Statements Provided by the Two Nominees for President Elect of the Society for the Advancement in Psychotherapy
Nominees are listed in alphabetical order.
Dr. Francisco J. Sánchez
The credibility of psychotherapy is only as strong as its scientific base. I came to appreciate this during my extensive post-doctoral training in human genetics and neuroendocrinology. Even though I was immersed in the world of life science, I held onto my identity as a counseling psychologist and would often incorporate the value and importance of psychotherapy during my presentations related to the topics that I was studying. Life scientists—being skeptical as they are—often challenged me to provide evidence for the efficaciousness of psychotherapy. Thus, I worked to provide such evidence.
On the scientific side of my efforts, I have published in both life science and social science journals where I have incorporated both biological and psychological variables to present a comprehensive view on complex behavioral traits. I have been involved in research grants funded by the National Institutes of Health and have served on the Editorial Board for three journals: Psychology of Men & Masculinity, The Counseling Psychologist, and the Archives of Sexual Behavior. Specific information on my scientific work can be found at https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=fitTLncAAAAJ&hl=en
In terms of psychotherapy work, I currently spend at least one day weekly at the University of Wisconsin counseling center even though I no longer need to—I began there only to earn my hours for licensure. As I scientist-practitioner, I enjoy working side-by-side with trainees in a clinical setting, I value the interpersonal process that occurs in the therapy room, and I am fascinated by the life stories that clients share with me. Moreover, many of my research questions have been derived from my clinical work.
Although I am an early/mid-career psychologist, I have been active within APA Governance for the last 12 years. My involvement has ranged from the Division level (e.g., chair of the Division 44 Scholarships Committee) to the greater APA level (e.g., serving on the Council of Representatives). Moreover, I have experience running important groups (e.g., as Chair of both the APA Membership Board and Co-Chair of the APA Board of Convention Affairs) and leading major conferences (e.g., as Lead Coordinator of the National Multicultural Conference & Summit).
Now I hope to use my scientific, psychotherapy, and leadership experience to advance the work accomplished by Division 29. In addition to continuing to promote the value and the critical importance of psychotherapy, my main focus will be on strengthening the pipeline for the Division. As APA membership continues to decline, it is important that more attention be given to student affiliates and early-career psychologists. Specifically, the Division must intentionally recruit new people into governance to bring new voices to the table and to provide mentorship for tomorrow’s leaders.
I am honored to be nominated to this position by the Board, and I look forward to serving the Division in this or other capacities.
Dr. Jeff Zimmerman
Having served as Finance Committee Chair, a mentor of our early career psychologists, Treasurer and a member of the Society’s Executive Committee, I am deeply honored to be nominated to run for the President of the Society.
I am devoted to continuing to build a sense of breadth and inclusiveness throughout the Society from our core membership to our Board of Directors. We recently expanded our scope from that of research and practicing American and Canadian psychologists to that of a truly international association of interdisciplinary professionals interested in the study and practice of psychotherapy. We now need to implement many steps to position the Society, the field, and the communities we serve to actually benefit from all we have to learn from and share with one another. This means bringing diversity into our organization across many different dimensions and from a position of respect and value as we hear each other’s perspectives that are different from those we ourselves hold as "truth".
I envision the Society holding an international meeting where researchers and clinicians meet with colleagues from around the world to share information, inform each other of our unique needs and plan future agendas. We need to use our research and clinical skills to help communities and systems in need, from the individual to the family, village, city and even regionally and beyond. Collectively, we have a tremendous amount to offer. With the synergy developed out of mutual respect and healthy communication and understanding we can make a difference.
To share some of my experience, I am a practicing psychologist in Connecticut and New York, USA. I have been in practice since 1981. In the 1990s I served as President of the Connecticut Psychological Association and also began developing ways to use my skill set to help children in high-conflict families of divorce beyond the role of psychotherapist. I am also a trained mediator and have worked in small and mid-sized businesses and consulted with other boards and not-for-profit organizations to help them resolve conflict and plan strategically to address the needs of the organization and stakeholders they serve. I have served on an APA Presidential Task Force and on the Board of APA Division 42 (Independent Practice). I also have co-authored three books (two on divorce and one on ethics and practice) and presently serve as adjunct faculty at a PsyD program and also at an APA-approved internship.
I believe our Society needs to continue to build superb alliances among our colleagues who are specialists in research, education, training and practice. We also must address the needs of our students and early career members. We need to work together to help them play an active role in the Society and work together to shape its future.
I encourage you to vote in the election and would very much appreciate your vote. Please let me know if you want to help with all we have to do. I'd love to hear from you.