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1998  Denruth Lougeay, Ph.D.

The year of 1998 started with promise and ended with pride. And the road in between was bumpy at times… maybe one might say even "challenging" in polite company!  Success was achieved by making good choices as situations presented themselves.

In the year's beginning, the 1998 Installation and Awards Dinner was an opportunity as incoming President to address one of my primary concerns… the "pervasive erosion of our professional identity".  In essence, "what we psychologists DO can either hasten the slow evaporation of our professional identity or mitigate the erosion. This slippery phenomenon of our profession may permanently blur all distinctions between the professions.  Unless we act, the insidious pattern of identity nullification will continue."

To engage a solution, the membership was encouraged as follows:

We psychologists MUST continue to declare our identity…personally 
and professionally…with a heightened awareness of the syntax we use.
We psychologists MUST educate the public on the differences between 
the mental health professions. 
We of the San Diego Psychological Association must maintain psychology as a distinguished and independent profession by simply and clearly calling ourselves Psychologists.

Another exceptional highlight was the 10th Annual CPA Leadership Council with five key SDPA members joining other leaders throughout the state.  The annual three-day conference in Sacramento is an intense training ground culminating in on-the-hill visits with State Senators and Representatives in Sacramento.  This training ground for continued legislative involvement by psychologists has unseen and long-term benefits for the profession of psychology. An in-depth series of stories of the legislative experience followed in the SDPA newsletter.

The SDPA newsletter also began three legislative features to keep the membership informed and involved.  A filled-to-the-brim Legislative Address Book was included each month with local and state political personages listed.  The Bill Box described the status of Bills having importance to the psychological community on a monthly basis.  Brief legislative highlights were presented for the membership through a column called On the Hill.  These positive projects were successfully implemented to emphasize the importance of legislative efforts by psychologists and were maintained by the hard-working Government Affairs Committee.

The hallmark issue of the year officially began when a lawsuit was filed on September 28, 1998 under California Psychological Association, et. al. vs. Aetna US Healthcare, et. al.  However, the plans of "fighting managed care" were many moons in the making.  The American Psychological Association took an active role and viewed "the California lawsuit as part of a national effort to address some of the most egregious managed care practices".  It was the second in a series of lawsuits that was seen as possibly having important national implications in managed care.

Many other defining events took place throughout the year.  This partial list is a tribute to an active SDPA membership who actively volunteered and tends to do so quite often.

  • The year began with a splendid Installation Dinner at the La Jolla Country Club as guests of Eddie Wiegle of La Jolla. The recipient of the Distinguished Contribution in Psychology went to Dr. Benjamin Spock, pioneer of twentieth century baby care.
  • The SDPA Board of Directors and invited membership shared an evening with an American Psychological Association Past President, Jack Wiggins, Ph.D., and 1997 CPA President, Steve Bucky, Ph.D. and gained insight into prescription privileges for psychologists.
  • Loosing Allison Ferch as Administrator was an unexpected turn of events at the very beginning of the year.  After a false start, our final Administrator, Veronica Doyle, was brought on Board as a dynamic and very capable addition to SDPA.
  • The Mental Health Bill of Rights took its place in history as it spoke of such principles as "the right to choose your mental health professional" and "who holds the authority for treatment decisions".
  • The establishment of the Group Therapy Directory was formalized as a monthly feature in the San Diego Psychologist to fill an important gap.
  • Professional SDPA logo lapel pins were designed which incorporated a blue square surrounding a gold-on-gold Psi.
  • The SDPsych Email Forum continued to flourish while more and more psychologists came online as the Internet moved into rapid expansion.
  • The Fall Conference was a success with a solid attendance at the Westin Hotel near Horton Plaza in downtown San Diego.  Sid Rocke, J.D., American Psychological Association attorney, and Bill Safarjin, Ph.D., 1998 California Psychological Association President, spoke about "Fighting Managed Care".  This event also served as a "kick off" for our pledge drive to facilitate funding of the "CPA vs Aetna" lawsuit.
  • The year was packed full of dynamic continuing education workshops for the SDPA membership including workshops by such notables as Dr. Jay Haley and Dr. Erv Polster.  
  • The Past Presidents Council was in full swing for its first full year of existence.
  • As President, bimonthly meeting whenever possible with the leadership of the San Diego Psychiatric Society were essential for discussing mutual concerns over issues.
  • The 1999 CPA President, William Wallace, Ph.D., shared his vision with the SDPA Board of Directors in order for Board members to learn the direction of the California Psychological Association as a new cycle began.
  • The year ended with an Installation Dinner at the University of California, San Diego's Faculty Club. The Distinguished Contribution to Psychology Award went to dynamic Gestalt leaders Drs. Erv and Miriam Polster.

As the year's end was approaching, our 1998 President-Elect, Dr. Patricia Braden, submitted a resignation for personal reasons, and a special election was held in adherence to the bylaws.  Dr. Trish Rose who would serve as 1999 President would fill the 1998 President-Elect.  Dr. Hugh Pates remained as President-Elect in order to bring in the Millennium in the year 2000.  A good year, all in all, due in large part to an exceptional Board of Directors during 1998 and the competence and warm presence of our endearing Administrator, Veronica Doyle.


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