Mary Gregerson, PhD
Independent Practice, Leavenworth, KS
“Aloha!” means “Goodbye” and “Hello” in Hawai’i. Following their double meaning, first, a brief “Goodbye’ to Division 46 in my final President’s Column, before an energetic “Hello” to Division 46 2026, the future.
“Aloha!” as Good-Bye: Yesteryear
Once upon a time, long ago in 1998 before the century/millennium changed, it was a bright, sunny day at the APA Annual Convention when a young health psychologist co-chaired the symposium “Telehealth Applications in the Future of Health Psychology.” From the audience a new colleague literally took this Telehealth early career psychologist co-chair by the hand and led her to a nearby room where she mingled with members of Division 46 Media Psychology—networking with “natural colleagues” rather than those colleagues by proximity is what the “association” in American Psychological Association means. The rest is history.
This President’s Column marks the end for her as the 2016 Division 46 Presidency dives into its swan song. She is now a Life Status APA member who enjoys her psychology career mainly within Division 46, never losing contacts with her original Division, and forever venturing to make friends and cultivate interests in other Divisions. Life Status frees funds from belonging to APA, so, now she belongs to 12 Divisions where she works with and for a variety of colleagues and her varied, always multi-disciplinary interests.
Whatever way she wants to re-invent herself, she nurtures new blossoms of expertise by finding like-minded colleagues in our APA family. Here is what that means. When she became a member of APA in 1984, she was a new PhD specializing in health psychology, transforming from specializing in behavioral health (exercise psychology) to behavioral medicine (psychoneuroimmunology relevant for AIDS and cancer). In 1994, she transformed mainly into an environmental health psychologist specializing in environmental sensitivity and the Synchronous Systems conceptual model. In 2001, she morphed into a trauma specialist for both natural and human-made disaster recovery, particularly using creative expressive treatments. In 1998, she added an electronic mode of treatment when media psychology entered her clinical practice with electronic communications entering the picture. And, before becoming a psychology major, she was a speech and drama major. All these interests started melding together even more in 1998. She then became a Founding Member of the Division 46 The Media Watch Committee. In 2016 her nomination of TNT’s “Major Crimes”’ Dr. Joe Bowman (portrayed by Bill Brochtrup) won the Division 46 Golden Psi award for fictional depiction of psychology. Bill sent a charming video acceptance speech—kissing his obelisk “Golden Psi” award in appreciation—which aired at the Division Membership Meeting at the 2016 APA Annual Convention, Denver, CO. Also in 2016, media and entertainment melded in the Division 46 Presidential Task Force on Entertainment Psychology and its Committee on Music and Media, which spawned its own Division 46 Presidential Task Force on Sexualization of Popular Music. Rewinding to 1998 she published her first movie review, Separating “Ill Will” from “Good Will:” Reflections on “Good Will Hunting” for the on-line now defunct movie review site Skrinkwrapped Films, whose founder’s book that same year on films and psychotherapy spurred her own 2007 The Cinematic Mirror for Psychology and Life Coaching, the third in the Division 46 Book Series. In the Spring/Summer 2016 issue of The Amplifier Magazine, she and colleagues reviewed the movie Into the Heart of the Sea (see Nautical Goliath Spares Defiant “David” in a Tables-Turning Whale Tale). This issue she publishes solo “HE SAID: “Our Lives are So Much Smaller Than They Taught Us They Would Be,” SHE REPLIED” “Look Across the Breakfast Table,” a review of Bridget Jones’ Baby (2016). Now others tell her that a separate Division on Entertainment Psychology continues to develop behind-the-scenes at APA. She plans to help make these natural colleagues’—some of whom she has already met as collaborators—dreams come true.
This history of your own 2016 President is in the third person because it could have been any one of you … and any one of the young psychologists flocking to our Division today. I am an “everywoman” who happens to have been elected to APA Division leadership. My brand of leadership is to “make you shine.” I met a number of you young media and technology psychologists at the Membership Meeting in Denver, CO. We mingled as Past Presidents hosted the Division Social Hour merged with a Posters of Excellence Session featuring many young psychologists. These included undergraduates from my alma mater, The University of Kansas, where I was the first Women’s Studies undergraduate major in the United States. These early career psychologists (ECPs) are energetic, excited, and eager to be Media and Technology Psychologists. Most ECPs, who spoke up where I could hear, tended more toward the technology area of our Division. A few focused more on media. They are our future in Division 46.
As we say “farewell,” we also say “hello,” when we say “Aloha!,” as the Hawai’ians do, to APA 2016.
“Aloha!” as “Hello”: Tomorrow
The future will be an exciting time for Division 46 with new horizons opening as new “natural colleagues” make their mark in our special interest group. So, let us peer into the APA crystal ball to see what horizons beckon us today.
Next year the Division 46 Bylaws revision will occupy many of you. Prepping has already started. This important endeavor is not lackluster, but, rather, the foundation upon which any Division runs. This year we returned to conservative adherence to the Division Bylaws and found many directives outdated, outmoded, and undermining rather than facilitative. For instance, Bylaws specify the Membership/Business Meeting as a face-to-face gathering. Yet attendance traditionally has been sparse, and, this year, Spartan-like. By presenting awards during this time, other Divisions have bolstered attendance. An idea is perhaps permitting an electronic mediated Membership meeting, so more Division 46 members might tune in from anywhere in the world.
This year with a last minute mediated and face-to-face meeting, we had people tuning in remotely and we broadcast proceedings via email, Twitter, Facebook, and Periscope. Imagine if we had had a social media marketing campaign all year to prime members for a mediated meeting suited to their personal professional needs rather than requiring them to machinate mercilessly their schedules! This step toward being a “member-friendly” Division uses media to enfranchise members, as do the hyperlinks in this multi-media President’s Column.
I wax nostalgic recalling in 2004 the immense pushback—yes!, and from distinguished media psychologists—coming from advanced career stage members when as The Amplifier Magazine Editor, I took the newsletter partially online! The compromise was to have a slim “Table of Contents” print copy mailed to members who could read the “rest of the story” online. This proved cumbersome so we reverted to a paper copy mailed to members. A few years later, editor Krishna Kumar persisted with the online version, and debuted an e-zine, that is, an online magazine, which has revolutionized APA member communications. Many other Divisions now also have online newsletters.
If we pride ourselves as standard-bearers for Media Psychology & Technology in APA, and for being a member-friendly Division, then let the Bylaws reflect that we lead in media and technology! It is incumbent upon each Division member to read the Bylaws. Please send suggestions to our By Laws Committee Chair Rochelle Balter, who has already begun organizing for this re-framing of how we work best.
See you online, and, if we are exceptionally lucky, in person.
* In Scottish Gaelic, Beannachd Leat means “Farewell,”
** In Scottish Gaelic, Slàinte means “Cheers,”
*** Poem by Scotsman Robert Burns set to the traditional old Scottish folk song (Roud # 6294 YouTube cover by Dougie MacLean from the album “Tribute.”
**** Amazing Grace” cover by Celtic Woman.