State Leadership Conference

Chances are you'll see ads for sleeping problems, chronic indigestion or erectile dysfunction--problems with behavioral components that psychologists are ideally suited to help people address, said Tyne, at the 2008 State Leadership Conference.

Tyne was one of three panelists who started their careers as clinical psychologists and moved into areas broader than the traditional mental health service provider model. His career changed after he went to the U.S. Virgin Islands on sabbatical in the early 1990s and then began consulting for the hotel industry. After talking to hotel managers and learning that employees who were the most reliable--not necessarily the best leaders--were usually promoted to supervisory roles, he developed a course to teach leadership skills to newly promoted supervisors.

Brad Klontz, PsyD, talked about his transition into an expert on disordered money behaviors. Klontz, who regularly writes newspaper columns on psychological topics, helped write the book "The Financial Wisdom of Ebenezer Scrooge" after a Wall Street Journal reporter interviewed him about his work with people who needed help dealing with how they handled money.

In his view, psychologists need to more effectively present their expertise on a range of problems.

"If I'm an effective marketer, I'm actually being effective at getting my message of hope, healing and health to the world," he said.

Participants also heard from Rebecca Thomley, PsyD, who took over leadership of Orion Associates from her mother in 2000. In the past seven years, Thomley used her skills as a psychologist to help the group of affiliated human service companies grow from 300 employees to 1,500, with revenues quadrupling from $8 million to $33 million.

The skills she employs as a leader in business are skills all psychologists have, Thomley said.

"We know that we can identify needs by listening, observing and being as present as possible with people. We're sleuths, we know we're great at finding the support people need," she said.

To make a transition into nontraditional roles, psychologists need to know their individual skill sets, be creative in applying those skills and learn from their mistakes, Thomley said.

-C. Munsey