From MPA's President-Elect Steve Girardeau, Psy.D., LP: Creating Our Identity as Psychologists

Fall is here. It is a time of change, of preparation for the end of a year and the beginnings of anticipation of the year to come.  This past weekend we completed our strategic planning meeting for my presidential year 2017.  It began with Robin McLeod, our current president, reviewing what has been accomplished and will be accomplished in 2016.  There was much to be proud of in that review, but I leave that review to her.

In planning for 2017, the current leadership team met to discuss the directions that MPA will go in the coming year.  That leadership team included the Executive Committee (EC), the Governing Council (GC) and the representatives of all the divisions of MPA as well as committee chairs/co-chairs.  The majority of that team (the EC, GC and Division Chairs/Co-Chairs) was formed was by people volunteering to take on roles as members of each of those bodies through an election process.  Our election process is set to begin in the coming weeks.  I would encourage all to consider being a part of the process.

The primary theme discussed for 2017 was the need to take a more active role in defining the role of psychologists in the community.  We need to set ourselves apart from other therapy professionals but this is not just about defining psychologists as clinicians.  It is also recognizing the many other roles of psychologists in the state and bringing us all together as the profession moves forward through the changes in our society and in health care. 

The team divided how to accomplish this goal into the following areas:

                Psychology as a Brand.  We are the experts in behavioral and psychological health.

                                Experts in research and the science of counseling

                                Experts in diagnosis and assessment

                                Experts in consultation and coordination of care

                                Our expertise is based on the greatest amount of education and training

                                All of this makes us the ideal choice for health care leaders and policy makers

                Engaging people in the association through volunteering.

                                For leadership

                                For committees

                                And for task force

Developing new leaders and volunteers through training and support.

Increasing revenue of the association to allow us all to benefit from what the Minnesota Psychological Association could do, if only had the funds to do it.  We do this by:

                                Increasing membership in the organization

                                Increasing non-dues revenue

This has been a difficult time for professional associations. In tight financial times they seem to be one of the first things people consider letting go of.  This has also been a challenging year as an association as we have faced threats to our profession from multiple directions.  The Minnesota Psychological Association has risen to those challenges and has been successful in addressing them in a way that is beneficial to all psychologists.  The challenge we face is getting the word out about what has been happening and how we have addressed the concerns. 

This can only happen if we have a clear direction, the people to lead us in that direction and the resources to get to our destination.  We need you to be aware, be willing to be involved and to spread the word that MPA is there for all psychologists.

Steve Girardeau, Psy.D., LP, is the Director of Clinical Services of Mental Health Systems, member of MPA legislative committee, and a member of APA, MPA, and ABCT.  He provides psychological services in residential, community mental health centers, private practice and intensive outpatient settings with a wide variety of at risk and underserved clients.  He is the current president-elect of MPA and training director of the APPIC internship training site.

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