Dr Helen Dunbar-Krige

President: Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA)

Dear PsySSA Member

After the hectic weeks preparing for the conference, I had a bit of forced time on hand and found myself listening to various commissions-such as the State Capture Commission, the South African Revenue Service Commission  and today, the Job Summit. I was impressed with the way these Commissions and the Job Summit were organised and facilitated. I was equally impressed by the spirit of collegiality and negotiation, and I loved some of the sentiments expressed, for example:

– for every problem there is a solution; how do we work together to  improve?  How can we use our potential to face the multitude of challenges we face as a country? How can we unite and work together? How can we address social justice issues?

It caused me to ask similar questions of the various sections of the Psychology fraternity, especially in the light of the very negative reaction to the promulgation of the Scope of Practice (SOP) on the 11th September 2018. Instead of considering what can we do to solve the problem, many colleagues responded with dismay and aggression; we find that we are pressured to be reactive towards claims that colleagues make; and that people are only willing to negotiate if it advances a specific idea.

South Africa needs psychologists to stand and work together to address difficult issues. In the last few days, there have been communities who have stood together to address gang related violence. There has been an outcry about the abuse, rape and murder of children – but we psychologists do not feature anywhere. My question is: What can we do to advance the social justice agenda and support a responsive/responsible psychology?

2019 is a pivotal year for PsySSA as it is our 25th anniversary and we are looking forward in 2019 to the 25th PsySSA celebratory conference from 2 to 6 September in Johannesburg. We will keep you posted through the PsySSA website. We hope that you will participate. The aim of our celebratory year is to become forward looking in terms of Psychology in South Africa.

Enjoy the festive period!

Dr Helen Dunbar-Krige

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