Sally Singer Horwatt, Ph.D.

Clinical Psychologist

VPA 2K to Develop a Permeable Outer Membrane 

By Sally Singer Horwatt, President-elect 

Virginia Psychological Association

(Article appeared in The Virginia Psychologist, the Newsletter of the Virginia Psychological Association (VPA).  The VPA is a 1200 member professional association of all psychologists, clinicians, academicians, researchers, school psychologists and industrial psychologists.) 
When the speed of change on the outside exceeds the speed of change on the inside, the end is near. 

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Networking for Strength 

The purpose of an association is to create value for those individuals who voluntarily join. We join VPA to satisfy our needs and to get assistance in solving problems.  To promote these ends, it is the function of the Executive Board to develop and approve the outcomes of the association, ensure that resources are available and used  efficiently to achieve these outcomes, and to monitor the progress toward those outcomes. In essence then, the Board's primary responsibility is strategic planning to create value and solve problems. 
 
Because strategic planning is done in a chaotic and unpredictable economic environment which has evolved from manufacturing to information-generation, the VPA will move into uncharted territory.  Making decisions in the context of such ambiguity requires flexibility and foresight that is inconsistent with the way most associations operate. We all, academicians and practitioners, must be flexible and innovative to survive. 
 
This is my strategic plan for VPA.  I challenge the Association's academies to create their own.  I propose three outcomes: 
1)  Psychologists need to preserve our profession by expanding and protecting our scope of practice. 
2) Psychology, as a knowledge-based profession, needs to disseminate knowledge internally to ourselves and externally to the public. 
3) Psychology, existing in a broader, global environment, needs to form alliances with other professions for the import-export of information and to share resources in promoting mutually advantageous social policy. 
The most powerful process for attaining these ends is  networking.  Russ Newman, Executive Director,  of APA,  describes networking as the organizational form of  the  global society of the 21st Century.   It  is the  organizational form best suited  for  addressing social  issues.   A multi-organizational  network  is "lighter on its feet"   than    hierarchical 
organizations.  It is by networking that we are  able to  take  reciprocal, preferential actions  with  one party depending on the resources of another. 
 

To reach our goals, VPA will:

1) form alliances with state academic institutions.  The state academic institutions can use VPA's lobbying and grass roots resources to promote their interests. We need to interact with each other on training issues. 

2)   A research network dedicated, among other things, to creating a database of    psychotherapy data has already been created.  In collaboration with the Virginia Academy of Applied Psychologists and, hopefully, the Virginia Academy of School Psychologists, scientists and practitioners will create useful information.  Information is our most important product. 
 
3)   Public and professional education requires an active, well-maintained website. Money should be allocated for this. 
 
4)   VPA will form an alliance with the Virginia Bar Association.  At the APA level, Pat DeLeon is creating a Law Psychology Division.  VPA will begin networking with the Virginia legal community for the purpose of collaborating in 
many areas. 

These are but a few of the projects which will be worked on during my presidency.  Ad hoc committees will be created and chairpersons appointed so that in January, 2000, VPA will hit the ground running. 

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