Psychotherapy Bulletin

Psychotherapy Bulletin

Many practicing psychologists received a check early this year from the APA Practice Organization (previously called the Practice Directorate). This was part of a class action suit filed against APA for implying that psychologists in private practice were required to pay the Practice Assessment. The suit resulted in APAPO dues now being optional; however, choosing to support the APAPO may be beneficial to you and your practice. Whether you happily cashed the check or sent back a donation to the Practice Organization, we thought it would be helpful to share more directly what the Practice Organization is, and, more importantly, what it does to help those of us who practice psychotherapy.

Why is it important to support the APAPO? It is difficult for one lone psychologist or even a small group of psychologists to advocate for issues that are central to the practice of psychology. A voice representing thousands is stronger. APAPO has that big voice. APAPO has been hard at work on behalf of private practitioners. Some recent accomplishments and benefits provided for practitioners include:

  • Access to the Practice Central Website with information on billing and coding, financial management, business of practice, self-care resources, licensing, CEU’s and much more
  • Good Practice Magazine and the Practice Update enewsletter filled with practical information
  • ICD-10-CM Web Application to help APAPO members transition to the updated coding system
  • Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) Registry, which makes quality reporting easier for psychologists who are Medicare providers
  • Access to staff expertise on practice-related legal and regulatory issues
  • Free listing in the Psychologist Locator
  • Access to HIPAA Compliance products

According to the APAPO website (, The Practice Organization’s advocacy priorities and accomplishments include:

  • Challenging reimbursement rate cuts
  • Taking action against managed care and insurance company abuses
  • Advocating for practitioners’ interests in health care reform
  • Affirming the doctoral standard for entry into the profession and expanding marketplace opportunities for practitioners
  • Confronting assaults on scope of practice
  • Fostering political action for psychology
  • Advocating for higher rates and expansion in Medicaid

APA vs. APAPO: What’s the difference? APA and APAPO are partners in the health of psychology as a discipline and psychologists as professionals. The missions, purposes, and structures are related but different. Understanding those differences and the partnership is important for both APA and APAPO

Per its Mission Statement, the APA’s mission is “the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people’s lives” (American Psychological Association, n.d.). The APAPO, on the other hand, serves the professional and economic interests of practicing psychologists, as a guild organization focusing on the members rather than the public.

The legal and financial structures and sources of revenue are also different. The APA has a 501(c)3 tax status, which is a non-profit designation for organizations with charitable, educational, and scientific purposes that serve the public good. The APAPO, on the other hand, has a 501(c)6 tax status, which is applied to guild and trade associations that advance the professional interests of their members through a variety of activities including direct advocacy on issues that are important to the pocketbooks of practicing psychologists. Importantly, the APAPO supports psychologists’ professional interests across the spectrum of psychology, including education as well as practice.

APA’s membership dues, publishing business, investments and real estate support APA’s activities on behalf of psychology and the public. Its direct advocacy is quite limited. The APAPO, on the other hand, is supported entirely by membership dues (members of APA who pay the Practice Organization dues) and cannot (by law) received funding or other resources from the APA.

Supporting the APAPO is a way to support yourself. The work of the APAPO is guided by the Committee for the Advancement of Professional Practice (CAPP), whose members are nominated and elected by the full membership of APAPO and by the APAPO/APA Board of Directors.  Be sure to check out the resources APAPO provides and be sure to vote for members of CAPP!

Be the 1st to vote.

Dr. Jean Carter has maintained a psychotherapy practice in Washington, DC since receiving her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology in 1980. In her work at the Washington Psychological Center, PC, she offers psychotherapy with individuals and couples, with primary emphases on serious trauma, relationship issues, depression and work stress/vocational adjustment. Additional areas of interest include supervision of psychotherapy practice, grief and loss and issues related to sexual orientation for both individuals and couples. Although she is active throughout psychology, her primary commitment and on-going passion are for the practice of psychotherapy. Dr. Carter is the Treasurer of the American Psychological Association (2017-2022). She has served as President of three Divisions of the American Psychological Association, on the APA Council of Representatives, as Chair of the Committee for Division/APA Relations and the Committee for the Advancement of Professional Practice and chairs the APA Finance Committee. She was a member of the APA Presidential Task Force on Evidence Based Practice in Psychology and frequently contributes to psychological scholarship through publications and presentations. She is on the editorial board for Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, Journal of Psychotherapy Integration and Practice Innovations.  She has served as an Associate Editor for Professional Psychology: Research and Practice and on the editorial boards of The Counseling Psychologist, Psychotherapy and The Journal of Counseling Psychology.

Cite This Article

Carter, C., Thompson, B. J., & Vivino, B. L., (2016, ). Understanding the APA Practice Organization (APAPO). Psychotherapy Bulletin, 51(2), 27-28.


American Psychological Association. (n.d.). Mission Statement. Retrieved from


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