Past President – Summer 2015

The time has come for me to write my last statement as a member of the Presidential Trio. Technically, this is my eighth little missive; I got caught by the procrastination bug in Fall of my President Elect year and missed the submission deadline. Lesson learned; I never missed that submission deadline again!

2015-05-10 08.19.26Each year I tell our incoming doctoral students the same thing: each of the three years in the doctoral program is hard, but they are all qualitatively different. I can apply the same statement to the SCP Presidency. Year one was spent wide-eyed, trying to look like I knew what was going on, and hoping I didn’t drop the ball on anything major.  Year two, the Presidential year, was busy, fed by my twin obsessions with reading and responding to email at all hours of the day and night and asking odd, random questions without appearing to micromanage everything around me. Year three, as my Past Presidential year, should have been a breeze, right? I only had two major duties: heading the SCP Elections committee, and backing up current President Mobley as he motors through his own year in the spotlight.


As most people who know me will attest, I’m not very good at being still for very long, or for taking things slowly. So, not surprisingly, I had to find a few things to do to fill my time this year – besides my actual, paid job, of course.  On a personal level, I decided it was time to take care of a nagging arthritis problem. In February 2015 I had my right knee replaced, which meant a month on medical leave and the perfect excuse to not go out in the bitter winter weather. In June 2015 I had the left knee replaced, with another month of medical leave. For the record, I know some people are afraid of this surgery, but I would do it again in a heartbeat; even though I will be healing for several more months, the difference is striking.


On a professional level, I also took a long-planned leap. A few years ago, the representative for the ABPP in counseling psychology pressed the SCP Executive Board to step forward and become board certified as models to the community. Well, I heard him, but it wasn’t until spring of 2014 that I finally started the application process. I am excited (and relieved!) to say that I passed my oral exam in May 2015, allowing me to add even more letters to my signature. As with the knee surgery, I’m sure some of you have thought about certification, and maybe even picked up the materials at the APA Exhibitors booth, but like me didn’t go any farther. I urge you to go ahead and start the process. It was eye-opening to actually focus on giving words to my professional identity. If you are at all curious, ask an ABPP about the process. President Elect Jim Lichtenberg, also an ABPP in counseling psychology, is a major cheerleader for joining the ranks, so I’m going to offer us both as resources. I would love to see 20 new counseling psychology ABPPs announced at APA 2016 in Denver during his business meeting!


In between the knee surgeries and the ABPP oral exam, I still had a little time to fill, so I spent 18 days in May leading a study abroad trip to South Africa with five of my graduate students. This is my fourth such trip with students; each one has been an amazing learning experience. This trip, however, was particularly meaningful to me, given the numerous significant race-related events in the U.S. in the past year. As I packed for the trip, I made room for a t-shirt I picked up at the National Multicultural Summit back in January, hoping for the perfect photo during this trip. As you will see in the accompanying photo, I found that opportunity in Cape Town at the V&A Waterfront Mall. I felt a sense of peace, pride, and awe, that I could even have the chance to stand in South Africa next to this statue of Nelson Mandela. I wish everyone could have that same experience.


Time to wrap this up. In case you missed the announcement elsewhere of the election results, congratulations to Martin (Marty) Heesacker, President Elect; Sherry Benton, VP for Professional Practice; Rachel Navarro, VP for Scientific Affairs; and Roberta Nutt, Council Representative. And a heartfelt THANK YOU to all of our colleagues who agreed to my request for service by running on the 2015 slate. I am so grateful that they answered my email.


Best wishes to everyone near and far as we approach APA 2015 in Toronto!


Sharon L. Bowman, Ph.D., HSPP, ABBP, LMHC

SCP Past President (2014-2015)

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