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A communications and membership update

The head of Div. 36’s new Communications Board provides information on new membership opportunities and division activities.

Cite this
Winkeljohn-Black, S. (2021, December 3). A communications and membership update.

Dear fellow Psychology of Religion and Spirituality members,

I am thrilled to be heading our new Communications Board for the division, at a time of significant growth and momentum. This fall, we have seen a surge of membership opportunities, including: 

You may have noticed that our division website has undergone a redesign. Part of this is to switch our newsletter to a new hybrid model, where we will have both a running blog of articles and a release of these articles in the traditional format about three to four times per year. This allows us to share articles written for public consumption faster on social media, as one of the goals of communications is to help all of us share our work and the importance of the psychology of religion and spirituality with other psychologists and the general public. 

With that said, the Communications Board has three functions: 

  • Within the division, to facilitate communication that promotes understanding, introspection and advances scholarship (including the scholarship of clinical practice and teaching).
  • Disseminate our knowledge and skills to other divisions of APA so that we continue to gain traction around the idea that religion and spirituality are key components of psychology and psychological experience.
  • Communicate the importance of religious and spiritual wellbeing and struggles to the general public. 

In kickstarting the Communications Board, I’d like to talk about the first function. Our division, like many others, is a large tent when it comes to member’s beliefs, positionality, identities and scholarship. This leads to both thought-provoking conversation and, at times, conflict. Conflict, when handled well, leads to growth (see one of my favorite descriptions of growth). Growth requires discomfort–think about physical therapy, training for a marathon (or more reasonably for me, a 5K) or psychotherapy. 

The current activities I listed above are resources for all of us to maintain engagement and to contribute new ideas, counterpoints and experiences to the field. Communication is a skill, and like other competencies, it has no end point. Our scholars are responsible for unpacking the virtues of intellectual, relational and cultural humility, among other things. The more we practice these virtues in the spirit of communication and connection with each other, the more effective we will be in communicating and connecting with other members and divisions of APA, our students and supervisees, and with the public. 

I invite you to bring your ideas, scholarship and ponderings to the table so that we can explore them with these virtues in mind. 

  • Submit them to the Newsletter and Blog (email Caroline Kaufman and follow our social media.
  • If you see something that resonates, send it to your students or colleagues.
  • If you see something that needs another perspective, write in with a submission or response. 

I am confident that as the division grows and diversifies, we can hold ourselves accountable to staying engaged in conversation. 

I look forward to communicating with all of you,