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President's column: Aloha!

Convention planning and mid-winter meeting updates.

By Trent A. Petrie, PhD

trent-petrieAloha! We are just a few short months away from the APA Convention in Honolulu and I hope all of you have made plans to attend the meeting. I am very excited about the programming, which will be highlighted by our two invited lectures: Steve Heyman Memorial (given by Dr. Stephanie Hanrahan) and ACSM exchange (given by Dr. Ed Acevedo). In addition, our program chairs (Drs. Courtney Albinson and Jamie Shapiro) have put together an excellent set of symposia, workshops, and poster presentations that came through the conference submission process. And, I hope everyone will join us for the division's business meeting, award lectures, and social hour.

For the remainder of this column, I want to highlight some of the initiatives within the division that came out of a very productive midyear meeting that was held Feb. 28-March 3, 2013, in Denton, Texas, at the University of North Texas:

  1. Past President’s Advisory Council (PPAC) – having received approval from the membership for the PPAC, the EC defined how it would be used and tasked current Past-President Gloria Balague with opening the lines of communication with this august group. I am thrilled to have at our disposal such a distinguished group of sport psychology professionals who I know are committed to the division and the advancement of our field.

  2. Recommitment to the Give-Away-a-Thon – although challenging in past years, the EC developed new approaches for identifying groups within the communities where APA will be held, including using the connections Running Psychologists has in each city and partnering with veteran’s groups, such as the Wounded Warriors. We also are exploring options to join with national organizations, such as Team in Training, to work with local groups in any city where the convention will be held. Continuing this initiative is consistent with our public interest goals.

  3. Expand our reach in the social media world – our social media committee, chaired by Dr. Laura Dipasquale, has done an excellent job in establishing the division within this new technological world in which we live. Over the next six months they will be working to increase your involvement in and connection to our Facebook page and Twitter account. They will be sending out messages to solicit your involvement and will be an active presence at the APA Convention, so please sign up before you head to Hawai'i.

  4. Applying for an interdivisional grant – spearheaded by our Practice Committee, ably chaired by Dr. Michelle Joshua, we will be working with other divisions to develop a proposal to fund a project, such as the development of guidelines for the use of exercise in the treatment of psychological disorders. Such a project would draw upon the expertise of our members and allow us potentially to collaborate with other divisions, such as 29 (Psychotherapy), 17 (Counseling), and 42 (Independent Practice).

  5. Approval of section on Performance Psychology – spearheaded by Dr. Kate Hays (and assisted by other members), the Performance Psychology section and its bylaws were approved by the EC. I am excited that we now have two sections within the division – Running Psychologists and Performance Psychology. I believe our new section offers the opportunity for like-minded sport and exercise psychologists to come together around this interesting and important topic area to advance the discussion and development of the area. Through this section, we have the chance to bring in psychologists from other areas, such as I/O, Military, and Counseling, to more fully understand the process of helping performers reach levels of excellence.

  6. What is a sport psychologist – throughout the life of our field, we have discussed, debated, and disagreed about who is a “sport psychologist” and what they are allowed to do. Discussions have occurred around issues of appropriate academic training, certification/licensure, title, domains of practice, etc. And such discussions continue right now as AASP considers how they will modify their certification procedures (e.g., adopting an examination format) and a group of professionals have ad hoc meetings regarding routes of training in the field. But the questions for us, as a division within the American Psychological Association, are (a) how are we going to define the practice of sport psychology, (b) what are the needed qualifications to refer to yourself with that title, and (c) whose interests are we going to represent in this discussion and how are we going to advance the field and its interaction with the public? The reality is that we already have answered the first two questions. When the division initially had approved (and then recently had renewed) our Proficiency document, we defined what it was we believed the practice of sport psychology (and the title) to be. As noted in our public description of the proficiency in sport psychology, it is “…acquired after a doctoral degree in one of the primary areas of psychology and licensure as a psychologist.” And the key phrase is “licensure as a psychologist.” The reality is that we, as a d1ivision, have defined the foundational components of being a sport psychologist as someone who has a doctoral degree, in a primary area in psychology, and who has been licensed to practice psychology in one of the 50 United States or a province in Canada. Thus, the EC has affirmed our commitment to this definition and how we want to present the “face” of sport psychology to the public. So, as we develop promotional materials for members and the public, we will do so from this perspective. We also will reach out to psychologists from other divisions who may be working with athletes with the aim of educating them on just what it means to engage in such practice (and to refer to themselves in that way) and inviting them to become part of our division where they can further their professional growth and development in our field.

Although other initiatives were discussed and approved at the midyear meeting, the ones I have just described stood out to me in their importance to you as members and to the broader field. If you have any questions about them (or anything else we are doing within the division), please feel free to contact me. I look forward to interacting with you in Hawai'i. Until then, Mahalo!