Council of Representatives Column

The APA Council of Representative Meeting, Denver, CO.

During APA’s 2016 Annual Convention in Denver, the Association’s Council of Representatives met on August 3rd and 5th.  Of interest to all psychologists, but especially members of our Division, Council unanimously voted to pass the Resolution on Psychologists in Integrated Primary Care and Specialty Health Settings. The strength of support of this resolution reflects the Council’s growing understanding of the importance of psychology’s role in healthcare and health related scientific endeavors – from primary to tertiary care –  and psychology’s historical, and growing role(s) in today’s integrated healthcare system. Originally proposed by Division 38’s Council Rep. Dr. Helen Coons (now on the Board of Directors), your current representatives were pleased to see only positive discussion of this important APA policy.

All-in-all, Council had 17 total “motions” to review during its two days of meetings in Denver, as well as several informational presentations regarding a review of the APA ethics code and a committee focused on enhanced civil discourse during Council meetings. To read the minutes of the entire council meeting, go to www.apa.org/about/governance/council/index.aspx . Nine of the 17 items were on the “consent agenda,” meaning that there was no open discussion of the items and those nine items were passed as a group by voice vote. These items included Guidelines for Integrating the Role of Work and Career into Professional Psychology Practice, renewal of Forensic Psychology as a Specialty, the extension of Family Psychology as a specialty, and extension of Treatment of Alcohol and Other Psychoactive Substances Use as a proficiency in professional psychology. A resolution for the freedom of movement of scientists was passed as was a Resolution to protect children with disabilities from maltreatment. Again, details of these items can be reviewed at the website listed above.

Of the remaining eight items discussed during the meeting, four focused on follow up of the Hoffman Report, aka The Independent Review (IR). These items were related to concerns about ethical issues that continue APA’s long held prohibition of psychologists engaging in enhanced interrogations (torture) and several items that reflected administrative changes to the function of Council that ensure transparency in decision making, support of military psychologists, and legal items reviewed with APA’s General Council in a Council “closed” executive session.

In one of the follow up items to the IR, Council considered a measure that would have allowed psychologists to provide mental health services to detainees at sites where detainees are denied protections under the U.S. Constitution. Due to the complexity of the issue, the council decided to postpone its consideration until its February meeting.

Besides these IR related topics, Council approved a new membership category, Friends of Psychology, that would be open to people interested in supporting APA’s mission but who are not eligible for other membership types. Each year, more than 100,000 students graduate with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and there is an even broader population interested in applying psychological principles to their work and personal lives. This new category would create a way for those interested in psychology to become more engaged with APA and the field. The proposed bylaw change establishing this category will be sent to the membership for a vote in November. Council also reaffirmed its support of ongoing diversity training as part of its own continuing education and in support of APA’s mission. Finally, Council received an update on the ongoing search for a new CEO for the APA.

Your Council Representative thank the membership of the Division for the opportunity to represent your interests at the Council meetings and we are available to answer any questions you might have about the items discussed by Council or the workings of Council itself.

Thank you,

Ronald Rozensky, PhD, ABPP
Elizabeth Klonoff, PhD, ABPP