APA president-elect candidates address Div. 20

Rosie P. Bingham and Steven P. Hollon answer questions about issues relevant to Div. 20 members.

By Rosie Phillips Bingham, PhD, and Steven P. Hollon, PhD

Div. 20 posed the same questions to all five APA presidential candidates. Candidate responses received from Rosie P. Bingham, PhD, and Steven P. Hollon, PhD are below. Raymond A. DiGiuseppe, PhD; Todd E. Finnerty, PsyD; and Jack Kitaeff, PhD, JD, are also running for the office.

Rosie P. Bingham, PhD

Question #1:  Do you have any interests and/or any previous involvement in Div. 20? Our members would be interested in knowing if you are a member or fellow of the division and if you have been active in any way in Div. 20.

Although I am not a member or fellow of Div. 20, I have an abiding interest in aging issues as part of my commitment to inclusion. For my whole career, I have been interested in multicultural and diversity issues and that includes working to address discrimination and prejudice and the harm it does to the psychological well-being of members of that group. Also, I have been interested in and supportive of Div. 20 since I met Div. 20 Council Representatives while I served on council for nine years from early 2000 through 2009.

Question #2:  Do you have any professional or scholarly interests in issues related to the psychology of adult development and aging? Naturally, we are interested in a wide range of professional activities, including practice, consulting, supervising, research, teaching or advocacy.

I have studied adult development and used the theories throughout my career and life. My scholarly research is focused on vocational psychology. Counseling psychology partly grew out the career guidance movement and became even more heavily focused on vocational psychology at the conclusion of World War II when solders returned home from the war. The vocational theories focused on development across the life span. The emphasis on development across the life span became a core part of counseling psychology, so my professional training has included adult development and aging. I have numerous articles and presentations that include adult development and aging as part of the vocational development of individuals.

Further, I was instrumental in establishing the office of Adult Student Services at the University of Memphis. That office reported directly to me during the thirteen years I held position of vice president for student affairs. I was able to use theories of adult development and aging to strengthen the services and programs we offered to the students. I was one of the leading advocates for the needs of adult students. We expanded that office by adding the Veterans Resource Center because it became clear that this subpopulation of adults needed services that were more specialized than our traditional adult students.

My interest in adult development and aging is also a part of my lived experience. In my personal life, I have lived the experience of taking care of aging parents and interacting with the systems that control their lives. I have had to be an advocate and have even pushed some of those organizations to use what we know from psychological science to change their mode of care for the individuals they serve. I have used the APA Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Older Adults in my ethics workshops. And finally, I personally deal with aging as I experience physical changes and discrimination related to my age.

Question #3: Are you involved with any other organizations that address issues of adult development and aging, including issues of psychological aging?

I am a founding member of the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis. We focus primarily on issues of women’s economic sufficiency. That work has taken me into looking at the needs of women of all ages. We focus on work, housing, health and advocacy. I also serve on the board of the Baptist Women’s Hospital. Our work includes focusing on the needs of women at various ages. As you know, many patients in hospitals are older adults. Serving on the board gives me a chance to bring my understanding of adult development and aging to the board and to make sure that older adults receive appropriate care while receiving services from the hospital.

Question #4: Could you briefly explain any way in which adult development and aging is part of your platform or agenda for your presidential year?

Perhaps one of the clearest examples of how adult development and aging are a part of my agenda are my first two main agendas: Strengthening a culture of science throughout APA and in psychology. Psychological science and research undergirds what we know about adult development and aging. Making sure that we get the scientific knowledge about adult development and aging disseminated to organizations and individuals is a critical component of strengthening the culture of science in psychology and society. I would turn to Div. 20 for help and support as we strengthen the culture of science within APA especially as it relates to aging, in psychology and in society.

The second initiative focuses on deep poverty. As you know poverty is intergenerational. By one estimate by the National Council on Aging, 25 million Americans who are age 60 and above are economically insecure. And some of these older adults are the only source of support for their grandchildren. We must use our science, research, education and practice to help us understand deep poverty and how to break the intergenerational cycle. Because deep poverty affects many older adults, Div. 20 (Adult Development and Aging) has much to offer this initiative.

And finally, I hope that Div. 20 will help me as I work to make early career psychologists who are older adults find a home in APA. Many of them are a part of the group that feels invisible and unwelcome in APA. I have already invited some of these individuals to join my team and help us focus on these needed changes. I invite you to visit my webpage to learn more about me and join me as we “Dream Big and Do More.”

Steven D. Hollon, PhD

Question #1: Do you have any interests and/or any previous involvement in Div. 20?  Our members would be interested in knowing if you are a member or fellow of the division and if you have been active in any way in Div. 20.

I am not a member or fellow of Div. 20 nor have I been active in the division.

Question #2: Do you have any professional or scholarly interests in issues related to the psychology of adult development and aging? Naturally, we are interested in a wide range of professional activities, including practice, consulting, supervising, research, teaching or advocacy.

My primary interest is in the nature and treatment of depression. We do not exclude older adults from our trials so long as they are cognitive intact and have never found that age predicts or moderates differential response. That being said, my wife is a developmental psychopathologist and I have some familiarity with the notion of development across the life span.

Question #3: Are you involved with any other organizations that address issues of adult development and aging, including issues of psychological aging?

I am a past president of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy and the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology. Neither specifically addresses issues of adult development and aging.

Question #4: Could you briefly explain any way in which adult development and aging is part of your platform or agenda for your presidential year?

There is nothing in my platform or agenda that is specific to adult development and aging. That being said, my primary interest is in the overreliance on medication treatment in the U.S.

There is no nonpsychotic disorder that is not better treated with psychotherapy than with medications, and yet we are losing market share to pharmacotherapy. People with nonpsychotic disorders make up the vast majority of people seeking mental health services and psychosocial interventions are at least as efficacious as medications in the treatment of those disorders and often longer lasting. We are almost twice as likely to medicate such disorders in the United States as they are in other technologically advanced societies around the world. The United Kingdom has recently invested 700 million pounds to train therapists to provide the empirically supported psychotherapies. The difference is that in the United Kingdom’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Evaluation generates clinical practice guidelines that privilege psychotherapy over medications. (Given its enduring effect, psychotherapy tends to be cost-effective over time).

APA has just produced its first clinical practice guideline on the treatment of PTSD with guidelines on depression and childhood obesity soon to follow. If elected president, I would make common cause with other major professional organizations like psychiatry to jointly produce clinical practice guidelines that inform the public about the most efficacious and least costly interventions.

Psychosocial interventions will fare better than medications for the non-psychotic disorders. Clinical practice guidelines are expensive to produce, but over three quarters of the cost come from conducting the systematic review. The Agency for Health Research Quality will pay for those reviews if requested by multiple professional organizations. Left to its own devices, the psychiatric APA will continue to produce guidelines that overvalue medications. If we do guidelines jointly with them, they will be forced to deal with the empirical data in an open and honest fashion.

Older adults are especially likely to be overmedicated. Pushing for psychology and psychiatry to work together to produce clinical practice guidelines will not only help the public at large but also be of special relevance to older adults.