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2021 Candidate Statements

Candidates for President-elect

Jean Birbilis, Ph.D.

I wish I could meet each of you individually and share my passion for Division 29 with you in person. The Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy has been my professional home for many years now. I’ve shared my time and skills as a Committee Chair for two Committees and as the Domain Representative for one. The motto of Division 29 is “Be connected!” Of all the contributions that the Division makes, connecting psychotherapists to our knowledge base, the profession, and one another is the greatest. I’ve had many professional opportunities as a result of lasting relationships I’ve had the privilege of making in Division 29. But it is the wonderful friendships themselves I value most.

My involvement began as Chair of the Education and Training Committee, but in recent years has focused on Membership. If I should have the privilege of serving as President, bringing psychotherapists home to Division 29 will be my continuing focus. During my very first Board Meeting, three older white men talked openly about the Division being a Division of, and I quote, “old white men”. They were dear souls, and we were lucky to have them because of their actions. They focused like a lazer on inclusion. As a not-very-out lesbian at the time who’d just almost lost my tenure track position at a religious university because I’d been outed, it was a relief to feel the immediate embrace of my colleagues. I would strive every day as President to do no less.

Jairo N. Fuertes, Ph.D.

Dear colleagues, I have been a member of the Society for many years, having served as Chair of the Education and Training Committee, as a Diversity Domain Representative, and as a consulting editor for the journal. As a possible president of D29, I would continue to advance the business and tasks that are within the purview of the Society, but I would also focus on an area that has been a part of my research for the last 15 years: the valuable role of psychotherapy in medical health care. Persistent healthcare treatment problems include patient non-adherence, low satisfaction with services, and outcome disparities. My research, which is looking at health care communication, indicates that these problems stem, at least in part, from miscommunication and mistrust between medical providers and patients. While health care professionals value good communication and a trusting doctor-patient relationship, our skills and insights as psychotherapists could improve communication, interpersonal skills, and trust in medical care. Moreover, the role of psychotherapy in health care is even more crucial given the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients who survive COVID-19 experience mental health difficulties after recovering, and incidence rates of depression and anxiety, among other psychological disorders, have increased since the onset of the pandemic. Thus, approaching health care more holistically is the need for the hour. I believe that there is a larger role for psychotherapy in improving medical health care and a significant role for psychotherapists’ skills and services in the years to come as a consequence of the pandemic.


Candidates for Treasurer

Andres Perez-Rojas, Ph.D.

I am humbled to be considered for the treasurer position of Division 29. I have been a member of the Division dating back to when I was a counseling psychology trainee at the University of Maryland, College Park. Since becoming Assistant Professor and co-Director of Training in the counseling psychology program at New Mexico State University, I have continued to serve the Division, primarily as member of the Committee on Early Career Psychologists, which I will chair in 2021, and as ad-hoc reviewer for our flagship journal Psychotherapy, whose editorial board I will join also in 2021. My own research—which emphasizes the role of culture and the therapeutic relationship in psychotherapy—has been substantially improved by belonging to a community who seeks to advance the theory, science, training, and practice of psychotherapy. In all, Division 29 is my professional home. I would be honored to serve as its Treasurer.

My priority as Treasurer would be to work with the Board to ensure the Division’s financial assets are used to fulfill our mission. I am particularly motivated to work on supporting ongoing efforts to fund student awards and researcher grants. I will also build on the work of current and past leaders to think of ways to continue growing the Division and, in particular, increase its cultural diversity.

Ultimately, I believe that my drive, passion, and commitment to the promotion of psychotherapy will serve me well in this position. Thank you for voting and contributing to our Division.

Joshua K. Swift, Ph.D.

Joshua K. Swift, Ph.D.

I am incredibly pleased to be considered for the Division 29 treasurer position. I am an Associate Professor at Idaho State University where I teach within a Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program and conduct research focusing on client preferences and premature termination in psychotherapy. Division 29 has been an integral part of my professional growth over the past 15 years. When I first joined as a student, I remember how welcoming society members were. Since then, I have served on numerous committees within the Society, I have published in the Society’s journal and newsletter, I have received grant funding from the Society, and Division 29’s meetings have always been a place where I have been able to network and build collaborations with others. These interactions and service experiences have provided me with invaluable opportunities to observe the good that Division 29 and its members have provided to the field. I feel fortunate to have been part of that. Most recently, I have had the opportunity to serve as Division 29’s treasurer for the past year and I would very much be interested in continuing to serve in this role for the coming cycle. Given my past service as treasurer, I am familiar with the Society’s income, expenses, and budget procedures. My goal as treasurer would be to use this knowledge and experience to continue to move the Society forward in a financially secure manner. Thank you for considering me for this position.


Candidates for Domain Representative for Membership

Rosemary Adam-Terem, Ph.D.

It is an honor to be nominated as a candidate for the role of the Membership Domain Representative on the Board of the Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy. I have been involved with the Society for several years now as a member, board member, and as chair of the membership committee. I consider it my professional home. As a psychologist in independent practice in Honolulu, Hawai`i for over 30 years, and an adjunct faculty member of the Clinical Studies Program of the Psychology Department at the University of Hawai`i, I have enjoyed meeting and working with psychotherapists from across the country.

To counteract isolation as a sole practitioner, I have been professionally active at the State and National level. Besides seeking my own continuing education, I enjoy providing workshops for colleagues as one aspect of protecting the profession and the public from issues arising from lack of contact with other professionals. This is a big part of my enthusiasm for the Society: really being able to connect with people in psychotherapy research, teaching, training, and practice.

Working in Hawai’i provides me with a diverse perspective on individuals, families, parenting, and the role of culture in psychotherapy. The motto of the Society is “Be connected” and that is what I would want to strive for: maintaining the involvement of our current members while encouraging others across the professional lifespan to join us.

Thank you for considering me for this role.

Rebecca M. Ametrano, Ph.D.

I am honored to be nominated for Membership Domain Representative of APA Division 29. I appreciated the opportunity to serve as Secretary of the Division from 2018-2020, and it would be a privilege to continue to serve the Division within the Membership Domain. My commitment to the integration of psychotherapy science and practice began as a graduate student at UMass Amherst where my work focused on the influence of patient expectations on psychotherapeutic change. In my current position at VA Boston, I remain dedicated to the advancement of psychotherapy through adapting treatments for use in integrated medical settings, implementation of health promotion initiatives, staff education/consultation, direct patient care, and supervision of clinicians-in-training.

I feel indebted to Division 29 for awarding me the 2012 Donald K. Freedheim Student Development Award, as well as publishing my work in the Division’s journal, Psychotherapy, and the Division-sponsored book, Psychotherapy Relationships that Work. Thus, I am enthusiastic about the prospect of continuing to serve the Division through this leadership role. If elected as Membership Domain Representative, I will help to support our current members by fostering ongoing initiatives like expanding our CE offerings. Additionally, I will aim to increase our student and early career psychologist membership through creative methods such as, outreach to internship and fellowship training programs. I will also bring enthusiasm and energy to the position, as I believe in the Division’s mission to advance the science, practice, and teaching of psychotherapy. Thank you for your consideration!


Candidates for Domain Representative for Diversity

Gary Howell, Psy.D.

I am Gary Howell, and I run the Center for Psychological Growth and am a founding director at the Institute for LGBT Health and Wellbeing – an LGBT nonprofit. I am also the Director of Practicum Training and an Associate Professor at Florida School of Professional Psychology at National Louis University, where I have been fortunate to serve as lead faculty for our 30-week diversity course since 2012. I have been co-leading a few peer groups on anti-racist White accomplice development the past year with my colleagues and graduate students.

I have been involved with leadership at the SPTA, Division and APA levels since my graduate school days. In addition to my role as Division 29 Programming Chair, I served a partial term as a Diversity Domain Representative. I have always looked forward to returning to serve on the Division 29 Board. During my absence, I was a Diversity Liaison for the Florida Psychological Association and served as the Diversity Subcommittee Chair for the APA Committee of State Leaders just before beginning my presidential duties for the Society for the Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity in 2018-19. As I conclude the year as Division 44 Immediate Past-president, I hope to see my initiative for an APA Task Force to address violence against transgender women of color in the U.S come to fruition.

In light of the last year, the work of diversity and inclusion among APA divisions should be a priority in an effort to address anti-racism and anti-Black racism in our field.

Sheeva Mostoufi, Ph.D.

I am deeply honored to be nominated for the Diversity Domain Representative for Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy. I currently work in a private practice setting in the Washington DC, Virginia, and Maryland area. I have worked with clients of various backgrounds in a variety of settings (e.g., private practice, as a clinician on grant funded research studies with the Veteran Affairs Health Care System, in interdisciplinary hospital and medical settings). I am involved in the supervision of  graduate students and with clinical research projects. I am additionally involved in the Diversity Advisory Council of the International Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Foundation, and with the American Arab, Middle Eastern, and North African Psychological Association.

I am strongly committed to providing evidence-based treatments that are tailored to each individual’s specific cultural context. My immigrant background has fueled a strong passion in the promotion of multiculturally competent services that are easily accessible to all.

It has been an absolute privilege to serve as the current Chair of the Diversity committee. I am particularly excited for the opportunity to continue supporting the Advocacy and Mentoring for Diversity (AMPD) program providing mentorship to two advanced graduate students to develop projects related to diversity and the advancement of psychotherapy.

If elected, I will strive to promote diversity and inclusion of underrepresented groups within membership, to promote multicultural competence in psychotherapy practice, research and training, as well as supporting development of programs to increase awareness and advancement of our initiatives. Thank you for your consideration!


Candidates for Domain Representative for Education and Training

Eric Sauer, Ph.D.

My name is Eric Sauer and I am running for the position of Domain Representative for Education and Training. For the past two years, I have served as the T & E committee chair. I am a professor of counseling psychology at Western Michigan University and director of our psychology training clinic: The Center for Counseling and Psychological in Grand Rapids. For more than 20 years, the center has provided low-cost psychological services to the community, trained 100s of graduate students, and conducted numerous, ground-breaking psychotherapy process and outcome studies. Outside of these university roles, I also work in a part-time private practice and thus understand the psychotherapy process from the front lines as well. Through these varied lenses, I have come to understand some of the important ways that client, therapist, and relationship factors directly contribute to process and outcome of psychotherapy. My goal has domain representative will be to bring our psychotherapy experts together within D29 and work with this group to find ways to advance the science, teaching/training, and practice of psychotherapy. Although my mind is spinning with ideas, the one idea that I am quite excited about is Alessandro Talia’s groundbreaking attachment research that provides a systematic way to code therapist and client attachment dynamics from a single (transcribed) therapy session.  Knowing exactly how attachment contributes to the process and outcome of psychotherapy has clear and profound implications for psychotherapy training. I am excited to work with others on the committee to build an education and training agenda for the coming year.

Cheri Marmarosh, Ph.D.

Thank you for nominating me for the position of Education/Training Domain Representative. I have been a member of Division 29 for almost 20 years and have dedicated my career to the teaching, practice, and study of individual and group psychotherapy. I am a full time Associate Professor at the George Washington University where I supervise and teach graduate students in clinical psychology. I also have a private practice in Washington, D. C. I supervise doctoral level clinicians and licensed practitioners, and enjoy working with people at different stages of their careers.  I accepted the nomination for this position because I can help the Division strengthen education resources and build training initiatives that will be useful to members and the public. As recent past-president of Division 49 (Society of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy), I worked with colleagues to develop our online resources, supported the development of workshops and e-trainings on diversity, privilege, and microaggressions in group, and published papers advocating group treatment during COVID-19. The recent COVID pandemic and exposure of systemic racism has led to many training initiatives ranging from training on tele-therapy to examining the effects of oppression and discrimination in therapy groups. This is an important time in our history requiring training on multicultural competency, social justice, and the long-term effects of the pandemic. I know that I have been humbled over the years and continue to learn from others and seek out educational opportunities regarding these important topics. Division 29 has much to offer the public, clinicians, and our members. Thank you for considering me for this important role on the board.


Candidates for Domain Representative for Professional Practice

Angela Ferguson, Ph.D.

I am honored to be considered for the Diversity Domain Representative for the Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy (Division 29). I have served in APA governance since I was an early-career psychologist and have found this work to be very rewarding. Throughout my career, I have been involved in various aspects of psychotherapy, either through direct service delivery, scholarship, supervision and training, or consultation, and in all aspects of my work, diversity and culture have been centered. One of my visions in my role is to create a repository of materials (e.g., journal articles, interactive virtual workshops, virtual chats with practicing clinicians) that focus on ways to develop and expand clinical knowledge, skills, and discourses focused on diversity. These materials can include focal areas of clinical work (e.g., psychotherapy, training, supervision, research), and can be targeted to different career levels (e.g., early career, mid-career and senior psychologists). This repository can serve as a resource to foster new membership, as well as provide trainings and information for existing members, particularly for practicing psychologists. Members can have direct access to specific resources that will help them go beyond just simply being aware of diversity; they will help them integrate diversity issues and concerns in their therapeutic work with clients, supervisees, consultees or research activities. I’m excited to have the opportunity to help create a virtual platform that can provide here-and-now resources, trainings and discussions that can inform and address some of the challenges and gaps clinicians sometimes experience when integrating diversity in their work.

Barbara L. Vivino, Ph.D.

I am honored to be nominated for a second term for Domain Representative for Professional Practice for SAP.  I am in private practice in Berkeley, California, strongly committed to both research and practice, passionate about representing the voice of professional practitioners and committed to serving on the Board of D29.  I have learned to deeply appreciate and embrace the mission of SAP and it’s a diverse and vital community.

During my tenure on the Professional Practice Domain, first as Committee Chair and then as Domain Representative, the committee has grown from a 2-person committee struggling to discover the needs of private practitioners to an active and diverse 7-person committee engaged and providing resources for private practitioners. We developed and completed 4 videos for private practitioners (soon to be available on the SAP website): Race in Psychotherapy, Setting fees in Psychotherapy, Psychotherapists Self Care, and How to Reach Underrepresented Groups. More videos are coming in 2021 on Interstate Practice. In addition, in concert with the Science and Scholarship Committee, we conducted a nationwide survey for private practitioners. We also developed 3 awards to honor psychotherapists, and we regularly contribute to the Psychotherapy Bulletin. As a member of the D29 Board, I served on Awards Committees, Nominations Committees, Program Committees and By-Law Change Committee.

During my next term, I will expand on this work by creating relevant web content and webinars, addressing needs of private practitioners related to Covid-19, Political Unrest, Telehealth and Diversity. In addition, as a Board Member I will continue to increase Practitioner membership in D29 as well as continue to increase diversity in our membership.  If elected, I will work hard to support the needs of practitioners and the mission of Div29.

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