By Tom Wooldridge, PsyD, ABPP, CEDS
Chair, Department of Psychology at Golden Gate University
Golden Gate University will be hosting the Psychotherapy Action Network’s (PsiAN) conference in late 2019, entitled “Advancing Psychotherapy for the Next Generation: Rehumanizing Mental Health Policy and Practice.” As a Strategic Partner of our Psychology Department, the PsiAN is on the cutting-edge of advocacy efforts to safeguard the integrity of depth- and relationship-based treatment. These ideals as well as the recognition of the complexity of each individual — and the belief that this complexity cannot be reduced to a simplistic formulation of symptoms — shape the curriculum of the MA in Counseling Psychology degree at GGU.
PsiAN is currently involved in a wide range of initiatives. Among these, their Branding Committee aims to change public discourse about talk therapy by countering the ways in which superficial views of human nature and emotional suffering dominate the public sphere and support claims of quick-fix “treatments.” PsiAN’s Education Committee works to advocate for psychology program accreditation policies that allocate sufficient time and expertise to the teaching of psychotherapy in graduate programs.
Advancing Psychotherapy for the Next Generation: Rehumanizing Mental Health Policy and Practice
Psychotherapy is alive and well, bringing growth, understanding, transformation, compassion, and cure to millions of people across the globe. Yet psychotherapy, in this country, is also under attack. Insurance companies are reluctant to cover treatments of any depth; psychology training programs are more and more constrained to teach only behavioral techniques rather than dynamically-informed, relationship-based treatments; and much public policy is strongly biased towards medications and short-term, structured interventions for people in distress.
So how do we safeguard psychotherapy? How do we buffer it from the assaults of medicalization, managed care, instrumentalization and reductionism? How do we create strong advocates for psychotherapy in public policy, professional education and clinical practice? How do we create avenues of access not only for the rich, but for all? In this event, we will gather to draw from psychology, psychoanalysis, social theory, cultural studies, public policy, and public service in order to build on PsiAN’s success as a force of tikkun, of healing, of both individuals and our world. There has never been a more important time than now for collective action to support substantive treatment. Please join us as we organize to ensure the future of psychotherapy!
Featured speakers of the PsiAN Conference include:
- Jonathan Shedler on the false narrative of quick-fix therapies
- Bryant Welch on the disappearance of talk therapy at the APA and what to do about it
- Oksana Yakushko on Rats, Stats, and the Search for Happiness: A Critical History of Psychotherapy in American Academia
- Allan Scholom on The Psycho-Politics of Evidence-Based Practice and the Assault on Our Mental Health and Mental Health Care
- Enrico Gnaulati on how to save talk therapy
- Todd Essig on the incursion of the digital world into the world of local therapy
- Union reps on Collective Action: To Union or not to Union?
The conference will be hosted on December 13 – 15th, 2019, with more information coming soon. To learn more about the efforts of the PsiAN, please visit their webpage.