Psychotherapy Bulletin

Psychotherapy Bulletin

The Vision, Details, and People of Division 29

What I Said Last Column:

  • “ … [O]ur divisional slogan is “Be Connected” … We are, and I encourage us to connect in wider, deeper and more meaningful ways during the rest of the year.”
  • “…[W]e have a team of highly energetic passionate people who love psychotherapy who work diligently for our Division.  But more – more people, more diverse perspectives, more as-yet-undiscovered ideas – is needed.  … I’d like to… offer a challenge to all Division 29 members – get involved in the Division.”
  • “As we are launching important initiates (in promotion of diversity, in support of research, in pursuit of social justice), I would like us to do so with an eye to the future and a clarity of purpose.”  

As I reread my first presidential column as a way to gear up for writing my second, I was struck by the people-focused and task-focused nature of my column.  While struck by the clarity of these foci, I was not surprised, as it is my nature to be both people-focused and task-focused – a sometimes uncomfortable blend.  Like many psychotherapists and teachers, it always boils down to the people (clients, students, colleagues), the relationships, the ways in which we connect.  As a psychotherapy researcher (and, though it may put a bit of a blemish on my column to admit this … as an administrator), I am constantly focused on the details – what needs to be done, by whom, by when … what questions are we asking, what kind of data do we need?  I am by nature and by nurture, I think, not as comfortable in the world of the abstract … a step past the people, past the details, and into the vision.  But I do think it is critical to have a good vision to guide the details and to help retain and strengthen connections with the people.  Lucky for me, I have a wonderful governance team who is willing to loan me their creative visions and to assist me with strategic planning for the division.  So, I will address these three areas in this column – vision, details, people – and see where that takes us.


As my primary presidential initiative, I asked the governance of Division 29 to participate in a year-long effort in strategic planning to address our future initiatives.  To start the process, we invited Dr. Tom Botzman to provide a workshop for the Board on the basics of strategic planning.  In the language of strategic planning, he helped us understand how we could overview our internal qualities as a division (Strengths and Weaknesses) and pair that up with an overview of the external Opportunities and Threats … in essence, a S.W.O.T. analysis.  We would use this analysis to guide us in making a greater coordinated effort in our initiatives and in responding to our members’ needs.

After the February Board meeting, I asked different constituencies in governance to work on a SWOT analysis.  The Committee chairs and Domain Representatives to the Board sent me a draft of their initial SWOT analysis in May.  At the same time, the Executive Committee (President, Past President, President-Elect, Treasurer and Secretary) along with the Council Representatives and Publications Board Chair met by phone to complete their own SWOT analysis.  The results of these two efforts represent a clear and coordinated vision of the Division.  I will be collating the draft SWOT analyses and asking the Board to work on a final version, along with a formal revision of our mission statement and a set of agreed-upon overarching initiatives for the Division, at our Fall Board meeting in October.  I will report out on our final analysis in my last column of the year, but I will also host an Update Session on Strategic Planning at the Convention in August in our hospitality suite (see below for details).  You are all invited to come, hear about the process and weigh in on the issues.  As members, I hope you take seriously this invitation.  I am excited about this process, about hearing from you, and about sharing the results with all of you.

Another way in which the Division is working on its vision is with the work of our Telepsychotherapy Task Force, chaired by Dr. Annie Judge (with Drs. Norm Abeles, Shane Davis, Rosie Adam-Terem and Jeff Younggren).  You can read the report of the Task Force in this issue of the Bulletin.  They have reviewed the issues surrounding telephone and videoconferencing work with psychotherapy clients and provide an overview of licensure considerations and general practice recommendations.  I am grateful to the Task Force for moving ahead so rapidly and competently with these challenging issues.  We know that there are broader discussions about telehealth and telepsychology more generally within APA, and we offer our assistance and input into those discussions.


While there are many details, the most pressing set I want to share with you is related to our Convention planning.  First, I want to thank Shane Davis and Tracey Martin for their work in designing the convention program for Division 29 this year.  It is, again, an excellent program that showcases the cutting-edge science and practice of members of the Division.  I am particularly excited about my presidential symposium “Psychotherapy, Resilience & Social Justice: Implications for Youth, Disaster Relief, Immigration, & Poverty” with Ray Hanbury, Caryn Rodgers, Laura Smith and Oksana Yakushko, on Thursday, August 4th.  I am delighted that one of my undergraduate students, Irene Opabajo, will be our discussant and will focus on issues of interest to students.  Please check out all of our program offerings at our website (

I would also like to highlight three of our division activities at the APA Convention:

  • We will have a Hospitality Suite at the Grand Hyatt Washington this August in DC for the Convention.  We will be arranging a variety of suite programs for our members (and potential members).  We will post the suite program on our website, so check it out as you plan your APA schedule.  Also, please feel free to contact me with ideas for suite programming.
  • Our Awards Ceremony and Social Hour will be Friday, August 5th, between 5 and 7pm.  This is our primary time to gather as a Division and I invite you all to attend and celebrate our award recipients with us.
  • Our fifth annual Lunch with the Masters for Graduate Students and New Professionals will be held on Saturday, August 6th, noon to 2pm.  After initiating the first Masters luncheon in 2007, I have always found this event to be one of the highlights of my time at APA.

I look forward to seeing all of you at the Convention.


How are you doing with the challenge I posed in my last column: to become more involved in the Division?  Email me and let me know what you’ve done or what you’d like to do (

One way that we are increasing involvement within governance is that we have moved from a regular “Presidents’ Call” to a monthly “Executive Committee Call,” which includes the President, Past President, President-Elect, Secretary and Treasurer.  Another way we are hoping to make it easier to seek involvement in the Division is through our Facebook page.  Go ahead, friend us!  Another vital way in which we remain in contact with Division membership is through our webpage.  In particular, I encourage you all to check out the work that Past President, Dr. Jeffrey Magnavita, has done with his innovative video series Psychotherapists Face-to-Face.  We are thrilled to have interviews with Laura Brown, Leslie Greenberg, Lorna Smith Benjamin, Hanna Levenson, Tom Sexton, and Michael Yapko and to be adding new interviews in the future.

I am also delighted to announce that we have appointed a new Internet Editor, Dr. Ian Goncher, who will begin work this summer keeping our web publications current and relevant to our membership.  Welcome to Ian, and thanks to Drs. Jeff Barnett and Steve Sobelman for working with Ian during the transition.  Our gratitude goes to Steve Sobelman for keeping visible and dynamic on the web, the listserv, and in our social media during the transition period.

What else can you do to “be connected”?  Do you know who the Board members and Committee chairs are?  I bet you know some of them.  Their names and contact information is listed at the front of the Bulletin – send them a note about your desires for the Division or just let them know you appreciate their volunteer work on your behalf.  How about sending an article into the Bulletin?  Contact our wonderful Editor, Dr. Lavita Nadkarni, if you are interested.  And how about that new look for our Journal Psychotherapy (fondly referred to by our dedicated and fantastic editor, Dr. Mark Hilsenroth, as the Big Purple Baby)?  When you see Mark at the Convention, let him know how much you enjoy the range of scholarly and practice-focused articles we have and thank him for his tremendous job leading our premier journal.

As always, feel free to contact me.  I look forward to hearing from you … about vision, details, and people!

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Dr. Elizabeth Nutt Williams is Chair and Professor of Psychology at St. Mary’s College of Maryland (the Public Honors College). She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Stanford University and her Doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of Maryland. Her scholarly interests focus primarily on psychotherapy process, feminist/multicultural approaches to counseling, and qualitative research methods. She has received awards for her scholarship from the Society for Psychotherapy Research (SPR) and from the Society for Psychotherapy (SAP) of the American Psychological Association (APA). She is a Fellow of Divisions 17, 29, and 35 of the APA and has served as President (2011) and Council Representative (2017-2019) for Society for Psychotherapy.

Cite This Article

Nutt Williams, E. (2011). The vision, details, and people of Division 29. Psychotherapy Bulletin, 46(2), 2-4.