President Elect – October 2016

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

arpana-inmanAs I sit to write this entry for the SCP Connect, I reflect back on this summer and think of all the deaths in the Black community, the Orlando shootings, the rape at Stanford, the coup that almost occurred in Turkey, the anti-Islamic sentiments and the fire at the Orlando mosque post 9/11, the terrorists’ attacks in France, Brussels, Bangladesh, and India, and the political climate in the United States. It has been an emotionally difficult and trying time for many of us — our colleagues, students, families, and friends. The pain and the heartache continue. Although I am sure that the frequency of these national and international incidents is not new, social media has brought this to the forefront in a very different way and into our homes. Moreover, the reoccurrence of such events suggests there is much that needs to happen in understanding and resolving these conflicts and issues both on the local and global fronts.

 

We are similarly challenged within our own community as we address the impact of these human rights issues. We have responded through resilience and hope as evident in our SCP listserv and More Pie conversations, as well as the APA Black Lives Matter march in Denver and in our local communities. Furthermore, our recent listserv conversations within SCP about Black Lives Matter, anti-Semitism, and marginalization of other minority groups demonstrates our capacity to engage in difficult and courageous dialogues … and yet, our recent dialogues underscore the complexity of these issues and highlight that we need to do more. As counseling psychologists, we have an obligation to the behavioral mental health and well-being of our communities. More importantly, we need to be able to hold the tensions that can occur within these difficult dialogues.

 

As I assume the Presidential-Elect role for the Society, I seek your guidance, involvement, and contributions in the service of social justice locally, nationally, and globally. Given that our Society is bound by shared values of diversity, empowerment, strength-based, resilience, and social justice, we have a responsibility to engage in and facilitate meaningful change—however challenging that may be. Whether we do it through education, training, clinical practice, research, consultation, or community engagement, let us commit to advocacy. Regardless of the modality, I ask that we all be allies and speak up for issues related to oppression, power, and privilege that affect our intersecting identities, for as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated: “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”

 

My presidential initiatives will broadly focus on the theme of Leadership through Advocacy. In particular, I wish to focus on:

 

  • Respectful dialogues and social justice engagement: I know this is an ongoing area of growth for many of us. We need to address this challenge through all of our interactions and activities. I want to give a shout out to our VP for Diversity and Public Interest, Anneliese Singh, for her strong leadership on this issue and look forward to our continued work in this area.
  • Attending to the Master’s Training Issues: The Master’s Training Issues are not new to our discipline. Many of our colleagues have been advocating and writing on these issues for several years. However, our field is even more at a critical juncture now because of a challenge to our professional identities and the changing landscape of licensure. We need to support our master’s graduates and practitioners as they navigate licensure and other practice issues. We need to foster and recognize that many of our faculty and supervisors hold dual professional identities as doctoral level counseling psychologists and master’s level counselor/counselor educators. We need to strengthen our doctoral and master’s training programs. I recognize that the master’s training issue is challenging depending on your affiliation (Department of Education, Department of Psychology) as well as the larger state level issues. We have some work to do in this area with our different stakeholders (e.g., APA, ACA, MPCAC, etc.). I hope to carry on the advocacy work that our current President Marty Heesacker has initiated along with several of our colleagues.
  • Leadership for mid-career psychologists (MCPs) and ECPs: Increasingly, our mid-career colleagues as well as some ECP’s find themselves taking on administrative leadership roles in higher education/clinical settings with insufficient preparation. It is my hope that we can examine these recent trends and proactively engage in dialogues and trainings related to taking on such important leadership roles.

 

I am honored to serve as SCP President-Elect. I thank you for your support of me in this leadership role for SCP and seek your engagement as we traverse this exciting journey together.

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