Candidates for APA President
How would you justify "basic behavioral research" to a policy-maker who is not convinced that it is good use of public funds?
Most policy-makers understand the need for some basic behavioral research, and it's appropriate that "some" be done. That's not the real problem in our field. The real problem is that research-oriented, academic, publishing psychologists don't grasp the critical need for meaningful, useful psychological research. Practitioners are thrilled to find one or two useful pieces of research in their monthly stack of useless journals. Society begs, "Find us solutions to the problems of sexual predators, endemic divorce rates, the highest incarceration rates in the world, methamphetamine addiction, child custody decisions, etc." We keep letting them down. We can do better.
What concrete steps would you take to promote unity between psychologists who think of themselves as scientists and those who think of themselves as practitioners?
This schism is so severe in psychology because there is little interaction between practicing clinicians and researching academics. Let's face it, the old scientist-practitioner model never really worked; 98 percent of psychologists never published any research beyond their dissertation. The basic model needs to be renewed and updated. Our work with practice-research networks is part of the answer. See The Pennsylvania Practice Research Network: Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice (Vol. 8, No. 2, pages 155-167). This effort is now expanding widely. I would focus on creating a series of APA-organized, national practice-research networks as the primary thrust of my presidency.
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