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Division 29 Endorsement for President-Elect Candidate (2021)

The Board of Directors of the Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy (Division 29) has endorsed two candidates equally for President-elect of the American Psychological Association, Diana Prescott and Kirk Schneider. In the Board’s estimation, both candidates have demonstrated a clear and noteworthy record of commitment to advancing psychotherapy in education and training, research, practice, and the public interest.

Thus, our Society's Board of Directors encourages you to consider voting for these candidates in the current election, which is now open. You will find more detailed information about Drs. Prescott and Schneider here.

Diana L. Prescott, Ph.D.

I am writing to request the endorsement of Division 29, the Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy, for the election of President-Elect of the American Psychological Association (APA).  I am pleased to see the Division is so involved in the election of the President, and I agree that the person in this position could serve to advance the society’s agenda.  I do believe I meet the criteria for seeking this endorsement as copied here:  candidate has been a member of Division 29 for at least two years and evidences a commitment to advancing psychotherapy in education and training, in research, in practice, and/or in the public interest.

I am seeking the endorsement of Division 29, because I believe I am the best candidate to advance the mission of Division 29.  I also recognize Division 29 as a powerful division shaping the future direction for APA.  I trained as a clinical psychologist from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with minors in Developmental and Community Psychology.  I have devoted my professional life to practice as a clinical psychologist, licensed originally as a Health Service Provider in Psychology in Indiana in 1993.  I obtained a second license in Maine in 1995, and I have been practicing in Maine for over 25 years.  For approximately 20 years, I have participated in the same consultation group with a 40+ year history, established specifically for psychotherapists who want to improve their skills in psychotherapy.

I believe my history and experience as a Federal Advocacy Coordinator for over 15 years and a past member of the Committee for the Advancement of Professional Practice (CAPP) would be helpful to Division 29 in advancing the Society Priorities of informing health policy makers about psychotherapy, influencing state and national legislation of benefit to both the public and psychology by disseminating information about the efficacy of psychotherapy and the value of psychotherapy.

I direct a rural consulting practice in Hampden, Maine, where I have created a space for practicing psychologists to care for the public through psychotherapy.  In my own practice, I have utilized psychotherapy in medical center settings (St. Mary’s Medical Center, Eastern Maine Medical Center [EMMC]) through individual and family therapy.  I have also utilized telemedicine to work with children and teens in an integrated specialty care setting addressing pediatric obesity.  I have also served as adjunct faculty at the University of Maine-Orono, training predoctoral psychology students in psychotherapy as part of their practicum placements at The Acadia Hospital and EMMC’s Way to Optimal Weight.  I have presented internationally on my work in rural integrated care (Milan; Yokohama; Porto; Amsterdam; Montreal) and understand the importance of a global perspective.

As APA President, I would be committed to advancing the priorities of Division 29, as I understand how critically important they are on a personal and professional level.  They are especially urgently needed now, as the country and world grapples with the enormous impact of the pandemic on society.  I am a mentor of students and early career psychologists and would want to be sure to protect and promote their ability to practice psychotherapy and benefit from mentorship and consultation in their future careers, as I have. 

I am committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, creating a big umbrella in our organization that includes all voices.  I served as a Member at Large on the Board of Directors during the Independent Review and deeply recognize the central importance of social justice.  I am the only candidate who has served on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors as an Officer of the Association.  These experiences, training, and skills combined with my dedication to helping advance the agenda of Division 29, lead me to seek the endorsement of Division 29.

Thank you for considering my request.  If I can provide any further information that would be helpful in considering my request, please let me know.

Sincerely,

Diana L. Prescott, Ph.D.

Kirk J. Schneider, Ph.D.

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you deeply for your support of my APA presidential campaign last year. I continue to believe our mutual interests are profoundly convergent, and that is why I again seek and would greatly value endorsement from Division 29 this year for my 2021 presidential run. Let me elaborate.

First, as a longtime member and now fellow of our Division, I believe I have a feel for the interests of our Division in a "whole person," integrative approach to both private practice and public mental health. For years, psychotherapy researchers and practitioners have been advocating for greater inclusion of relational-contextual factors in APA approved clinical training and practice guidelines, but with little effect.  In this vein, I've been a strong, longtime advocate of greater inclusion of some of the leading voices in psychotherapy research and practice, such as John Norcross, Bruce Wampold, Nancy McWilliams, Paul Wachtel, Laura Brown and others who seek to rebalance APA’s approved psychotherapy programs and guidelines toward a more relational-contextual orientation that has consistently correlated with greater therapeutic effectiveness.  

In this context moreover, and as APA president, I would consider forming a task force or committee specifically aimed at reassessing the prevailing reliance on randomized controlled trials to the neglect of the aforementioned contextual-relational research for the evaluation of therapeutic approaches. I would then request that the task force publish its findings in a major APA publication or report. I also advocate, and believe many in our Society do as well, that we should rely more on our own psychological standards for the evaluation of therapeutic approaches than the standards APA has too often acquiesced to which privilege medical or other interests that may not serve the best interests of those suffering from essentially psychosocial afflictions. I truly believe that we are in a struggle for the soul of psychology, and for the long-term sustainability and viability of the individuals and cultures we serve.  That is not to say that I don’t value medical and other interests in the care of mental disturbances, I adamantly do; it is simply to underscore the obvious, which is that the mental health crises in our country are not being substantively addressed by the prevailing paradigm for psychotherapeutic care.  Or to put it another way, I would try to restore a balance for the many clients who may be underserved by those standards.  

In this light, I have been very gratified to receive strong endorsements form Bruce Wampold, Nancy McWilliams, John Norcross, Les Greenberg, Paul Wachtel, Hanna Levenson, Barry Wolfe, Stan Messer, Golan Shahar and others in our psychotherapeutic community precisely because of my long record advocating for their closely related positions.  I have also received a very strong endorsement from PsiAN (the Psychotherapy Action Network) as well as the Society for the Exploration of Psychotherapy Integration (SEPI) and Division 39 (Psychoanalysis).  In this context, my work on existential-integrative therapy was featured in the March, 2016 special section of the SEPI Journal of Psychotherapy Integration on Existentialism and Humanism in Psychotherapy Integration. My work on “The Renewal of Humanism” in psychotherapy was also featured in a special issue of our flagship journal Psychotherapy (Dec., 2012).  This issue included articles favorable to contextual-relational trends in theory and practice by Lillian Comas-Diaz, Steven Hayes, Bruce Wampold, Robert Stolorow, David Elkins, Alfried Langle, and Jurgen Kriz. I also have had the privilege of being featured in two APA videos on integrative existential therapy, the APA video and book series on Supervision Essentials for Existential-Humanistic Therapy coordinated by Hanna Levenson and Arpana Inman, the APA volume Psychotherapy Theories and Techniques, edited by Gary Vandenbos, Ed Meidenbauer, and Julia Frank-McNeil, and the chapter on Existential-Humanistic and Existential-Integrative Theory in the upcoming APA Handbook of Psychotherapy, co-edited by the past president of Division 29, Dr. Jennifer Callahan. In short, I believe I have the qualifications, temperament, and dedication that would serve our psychotherapeutic community well, both at the level of research and practical application. With that, I welcome any further questions or correspondence on these issues, and look forward to further collaboration as both a fellow in the Division and member of APA Council.

Best regards and much appreciation for your consideration of this matter,

Kirk Schneider

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