Tag Archives: APA

Why Policy?

US Capitol Rotunda

U.S. Capitol Rotunda, Source: Flickr, user sidkid

“Why policy?”

I have been asked this simple, two-word question more times than any other question in the past year. Back in September, I began working as a graduate-level policy scholar for the Public Interest Government Relations office at the American Psychological Association. As this opportunity coincided with my fifth year of doctoral studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, I have often had to explain my hectic schedule upon meeting new individuals. Research and academia, most will understand, as those things fit seamlessly into the doctoral studies mold. But then comes the follow-up question: Why policy?

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How Much Do Black Lives Matter to the APA?

protestAs a student member of the APA and a psychologist in training, I’ve been disappointed in the American Psychological Association’s (APA) public response to the deaths of African American’s at the hands of police officers as well as mass shooters. While I’ve appreciated APA’s vigorous response to the Orlando tragedy, I couldn’t help but compare it to the APA’s response to the Charleston shootings. When I looked back to see if the APA offered services to the families of the victims of the Charleston shootings, or any other resources, I couldn’t find anything, not even a public statement condemning the shootings. Granted, the Charleston shooting occurred only a few weeks before the release of the Hoffman Report.  Yet preoccupation with the Hoffman Report does not explain APA’s silence, as it issued four press releases between the day of the Charleston shooting and the release of the Hoffman Report.

Moreover, the APA’s virtual silence in response to the numerous police shootings of unarmed African American men, women, and children is dumbfounding.  In an op-ed in response to Ferguson, written by former APA President Nadine Kaslow and former APA CEO Norman Anderson, the authors fall short of condemning the shooting of an unarmed black teenager and state, “[t]he judicial system will determine exactly what transpired between Michael Brown and the police officer.” Considering the historical treatment of African Americans by the judicial system, and the continued shocking disparities, their faith in the ability of the system to determine what transpired and provide a just outcome was questionable at best.  Perhaps Kaslow and Anderson’s questionable faith is representative of the APA’s position overall, and explains the silence.

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ASPPB response to APAGS Thoughts on EPPP Step 2

I have received a response to the previous post about the EPPP Step 2. With permission, I am sharing here. I welcome your thoughts and comments below or you can email me directly. Please title the email: EPPP-2 Blog.



Dear Dr. Jehu:

ASPPB appreciates the time and effort you took to communicate APAGS’ thoughts about the development of the EPPP Step 2.  We would like to respond to your comments in an effort to continue the dialog with APAGS about the EPPP Step 2.  We hope you will share this response with the APAGS membership and other colleagues as you see fit.

ASPPB’s mission is to enhance and support our member jurisdictions (that is the psychology licensing boards in the US and Canada) in fulfilling their goal of public protection.  We believe that the development of the EPPP Step 2 is a necessary and critical step in serving that mission and will prove to be a very helpful tool in protecting the public and in advancing our profession.  As the APA Board of Education Affairs recently stated,

“Embarking on this important initiative not only reflects recommended practices but also helps to enhance the profession of psychology and advances the trust society places in the profession.”

In your statement, you commented,

This exam may feel like a massive surprise to students and Early Career Psychologists. Unbeknownst to many of us, our field has been moving toward competency assessment since the Competencies Conference in 2002 and subsequent publications highlighting the importance and value in competency assessments (e.g. Rodolfa, Bent, Eisman, Nelson, Rehm, & Ritchie, 2005). During the 2013 updates to the APA Commission on Accreditation’s Guidelines and Principles, the APAGS Committee provided a comment that supported the development of competencies based assessment, but had concerns about cost, the process of assessing competencies, and the fair implementation of a new exam to psychology license applicants.

We appreciate that you have provided a context to the EPPP Step 2, by discussing the competency movement in psychology.  As ASPPB has discussed the EPPP Step 2, we have tried to state that this examination was not developed in a vacuum, but rather it is another step in this competency movement in psychology.  As most know, the competency movement in psychology is well documented in the education and training literature.  For those unfamiliar with the movement, we have a brief overview of the competency movement and how it relates to the EPPP Step 2 on our website.

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Excelling at Extroversion

Extroverts may seemingly enter the networking oasis of APA with an advantage to our introverted counterparts.  Networking can seem effortless when you love to meet new people and thrive in high-energy environments. Presentations and social hours may also cause little to no anxiety.  However, I give a word caution to my fellow extroverts.  Our presumed advantage could betray us if we are not careful to avoid some potential extrovert pitfalls.

  • Yak Yak Yak: We have a lot to say, and we love to say it! As an extrovert, try to be aware of how much space you are taking up in Q & A sessions as well as informal conversation.  Take a break if you realize you’ve been talking a while – also avoid interrupting!  Monopolizing conversation can leave a bad impression on others, particularly introverts!
  • Talk first, think later: In all the excitement to engage in social interaction, extroverts can fall victim to talking first and figuring out why we are talking second…. As a woman accustomed to rambling (as pointed out by my partner, my mother, my advisor, my brothers, to name a few) speaking without a purpose can leave us looking unpolished and scatter-brained. So pull your thoughts together and speak with intention and clarity.
  • YOU’RE GREAT! YOUR RESEARCH IS GREAT! EVERYTHING’S GREAT! Does anyone else regularly find themselves at the highest level of excitement?! Remember that in a professional setting, you may need to reign in overly-raucous laughter and fan-girl displays of excitement better suited for DisneyWorld or Comic-Con.
  • Loud Talker: Related to heightened demonstrations of excitement is the propensity to speak with excessive volume. Apparently, I never internalized my “inside voice” from elementary school and occasionally shout at people in normal conversation.  (True story: My parents thought I had a hearing problem as a child because I spoke so loud.) I recommend asking for feedback from others to see if you may also be afflicted as a loud talker.
  • Extrovert v. Extrovert Challenge: Do not get baited into trying to be life of the party (particularly at social events). Remember, all attention is not good attention, and your inner stand-up comedian may need to take a break while you are engaging in professional networking.
United Nations Event

Ninth Annual Psychology Day at the United Nations: From Vulnerability to Resilience: Using Psychology to Address the Global Migration Crisis

From the deserts of Syria to the mountains of Central America to the coast of Thailand, the United Nations High Commission estimates that there are more refuges and internally displaced people today than at any time since World War II.  Ban Ki-Moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations, has described this not as a crisis of migration, but as a crisis of solidarity.  On April 29th, hundreds of psychologists, crisis workers and planners from academia, nongovernmental organizations, and transnational organizations from around the globe gathered at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to discuss psychology’s contribution to the migration crisis.

Social justice and human rights were at the heart of this meeting, the latest in an annual series of U.N. Psychology Days.  This series has served to highlight the relevance of our field to the world’s most pressing problems, a relevance that was highlighted in opening and closing speeches by the co-hosts, the Ambassadors to the U.N. from El Salvador and Palau, two nations facing very different types of migration-related crises.  In a series of panels in between these speakers, the presenters focused on increasing attention to, and awareness of, the impact of forced migration on youth and children, and the importance of cultural context in understanding and ameliorating the impact of the migration crisis.

United Nations Event

  • The first panel focused on the role of cultural integration in the process of resettlement. Refugees and migrants find themselves in new and often very different cultures from the ones they left, and obstacles to integration may deprive them of opportunities to succeed – while depriving the welcoming nations from the opportunity to gain advantage from the skills, knowledge, and diversity of immigrants.  The panelists pointed to various models and approaches for the cultural integration of migrants, ranging from settlement houses to various modes of psychological crisis integration that can help ease the process of cultural integration.
  • The experiences, and unique challenges for migrant children and youth were the focus of the second panel, which highlighted the importance of supporting the needs, rights and well-being of minors who have rarely made a choice, themselves, to enter the process of migration. A resilience-focused approach was described by the panel as being paramount to understanding the impact of the process on this survivor population.  Other presenters focused on the impacts to mental health of the refugee journey, and highlighted the lack of mental health services available to minors, the obstacles to their accessing the services that do exist, and the role of language, culture, separation, and resilience in these young survivors.

Following the presentations, participants gathered for a less formal reception, where panelists, aid workers, psychologists – and students – could discuss the issues of the day, and form new relationships based on common interest and a dedication to advancing the role of psychology and mental health in addressing one of the world’s most pressing problems.

As a student, and a member of APAGS, UN Psychology Day was an uplifting experience: though the issues we discussed were challenging, seeing the body that represents the world’s nations put psychology at the heart of its discussion of those issues was inspiring, as was the opportunity to meet so many people who are working passionately to address and resolve the migration crisis.  Next year, the UN will host its tenth annual psychology day – I hope to see you there!

Samira PaulSamira Paul is completing her second year as a doctoral student in clinical psychology at the American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy, Washington DC.  She is the Diversity Chair for the District of Columbia’s Psychological Association, and the Advocacy Chair for the Maryland Psychological Association Graduate Students.