It is an honor to begin my year as President of Division 29 and to write my first presidential column. The Division of Psychotherapy is an exciting, ground-breaking, and forward-thinking organization where those who have a passion for psychotherapy (practice, research, training, advocacy) can gather, exchange ideas, collect and disseminate cutting-edge research, and connect with one another. I am so humbled to be in a position to lead the Division for the coming year, and I do so with a full and grateful recognition that I do not do so alone. As such, I’d like to take a few paragraphs to acknowledge the many individuals who have and continue to contribute to the vibrancy of the Division.
First, I have learned so much being on the Board of Directors over the past seven years (first as the Early Career Representative, then as the Membership Domain Representative, and most recently as President-elect). In particular, I have learned what great leadership looks like up close from our recent Past Presidents: Linda Campbell (2004), Leon VandeCreek (2005),Abe Wolf (2006), Jean Carter (2007), Jeff Barnett (2008), Nadine Kaslow (2009), and Jeffrey Magnavita (2010). They are a spectacular group of individuals, all of whom made unique and lasting contributions to the Division. They are also wonderful mentors, who selflessly give of their time and provide invaluable institutional memory. I have benefited from their wisdom, and I hope to continue the tradition of encouraging newer professionals to be connected with the Division, to hone their leadership skills, and to step forward to serve. I very strongly urge those of you who are contemplating how to get started in the Division to contact me (libbynuttwilliams@ comcast.com). I would love to hear from you and help connect you with the areas of the Division that inspire you most.
I also want to acknowledge our outgoing and incoming Board members and committee chairs, without whom we would not have the momentum in our Division that we currently enjoy. I am so thankful for having worked on the Board with Mike Constantino (out-going Early Career Rep [see Mike’s article in the last Bulletin on the transition from early to mid-career]), Sheena Demery (out-going Student Representative, well on her way to transitioning from student to early career professional), Norine Johnson (outgoing Council Representative and past President of the American Psychological Association), and Nadine Kaslow (Past President and mentor to many in the Division). Their insight, integrity, diplomacy, and great humor will be missed. Luckily, we have wonderful new Board members who began their terms in January: Marv Goldfried (President-elect), John Norcross (Council Representative), Doug Wilson (Student Representative), and Susan Woodhouse (Early Career Domain Representative). With our continuing Board members (Norm Abeles, Rosie Adam-Terem, Miguel Gallardo, Annie Judge, Sarah Knox, Erica Lee, Jeffrey Magnavita, Caryn Rodgers, Steve Sobelman, and Jeff Younggren), plus our exceptional Office Administrator Tracey Martin, we have a great year to look forward to.
We also have highly energetic Committee Chairs, including Jean Birbilis (Membership), Jim Fauth (Psychotherapy Research), Jairo Fuertes (Education and Training), Rod Goodyear (Continuing Education), Rachel Smook (Early Career), Barbara Thompson (Psychotherapy Practice), and Jeff Zimmerman (Finance). In particular, I want to thank Shane Davis (Program Chair) and Clara Hill (Fellows Chair), who began their jobs in the fall and will wrap up their important tasks early this year. I am grateful for the willingness of all our new chairs to jump right in with new projects and at our Board meeting in February.
Finally, I would like to thank the members of the Publications Board (Laura Brown, Ray DiGuiseppe, Beverly Greene, Andrew McAleavey, Jon Mohr, Bill Stiles), with particular thanks to past Chair Jean Carter and current Chair Jeff Barnett. There are a number of significant Pub Board issues before us. You will see a new look for the Journal (size, color, and title) along with our new Editor Mark Hilsenroth. We look forward to his guidance for our Journal and give thanks for the excellent leadership of our former Editor Charlie Gelso. I would also like to thank our outgoing Bulletin Editor, Jenny Cornish, and welcome incoming Editor Lavita Nadkarni. To me, it makes great sense to begin this first column with an acknowledgement of the many people who guide the success of our Division. After all, our divisional slogan is “Be Connected” … and, we are! I encourage us to connect in wider, deeper and more meaningful ways during the rest of the year.
One way that I encourage you to connect with the Division is through our programming at the American Psychological Association (APA) Convention—this year in Washington DC, August 4-7, 2011. My first presidential initiative was to create a program theme for Convention this year—“Psychotherapy’s Role in Fostering Resilience.” I will be hosting an invited symposium entitled “Psychotherapy, Resilience & Social Justice: Implications for Youth, Disaster Relief, Immigration, & Poverty” with Ray Hanbury, Caryn Rodgers, Laura Smith and Oksana Yakushko as presenters. I am excited about our continued emphasis on social justice initiatives, our ability to focus on disaster relief (as the APA Convention comes just a month prior to the 10-year remembrance of 9-11), and our convergence with APA President Melba Vasquez’s presidential priority on immigration. We also have an excellent array of symposia and posters scheduled, and I highly encourage you to go to all of them. I also want to highlight our Awards Ceremony, Social Hour, and our Lunch with the Masters for Graduate Students and Early Career Professionals (now in its fifth year). We will announce the complete schedule of events in a future Bulletin when we have confirmation from APAabout times and locations, but please do start thinking about attending the Convention and putting these activities on your schedule.
What else is planned in 2011? Quite a bit, actually. In addition to creating a theme for our Convention this year, one of my other presidential initiatives will be to ask the Division to engage in strategic planning. It has been my experience that, while we have a wonderful mission statement in our bylaws (see below), unbelievably visionary initiatives (such as our new $20,000 Norine Johnson Research Award), and a large and psychotherapy-dedicated membership, we could benefit from re-examining and refocusing on our long-range goals and on our ability to fully explain our purpose (to the public, to our members, to ourselves). I would like to see us clarify and codify some of our planning. While each new president brings new initiatives, there is also a long-term consistency to our existence as a Division. As we are launching important initiatives 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 with clarity of purpose. To begin this process, I have asked Dr. Tom Botzman to provide a workshop for the Board on the nuts and bolts of strategic planning. Dr. Botzman holds a PhD in business administration and Master of Arts in economics from Kent State University. He has been a frequent presenter to the American Council on Education Fellows Program, the Office of Women in Higher Education’s National Leadership Forum, and the North American Economics and Finance Association. At our Board meeting in February, we will launch a year-long process of strategic planning so that as we move forward into the future with advocacy, member support, and promotion of psychotherapy research, practice, and education in the public interest, we do so as a coordinated effort.
Relatedly, my third initiative is taking an eye to the past. While I want us to be connected in the present and look forward with strategic vision to the future, I also think it is valuable to understand and honor the past. Thus, I will be forming a task force to gather archival information about our division and recommend ways to best sort, store, and make the information available to our members. I would like the task force to consider whether we should create a follow up to Mathilda B. Canter’s (1993) “A History of the Division of Psychotherapy.” I will also ask them to consider ways we might put more historical/ archival information on our website and find other ways (in the world of social networking) to help our history inform our present and our future. I am excited to see what recommendations come from the task force.
In addition to these three new initiatives, I am thrilled to continue the work of those who came before me. For example, we will continue to advertise and recruit applications for our research awards: the Charles Gelso Psychotherapy Research Grant and the new Norine Johnson Psychotherapy Research Grant for studies of the psychologist psychotherapist. Our unprecedented support for psychotherapy research dovetails nicely with our abiding connections with The Society of Clinical Psychology (APA Division 12), The Society of Counseling Psychology (APA Division 17), and the Society for Psychotherapy Research (SPR). We will continue to emphasize the importance of diversity and international perspectives in all that we do. We will continue to fine-tune our cyber presence and offer unique electronic experiences to our members, such as the new Psychotherapists Face-to-Face Video Series launched by Jeffrey Magnavita.
Further, we will continue to foster connections with other practice divisions in APA. For example, Miguel Gallardo has been working on the Multicultural Toolkit, a cross-divisional project with APA’s Division 42 (Psychologists in Independent Practice), to assist practitioners in developing more successful, culturally diverse practices. And we will continue to collaborate with other divisions on current and controversial topics and dilemmas, such as focusing on telepsychology and training issues in doctoral psychology.
I am excited for this year and for the momentum we are experiencing in Division 29. I think there is much we can accomplish and many new and creative projects we have yet to discover. To borrow a phrase from President Barack Obama’s January 2011 State of the Union address, I ask Division 29 members “Is this our Sputnik moment?” Yes, there is a lot to accomplish, but we have a team of highly energetic and passionate people who love psychotherapy and who work diligently for our Division. But more – more people, more diverse perspectives, more as-yet-undiscovered ideas – is needed. So, in addition to all the tasks I outlined above, I’d like to, in the spirit of the President’s challenge to the nation, offer a challenge to all Division 29 members – get involved in the Division. Contact me or a member of the governance, join a committee (see the contact information for our committee chairs on page 2 of this issue of the Bulletin), offer to write an article for the Bulletin, join us in DC at Division 29 activities. Before our Convention in August, do one thing related to the Division that is new, that moves you, and that helps you be connected. I’ll look forward to seeing you at Convention—you can tell me about your “one thing” and who you connected with. Thanks in advance for taking the challenge!
Cite This Article
Nutt Williams, E. (2011). President’s column. Psychotherapy Bulletin. 46(1), 2-5.