Psychotherapy Bulletin

Psychotherapy Bulletin

President’s Column, September 2011

I begin this column in the wake of the ever-exciting and everexhausting APA Convention. Many of you joined us in DC for the Convention. Not even the humidity could dampen the experience … the joy of greeting old friends, the wonder of meeting new colleagues, the thoughtful challenges to our intellects from creative and cutting-edge symposia, the delight in seeing former students stretching into new and more demanding roles. Good stuff. Division 29’s convention program was extraordinary. We are grateful to our program chair, Shane Davis, for her coordination of the presentations and great attention to detail. Just as a sampling, we had presentations on multicultural competencies, spirituality, and stigma in therapy, with topics ranging from psychotherapy training to conversations with eminent psychotherapists. The convention theme of resilience was emphasized by several presentations, such as the Grady Nia project (chaired by Nadine Kaslow) and the presidential symposium on Psychotherapy, Resilience and Social Justice (featuring papers by Ray Hanbury on disaster relief responses in the shadow of the 9/11, by Oksana Yakushko on immigration challenges and joys, by Laura Smith on reenvisioning our understanding of poverty, and by Caryn Rodgers on adolescent resiliency and empowerment). I am truly humbled and delighted by the skill, insight, and compassion displayed in the work of our Division members.

We also had a lot going on for our students and early career professionals, including a wide array of Hospitality Suite programs. For example, Jeff Barnett presented on issues of self-disclosure and multiple relationships, and Susan Woodhouse presented on CVs and getting licensed. The Lunch with the Masters was again a huge success. I would like to thank Rachel Smook and Susan Woodhouse for their work in putting the event together, and I would like to thank our masters for participating: Lilian Comas-Dias, Charlie Gelso, Clara Hill, and Jeffrey Magnavita. We were also able to highlight some of our students throughout the convention. For example, one of my undergraduate students (Irene Opabajo) served as discussant for the presidential symposium, one of our graduate student presenters, Jerry Walker from the Florida State University, was selected to present his work on “The Effects of Counselors’ Use of Gesturing and Smiling on Client Impressions and Preferences” at DataBlitz (only 20 posters from all divisions were chosen), and we gave out four student awards at our Awards Ceremony. Specifically, I would like to congratulate Laura Athey-Lloyd (who won The Jeffrey E. Barnett Psychotherapy Research Student Paper Award), Dana Lea B. Nelson (who won the Student Diversity Award), Jenelle Slavin-Mulford (who won the Donald K. Freedheim Student Development Award), and Lotte SmithHansen (who won the Mathilda B. Canter Education and Training Award).

At our Awards Ceremony, we also honored our colleagues: Jack Anchin (Distinguished Psychologist Award), Jeffrey Barnett (Award for Distinguished Contributions to Teaching and Mentoring),Andres Del Los Reyes (Early Career Award), and Nadine Kaslow (Rosalee G. Weiss Lecture for Outstanding Leaders in Psychology). We also awarded the Division of Psychotherapy Award for Best Empirical Research Article in 2010 (an award co-sponsored by John Wiley and Sons, who have generously funded this award for five years) to Louis Castonguay, James Boswell, Sanno Zack, Sally Baker, Mary Boutselis, Nancy Chiswick, Diana Damer, Neal Hemmelstein, Jeffrey Jackson, Marolyn Morford, Stephen Ragusea, J. Gowen Roper, Catherine Spayd, Tara Weiszer, Thomas Borkovec, and Martin Grosse Holtforth for their article “Helpful and Hindering Events in Psychotherapy: A Practice Research Network Study” in Psychotherapy.

We had the good fortune to be able to award two prestigious research grants this year. The first, the Charles J. Gelso Psychotherapy Research Grant, providing $2,000 toward the advancement of research on psychotherapy process or outcome, went to Mike Constantino for his proposal on patients’ perceptions of corrective experiences in individual psychotherapy. Second, for the first time this year, the Division awarded a $20,000 research grant in honor of Norine Johnson, for research projects in the area of research on psychotherapist factors that may impact treatment effectiveness and outcomes. The first Norine Johnson Psychotherapy Research Grant was awarded to Charlie Gelso and Clara Hill for their work examining three particular therapist variables associated with process and outcome: training, attachment styles, and countertransference. We in Division 29 are truly thrilled to be able to actively support psychotherapy research endeavors and look forward to continuing our support of researchers in the future.

At the Awards Ceremony, we also honored our 2010 Fellows (Ann Doucette and Glenn Good) and our outgoing Board members (Rosie Adam-Terem and Jeff Younggren). We also presented a Presidential Citation to Steve Sobelman for his exceptional service to the Division as he stepped in to assist with our website while we were between Internet Editors. We were then able to celebrate all of our accomplishments together at the Social Hour. I was delighted to meet several past presidents of the Division and to greet incoming Board members (such as President-elect Designate Bill Stiles and incoming Domain Representative for Public Interest & Social Justice Armand Cerbone). I think my favorite part of the social hour, though, was learning that the father of one of our student award winners (Laura AtheyLloyd) not only attended the Awards Ceremony but that it was his birthday. This seamless and celebrational blending of the personal and the professional is one of the things Division 29 does best.

While the convention programming, suite programming, and award and grant selections occupied much of our time in past months, we have several other ongoing projects of which I want you to be aware. First, the Division has continued to engage in strategic planning. Both the Domain Representatives (Norm Abeles, Rosie Adam-Terem, Miguel Gallardo, Annie Judge, Sarah Knox, Erica Lee, Caryn Rodgers and Susan Woodhouse), joined by our Student Representative (Doug Wilson), and the Executive Committee (Jeffrey Barnett, Marv Goldfried, Jeffrey Magnavita, Steve Sobelman, Jeff Younggren and myself), joined by our Council Representatives (Linda Campbell and John Norcross), created separate SWOT analyses (e.g., strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). I have pulled the two analyses together and will be asking the Board to review the report and set Divisional priorities based on the strategic plan at the Fall Board meeting (October 14-15, 2011). I will give a full overview of the process and outcomes in the final Bulletin of the year.

Second, the Division has endorsed Doug Haldeman for APA President. Please see Dr. Haldeman’s information on our website ( We are delighted to endorse a longstanding member of the Division and someone who has done so much to further the development of psychotherapy.

Third, we continue to add updates to our web page (and have started posting more frequently to Facebook and Twitter) thanks to our new Internet Editor Ian Goncher. I would also like to thank Lavita Nadkarni for the continued vibrancy of our Bulletin and Mark Hilsenroth for his exceptional leadership of our Journal Psychotherapy. Our publications are what we do best and what keep us connected.

Fourth, we are already planning for the coming year. President-Elect Marv Goldfried has made committee chair appointments which have been ratified by the Board of Directors. President-Elect Designate Bill Stiles will soon begin, with the help of the Nominations and Elections Committee, to approach Division members to run for office (President-Elect, Treasurer, and Domain Representatives for Professional Practice, Diversity, Education & Training, and Membership). If you are interested in running for office, I encourage you to contact me ( or Dr. Stiles (

Fifth, we have been more active lately in providing divisional commentary as requested by APAboards and committees. For example, our Education and Traning Committee, chaired by Jairo Fuertes and assisted by our Domain Representative Sarah Knox, led the division in drafting a comment about masters level training in psychology, our Practice and Science Committee Chairs and Domain Representatives (Barb Thompson, Miguel Gallardo, Jim Fauth, and Norm Abeles) helped the Division draft comments on prevention guidelines, and our Telepsychotherapy task force (Annie Judge, Norm Abeles, Shane Davis, Rosie AdamTerem, and Jeff Younggren) drafted a report that is now posted to our webpage. All of this work reflects the engagement of our Division in APA policy issues and concerns of our broader profession, focusing on our role as advocates for all things psychotherapy.

I end this column with my feet tired from walking all over DC, my heart light from connecting with friends and colleagues, my mind focused ahead on our strategic planning efforts, and my spirit filled with the accomplishments and promise of our Division. I hope you, too, find yourselves tired from good work, refreshed from making creative, intellectual, and personal connections, and inspired by the tasks facing you this fall. I wish you a wonderful, productive and restorative fall season.

All my best,

Libby Nutt Williams

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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). President’s column. Psychotherapy Bulletin. 46(3)2-4.



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