Advocacy. Most of the troubles in our country, society, and in the world are due to human behavior. Our current COVID-19 pandemic, poverty, discrimination, inequality, gun violence, abuse, drug addiction, homelessness, climate change, mental and physical health problems, and so forth have, are at their very foundations, problems in human behavior. Most of the troubles that we individually experience (e.g., stress, anxiety, depression, addiction) are due to difficult and challenging thoughts, feelings, and behavior about ourselves or others. APA clearly should be the go to organization to help better inform the public to help strategize, manage, and solve these problems. While APA has certainly come a long way in advocacy for our profession, our members, and for those who are challenged in society by all sorts of difficulties, we really could do so much more. I would hope to help focus our attention and resources on ways to assertively turbo charge our advocacy efforts and wouldn’t rest until APA was considered by everyone to be the go to place to get help with challenging personal and societal issues regarding human behavior. After all, our work is fully informed and based upon quality behavioral science without which we would be greatly weakened. An appropriate psychologist associated with APA should be on CNN, and other major news outlets, every day. Additionally, we should have an op-ed in a major newspaper each day as well. Sadly, we seem to live in a world where Hollywood celebrities, politicians, and sports figures are listened to much more attentively about their views regarding human behavior and problems in society than from evidence based psychologists. This really needs to change and we can’t rest until it does so. After all, the world is deeply troubled on so many fronts and most of these troubles are due to changeable human behavior.
Inclusion. APA has countless hard working and talented members, volunteers, and staff. Yet many psychologists aren’t members of APA and many have rather negative and dismissive impressions of our association. Additionally, many of our members and engaged volunteers aren’t treated as well as they could be. Just the fact that we even needed an APA Civility Working Group is a remarkable and rather sad statement. While we have made great progress regarding improving civility throughout the organization it is only the beginning. We could do so much more to make APA a gracious, hospitable, welcoming, inclusive, diverse, equitable, just, and an embracing organization for everyone. I have worked in a number of capacities to help groups and organizations move strategically and systematically from civility to hospitality to solidarity and finally to kinship so that people can be their best selves and to share their best selves with others tapping into the “better angels of our nature.” We shouldn’t rest until everyone who calls themselves a psychologist, regardless of subspecialty and whether scientist, practitioner, consultant, or maintains other roles and identities, in the USA is an APA member and that everyone who attends our convention or participates in our activities including and perhaps most especially all those tireless volunteers on our boards, committees, council, working groups, task forces, and so forth are all greatly respected, appreciated, supported, welcomed, and fully embraced. When people think of APA, they should smile.
Ethics. APA should and needs to be beyond reproach when it comes to professional and personal ethics. We have had moments when we have not lived up to our values that are well articulated in our Code of Ethics, strategic plan, and other association documents. We always suffer the consequences when we fail to live up to our values. We need to and should do better. As someone who has worked academically, clinically, and as a consultant regarding personal and professional ethics for over 30 years I would hope to bring a laser beam focus on ethics throughout the association to help us truly be the association that we want and claim to be. In a nutshell, highlighting our values of respect, responsibility, integrity, competence, and compassion in all that we do and at all times would be my goal. Ethics do matter and perhaps now more than ever before in our association and in our troubled society.
I’m running for APA President to roll up my sleeves, lean in, and collaboratively help move our strategic plan forward in solidarity and kinship with others of goodwill within the organization. And I want to highlight advocacy, inclusion, and ethics. We elect a new APA President each year and have an opportunity to select someone who brings certain gifts to the position to help our association improve and hopefully flourish. I hope that you might agree that my particular gifts could well match the needs of APA now. But, please know that I honestly want the very best for APA regardless of who is or isn’t elected to serve as president in any given year.