Elaine Rodino, Ph.D.
Editor's Note: Articles in this section express the view of individual members of Division 42's Board of Directors.
Psychologists in Independent Practice have been subjected to serious abuses during this last decade. So serious and persistent have these abuses been that many believe that it has and will continue to change our profession forever. Some have already left the field, some have re-tooled their skills to "work within" the new system, some are still stunned and suffering from some version of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
A few years ago I was fortunate to participate in an intensive weekend meeting in Washington, D.C. called the Inter-divisional Task Force Meeting on Managed Care. It was there, along with many of my colleagues, that I began to propose positive and new ideas for the private practitioner. Brainstorming sessions resulted in pages of suggestions . Some of these ideas are still evolving.
An idea that began to appear then and has been gaining greater form and content is the concept of MARKETING.
The Practice Directorate's Public Education Campaign is a Marketing Campaign for Psychology. It's purpose is to educate the public about what psychology is so they can "Talk to someone who can help". This Campaign, although emanating from the Practice Directorate, was supported in word and dollars by APA's Council of Representatives, indicating that universal gain was seen for all specialty areas of psychology.
The Practice Directorate enlisted a professional Public Relations firm (Pacific Visions) to research and produce the plans for a National Education Campaign. Several states are presently utilizing this Campaign by tailoring the advertising campaign in their own states to meet their specific needs. I have been on the team that is spearheading a marketing campaign in the Greater Los Angeles/Orange County areas.
Division 42 is now extending this Marketing effort on a divisional and national basis for our membership and I am the newly appointed Marketing Director. I have been working closely with our President Sandra Haber, and also with several other committee chairs who will be important to the total effort and effectiveness of this project.
The most trail blazing concept in this plan is to advertise in a national magazine whose demographics fit the demographics of our most likely consumers, as found by Pacific Visions. We will be looking for the appropriate gender balance (women make most of the healthcare decisions in families, including psychotherapy), age range, education, and income levels. Income levels and occupations will need to identify populations that can pay out-of-pocket for psychological services.
These concepts used to be controversial, now they are necessary for the survival of Psychologists in Independent Practice. As your representative on the Board of Directors of Division 42 my goal is to have the public become aware of who psychologists are, what it is we do and how to gain direct access to a psychologist for psychotherapy. Marketing can readjust the inequities of the last decade and re-establish the traditional psychotherapy model.