Last week I alluded to one of my initiatives for the year. I would like to elaborate on it today.
Last February, Dr. Chris Sbaratta, reached out to Dr. June Feder to request feedback about a deeply worrying concern for new psychology graduates. As he explained it, the New York State licensure regulations require post-docs to complete 1,750 post-doctoral hours. This has become increasingly difficult to meet because, as Dr. Sbaratta noted, “The availability of opportunities for supervision at this point in time is inadequate, highly competitive and grossly under-organized.” He further pointed out that “our colleagues are caught between a rock and a hard place during a time in which they are simultaneously poised to begin their professional practice while also the most vulnerable and helpless,” without the qualifications for employment as psychologists but lacking opportunities for meeting those requirements in available work settings.”
Dr. Feder suggested that he contact me about this issue as she was aware that support to early career psychologists was something I wanted to feature as a presidential initiative during the following year. After speaking with Dr. Sbaratta, I realized that this was a problem that NYSPA could start to tackle. Dr. Feder, Dr. Sbaratta, and I had a conference call and drew up a series of initiatives that NYSPA could implement:
- Expand the scope of NYSPA’s Internship/Externship Fair to include post-doctoral placement opportunities.
- Develop an on-line database for post-doctoral training/supervision opportunities in NY State.
- Facilitate the development of additional post-doctoral training and supervision opportunities at existing institutional sites and within independent and group practices.
- Investigate viable legislative options for easing the requirements.
At a subsequent meeting with NYSPA Executive Director, Tom Cote, we further explored the feasibility of the projects. Mr. Cote expressed enthusiastic support for the proposals and helped us to brainstorm a plan of action. With the agreement of all present, I confirmed that it was important enough to make it my 2017 Presidential Initiative.
Progress has already been made:
- Post-doc opportunities have been included in the yearly internship fair, starting in 2016. This will continue.
- Plans have been initiated for the development of a NYSPA generated database for post-doctoral work opportunities.
- Information is being gathered regarding legal, regulatory and insurance issues to guide private practitioners who may wish to employ post-doctoral graduates within clinician practices.
- Discussions are being held about legislative/regulatory alternatives, including providing an option for the completion of supervision hours prior to graduation.
I am very proud of our ECP Division and especially grateful to Dr. Chris Sbaratta for making himself available for the planning and implementation of these initiatives and I am grateful to Dr. June Feder for her support and involvement, and to Dr. Roy Aranda for his generosity and encouragement, last year, as 2016 NYSPA President.
Herb Gingold, PhD