Proposed Bylaws Changes

Proposed Changes to the Society’s Bylaws

Membership Vote

11/9/2018 to 12/9/2018


The Division 29 Board of Directors (BOD) unanimously recommends three distinct amendments to the bylaws of the Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy (The Society), as outlined on the ballot below. The Society’s bylaws were last revised in April 2016. If you are a Member or Fellow of The Society, or an Associate Member of The Society who is also a voting Associate Member of the American Psychological Association (APA), you are entitled to vote on the presently proposed amendments.

To do so, please review the corresponding rationale for each amendment, and cast one vote in favor of (YES) or opposed to (NO) each change. As per our bylaws, “an affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the voting members who have returned their ballots shall be required to ratify the proposed amendment which shall go into effect immediately.” Voting will remain open for 30 days: November 9, 2018 to December 8, 2018.

Amendment #1: MEMBERSHIP

This amendment creates a new (sixth) category of membership: Undergraduate Student Affiliate. The Society’s Student Development Committee (SDC) and the BOD believe that this change is consistent with the SDC’s charge to (a) promote student membership in The Society; (b) promote student perspectives within The Society; (c) organize and promote activities and initiatives that are of interest to students and relevant to the mission and viability of The Society; and (d) foster the understanding of psychotherapy education, training, practice, and research among students.

Undergraduate students are already permitted to join the APA, and we believe that affiliate membership in The Society will benefit them by providing opportunities to learn more about the multifaceted aspects of psychotherapy, foster commitment to The Society from an earlier stage in higher education, and help current undergraduates and post-baccalaureate individuals in their transition to graduate education. The SDC has gauged enthusiastic levels of interest from potential undergraduate members, including students involved with Psi Chi, Active Minds, and other undergraduate organizations.

Benefits to The Society include increased membership from a new pool of potential applicants, and increased revenue from Society dues that can help support mission-relevant Society initiatives. No drawbacks are anticipated, though it will be important to develop strategies for fully engaging undergraduate members in The Society and socializing them to its values and opportunities.

The relevant articles read as follows:

Article II.E – “The minimum qualifications for election to the category of Undergraduate Student Affiliate shall be as follows: the student shall have declared psychology or a related field as either a major or minor at his/her institution of study, AND established a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher at the time of his/her application to the Society. Undergraduate students may maintain their membership status upon graduation as long as their dues are paid annually.”

Article III.D – “Undergraduate Student Affiliates of The Society may remain Undergraduate Student Affiliates for a maximum of eight (8) years. Undergraduate Student Affiliates are not eligible to hold any elected office, to vote in any Society election, or to serve as chair of any standing committee of The Society.”


This amendment revises membership of The Society’s Committee on Professional Awards (CPA). The impetus for this revision relates to The Society’s growing number of award competitions that are administered annually. With the additional awards, it benefits The Society to appoint a Chair who serves in this role for two years. This will foster more effective continuity, coordination, and oversight of the award programs than having the Past President in the Chair role for one year only (as the bylaws currently mandate). However, the Past-president will remain a member of the CPA, and the additional four members can be flexibly appointed among other voting members of the BOD. This composition allows ample input into the solicitation of nominees and selection of awardees. No major drawbacks are anticipated, though there may be an adjustment period, as is the case with any revision of a procedure that has been in place for a long time.

The relevant article reads as follows:

Article G.7 – “The Committee on Professional Awards, which shall consist of a chair, who is a Fellow of the Society and will serve for three (3) years, and a minimum of five (5) additional members: one (1) shall be the immediate Past President, and four (4) shall be voting members of the Board of Directors in positions most relevant positions to the professional award competitions being administered. Members of the Committee on Professional Awards shall be ineligible to receive Society awards during the calendar year in which they serve on the committee. The Committee on Professional Awards shall recommend to the Executive Committee and, upon a majority vote of the Executive Committee, forward to the Board of Directors its recommendations for one or more recipients of each professional Society award. The bestowing of any such award by the Board shall require an affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) of Board members present and voting.  In a given year, the committee may elect to forward the names of no nominees. If a nominee does not secure the necessary 2/3 approval vote of the Board of Directors, the committee may, but is not required to, forward the name of an alternative nominee.”


This amendment revises language related to membership rights and privileges to make it more consistent throughout the bylaws document. There are no substantive changes proposed; rather, the benefit (with no perceived drawbacks) is to reduce confusion to our BOD members and to our membership at large. Specifically, we have now clarified more prominently that non-APA-member Affiliates of The Society not eligible to vote in Society elections, they are not eligible to hold elected office in the Society, and they are not eligible to chair a standing or ad hoc committee in the Society.

The relevant article reads as follows:

Article III.E – “Non-APA-member Affiliates of The Society shall be entitled to all the rights and privileges of full members except that they are not eligible to vote in Society elections, they are not eligible to hold elected office in the Society, and they are not eligible to chair any standing committees, ad hoc committees, or task forces of The Society.”

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