From MPA's President Steve Girardeau, Psy.D., LP: You asked for it, and we will provide it!

A new year has begun and with it my increased responsibilities to MPA.  I say increased, rather than new responsibilities because it is my belief that we have a responsibility to give back to the profession that we have chosen and to be a part of protecting and building psychology’s place in the future of health care.   To that end I have served on the MPA Legislative Committee, the Governing Council, the Executive Committee and now serve you all as president.

In that time, I have come to realize that in many ways MPA has lost its way.  It has moved away from our natural role of a professional association, with responsibilities as a “guild” for the profession.  This became especially clear in our survey of members last year which identified “protection” as the most important responsibility for the association.  We heard that message and have acted.

What we have most recently done, is spend hundreds of volunteer hours working with the Minnesota Board of Psychology to rewrite the Psychology Practice Act.  This has been a long and delicate process that began in the early part of Robin McLeod’s presidency and continued throughout her presidential year.  In that time she has been a strong and consistent leader; setting the tone and keeping us on mission.  That mission, to address concerns with the Board of Psychology enforcing elements of the Psychology Practice Act that included how supervision hours were reported/completed and the requirement of faculty and researchers in post-secondary psychology education being questioned about engaging in elements of psychological practice without a license.  I mentioned hundreds of hours, the majority of those hours included the efforts of Trisha Stark in her role as chair of the legislative committee.  She worked on countless revisions of the proposed legislation as we went through the process of repeated negotiations with the Board of Psychology and their representatives.  Members of EC and the Legislative Committee were key to completing this process.  Beyond the work with the Board of Psychology and the writing and revising of the Practice Act there were numerous advocacy meetings with representatives of the governor’s office and members of the Minnesota House and Senate.

You asked for protection, you have received it.  This protection does not stop there.  We still need to pass the bill, which will be easier because we put the time and effort to find common ground with the Board of Psychology and the university systems to have one unified bill.  Beyond that there are a number of legislative challenges in the coming year you will hear about.  Additionally in the coming year we will be focusing on protection in the form of helping to define what our profession has been, what it is currently and what it will likely be in the future.  None of those definitions are the same.

This year we will continue our work to “protect” the profession through defining our role in health care, defending our profession in the legislature and the state in general, and through education and engagement of current members and psychologists throughout the state in creating a strong and focused organization.  I encourage you to be involved in this process by volunteering your time and energy.  If you do nothing else, follow the changes and support the organization by giving your feedback on what you want most from MPA. 

I will ask you to remember though, that the best way to have the organization be the organization that you want it be, is to act to make it that way.

Steve Girardeau, Psy.D., LP, is the Director of Clinical Services of Mental Health Systems, member of MPA Legislative Committee and Governing Council, 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 of MPA and training director of the APPIC internship training site.

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