Kalt, Ph.D. - 2012 Annual Letter to the Membership

2012 Annual Letter to the Membership 

June 16, 2012

Dear Colleagues,

Another year has gone by and it is hard to believe it has been over 15 years since many of us met in the basement of Drs. Kavanaugh and Hyman's old office!  The discussions we had back then are even more relevant now for each and every one of us.  Can we survive the continued beat of 'progress' that threatens our very ability to practice?  Will we be able to continue to offer a private space for those interested in understanding their inner worlds without the intrusion of a pathologizing mindset compromising autonomy, confidentiality, and self-respect?

In the midst of fretting about our fate, I noticed some small signs of hope with the Society for Humanistic Psychology's (APA Division 32) open letter to the DSM 5 committee.  The letter critiques the DSM 5 for its bio-medical basis, and there are now over 13,000 individual signatures, and 50 psychological organizations, endorsing it.  It is obvious now, more than ever, that the Academy is not alone in believing that a mental health care system that dictates how we are to interact with individuals does a severe disservice to the general public.  Especially when that system threatens our ability to continue offering our services meeting the needs of the individuals with whom we work.

While an attempt to stop the continued hegemony of the medical model within psychological practice may be impossible, we can, however, and I submit, must, stay the course keeping our presence and position known nationally and internationally.  We are part of the Academy -- a group that has been consistent in our philosophy and mission now for almost two decades.  We continue to provide a longstanding alternative to practicing within the health care model.  The Academy is an organization that provides legitimacy for people to conceptualize outside of the medical model.

As you recall, about a decade ago, the Ad Hoc Committee on MCE received signatures on the petition against MCE that resulted in a statewide response of approximately 30% of Michigan psychologists contributing to the removal of both the MCE format and the "competency" language, in favor of "professional development" language.  It is almost 10 years later and we are at another very crucial point in the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) saga.  The Psychology Board has written a draft of the rules that are waiting for approval from the Governor's office of regulatory reform. This office will soon give the board the authority to vote on the rules they have proposed.  At that time, the proposed rules for CPD will be posted on the board's website for public review.  There will be a 30-day period for people to provide input.  We believe everyone should take this very seriously and not waste time in offering feedback once the rules are put on the website for review.  A public hearing will then be set which will provide additional opportunity for input.

In regards to the Academy's development, over the last decade, our website has grown and expanded to reach thousands and has been an important tool with member and community outreach efforts. New this year, we would like to invite each of our members to submit their own biographies for our website.  This can include personal and professional philosophies and services we provide along with our contact information.  Feel free to include a photo of yourself as well.  We plan to include references of this in our community outreach efforts in the near future.  As always, we encourage you to also submit articles for our website and participate and get involved in any way you would like.  Please e-mail me your bios at bethann933@aol.com and we will create space for each one on our website.

Lastly, we are very excited and pleased to announce an upcoming luncheon program we are planning for this coming September 9th.  As you all know, our own Dr. Patrick Kavanaugh has written a book -- "Stories From the Bog:  On Madness, Philosophy and Psychoanalysis.  We are centering the luncheon around conversations with Dr. Kavanaugh who has graciously agreed to share various excerpts from his book.  We will have ample time to engage in conversation about his book and other issues we all deem relevant.  You will receive an invitation within the next couple of months, but please reserve the date and plan to join us!  His book is available for purchase through www.amazon.com by accessing the link on the Academy website.

Have a wonderful and relaxing summer!  We hope to see you all on September 9th!

With Warm Regards,

Bethann Kalt, Ph.D., President