By David F. Tolin, Ph.D., ABPP
Autumn always makes me think of home. And this year, autumn has a double meaning for me, as it also signals that I am nearing the end of my term as President of the Society at the end of this year. It’s got me thinking about what a professional “home” ought to be.
Home should serve our needs. As clinical psychologists, we should be able to rely on our professional home to give us information about the best that our science and practice have to offer. Of course, we have always had our flagship journal, Clinical Science and Practice, as a great source of information. We are also taking some new and bold steps this year– As a major example, The Committee on Science and Practice, headed by Evan Forman, along with our Web Subcommittee, headed by Damion Grasso, is about to unveil a completely new format for how we disseminate ESTs to practitioners and the public. Our web site (www.div12.org) will shortly provide you not just with a list of ESTs, but also training manuals, links to training opportunities, journal articles, therapy videos, and more. It’s intended to become a “one-stop shopping” site for everything you need to get started with a particular treatment. We’re also about to open a Clinician’s Directory, in which our practicing members can let the public know that they belong to the Society. Those practitioners who are skilled in ESTs will have the opportunity to make that publicly known as well; this is the first directory of which I am aware in which consumers looking for a particular treatment will be able to find a practitioner in their area who practices it.
Home is also a place where we feel welcome, with a sense of camaraderie and shared purpose. It’s a source of professional identity. I’m a member of many professional societies; perhaps you are too. But first and foremost, I identify myself as a clinical psychologist. And the Society of Clinical Psychology is where the clinical psychologists go to exchange ideas, debate issues, and collectively try to shape the field and move our discipline forward. There is no other professional organization that can lay claim to that. We’ve been working hard to invite more people into our home this year. Over the last decade, our Society’s ranks have been decreasing, despite no change in the number of clinical psychologists in APA (Tolin, 2012). Under the leadership of Marc Hillbrand, our Membership Committee is working to reverse that trend by attracting and retaining a new crop of students and early career psychologists through a series of social networking events around the country and at various conferences.
Home should also energize you. It should be stimulating, and make you want to get involved. We have exciting things going on, and people are engaging. As one example, a group of us have been working over the year on a proposal for a new classification system for ESTs. The original criteria for ESTs (Chambless et al., 1998), developed 20 years ago, were highly influential, but several valid critiques have been made of the system. The criteria are overdue for an update. More to come on this later, but in brief, we propose to develop a system that parallels that proposed by the APA Task Force on Evidence-Based Treatment (Hollon et al., 2014), yet aiming for more rapid dissemination of results. The outdated classifications of “probably efficacious” and “well established” will be replaced by specific recommendations using a modification of the GRADE system (e.g., Guyatt et al., 2008), which has been adopted by many other prominent healthcare organizations. In collaboration with Section 3 (Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology), the Society has addressed weaknesses in APA’s system for approving sponsors of continuing education programs, and APA seems to be listening. We’re initiating several Special Interest Groups, under the able direction of Natalia Potopova, for our members to have more focused discussions about specialized topics, including application of evidence based treatments in practice, teaching of clinical psychology, and being a clinical supervisor.
And, sadly, sometimes people leave home. Our Administrative Officer, Lynn Peterson, will be retiring at the end of the year. Lynn has been with our Society since 1995, and for many of us her name has become synonymous with Division 12. Lynn has handled every administrative aspect of the Division, from scheduling board meetings to managing the listserv to preparing budgets to chasing down the Sections for their tax returns… the list goes on and on. She has also, over the years, had to contend with some colorful personalities and egos (who, us?), and has done so in a truly masterful fashion. I, for one, know that I could not have accomplished much during my term as President had she not been there to guide me. She leaves some very big shoes to fill, and she will be missed.
Thank you all for the privilege of serving this wonderful Society.
Chambless, D. L., Baker, M. J., Baucom, D. H., Beutler, L. E., Calhoun, K. S., Crits-Christoph, P., . . . Woody, S. (1998). Update on empirically validated therapies, II. The Clinical Psychologist, 51(1), 3-16.
Guyatt, G. H., Oxman, A. D., Vist, G. E., Kunz, R., Falck-Ytter, Y., Alonso-Coello, P., . . . Group, G. W. (2008). GRADE: an emerging consensus on rating quality of evidence and strength of recommendations. British Medical Journal, 336(7650), 924-926. doi: 10.1136/bmj.39489.470347.AD
Hollon, S. D., Arean, P. A., Craske, M. G., Crawford, K. A., Kivlahan, D. R., Magnavita, J. J., . . . Kurtzman, H. (2014). Development of clinical practice guidelines. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 10, 213-241.
Tolin, D. F. (2012). Stayin’ alive: How the Society of Clinical Psychology can remain vital and viable for the next 20 years. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 19(1), 21-26.