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APA 2017 Presidential Election Candidate Q & A

 

President Fred Oswald sent all candidates for APA President three questions that are directly related to SIOP interests. Three of the five candidates responded and their full answers appear below.

 

SIOP has formally endorsed Rosie Phillips Bingham for APA President.


ROSIE PHILLIPS BINGHAM

1.   How will you ensure that you are receptive and responsive to the priorities of I-O psychology (and applied psychology more generally), given the strongly clinical presence and focus of APA

I-O psychology is a vital part of the discipline of psychology. We benefit society when we work to improve organizations, large and small, for-profit, and not-for-profit, public and private. Such organizations are the very fabric of society. In the video on my webpage, you will see that I am committed to using scientific knowledge to solve real world problems. I-O psychologists are models for solving real world problems in the workplace.

APA must include a strong I-O psychology presence because of its focus on the workplace. I believe that strong organizations improve society and the lives of countless individuals. I-O psychologists demonstrate how to use scientific knowledge to solve problems and enhance the effectiveness of teams and organizations. I believe the very nature of the work of I-O psychologists provides a model for helping “to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people’s lives” (from the APA Mission Statement). I want to work to build a better society and I need strong I-O psychologists to help us get there.

One of my strong suits is that I listen well and believe in the power of inclusion. I will listen to the members of Division 14, and hope that you will be willing to communicate your concerns and ideas.

2. A spate of articles and efforts have advised clinical psychologists to “enter the workplace” as a new practice domain. As a result, many SIOP members are concerned about others entering this domain without appropriate training/retooling (e.g., in personal assessment, executive coaching, team interventions). What types of additional training should clinical psychologists receive before practicing in non-clinical areas within workplace settings?

The overarching guide for all psychologists is the APA Ethics Code and for those to whom it applies, licensure laws which emphasize that we should work within our areas of expertise and competence. I-O psychologists have a defined curriculum for their training. Any psychologist wanting to enter the workspace of I-O psychologists should receive training equivalent to that curriculum. Just as with any other specialized area of psychology, it is the job of I-O psychologists to tell us what that additional training should be obtained. One of my colleagues who was a clinical psychologist began to do I-O work, after obtaining two additional years of training and attending numerous workshops and symposia. As a Vice President at a large University, I often had to work through changes in what my staff was required to do. In each instance, we had to ensure that individuals were properly trained to do the job. Sometimes this means obtaining another degree. Sometimes this means on the job training and additional seminars and workshops. However, the experts in the area should define the additional requisite training. My job, if elected President, would be to listen and learn from you and to be your advocate in the larger APA arena.

3. Our recent SIOP member survey indicates concern, particularly among our academic members, regarding the status of I-O psychology in the field of psychology and in psychology departments. Introductory textbooks provide little more than passing reference to our field; major psychology departments treat I-O psychology and applied fields as second-class despite their psychological strengths and impact on society; and so forth. If elected, what will you do to assist SIOP in promoting I-O psychology to psychologists and psychology writ large?

I believe we must be deliberate and assertive about protecting and enhancing all branches of psychology. This includes promoting the practice and the science of I-O psychology so that those in this field can continue to lead psychologists in playing an increasingly vital role in fostering a productive and prosperous workplace. My role as a scientist-practitioner and researcher in vocational/career psychology allows me to resonate with both the values and the concerns reflected in your question.

 

One place where we could readily address this issue is with the Council of Representatives. With the redesign of Council, the Council of Representatives is supposed to address important professional and policy issues. We need a plan for what we want psychology as a field to look like in 25 to 50 years. There will be many environmental changes, many realignments of foci, many funding increases and decreases within academic departments, communities, the government, and society. How will all branches of psychology be affected? The Council of Representatives should listen to all branches of psychology, encourage discussion and propose ideas about how to advance the discipline including how to improve the effective delivery of subject matter in academic departments.

 

I would bring the promotion of workplace psychology to the Council Leadership Team to obtain a full discussion on the topic in Council so that we can begin to structure a solid intervention that will protect and enhance the field. No branch of psychology is “second class.” If I-O joins with me, I believe that we can move this issue into Council and give it the attention it deserves.

Colleagues,

 

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to think about things that are important to you. Please let me know if you have more questions or need more clarification.

 

Best,
Rosie Phillips Bingham


RAY DIGIUSEPPE 

1. How will you ensure that you are receptive and responsive to the priorities of I-O psychology (and applied psychology more generally), given the strongly clinical presence and focus of APA?

2. A spate of articles and efforts have advised clinical psychologists to “enter the workplace” as a new practice domain. As a result, many SIOP members are concerned about others entering this domain without appropriate training/retooling (e.g., in personal assessment, executive coaching, team interventions). What types of additional training should clinical psychologists receive before practicing in non-clinical areas within workplace settings?

Several thoughts come to mind regarding the entry of psychologists into I-O work without appropriate credentials. During my career, I have been involved in similar discussions concerning the boundaries of professional competence, mostly concerning clinical and school psychologists.

APA has long recommended that psychologists whose doctorate is not in one of the three clinical areas of professional practice, Clinical, School and Counseling Psychology, should enroll in an organized, two-year “re-specialization” program run by an APA approved doctoral program. School psychologists have had a related issue when clinical psychologists with little training attempt to work with children in schools. Forensic and clinical neuropsychologists have run into similar problems.

I-O psychologists should expect the same degree of respect for their specialty as other specialty areas of psychology. Given the growth of knowledge and the development of new specialty areas, such issues are bound to emerge more frequently. The problem is not unique to I-O. However, SIOP could help clarify the issue by outlining precisely those credentials they believe an I-O person should possess.

The APA ethics code and most state licensing laws clearly state that psychologists must practice within their areas of professional competencies. But the mechanism for demonstrating competence is not specified. I believe we need to have more discussions about our shared competencies as psychologists, followed by each area of professional psychology identifying its specific knowledge base and competencies. Such a description would help identify which additional experiences and training are necessary when psychologists shift areas of practice.

3. Our recent SIOP member survey indicates concern, particularly among our academic members, regarding the status of I-O psychology in the field of psychology and in psychology departments. Introductory textbooks provide little more than passing reference to our field; major psychology departments treat I-O psychology and applied fields as second-class citizens despite their psychological strengths and impact on society; and so forth. If elected, what will you do to assist SIOP in promoting I-O psychology to psychologists and psychology writ large?

As a department chairperson, I found that more undergraduate students expressed an interest in topics related to I-O psychology than any other topic. The majority of psychology majors do not go on to graduate school but go into business or public administration. Graduates following these occupational paths would clearly benefit from more exposure to specialists in I-O psychology. My discussions with other chairs left me with the impression that psychology departments would like to offer courses in I-O psychology and hire faculty in this specialty, but that few applicants were available to fill such jobs. I came to regard I-O psychologists as a rare commodity. I suspect most academic I-O psychologists are in schools of business. Is there some way to improve the communication between business schools and departments of psychology?

Many undergraduate academics do not see their role as teaching material with specific occupational relevance. I think that our culture is undergoing a shift and demanding more links between a university education and ultimate occupational success. I-O psychology should be among the most important courses for psychology students. Has there been any attempt to make this case, perhaps in panel discussions at the APA Convention with Div. 2 members (Teaching of Psychology). Articles in Teaching of Psychology? Could members of SIOP prepare a paper for the American Psychologist outlining these concerns, with suggestions for the future? I think there are many ways for I-O psychologists and SIOP to achieve the kind of goals you mention. I would certainly be willing to work with you to attain them.

STEVE HOLLON     

 

1. How will you ensure that you are receptive and responsive to the priorities of I-O psychology (and applied psychology more generally), given the strongly clinical presence and focus of APA?

 

I am a research clinician who started his career at the University of Minnesota that has long had a strong I-O contingent. I am a devotee of using the best of empirical science to guide real world applications and in that regard likely have more in common with the typical I-O psychologist than with most practicing clinicians. I chaired the committee that advised the APA on how to set up clinical practice guidelines. This was not popular within APA but it was in the public interest and in the interest of the profession. No profession long survives that does not provide a service to the public and I can show my clinical colleagues how to best make the case for the services they provide. The bottom line for me is that I think that APA went off track about a quarter century ago when it was taken over by people who were dominated by clinical practice concerns and that both the public and the profession will be best served if we return to our roots as a scientific discipline. I do not know if that will be popular or not but I do know that I can do a better job of making the case that psychological services deserve to be reimbursed when that case is based on hard empirical evidence than when it relies upon wishful thinking on the part of practicing clinicians. My experience with my I-O colleagues back at Minnesota leads me to suspect that the way I approach the field is more in line with the SIOP than it is with most practicing clinicians.

 

2. A spate of articles and efforts have advised clinical psychologists to “enter the workplace” as a new practice domain. As a result, many SIOP members are concerned about others entering this domain without appropriate training/retooling (e.g., in personnel assessment, executive coaching, team interventions). What types of additional training should clinical psychologists receive before practicing in non-clinical areas within workplace settings?

 

I do not know what kinds of additional training/retooling would be necessary but I would look to Division 14 for guidance. I am no fan of “entering the workplace” simply to earn a living if that means engaging in practices for which someone is unprepared. I am quite skilled when it comes to treating patients who are depressed and suicidal but I would not presume to engage in activities for which I was not adequately trained. George Bernard Shaw once said that all professions are “conspiracies against the laity” and I take that to mean that profession thrive when they serve the public interest and not when the public serves the interest of the profession. For clinicians to claim expertise that they do not have is not only shortsighted it is wholly unnecessary. There is no nonpsychotic disorder (the bulk of the people that seek treatment) for which psychotherapy is not at least as efficacious as medication treatment and longer lasting. There is simply no need for clinical psychologists to “enter other workplaces” for which they have not been trained when they can compete on more than even terms with other disciplines in domains for which they have been trained.

 

3. Our recent SIOP member survey indicates concern, particularly among our academic members, regarding the status of I-O psychology in the field of psychology and in psychology departments. Introductory textbooks provide little more than passing reference to our field; major psychology departments treat I-O psychology and applied fields as second-class despite their psychological strengths and impact on society; and so forth. If elected, what will you do to assist SIOP in promoting I-O psychologists and psychology writ large?

 

If you have the data I will sing your praises. Clinical psychology has gotten “soft” and as a consequence we have lost market share to medication treatment. In the United Kingdom where the National Institute for Health and Clinical Evaluation (NICE) generates clinical practice guidelines that base treatment recommendations on the best available empirical evidence the National Health Service has invested £700 million pounds in training psychotherapists to implement those interventions with the greatest empirical support. I assume that different contingencies drive the process with respect to I-O psychology but the one thing that I do know from my contacts with colleagues in the UK is that you do not worry so much about persuading other members of your profession but rather make the case to those individuals who hire your services. If I-O provides services of value to your clientele (and I assume that things have not changed that much from the time that I was at Minnesota) then your students will get jobs (when I was at Minnesota a typically new PhD could expect a starting salary from industry that was approximately twice what their advisors earned) and if your students can get jobs then you have leverage with the departments in which you are located. As a research clinician I am quite familiar with being considered to be a “second-class” scientist by my colleagues who do more basic research; I deal with that by doing hard-nosed empirical research that is as rigorous as anything my colleagues do and my students get jobs. Happy to help in any way I can but if you have the data (and you did when I was back at Minnesota) then we have all we need to do the job.