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About the Society for Vocational Psychology

Our purpose ...

to improve the physical and mental health of individuals and organizations around the world by advancing knowledge of vocational psychology and improving career intervention practice.

Our Goals

The goals of the Society of Vocational Psychology include supporting, encouraging, and promoting the science and practice of vocational psychology and career intervention. The Society is dedicated to:

Providing Leadership within psychology and in the public sphere by …

  • Promoting the development and integration of science and practice,
  • Promoting diversity in the characteristics, work settings, roles, and activities of vocational psychologists, and
  • Presenting Section awards at the annual APA convention to recognize outstanding contributions to the field of vocational psychology.

Promoting Professional Interactions between Section members and members of related specialties by …

  • Providing a collegial, spontaneous atmosphere within which counseling psychologists—especially students and new professionals—can meet and exchange ideas, and
  • Publishing a membership directory to facilitate networking among Section members.

Advancing the Education of Counseling Psychologists by …

  • Helping define, promote and support the education and training of counseling psychologists,
  • Developing resources to assist in the education, training, research, and practice of vocational psychology and career intervention, and
  • Developing and sponsoring presentations at APA conventions and other international, national and regional meetings.

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Scholarly Activities

Bi-annual Convention

SVP has sponsored numberous conferences that highlight advances in vocational psychology. Most of the biannual SVP conferences occur in the United States. SVP also sponsors international meetings in collaboration with the Career Psychology SIG of the Organizational Psychology Division of the International Association for Applied Psychology. A complete list of the conferences organized by the SVP and the international conferences so-sponored by the SVP is available on the Conferences page.
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Activities At American Psychological Association Annual Convention

Since 1988 the Society has sponsored a symposium, set of roundtable discussions, and business meeting at each annual meeting. SVP also sponsors a conversation hour with a distinguished vocational psychologist and hosts a graduate student poster session. Information about the date and location of upcoming APA conferences can be found on the Conferences page.
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SVP Position Papers

Integrating vocational psychology into professional practice

In 2010 an SVP committee under the direction of Drs. Susan Whiston, Nadya Fouad, and Cindy Juntunen began the development of guidelines for integrating scientific findings from vocational psychology reserch into professional practice. A draft of those guidelines was submitted to the American Psychological Association for review by the Board of Professional Affairs in October 2010. Following revisions in 2013 and 2014 the guidelines were approved in 2016 during the APA annual convention. A copy of the Professional Practice Guidelines for Integrating the Role of Work and Career Into Psychological Practice is available for review here.
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Impact of Career Interventions

This report, prepared by Drs. Susan Whiston and David L. Blustein with the assistance of Scott Solberg and Julia Porter, addresses four questions that are of critical importance to all professionals and lay persons concerned about career development and advancement:

  • Who are career development professionals?
  • Are career development interventions effective?
  • What are effective career development interventions?
  • Who typically receives career development interventions?

You can review a copy of that report here.
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The Vocational Behavior and Career Intervention Special Interest Group (SIG) was organized in 1987 by Mark Savickas (Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine; now Northeastern Ohio Medical university). Dr. Savickas chaired the group until 1996 when it became a Section of the Division of Counseling Psychology.

In the mid-1990s the American Psychological Association (APA) undertook a self study to identify ways its Divisions could enjoy greater independence of action while strengthening the bonds that enabled the APA to serve the discipline of psychology effectively. One strategy adopted by many Divisons was to adopt the legal identity of a Section that was formally affiliated with the Association. The Division of Counseling Psychology was one of the first divisions to make this change.

Mirroring the concerns of the APA, the Society of Counseling Psychology wanted to create a more flexibly structure that permitted its SIGs to pursue their unique interests while maintaining their common bond with the Society. They approved a set of criteria and a procedure that SIGs could use to qualify as a Section of the Society. SVP was one of the first SIGs to complete this process.

In 1994 the SVP formed a committee to lead the SIG through the process required for formal recognition as a Section of Division 17. The committee consisted of:

  • Linda M. Subich (University of Akron), Chair
  • Nadya Fouad (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
  • Thomas Krieshok (University of Kansas)
  • Ellen Lent (George Washington University)
  • Robert Lent (University of Maryland)
  • Scott Solberg (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
  • Jane Swanson (Southern Illinois University)
  • Howard E. A. (Tony) Tinsley (Southern Illinois University)
  • W. Bruce Walsh (The Ohio State University)
  • Don Zytowski (Ames, Iowa).

Two years later the SIG became one of the original Sections of the Society of Counseling Psychology. An election of officers was held and at the August, 1996 meeting of the APA the officers began their two-year appointments. The first officers of SVP were Linda Subich (University of Akron), Chair; Nadya Fouad (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Chair-Elect; Mark Pope (University of Missouri-St. Louis), Treasurer; and Paul Hartung (Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine), Communications Officer.
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