For those of you who never have had the pleasure
of drafting a president’s
column for a membership newsletter, you might be interested in understanding
First, there is the demand, usually expressed
by a copy deadline (date). I am already late on that.
Second, there is the daunting challenge (aka a behavioral [cognitive]
emergency) of deciding what to write about (I am hoping that an answer
appears to me as I freely associate through this).
Third, there is the conceptual frame governed mostly by the self-statement
that NOBODY REALLY READS THIS ANYWAY, except for the fact that those
of you who just read that line proved me wrong.
Fourth, therefore, I must return quickly to the daunting challenge
noted in my second point above!
Thus, it is within my awareness, that, as you
read this, my tenure as president is over. On 1 January (well,
probably not functionally until 2 January), Dean Kilpatrick assumes
this role (and the responsibility to write to the membership). He
will be the most capable of presidents -- I wish him the very best
and offer him my hindsight that 12 months goes by in about three!
Which leads me to the point I raised in the first,
and now, similarly, the last, of my columns. Only incremental
movement occurs in short periods of time (and 12 months is a very
short period of both perceived and real time). In that first
column I vowed to continue to develop what our founding president
Phil Kleespies started, that of promoting/advocating for education
and training of psychologists toward competencies in behavioral
emergencies and crises. This is exactly what we have done this year – made
incremental progress – such that, if we can sustain (here,
Dean, I am offering you some advice) this effort, we will see significant
change in our lifetime!
Institutional change and changed mindsets take time, sustained
effort (I recall what I was taught during my years of training about
how many times I might have to give the same interpretation to a
patient before that patient “got it”), and inordinate
patience. This year, we have moved toward developing a strategy,
a logic model, wherein we can specify our short- and long-term goals
and those activities associated with getting there. All of
our discussions have been by teleconference with but the exception
of meeting briefly face-to-face in Honolulu last August. For
a volunteer board, with no budget to speak of, and real-life demands,
the fact that we have “met” as often as we have and have
sustained, no less made progress, are noteworthy accomplishments
for which I want to publicly applaud my colleagues on the board.
And now it remains for the next several years
of Section VII board members to do their part toward meeting these
goals. As therapists, we know well the time and effort involved to
effect change. My parting appeal to you is to offer up a few hours
of your year to getting involved in that effort. When asked
to run for election, please consider seriously that yours are skills
we need. Particularly
in a small section of a large APA Division, there simply is
not a never-ending pool of others who are going to make change happen.
So, I am only writing this column for those
of you who have a vested interest in reading it. This way, I have
increased the odds that, when I retire, I will have a vested reason
to read your presidential columns in each and every issue of this
Thanks so much for the opportunity to be part of this process.