A message from the Early Career Committee

Past, present, and future: A message from current and past Division 39 Early Career Committee co-chairs

By Heather-Ayn Indelicato, PsyD, and Marilyn Charles, PhD

Early psychodynamic clinicians endure unique challenges. The Early Career Committee was created to provide support for therapists, researchers, and teachers who are new to the field and finding their way within the Division. In this edition of InSight, we have decided to highlight the history of our committee and the ideas and initiatives that have emerged over the past seven years.

David Ramirez, PhD established the special Task Force on Early Career Professionals in the spring of 2005. He recruited Marilyn Charles PhD, a senior clinician, and Winnie Eng PhD, then a post-doctoral intern, to work together as co- chairs because they shared a similar passion for early career interests and very high energy levels. Although they had never met before, Marilyn and Winnie really hit off from the start and used their personal experiences within the division to start brainstorming ways to connect to early career individuals and invited new members to join in the conversation. The mission of the task force was to see how the division could promote the academic and clinical careers of ECPs, as well as to identify organizational barriers to membership and participation in the division. An anonymous, web-based survey allowed graduate students and early-career professionals to provide feedback on division membership satisfaction, to note perceived barriers to participation, and to describe unique early-career issues. The results of this needs assessment informed several initiatives that were supported by the division's board, including a revised membership dues structures, lowered conference registration fees, and increased early-career programming. The task force also surveyed local chapter representatives and training professionals about successful recruitment efforts and mentorship models. We chaired annual spring meeting panels that invited seasoned and early career individuals to talk about current issues such as building a psychoanalytic community, the value of institute training, private practice viability, self-care, finding an identity, and issues of race, class and sexuality. We also created a list of psychodynamic friendly internships sites and graduate programs, and compiled a list of helpful hints for establishing a private practice. Our group coordinates the annual presidents' reception for early career professionals, graduate students and candidates that has been very successful at bringing together members in all stages of their career in a non-intimidating atmosphere. The Early Career Professional Paper Award is given to the best paper submission for the Division 39 Spring Meeting by a participant who is within the first seven years after training. These inclusive efforts aimed to reconcile a generational gap, create momentum, and engage new and once alienated members.

We became an official committee in 2008, and have been able to provide further opportunities for newer members to become more active in the organization. We have since helped ECPs participate in the conference through the mentorship model spearheaded by Dana Castellano, which provided tips on how to ensure strong conference participation. The Early Career Committee is working with the Executive Board of Division 39 to determine how to grant several generous travel awards for our upcoming Spring Meeting 2013, in Boston, Mass. The committee is also working with the Multicultural Committee of Division 39 in order to create two joint panels, to be presented at our annual spring meeting. Our newly formed mentoring program, led by Jennifer Durham-Fowler is up and running! We are excited to share that our mentorship program is expanding and many seasoned members have committed to mentoring early career clinicians. We have also been working on a workshop, geared towards early career clinicians and graduate students who are interested in building a private practice. Participation in the committee is voluntary and we have a diverse and committed group of young professionals that want to support the inclusion of all early career professionals who find connection and support in our psychodynamic division.

We truly appreciate the genuine investment that the division has provided to our committee. Heather-Ayn Indelicato, PsyD started as a member of the graduate student committee, and became the new co-chair in 2010. Our committee membership is constantly growing and generating creative new ideas that are shared through monthly telephone conferences. We been inspired and enlivened by members' clinical work, their writing and their willingness to share their writings with early career/graduate student members, early to the field. As we move forward, we are hoping to generate spaces for diverse voices in our committee. Please contact us if you have any questions or need additional information.

  • Heather-Ayn Indelicato, PsyD 

  • Marilyn Charles, Phd