APA Candidate: Jean Lau Chin

Sep 16, 2019

1. Please describe your contributions to the independent practice of psychology, including any positions held and past or current committee work in Division 42. 

I had a part-time independent practice from 1974 to 2003 while I was in Massachusetts until I moved to California to become SystemwideDean of Alliant International University.  Since 1974, I continue to provide psychotherapy supervision to clinical psychology students and junior psychologists.  I contributed to the independent practice of psychology through many of my roles within APA including being president of Divisions 35 (women), 45 (ethnic minorities), and 52 (international), serving as council representative and Chair of the Council Leadership Team on APA Council, and on COPPS. In these roles, I supported independent practice in addressing clinical guidelines, core competencies for doctoral training, professional and multicultural guidelines, and MA level training in psychology.  I served on the Massachusetts licensing board where we were successful in limiting the scope of practice for MA level practitioners requiring them to be supervised by doctoral-level psychologists.

2.  The recent reorganization of the Association into APA (c3) and APASI (c6) is a critical issue affecting the ability to advance, defend, and protect the practice of psychology.  What concrete measure(s) would you implement to address this issue on behalf of practice constituents?

APAPO was not sustainable as an independent c6 entity.  The recent reorganization will enable APA to present a strong, unified face of psychology. As we reposition APA with this broader mandate, I would ensure that APA continues to advance practice vigorously for the profession, and urge APA to advocate strongly for equitable reimbursement and enforcing parity.  We need a mindset change—I would move us away from silos that work independently of one another. I would convene integrative leadership forums to bring together diverse perspectives to problem solve specific practice concerns.  I would support the APA council having a greater voice in setting policy and direction for practice.  Some specific issues include: clinical vs. professional practice guidelines, defining the scope of practice for MA level practitioners and maintaining the doctoral degree for entry into independent practice, and continuing to support independent practice while recognizing general applied psychology practitioners.

3. Please provide your position and how you intend to address each of the following  APA governance concerns: a) improved transparency of the APA Board of Directors (BoD) with APA Council; b) the continued effects of the Good Governance Project, particularly the delegation of fiscal and operational responsibilities exclusively to the APA BoD; and c) the effects from the Independent Review and the related, ongoing litigation.

The Independent Review made us acutely aware of the lack of transparency, inadequacy of information, and silencing of minority opinion—leading to erosion of trust, polarization, and ethical outrage.  The Good Governance Project was to enable Council to develop policy.  Both issues highlight the importance of transparency, openness to all perspectives, and a process that does not silence disagreement.  The BoD is accountable to Council—the elected representatives of our members.  I would ensure that the BoDinformsand engagesCouncil early on in its decision making;does not use its oversight of fiscal and operational responsibilities to abrogate its responsibility to Council;does not use its risk assessment role to withhold information; and will incorporate input received (i.e., from town halls, opinion surveys, open forums) in any decision making process.I would support and strengthen the Council Leadership Team’s role in facilitating the work of the council.

4. What do you see as additional vital area(s) facing the independent practice of psychology? How do you plan to confront these areas during your presidency?

The most vital area is the increased competition from the MA professionals licensed for independent practice in fields outside psychology, e.g., LICSWs, MHCs, and MFTs. As independent practitioners expand their expertise, e.g, forensic, sports, we have an opportunity to demonstrate how the doctoral degree adds value.  Currently, mental health systems hire more MA level practitioners because they are cheaper.  If we begin to accredit MA programs in psychology, this will not increase competition; rather, it will enable doctoral-level psychologists to define the scope of practice for those we already train. Psychopharmacology can be another area where psychologists can add value to team members in integrated health care settings.  Evidence shows that psychologists with prescriptive privileges prescribe less medication than psychiatrists.  Using my platform of PsychologistsLEAD, I plan to expand the role of psychologists as Leaders, experts and supervisors to Empower, Advocate, and make a Difference (see https://www.jeanlauchinforapapresident.com/).