Early Career Psychologist Blog

Regular blog postings will keep you updated on Div. 31 news, member happenings, and resources for SPTA leaders.

August 26, 2021

Another year (of COVID), another successful (virtual) APA conference!

The Committee on Early Career Psychologists (CECP) offered five successful sessions as well as seven poster sessions. All were well attended and received positive feedback. While we hope to see everyone in person next year, we were excited to be able to virtually promote interesting and relevant material created by talented early career psychologists across the nation.

Aside from working to ensure ECP presence at this year’s APA convention, the Committee on Early Career Psychologists (CECP) is focused on furthering our priorities and APA’s Strategic Plan by promoting and recognizing the achievements of ECPs. This month, we awarded three distinguished ECPs for their significant contributions to and impact on psychology: Tiffany Brannon, PhD, Jason A. Cantone, JD, PhD, and Alfonso Mercado, PhD. Please look for more information about the ECP award on APA's website. In addition, CECP in conjunction with the National Register, awarded 20 early career psychologists with grant funding to attend APA 2021. This grant funding allowed awardees to attend, participate in, and even present their work at our national conference. For more information, please visit the APA convention website.

For more information about CECP and our priorities, please join us on September 10 at 3 p.m. ET. During this CECP forum, you will get a peek at the projects and happenings within the CECP, as well as learn more about integrating ECPs into leadership within SPTAs as well as APA. We hope to see you there!

March 26, 2021

Practice Leadership Conference 2021

Practice Leadership Conference (PLC) 2021 was a huge success! Like all gatherings in the age of COVID, PLC was completely virtual this year. It was a new experience, but I personally found that bringing advocacy literally into my living room made it hit home harder (pun intended). 

This year’s advocacy work focused on using psychological science to engage across the aisle. Advocates educated legislators about expanding access to telehealth/audio-only services for the provision of mental health care for Medicare patients as well as funding for key psychology workforce programs such as the Graduate Psychology Education Program and the Minority Fellowship Program. The previous weekend, attendees were educated on health equity in the field of psychology as well as the distinctiveness of the doctoral degree.

Early career psychologists (ECP) celebrated together via a breakfast networking Zoom. In this call, we focused on discussing challenges of being an ECP leader in state, provincial, and territory associations. While we very much missed seeing one another in person, we were still able to join our communities to do the great work of PLC! 

March 24, 2020

Self-care and coronavirus

This is a strange and stressful time for many of us, as we are being encouraged to self-isolate from others. Some individuals may feel they have too much time on their hands, while others are rapidly trying to figure out how to work from home. No matter which category you fall into, self-care is extremely important in these challenging times. Take some time to reassess what works for you now that your routine has changed. These may include:

Taking a break from the news. While it is important to be informed, it can be beneficial to consume the news in moderation. It may be helpful to limit the amount of time each day you are listening or reading about the coronavirus. An idea would be to set certain times during the day that you are allowed to look at the news.

Checking in with family and friends. You are not the only one who is feeling isolated or overwhelmed with the sudden change. This is a great time to reconnect and see how everyone is doing. This can be done via video chat or calling. Another way to connect is through Google Chrome’s Netflix Watch Party, where you can watch movies with friends or family within your own home. Lastly, it may even be time to catch up on taking, organizing or sending photos of pets and children.  

Practicing self-care. Many meditation applications are now offering free or discounted prices, so take advantage and incorporate meditations into your new daily routine. Try picking up that book you bought long ago and start reading or learn a hobby you have always wanted to learn. Lastly, there are online workout classes, or go outside for a walk (while adhering so social distancing). Whatever you choose, remember to give yourself grace as you are developing your new rhythm and routine. 

Balancing children and work. Many of us are having to balance teaching children while working from home. During this difficult transition, there are online resources such as a virtual tour of Monterey Bay Aquarium or the San Diego Zoo. Be proactive and connect with friends to develop a support group through Facebook, text messages or email. Not only can you share resources, but support one another with recipes, work/life balance and self-care. Lastly, be kind to yourself. It takes time to adjust to a new routine, and you will figure it out!

February 7, 2020

Welcoming delegates from the Leadership Development Fellowship Program at the Practice Leadership Conference

The Leadership Development Fellowship Program is an initiative of the APA Committee on Early Career Psychologists, the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students Committee and the Offices of Early Career and Graduate Student Affairs. It is a year-long mentoring and leadership development program for 14 early career psychologist and graduate students. The purposes of the fellowship are to create strong candidates for service to state, provincial and territorial psychological associations (SPTAs), APA Divisions and APA boards and committees, particularly to the APA Council of Representatives; and raise the visibility and importance of students and early career psychologists within APA at large. Fellows will participate in the Practice Leadership Conference, attend the August 2020 Council of Representatives meeting at APA convention, and participate in the APA Emerging Leaders in Psychology Academy. Each SPTA and APA Division that nominated the fellows will also receive funding for developing or strengthening their own leadership program.

October 12, 2017

Using Social Media, Prescriptions to Consider

In “Psychologists, Social Media and Digital Ethics,” the current episode of the Progress Notes podcast, APA Practice intern Madeline Stoltz talks with three digitally-savvy psychologists about incorporating social media into your practice.

January 1, 2017

Work Life Integration: Part I — Not-So-Secret Secrets to Managing Your Personal Life and Career

by Kathleen Ashton, PhD

Increasingly, many psychologists live in a world where their work and personal life have blurring boundaries. The reasons for this are multiple: women now make up more than 70 percent of those entering the profession and traditionally have had an increased focus on balancing their personal time and professional life. Technological advances make us more accessible for work from home, whether it is checking your email from your smart phone or being able to finish your charting from home with remote access. Generationally, early career psychologists and millenials may have a stronger value for flexibility at work to allow for personal tasks. Whatever the reason, achieving a healthy integration of your personal life and work life is important for psychological health.

As a mid-career psychologist, mother of three, and APAPO CAPP leader, here are some of my not-so-secret secrets to managing that balance. After I started writing, I realized I had a lot to say about this and decided to make it a two-part series. I will focus on family first and then follow up in February with a focus on work. However, it’s really impossible to separate the two, as a truly entwined system.

  • It takes a village. I have multiple helpers in my life that I need to thank every day. Without these folks, my household would sink into chaos. These include a husband who is truly a partner, my in-home childcare provider of 12 years, my mother, in-laws, neighbors, housecleaner, and more. This network keeps me sane. I still tend to be the manager of the village which has its own stresses, but without asking for help it would be impossible.
  • Consider part-time. Fully one third of the female staff at my hospital work part time. I worked .8 full-time hours (FTE) for almost 10 years. The day off allowed me to have more time with my children and have more experiences with them. But make sure you truly are part time — someone is covering your clinic on the day off, and you aren’t working from home. I returned to 1.0 FTE about two years ago after I realized that I was starting to put in more time from home without compensation, and the home experiences were becoming less rewarding (i.e., taxiing, cleaning, and appointments).
  • Take a vacation. In my workplace, I am privileged to have a healthy paid vacation allowance. However, there also happens to be a culture of not taking this vacation and productivity standards that do not take into account this time. I choose to take a healthy amount of vacation each year, including multiple days to attend school events or engage in advocacy activities that are important to me. I make sure I have coverage specified so I can actually relax (it helps to create a group of psychologists to cover for each other). I especially increased my vacation use when I returned to full time; at least one day per month is taken off just to spend with my kids.
  • Limit the electronic connection to work. When I go home, my pager and phone go next to my keys. If I am tempted to check my email in the evening, I tend to regret it. If you do choose to check email or finish notes from home, set aside a specific time and stick with it. My family enjoys my undivided attention that I give to my workplace during the day. This past summer, I actually went all of vacation (9 days) without checking work email. It was painful, but the lesson learned — nothing important happened while I was away. Set the “out of office” message and actually relax.
  • Organization, organization, organization. My family has fairly strict routine: homework, dinner together, exercise/downtime, bath, bed. I literally go to bed almost every night at 10 PM and wake at 6 AM. I have a shared calendar with all of kids' activities mapped out. I am the kind of person who plans meals for the week and cooks them all Sunday so they are ready to go. Maintaining these routines and planning cuts down on stress for everyone — we all know what to expect, and the healthy habits are part of the routine.
  • Flexibility. When your organization breaks down, make sure you don’t. Sometimes things won’t get done or you won’t be able to be there. It’s okay. Life still keeps running. Let it go.
  • Set the limits. Everyone needs a reason to leave work. It could be to get home to your childcare provider. I carpool with my husband, so I am responsible to pick him up at a reasonable time. It could be to get to your pilates class or feed your dog. Whether you have a family or are single, you have home responsibilities that can help you separate from work.
  • Have a “wind down” routine. I have a long commute, which can be a curse but is also a blessing. It gives me time to decompress from my day of patients and transition to home. Because I carpool, it gives me time to connect with my husband, catch up on news, or listen to music, podcast or audio book. By the time I get home, I’m no longer a psychologist but my own person. I also usually change into workout clothes and take a few minutes alone to unwind before my evening.
  • Have your own time. Sometimes I feel like saying “I already gave at home and the office.” My main stress management strategy is exercise. Having a time that I work out alone helps with my stress management, or just having a block of time to go shopping or get my haircut. I take walks and do a lot of reading (I’m not talking journals either). Sometimes I need to be not a psychologist and not a mom and not a wife.
  • Educate your family about your career. Helping my children to understand the importance of what I do and how my work is meaningful for me makes it easier for me to explain when I have a meeting or have to travel and miss an event. It also is important for my daughters in particular to understand.
  • No guilt, ever. Things are going to get missed, and you can’t be everything to everyone. Make your choices and stand by them. Review how things are going and make adjustments as you need to, but never look back and beat yourself up. When my third child is sick that week and I have a full day of responsibilities, I need to be okay with letting the childcare provider handle it. Of course I would like to be there, but it doesn’t always work out that way. Conversely, if I am sick or one of my kids really need me, I also try to let go of any guilt about cancelling clinic or meetings.
  • Be present. Your time is your most precious commodity. When you are with your kids or partner, it is important to make this time count and not be distracted by your email or thoughts about work. Really being mindful and taking time to genuinely connect makes that time more meaningful.

So I’m excited to finish this blog early this month so I can put into practice the above. I have a six-year-old birthday party this weekend (nine RSVPs out of 19 kids in the class so far, cross your fingers for me). I have seven glorious days off in a row, a hair appointment, two doctors’ appointments, a piano recital, my husband’s birthday & my own. I’m not traveling, and I probably will turn down any major invitation for the rest of the month. I laugh at the idea of “balancing” the above. But I do think I am managing in a way that makes me feel satisfied, and that’s about all I can ask for.

July 15, 2016

Advocacy in Action

“Advocacy in Action” is a new blog series in which the chair of the ECP Task Force interviews leading advocates in the field.

Brief Bio Sketch

Kevin D. Arnold Name & Degree: Kevin D. Arnold, PhD, ABPP
Work Setting: Private practice
SPTA: Ohio Psychological Association
Years in Advocacy: Since 1996
Fun Fact: Has been a wine judge

When did you decide to become active in advocacy (what sparked your interest)?

I decided to become active in the mid-90s, after the then president of the Ohio Board of Psychology wrote an article in the Ohio Psychologist . The article took a position and espoused policy that I considered well beyond the scope of the Ohio rules. The potential limitation on our scope of practice, and possible disciplinary actions that could result from her position, were both remarkable to me. So I contacted my association (Ohio Psychological Association) to see what I could do.

I discovered that the Ohio Psychologist was without an editor, and I was offered the chair position of the association's publications committee, which I readily agreed to do. From then on, I worked diligently to further the roles played by psychologists while balancing ethics and scope of practice.

I was clearly affected by the role that state laws, state rules and regulatory bodies play, and the ways they can impact the good work of psychologists. If we are in private practice, if we work in public settings or if we are academics, our role as advocates for what we do and how our profession is defined must always be at the forefront of how we spend our time. Otherwise, there are many groups who would love to define psychology for us—and we should work diligently to never allow that to happen.

Can you share one of your greatest advocacy successes?

Clearly my best effort was the Prompt Pay bill in Ohio. As an owner of a group practice, we never seemed to make money because our receivables didn't convert to revenue at a reasonable percentage. Over the course of a few years, it worsened as managed care companies and carriers not only restricted what we did but failed to pay with no accountability. I sought out Mike Sullivan, PhD, in the APA Practice Directorate, and advocated for a small grant to fund a study of large practices, looking particularly at the payment patterns they experienced. To the credit of the Committee for the Advancement of Professional Practice and the Practice Directorate, they funded OPA for that study, which demonstrated ridiculously high percentages of insurance receivables not paid after 180 days of waiting. We were able to show (a) when those claims were submitted and (b) that clinicians were essentially never being paid, through careful tracking.

The result of that study was a collaboration between OPA and other medical associations in Ohio to secure a prompt pay law with “teeth.” The law passed within a year and required carriers to pay large percentages of interest after a month and to create automated processes to make those payments (that is, providers were not required to track the payment timelines nor invoice for the interest). Prompt payment enforcement fell to the Insurance Department in Ohio, which took their charge quite seriously. As a result, providers in Ohio now enjoy prompt payment.

Are you willing to share an advocacy attempt that did not go well, or something with a humorous or unexpected outcome?

I've never really felt any advocacy effort failed to do something of import. Even when efforts are unsuccessful, we've been able to give voice to our positions. We educate legislative offices and regulators, and one never knows when those seeds may germinate and grow.

What advice do you have for ECPs who want to get more involved in advocacy, but don't know where to start?

When I took on the role of publications chair at OPA, I had been licensed for five years. I never presumed my status as an early career psychologist (ECP) in any way meant I had less to offer. I would encourage all ECPs to consider that the years in doctoral education and field training provides you with plenty of experience and knowledge to make a difference. I believe in the state psychological association (SPTA) model — that psychologists make the biggest impact through associating with other psychologists. The SPTAs are the natural place to do this work. My advice is to find ways to be active within your SPTA; and whenever possible, find an extra $5 or $10 to give to psychology political action efforts. Finally, find a like-minded political candidate and connect with, or work for, them. There is no better way to become familiar with political processes than to become involved in them. I worked on numerous campaigns, always at the grassroots level, and sometimes in fund raising. The people you meet, and the learning opportunities you have, are vastly more valuable than the time you'll invest.

What do you think are the three biggest legislative issues that need our attention at this time?

  • Integration of health care—defining our place in the next generation of integrated health care.
  • Maintaining our scope of practice—psychologists face challenges to both our efforts to expand our scope (e.g., RxP), and protecting our scope in the face of ever-expanding health care markets and legislative/regulatory activism.
  • Specialization—If we are to maintain our status as a doctoral-level profession, we must settle on how to define our specialties and commit to a standardized board certification process. If we do not, I fear states will create a patchwork of rules (as they have currently) that will define for the profession (rather than the profession defining to regulators). The patchwork approach can too easily lead to inconsistent standards, and unstandardized language, both within and across states. That outcome cannot possibly serve our goal to be seen on equal footing with medicine and other professional practice professions; nor does it meet the need of protecting the public. We also must move toward adopting professional practice to include both general applied psychology and health-service psychology. Specialization in either arena can only be accomplished when the practice of professional psychology moves toward valuing all those who practice, across levels of education/training and when licensing and credentialing practitioners.

What was your favorite or most memorable legislative encounter (someone you met or an event)?

My favorite encounter was with now Gov. John Kasich. I attended a fund-raiser as a guest, when he represented the 12 th District. He found out I was a Democrat and quipped, “You won't leave the Democratic Party; they will leave you.” Of course, that didn't happen, but it taught me something about John Kasich as a politician. Unlike so many politicians, Gov. Kasich is principled. He believed what he said that day, and he generally believes what he says, sticking to it even at the cost of political capital. I wouldn't say that I agree with his politics on any one issue, but I have grown to admire his principled behaviors and his dedication to his beliefs at the expense of political gain.

My other favorite story concerns Tony Celebrezze. Tony, as I knew him, was an Ohio Secretary of State and Attorney General, and I knew him best when he ran unsuccessfully for governor of Ohio. I worked on his campaign, both raising funds and performing grassroots work. I came to know him as a genuine person dedicated to his values and his family. He was also loyal. When my mother passed away, my brother (a chief in the Navy) needed extended leave to attend her funeral. Tony was a reserve officer in the Navy and didn't hesitate to call Washington and secure an extended leave. At that point, he was in private practice in Columbus, and there was no “political” gain from doing the favor. He did the favor out of loyalty to my dedication to his campaign several years before. It is a favorite illustration to me of the value of character in politicians—who are people, after all, not the caricatures that they are sometimes portrayed as.

You will be a recipient of this year's Heiser Award. What does this mean to you?

It means to me more than words can say. APA and the APA Practice Organization (APAPO) are my professional homes, and my dedication to helping psychology and psychologists stems from my sense of gratitude to APA, APAPO, and OPA for providing me with the opportunities to be successful. So, for APA to bestow me with the Heiser Award leaves me speechless and humbled. I am the first of my family to earn a PhD and come from the home of a truck mechanic and my mother did the bookkeeping for the family business. I would never have imagined earning this award, and the honor it represents will never be taken lightly. I now, even more than before, feel the responsibility to advocate for psychology, and for the psychologists who are my peers and for those who will come after me in the future.

Please share an “Advocacy in Action” photo:

Kevin D. Arnold, PhD, (right) with (left to right) Bob. Stinson, PsyD, (2016 OPA president) and Bobbie Celeste, PhD (OPA DPA) and Abigail Finn, legislative assistant to Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, during the State Leadership Conference Hill visits in 2016

April 7, 2016

Ohio Psychological Association Receives 2016 Div. 31 Committee on Early Career Psychologists Initiative Award

The Ohio Psychological Association (OPA) received the Div. 31 Committee on Early Career Psychologists (ECP) Initiative Award at the 2016 APA State Leadership Conference (SLC). OPA consistently and effectively has engaged ECPs in the association. The OPA is delighted to share some of the exciting initiatives they has developed for ECPs in the state.

  • Annually, at least one ECP is part of OPA’s SLC delegation. Next year, they plan to increase this to two ECP delegates.
  • They created an ECP Committee with a voting seat on the board of directors.
  • ECPs serve as chairs of other committees and as officers. Currently, the finance officer, Committee on Social Responsibility chair and Diversity Committee chair are ECPs. Most committees have ECP members actively participating.
  • At the recommendation of the ECP Committee, they reduced dues for first-year members.
  • They changed their definition of ECP to match the 10-year model adopted by APA.
  • They offer specific ECP-oriented programming at their annual convention and in workshops throughout the year. For convention this year, the ECP Committee has developed a workshop entitled, “Professional and Personal Transitions from Trainee to ECP.” “Financial Success in Independent Practice” is another workshop recommended by the ECP Committee. ECPs are also presenting in workshops dealing with prescriptive authority and the practice of psychology.
  • Annually, the first night of their convention includes a reception for ECPs and a special ceremony with the Ohio Board of Psychology to recognize all newly licensed psychologists in the state.

OPA’s new initiative this year, the Leadership Development Academy, is focused on ECPs who are interested in moving into leadership roles in the association. The mission of the academy is to develop and nurture an active pipeline of future OPA leaders that reflects the broad diversity of psychologists in Ohio. It aims to provide opportunities for emerging leaders to develop a deeper understanding of their individual leadership style, learn how to be an effective leader in a professional association, expand their engagement and experience with OPA leaders and members, enhance their leadership skills and learn about significant leadership challenges in OPA. They focused recruitment efforts on ECPs, racial and ethnic minorities and other underrepresented groups, including LGBTQ and persons with disabilities. During the pilot year, eight participants were selected to join the OPA Leadership Development Academy. The academy faculty has agreed to continue this program next year and will be recruiting their second class soon. OPA was thrilled to have three of our first-year academy ECP participants as part of their SLC delegation this year.

OPA is extremely proud of their strong commitment to engaging and supporting ECPs in Ohio. They are humbled that Div. 31 has recognized their work with ECPs. They hope that these initiatives inspire other SPTAs and divisions to engage and support ECPs and advance the field of psychology.

February 3, 2016

Advocacy: Using Psychological Science to Benefit Society

Many of us entered the field of psychology because we desired to benefit the well-being of others through the use of psychological practice and science. In addition to our work as practitioners, researchers or educators, being an advocate can have a huge impact on our communities and the profession.

Why is Advocacy Important?

The American Psychological Association has listed five primary reasons psychologists should advocate.

  • Psychological knowledge, practice and science play an important role in understanding key policy issues, informing resolutions to social problems and improving human welfare.
  • It raises awareness of psychology’s contributions across all domains of human experience.
  • It advances psychology as a health profession.
  • It enhances psychology as a behavioral science.
  • It helps garner federal funding for psychology.

In today’s age of technology, advocacy can take many forms. For example, you can meet face-to-face with policy makers or communicate psychological knowledge through social media such as Twitter. Opportunities to influence policy at the local, state and federal level can also occur through grassroots activities, making phone calls or sending letters to express your views and to disseminate psychological research on important issues.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Advocacy

I have had the opportunity to advocate on Capitol Hill for issues related to health care reform, psychologists’ inclusion in the physicians’ definition, funding for the APA Minority Fellowship Program and graduate education in psychology. Here are a few key tips on advocacy. These suggested tips have been invaluable throughout my experience with advocacy.

  • Do prepare. Before calling or meeting with elected officials, have your message prepared and review it carefully. Know exactly what you want to say on the issue(s).
  • Do keep the message simple and concise. State the purpose of your call or meeting, and deliver your message in a few brief points.
  • Do give examples from your community, district or state. It helps advocacy efforts to personalize how the issues impact your community, and you have the expertise to speak directly to the science.
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of congressional staff. Although you may not directly meet with your elected official, your voice matters and your message will be communicated to them.
  • Don’t expect scientific conclusions to convince legislators, although your efforts are helpful. On occasions your role as an advocate may be to simply share information on an issue.
  • Don’t forget…you’re the expert (and the voter).

The APA has a comprehensive guide to advocacy that may be helpful in your work. The guide includes information on steps to contact your legislators, methods for effective advocacy and sample documents to use as a template.

Erlanger “Earl” Turner, PhD, is licensed psychologist and an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Houston – Downtown. He is currently chair-elect (2016-17) of the APA Board for the Advancement of Psychology in the Public Interest. For more information, visit his website .

November 30, 2015

ECP Coalition’s Recommendations Following Independent Review

In July 2015, after the Independent Review was released, a group of concerned early career psychologists formed the Early Career Psychologist (ECP) Coalition for the Advancement of Psychology. The coalition was composed of a diverse group of 11 ECP leaders representing psychological practice, education, science and public interest. The coalition was formed independently, and the members were not speaking on behalf of the American Psychological Association (APA), APA Practice Organization (APAPO), nor for any governance boards/committees. The coalition’s purpose was to provide a voice for ECPs to influence APA’s organizational culture in a positive direction.

Following the disturbing claims made by the Independent Review, the coalition deliberately chose to gather feedback from ECPs and provide a measured, data-driven response. To this end, the coalition developed a survey about the Independent Review to better understand the ECP perceptions of APA governance. The coalition received over 250 responses to open-ended survey questions.

In summary, many ECPs reported feeling disappointed, angry or betrayed. Many reported they have lost trust in APA, and others were deeply concerned about the potential for this scandal to negatively affect their careers and psychology’s public standing. Nearly half (46 percent) of our respondents indicated they were considering resigning their APA membership; an additional 19 percent were unsure. Thus, approximately two-thirds of the ECP respondents were not committed to retaining their APA memberships. The potential for APA to lose more of the current ECP membership is sobering. Yet, some were still able to garner a sense of hope for a revitalized association. Many called for increased organizational transparency and heightened oversight of association workgroups. The respondents also called for a renewed focus on human rights and ethics in APA; this included recommending dismissal of governance members and staff who were aware but did not act to prevent the egregious collusion and human rights violations described in the Independent Review.

Echoing our ECP colleagues, the coalition calls for increased accountability, transparency and integrity in APA. The coalition calls APA/APAPO leaders (including ourselves) to the highest standards of human rights for our beloved profession and the public. The coalition also petitioned for concrete changes in our ethical standards as well as in the governance processes.

Recommendations for a Revitalized Association

The ECP coalition would like to offer our sincere gratitude to the APA leaders who commissioned the Independent Review. The coalition applauds Council’s decision to pass Resolution 23B to “ clarify the roles of psychologists related to interrogation and detainee welfare in national security settings.” The coalition is encouraged by the Board of Directors’ steps towards new association executive staff, the formation of a Commission on Ethical Processes and the recommendation to begin an Office of Human Rights. The coalition is thankful for these initial steps, but increased organizational self-awareness and promises for a brighter future are not sufficient. The coalition will be satisfied only with tangible and persistent changes to association governance processes that lead to increased accountability, transparency and integrity. Below are our recommendations towards these goals:

  1. Our association values should publically reflect a commitment to defending and enhancing human rights/potential. The coalition recommends that the Board of Directors form a workgroup to review and propose updates to the APA mission, vision and core values statements.
  2. The coalition recommends the development of a robust conflict of interest (COI) policy that includes procedures to regularly assess and address conflicts for all APA staff and association governance members.
    • It is essential that this policy include a process that instructs individuals on how to report COI concerns of themselves and others.
  3. The coalition reiterated the Board of Directors’ recommendation to begin an Office of Human Rights within the association. The coalition believes that this office could be tasked with responsibility for the COI policy and its enforcement, as well as prevention of (a) association breaches of human rights/ethics and (b) actions by association leaders that would potentially lead to damage for the professional of psychology or serious harm to society. The coalition also recommends this Human Rights Office be tasked with proactive education and advocacy. The coalition believes the Human Rights Office would differ from the current APA Ethics Office by focusing on COI and large-scale association behavior rather than member ethics.
    • Within the new Office of Human Rights, the coalition recommends the development a member-led ombudsman program. This program could serve as (a) the mechanism for reporting of troublesome conflicts of interest, abuses of power, etc., in association central governance; divisions; and state, provincial or territorial psychological associations (SPTAs) and/or (b) the entity of the new Human Rights Office to arbitrate such complaints.
    • It would be untenable for the Human Rights Office or an ombudsman committee to review all association governance activities. Therefore, the coalition must develop an effective triage method, akin to screening in health care. The coalition recommends the identification/development of a simple rating scale (e.g., 1-5 Likert scale) to assess potential risks to human rights/ethics. The coalition envisions that each governance group could annually self-rate its own initiatives, workgroups, etc.; a potential role of an ombudsman committee could be to evaluate these ratings, modify as necessary and ensure appropriate oversight based on ratings.
  4. Effective communication is the key to any healthy relationship. Therefore, the coalition recommends developing a comprehensive association organogram, highlighting key roles and information flow. Such a document would allow those new in governance and the general membership to better understand decision-making processes in the association.
  5. The coalition recommends an increase in association transparency, particularly in regards to members’ access to governance information. It is important to develop improved methods of communication to members who wish to access appropriate governance documents (e.g., agendas, minutes) and/or attend open meetings. The coalition recommends that organizational best practices guidelines be identified or developed, which could then be disseminated to boards/committees, divisions, SPTAs, etc., for review and adoption.
  6. The coalition believes that it is important to provide training for new association talent towards leadership and ethical decision-making. Therefore, the coalition recommends the development of a leadership institute to assist new talented psychologists in developing the necessary skills for effective and ethical leadership in association, division, SPTA and community governance.
  7. It is important for our association not only to create new leadership opportunities for members but also to prevent leaders from gaining undue power and influence. Therefore, the coalition recommends instituting centrally governed term limits for all APA board and committees, including the Council of Representatives. The coalition recommends consideration of the following options:
    • After 10 consecutive years in APA central governance, a three-year break will be required. This would limit members from continually moving between leadership positions on boards/committees, divisions and Council.
    • After serving two consecutive terms in any central APA governance role(s), members would be required to take a two-year break from all central governance roles.
    • Impose a maximum lifetime limit on the number of years that members can serve on the Council of Representatives.

September 23, 2015

Celebrating 25 Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act: The Impact on an ECP's Training

On July 26, 1990, when the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted, I was a fiery able bodied eight year old child more concerned with convincing my parents how badly I needed an American Girl Doll than with the passing of this landmark civil rights legislation. However, fast forward six years later, when I acquired my spinal cord injury, and my focus shifted. Given my passion for disability issues in psychology, you won't be surprised to find I believe the ADA is very important legislation for psychologists to know about. Psychologists need to know how the ADA impacts their roles in practice, employment, and education and training (APA, 2015) and what they need to be aware of to meet their obligations to the ADA.

Disability is a minority group that anyone can join at anytime and like so many others, I was told that I needed to learn my civil rights as a person with a disability and develop strong self-advocacy skills. The ADA covers five titles in the areas of employment, public services, public facilities, telecommunications and miscellaneous. Other ADA terms such as reasonable accommodation quickly became regular words in my vocabulary. Fortunately advocating for accommodations such as later classes, extended time for tests, accessible classrooms and laboratories, as well as assistance with note taking, as both an undergraduate and graduate psychology student were relatively easy to secure.

The biggest barriers I faced in psychology training were attitudinal. I learned all too quickly that the disability biases my supervisors had about my abilities to practice psychology could prevent me from equal training opportunities as my peers; especially in being allowed to administer neuropsychological measures. Experiencing this type of discrimination as a trainee was upsetting, but it did serve as my inspiration to later present and then publish on supervision of students with disabilities. Unfortunately, obstacles like I experienced are still common as recent literature notes trainees with disabilities face significant barriers in psychology training (Andrews, et al., 2013 & Lund, Andrews, & Holt, 2014).

APA played a role in the passage of the ADA in various ways from sharing research on the adverse mental health effects of discrimination and importance of community participation to providing testimony on the standards relevant to people with mental disabilities (APA, 2015), which is something we can be proud of. Psychologists can also play a key role in helping patients with a newly diagnosed or acquired disability learn about their civil rights and develop strong self-advocacy skills.

The ADA opened doors for the millions of Americans living with emotional, cognitive, physical and sensory disabilities. As we celebrate 25 years of equal opportunity for people with disabilities, don't miss the opportunity to gain knowledge, improve your ADA competence, and reflect on your own biases.


American Psychological Association. (2015). The ADA: How It Affects Psychologists Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/pi/disability/resources/disabilities-act-psychologists.pdf

Andrews, E. E., Kuemmel, A., Williams, J. L., Pilarski, C., Dunn, M., & Lund, E. M. (2013). Providing culturally competent supervision to trainees with disabilities in rehabilitation settings. Rehabilitation Psychology, 58 , 233-244. doi:10.1037/a0033338

Lund, E. M., Andrews, E. E., & Holt, J. M. (2014). How we treat our own: The experiences and characteristics of psychology trainees with disabilities. Rehabilitation Psychology, 59 , 367-375. doi:10.1037/a0037502

Angela Kuemmel, PhD, ABPP (Rp) is a rehabilitation psychologist at the spinal cord injury unit at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center in Ohio. She serves as the public interest representative and co-chair of APA's Committee for Early Career Psychologists.

August 25, 2015

Adjunct Faculty: Highly Educated, Working Hard for Society and Struggling To Survive

When we think of people who live below the poverty line in the U.S., we often picture individuals who lack adequate medical care, who are homeless, who are unable to provide nutritious food for themselves and their families, and if young, people who are unable to prepare for their old age. Would you put college teachers in this category? A fact that may surprise you is that many college teachers earn very low incomes and some are even among the poverty-stricken in the United States.

These individuals possess master's degrees and PhD's and are doing professional work. I am referring to nontenure-track (NTT) faculty. These include adjunct professors, lecturers, postdocs and others. The impoverishment of NTT faculty is an unknown and unexplored issue.

In the United States today, 76 percent of faculty in higher education are hired off the tenure track (AAUP, 2014). However, if you are an NTT faculty member, that nearly always means you are hired on a contingent basis. This means that each class you were hired for may be cancelled at the very last minute, due to insufficient enrollment, budgetary issues with the university or other reasons.

According to Adjunct Action (2014), adjunct professors in the United States make $3,000 per 3-unit course, on average. Let's say that as an adjunct faculty member you teach four courses per semester for two semesters. You supplement this income by teaching three additional courses during summer session. This translates to $33,000 per year.

In order to survive, NTT faculty take on workloads that make it nearly impossible for them to develop their careers. It is difficult to spend less than 10 hours per week teaching a class (including face time, preparation, grading, emails with students, etc.). An NTT faculty member may spend 15 or more hours per class per week if they are an experienced instructor (and even more if they are inexperienced). Therefore, I estimate that teaching four courses means working 40 to 60 or more hours per week for NTT faculty. This leaves little or no time to supplement what is, for most, an already inadequate income.

The shaky financial situation NTT faculty face is even worse when you take into account that they are typically saddled with student loan debt, often from both their undergraduate and graduate educations. NTT positions also rarely include the possibility for promotion or for enhanced job security over time. While adjunct positions are often the only professional work available to many qualified candidates emerging from graduate school, many can tell you that experience as an adjunct effectively labels you as “sub-par” and severely reduces your odds of obtaining a full time or tenure-track position.

The NTT faculty member making $33,000 per year would actually be among the relatively lucky. Many NTT faculty teach only one to two classes a semester because their institution limits the number of classes that part-time faculty may teach. They have to work their way up to a full-time load, which can take over two years or more. I just heard from an adjunct who has been teaching four courses a semester at $2,000 per course, and he is rarely allowed to teach in summer. He makes $16,000 a year.

The NTT faculty problem is too large for us to ignore. In the United States there are now at least 1.4 million NTT faculty (Curtis, 2014). It is certainly not the case that all of these faculty are impoverished or nearly impoverished; some are fortunate enough to work for universities that pay them relatively well and some have spouses or partners who make more money than NTT faculty do. However, the number of people affected by the impoverishment of NTT faculty also extends to their families (many NTT faculty are single parents).

If we work to help these faculty, we will aid a large number of Americans and we will be “doing the right thing.” My position is that most of the NTT faculty positions should not exist in their current form. Many aspects of the positions are simply immoral (in my view), in particular:

  • The exceptionally low pay.
  • Lack of access to health insurance.
  • Contingent nature of the employment.
  • Lack of opportunity for advancement.

The administrations of many universities argue that they can no longer afford to hire most faculty into secure positions and pay professional salaries. However, the AAUP (2014) counters that the decline in secure positions and salaries for NTT faculty is not economically necessary. In the last few decades universities have prioritized investing in facilities, technology and other segments of the university over investing in faculty.

What can we do to help NTT faculty?

  • Educate ourselves about NTT faculty and their working conditions. The best places to start are the New Faculty Majority, the American Association of University Professors and the Coalition on the Academic Workforce, which has produced an excellent report (PDF, 1MB) on working conditions of part-time faculty.
  • Researchers can study psychological effects of the working conditions of NTT faculty. My colleague, Grace Deason and I recently published an article on correlates of contingency. We found that several demographic and psychological factors were associated with elevated rates of depression, stress and anxiety. Appropriate to the current discussion, one of these factors is low family income. Another is the NTT faculty member's emotional commitment to his or her university. The more committed faculty suffer higher rates of depression, stress and anxiety. Grace and I found that, at the time of publication of our article, no one else had studied the psychological effects of contingent appointments on faculty (to our knowledge).
  • Encourage our professional organizations to join the Coalition on the Academic Workforce (CAW). The CAW is a group of disciplinary associations and faculty associations whose mission is to improve faculty working conditions (particularly for part-time faculty) and thereby improve higher education for our students. The leading professional associations for many academic professions are members (e.g., history, philosophy, modern languages); many other professional associations are glaringly absent from the list of members.
  • Speak out publicly and put pressure on universities to alter their practices.

To conclude, I ask you:

  • What does it tell us about our society that many of the faculty educating our future professionals are themselves barred, perhaps for the duration of their careers, from the security provided by a normal academic salary?
  • And what does it say about the future of research when so many adjuncts receive neither the resources nor the time to do research, instead teaching full time just to survive?

NTT faculty make enormous contributions to our society. They deserve reasonable working conditions and pay that is commensurate with their education, experience and other qualifications.


Adjunct Action. (2014). The high cost of adjunct living: St. Louis. Available online at: http://adjunctaction.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/18851-White-paper-st-louis-FINAL_E.pdf (Retrieved Sept. 2, 2014).

American Association of University Professors (AAUP). (2014). Background Facts on Contingent Faculty. Available online at: http://www.aaup.org/issues/contingency/background-facts (Retrieved Sept. 3, 2014).

Curtis, J. (2014). The Employment Status of Instructional Staff Members in Higher Education, Fall 2011. Washington, DC: American Association of University Professors.

Gretchen M. Reevy, PhD, Lecturer, Psychology Department, California State University, East Bay.

July 23, 2015

How 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!

Roundtable Discussion

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, 2015

The 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, 2015

Taking 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, 2015

Identifying 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.

Julie Radico

July 7, 2014

The 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 Engaged
Friday, 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:

  • Introductions.
  • 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, 2014

Professional 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, 2014

Spotlight 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, 2014

Spotlight 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, 2014

Why 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, 2013

Three 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

Connect with Ashley on Twitter (@drashleyhampton) and on Facebook


September 4, 2013

Three 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

•  21 Tips On How To Write a Blog For Your Business

•  Writing a Good Blog

•  10 Steps For Writing an Effective Blog Post  


Also, feel free to browse my blogs “Get Psych'd with Dr. T” and “The Race to Good Health” for examples or suggestions.


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, 2013

Congratulations 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.)

*Returning delegate

November 26, 2012

Spotlight: 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, 2012

Division 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, 2012

Division 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.

Sarah Honaker
CECP Liaison to Div. 31

July 6, 2012

APA 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 three-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, 2012

The 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
Psychology Resident
Co-Director, Behavioral Science Training
Assessment and Therapy Associates of Grand Forks, PLLC
Grand Forks Family Medicine Residency

June 15, 2012

Four 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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

Shannon Kellogg, PsyD
ECP Task Force Chair
Connect with Shannon on Twitter @DrShannonK or @APADivision31

May 11, 2012

The 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, 2012

The 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.

Rich Martielli
Division 31 ECP Task Force Member
President, Missouri Psychological Association

April 9, 2012

The 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.

Rich Martielli
Division 31 ECP Task Force Member
President, Missouri Psychological Association

April 2, 2012

ECP 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!

Shannon Kellogg, PsyD
ECP Task Force Chair
Connect with Shannon on Twitter @DrShannonK or @APADivision31

*As of Sept. 15, 2015, APACommunities is no longer available.

March 29, 2012

The 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.

Rich Martielli
Division 31 ECP Task Force
President, Missouri Psychological Association

March 16, 2012

Opportunities 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:

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, 2011

Building 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!”

Avoid: 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:

Candidate A:
  • Responsible for observing, treating and documenting behavior of patients.

Candidate B:
  • 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.”

Presentation: What’s the best way to convey leadership ability on paper?
“Two effective methods of listing leadership on paper are:

  1. Listing leadership achievements in sentence format

  2. Listing leadership core competencies in a text box.

See samples:

Sentence format:

Led peer and intern shadowing sessions through weekly resident outings in the community.

Text box competencies:

Leadership 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, 2011

Leadership Lessons from <i>The Tipping Point</i> 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

*As of Sept. 15, 2015, APACommunities is no longer available.

October 19, 2011

Electronic 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, 2011

Getting 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, 2011

Leadership & 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.

Stay tuned for next week’s leadership blog. Follow us on Twitter @APADivision31 and join our Blog RSS feed.

Shannon Kellogg, PsyD
APA Division 31

August 12, 2011

Leadership 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.

Millennial characteristics:

  • 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, 2011

Website 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 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 Div. 31 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

*As of Sept. 15, 2015, APACommunities is no longer available.