The APA Council In Action! By Linda Campbell and Norine Johnson.
We are quite used to stalemates, filibusters, and partisanship these days, aren’t we? I wish you could all have attended this Council meeting to see actual decision-making, compromise, and respectful disagreement. There were items on this Council agenda that truly spoke to who we are, what our values are, and what is important to us. You would have been very proud to see how differing members conducted themselves and how the decisions were made. We are going to plunge into the top items of importance to Div. 29 here and hope that if you want more detail or want to discuss any of these subjects that you will contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or NorineJ@aol.com.
Recognition of Psychotherapy Effectiveness
Before your blood pressure goes up, yes, all of us who are members of Div. 29 know and have known for many years that psychotherapy is effective. What we recently realized, however, is that never has there been a resolution, declaration, or any official statement adopted by APA to acknowledge this fact. Melba Vasquez, Nadine Kaslow, and Linda Campbell authored a new business item to be presented in August for a vote of Council acknowledging this important fact. Linda Campbell or Nadine Kaslow can send you a copy of the statement if you would like to read it. Several of our Div. 29 members contributed to the supporting seminal references and citations. It’s a great read!
Amendment to The APA Ethics Code
For the first time ever, the APA Ethics Code has been amending between official revisions. You are aware of the concerns that many APA members have had regarding the potential use of the Standards 1.02 and 1.03 and the ambiguity of the meaning of the standards in serving as guidance for psychologists. A primary concern about the potential interpretation of the standards as they stood was the possibility that following the law could be used to coerce psychologists into inhuman treatment of others. The APA Ethics Committee drafted the proposed change that is meant to better define this uncertainty. The draft change went through without a hitch. The revised standards are written as follows. The underlining represents added text and the strike through represents deleted text:
Standard 1.02 Conflicts Between Ethics and Law, Regulations, or Other Governing Legal Authority
If psychologists’ ethical responsibilities conflict with law, regulations, or other governing legal authority, psychologist clarify the nature of the conflict, make known their commitment to the Ethics Code and take reasonable steps to resolve the conflict consistent with the General Principles and Ethical Standards of the Ethics Code. If the conflict is unresolvable via such means, psychologists may adhere to the requirements of the law, regulations, or other governing legal authority. Under no circumstances may this standard be used to justify or defined violating human rights.
Standard 1.03 Conflicts Between Ethics and Organizational Demands
If the demands of an organization with which psychologist are affiliated or for whom they are working are in conflict with this Ethics Code, psychologists clarify the nature of the conflict, make known their commitment to the Ethics Code, and to the extent feasible, resolve the conflict in a way that permits adherences to the Ethics Code. Take reasonable steps to resolve the conflict consistent with the General Principles and Ethics Standards of the Ethics Code. Under no circumstances may this standard be used to justify or defend violating human rights.
These amendments represent hard work by many people and very difficult and challenging conversations. Those whose efforts were greatly invested in this matter rose to the occasion most admirably and respectfully.
The APA Model Licensure Act Has Been Approved!
The primary purpose of the Model Licensing Act is to provide a model to state, provincial, and territorial legislatures of language that would be consistent with APA’s policies in the event that legislatures enact a change in their law or regulations that affect the practice of psychology. Several areas were reviewed and updated; however, the major discussion centered around the use of the term “psychologist” in school settings and licensure requirements for I/O psychologists. The challenge for consensus came from the policy of APA enacted several years ago and the stance of professional psychology in that psychology is a doctoral level profession. Although, some state and provincial licensing boards have variations in masters level practices, the policy of APA is that psychology remains a doctoral level profession.
For many years, prior to licensure in some states, State Departments of Education have authorized and certified individuals who have masters and educational specialist degrees to practice in the schools and be termed “school psychologists.” Individuals who work in public school settings in these roles are typically not doctoral level. The question at hand was whether or not to extend the exemption that school psychologists have had for some years. In other words, could school psychologists be an exception to the requirement for doctoral level status of those calling themselves psychologists?
In hearing out all sides and all opinions on this very difficult matter, the Council voted to adopt the following: “The act recognizes the authority of appropriate state education bodies to issue titles to those who provide psychological services in schools as long as those titles incorporate the word “school.” The act continues to restrict the practice of such individuals and their use of their title to employment within school settings.” In other words, the adopted wording recognizes Departments of Education to be able to authorize professional positions under their aegis. The second amendment to the Model Act exempted I/O psychologists from the requirement of licensure (except as required in their jurisdictions) unless they provide mental health services to individuals.
Council Moves Out Of The Manchester
Contracts for APA Convention sites are made several years ahead of the event. After contracting with the Manchester Hyatt, it was discovered that the owner, Doug Manchester is a major contributor to the California Proposition 8, an effort to overturn the California Supreme Court ruling providing marriage equity for same-sex couples. This development resulted in much deliberation between values and money. On the one hand, many members felt that they could not in good conscience attend the Council meeting if held in the Manchester. The other meetings and where members’ hotel reservations are would, of course, be individual or divisional decisions. The Council meeting location represents a decision by APA that is logistical, financial, symbolic, and value-driven. The Treasurer, Paul Craig determined that a move would cost no more than $100,000. President Goodheart established a context for Council members’ remarks that was respectful, inclusive, and encouraging of all to speak. After the discourse, Council voted overwhelmingly to move the August Council meeting to another location. Dr. Goodheart summarized the discussion by saying, “Members of our Council will now not be faced with having to choose between their responsibilities as members of Council and their wish to express their opposition to Mr. Manchester’s action by not entering his hotel.”
Consensus and Endorsement of the APA Core Values
Our APA CEO Norm Anderson has initiated the development of our first ever Strategic Plan. Along with the plan was needed a mission statement, vision statement, and set of core values. As we have reported from earlier Council meetings, all had been decided except the core values. The task force charged with developing the core values for acceptance by Council was chaired most ably by Rodney Lowman and one of our representatives, Linda Campbell, was a member of this group. Over a period of months, the task force worked on finalizing the values with the sticking points being around (1) how to word the diversity value and (2) how to word the science value. Even on the floor of Council during the discussion, editing and compromise were still going on. Almost miraculously, we now have a set of core values overwhelmingly supported by Council and they are:
The American Psychological Association commits to its vision through a mission based upon the following values:
Continual Pursuit of Excellence
Knowledge and its Application Based Upon Methods of Science
Outstanding Service to its Members and to Society
Social Justices, Diversity and Inclusion
Ethical Action in All that We Do
Approval of APA 2010 Budget
Good news, sort of. As you know, APA like the rest of us was hard hit by the economic downturn of 2008 and 2009. Many cuts were made in meetings, personnel, and services, and benefits in order to right the ship. The cash flow from the buildings, however, yielded $3.5 million which contributed greatly. As a result, APA can report a forecast of $114,400. with expenditures of $113,500 resulting in a forecasted operating margin of $900.000.
Transparency In Advertising
APA has become aware that students and potential students who are reading APA materials see paid advertisements which sometimes appear to be endorsed by APA and therefore can be misleading for students who are looking for graduate programs and other educational services. As a result, the Council voted soundly to develop criteria and transparency for educational advertising:
- Advertising of educational programs in APA publications and web sites must be programs that are fully accredited by regional or other institutional accrediting associations recognized by the Department of Education.
- Programs representing areas of professional psychology that are eligible for APA Accreditation (e.g., clinical, counseling, school, I/O, combined) must be accredited by APA to quality as advertisers.
To our loyal and faithful members, if you made it this far in the report, you not only get the t-shirt but a sweatshirt to boot!. It is our pleasure to serve as your Council representatives and we would very much like to talk with you individually about your thoughts regarding Council and our Division 29.
Linda Campbell, Ph.D.
Norine Johnson, Ph.D.