President's column

It is the beginning of the academic year and if you are a new psychology student, welcome to psychology, to The British Psychological Society, and to The Psychologist. As a student, you can enjoy Society membership at a reduced rate of just £13.
It is the beginning of the academic year and if you are a new psychology student, welcome to psychology, to The British Psychological Society, and to The Psychologist.

As a student, you can enjoy Society membership at a reduced rate of just £13. Have a look at the Diary section of this issue and see the wide range of activities run by the Society and other organisations in September; for example, workshops in applied fields like counselling, coaching, interviewing, personality assessment and time management; conferences on bullying, phenomenology, health psychology, transpersonal psychology, community safety and child and adolescent mental health; and a whole range of teaching and training days from trauma to cognitive behaviour therapy to relaxation skills to media training. If you go to the conference on bullying in Portsmouth run by the Wessex and Wight Branch of the Society, then I will be there so come and say hello.

As a student member you not only get a copy of The Psychologist magazine to keep updated each month, you have automatic membership of the Student Members Group (SMG). Check out smg.bps.org.uk, and you can see who your university rep is, and who is on the committee of SMG to approach for information. You will also be given the opportunity to subscribe to our free Research Digest, to be e-mailed to you each fortnight. You have automatic membership of a regional Branch of the society, access to the Society’s professional Divisions and Sections for information, and access to journals at reduced rates and online. You receive Psych-Talk, the SMG newsletter, and have access to a network of psychology students across the UK. Later on, it will be important to you that membership gives you access to the Appointments Memorandum, where most psychology jobs are advertised.

I do not know how you came across psychology, but reaching out to new people and better communicating a knowledge of psychology is a central tenet of our Charter. But of course we need your input, too. Let us know what you need, what we might do to support your studies and the development of your career. You can send in ideas to us through SMG, but do not hesitate to contact me directly with any thoughts.

Members will be interested to learn that to assist with all our communications work we have now formally created the new Public Relations Unit in the Leicester office, bringing together for the first time a group of staff from a professional communications background dedicated to helping the Society engage more effectively with all its various audiences and stakeholders.

The unit is built around our already successful press office, which handles more than 450 media enquiries a month and generates copious news coverage of Society conferences and published research. The new PR team will have responsibility for a wide range of communications work with the media, but will also have a role in marketing and internal communications. Managed by Douglas Brown and with three posts for public relations officers, they will undertake some activity directly themselves, but they will also advise others on communications issues and assist colleagues in
the office and members; for example, by providing communications training. The Trustees already receive each month a breakdown of media queries – who from and what about – and it will be interesting to see how the new team develops our communications.

Since I have mentioned regional offices and the various Branches that cover the UK, members might like to know that the search for the new London office continues. I did say it would be slow (buildings that might suit our needs do not often come on the market), but we are still looking, and I do personally see all those that are a real possibility. In the previous building I went around measuring lifts. The last building we looked at necessitated a deep interest in air conditioning plants. I will continue to report back.

I cannot leave the topic of London without striking a serious note. Above, I alluded to new students joining a network of psychologist. This community stretches internationally. It is of course some weeks since the bomb attacks in central London. Within days of those events we received messages of support from psychological associations around the world, including from Europe and north and central America. In addition we received material that psychologists had found helpful in dealing with clients and patients in the aftermath of traumatic events. This was a supportive and helpful reminder that we are part of an international profession and a global community. I would like to say thank you to some of those who sent messages, including the Spanish Psychological Association, the Mexican Association of Psychological Trauma, the Spanish Federation of Psychological Societies, the American Psychological Association, the International Association of Applied Psychology, and the European Federation of Psychological Associations. On behalf of our members, I thank you all for your thoughts.

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