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Division 52 Holds its Mid-Winter Meeting in April in Portland, Oregon

Many psychologists are interested in working clinically as a psychologist across borders. There will be sessions on such topics as counseling in different regions, helping people deal with trauma, and processing issues related to international adoption.

By Lynn H. Collins, PhD

Division 52 will be holding its Mid-winter Meeting in conjunction with the Western Psychological Association (WPA) Convention on the West Coast for the first time. The convention will be held April 23-26, 2009. Additional information can be found at APA's Division of International Psychology (Division 52). We encourage psychologists and psychology students to attend WPA’s international sessions, many of which will be held on Friday and Saturday. We also invite you to attend our Board Meeting on Sunday, April 26th if you would like to become more involved in the Division.

According to its mission statement, the Division of International Psychology (Division 52) “represents the interest of all psychologists who foster international connections among psychologists, engage in multicultural research or practice, apply psychological principles to the development of public policy, or are otherwise concerned with individual and group consequences of global events." Some of the things that the Division does to encourage the development of a more international perspective in psychology include sponsoring programming at the annual meetings of the American Psychological Association , Eastern Psychological Association, and most recently, the Western Psychological Association, to stimulate interest in and share information about international psychology. The upcoming WPA meeting will provide additional networking opportunities for psychologists from around the world and will promote the awareness and development of international consulting, training, and research opportunities and challenges for psychologists.

More specifically, Division 52’s programming at WPA will include sessions on a wide variety of topics conducive to becoming more internationally aware. It will include sessions on how to become more involved in international psychology as a student, clinician, faculty member, or consultant. One venue to facilitating international awareness is to internationalize the undergraduate and graduate psychology curricula through educational innovations and available resources. This may include enhancing the traditional course work, developing travel study programs, creating immersion programs, and establishing international study programs. Emerging technologies can be very useful tools in this endeavor. This multifaceted process of internationalizing curricula not only involves teaching US students, but in addition, helping international students adapt to their new context, as well as understanding unique aspects of teaching and mentoring international students into their professional roles as psychologists. Sessions will address many of these critical aspects of internationalizing the curriculum.

It is also important to base the internationalization of the curriculum on contemporary literature. However, there is a need for more research as well as better international dissemination of research results pertaining to international psychology. Faculty and students need to learn how to conduct psychological research in an international context in order to build upon existing knowledge. Some Division 52 convention sessions will address international adaptations of ethics codes, the significance of the APA Resolution on Cultural and Gender Awareness in International Psychology and APA’s perspective on conducting international research. Psychologists with experience in the field will talk about their work in this area.

There will also be a session on psychology’s role and recent developments at the United Nations. Psychological perspectives on social issues such as terror, human trafficking, emigration, asylum evaluation, managing inter-ethnic conflict, and dealing with the HIV/AIDS epidemic will be explored. These topics span social, human factors, clinical, counseling, and health psychology.

Finally, many psychologists are interested in working clinically as a psychologist across borders. There will be sessions on such topics as counseling in different regions, helping people deal with trauma, and processing issues related to international adoption (issues of identity and “passing”). There will also be a session about the many educational and credentialing systems used for regulating the practice of psychology around the world. Of course, there are many areas that lack education facilities and/or may not require credentialing at all.

In short, we hope to offer a broad range of sessions of particular interest to clinicians, academics, researchers, and consultants from all areas of psychology who are interested in international psychology. We hope that you will join us at WPA, EPA, and APA conventions during the year to partner with us in enhancing awareness and comprehension of the international opportunities and challenges facing us. Ψ