Dr Ewald Crause
As I write this editorial I find myself contemplating a question which I have wondered about for some time now, yet completely ignored. On many levels I suppose I am doing exactly what I advocate my clients not to do, “by ignoring an issue in your life it does not go away.” So here it is, the question that I have ignored is the following:
“Where is psychology going as a profession?”
I suppose this is a question that many of you would also ask in light of the recent developments in the field of psychology. Concerns over non-payment for certain categories of psychologist; Challenges regarding employment due to Scope of Practice restrictions; Uncertainty around the viability and feasibility of private practice. These are just a few of the issues we need to face and overcome over the next couple of months.
And it is here where I have realised that a profession (i..e, that of psychology) tasked to deal with issues of identity, uncertainty, anxiety and the like, we as psychology professionals often struggle to apply our expertise to negotiate the challenges we ourselves may face as a profession. And what we have deemed to be issues of concern may in fact be moments of opportunity.
I find myself ten years into my professional career and probably have reached one of the milestones where one inevitable looks back and evaluates the road already traveled. Have I achieved what I set out to do in these 10 years? No. However, by being part of a psychology fraternity and knowing that I am not alone makes me feel part of a movement that can result significant change.
“Where is psychology going as a profession?”… Well the answer is quite simple…exactly where we as psychology professions will guide it to go.
However, to achieve this goal we need to become part of the discussion. We need to engage with policy matters, we have to make our voices heard, we need to stop talking about issues in society and start offering solutions to these societal problems. Is change possible? Can we result change? Well, let’s just use a cliche that was very popular in the build-up to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign… “Yes we can”
My train of thought around the future of psychology is not centered on doom and gloom as some reports might want you to believe. Psychology professionals can be the change agents needed to act as a catalyst for greater access to mental healthcare. And this means that the future of psychology is bright and filled with opportunities.
This issue of PsyTalk indeed provides evidence of practitioners in the field finding ways to offer solutions in responding to societal needs. Our lead article talks about the issues of violence and trauma and there are interesting ideas of how to get involved. Another theme that is prominent in this issue is that psychology professionals must find ways in providing access to mental healthcare in community settings.
Let’s not dwell on issues of uncertainty surrounding the profession, but let us rather engage in shaping our future through collaboration with one another and building the profession through a collective voice.