Division 17, The Society for Counseling Psychology, asked the candidates for APA President the questions below.
1. Briefly state your current or past involvement with the Society of Counseling Psychology (SCP), and how your presidential initiative(s) will serve to reflect and further the mission, activities, and values of SCP and Counseling Psychology. Relevant information can be found on our website at the following link: https://www.div17.org/about-scp/scp-mission/
I recently joined the Society of Counseling Psychology, and I am looking forward to becoming more familiar with the Division and the mission of Division 17. When I consider the mission as described on the Division 17 website, I believe our primary presidential initiative has a great deal of overlap with the Division 17 mission. I am a psychologist who is dedicated to uniting, protecting, and advocating for the needs of psychology and psychologists. I have noticed while participating in governance as a member of APA the historic difficulty we have had as an organization coming together to advance our priorities and defend and protect our people. We struggle as psychologists to include all voices in our organization. There is a wide range of diverse voices who are APA members. My desire is to form a large diverse organizational umbrella under which all psychologists can belong, regardless of race, religion, cultural background, physical difference, sexual identity, political perspective – united by our love of the discipline of psychology and our agreed-upon strategic plan. Under this umbrella, we will continue to strive to hear and respond to the varied voices of all psychologists, meeting their unique needs and helping them obtain necessary resources to develop to their full potential. If we are able to get this right, our collective unity, voice, excitement and energy will provide a model for our nation and world. I believe this Presidential initiative parallels the mission of Division 17, “toward creating a more just and equitable world where ALL people and communities can thrive.”
I love the President’s Welcome, focusing on Engagement: “It Takes a Village: ENGAGING with Solidarity in Practice, Anti-Black Racism, Leadership, Advocacy, and Big Ideas.” These identified areas of focus parallel strengths and interest areas I would have and represent as President of APA. I am a practitioner by training, although I have taught, conducted research, and engaged in applied work. As a white woman running for APA President, I am keenly aware of the need to examine my own blind spots and serve as an ally for marginalized communities, uplifting those who have been oppressed by white people and helping to eliminate racism. I want to use my privilege to help assure that everyone has a seat at the APA table.
I have served as a leader and was awarded the Federal Advocacy Coordinator award by APA for my advocacy efforts. I, too, am captivated by Big Ideas right now and am excited about the possibilities for change at this moment in our history. If elected President, I would look forward to partnering with Division 17 to help move forward the mission of the division, keeping in mind the critical values (e.g., empowerment, lifelong learning, international focus, resilience, context, science, social justice, ethics, cultural sensitivity, mentoring, and self-reflection). I am positioned to lead as we work to elevate science, education, practice, public interest, and applied psychology.
2. SCP is committed to challenging oppression in its various forms and to the liberation of all people. One particular focus of our Division’s efforts this year has been around uprooting racial violence and anti-Black racism within SCP, APA, and the field of psychology. Please comment on how your vision for APA as President-elect will address ongoing work to address anti-Black racism within the Association’s structures and practices.
I am currently deeply involved with the APA Board of Directors in my role of Recording Secretary in moving forward with examining our own APA house to determine what ways we have historically contributed to racism. I believe this is the beginning of important and potentially healing APA work, and I would dedicate myself as President to assisting with this work and challenging oppression and engendering liberation of all people both within and outside of APA. Our Presidential campaign team has created a Diversity committee, and we are identifying what ways we can address racism, including anti-black racism, as part of our Presidential initiatives. Intersectionality is critically important. As President, I will be laser-focused on assuring that diversity of input and voice in our organization.
I represent a vision for uniting the field and the multiple parts of our organization in the middle of these extremely challenging times. We have been separated from other people this year, watching the impact of this social separation on our children, relatives, clients, students and friends. We have experienced tremendous division in our society, with politics and racism dividing and tearing people apart from one another. While struggling to cope with all of this, we have had to watch our loved ones get sick and die from COVID-19. I have the leadership background within APA which qualifies me to lead in very challenging times, having served twice on the APA Board during both the independent review and the COVID-19 and racism pandemics. My intention as APA President would be to help us unite and cope with all of these competing challenges. I will care about the forgotten and underserved in America and around the world. I will work to be part of a world that assures safe and integrated communities for all people. Diversity is critically important for APA and for the world in which we live.
3. Please highlight, as a part of the information you submit, specific ways that you will work to support graduate students and Early Career Psychologists, and address the identified needs and priorities of these groups if elected as APA President.
I have always been a champion for enhancing the role of the doctoral students and early career psychologists in APA governance. I will continue to do so by specifically assuring that there is representation of graduate students and ECPs on presidential initiatives and task forces. I have lifted up the APAGS member on the Board of Directors in the role of mentor, supporting and assisting them and making sure their voice was heard on the Board. I have also done so as a Council member, encouraging newer members on Council in my role of Board member and more recently, as Recording Secretary. As the only President-Elect candidate who has served on the Executive Committee (EC) of the APA Board of Directors, I have reflected the perspectives of our new talent during the EC meetings.
I have encouraged the doctoral students I have trained to join APA and participate in leadership and advocacy. In my local community, I have invited new women in psychology in the area to join our monthly luncheon, to help them feel connected with other professional women in the community. My campaign chair is an Early Career Psychologist. We have purposely identified a point person for each of these groups within our campaign, and there are several leaders on our team who represent these groups. I am a favor of term limits and support assuring there are mechanisms in place to limit more senior members from taking excessive space in leadership, preventing other new and diverse members from leadership.
Having taught and supervised students, I am very concerned about graduate student debt. I believe we should engender mentorship and apprenticeship in our field. I am delighted that graduate students will be voting in our elections and hope other divisions will move to adopt this model. Our graduate students and Early Career Psychologists are our future and need to be working side by side with us to help us see the way there. We need their new ideas and innovations to reimagine ways of how to function as an organization. I look forward to hearing how I can serve as a facilitator in my role as President of APA to assuring the voices of our newest psychologists can be included, enhanced, and promoted at APA.