Early Career Psychologist Blog
Regular blog postings will keep you updated on Division 31 news, member happenings and resources for SPTA leaders.
July 23, 2015How to Get National Institutes of Health (NIH) Funding
Obtaining NIH grants has become even more competitive, but there's good news for early career researchers. In her Rock Talk blog, Sally Rockey, PhD, NIH's Deputy Director for Extramural Research, wrote the following: "NIH has made a concerted effort to make sure that faculty members in their early careers have a fair chance when they compete against more established investigators."
NIH recently adopted the early stage investigator policy. That policy specifies that new investigators within 10 years of completing their terminal research degree or within 10 years of completing their medical residency will be designated early stage investigators (ESIs).
Traditional NIH research grant (R01s) applications from ESIs are identified and the career stage of the applicant will be considered at the time of review and award.
Here are some tips to help you win funding from NIH.
Tips for Success
- Become familiar with relevant NIH institutes based on your research interest. For example, if you are doing mental health research, National Institute of Mental Health might be of interest to you. If you are doing aging research, National Institute of Aging might be of interest to you. If you are doing health disparities research, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities might be of interest to you.
- Sign up for the NIH Guide Listserv®. The guide is emailed once a week, and contains table of contents with links to PAs, notices and RFAs.
- Review recently funded grants (RePORTER).
- Once you have identified an institute of interest, contact the program officer. It is helpful to get to know your program officer. You can also write a concept paper with your specific aims and ask your program officer to review and provide feedback as to whether your research falls within a priority area of the institute.
- When you decide to submit an NIH application, have senior colleague review your research proposal. Also set up a mock review. If you have funding it is worth paying a consultant to review your grant.
- If you meet the criteria for ESI, indicate your ESI status on your NIH grant application. See more information on ESIs at NIH.
Given the competitiveness of securing NIH grant funding and the limited federal funding available, it is important to explore other options for funding. In other words, diversify your funding portfolio. I encourage you to explore funding from private organizations including Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and other organizations relevant to your areas of research interest.
Winning grants for your research takes a lot of time. Plan ahead to make sure you have enough time to write the proposal, have it reviewed by colleagues, revise it and submit it on time. Once your grant is successfully submitted, be sure to take some time to celebrate your submission, as submission is a milestone. When you receive funding, celebrate again!
I look forward to hearing about other researchers' tips for success.
Going to the APA convention in Toronto (Aug. 6-9, 2015)? Don't miss the following opportunity!
An Insider's Guide to NIH Research and Training Opportunities: Talk with NIH Staff
Date: Saturday, Aug. 8, 10-10:50 a.m.
Location: Fairmont Royal York Hotel, Ontario Room
Sponsors: APA Women's Programs Office (WPO), APA Committee on Women in Psychology
Each year during the APA convention, the WPO hosts an open meeting, An Insider's Guide to NIH Research and Training Opportunities: Talk with NIH Staff , where individuals can talk to NIH program staff one-on-one. In an informal setting, staff from several NIH agencies will provide advice about funding and training opportunities.
Individuals can get tips on topics such as finding the right grant match for your needs, identifying research priorities, using the NIH RePORTER grants information database and asking the right questions of NIH staff, as well as learning more about the diversity supplement program, fellowship programs, research career development programs, the Extramural Associates Program for faculty at minority, women and small colleges, meeting grants and summer research programs, along with a range of other grant opportunities.
Earlise C. Ward, PhD, LP (associate professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Nursing)
June 30, 2015The Maryland Psychological Association and Early Career Psychologists: A Model
The Maryland Psychological Association (MPA) has had an early career psychologist (ECP) representative as a voting member of the board for many years, and ECPs are considered to be a crucial part of the future of our organization. I recently finished my second year as the chair of the ECP Committee and have been fortunate to get to know many of our more seasoned board members at our monthly board meetings. My attendance at meetings has been well-received. Other board members frequently ask my opinion as a representative of the younger generation, and I was included in the hiring of our new executive director (and able to ask her questions about her vision for ECP involvement in MPA). However, they also allow me to act like a sponge and soak up as much institutional wisdom as possible. I find that many of my initiatives overlap primarily with two other committees - the Membership Committee and the Diversity Committee - so we communicate frequently about ways to recruit and retain ECP members, such as offering reduced-fee schedules, routinely checking in with members to see whether their needs are being met and ensuring that diversity needs are addressed in our ECP programming.
Maryland is, admittedly, a much smaller state than most U.S. states, but we face barriers to ECP recruitment and retention that are common to other associations: how to reach ECPs, engage ECPs from a wide geographic area and encourage already busy ECPs to participate in MPA events while also balancing work and family needs. My ECP Committee is committed to addressing these barriers, but it has been an evolving process and requires significant flexibility on the part of committee members to host events at varying times and locations. That being said, I think this flexibility has paid off, as the number of ECPs who participate in our events has grown over the past few years; over 60 Maryland ECPs participated in at least one of our ECP events in the 2014-2015 academic year.
Our committee hosts a Facebook group specific for Maryland ECPs, and I make a point to email all new MPA members with ECP information, but we have a few additional initiatives that I believe facilitate both the recruitment and retention of ECPs. Our most longstanding initiative is a mentorship program with the Maryland Psychological Association of Graduate Students (MPAGS). The purpose of this initiative is to engage graduate students who later have the potential to join MPA. We believe that by interacting with grad students early on, they will learn more about MPA, try it out for a reduced grad student fee and create close ties with the organization. We match ECPs to grad students based on similar career interests, and co-host a kick off dinner with MPAGS in the fall. We've received positive feedback from both mentors and mentees about the experience, and mentees who remain local frequently join MPA as postdoctoral fellows for a reduced fee. Our number of mentor-mentee dyads isn't overwhelmingly large (i.e., we typically have 12-20 matches a year), but I value the relationship the ECP Committee has built with MPAGS, and I believe our ECP mentors do, too.
Our newest initiative is designed to recruit ECPs by offering didactics seminars to local training programs. Many of our ECPs have ties to externship, internship and postdoc sites in Maryland, so we've tried to take advantage of these relationships. Our ECP Committee developed a stock presentation about MPA, the EPPP and licensure in Maryland. Any ECP who wants to give a didactic seminar at a training site is welcome to use this presentation as a guide. Although this is a new initiative, we have completed five presentations and received positive feedback. Several training sites have asked us to return in the 2015-2016 academic year to talk to new trainees. I think that we are actually able to provide a unique set of information, as many didactics focus less on the business side of being a psychologist. We are able to fill a gap in training. The hardest part of this initiative has just been identifying all of the training directors in our area, but those that we have connected with are open to our involvement.
ECP retention is definitely another challenge, as we have to continually make a case that paying for membership is a worthwhile investment. One way we have tried to address this is by offering free educational opportunities for members only. For years we tried to host in-person monthly seminars but found that ECPs were unable to drive to meeting places in the middle of the day and/or were uninterested in traveling after work. Fortunately, I was able to have a robust conversation with the MPA Executive Committee about this concern, and they invested in webinar services. So, for the past two years we have offered free monthly educational webinars from October to June during weekday lunch hours. Speakers tend to be local psychologists, which has the added benefit of engaging psychologists from around Maryland with ECPs, and all have been well-received thus far. This past year our topics ranged from culturally sensitive supervision to starting a private practice to student loan repayment. An ECP Committee member moderates each webinar and attendees complete post-webinar evaluations so that speakers receive feedback. We have used these evaluations to guide our programming. I've been pleased and surprised by how many ECPs have attended these webinars (we get anywhere from 8-25 attendees at each webinar), and sometimes ECPs even participate from out-of-state locations.
Finally, we also try to retain ECPs by building a community of ECPs who will get to know one another and begin to take leadership roles in MPA, something that is greatly encouraged by MPA board members. (In fact, our incoming MPA secretary is an ECP who has been on the ECP Committee for two years; the board is very excited to have her move up the leadership pipeline). Our committee hosts monthly social events that both ECPs who are MPA members and ECPs who are non-members are welcome to attend. Polling of our ECPs revealed that there is little consensus regarding what types of events ECPs want, when they want them or where they want them, so we strive to mix up our events as much as possible. For example, this year we hosted midweek happy hours, a Sunday brunch, a Saturday family event at a playground and a Saturday winery tour/picnic. We are also in the midst of planning a summer cookout and a fall brewery tour. These events widely vary in location as well; our ECP committee members live and work throughout Maryland with varying schedules, so committee members take turns coordinating events and pick times and locations that are convenient for them. We find that ECPs appreciate that they can find something that works for them. When we initially started these events, we hoped large crowds of ECPs would attend, but in the past two years, we have found that hosting smaller groups (i.e., four to eight attendees) is valuable, too. We also find that opening up our social events to non-members is an important way to recruit new MPA members; MPA members bring non-members to these events to learn more about MPA and network. My experience as an ECP in MPA has overwhelmingly been positive. The board offers me the independence to take on any initiatives that my committee believes is important, but I can always turn to the MPA president and other board members for help and guidance when needed. I'm always looking for more ideas or feedback about our programs, so feel free to contact me if you want to chat more about all of this.
Linda Jones Herbert, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology & Behavioral Health at Children's National Health System in Washington, D.C. She is the director of the Division of Allergy and Immunology's psychosocial clinical and research program, a member of the Food Allergy Research & Education's Education Working Group and the Early Career Psychologist Committee chair/board member of the Maryland Psychological Association.
May 19, 2015Taking Multicultural Competence to the Next Level: Advocacy & Beyond
It is my honor to share about a recent experience in my personal and professional journey that has been transformative. As a recent graduate of a doctoral program in counseling psychology, I have been exploring ways to apply my academic learning to “the real world.” Following the safety of being a student and hiding behind the opportunities for service, leadership and advocacy that my program provided, I found myself grappling with the questions of what brought me to this field in the first place and questioning whether I am making the impact that I had dreamt of making all these years. As a therapist, I knew that I valued diversity, social justice and empowerment but often struggled as I witnessed my clients battling systemic issues that continued to leave them marginalized. Colleagues shared similar sentiments, and I began to explore what may be barriers to getting involved with political advocacy. A common theme emerged — many felt intimidated, lost, confused and helpless about the process.
In the spirit of helping beginners explore meaningful questions about advocacy and learn concrete tools about how to engage in advocacy efforts, I collaborated with a team of passionate individuals from the Arizona Psychological Association to develop an Advocacy & Psychology 101 workshop. By inviting local experts in the area of social and political advocacy as it relates to psychology as well as leaders of nonprofit community-based organizations, participants were provided the opportunity to learn about current legislation impacting underserved populations. Additionally, during breakout groups, participants constructed individualized action plans about how they intend to continue their roles as advocates in the near future. The learning and connections that began to form as a result of this brief beginner’s workshop has already created the ripple effects of anti-bullying advocacy, wider and more meaningful conversations among members within our state association and personal connections with others within the field who are passionate about making a difference. Learn more about the Advocacy & Psychology 101 workshop.
As mental health professionals, multicultural competence is heavily emphasized as a basic component of our professional identities. While training in this area typically focuses on building knowledge, skills and awareness in the clinical realm, our profession states that our identities as psychologists extend beyond the therapy room. Who we are in our personal lives and as individuals does, indeed, reflect on our profession and has an impact on our clients and the populations we serve. Navigating when and how to use our voices, our power and our privilege in service of client welfare can be a challenge and there are often no clear-cut answers. Yet we must be aware that even our silence can speak volumes. It is time for us to use our voices.
Arti Sarma, PhD, is a postdoctoral resident at Arizona State University’s (ASU) Counseling Services, where she also completed her APA-approved predoctoral internship. She is a graduate of ASU’s counseling psychology PhD program. She is an active member of the Arizona Psychological Association and the nonprofit Institute of Mahayoga & Natural Hygiene. Her research and clinical interests focus on areas of diversity, training, and trauma. She can be reached by email.
January 13, 2015Identifying Your Professional New Year's Resolutions for 2015
As we ring in a new year, we often think of ways in which we would like to better ourselves. Along with our personal lives, it is important to reflect upon our professional goals. It is a time to think of patterns we have created in our careers and behavioral changes that may enhance our achievement and sense of professional fulfillment throughout 2015.
In our professional roles we often encourage others to engage in self-reflection. Similarly, it is important to take note of our professional behaviors and relationships and evaluate their importance and utility.
I encourage you to take the next 15 minutes to read through the following list of questions and identify goals, action plans, potential barriers and solutions to remain focused on your professional success.
- Am I maintaining ongoing relationships with colleagues, as well as former supervisors, advisors and professors? Can I dedicate 10 minutes a week to maintaining these relationships?
- Am I frequently behind in meeting my professional goals? Why?
- What financial strategies have I put in place to pay back my student loans? Are these strategies effective? Should I consult a professional for financial advice?
- Are my time management strategies effective?
- How can I stay on task at work and avoid self-created distractions?
- What strategies can I use to avoid multitasking at work?
- How do I change my schedule so I dedicate time for scholarly writing and reading?
- What projects am I thinking of completing this year? What is stopping me from submitting for IRB approval to enhance my chances of publishing work I want to complete anyway?
- What will I do each day and each week to engage in self-care and help avoid burnout or compassion fatigue?
- Am I sitting too much at work? How can I incorporate more activity (e.g., standing, walking) into my work day?
- What is stopping me from sharing an article/thoughts/questions on a national or state Listserv?
- How can I advocate on behalf of my clients/patients? (e.g., within place of employment, locally, nationally, etc.)
- Is my voice being heard by my state legislators and representatives?
- Where do I want to be in my career in 5 years? 10 years? 15 years?
After reflecting on and choosing which of these questions to answer, it will be important to identify realistic goals and specific steps to work toward their achievement. Identify the type of goal (e.g., short term, long term, lifelong) and each step that will be required in working toward its achievement. Many strategies can be used in mapping out steps toward this achievement. Sometimes it is helpful to work backwards from the goal to think about the resources and actions needed to reach that goal. For example, if the goal is to become more active in legislative advocacy, this might be defined as having a face-to-face meeting at the state capitol with your representative. In working backwards, you might think about that meeting and that you will need a topic for your advocacy; this may lead you to identify a personal interest or reach out to your state psychological association to find out if they have an organized Day at the Capitol and how you can participate.
Overall, I wish you great success and perseverance with achieving your professional goals in 2015.
July 7, 2014The APA Committee on Early Career Psychologists Convention Offerings
The APA Committee on Early Career Psychologists (CECP) is pleased to offer several programs that are targeted at ECPs. Please reference the list below for information about the events. We hope to see you at APA.
Early Career Opportunities in APA Divisions: Get EngagedFriday, Aug. 8, 2-2:50 p.m., Convention Center, Exhibit Halls D & E
Come meet early career psychologist leaders in APA's Divisions and see what division membership has to offer early career psychologists. More than 30 APA divisions will be represented and will provide information about their division benefits and services, mission and vision, and ways you can get involved in division activities, events, leadership, mentoring and more.
ECPLN Leadership Meeting Agenda
The Committee on Early Career Psychologists (CECP) invites early career psychologists who already serve their APA division or state, provincial, or territorial association (SPTA) to a meeting and networking hour at the APA Convention. Each division and SPTA is being asked to designate an early career leader to attend. However, all early career attendees interested in leadership are invited to attend this Early Career Psychologists Leadership Network (ECPLN) meeting. CECP representatives will provide tips and answer questions about how to get involved in APA governance, and most of the hour will be open for ECP leaders to discuss their own leadership experiences.
The meeting will take place on Saturday, Aug. 9 at 10-10:50 a.m. in the Marriott Marquis Washington DC Hotel, Chinatown Room. Refreshments will be provided.
Here is the tentative agenda for the ECPLN meeting:
- Committee on Early Career Psychologists updates.
- Mission and strategic goals.
- New early career definition.
- Other CECP business items.
- How to form an early career network in your division or state.
- Top 10 ways to get early career members involved and engaged.
- How to find out what early career members really want from your division or state.
The hour will also focus on your personal leadership experiences (successes and challenges) and ways to support and learn from each other about strategies to increase early career involvement and engagement. And importantly, you can meet each other in person and make important connections.
We look forward to seeing you in Washington, D.C.
Perk Up at the Committee on Early Career Psychologists Booth
The Committee on Early Career Psychology (CECP) is delighted to invite all early career attendees to join us at Early Career Psychologists Booth (APA Resource Center, outside the Exhibit Hall) for complimentary coffee and pastries on Saturday, Aug. 9 from 9 - 9:50 a.m.
The 2014 Convention marks the third annual Committee on Early Career Psychologists (CECP) breakfast meet and greet co-sponsored by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB). Be prepared to perk up with some tea or coffee, nibble on some pastries and meet some fabulous early career psychologists. Be sure to bring your questions and hot discussion topics.
APA Convention is Family-Friendly
APA's Board of Convention Affairs, in collaboration with the Committee on Early Career Psychologists, is continuing its tradition of enhancing the experience of convention attendees who will be accompanied by their families. Washington, DC, is a fabulous destination for families and APA aims to make this year's convention family-friendly by helping attendees balance the roles of professional and parent. The following activities and services are offered:
- Kid's Place. Located in the Convention Center, Exhibit Hall near aisle #100. This space offers comfortable seating for parents and a play area for kids. While targeted towards children ages 2-10, all are welcome. The Kids' Place is open Thursday through Saturday, with special entertainment each day. For more information, check the daily schedule posted outside the room. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
- Child Care Services. Check the convention website for a link to a childcare service that is used by major hotels in Washington, D.C.
- APA Night at the National Zoo. Join your colleagues on Friday, Aug. 8, 6:30-9:30 p.m. for a fun-filled evening at the Smithsonian's National Zoological Park. Snacks, beverages and a casual BBQ dinner are included. APA event attendees will have exclusive access to several special exhibits. Advance ticket purchase is required and attendance is limited.
- Nursing or pumping? The Nursing Mothers Room is next to the APA Kids' Place in halls D and E (to the side of aisle 100) on Level Two of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
- Massage Break Lounge. Don't forget about taking care of yourself! Free seated upper body massages in the Massage Break Lounge, Booth No. 121.
- Special Symposia. The Committee on Early Career Psychologists is offering a special symposium for parents, "Family and Parenting Challenges for ECPs in Academic Settings," Friday, Aug. 8 at 3 p.m., Convention Center, Room 154A.
See you (and your family) in Washington, D.C.
June 7, 2014Professional Relationships in Psychology
As an early career psychologist (ECP), you may have realized that you are a part of a small community. According to the United States Department of Labor statistics, there were a total of 160,200 individuals employed as psychologists in 2012. Our small community of psychologists becomes even more close-knit when specialties are taken into consideration (e.g., primary care psychologists, forensic psychologists). Therefore, the connections you establish as a trainee can have enormous implications for your future professional career.
Throughout your educational journey, you have no doubt encountered many psychologists who have shaped your professional evolution in their roles as your professors, training directors, supervisors, employers, professional board members, speakers, etc. During the transition from student to professional (completing internship/postdoc, taking the EPPP, getting licensed, applying for jobs) it is important to reflect on the evolving nature of your relationships with these individuals and the impact of your past, present and future interactions.
Here are a few examples: The professor who gave you a B on that presentation is the former colleague of the director at the clinic where you are applying for a job. The upperclassman who presented his or her dissertation in your research class just completed his or her postdoctoral fellowship at the hospital where you are trying to gain employment. The previous graduate professor you saw at a conference is on a board for which you would like to be elected. A former underclassman is applying to your current postdoctoral fellowship where you serve as an interviewer. The psychologist with whom you happened to eat breakfast at a national conference is on your state licensing board.
All of your professional actions (positive or negative) can have a ripple effect within the psychology community. Our relationships should not solely be viewed as ways to get ahead or used as stepping stones but as chances for enrichment, mentorship, exchanging advice, bringing new perspectives, providing/gaining support and even fostering friendships.
As an ECP in this small community you are in the great position to revitalize previous successful relationships or ask for the opportunity to reinvent those that may have been unsuccessful. There are many simple ways to maintain, reinvent or start professional relationships, including:
- Email a former supervisor.
- Send thank-you notes to previous advisors, supervisors, dissertation committee members.
- Text/communicate via Facebook/tweet with previous classmates.
- Ask for advice from a previous professor.
- Offer to help your state psychological association.
- Attend a volunteer/advocacy day.
- Make a donation on behalf of a former colleague.
- Stop by your previous school/practicum site/internship.
- Volunteer to speak at your undergraduate/graduate university.
Julie Radico, PsyD
Health Psychology Fellow
Department of Family Medicine
University of Mississippi Medical Center
Julie Radico, PsyD, completed her doctoral degree in clinical psychology at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) in 2013. She completed an internship in clinical psychology and integrated primary care at the PCOM Center for Brief Therapy. She is currently completing her postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Radico currently serves as the chair of the Early Career Psychologist Committee for the Mississippi Psychological Association.
May 12, 2014Spotlight on Jon Marrelli, PsyD
Jon Marrelli, PsyD, was recently honored with a presidential citation from Nadine Kaslow, PhD, at the APA State Leadership Conference. Marelli was awarded the presidential citation for "his tremendous leadership in engaging early career psychologists (ECPs) and in advancing the role of psychologist in health care reform."
Marrelli is director of quality assurance and performance improvement in a hospital system in New York City. In this role, he is responsible for ensuring high-quality patient care across several outpatient behavioral health sites — through patient care, risk management and performance improvement initiatives.
In addition, Marelli does extensive work on health care reform for the New York State Psychological Association (NYSPA), where he co-chairs NYSPA's Health Care Reform Task Force and was the 2013 president of its Early Career Psychologist Division. He has written or co-written NYSPA newsletters on ACOs, PCMHs, population management, electronic medical records, new core competencies for mental health providers, independent practice in the changing landscape and the state health insurance exchange programs.
Recently, Marelli became the co-chair of APA Div. 31's Health Care Reform Task Force, and he looks forward to helping other SPTAs become aware of how the changing health care landscape will impact mental health services, graduate training, providers of services and professional identity.
Marrelli urges all ECPs to become more activated and engaged in professional associations, as they will feel welcomed and valued, and there are great leadership opportunities available as they begin their careers.
April 7, 2014Spotlight on ECP Delegates at the APA State Leadership Conference
I am the State, Provincial and Territorial Psychological Associations (SPTA) Representative on the APA Committee on Early Career Psychologists (CECP). In March, I had the pleasure of hosting 15 ECP Delegates during the APA's annual State Leadership Conference held in Washington, D.C. The SLC was a great opportunity for ECPs to gather and share about the challenges in recruiting and retaining ECPs within SPTAs as well as share success stories. Additionally, the conference provided attendees the opportunity to learn about the importance of advocating for the profession of psychology at the state and federal level. The conference ended with visits to Capitol Hill where attendees met with Congressional representatives. The 15 delegates left with a renewed commitment to continue to strive to meet the needs of ECPs within their respective states.
One thing I heard during the SLC was that ECPs are looking for ways to gain leadership experience and be involved in APA governance. As such, I want to highlight two upcoming opportunities for ECPs. First, the Division 31 has an ECP Task Force chaired by Dr. Lindsey Buckman. This task force is in need of ECPs. If you are interested in learning more about the ECP Task Force, visit the webpage and submit your inquiries. Second, the CECP will have three open positions. The CECP advocates for the unique needs of ECPs and provides useful resources for ECPs, e.g. scholarships, ECP listserv and the CECP Financial Planning Guide. Please visit our website for information about the application process and to access resources.
In closing, many thanks to the 15 delegates who attended SLC. ECPs are the future of APA and I encourage all ECPs to reach out to the Division 31 ECP Task Force as well as the CECP to learn about opportunities to get involved.
Dr. Le Ondra Clark Harvey
2014 ECP Delegates to the APA State Leadership Conference
- Alaska - Sarah DeWane, PhD
- Colorado - Laura Knudtson, PhD
- Indiana - Jennifer Katzenstein, PhD
- Kentucky - Eric Russ, PhD
- Maryland - Linda Herbert, PhD
- Massachusetts - Maria Hiraldo, PhD
- Mississippi - Julie Radico, PsyD
- New Jersey - Peter Economou, PhD
- Ohio - Catherine Golden, PhD
- Oklahoma - Tim Doty, PsyD
- Pennsylvania - Patricia Fox, PsyD
- South Dakota - Hilary Kindsfater, PhD
- Tennessee - Jennifer Kasey, PsyD
- Utah - Jamie Brass, PsyD
- West Virginia - Emily Selby-Nelson, PsyD
February 20, 2014Why Is Prescriptive Authority (RxP) Important for Psychologists and Our Patients?
While attending a clinical psychology PhD program that was more geared to producing researchers to work in academic medical centers as opposed to clinicians, the thought of becoming an applied psychologist, let alone a prescribing psychologist, was never even an option in my mind. However, as I proceeded through graduate school, the realities of the job market and the vast need for prescriber came into focus and I realized that prescribing not only has personal benefits but professional ones as well.
Although I began the journey toward attaining prescriptive authority right out of graduate school with the personal and professional benefits strongly in mind, I still dreaded the coursework, practica and studying required to add prescribing to my arsenal of treatments I could use to help patients. Looking back over those two years, I can say nothing prepared me for the difficulty in obtaining prescriptive authority. However, I can confidently say all the time and effort was worth the sacrifice were worth it.
On a personal level, I now feel much more secure having a very in-demand skillset that will allow me to apply for many jobs that are looking for it. As a graduate student, I remember my advisors telling me that therapy jobs were going to be more and more dominated by master’s-level providers and academic jobs are becoming harder and harder to come by due to grant funding cuts.
On a professional level, I enjoy being able to help patient with all their psychological issues. We are all familiar with the fact that many patients with severe levels of anxiety or depression cannot effectively participate in psychotherapy because of the cognitive and behavioral dysfunction that accompanies severe levels of these conditions. Before I could prescribe medication for my patients, I would often wait for patients to be seen by a psychiatric prescriber before I could begin treatment. The wait to be seen by one of these professionals was often weeks to months long. Being able to provide pharmacotherapy for these patients allows me to be able to start treatment sooner saving the patient a lot of time and cutting down on the time they are experiencing these severe symptoms.
Over the next couple of blog entries, I will detail my life as the sole doctoral-level provider, and sole prescriber, in a clinic that employs master’s level and bachelor’s level therapists in a psychiatric clinic on the outskirts of El Paso, Texas. I am predicting that this experience will both give you a window into the future of professional psychology and, hopefully, think pushing for RxP in your state.
Martin Ancona, PhD
Prescribing and Clinical Psychologist
Martin Ancona, PhD, received his doctorate in clinical psychology at Louisiana State University in 2010 after completing his predoctoral internship at Wayne State School of Medicine. He then attended New Mexico State University eventually earning his postdoctoral master's in psychopharmacology and passing the Psychopharmacology Examination for Psychologists (PEP) in 2013. He is currently a prescribing and clinical psychologist in New Mexico.
December 9, 2013Three Issues You May Encounter as a Newly Licensed Psychologist
Congratulations on becoming a licensed psychologist. Completing the licensure process is one of the most important feats in your entire graduate career. There are not many professional obstacles as difficult as passing the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). However, as exciting as this time can be, it also comes with uncertainties.
1. “What do I do with this extra time? I do not have to study anymore.”
For many years, we had to study, study and study some more. First, it was exams for classes, then comprehensive exams, and then the EPPP. Now that you have passed the EPPP and state licensure exams, there is no reason to study.
What do you do with your extra time? Here are a few ideas:
- Keep some time reserved to stay up-to-date on the latest research in your area.
- Start building your professional platform as a licensed psychologist by writing a blog, participating in social media like Twitter and Facebook, and/or continuing your participation in presenting at conferences and publishing in journals. These things will become especially important if you would like to be in private practice or publish books.
- Find a hobby you enjoy and take care of yourself.
2. “Why aren't my co-workers/supervisors as excited about my licensure status as I am?”
As with other parts of graduate school, like comprehensive exams and defending dissertations, the licensure process was traumatic for many individuals. Revisiting that process is not something these individuals want to do. Others look at completing the licensure process as more mechanical, in that it was the final part of the graduate school checklist, and they have moved past this.
Whatever the reason, I suggest you find other early career psychologists (ECPs) that are also newly licensed, as these individuals will become very important to you. Not only are they experiencing the same feelings and can celebrate/commiserate, these individuals can become your support system at work (even if they do not work in the same location as you). You can work together on research, support each other's social media ventures and celebrate your accomplishments.
3. “I am an achiever and motivated by goals. After (insert your own number here) years, I don't have any goals motivating my work each day.”
To have successfully completed graduate school and the licensure process, you needed to be ultra-motivated and working continuously to complete your goals. You had a long checklist of items to complete: courses, comprehensive exams, thesis/dissertation, internship, postdoc hours, licensure requirements…and many other things in between. Look at what you have accomplished. You have worked hard, and now it is time to enjoy some of that hard work.
I suggest a simple shift in outlook here…yes, I am talking about a reframe. You should be excited and proud you completed the professional goals you set for yourself thus far. It is now time to set new goals. This time, your goals do not necessarily have to center around your profession. Maybe you put having a family on hold while you completed school, so you would like to now raise children. You may decide now is the time to train to run a marathon or learn how to rock climb or scuba dive. You may look at your finances and determine you have extra money to finally travel to those exotic destinations you dreamed about while you were working hard in graduate school. Your options are only limited by your creativity.
Again, Congratulations on your accomplishments. If you would like someone to celebrate your newly licensed status or bond over ECP issues, connect with me on Twitter and/or Facebook.
Ashley B. Hampton, PhD
Licensed Psychologist, Alabama #1853
National Register Health Service Psychologist #54081
Federal Bureau of Prisons, Drug Treatment Specialist
Argosy University Online, Forensic Psychology & Human Services Adjunct Faculty
September 4, 2013Three Ways ECPs Can Benefit from Using Social Media and Blogs
As an early career psychologist (ECP), there are many benefits of using technology and social media. About two years ago, I decided that I wanted to start blogging as a way to promote public education and advocate for psychological practice. At that time I was transitioning from being a trainee (postdoctoral fellow) to a licensed psychologist. I had no clear idea about writing a blog, yet I was determined to post in an effort to increase parents' knowledge of psychology and decrease the stigma towards the utilization of services for underserved communities.
Benefits of using social media and blogs
- Promote psychological practice: By posting on social media sites (e.g., Twitter) and writing blogs, you can use your expertise to reach a wide audience. You can use these avenues to focus on a broad issue that you're passionate about or express a more narrow focus to enhance your expertise in niche practice. In my experience, I have often posted on issues related to mental health awareness and provided psychoeducation content to increase individuals understanding of psychological conditions.
- Advocate for psychological science and practice: In addition to promoting an understanding of psychological issues, social media is a great way to advocate. You can use social media (e.g., Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn ) to promote legislative action, highlight psychological perspectives or share information to educate the public. Current enhancements in technology allow for ease in posting information online. For example, HootSuite allows for you to schedule content in advance, which provides more opportunities to post information and requires less time demands.
- Establish yourself as a national expert: Blogging is a great way to increase your visibility as an expert and to promote your niche. With the increase use of Internet and social media, many individuals seek out knowledge about mental health issues online. As an ECP, you can write content related to your expertise to educate people about psychology and mental health. If you work in a private practice or integrated health care system, you also can use this as a way to establish your specialty area, which may serve as a referral source. Since starting my blog, other media sources have reached out to me to comment on important issues such as mental health and gun violence, cultural issues and autism.
Resources for writing a blog
Erlanger A. Turner, PhD
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Virginia Treatment Center for Children
VCU Medical Center
Connect with Erlanger on Twitter (@DrEarlTurner) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/DrEarlTurner)
February 19, 2013Congratulations to the 2013 State Leadership Conference ECP Delegates
On behalf of the Division 31 ECP Task Force, I would like to congratulate the following talented ECP delegates who have been selected by their SPTAs to attend the State Leadership Conference in March. It is especially encouraging to welcome several returning delegates from previous conferences. Delegates will attend an ECP orientation with the goals of connecting with other ECP leaders, sharing ideas and learning about best practices for state leadership. They will also participate in the conference programming (with a health care reform emphasis) and join their state delegations to lobby for our profession on Capitol Hill. We commend these individuals for their involvement and leadership in their SPTAs. A large number of previous ECP delegates have gone on to serve as association presidents. See you in DC!
Sarah Dewane, PhD (Alaska)
Adam H. Benton, PhD (Ark.)*
Jane Hancock, PsyD (Colo.)
Lacey Seymour, PhD (La.)
Daphne Papadopoulos (Mass.)
Alison J. Dunton, PsyD (Md.)*
David Dahlbeck, PhD (Mo.)
Sheryl Pipe, PhD (N.J.)
Chimène Jewer, PhD (Nova Scotia, Canada)*
Robyn Donaldson, PhD (Nev.)
Jon Marrelli, PsyD (N.Y.)*
Joshua W. Shuman, PsyD (Ohio)*
Erin Patel, PsyD (Tenn.)
Kristina Vollmer, PhD (Wis.)
Emily Selby-Nelson, PsyD (W.Va.)
Esther Saville, PhD (Wyo.)*
Sheena Walker, PhD (V.I.)
November 26, 2012Spotlight: ECP Task Force Welcomes New Member Jessica Luzier, PhD
It is my pleasure to join the ECP task force for APA Division 31! I have been actively involved in my state psychological associations and advocacy ventures since early in my graduate school career. A fellow graduate student at Ohio University convinced me to run for an office in OPAGS (Ohio Psychological Association for Graduate Students), where I held positions in OPAGS leadership (Chair and Chair-Elect) and on the OPA Advocacy Committee. During my time in Ohio, I wrote a number of news articles (OP Review, National Psychologist) about students' role in advocacy, and I presented on this topic at numerous events and conferences (OPA Legislative Day, OPAGS Workshops, OPA PAC Luncheon, 2012 APA Convention). Through my involvement in OPA and OPAGS, I was able to attend the APA State Leadership Conference in 2007 and 2008, while I was still a graduate student. Also, I was involved with the sequence-of-training legislation that passed in Ohio. I testified before the Ohio Senate and House Health Committees, and was awarded the Karl F. Heiser APA Presidential Award by Dr. James Bray in 2009, and the Graduate Student of the Year by the Ohio Psychological Association that same year.
I moved to West Virginia for my internship, and afterwards joined the faculty of WVU School of Medicine, Department of Behavioral Medicine. I am now licensed in West Virginia, and I am re-engaging with ECP and student programming within WVPA. I represented West Virginia at the 2012 APA Convention at the ECP Leadership meeting. I was featured by APA Division 31 as an Outstanding Leader in September of 2012. Most recently, at the WVPA Fall Convention in October, I assisted my colleagues in the development of an ECP committee within our state psychological association. I hope to contribute more time and energy into developing programming at conferences for ECP's and students in our state and continuing to advocate for a national standard in licensure laws. Just as involvement in advocacy for our careers and clients was a considerable part in shaping my development as a graduate student, I see new opportunities for professional growth through ECP involvement.
I believe that students and ECP's have important opportunities for involvement in state and national advocacy issues. Our healthcare landscape continues to evolve, and we need to have a place at the table as we continue to develop our role in interdisciplinary health teams. Psychologists possess the skills to develop relationships with key persons who can assist in positive change. We also know how to use relevant health effectiveness literature to inform our decisions. Advocacy work has been a meaningful and rewarding part of my professional development. Through this task force, I look forward to helping Division 31 continue to build ECP and student presence within the organization and within state psychological association leadership.
Jessica Luzier, PhD
October 22, 2012Division 31 ECP Task Force Chair Contributes to Monitor Article
In an article in the July 2012 issue of the Monitor on Psychology, Division 31 ECP Task Force Chair Shannon [Kellogg] Kolakowski, PsyD, discusses opportunities that Division 31 provides for ECPs, including a mentoring program.
"We're offering a path to go from state to national leadership within APA, and that's easier if you have a mentor who can encourage you, give guidance, and introduce you to others in executive positions," Kellogg says. "Through Div. 31, ECPs have a strong platform to advocate for issues that matter most to them."
Read “Birds of a Feather” in its entirety.
September 4, 2012Division 31 Seeks E-Newsletter Editor (ECP Preferred)
Division 31 (SPTAs) is looking for an editor for their e-newsletter (distributed a few times per year) and is specifically interested in an ECP for this position. ECPs who are involved in their SPTAs would be an especially good fit. No experience specifically as a newsletter editor is required. If you are not a Division 31 member at this time, you would need to become one ($25/year for ECPs). If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, please contact Division 31's president, G. Andy Benjamin. To learn more about Division 31, please visit the Division 31's About the Division page. Please consider this neat opportunity to get involved with an active and supportive division.
CECP Liaison to Div. 31
July 6, 2012APA Convention is Family Friendly
One of the roles of APA’s Committee on Early Career Psychologists (CECP) that I find most enjoyable and personally relevant is our role in enhancing the experience of attendees who will be bringing families to the Annual APA Convention. The Board of Convention Affairs (BCA) provided funding and tasked CECP with planning family-friendly activities, starting with last year’s convention. A family room with activities and entertainers was a hit last year and we hope for even more usage this year.
Located in the Convention Center, Kids’ Place will be open Thursday through Saturday, with entertainment Friday and Saturday night. This is not a childcare service (we looked into this as well but at this time it was determined cost-prohibitive) but a place for parents to bring their kids to relax and play. APA has also arranged for discounted tickets to the Disney parks. Especially unique are special “After 2 p.m.” or “After 4 p.m.” tickets that allow you to spend the morning at convention and then hit the parks in the evening.
The decision to bring family to convention is sometimes a tough one – it can offer a great way to balance the role of parent and professional, provide a fun opportunity for kids to see the country, but it can also leave the attendee feeling torn, with insufficient time and energy for either role. While it will be very hard for me to be in the land of Minnie Mouse without my Disney-obsessed thtree-year-old, this year I have elected to travel solo. I often bring my kids to meetings, but this year my schedule is too busy. My youngest is 18 months old, and I honestly cannot think of a more challenging age to travel with a child. But for those parents with one kid, older kids or who are simply braver than I, we cannot wait to see your whole family in Orlando.
Sarah Honaker, PhD
CECP Liaison to Division 31
June 27, 2012The Importance of Professional Identity for Psychologists
A large part of my practice involves forensic work — sometimes doing evaluations and sometimes doing trial consultation. An attorney for a petitioner in a difficult divorce retained me to testify about domestic violence and the ways in which domestic violence can be carried out in more subtle ways than overt physical abuse. I prepared an affidavit summarizing the pertinent research in this area and was prepared to educate the court by testimony. But I never got to share my knowledge. The opposing counsel objected to my testimony on the grounds that I lacked expertise in the area. The objection was based on the notion that I could not serve as an expert witness regarding domestic violence because my educational background was in philosophy, evidenced by the fact that my degree is a Doctor of Philosophy. Without going into the legal complexities that followed, I ultimately did not testify. I found myself deeply disappointed that our profession is so poorly understood, and I started thinking that this was not really an isolated incident.
I started thinking about how many times I've gotten the question, "So you're not a doctor doctor right? (or more on the nose "So you don't prescribe meds?" all too often asked with indignation). Then I started thinking about why television and film portrayals of mental health professionals so often have characters referred to as psychiatrists doing work that psychologists do. Why does the general public not understand the difference between psychologists and psychiatrists? That got me thinking about what it means to be a psychologist. That got me thinking about professional identity.
Many different ways exist to practice as licensed psychologists. There are literally dozens of different specialty areas of practice (just take a look at all of APA's divisions) and these specialty areas call for special skills, abilities, and knowledge that others may not have. Despite our specialties and our unique abilities, there are still common threads that draw us all together as professionals.
I would argue that we need to clearly identify what these common threads are — what these common threads in psychology are — so that we can strengthen them together and use them to advance our professions in the best interests of ourselves as practitioners or providers, in the best interests of our patients, and in the best interest of our profession. The common threads can make psychologists distinguishable from other mental health professionals.
It is exceptionally important for early career psychologists to consider questions of professional identity because they will directly affect how professional psychology is perceived by the public and practiced by professionals. After all, ECPs are the most recent psychologists who have jumped all the hurdles to enter professional practice and who have the greatest stake in the advancement, in all domains, of professional psychology.
Over the next few months, this blog will feature entries that are part of a larger project regarding professional identity and the needs of professional psychology. Some might disagree. In fact, I hope some people disagree, and I hope they tell me (feel free to email me). My goal in these blog entries is to start the discussion about what a psychologist is in today's world and how professional psychology can advance and adapt to meet the changing demands of today's shifting societal, cultural and personal landscapes.
Troy W. Ertelt, PhD
Member, Early Career Psychologist Task Force of APA Division 31
Co-Director, Behavioral Science Training
Assessment and Therapy Associates of Grand Forks, PLLC
Grand Forks Family Medicine Residency
June 15, 2012Four Ways that APA Division Leadership Helps Your Career
One hesitation early career psychologists have when it comes to taking on a leadership role in advocacy is their hectic, busy schedules. "I'm focused on my career right now — I don't have time to take on a leadership role," is a common concern. The truth, however, is that taking on a leadership role tremendously helps your professional growth. Here's why.
Division leadership allows you to:
Prove your leadership potential. If you work at an agency or clinic where there is room for advancement, such as moving up to the director or manager position, then it's essential that you show that you can be effective in a position that comes with great responsibility. Similarly, if you would like to teach or be involved in academia, then it's imperative that you feel confident and self-assured in a leadership role. Whether it's through blogging, presenting at the APA Convention, or leading a committee meeting, you'll learn how to feel confident being in charge. Division 31 mentorship helps you learn from the best, and develop your own style of effective leadership.
Help clients relate to you. In private practice, clients tend to be drawn to a psychologist who they feel can relate to them. As a clinician in private practice, it is easy to become out of touch or isolated in terms of working as a team with a group of diverse individuals. Instead, your work on a board or task force in APA helps you understand the complex dynamics involved in a large organization with conflicting agendas and a finite budget. In addition, clients will feel more connected to you as a multifaceted, well-rounded person who has an active life outside of seeing clients.
Hone your expertise. Chose a leadership role in an area of advocacy that you care about and also work in, allowing you to double up on your efforts while expanding your knowledge base. For instance, if you conduct research on EBT for working with diverse populations, then being part of the Diversity Task Force will keep you updated and involved in the latest state initiatives. Or, joining the HealthCare Reform Task Force ensures your expertise on the evolving models of integrated care and gives you the advantage of understanding new delivery models as they are implemented. Many potential-or current-employers find this knowledge base to be a huge addition to your skill set.
Stay super ethical and up-to-date. Attending committee meetings and conference calls gives you an insider track to the emerging issues that are hot in the world of psychology. Your colleagues hear of issues coming down the pipeline as they emerge, and together you share and discuss how this impacts your committee work or how you will disseminate the information to others. And by being part of the Ethics Education Task Force, for instance, you can't help but be more mindful of ethical issues as they relate to your own work. Plus, you have a built-in team of peers to consult with and refer to when questions emerge.
Lastly, the time commitment required for advocacy varies vastly. Start small by becoming a member of a task force or working committee, and let the other members know how much time you have to devote.
May 11, 2012The Path of an ECP President Part 4 — Conclusion
Looking back (though I'm not quite done) I can say that I am glad that I accepted the nomination to be president of my SPTA. Even though I served as chair of the ECP Committee and served on board meetings, being president truly "pulls the curtain back" on the inner workings of a SPTA and you are privy to the good, the bad (and the ugly) of the association like no other person is.
If you are an ECP and are approached to take a higher leadership position in your SPTA, I strongly encourage you to do it. If others didn't think you were qualified, then you wouldn't have been approached. Remember that you bring to the table the perspective of someone who has recently completed their training and so you are aware of trends in the field and the changing landscape of professional psychology practice. You are also (more likely than not) comfortable with technology and can use it to your SPTA's advantage when it comes to recruiting new members, communicating through different platforms (Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc.) and have a fresh perspective and can offer new ideas that hadn't been considered by the more "experienced" members of your SPTA.
If you have any questions or would like to hear more about my experience, please contact me. I am more than happy to talk with you. In answer to the question of whether ECPs can be presidents of SPTAs, I'd like to quote the Obama campaign cry: "Yes we can!
April 27, 2012The Path of an ECP President Part 3 — The Realities
What I came to learn about the fears mentioned in Part 2 is as follows:
Unless you are a lobbyist or legislator, you will never know all there is to know about the legislative process, but a doctoral-level professional is perfectly capable of understanding a sufficient amount in order to advocate effectively for your profession.
Ditto for insurance reimbursement, though I must say that I never had the experience of being denied claims submitted or feeling the pinch of being under-compensated for services rendered, so I've had to rely on my empathic perspective-taking in order to relate.
The contents of board meetings are usually one percent parliamentary procedure and the other 99 percent of the time trying to get a large group of psychologists to agree on an issue and move on to the next one in the allotted time, often unsuccessfully (i.e., don't sweat the parliamentary stuff).
Regarding work/life balance, by the time my presidency term began, I had three children under three, so finding time for my duties was definitely a challenge since family time is very important on my list of priorities. Luckily, the majority of duties involves communication — with the membership, board members, lobbyists, the ED, etc. — which often takes the form of emails. Many of the emails I've read or sent related to MOPA originate from my smartphone, which is always by my side.
To put it simply, once you hit the ground running, you don't look back and you learn as you go with the help of others who have been in your position in the past for support.
Division 31 ECP Task Force Member
President, Missouri Psychological Association
April 9, 2012The Path of an ECP President Part 2 — The Fears
Prior to being approached for the position of president, like many of you, I was the chair of the ECP Committee of my SPTA, so I had some knowledge of the inner working of our SPTA and had sat in on numerous board meetings before. Despite this, my biggest fears about saying "yes" to the proposal was that I wasn't yet qualified enough to lead the largest organization of psychologists in our state. I had concerns about not knowing enough about the legislative process, insurance reimbursement (I worked at a VA exclusively since being licensed), or even the parliamentary process. Another fear that most ECPs can relate to is how to find the time to fit in all the extra duties after a full work week and devoting time to family. Despite these fears, I accepted the nomination and was elected as president. In the next part, I'll talk about how these fears played out once I took on the duties of president of the Missouri Psychological Association.
Division 31 ECP Task Force Member
President, Missouri Psychological Association
April 2, 2012ECP Resources Needed
The Early Career Psychologist Task Force is in the process of creating a databank of ECP resources for SPTAs to be hosted on the APA Communities website. We are gathering resources to add to the online databank. If you have tools or templates used for ECP leadership and advocacy that you are willing to share, please send the templates to Shannon Kellogg. Examples of resources include the following:
Welcome letters to newly licensed psychologists
Survey or questionnaires geared toward ECPs
Membership benefits list for ECPs
ECP committee mission statement
Mentorship program description or applications
ECP programming descriptions
Call to action or letters to governance
I’d also like to highlight that if you are not yet a member of Division 31, join today. Membership for 2012 is free to APA members!
March 29, 2012The Path of an ECP President Part 1 — Introduction
On the heels of the State Leadership Conference in D.C., I was energized to be part of the programming for ECPs. One fact that stuck with me was that while ECPs account for 20% of the membership of APA, they account for less than one percent of APA's governance. One explanation of this trend may be ECPs hesitancy to take on leadership positions. While at SLC, I came across one ECP who had been approached about becoming president of her state's psychological association. She had reservations about it and some hesitancy, and I briefly spoke with her about my very similar feelings prior to accepting the nomination to be president of the Missouri Psychological Association (MOPA). My hunch is that as more and more ECPs are taking leadership roles in SPTAs they are being approached about taking on the position of president. Since taking the reigns as president of MOPA almost one year ago, I am able to look back on this time and offer some lessons learned along the way. In the next three sections of this four-part series I hope to share what my experience has been like as an ECP president and provide some points to consider if you find yourself in a similar position.
Division 31 ECP Task Force
President, Missouri Psychological Association
March 16, 2012Opportunities Abound for ECPs
This is an exciting time to be an ECP. APA and SPTAs are increasingly recognizing the value of our experience, energy, unique perspective, and leadership potential, and also looking closely at our specific needs as members. This has resulted in more ECP-specific programs (such as Division 31’s Mentorship Program), resources for ECPs (such as the ECP Financial Planning Guide), and more leadership and travel opportunities. Opportunities on the national level include:
Travel awards to the APA Convention in Orlando
Specifically for ECPs: Twenty ECPs will each receive $750 towards travel cost for attending convention.
Two open positions on the Committee for Early Career Psychologists (CECP)
The Public Interest and Practice representative. See my previous blog for more thoughts about serving on this committee.
Openings for positions on several APA boards and committees
Historically, it has been difficult for ECPs to be chosen for these committees, because of the importance of name recognition and previous accomplishments. However, some committees and boards have created ECP-designated slots, and others are increasingly open to including ECPs. While the vast majority of those nominated (or who self-nominate) are not chosen for the ballot, it is important for ECPs to volunteer to show our commitment and willingness to serve. CECP will submit your nomination and will also consider a letter of support (email Sonja Wiggins by March 2 with a CV and statement of interest). A letter of support from an SPTA leader, particularly one who knows and is known in APA governance, is also very helpful.
Attending the State Leadership Conference (SLC) in Washington, D.C.
Did you know that APA funds ten ECPs each year, nominated by their SPTAs, and that several SPTAs fund their own ECP delegate? Those receiving funding from APA for 2012 have already been designated, and many SPTAs have already budgeted their travel for this year’s meeting. However, if you are an ECP leader I encourage you to talk to your SPTA executive committee about nominating an ECP for next year’s meeting.
I hope you will take advantage of one or more of these great opportunities, and please feel free to contact me if I can assist you in any way.
Sarah Morsbach Honaker, PhD
CECP Liaison to Division 31
December 15, 2011Building an Impressive Leadership Resume
This blog is geared towards early career psychologists who are up-and-coming leaders on the national level. Experts share their insider knowledge of building and writing a resume for leadership positions in APA and in national leadership positions.
To explore these issues, I spoke with Jeffrey Barnett, PsyD, ABPP a licensed psychologist in private practice in Annapolis, Maryland, Professor of Psychology at Loyola University, Maryland, and recognized leader in the American Psychological Association over the past 20 years.
Dr. Barnett describes his rise to leadership as beginning in his State Psychological Association, and developing valuable connections through his association. Dr. Barnett explains, “Having personal connections and mentorship made a huge difference. I would see areas of need, get the go ahead to do the work for the committee, and people were receptive. The reward for hard work is more opportunities.” He describes moving from member to Chair of the ethics committee, then moving into elected and other appointed positions, each building on one another, leading to president of the state association. Dr. Barnett then learned of APA Division 31 “as gateway to get involved.” He moved from Division 31 Newsletter editor for 4-5 years, member at large, to treasurer, then Division 31 President. “Division 31 mentoring and personal connections guide you and you make connections throughout APA”. He went on to become president of several other divisions within APA. Dr. Barnett also served on APA’s Council of Representatives, APA’s governing body, elected be his state association to represent it at APA. There, he made numerous additional connections within APA governance circles.
Dr. Barnett also recommends that you “be visible.” He advises to write articles for your state association newsletter, write for its website or blog, and give presentations at state association conferences and workshops. It is important to be known by other leaders who will see your competence and professionalism. Then, when they are thinking of “who can we recruit for that position on the board we want to fill?” they will be more likely to think of you. There is no need to be a self-promoter; your good work for the state association will speak for itself, but do actively seek out opportunities and let leaders know of your interest in additional involvement in the leadership in the association. Sometimes, all you need to do is ask!
“APA leadership can seem daunting and closed, yet having a mentor in the system to guide you and teach you the ropes will make a big difference. Connections are key. Have a plan and an objective, and ask for leadership advice from your mentors,” advises Barnett. To learn more about formal mentorship, visit the Division 31 Mentorship Program.
Dr. Barnett suggests these key considerations when putting together your leadership resume:
Avoid “vanity board listings”, which appear as a misrepresentation of expertise, since they require only a fee to be paid in order to add letters after your name. While ABPP is reputable and indicates demonstrated competence, a vanity board listing “shows self-promotion and misrepresentation. It’s not reputable, or recognized, and shows no real specialty or vetting.” Any credentials you list should be based on the demonstration of actual clinical competence. “Vanity boards are not impressive”.
He also cautions against clearly overstating your credentials. Using the title of “founder or creator” of something may be misleading. Instead, state factual information, and know that the search committee will be fact checking. “It’s ok to be new to field. List what you’ve done, we understand that it is to be expected to have less experience early in your career. It’s better than someone who is trying to impressive. We are looking for someone who’s achieved a level of experience commensurate with number of years in profession.”
When asking for a letter of recommendation, ensure that your letter writer has access to a detailed account of your history and all of your accomplishments. Make sure the letter writer knows the specifics of the position you are applying for in order to tailor your recommendation to that committee.
In your letter of intent, “highlight leadership background, accentuate what you’ve done leading up to this, and why you’re interested in this next step. Show your commitment to field, your contributions, your progression to this position, and why it’s a logical next step.”
While it is not appropriate to include a picture on your resume, do include your website address and LinkedIn address. The reviewing committee “will look at your online profile, website, or LinkedIn, and you will be judged for professionalism.”
Equally important to landing a leadership position is the formatting and organization of your resume. In an interview with Tina Kashlak Nicolai (www.ResumeWritersInk.com), Career Marketing Strategist, Talent Expert, and Professional Resume Writer, she offers her insights to building a winning leadership resume:
Format: How do you suggest organizing experience and background?
“Chronological order is the most effective method for building a resume or career history. Starting with the current position and working backwards. Most businesses, companies, hiring leaders are interested in only listing the most recent 10 years of experience.”
Scope: Should applicants include clinical experience as well as leadership experience?
“Resumes most likely to gain attention are those leading with the targeted position listed at the top of the resume. This has replaced the objective statement, which is no longer viewed as necessary. In fact, listing an objective is viewed as antiquated and ‘out of the loop’.
Immediately following the targeted position it is critical to list the top five career highlights or career distinctions in bullet format. This section contains a balance of successes, which may include: Clinical Work, Leadership, Awards, Turnaround Results, Projects, etc.”
Resistance: Do people have roadblocks in writing a resume? If so, what are the obstacles?
“The #1 roadblock in writing a resume is being able to be objective and self-aware of strengths. Most individuals can immediately tell you what they do NOT do well. Approximately 10% of candidates [or my clients] are able to easily convey their achievements with confidence.
The resume today is more than documented professional employment history. The document is the end result of working through extracting career highlights, leadership competencies, successes and differentiators. It is the process of screening oneself to ‘squeeze’ the most essential information which is ultimately used to develop the resume. Your resume must read as the advertisement of you, the CEO of your talents, skills and achievements!”
What are common mistakes on resumes that really stand out? Deal breakers?
“The three T’s will kill the resume: Templates, Too many pages, Typo’s! Listing responsibilities is a deal breaker as well. Why? If candidate A lists his/her responsibilities and candidate B lists his/her successes, who do you think the hiring leader will be more interested in interviewing? To list responsibilities is simply stating the scope of WHAT the person was responsible to perform. Responsibilities alone do not convey whether the person actually performed the responsibilities. Let’s examine the two sentences below:
Responsible for observing, treating and documenting behavior of patients.
Administered treatment for 20 patients per week through observation and treatment in one-on-one and group therapy sessions.
Recognized by senior staff administrator for outstanding consistency in reaching 100% compliance with charting patients’ progress, behavioral patterns and treatment plans.
Try to create a working document that is an extension of you as a brand. What that means is marketing your resume as an advertisement. So, if you were a product on the shelf, or an item of clothing, what would your label read? What would your brand reflect? We have rapidly moved into an age of less is more. Your Personal Brand (personality, attributes, differentiators) must make a statement. After the statement, your content must be aligned with your achievements.”
What’s the best way to convey leadership ability on paper?
“Two effective methods of listing leadership on paper are:
Listing leadership achievements in sentence format
Listing leadership core competencies in a text box.
Led peer and intern shadowing sessions through weekly resident outings in the community.
Text box competencies:
- Strategic Planning
- Project Management
- Operational Agility
- Building Teams & Partnerships
Insight: What’s really the most important part of the resume and application?
“Achievement based examples of deliverables, successes and bottom line results balanced with a branded resume format (reflecting personality). Science and art when balanced are a powerful marketing tool.”
Advice: Any tips on resumes in general?
“Do seek objective individuals to read your resume marketing tool kit. Do not ask family or friends as they are often times too close to you to offer sound and constructive input. Be open to the feedback and ask questions of the individuals reviewing your resume marketing tool kit. For example, ‘What made you feel that way? What did you read that led you to become confused? And so on.”
Lasting Impression: Additional tips you may have for resume building and experience building?
“Well thought out strategically written and designed marketing tools that are targeted towards the position available. Documents must be written and designed to match the audience, their required expectations and the positions requirements. Combing a marketing tool that pitches the candidate to appeal to four key areas of potential interviewers is critical. Showing bottom line results, creative problem solving, relationship building and critical thinking ability are the basis for a well rounded candidate.”
Thank you to Jeffrey Barnett, PsyD, ABPP, and Tina Kashlak Nicolai for sharing with Division 31 their expert insights on resume building for leadership positions.
Shannon Kellogg, PsyD
APA Division 31
November 4, 2011Leadership Lessons from The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
“The Tipping Point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.” As the membership chair at the Washington State Psychological Association, I began to think about how I could apply the concepts from Gladwell’s book to our efforts. Membership numbers in many state and national organizations are decreasing, and our association has been working hard to not only increase new members, but to maintain the current members that we value so much.
The Tipping Point takes the reader through a journey, exploring the central themes of Gladwell’s theory, including: 1) the law of the few, 2) the stickiness factor, and 3) the power of context. The central message is how powerful personal interactions and word of mouth become in creating momentum.
How can these concepts apply to influencing psychologists to become involved in our state association? First, “The Law of the Few” explains how a small number key of people start trends that have far reaching impact. “The Connector,” Gladwell explains, is the name for someone who influences others because of how many people they know and the quality of people they know. Part of my job as membership chair is to connect people with similar interests to one another. As I meet people in our organization, I try to act as a connector in our field. One way WSPA facilitates these connections is by hosting quarterly “Meet & Greets” for our new members. The Meet & Greets are held at a local council members’ home or office, where appetizers and beverages are provided. It’s a time for new members to meet one another and also hear from council members about ways to get involved in WSPA and hear a personal account of how important WSPA membership has been to them. These council members serve as “Mavens” in our organization, the next idea that Gladwell presents.
“The Maven” is someone who accumulates knowledge through intrinsic interest in certain topics, and spreads the knowledge for altruistic reasons. These people are influential in starting trends and impacting consumers because they are credible, dynamic, engaging and well known. Several of our long-standing council members fit this description perfectly. They are our WSPA Mavens, and they engage new members by sharing their stories about our organization, and letting new members know how to get involved directly with committees and ongoing events. By being connected to Mavens through our organization, we add additional value to our membership.
By providing many networking and continuing education opportunities for our members, WSPA provides a context for members to come together and allow these connections to occur. Gladwell highlights “The Power of Context” in that creating a cohesive, small group environment may be essential in the success of your messaging. I’ve noticed context is important depending on timing, in that people are busy around the holidays, enjoy attending events more when they are provided food, and like to feel that they come away with something tangible, such as a CE credit. This fall, we re-instated the New Licensee Ethics Orientation for ECPs. This Ethics panel discussion provided a tangible benefit to attendees, while providing a context for the message of our organization.
“The Stickiness Factor,” another key idea Gladwell discusses, has to do with packaging information in a way that makes it irresistible and memorable. Gladwell discusses shows such as Sesame Street and Blues Clues to compare just how something becomes sticky and how sticky it can be. This is an area that we continue to explore for WSPA. Our association has so much important information to share, such as state legislative and advocacy efforts, but it can be difficult to disseminate information to our members in a way that is attention grabbing and “sticks”. Some of the ideas WSPA has generated for creating “stickiness” include increasing social media outlets, posting video or blog content on the website, and creating interactive hubs such as APA has done with APA Communities for the divisions.
I felt the take home message from this book was that it’s exciting to think about creating momentum. It helped me see my membership efforts through a new lens. A few key people can create massive impact under the right circumstances. With this knowledge, we can work to increase our influence in the psychology community.
What books have you found useful in your advocacy and leadership efforts? Tell us your feedback and follow us on Twitter @APADivision31.
Shannon Kellogg, PsyD
APA Division 31
October 19, 2011Electronic Representations of Your Professional Image: Tips on Creating a Web Presence
In his article, "Electronic Representations of Your Profressional Image: Tips on Creating a Web Presense," Tyson D. Bailey, PsyD, provides a wealth of information about how to create an ethical, effective web presence. He contends that a web presence is not only an important component of the marketing process for early career psychologists, but also provides forums for leadership and advocacy in this ever-connected world.
For his article, Dr. Bailey interviewed Jill Olkoski, MA, who develops websites for small businesses, with a particular emphasis in the mental health fields, and Andy Benjamin, JD, PhD, ABPP, an affiliate professor at the University of Washington, where he currently teaches both law and clinical psychology classes. Dr. Benjamin is also president-elect of Division 31.
Read Dr. Bailey's entire article (PDF, 22KB).
October 3, 2011Getting Involved and Engaged
I want to bring to your attention an exciting opportunity to join the APA Committee on Early Career Psychologists (CECP). This committee seeks to represent the interests and concerns of early career psychologists throughout APA. We were just granted approval to add a 7th member who will focus on membership and governance. Please learn more about this position and the application process. Keep the October 31 due date in mind. Those of you who play a leadership role in your SPTAs are in a great position to apply for this role.
I am the SPTA representative to the CECP for 2011-2013. Serving on the committee has been an amazing experience. We proposed initiatives and made decisions that have had broad impact. For example, in collaboration with the Board of Convention Affairs we took steps to make the APA Convention more family-friendly, created resources for ECPs such as the Financial Planning Guide (PDF, 1.78MB), advised APA leadership about ECP issues, and coordinated convention programming relevant to ECPs. The committee meetings in DC are also a lot of fun. Keep in mind though, that it is a huge time commitment, with at least three trips to DC each year (travel expenses covered), one trip to convention (travel expenses NOT covered), and lots of work in between.
Of course, not everybody has the desire and time to get involved at this level, and there are only two or three open positions each year. There are lots of great opportunities for leadership and contribution at the state and division levels as well. Other ways to engage with APA include joining divisions, such as Division 31, serving on its Task Forces and Committees (contact the President-Elect Andy Benjamin, JD, PhD), attending convention, reading your APA publications, and voting for APA president.
If you have any questions about serving on the CECP please feel free to contact me.
Sarah Honaker, PhD
CECP Liaison to Division 31
August 24, 2011Leadership & Advocacy Through Social Media
Most early career psychologists use social media for personal use. Many of us have a personal Facebook account and have an online photo-sharing site we use. So why not channel our social media savvy into our advocacy efforts? One of the most effective ways to enhance your leadership and advocacy efforts is to draw attention to your cause through social media. This is great news, because most of us already know how to use these sources. To make a smooth transition from personal to professional endeavors, keep these tips in mind while creating your new website, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or WordPress blog.
Begin to attract a critical mass of viewers to your website as quickly as possible after launching your site. In the article “Why Therapist Directories Are A Waste Of Time” the author reinforces the findings that developing a mass following quickly is important to creating a site that has lasting power. To create a critical mass, it’s important to let people know about your online presence at every opportunity. Have links to your site on your e-mail signature and have links to your Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter on your website.
Seattle’s Top Marketing Agency suggests using key words, fresh content, and SEO optimization to drive traffic to your site, as is discussed in the blog “Why Blogging is Important”. These measures help to ensure that your content is not floating in cyberspace unnoticed.
In generating fresh content, consider how your advocacy efforts are relevant to the hot topics in psychology. APA compiled a word cloud of the Top 100 Topics in Psychology based on frequently used words in The Monitor. Or browse your favorite research journals for emerging trends. Then convey to your audience how your topic relates to the leading topics in psychology. When considering popular topics, think about the demographic you are most eager to reach and topics that will appeal to your target audience.
Developmental psychologist and researcher Dr. Marilyn Price-Mitchell, a contributing writer for Psychology Today, recommends increasing your success by writing blogs that translate research into practice. She recommends posting one to two articles every week, particularly when you are getting started and developing an audience. Dr. Price-Mitchell also recommends including hyperlinks to other interesting articles, helping readers value the richness of your content and research.
Media expert Dan Blank discusses the power of focusing on ideas and featuring others as a way to engage in effective social media “Promote an IDEA, not a Product”. In a similar vein, become active in your colleagues blogs and online forums. Respond to blog posts that are related to your advocacy issue. When colleagues in your field notice your consistent, thoughtful contribution to their site, they are more likely to become aware of your cause and become followers of your site in return.
Another way to generate buzz around your advocacy message on your website is to package your content in an interactive forum. Provide a place for viewers to voice their opinion and get involved by encouraging them to respond to your blog, take a test about your topic, or answer a survey question. Another idea to increase traffic is to provide an interactive service that will keep people coming back to your site. For instance, if your topic is obesity, you may want to have an instant BMI calculator on your site. You may also encourage your followers to set your webpage to their homepage.
Lastly, use your social media platform to provide a clear “Call to Action” that gives visitors an instant way to take action regarding your message. This might include featuring a link where users can sign up to volunteer with a local organization, donate to your cause, or sign up for your RRS feed and stay connected with your updates. Remember, the goal is for your audience to visit your website, stay and explore for a long while, and return frequently.
Shannon Kellogg, PsyD
APA Division 31
August 12, 2011Leadership in the Millennial Generation?
Much of the media coverage of Millennials —those individuals born between 1977 and 1998—is about how to lead millennials, how to teach millennials, and generally how to navigate and wrangle this new breed. I remember the first time I really heard about millennials, I was preparing for my first semester teaching an undergraduate psychology course. I attended a lecture, given by a seasoned professor, which was designed to prepare incoming teachers for how to best "Teach to Millennials." In short, the lecture described a cohort of spoiled, sheltered, fragile, egocentric perfectionists who weren't much able to pay attention to one task for long and who demanded all A's regardless of reality. As I've done more research about millennials in the media, it is easy to see how one may come away with the feeling that this generation—my generation-- is doomed. We're unemployed, overeducated, and living at home with our parents in a perpetual "extended/delayed adolescents" that lasts into our mid-twenties. Those of us who do work are difficult to manage and are highly sensitive in the workplace. We are the product of Boomers who spent their way to happiness (and debt), and we are now grasping at straws.
And then I began to consider the actual people I know in my generation. I started thinking about who is leading some of the most innovative science and technology, psychology, and advocacy efforts. The reality seemed different than the picture painted in the media. Sure, there is truth in the aforementioned traits. But there is a lot that's left out. It's essential that we turn the focus onto the Millennials who are the leaders of their generation.
In order to see this generation in a new lens, let's look at who millennials are categorically, and see how these millennial traits begin to look something like advantages.
- Technology is a way of life and a primary form of keeping up with news, socializing, and disseminating information. They understand how to get up-to-the-minute global news from blogging sites, such as MarketTicker Forums, and aggregate new sites, such as Drudge Report. They have a pulse on the key issues, not only in psychology, but easy access between disciplines such as politics and human rights issues. They see the larger picture and how psychology plays a role in broader sense.
- They may be under or unemployed. This forces leaders to think of new ways to employ themselves. For psychologists, this may mean utilizing psychology, research, media and art in different ways than our psychologist predecessors. There is a more integrated approach that allows psychologists to work within disciplines to find ways of making a living.
- They have a (large, looming) debt burden from graduate school loans. Many ECPs see this as motivation to make money, pay off debt, and continue to live the lifestyle their baby boomer parents afforded.
- Millennials have high goals and expectations of themselves, because they've been told by their parents and teachers that they can do anything. So "Generation Me" may have the advantage of dreaming big and therefore accomplishing big. This generation writes their own rules and redefines their roles in order to be—and stay—relevant.
- This is a generation of mutli-taskers with multiple options to chose from. It's also a generation of research and evidence-based data as a norm, not an exception. These leaders understand the value of knowing if something works, why it works, and how it works. This translates into this generation having the ability to objectively look at all of the options and making good decisions based on efficacy. With so many options, one has to learn how to choose wisely, and these leaders certainly do their due diligence.
- They are close to their parents. They don't leave the nest at 18. Instead, they use their parents' wisdom and influence to become influential and wise in their own right.
- They are hands-on advocates and activists. Rather than simply donate money to a good cause, a millennial would rather get their hands dirty and create something meaningful. This generation wants to be part of creating change, as opposed to watching from the sidelines. This creates an atmosphere of engagement that is a far cry from the stereotype of unconcerned, sheltered young people who are too concerned with video games and celebrities to care about humanitarian issues. Far from that, these are young people who are seeking the personal connection of creating an experience together. I see these personal connection as essential in this generation, equally essential, as it has been in generations past.
It is not news that Millennials are facing a difficult road ahead regarding the political climate, the economy and the numerous obstacles relating to the standard of living that may change. One way that millennial leaders will deal with these harsh realities is through resiliency. The resiliency in these leaders is fierce and we're going to need every bit of it. It is perhaps a message than needs to be heard that millennial leaders are indeed up to the task.
Shannon Kellogg, PsyD
APA Division 31
July 27, 2011Website Launched!
The Division 31 website has a new look and I for one am very excited. The Division 31 officers and board members have worked diligently with APA staffers to launch this sleeker, user-friendly, interactive version of our Div 31 website, which is hosted by APA at no cost to our Division or members.
The new website has numerous features:
Support for RSS feeds, forms, and secure content. You can get up-to-the-minute information on our Division through twitter, blogs and email updates.
Increased opportunity for web traffic and visibility through integration with the APA site.
Searchable through the APA site (by division or entire site), such as awards or committees.
Division information will be included in the calendar and other features of the APA site.
Collaborative Work area for committees and other division related activities
Graphic design specialists will continue to contribute to the site design and obtain engaging images.
APA has dedicated staff to upload the Division 31 newsletter and other documents to be posted.
Safe, secure and reliable computer & software systems with ITS support
Detailed site analytics and reports provided.
Opportunity to use the “APA communities” for all APA and D31 members. This feature is like a social networking site (upload pictures, update your status, email colleagues, personalize your profile) plus more; you can upload documents to edit and share, post and vote in polls, participate in discussion forums, and work collaboratively in this space with other members. This feature will be available in the coming months.
For my part, I’ll post a blog once a week on the Division31 Website to keep you updated on Div 31 news, member happenings, and resources for SPTA leaders. I will feature topics that are of interest to ECP leaders and those interested in advocacy.
A bit about my background. I’m the Membership Chair for the Washington State Psychological Association and have been involved in setting up the Div 31 mentorship program. As an ECP (early-career psychologist) in private practice in Seattle, WA., I really appreciate division 31, the Voice for Developing Leadership and Advocacy.
The blog next week will focus on “Leadership for the Millennial Generation.” We’ll look at the advantages, differences, and challenges we face as the incoming generation of leaders in psychology, and explore “just how millennial are you?” See you next week! And follow us on Twitter @APADivision31.
Shannon Kellogg, PsyD
APA Division 31