Committee Reports

APA Council Report

Sally Barlow, Ph.D.

As usual, COR February 2015 meeting in DC had its fill of thrills and spills; meetings were preceded by a host of Council Pre-Work issues including economic, organizational, technological, doctoral/non-doctoral distinctions, globalization, policy, insurance, educational (internship/training), marketing, practice/science, research, social, and finally torture. Clearly, response to torture allegations was a huge concern: 1) “Role of psychologists at Guantanamo Bay and various ‘black sites’, and the APA’s response to the torture allegations, 2) Reclaiming the moral and ethical nature of psychology, including but not limited to, the unequivocal condemnation of torture.” It is like trying to close the barn door after the horses have fled. I realize this is just my opinion, but the sheer amount of fighting back and forth[i] on the Council listserve is likely a result of fear about what eventually will be revealed regarding APA’s role in promoting torture, regardless of when and how the investigative independent report is released. The fight–which appears to sidestep the central issue of how terrible it will be regardless of when and how it is released– is about whether or not to go by council by-laws process once the independent review is released (Board of Directors reads it, prepares a response, releases to COR and then to the general membership) vs. releases it immediately to everyone. At issue is transparency in order to restore the public trust. During the February meeting a strong, vociferous minority spoke from the floor regarding releasing the findings of the Hoffman investigation independent report to everyone, bypassing normal procedures. Clearly many members believed the old process was part of the problem—no longer nimble or transparent. This particular debate didn’t happen until the very end of COR meetings, preceded by a number of important topics, to be sure, but none as vital as our response to APA’s part in torture allegations. If you are unfamiliar with this debate, check online PENS report—Psychological Ethics and National Security

The night before actual council meetings, caucuses gathered to discuss their particular interest-group concerns. New Governance structure is now in effect, and as a result, two caucuses have been “sunsetted”—Very Small SPTA Caucus and the Assembly of Scientist/Practitioner Psychologists.

Friday February 20th agenda: Mega Issue

Reorganization has focused on clearer science-to-policy strategies—1) science/research perspectives, 2) advocacy, and 3) educating the public. We spent the day breaking out into smaller discussion groups to tackle how to better utilize research in practice etc. This was an attempt to deal with important issues in psychology, now labeled “mega issues”. The newly-formed Council of Leaders Team (CLT) is supposed to replace the board of directors as council’s new executive committee and give us guidance on how to proceed regarding such Mega-issues. We tried to tackle integrated health care last year and it remains to be seen how this will unfold.

Friday night: Reception at APA headquarters

If there is a reason for psychologists to give up three days of private work to deliberate on tough topics in psychology it could be seeing the lit up Capitol building from the newly constructed outdoor rooftop reception area at the APA building. It really was beautiful. I felt guilty eating Hors D’oeuvres and feeling part of the “privileged people” until I thought about the hard work all this entails. Who would like to run for Council Rep for Division 49 next? This is clearly one of the perks.

Saturday February 21st agenda:

Remembrance of deceased members

Presidential update

Diversity Training—Implicit Bias (very interesting report)—if you want more info let me know

Finance report—operational budget, building operations, $67 million in assets 2014, investment portfolio 2014= $94 million

In addition to reports, council was asked to vote on following action items as found on APA website:

Resolution to Support Education and Implementation of the International Classification of Diseases.

This resolution serves to promote and encourage a wide range of ICD-relevant APA activities as well as (a) inform APA members and the public about this important public health framework and (b) support the creation of innovative tools and programs to allow psychologists to enhance their knowledge of health promotion, disease prevention and management of chronic disease.

Professional Practice Guidelines: Guidance for Developers and Users

Council was asked to adopt this document as APA policy to replace two earlier APA policy documents.

Resolution on the 2015 White House Conference on Aging

Council was asked to adopt as this document as APA policy.

Amending the APA Association Rules to Change the Name and Mission of the Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns

Council was asked to approve changing the name of this committee to the Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity because the current name no longer effectively reflects the full range of diversity among the populations it represents. It also eliminates the gender parity requirement.

Although council did not have as many action items to discuss as typical because the agenda items are now being divided between the board of directors and council, we still had a number of issues to discuss. Probably one of the most heated discussions involved the language change in the association bylaws and rules involving the governance change motions approved by council over the past few years. The majority of people approved the changes proposed although a substantial group was concerned that the language did not reflect the true nature of the division of responsibilities between the board and council. The final vote approved these action items with a request that the president and CLT chair appoint a work group to address any inaccuracies or inconsistencies in the language for our next council meeting in August.

Council was also asked to vote on the following action items

Association Rule Change: Inclusion of ECPs on APA Boards and Committees

Council was asked to (a) approve amending association rules to require relevant board and committees to have at least one member who is an early career psychologist (ECP); (b) approve that in addition to those boards/committees approved in August 2014 as being excluded from this requirement, the following boards and committees should also be excluded because their membership criteria, based on specific requirements, do not allow for a slate composed solely of ECPs:

  • American Psychological Association of Graduate Students
  • Council of Editors and Fellows Committee

And (c) approve the exemption for the Fellows Committee through 2020 and request that the Fellows Committee develop ways to increase the number of ECPs being considered and approved as APA fellows.

Action: Council approved this item with a friendly amendment for the Committee on Psychological Tests and Assessment to have an extended period of time to add ECPs to their slates.

Making APA into a Data-Driven Organization

Council was asked to approve adding a clarification to the APA strategic plan as part of Goal #1: Maximize Organizational Effectiveness. The specific proposal is to include the following objective: “d. Ensure that APA collects, maintains, and manages accessible member and professional data to allow for evidence-based decision-making.” A substitute motion that was accepted directed all future modifications of the APA strategic plan to be based on a process developed by the CEO.

Action: The motion was approved with additional wording that included issues of accountability and transparency to the proposed additional language.

APA Technology Implementation Plan

Council was asked to support the CEO’s technology implementation plan and request that additional methods for member engagement be developed by the new executive director for membership following the establishment of the Office of Member Recruitment and Engagement.

Action: Council approved this item.

Competencies for Psychology Practice in Primary Care

Council was asked to adopt this document as APA policy that articulates competencies for education and training of psychologists who seek to provide psychological services in primary care.

Action: Council approved this item.

Modifying the Composition of the Board of Educational Affairs

Council was asked to approve amending the association rule and forwarding to the membership for a vote a bylaws amendment to modify the composition of the Board of Educational Affairs so that one seat could be held by an APA high school or community college teacher affiliate member.

Action: Council approved this item.

Standards of accreditation in Health Service Psychology

Council was asked to approve the Commission on Accreditation’s proposed document. This will replace the current Guidelines and Principles of Accreditation.

Action: Council approved this item.

Helping International Colleagues with the Declaration on Research Assessment

Council was asked to approve a request that APA join other scientific organizations world-wide to endorse the 2012 San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment.

Action: Council approved this item.

Sunday February 22—presidential citations, other agenda items (mainly fight from the floor about how and when to release the findings of the independent review re torture), president-elect candidate speeches

Other Relevant Issues:

If you are interested in the outcome of the recent lawsuit re APAPO please go to I attended an optional meeting conducted by APA attorney Nathalie Gilfoyle, a clearly competent, articulate attorney expertly representing our interests, regarding the settlement details of the lawsuit. She expressly forbid us to discuss the findings publicly because of the settlement stipulations.

Thank you allowing me to serve as the Council Representative for Society 49.

Sally Barlow


[i] “Please do not allow this dialog or the APA to be used as a vehicle for individuals to prove their liberal credentials. We have more important work to do.”

“Thank you for the information you’ve provided.  I believe APA’s usual high ethical standards will prevail in this situation.”

“If the review demonstrates that APA was, in fact, supportive of these tortures I will forthwith resign my career long affiliation with the association.”

(These are just a few representative of hundreds of emails that flurried back and forth since our February meeting, some of which are too vile to re-print)