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What’s Inside

Valeria Martinez-Kaigi
Valeria Martinez-Kaigi

Valeria Martinez-Kaigi, PhD, MS
Clinical Health Psychologist
Spine Wellness Center
Ayer Neuroscience Institute
Institute of Living, Hartford Healthcare 

Welcome to the Spring Issue of The Health Psychologist! From tips on how to talk to your supervisor about workload to available training on cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia- this issue is all about you! In this issue you will read about how you can improve your work-life balance, how to cultivate collaborative relationships at work to make needed systemic changes, how your important work in health psychology applies to vital research in the pandemic age, and benefits of being a member of the SfHP.

You will hear from our President, Dr. Helen L. Coons, about how fundamental your work has been this past year in the context of COVID-19 and the initiatives that have taken place regarding the society’s commitment to inclusivity.

In this issue’s Voice of Early Career Psychologists column, Dr. Courtney McCuen-Wurst writes with candor and practicality on the importance of asking for help and discussing workload with your supervisor, even when it feels foreign, scary, or goes against typical workload practices. In most cases and contrary to popular practice, more work does not always equal more success. More work likely means more stress and less time to do each responsibility well. A heavy workload may also leave us with less time to engage in healthy behaviors, enjoyable activities and difficulty with practicing boundaries for work-life balance. It’s ironic that the workload we take on to practice health psychology often leaves people with very little time to focus on health psychology principles such as health maintenance and promotion. Have you ever just sat down and thought about what exactly you gain from your workload? Does it lead to increased happiness or increased quality of life? Just food for thought!

How many times does a patient come to your office on the weekly basis reporting difficulties with sleep, especially this past year? Research is suggesting that the prevalence of insomnia has increased this past year due to the pandemic. Thankfully our very own sleep expert Dr. Jessee Dietch provides timely resources, in the Clinical Highlight column, on assessment, treatment, and consultation for sleep disorders.

This issue’s Research Highlight is written by the Chair of our Health Research Council, Dr. Ali Weinstein. She discusses the recent editorial “Health Psychology in the Time of COVID-19” by Dr. Kenneth Freedland and colleagues. Dr. Weinstein highlights takeaways from the editorial such as health psychologists expertise in the mitigation and prevention of disease as it relates to behavior in midst a pandemic and the importance of having health psychologists conduct research on the long-term sequelae of COVID-19.

This issue’s Interdisciplinary Corner is a good one! Drs. Krithika Malhorta and Margaret Smith discuss their journey in cultivating a collaborative partnership to work toward making real systemic change for social justice in their work environment. Here is an excerpt for a preview of an article you won’t want to pass by:

This is a story of allyship, friendship, and how collaborative relationships can change the systems in which we practice. It emphasizes the meaning of connection, being open to different perspectives and moving toward shared values and goals. This is a story of two women of color, from different cultures and generations, at different stages in their careers, coming together as allies to advocate for and bring about meaningful change in their work environment.

Also, your voice and vote matters to the society! Check out the SfHP news and read about your benefits, the upcoming APA convention programming, and candidate statements for SfHP election of officers coming up in April.

This is a great issue fellow health psych enthusiasts!

Well Wishes,

Valeria Signature

Valeria Martinez-Kaigi, PhD, M.Sc.
Editor-in-Chief, The Health Psychologist