APA Candidate: Susan Krauss Whitbourne

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. 

As an ABPP in Geropsychology, my primary contribution to independent practice has been to provide mentoring in this specialty to benefit individuals in private practice who wish to enter this area of increasing importance both in psychology and in society as a whole. Additionally, although I have not been a member of Division 42, I have served as the Chair of the Geropsychology Training Council (CoPGTP) and currently am on the Board of the Massachusetts Psychological Association. In these roles, I have provided support to my colleagues in independent practice and have also learned of the challenges facing these colleagues.

Throughout my time in APA governance, I have worked alongside my colleagues in private practice in providing support for Division 42’s initiatives and will continue to do so.

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?

I believe that the reorganization of APA will represent a significant challenge as, although intended to unite psychology, it has the potential to have the opposite effect.

Psychologists from academia and science who do not understand the importance of advocating for practice may feel disaffected and therefore will choose to leave APA, a process that unfortunately is already underway. As I have said both to my colleagues in the division I currently represent on Council (Division 20) and to my colleagues in Division 42, we must continue to advocate for each other and speak to our common goals. I will continue to make sure that, as APA President, I maintain and expand on these lines of communication.

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.

It has long been a concern of mine that APA governance has become more centralized and that members feel they have less and less of a voice. I have certainly seen this trend within Council over my five previous terms of service, and I have spoken up perhaps more than is wise to make sure that APA’s actions remain transparent. Perhaps because I have never served on the APA Board of Directors, I will come into the Presidency with a more independent voice and with an open mind regarding the success or failure of the reorganization that resulted from the Good Governance Project. It has certainly been disheartening to see some of the decisions that appear to be resulting in greater centralization of power (including effects of the Independent Review and repeated litigation) and I will work hard for greater openness throughout the organization.

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?

My presidential initiatives include that I embark on a virtual listening tour in order to reach all constituencies in APA so that I can learn what is most on their minds. I have been exposed to some of the concerns held by members in independent practice, but I would like to hear more so that I can work to integrate these with the concerns of members both not in divisions and in divisions and SPTA’s who hold their own strong views of APA’s future. Again, through the Massachusetts Psychological Association, I am aware of some of the issues facing private practitioners as well as some of the ways these issues can be addressed by a strong organization that lobbies on behalf of both providers and consumers. My presidential initiative of bringing psychology “home” to APA is built on this belief, and I intend to follow through on this vision.