As I write my first column for the Bulletin as the Division 29 President for 2023, I want to thank you for entrusting me with the leadership of SAP at this time. And I want to thank Dr. Clara Hill for her magnificent service as president of Division 29 before me and currently as past-President. Clara has been making an enormous addition to the Division’s contributions to the field of psychotherapy through her presidential initiative (see the new book that resulted) and is currently assisting me with mine (described below).
SAP is at an inflection point (as many divisions are and as APA is) in our development as an organization. On the one hand, there has been a decline among some psychologists in joining professional organizations. On the other hand, Division 29 has been nimble and attentive to growth edges. We’ve devoted the past 16 years or so in particular to diversity, equity, and inclusion among our membership in general and our governance in particular. We’ve opened a pathway for psychotherapists who aren’t psychologists and can’t join APA to become affiliate members of SAP. One of the wonderful consequences of that change is that it has allowed us to reach out beyond the borders of the U.S. where psychologists don’t exist, but psychotherapists do. As a result, we now have 239 members who are also members of the Chinese organization, Oriental Insight. We have recently made free memberships available for up to 300 students a year, and consequently, we added about 250 new student members during the first year of that offer. Last year, we began offering free CE programs to SAP members-only, and we gained additional new members who saw the value and joined SAP to attend our first two excellent programs (many thanks to Dr. Jeff Barnett and Dr. Lillian Comas-Diaz).
With all of these changes and the passage of time since our last organizational restructuring, which occurred in 2007 under Dr. Jean Carter’s presidency, I observed that it is time for a review and possibly a reorganization. Many amazing things are constantly being done by Division 29 committees, but I believe that we can do even more if we hone our ability to communicate what we’re doing both inside and outside the Division, work across Domains even more often and more efficiently, and increase continuity and consistency in our activities over time in the midst of governance changes by adding tools such as an archive. We have incredible talent in our Presidential Trio, our Domain Representatives and Committee Chairs, our Council Representatives, our Program Chairs, our PubCom Board and editors, our CE Committee Chair, and our membership. We should make the most of it! Thus, my presidential initiative for 2023 is as follows:
- Review and revise our organizational structure as needed
- Improve communication among governance
- Improve communication with membership at large
- Increase continuity and consistency over time
- Create an archive of activities of SAP
In pursuing my initiative, I have created a Task Force, chaired by Dr. Jennifer Callahan, that has been reviewing our organizational structure and made its initial recommendations to the SAP Board during our winter Board Meeting February 11-12. You will be hearing more about the Task Force and its progress throughout the year, both in updates here and as we provide a channel for your input as well. Please stay tuned and, as we say in Division 29, Be Connected!
Jean M. Birbilis, Ph.D., L.P., B.C.B.
Cite This Article
Birbilis, J. M. (2023). 2023 president’s column 58(1): Dreams in psychotherapy. Psychotherapy Bulletin, 58(1), 2-3. Retrieved from http://www.societyforpsychotherapy.org/2023-presidents-column-581