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President's message

Welcome to Div. 43 (Society for Couple and Family Psychology)

APA's Div. 43 is the Society for Couple and Family Psychology. It is one of the three organizations that represent the specialty of couple and family psychology at the Council of Specialties in Professional Psychology. The mission of Div. 43 is to promote people’s well-being through the production, publication and application of evidence-based knowledge about the influence of diverse systems (i.e., intrapersonal, relational and social) on human behaviors. We support research that advances our systemic understanding of couple and family dynamics, how they influence mental and physical health and how they develop from broader societal processes, such as gender norms and poverty. We also support specialty training and education and disseminate critical information about couples and families through our journal Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, our website and other social media.

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From the president and board 

President Shalonda Kelly and the Board Members of Div. 43

As a candidate for president, I stated that my first initiative would be to increase and diversify our membership by welcoming and orienting them, continuing to facilitate collaborations with other APA divisions including those focused on diversity, incentivizing membership of Early Career Psychologists (ECPs), and increasing our web presence and accessibility to APA members. Second, I said I would seek to encourage more CE offerings to take advantage of new CE requirements for psychologists. We have the potential to make our division the flagship provider of CE credits related to couple and family psychology.

Since beginning my term in August 2020, I started with a survey to assess the needs of our members. We found that many members wanted to increase their sense of belonging and networking. In collaboration with Pat Pitta, our VP for practice, we held a networking/belonging mixer in December 2020 to combat the isolation of COVID-19, and we have developed a free Master Series offering CEs for two hours each that will begin in the Fall of 2021. In collaboration with Tara Kellman, our Student Representative, we developed a student engagement committee that will be hosting a panel on nontraditional relationships.  Tara also is working with Guy Diamond, our VP for science to organize a virtual professor retreat to work with graduate program leadership to better engage couple and family psychology graduate students in the activities of the division. We want everyone to know that student membership in our division is free. Rachel Simon, our communications chair has recruited students to the Social Media Committee, and they will post regular blogs to engage students as well. In collaboration with Kip Thompson, our VP for the public interest and diversity, we have updated our table of doctoral programs who specialize in couples/families and diversity and are reaching out to predominately minority-serving institutions to engage undergraduates and interest them in careers in couple and family psychology. Our board also approved convention travel awards for student and ECP members to attend the next in-person APA conference. We continue to update our web site to make it more inviting and accessible for our members. In collaboration with Linda Berg Cross, our VP for education, we have been hosting weekly Sunday night CEs free to all members on a range of topics germane to couple and family psychology. She has marshalled our board’s efforts to develop Couple and Family Psychology Education and Training Guidelines that are being refined in collaboration with APA governance.

My presidential theme for this year’s 2021 convention is: “Contemporary Couples and Families in Trying Times: Grappling with Pandemic Life, Racial Strife, and Financial Struggles.”  We have an exciting set of convention offerings. Consistent with the convention theme, on my presidential panel, Charissa Cheah, PhD, will present on Asian American families and COVID-19; Robert-Jay Green, PhD, will present on LGBT couples and families; Ruben Parra-Cardona, PhD, will present on Latinx couples and families; and Emilie Smith, PhD, with present on African American families. We will have two collaborative programming panels as part of membership in the APA Divisions for Social Justice, entitled, “Deconstructing/ Reconstructing Psychology, How Do We Understand Structural Racism?” and “Decolonizing Psychology: Critiquing our Past to Understand our Present and Plan for our Future.” In collaboration with Gihane Jérémie-Brink, our programming chair, we will have over 65 offerings of symposia and posters for the enjoyment of APA members and affiliates. Learn more at the convention website.

Our President-Elect Amanda Edwards Stewart, and our Past President Corinne Datchi, our Secretary Adam Fisher, our Council Representative Marcia Winter, and Jessa Carlile, our membership chair, play very important roles and have worked closely with us on these initiatives.

In addition, other Div. 43 members have made great impacts. Kate Fackina is the blog editor of our Division’s Blog, The Couple and Family Psychologist. Martha Hernandez, former VP for the public interest and diversity, has continued the CODAPAR “Interdivisional Immigration Project to Protect Immigrants from Harm,” of which our division a part.

I am happy to be part of such a productive and vital board and division, and I am excited to continue serving you and advancing the field of couple and family psychology.

Date created: 2014
The Family Psychologist