the practice, education, and training of psychotherapy as well as practice-based research and conceptual scholarship have been the central cornerstones of my career, it is an honor and privilege to stand for election to serve as a Council Representative for the Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy. The Society and the American Psychological Association and the world at large are amid significant transformations.  Within SAP, the numerous initiatives and member facing services require tremendous coordination and creativity. Within APA, a new financial structure, an ethics code undergoing revision, a new consensually- developed strategic plan are just a few of the transformative processes. Developments in technology and AI will provide yet undreamed-of possibilities. Externally, changes in the context and funding for both the practice of and research on psychotherapy remain in state of high fluidity. The priorities of the Society need strong advocacy to remain and expand as a central focus for psychology and psychologists. Our students and ECPS are the future meriting special focus and inclusion.

I believe that my experiences on the Executive Boards of Division 29 as well as Divisions 17 (Counseling) and 13 (Consulting) along with my being past Chair of the APA Board of Professional Affairs, past Chair of the APA Membership Board, and a member of the APA Board of Directors these past three years have given me the knowledge and skills, as well as the connections with key groups and individuals, to enable me to be effective in advancing and advocating for the priorities of the Society. Internally, I pledge to support the further development of the many awesome programs and resources the Society is currently offering and has plans to expand upon. Leveraging new technologies – those that exist and those to come in the near future — offers significant promise.

Gerald P. Koocher, Ph.D., ABPP

As a long time Fellow and former President of the Division, I would welcome the opportunity to serve as one of the Division’s Council Representatives. I served as APA President (2006) and APA Treasurer (1995-2004). At present I serve as Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Quincy College (Massachusetts). I have also been appointed to serve as Parliamentarian of the Council by APA Presidents Daniel and Davis.  I previously served in senior leadership roles at DePaul University (Chicago) and Boston Children’s Hospital / Harvard Medical School.  I have consistently maintained an independent practice over forty years.

My scholarly activity includes more than 350 publications and 17 books including: Ethics in Psychology and the Mental Health Professions, the Psychologists’ Desk Reference, and the Parent’s Guide to Psychological First Aid.

The Division needs attentive and energetic representation to address many evolving issues related to psychotherapy research and practice including practice guidelines, changing standards of practice, masters level practice, APA strategic plan, and attention to practice issues in the aftermath of the integration of the professional mission formerly managed by CAPP and the APAPO with the APA.  If elected I would work tirelessly in support of Division interests on these and all matters coming before the council.

Libby Nutt Williams, Ph.D.

It has been an honor to serve as one of your Council Representatives for the Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy (Division 29) over the last two years.  I have served alongside Lillian Comas-Diaz as a united voice for psychotherapy practice, research, and advocacy.  I have spoken on the floor of Council several times on issues related to clinical practice guidelines, APA structure, and advocating for diversity.  As a Council Representative, I am invested in collaborative, solution-oriented process.  I would be very happy to continue to serve in this role and to serve our Division 29 community.  Thus I am delighted to run for a second term.

Outside of my role on Council, I have been a professor at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, the national public honors college, for over 20 years.  I received my bachelor’s degree in psychology from Stanford University and my doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of Maryland. My scholarly interests focus primarily on psychotherapy process, feminist multicultural approaches to counseling, and mixed methods research.  I am a Fellow of the APA (Divisions 17, 29, and 35), and I have served on several editorial boards (most recently for Psychotherapy and The Counseling Psychologist).

I have worked with Division 29 governance over the last 14 years, first as the Early Career representative to the Board of Directors in 2005, then as the Membership Domain Representative (2008-2010), and as President of the Division in 2011.  I have consistently focused on a few key issues: 1) clarifying our divisional identity, 2) strengthening the link between psychotherapy science and practice, and 3) promoting tangible evidence of our commitment to diversity and multiculturalism.

I care deeply about the Division, and I would be honored to continue to serve as a Council Rep for 29.  Thank you for your consideration.

Candidates for Science and Scholarship Domain Representative

Gregg Henriques, Ph.D.

My scholarship has been primarily concerned with the field of psychotherapy and its connection to the science of psychology. Early in my career, I became concerned with the conceptual fragmentation in psychotherapy, and came to see that it was deeply related to the conceptual confusion associated with the science of human psychology. I came to see the “problem of psychology,” which refers to the fact that the field resists definition and remains a collection of different paradigms as being central to achieving more coherence in psychotherapy. In 2011, I outlined my solution to the problem of psychology in A New Unified Theory of Psychology. Over the past several years I have been concerned with applying the unified theory to the psychotherapy integration movement, with the vision for the emergence of a “unified psychotherapy movement,” which recently became recognized as a fifth approach to psychotherapy integration. I have developed a number of conceptual models that allow for this vision to be realized, including Character Adaptation Systems Theory (Henriques, 2017; Henriques and Mays, 2018) as a way to unify the major psychotherapy paradigms with modern holistic approaches to personality. In addition to being an active scholar, I am also heavily involved teaching psychotherapy and doing clinical work, providing both direct services and supervising doctoral students. I have also outlined an approach to evidence based clinical decision making called TEST RePP (Henriques, 2016), and am working on a book detailing the identity of a unified Health Service Psychologist. In short, I believe I am well suited for this position, as I have a broad and deep knowledge base regarding both the science of psychology and psychotherapy, as well knowledge of the varieties of practice and how the field might evolve going forward. 

Patricia T. Spangler, Ph.D.

I’m honored and inspired to be a candidate for Division 29 Science and Scholarship Domain Representative. I’ve been a member since graduate school and value the Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy’s (SAP) role in my development as a researcher and clinician and its contributions to our field. I’ve served as a Private Practice Domain committee member since 2014, writing and soliciting articles for the Bulletin, generating ideas for website contributions, and initiating a study of the needs of psychotherapists in private practice. Our committee presented preliminary findings at APA (2018) and SPR (2018) and plans further dissemination via the SAP website and a journal article.

My work as a SAP committee member combined with my experience with varied psychotherapy research methods and success as a grant writer give me a solid background that will help me serve as Science and Scholarship Domain Representative. As doctoral student (University of Maryland, 2010) and post-doctoral researcher, our research team used mixed methods to investigate relational factors in long-term psychotherapy. Currently, as a research assistant professor at Uniformed Services University, I am co-PI on a DoD-funded ($954K) feasibility study of a treatment for PTSD nightmares on which we are integrating genomic and physiologic markers with psychometric measures of in-session distress and treatment outcome.

As a recipient of awards and grants as a student and early career researcher, I understand the impact that funding has on career development. If elected, I will happily undertake administration of the Charles J. Gelso, Ph.D., Psychotherapy Research Grant and the Norine Johnson, Ph.D., Psychotherapy Research Grant, two important mechanisms for nurturing early career researchers and thus for the future of psychotherapy process and outcome science. In addition, I’ll work with Board and Domain committee members to identify and develop initiatives to serve our members’ research endeavors.

Candidates for Diversity Domain Representative

Georita M. Frierson, Ph.D.

Dr. Georita M. Frierson received her BA with honors (Psychology) at Hampton University a historical black college/university (HBCU), her MA (Clinical Psychology) and PhD (Clinical Psychology) at The Ohio State University, and received training in an APA accredited Internship/Residency (Clinical Psychology) and Postdoctoral Program (Clinical Health Psychology) at The Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University. The two foci of her work with medically under-served populations are in 1) cancer education and control and 2) physical activity interventions or longitudinal designs. She has expanded her cancer survivor research to examine the psychological, behavioral, and quality of life outcomes of medically under-served triple negative female breast cancer patients (TNBC; who typically are African American, BRCA 1 mutation, and/or advanced stage disease).

She is a licensed clinical psychologist trained in health psychology, and currently a tenured Full professor and the Department Head of the Department of Psychology at Rowan University. Since 2015, she has held the Director of Clinical Training position of the newly formed Ph.D. Program in Clinical Psychology at Rowan University. She presently serves on the American Psychological Association Commission on Accreditation as Commissioner (2016-2021). In 2019, she has started her second 3rd-year term as a commissioner. She is also the Chair of the Training Committee for site visitor and accreditation application training for Commission on Accreditation. More recently, Dr. Frierson was appointed as IT Director for CUDCP and to the Associate Editorial Board for APA’s prestigious Training and Education in Professional Psychology journal. Dr. Frierson was also appointed Dean’s Fellow of Graduate Education for Rowan University’s College of Science and Mathematics/School of Health Professions (CSM/SHP) for the 2017-2018 academic year. She has recently served on the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB)/Job Task Analysis Task Force (2016); and has served as an American Psychological Association Accreditation Site Visitor (2015).

Rosemary Phelps, Ph.D.

Dr. Rosemary Phelps

Dr. Rosemary E. Phelps is a professor of Counseling Psychology, director of the UGA Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) in Psychology Program, and coordinator of the Human Services minor in the Department of Counseling and Human Development Services at the University of Georgia. She served as Department Head from 2006-2012. Dr. Phelps received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling from The Ohio State University, and her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is the recipient of the 2010 American Psychological Association’s (APA) Distinguished Contributions to Education and Training in Psychology Award and is an APA Fellow (Division 17: Society of Counseling Psychology). Dr. Phelps also received the 2016 Ohio State University College of Education Career Achievement Alumni Award. She has built her 30+ year career around teaching, research, and practice related to diversity issues, ethnic and racial identity development, professional issues for students and faculty of color, and mentoring students. Currently, Dr. Phelps’s research focuses on the unique and varied experiences of African Americans in both personal and professional domains that affect psychological well-being. Her professional activities have included national and regional membership and leadership positions including member of the APA Education and Training Awards Committee, chairing the Ethnic and Cultural Diversity Committee and serving as Program Chair of APA Division 17, chairing the Minority Interest Group of the Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA), and chairing the SEPA Committee on Equality and Professional Opportunity (CEPO)/PSI CHI Undergraduate Research Program. She served as the 2018 President of SEPA. “I have spent my career engaged in training counseling psychologists to be committed to culturally responsive practice and to the advancement of psychotherapy—it would be a privilege to serve the Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy in the capacity of Diversity Domain Representative.”

Susan S. Woodhouse, Ph.D.

Susan Woodhouse, Ph.D.

My name is Susan Woodhouse and I am an Associate Professor at Lehigh University. I am running to serve as a Diversity Domain Representative for the Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy (SfAP). During the time I have served on the Board, first as the Early Career Domain Representative and most recently as the Science and Scholarship Domain Representative, advancing attention to diversity and inclusion within the Board and in SfAP initiatives has been in the front of my mind with each project I have undertaken. I believe it is important that attention to issues related to diversity and inclusion not be considered the sole responsibility of people of color or other marginalized groups. As a white woman and ally, I would be excited to serve in this domain and to offer my support and collaboration to both ongoing and emerging initiatives that focus on enhancing diversity and inclusion within the field.

My research program focuses on psychotherapy and prevention work with racially and ethnically diverse, low-income, underserved families with young children. In particular, my work focuses on supporting under-recognized strengths in parents of young children, and on culturally appropriate psychotherapy and community support for parents. In my community-engaged research, I have worked hard to build trust with community stakeholders, collaborate with the community in the research, and bring the results of the research back to the community. I am currently organizing a SfAP-sponsored mini-conference focused on how to make psychotherapy more accessible and available to underserved communities. I am also collaborating with the Social Justice Domain of SfAP on a project to better understand the relational and therapeutic competencies of clinicians who work in underserved communities.

I am deeply committed fostering diversity and inclusion within our field through mentoring, grants, and other initiatives, and would be honored to serve.


Candidates for Early Career Psychologist Domain Representative

Beatriz Palma, Ph.D.

My name is Beatriz Palma, and I’m a Resident in Psychology and Staff Psychotherapist at the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at the University of Virginia-Charlottesville.  I earned a PhD in Counseling Psychology from the University of Maryland – College Park, and my advisor was Dr. Charles Gelso. I’m originally from Chile, were I am a clinical psychologist (Licenciatura y Título Professional de Psicólogo, from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile).  In my home country, I worked as a clinical psychologist for several years before coming to the US.

During my PhD program at Maryland, I was very involved both in clinical practice and psychotherapy research. A highlight of my experience was using brief treatment models with university students, while at the same time seeing longer-term community clients at a psychodynamically-oriented department clinic for four years. My shorter- and longer-term experiences informed each other, helping me attain depth in terms of my client conceptualization and the interventions that I utilized. Additionally, both my Master’s thesis and my Dissertation were psychotherapy research work. Besides these studies, I was involved in several psychotherapy research projects, both with my advisor and Dr. Clara E. Hill, and under their guidance, I presented several times at the Society for Psychotherapy Research (SPR) conferences. I was also the recipient of the 2015 Fretz award, which was given to a student in the program who embodied the scientist-practitioner model.

My internship, post-doc, and current job have all been at University Counseling Centers, where I have not only worked with a wide range of diverse clients but also have been an advocate for addressing mental health. I look forward to being involved with APA’s Division 29 as an Early Career Psychologist, as it will provide me valuable opportunities to continue contributing to the advancement of the field.

Josh Turchan, Ph.D.

I am beyond excited to accept the nomination for Early Career Domain Representative for Division 29 and for your consideration in choosing me for this role. As an ECP myself, I know that there are both unique opportunities and challenges posed to us in our early careers, whether they be more clinical or academic in nature. My hope is to not only help Division 29 to continue its already strong support of Early Career Psychologists, but to also promote the Division’s emphasis on developing practical, experiential and scholarly advances that are applicable to us in our Early Career.

By day, I am the Assistant Director of Training and Research at Michigan State University’s Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS), an interdisciplinary collegiate mental health center and an APA-accredited Health Service Psychology internship. As training director, I ensure our program focuses on training the next generation of burgeoning ECPs in a foundation of multiculturalism and evidence-based practices in psychology focusing not just on evidence-based techniques, but also evidence-based psychotherapy relationships and the cultural adaptation of both. By night, I am also a psychologist in private practice. Like many ECP’s, I have multiple roles in my early career, which I believe provides me a well-rounded perspective into the needs of many Early Career Psychologists across career paths.

I feel strongly about promoting the practical applications of psychotherapy, supervision & training, and research that are relevant to us in our early career and fostering the curiosity and passion that are an inherent part of being an early career psychologist. If elected as the Early Career Domain Representative, my goal would be to work with the ECP committee to help address the needs that are identified as part of the Division’s ECP needs assessment and to help implement practical applications via outreach, mentorship, and publication.


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