1986 Stephen Sparta, Ph.D.
Related to the CAPP v. Rank decision, another important issue was the stature of psychologists within the general community and within the professional community. Parity issues with psychiatry and recognition of the contributions of psychology were very important. Our Association made many outreach efforts toward medical staff administrators within the community to increase the visibility of psychologists as important contributors to quality mental health services.
A continuing challenge for psychologists, which existed during the time of my presidency, concerned the relative number of psychologists who joined the profession. Is has been my observation that, as a group, psychologists are very individualistic and are resistant toward joining organizations. Further, once they do join an organization, there is a tremendous diversity of viewpoints and it is difficult to mobilize psychologists toward a common effort. Increasing the membership was an important goal and I believe we were very successful in that regard.
Another goal of my presidency was to facilitate communication and interaction among psychologists. Our Board paid special attention to the annual meetings in terms of speakers, hotel accommodations, meals, Association newsletters, etc. All of these activities were, and still are, the function of volunteer services. This required a tremendous amount of work. Without these efforts, there would be much less coordination of effort among psychologists.
Another goal of my presidency was to increase harmony among different factions within professional psychology. For example, I had hoped to integrate into a much stronger coalition academic and practicing private practice psychologists. I was not very successful in this regard, as the relative interests between the two groups included many differences as well as commonalties. Nonetheless, there are a number of people who are members of our Association who have full-time institutional affiliations with universities and/or medical schools.
The committees of the Association produced much relevant work. The committees needed support by way of budgets, clerical support, meeting space, etc. Very often, the volunteers would provide their own private secretarial time and donate their own office equipment, etc., in order to facilitate the activities of the committees. Also, there were efforts toward establishing more formal administrative and clerical support for the Association. In the early days of the Association, when the membership was much smaller, it probably was not possible to have things that we take for granted, such as a permanent mailing address for the Association, regular secretarial/administrative support, telephone service, etc.
At the time of my presidency, the San Diego Chapter was, in my opinion, one of the most active chapters in the state, if not the most active chapter. Compared to my assessment of the California Psychological Association of today, our chapter was frequently in the position of the "tail wagging the dog, " relative to the state. Our chapter was in the forefront of a number of issues, which will be described later. One of the challenges was to maintain a cooperative relationship with the state so that psychologists were working together toward common goals. The situation today is very different from the situation, which existed during the time of my presidency. An important example of these efforts concerned the CAPP vs. Rank decision where members of our own psychological Association were in the forefront of the lawsuit that helped establish parity for psychologists in hospital settings.