Welcome to the second issue of the Journal of Health Service Psychology, the National Register’s new peer-reviewed publication. In my introduction, I will provide you with a brief precis of each article in the issue. I am also taking this opportunity to provide you with a report on the status of the National Register of Health Service Psychologists—its membership, initiatives, and plans for the coming year.
Let me start with some very good news—the organization is as healthy as it has been in many, many years. For the third year in a row, we have attracted a record number of new Registrants, around 450 new annually. These are very good numbers for a voluntary, dues-driven organization in psychology. These new Registrants truly do represent the future of the organization, with an average age under 40. We’re happy to buck the aging membership trend that is common in professional organizations in psychology.
The other component of a vibrant professional organization is the satisfaction level of current members. I’m happy to report that our retention rate of current members is extraordinarily high, nearly 95%. During the past year we’ve also implemented an Emeritus program for long-term members who are no longer licensed. We’ve been delighted with the participation in this program and cannot adequately express our appreciation to those now-retired members who have been with us since the 1970s.
These membership successes are the result of making the National Register benefits and programs more compelling to psychologists and psychology doctoral students. Following is a partial list of some of what we’ve accomplished in terms of enhancing our benefits.
We transformed The Register Report into the Journal of Health Service Psychology (JHSP). I hope you’ll agree with me that the quality of the articles has improved significantly with the peer-review process. In this transition, we aimed to fill a previously unoccupied niche in the world of psychology publishing, and the JHSP is currently the only publication in psychology that is exclusively focused on translational clinical research. In other words, we will only publish evidence-based pieces that are of immediate clinical utility to psychologists or graduate students. We are publishing two editions this year, three in 2018, and four in 2019 and beyond.
Licensure mobility has always been an important benefit for Registrants. I’m pleased to announce that in the past year, licensing boards in New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Vermont voted to approve our mobility program. The number of Registrants taking advantage of this program continues to increase as well. See our website for a full list of participating jurisdictions.
We filmed and released the Integrated Healthcare Training Series. This series of 42 videos is on our newly revamped continuing education website, available at no charge as a benefit of membership. We’ve had nice uptake by Registrants and Trainee Registrants and we’ve been successful in licensing the series to healthcare organizations. See CE.NationalRegister.org to access the series.
We updated our areas of expertise for your FindaPsychologist.org listing. We discovered that our previous listings, while logical to psychologists, did not necessarily translate well for members of the public, who are, of course, our primary audience for this website. So we’ve made these more easily understandable by members of the public. This site is getting approximately 30,000 hits a month, which makes it a viable source of referrals for Registrants. You can check out your listing on FindaPsychologist.org and update your photo and profile by logging into your Registrant account on NationalRegister.com.
We’ve leveraged our national profile to establish new partnerships with technology companies like Hushmail, TherapyNotes, and thera-LINK, and publishers including Hogrefe and Norton. All of these companies offer high-quality products at a discount to Registrants and Trainee Registrants. We’ve gone further in our relationship with Hogrefe Publishing, becoming the exclusive CE partner for the Advances in Psychotherapy: Evidence-Based Practice series.
Finally, one of the most pleasant surprises this year has been the reaction to our new listserv, HSP-Community. Already more than one thousand Registrants and Trainee Registrants have signed up. Our aim in creating this listserv is to provide a forum for clinically focused discussions, free of the other distractions we too often encounter on other psychology listservs. If you have an article of interest to share, a referral request to make, or news of clinical importance, please post it to the listserv. This is a moderated listserv, which keeps us busy, but we’re happy to keep extraneous chatter down and make inappropriate or “flame” posts nonexistent. Visit our website listserv sign-up page to join the discussion.
What is Ahead?
Most visibly, we are undertaking a refresh of our NationalRegister.org and FindaPsychologist.org websites. This is going to be a major project, but at the end we will be able to provide you with sites that are easier to navigate, feature enriched content, and have greater ease of use.
In November 2017, we will launch an entirely new benefit: a monthly clinical webinar. The first presentation, scheduled for November 8 at 2 p.m. ET, will feature Dr. Phil Kleespies on assessing, managing, and treating violent patients. The second presentation, scheduled for December 7 at 2 p.m. ET, will feature Dr. David Jobes on treating suicidal patients. Further scheduled webinars will include a clinical psychopharmacology update and other topics of immediate clinical interest. We’ll send email invitations to all Registrants and Trainee Registrants at least a month in advance so you can mark your calendars. Licensed members are eligible to earn continuing education credit.
We are going to strengthen our advocacy efforts to ensure that psychology has a voice at the healthcare table. We’ll be working with other mental health advocacy groups, Congress and state legislatures, and state and national psychology organizations to ensure our messages are on target and our voices heard.
We will continue our commitment to the future of the profession by working with the Committee on Early Career Psychologists to sponsor attendance for new psychologists at next year’s APA Convention in San Francisco. We will also continue to raise funds for the Internship Partnership Fund, so that the Register does its part to address the ongoing shortage of accredited internship positions. I thank all of you who have contributed to this fund, which we operate in conjunction with the American Psychological Foundation. If you haven’t yet made a tax-deductible contribution this year, you can do so by visiting our Internship Partnership Fund page.
In closing, special thanks to our staff, who have made these advances possible. We have a small group of 10, but you would never know it from the amount of work accomplished. My thanks to our Board of Directors as well, for their guidance and direction over the past year. But mostly, my thanks to all of you. Your involvement has made the Register a force in professional psychology since 1974. Our future is bright, and I’m optimistic that as the public at large continues to see the need for mental health interventions, our profession will continue to grow in strength and numbers. We couldn’t do it without you.
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t pass along our thoughts to all of you who suffered as a consequence of the recent hurricanes. I’ve heard from many of you who managed to avoid the worst of it, but I know some who were less fortunate. Our best wishes are with all of you.
In This Issue
Each autumn, we publish a review of the most recent Supreme Court term that addresses any cases having a potential impact on psychological practice. Professor Steve Smith, our long-time author of this series, has again provided a comprehensive survey that illustrates the pervasive nature of psychological practice in modern American life. The role of psychology in the most consequential of legal decisions—the imposition of the death penalty—continues to be argued. In terms of both psychometrics and expert opinion, psychologists’ involvement in this controversial proceeding is addressed in cases before the court. As he often does, Professor Smith points to the role of the American Psychological Association in submitting amicus curiae briefs to the court. Other important cases decided this term affected immigration rights, the use of arbitration in health care, education for those with developmental disabilities, patent laws regarding large molecule drugs, and other matters that psychologists will encounter in their practices.
Weight loss following bariatric surgical procedures is generally more consistent than for non-surgical interventions, with higher numbers of patients experiencing sustainable weight loss and associated reduction in physical problems associated with obesity (apnea, diabetes and others). Positive outcomes following surgery are not, however, universal and depend to a significant degree on careful preoperative assessment and patient selection. Pre-surgical psychological assessment has become the standard of practice in accredited weight loss facilities. Dr. Shenelle Edwards-Hampton outlines elements of a comprehensive pre-surgical psychological assessment. These include not only a careful history and assessment of psychological and behavioral factors contributing to poor eating habits, but also assessment of dysfunctional cognitions and beliefs regarding weight maintenance that may predict poorer post-surgical outcome. Dr. Edwards-Hampton also outlines necessary elements associated with specialist training in this area.
Dr. Kasey Goodpaster, a health psychologist with the Cleveland Clinic Bariatric and Metabolic Institute, follows this article with some specific recommendations for a testing protocol to be used in the evaluation of bariatric surgery candidates. Like Dr. Edwards-Hampton, she cautions that positive long-term outcomes post bariatric surgery are anything but guaranteed, and a comprehensive testing protocol using validated measures is a key component in positive outcome. A minimum of one measure of general psychopathology combined with several more specific instruments to assess mood disorders, substance abuse, and related concerns is emerging as the standard of care. Dr. Goodpaster reviews the evidence supporting the use of common validated measures in pre-surgical bariatric evaluation.
Cassandra Boness, a doctoral candidate at the University of Missouri, has provided some guidance regarding ethical issues in the use of interpreters when working with patients who communicate with American Sign Language (ASL). In addition to linguistic differences, she reminds us not to ignore the cultural aspect of working with deaf patients. Cassandra provides information on locating and utilizing ASL interpreters in the clinical setting.
Similarly, encounters with patients who possess limited English proficiency are increasingly common. Dr. H. Russell Searight notes that approximately 20% of Americans use a primary language other than English, and almost 10% can be deemed non-proficient in English. Encounters with such patients are relatively common. Dr. Searight provides a case example and then discusses the ethical, legal, and practice issues associated with use of interpreters in the clinical setting.
Psychotherapy is an inexact procedure. For decades, investigators have attempted to isolate, with no great success, the common curative maneuver in psychotherapy. But while identification of the active component in psychotherapy remains elusive, we are making strides in the measurement of progress in psychotherapy. Dr. Michael Lambert, formerly of Brigham Young University, has been a leading figure in the psychotherapy outcomes field for decades. Dr. Lambert summarizes the state of outcomes assessment, provides us with suggestions for clinical tools, and cautions us to avoid a common failing among psychotherapists: a self-assessment bias that causes us to believe our interventions are more effective than they often are.
In sum, we provide you with an information-dense issue with articles of immediate clinical application. We hope that these manuscripts will be of direct assistance to you in your clinical practice or academic endeavors. My thanks to our editorial team for the production of another superb issue of the Journal of Health Service Psychology.