Committee Reports

Council of Representatives

Sally Barlow, Ph.D.
Sally Barlow, Ph.D.

The Council of Representatives met during the August 2017 APA Annual meeting in Washington DC for two days, considering a number of items. Key among them were reports from the Civility and Diversity work groups (clearly lots of overlap here) regarding useful ways to advance the causes of civility (in person and on the list serve) and expand diversity beyond just “talking about it”—thus reflecting our mission to respect the rights and dignity of all persons.  In particular, the Civility work group put forward a plan to encourage dealing with civility issues with 5 steps: 1) peer to peer internal [“ouch-oops” feedback–suggesting that a person who appears insensitive may not have realized it. The person who was offended needs to say “ouch” and the person who offended needs to say “oops”], 2) mentor assisted informal, 3) formal complaint, 4) mentor committee elevation and Council of Representatives (CoR) initiated community protection.  The report is lengthy and very thoughtful. If you would like a copy let me know. We will debate implementation of this during the mid-winter meeting in March 2018. The appointment of a Civility Ambassador will be made to oversee this process in order to promote respect and inclusion, utilize the findings of the survey conducted regarding these issues, and develop ways to provide corrective feedback.

The Diversity Work Group put forward suggestions for 2018 council diversity training, encouraged APA leaders to model inclusion by tracking informal as well as formal norms.  Some of the feedback from the diversity survey sent to CoR members last year included such feedback as “enforce term limits—too many council members remain on council by circling through a number of positions and divisions, often remaining dominant, even rude.” Members also recounted “fears of being dismissed, publicly criticized, seen as biased” as deterrents to speaking up against the majority while in meetings. The diversity report is also a very thoughtful document listing short term urgent/longer term urgent/short term import/longer term import, encouraging more data gathering, as well as specific training. Again, I would be happy to share this with you.

Progress with the Good Governance Project continues as the Council Leadership Team (CLT) attempts to make more nimble the daunting bureaucracy of APA.

Several items will be held over until Mid-winter meeting as the August agenda was jam-packed as manifested by the 678 page agenda book (which I would be happy to share with you if you pay for the shipping postage of such a heavy document!)

Council met in Executive Session to further discuss law suit issues, which I am constrained from sharing with you.

Of interest council members were forwarded information on the Press Releases from Kim Mills—media coordinator–during APA that reached a total of 56 million people on topics ranging from mindfulness to helping athletes succeed.

During the mid-winter meeting in March 2018 we will be debating the masters level license issue. This is a complicated issue with an upside and a downside. I would welcome your feedback about what you think about granting masters level psychologists licenses.

Also, just received word of an interesting conference coming up in April in DC.

Thank you for allowing me to represent you on the Council of representatives. Sally H. Barlow, Division 49, Group psychology and group psychotherapy.