“What is a Practicing Psychologist” is being provided to the Summit’s invited guests.
WHAT IS A PRACTICING PSYCHOLOGIST?
A practicing psychologist is a doctorally-trained professional with the knowledge and skills to foster and sustain change in individuals, couples, families, organizations, and communities. A psychologist has expertise in human health, development, performance, problems, and most importantly, human behavior. This expertise is based on a large body of scientific evidence about individual behavior and systems change in the context of gender, age, race/ethnicity and culture.
Today, practicing psychologists work with other health care providers to design and deliver integrated care to provide comprehensive care for children, teens and adults across the life span. Psychologists are committed to improving access, quality, and value in healthcare; and promoting healthy lifestyles in the context of healthy relationships, workplaces, and communities.
We are committed to extending psychological science and service to improve the health and well being of the nation – we look forward to your ideas on how to move toward a future where psychological services better serve your needs.
WHAT IS A PRACTICING PSYCHOLOGIST?
A practicing psychologist is a doctorally-trained professional with the knowledge and skills to foster and sustain change in individuals, couples, families, organizations, and communities A psychologist has expertise in health, development, performance, problems, and most importantly, human behavior. This expertise is based on an extensive body of scientific evidence about individual behavior and systems change in the context of gender, age, race/ethnicity and culture.
Practicing psychologists have been associated with science and service since the beginnings of the profession. Lightner Witmer, who formed the first psychological clinic in 1896, highlighted the importance of evidence-based practice:
“The pure and the applied sciences advance in a single front. What retards the progress of one retards the progress of the other; what fosters one fosters the other.”
The expectation that professional psychologists be trained as both scientists and practitioners was adopted as policy by the American Psychological Association (APA) in 1947. Successive decades brought advances in services. Psychologists dramatically expanded their professional roles in response to the tremendous unmet mental health needs among WWII veterans. The 1960s saw many psychologists working in leadership roles to further the community mental health center movement, which ended the era of isolated mental hospitals and offered localized multidimensional care.
Today, community health centers offer similar opportunities for psychologists to work with other health care providers to design and deliver population-based, integrated care. The Freedom of Choice Act in the 1980s offered the public equal access to psychologsts and physicians for private sector mental health care. In this first decade of the 21st century, the parity of mental health and physical health has finally been recognized by Congress, thus paving the way for true integrated health care and improved access to services. During this same period, psychologists took on key internal and external consulting roles in leadership and talent management and in addressing the challenges of rapid organization change in the new global marketplace.
Psychology practice evolved in innovative ways that continue today in a range of public and private settings such as health centers and hospitals, schools, corporations, governmental agencies, the military, universities, and community organizations. Depending on their context, psychologists may:
* Implement evidence-based prevention and treatment interventions to: reduce risk behaviors and conflict, mediate problems, and promote healthy behavior among individuals, couples, families, and groups. Programs target children, teens and adults across the life span (from infancy to our burgeoning population of older adults)
* Enhance medical decision-making and coping, and collaboratively treat chronic illness (e.g., obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, smoking, infertility, etc.), mental disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety, severe mental illness, PTSD, substance abuse, etc.) and psychosocial challenges (e.g., violence across the life span; care-giving of ill relatives, etc.).
* Use diagnostic and treatment skills to get to the root of a patient’s lack of adherence to medical treatments (e.g., medication, exercise, smoking cessation, physical therapy etc), due to emotional difficulties such as depression or personality problems, substance abuse issues, exposure to trauma, family problems or sociocultural differences and disparities.
* Work to improve partnerships and team functioning among health professionals, and among corporate professionals.
* Evaluate hospital, school, university, corporate and community program effectiveness, and produce clinical research to inform psychological interventions.
* Transport psychological science, services, research and consultation to urban and rural communities (e.g., to medical/health homes; long term care homes; schools, small businesses and corporations; community organizations such as Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCA, etc.).
* Develop, implement, or evaluate advanced technologies in corporate, education and health settings to improve: performance and productivity; health (e.g., genetic testing, adherence reminders, etc.); health care (e.g., on line health education and treatment, etc.); communication (reminders, virtual education, EHR, etc.) and education (e.g., on-line education, simulation, etc).
*Provide consultation and assessment services to courts including traditional forensic assessments, collaborative divorce, parent coordination, and other services that promote growth and improve outcomes for people involved with our criminal justice system.
* Work in preschool and early childhood facilities, and later schools, to identify and intervene early in children with emotional and learning problems such as ADD, autism or dyslexia.
* Provide coaching and consultation in corporate, health, policy-making, and educational settings to promote effective leadership, communication, and complex problem solving; improve performance; and build psychologically healthy work environments.
* Provide interventions in business and corporate settings to reduce work place stress and violence; reduce costs related to illness, absenteeism, and poor performance; and improve productivity as well as worker satisfaction.
* Consult with organizations regarding complex challenges associated with a more diverse, mobile workforce with competing work-family demands.
* Provide information to various media outlets in order to educate the public about psychological principles that improve mental and physical health.
*Promote individual and family strength, wellness, and resilience.
Now, amidst harsh economic realities and urgent social need, we join together with other professionals to support healthcare reform that provides comprehensive care for all children, teens and adults across the life span. Psychologists are committed to improving access, quality, and value in healthcare; and to promoting healthy lifestyles and advantageous social conditions in the context of healthy relationships, workplaces, and communities.
Consistent with recommendations from the Institute of Medicine (2001, 2004), we wish to collaborate with other disciplines in the interdisciplinary training of health professionals across specialties to ensure a work-force with the competencies to deliver high quality, comprehensive, integrated care. We wish to build partnerships to apply effective public health models that will reduce the burden of health, mental health and social concerns that negatively affect well being, healthcare utilization, and costs. We wish to work with businesses and corporations to enhance the health, well-being, and productivity of their employees.
Finally, we wish to lead and collaborate in the ongoing research and evaluation of outcomes in health care reform to ensure quality; effectiveness; safety; adherence; gender, cultural and geographic relevance; as well as improved patient health and satisfaction at reduced costs. We are committed to extending psychological science and service to improve the health and well being of the nation.