When I was in graduate school, the Scientist-Practitioner Model was every clinical psychologist’s ideal. We were trained to appreciate, understand, and actually do research following the lines of the Boulder Model (1949 Conference). In 1973, a new clinical psychology training model was proposed at the Vail Conference on Professional Training in Psychology. The Practitioner-Scholar model placed more emphasis on clinical practice. Over the next 45 years, these two models of training produced psychologists with either PhD or PsyD degrees. While both models value both science/scholarship and practice, the emphasis of the models has tended to direct psychologists towards one or the other. Market forces reinforced these silos.
In my early life as a professional psychologist, at a counseling center housed in a major women’s and children’s hospital, we saw patients, trained students and residents, and had time to do our own research. Within a decade, however, the pressure to produce greater “billables” increased to the point where research was squeezed out and finally the training program’s funding was cut. Like so many of my colleagues, I then moved into independent practice and no longer engaged in anything but clinical work, with an occasional cameo appearance as a teacher.
This was a sad loss to those of us who had created a program that seemed to embody the Boulder Model and valued the Vail Model. Independent practice can be isolative and unless you try very hard, there is a tendency to settle into doing what you have been doing and no longer seek new information (Editors’ Note: For more on the ethical implications of this, see Barnett & Corcoran’s piece on “Competence, Ethical Practice, and Going It Alone,” in this issue).
Our story is not at all unusual. In their 2015 article, LeJeune and Luoma noted that
most clinical psychologists work in private fee-for-service settings with little, if any, opportunity to engage in psychological research. The bulk of psychological research is produced by a small minority of psychologists working primarily in academic settings removed from clinical practice. (Norcross & Karpiak, 2012). (p. 421)
LeJeune and Luola (2015) propose one interesting solution, outlined in their article, but for those of us who are settled into solid clinical practices, there is another option: The Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy (SAP)!
In our Division 29, the SAP, we have all the elements of the profession: the clinical practitioners, the researchers, the academics, the teachers, the mentors. We are a home for clinical work in all its dimensions, and particularly welcome students and early-career psychologists.
So why join?
First, and this is a boon for everyone, it’s a really good deal. Membership dues are low, thanks in large part to the success of our journal Psychotherapy (see below) and it is not necessary to be a member of APA to be a member of the SAP.
Second, why not be a member? Isn’t it your civic duty? But seriously…
If you are a student, you can interact with the people whose books you have been reading in school, and with others at various career stages. We have live opportunities to do this at Convention every year with our “Lunch with the Masters” events where students not only get a free meal, but also the chance to talk with a range of senior psychologists. There are also grants and awards for student members. We like to encourage students to be on all our committees, and we have a dedicated student position on the SAP Board. We’re friendly!
For early-career psychologists (ECPs), the SAP has grants and awards, mentorship programming, and, again, the opportunity to be side-by-side with esteemed senior colleagues. We have a dedicated Board position for ECPs as well, and actively seek their input on all our committees. For more on ECP issues, join the ECP listserv, check Leigh Ann Carter’s (2017) take on benefiting from membership, or see Rayna Markin’s (2017) article on mentoring. We really are friendly.
Mid-career psychologists who might otherwise be isolated in their professional silos can come together and share their work. Clinicians talk with researchers, researchers talk with teachers, and we thus recreate the integrated model of scientist/scholar and practitioner.
Our senior psychologists also benefit from membership in the Society, often by giving mentorship and role modeling to their colleagues. No matter how senior you are, you also learn from the upcoming generation of psychologists and it is great to see the pipeline in action (Editors’ Note: And, should you be considering closing a private practice or retirement, see O’Leary, 2018, or Tom Barrett’s article on “Retirement Myths” in this issue).
In his presidential column for the Bulletin (2018), Michael Constantino congratulated the winners of all the Society’s awards and honors. The list is truly impressive and hopefully inspiring.
All members of the Society have the advantage of receiving our quarterly journal Psychotherapy. It is a great resource and an esteemed place to publish. The Psychotherapy Bulletin is the other official publication of the Division of Psychotherapy. It serves as the primary communication with members and publishes short articles and official notices from the Society.
Finally, the Society has two delegates to the APA Council of Representatives, the governing body of the association, and as such represents the voice of psychotherapy in all its forms at the national level.
So please join or renew your membership and encourage others to join too.
Cite This Article
Adam-Terem, R. (2018). Why Join?. Psychotherapy Bulletin, 53(4), XX-XX.
Carter, L. A. (2017). Looking ahead in the new year: How you can benefit from your Society membership in 2017. Psychotherapy Bulletin, 52(1), 32-34.
Constantino, M. (2018). President’s column: Thank you, Division 29 friends and colleagues. Psychotherapy Bulletin, 53(3), 2-4.
LeJeune, J. T., & Luoma, J. B., (2015). The integrated scientist-practitioner: A new model for combining research and clinical practice in fee-for-service settings. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 46(6), 421–428.
Markin, R. (2017). New mentoring hour program for early career psychologists: Getting mentorship one hour at a time. Psychotherapy Bulletin, 50(2), 54-55.
O’Leary, M. (2018). Closing a private practice. Psychotherapy Bulletin, 53(3), 12-16.