We are approaching another APA convention, which lets me know that I have now been the President of the Academy for over a year, which is a good time to reflect on where we have come as an organization during this time and where we are going. In my last few columns, I have reported on goals for the coming year and changes that we were making to enhance our Academy. As I reflect on the last year, we have actually come a long way. We have: passed new bylaws which cleaned up several areas of infrastructure; improved and refined our governance infrastructure; added new Board members, including Early Career Psychologists for sustainability and mentoring; stabilized our finances; added special discounts and memberships for those who have retired and for early career psychologists and graduate students to become involved even before obtaining their own diplomates; developed and conducted advanced training workshops in conjunction with other conferences; developed an excellent newsletter that is disseminated to Academy members and others (and will be available at APA); enhanced the mentoring program to help those seeking to become diplomates in couple and family psychology; developed a closer working relationship with the American Board of Couple & Family Psychology (ABCFP) which does the review of credentials and applications as well as the examinations for becoming ABPP in our field; become more active in the other family psychology specialty councils and entities within ABPP and APA as we look to the future of family psychology; enhanced our website; received funding to develop and print a new brochure for the Academy to disseminate; added a significant number of new diplomates who have achieved ABPP status in our field, and now have the largest number of paid Academy members in recent history; and developed a Fellows program for active members of the American Academy of Couple & Family Psychology (AACFP) that is renewable each 1-2 years when dues are paid and CEs are obtained. The latter allows our diplomates to indicate such a recognition in displaying or reporting their credentials to others.
Whew, that is quite a bit in one year!!! No wonder we are tired! I wish I could take credit for all of the above accomplishments and work that have occurred in the last year or so, but I can’t. It has been a team effort, and it has been my privilege to have an excellent, dedicated, hard-working group of Board members, newsletter editors, and others to help in these efforts. Our work is not done though. In the next year, we plan to focus on and highlight accomplishments and ideas of other Academy members in the newsletter, expand the articles and interviews in it, andmake it an important resource for those in our profession. We also plan to focus more on ethical issues in the field, and work with APA and other ethics committees to discuss concerns about mental health professionals working in forensic arenas with situations that involve couples and families but who are not trained nor have expertise in couple or family psychology (see column in this issue on page 12). Increasing the number of advanced training workshops sponsored or co-sponsored by the Academy is another goal. Continuing to encourage people to apply for the diplomate is an ongoing process, and we will continue to refine our mentoring program by having more people in this role. We will continue to work with the ABCFP to refine the process for becoming a diplomate, and to encourage more family psychologists to apply. We are also hoping to clearly frame the field of couple and family psychology to open the discussion of identity issues for those practicing in this field who may not be portraying, identifying, or referring to themselves as family psychologists. Another important goal is to develop a closer relationship with Division 43 of APA (Family Psychology), both in general as well as with more joint efforts at the APA convention and throughout the year. So, we still have a lot to do! However, I am optimistic that with the commitment and efforts of those in leadership positions in Division 43, ABCFP and our AACFP, I will be able to report the above have been achieved in my column at this time next year when I turn over the reign to Michele Harway.
I look forward to meeting some of you at APA, or at another meeting during the year. If you have any questions, or ideas for us to consider, please email me. Thank you for your attention, and have a good convention.
Bob Geffner, Ph.D., ABPP, ABN, President