2003 Annual Letter to the Membership
Dear Academy Members,
The most recent election brought back Lynne G. Tenbusch, Ph.D., as president and Linda J. Young, Ph.D., as vice president. Dr. Young has appointed Dr. Terri Egan to chair the programming committee and she will be working with Dr. Young on program development.
The Academy’s platform for the next two years will focus on reaching out to the lay public, increasing our visibility among professionals, enlarging our membership, and expanding contact with more local, national and international groups. Additionally we will design our programs to include speakers whose philosophy and language intersect with the Academy’s while not necessarily being in lock step. It is our belief that by focusing on an intersection of rather than monovular visions, we will open the dialogue about psychoanalysis to people who would not otherwise be drawn to converse with us.
These initiatives have been launched with the following actions of the board. We adopted in principle a Division 32 (Humanistic Psychology) document entitled “Recommended Principles and Practices for the Provision of Humanistic Psychosocial Services: Alternative to Mandated Practice and Treatment Guidelines.” This document was formulated by a group of psychologists concerned with the increasing medicalization of and press for homogeneity in psychotherapy. The authors clearly differentiate the approach to psychotherapy as represented in the American Psychological Association Division 12 treatment guidelines and the approach taken by humanistic psychologists. Following are two quotations reflective of the document. “The joint project of client and psychotherapist is to work toward individualized goals that are framed in the clients’ world view and understandings of their own aspirations rather than on normative diagnostic categories,” and “humanists reject the model of the practitioner as the expert who decides for the patient what the appropriate treatment is.” This document will soon be available on the Academy’s website.
We have also renewed our institutional membership in The International Federation for Psychoanalytic Education (IFPE). IFPE, founded in 1991, is an international and interdisciplinary forum wherein psychoanalytic knowledge is shared from the broadest possible range of theoretical perspectives. It encourages alternatives to restrictive psychoanalytic training, dialogue with disciplines that can enrich psychoanalysis by broadening its horizons, and the reinstatement of psychoanalysis as a viable profession. IFPE is committed to facilitating the efforts of individuals and groups striving to organize self-directed and student-based alternatives to conventional, certification-based educational programs, and to supporting psychoanalytic institutes and organizations in their effort to extend psychoanalytic treatment to a wider spectrum of society. The federation is open to anyone with an interest in psychoanalysis whether from an academic, artistic, philosophic, or clinical perspective.
The Academy also became an institutional member of The International Society for the Psychological Treatment of the Schizophrenias and Other Psychoses (ISPS). ISPS promotes the appropriate use of psychotherapy and psychological treatment for persons with schizophrenias and other psychoses. ISPS also supports the appropriate use of psychological understanding and psychotherapeutic approaches in all phases of the disorders as well as treatments that include individual, family, and group psychological therapies, and other psychosocial programs for those with psychotic disorders. ISPS also encourages research into prevention and treatment of the above situations. Dr. Patrick Kavanaugh has agreed to open a local chapter of ISPS.
Additionally the Academy has adopted a position opposing Mandatory Continuing Education (MCE). It is our contention that MCE further erodes any professional psychologist’s agency and renders the field of psychoanalysis vulnerable to further restrictions in autonomy. MCE would allow a governmental body (or its designee) to define what constitutes “approved” continuing education for every licensed psychologist in Michigan. The Academy strongly opposes such regulation for a variety of reasons, the most important of which is the erosion of our autonomy as professionals. In support of our commitment against MCE we have donated five hundred dollars to the Ad Hoc Committee on Mandatory Continuing Education. They can be contacted at Ad Hoc Committee on MCE, P.O. Box 18327, Shelby Township, MI 48318-3271 or PsychologyMCE@yahoo.com
During the past year the Ad Hoc Committee has worked to oppose a proposal by the Michigan Psychological Association and the Psychology Licensing Board to pass legislation requiring MCE. Last fall the committee circulated a petition, which garnered almost 2,000 signatures of licensed psychologists opposing MCE. Those signatures comprise 30 percent of all licensed psychologists in the state of Michigan. The Ad Hoc Committee’s activities are particularly significant in view of APA’s efforts in evaluating course content. APA has already designated some theories as unacceptable and not “appropriate curriculum” for approved CE credits on the basis that they are not “scientific” or “evidence based.”
To optimize expansion of our membership, Dr. Bethann Kalt, membership chair, is developing a “Membership Package” to be sent to new and prospective members. We also hope to have more contact with members through a variety of mediums, possibly including e-mails, letters, members-only programs/meeting and other ideas yet to be conceived.
We are working on a new description of the Academy in the anticipation of attracting a broader range of people. Toward that end, we will articulate our philosophy in a manner more accessible to the public.
I close with my appreciation for the tireless efforts of all board members while I anticipate the forthcoming years with excitement.
Lynne G. Tenbusch, Ph.D. President