Psychology is at an important juncture and is in the process of evolving and changing to meet the needs for education, science and practice in the 21st century. Psychologists have much to offer our nation, but the future requires that we change and adapt our practices. The central question is how does traditional psychotherapy need to evolve to remain a viable and vital mental health resource?
With health-care reform once again on the national agenda, we cannot afford to be left out of these reforms and we need to ensure that psychology is included in any national changes. We need a clear agenda for our future that addresses current issues and pathways for the future.
As we consider changes in psychological practice, we need to balance the needs of the current generation of psychologists with those of our early career psychologists and graduate students. The needs of these groups may be different, as older psychologists tend to provide traditional psychotherapy, but newer practices become more integrated into general health-care settings and rely on technology. In addition, the current generation of psychologists does not reflect the nation's ethnic diversity, while the next generation needs to include the increasingly diverse and multicultural nature of our nation.
The 2009 APA Presidential Task Force and Summit on the Future of Psychology Practice, to be held May 14–17, is a collaborative effort and opportunity for strategic thinking about our future. The task force is chaired by myself, APA President-elect Carol Goodheart, EdD, and Margaret Heldring, PhD. The task force also includes Bob Gresen, PhD; Gary Hawley, PsyD; Tammy Hughes, PhD; Jennifer Kelly, PhD; Jana Martin, PhD; Susan McDaniel, PhD; Thomas McNeese; Emil Rodolfa, PhD; and Sandra Shullman, PhD. The task force has been working since 2008 to address these issues.
The summit's goal is to engage the broader practice community in an agenda- and priority-setting meeting to inform the work of the APA Practice Directorate and the APA Practice Organization. We are assembling leaders in the practice of psychology and other professionals (other practice associations, government entities, training organizations, consumers, insurers and businesses) to identify:
• Opportunities for future practice to meet the needs of a diverse public.
• Priorities for psychologist practitioners in private and public settings.
• Resources needed to address the priorities effectively.
• Partnerships and roles to implement the priorities.
This summit will be a vehicle for consideration of new types of psychological practice, settings and partnerships for practice; expanded thinking about practice trends; and conceptualization of practice that cross traditional lines. We will develop a clear agenda for our diverse practice community. In so doing, there is promise for greater resource development and synergy of effort among practice leaders and organizations.
The summit will be of great interest to many APA members in diverse types of practice, as well as those who train practitioners and those who conduct research related to the practice of psychology. Therefore, we are making the summit accessible to all psychologists via a delayed webcast on APA's Web site.
Let me hear from you. Engage, get involved, this is your APA. Contact me anytime by e-mail.