Fellow members, WSPA Trustees, and friends and supporters of the Washington State Psychological Association; I’m here to report that the state of our Association is good.
Last year at APA’s Practice Leadership Conference in March, WSPA was named Outstanding SPTA. We did not rest on those laurels as the Association responded to the COVID-19 Pandemic thanks to its preparation in Disaster Relief and pivoted to provide online workshops.
We have had 2 consecutive years of operating our Association without financial losses.
We have had several years of increasing membership.
Over the past 3 years we have had new or revitalized committees form, providing valuable benefits to our members and psychologists across our state. (The Good Trouble Committee and Legislative Advocacy Committee to name a couple, not to mention the Disaster Relief Network.)
We have worked to help our members and consumers of psychological services in many ways: from providing ethics consultations, working to reduce barriers in becoming licensed, familiarizing students to our profession, insisting on access to quality care through the review of laws being passed in our state, assisting newly licensed psychologists, advocating for fair reimbursement practices, supporting our members with practice and personal resources during a pandemic, and providing high quality CE experiences.
We have done a good job as a volunteer organization to wisely contract with staff to complement what our members and Trustees do for the Association. Our current contracted staff are:
Executive Director – Marvo Reguindin
Director of Professional Affairs – Samantha Slaughter, Psy.D.
Lobbyist – Melanie Smith
Office Manager – Sierra VanderHoogt
At a recent WSPA Board of Trustees meeting, our 2021 officers were elected. The 2021 WSPA officers are:
President – David C. Wiesner, Ph.D.
President-Elect – Christen Carson, Ph.D.
Secretary – Lynda Hernández, Ph.D.
Treasurer – Julia Mackaronis, Ph.D.
Immediate Past President – Julia Mackaronis, Ph.D.
It is certainly positive that we as an Association have accomplished much, despite the upheaval the pandemic caused. During this year I hope to motivate us to move from good to better and maybe best!
How might we improve? It would start with a vision of our goals. A healthier or improved Association might have these features:
Communications. The Association easily and frequently needs to hear what members are in need of, while keeping its members informed of the many activities it does for members. Effective communications within the Association are important for efficiency.
Some steps taken in striving for improved communications have been: summaries of Board meetings being regularly posted on the WSPA listserv, establishment of a Board liaison to each WSPA committee, plans for more newsletters, giving members ways and encouragement to more easily contact WSPA.
Trust and Comfort. Association members will seek greater engagement with WSPA if they are confident that the Association will act in their best interests, and if they can rely on WSPA for information and support.
WSPA is currently committed to strengthening the trust of its members. For example, past actions of WSPA and APA concerning psychologists’ involvement in torture may have rightfully led to mistrust or disappointment with organized psychology. WSPA is poised to be more welcoming, straightforward, inclusive, and validating of members.
Involvement and Empowerment. The Association and all of us gain when members get involved and create benefit for psychologists and consumers of psychological services, but the member also benefits by being engaged and involved – feeling that they are helping their profession, knowing that they can make a difference, and feeling less isolated while building bridges for themselves and for psychology.
WSPA has recently taken steps to empower and rely on our committees to do the work of the Association. The ‘experts’ in any particular area will be located in a WSPA committee and the WSPA Board, although being the governing body, will more often seek recommendations from committees.
Increased Membership. It is positive that WSPA has increased its membership over the past few years. Did you know that WSPA only has 18.6% of people holding psychologist licenses in the state as members? Many states typically have 25%-35% of their licensees.
WSPA is currently investigating how we might increase our membership. By addressing the 3 earlier ‘vision areas’ we hope to increase membership. We need your ideas, though– What might be barriers for membership? What steps could be taken to have more psychologists or graduate students join us?
Good things are happening at WSPA. If you are a member, we thank you. Your time (going to CE events or working on a committee), talents (providing ideas or your area of expertise to WSPA efforts) or treasure (membership dues or financial contributions) are what has made us succeed. If you are interested in joining a committee, please sign up on our website www.wspapsych.org under ‘engagement’ then ‘committees’ or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Committees seeking new members:
CE Committee – reviews presentation applications for CE approval; recruits and plans for future CE events.
Legislative Advocacy Committee – reviews bills introduced in our state legislature to intervene if any bills damage the practice of psychology or impairs access or equity.
Good Trouble Committee (formerly Diversity Committee) – works to educate and influence to promote equity, and social justice.
Disaster Response Network – learn and become involved with disaster mental health services.
Early Career Psychologist Committee – developing supports and networking for newly licensed psychologists.
WSPA Psychology Graduate Student Organization – familiarizing psychology students with the profession.
Psychologist Support Program – (NEW) educating and advocating psychologists concerning self care, support, and how to know if you are practicing impaired.
If you are not currently a member; we would like to ask you to join us as a professional association of psychologists, working to improve the profession of psychology and psychological services in our state.
Thanks to the American Psychological Association, WSPA will soon have a new tool that will allow you to follow psychology’s legislative advocacy efforts - both in Olympia and Washington, D.C.
The Legislative Action Center found on the front page of our website allows WSPA members and the general public to have a means to communicate with their legislators (via email, phone, or Twitter) concerning legislation important to psychology or individuals receiving psychological services. Besides this communication feature, participants will be able to view the legislation APA and WSPA are following and upon which they plan to take action. This system is an upgrade from the older system that brought you ‘Action Alerts’, asking you to email your legislator on legislation important to psychology.
Our Legislative Action Center will be using the Voter Voice platform. This platform, as did the past platform (Capwhiz), stores all messages sent to legislators from it. These stored messages are observable to the Administrators of our Legislative Action Center.
WSPA felt it important to inform you of the limits of your privacy when using this tool, and who has access to your information. Administrators for our Legislative Action Center are: WSPA’s Federal Advocacy Coordinator (David Wiesner), WSPA’s Legislative Advocacy Committee’s Chair and Co-Chair (Casey Ward and Julie Johnson-Sharrette), WSPA’s Lobbyist (Melanie Smith), WSPA’s Executive Director (Marvo Reguindin), and APA’s lobbyists.
As a WSPA member, your email address will be uploaded to this system. Once you are sent a message to act on legislation through this system, you can ‘unsubscribe’ or decide to not send a message to a legislator – either ensuring your complete privacy. We hope you will utilize this new tool to be better informed of psychology’s legislative agenda, but we understand if you opt out.
On February 5, 2021, WSPA’s Graduate Student Committee held a well-attended graduate student symposium that allowed 8 of WSPA’s student members to exhibit their recent research projects and share their findings. Typically, WSPA holds this event during the Fall Convention as a poster session, but it was moved to 2021 and converted into a symposium to allow for a virtual format and more participation. All of the presentations were recorded and can be viewed at this link.
The winners received cash prizes for their work and all participants received certificates and gift cards.
First Place ($200) to Tyler D. Lyckberg, MS for “Predictors of Veteran Hospitalizations for Suicide Risk Within 4 Months Post-Discharge from Residential PTSD Treatment”
Second Place ($100) to Marisa Flores, MA for “Impact of Ambiguous Loss on Couples with a Partner Affected by a Traumatic Brain Injury: A Critical Literature Analysis”
Third Place ($100) to Stephen Paup for “A Longitudinal Investigation of the Relational Self-Schema Measure”
The Seattle Times recently published an article in which three of our WSPA members appeared. "Has the COVID-19 pandemic forever altered human behavior?" has Matt Goldenberg, Psy.D., Wallace Wilkins, Ph.D., and Sheppard Salusky, Ph.D., giving their opinions on possible effects the pandemic will have on human behavior.
If you have appeared in any news media, please let us know so we can feature you in a future newsletter.