Christopher J. Ferguson, PhD
In February, the APA Council of Representatives met to discuss some of the issues facing the APA at the moment. Here are some of the things discussed.
First, the lawsuits regarding the Hoffman Report lumber on for the moment. There is not much to report that is new.
A major item to come up and bring controversy with it was the APA rules governing divisional policy statements. We voted on some language clarification at the February meeting, which didn’t change the rule. However, many council members objected to the rule itself. Many felt that the rule effectively gave, as Frank Farley calls it “the Palace” censorship power over divisions. In fairness, the APA bureaucracy hasn’t given our division too much trouble in the past, but theoretically they could. This could limit divisional ability to criticize the APA’s policies on science or ethics (see Hoffman report). Further, it also restricts a division’s ability to respond quickly to events with public statements. As such, a new item is being introduced by some council members to revisit this rule and reduce APA power over the divisions. We’ll see how that goes!
A major item for our division is there’ll be a new journal, Technology, Mind and Behavior. Unfortunately, the division didn’t have a lot of input in developing the journal, nor the related conference, although I think our President Kathryn Stamoulis has made some inroads there.
APA licensure of Master’s programs continues to shape up. There’s still much discussion around how much autonomy Master’s level practitioners “should” have. This seems driven by strain between clinical psychology and the counseling education folks as they each look to secure turf.
A resolution on spanking attracted some controversy. Members raised concerns not because anybody is a fan of spanking but out of concern that the APA continues to “cherry pick” evidence from controversial/messy fields to support a moralistic stance. Despite those concerns, the measure did pass.
Most remaining items were in the business as usual category. It’s always possible I missed something of course and, if so, please reach out to me to ask any questions you have.