Society

President’s column; EuroPsy; Spearman Medal; guidance on electronic health records; consultation responses; public engagement awards; and more

President’s column

Contact Carole Allan via the Society’s Leicester office, or e-mail: [email protected]

I attended this year’s British Academy/British Psychological Society Lecture, which was given by Professor Lorraine Tyler at the Royal Society, London, on Thursday 22 September 2011. Entitled ‘The Resilient Brain: Cognition and Ageing’, this was part of an annual lecture series, hosted with the British Academy, which promotes high-quality science with a popular and accessible approach for the general public. This lecture series began in 2001 when the Academy held a lecture to mark the centenary of the British Psychological Society. You can find details on the Society’s website (tinyurl.com/bpsbalec2011), with a link to an audio recording of Professor Tyler’s lecture; video will be available shortly, and you can also read Catherine Loveday’s report in this issue (‘News’, p.805).

The stark fact is that we are an ageing population with diminishing resources with which to support our elderly population. Amid the doom and gloom the lecture challenged many of the perceived certainties and stereotypes about cognitive functioning as we age. There was some persuasive evidence that the maintenance of cardiovascular fitness leads to improved cognitive functioning. The lecture, which had capacity for 250 people, was packed and the question-and-answer session at the end was very lively and ranged over topics covering the utility of ‘brain training’ to how to keep the brain healthy.

Lorraine Tyler is Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge. She heads a university-wide consortium, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, to study the relationship between brain function and cognition across the adult lifespan. She was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1995 and is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science in the US as well as of the British Psychological Society.

There is no doubt that academic scholarship is international, while international collaborations between practitioners has lagged far behind. We struggle at times to share good practice between the home nations, never mind internationally. Our Society is the second largest and second oldest national psychological association in the world (behind the American Psychological Association). We have memorandums of understanding with a number of other countries including the Psychological Society of South Africa, of India, the Chinese Psychological Society and the Psychological Society of Ireland, and links with other international organisations, as a member and on task groups of the European Federation of Psychologists’ Associations (EFPA).

In furtherance of our strong links with the Psychological Society of South Africa and the International Union of Psychological Science, the Trustees have agreed to fund two places on its Emerging Psychologists programme which will be held immediately prior to the International Congress 2012 in Capetown. The Programme is specifically aimed at facilitating the interaction of leading emerging psychologists from across the world in identifying research priorities for psychology worldwide. The Trustees are delighted to be able to support this exciting initiative.

At the last meeting of the Trustees we agreed to strengthen our links with other international bodies and are in the process of ensuring linkages between members who are representing the Society on various international bodies. More recently we have been working with EFPA to agree standards for qualifications across Europe, and this work has been led for the Society by the Membership and Standards Board. EFPA is also keen to ensure that practitioners at the post-qualification level meet to share good practice, and the Professional Practice Board had been involved in this and other initiatives.

Finally, I am looking forward to attending the General Assembly. Last year after a decision by the Representative Council it was agreed that this would move to a model of meeting over two days. Member networks took the opportunity to share information about their activities and bring their own perspectives on the future direction of the Society in a setting that brings members together with the Board of Trustees and the Chief Executive and the Senior Management Team from Leicester. The event highlighted the sheer diversity of our activities and made us aware that improving communication within the Society is as important as our ability to communicate with the external world. After an extensive period of consultation and development the new website is starting to deliver benefits. The next phase will be to agree a plan of action leading from our recent review of communication systems to build on this improved capacity.

Society approved to award EuroPsy

The Society has been approved by the European Federation of Psychologists’ Associations (EFPA) to award the EuroPsy Certificate to suitably qualified UK psychologists who meet the EuroPsy criteria.

EFPA is a federation of now 35 psychological associations that represent about 300,000 psychologists across Europe, both applied and academic psychologists. One of its goals is the integration of practice with research and the promotion of an integrated discipline of psychology. At its General Assembly in London in 2001, EFPA Member Associations agreed a European framework for the psychology curriculum. This was supplemented in 2005 when the General Assembly agreed the specification for the EuroPsy Certificate.

The European Certificate in Psychology or ‘EuroPsy’, launched for implementation early in 2010, provides a standard or benchmark that aims to ensure the high quality of education and training in psychology. This standard supplements national standards and does not replace them. The goal is to create a system where the public is able to check the qualifications of a psychologist, or to find the name of a suitably qualified psychologist in a particular country.

There are now 12 countries that have been approved, with a further 10 in the pipeline.

Approval signifies that the country (its psychological association) has a National Awarding Committee (which evaluates applications for EuroPsy), and that procedures are in place to ensure that applicants meet the European minimum standard of six years of education and training (often delivered through a 3+2+1 model of three years bachelor, two years master’s, plus one year of supervised practice). Approved EuroPsy psychologists are entered on the European Register, and are required to revalidate the Certificate every seven years.

The Society’s requirements for Chartered status (sometimes gained through a 3+3 model, three years bachelor followed by three years doctorate which includes supervised practice) meet the EuroPsy standard. The Society proposes to make eligibility for membership of the Society and/or registration with the HPC the requisites for applying for EuroPsy to ensure that the award through the Society is quality-assured by committing applicants to abide by our member conduct rules and Code of Ethics and/or the HPC’s requirements for registration.

In time EuroPsy may become used to help ‘Competent Authorities’ in each country to evaluate equivalence of qualifications and hence facilitate mobility. The European Commission is currently working on a revision of its qualifications directive, which aims to facilitate and promote mobility for professionals across European borders. It has carried out an evaluation to see how far the current system works in practice, and how far it facilitates mobility. One idea under consideration is that of a Professional Card which would be issued by the Competent Authority; here the EuroPsy might be used as the standard for a European Professional Card for psychologists. Within the Commission there continues to be a tension between quality standards and mobility: consumer protection requires quality standards, while mobility is facilitated by lower standards, or a lowest common denominator.

Society involvement in EuroPsy and approval of its procedures is welcomed within EFPA. Much of the development work for EuroPsy has been strongly influenced by the UK model, including its strong emphasis on competences as an integral part of supervised practice. Involvement with EuroPsy is also important for UK psychologists and psychology. Although the UK may currently be a net ‘importer’ of psychologists trained in another country and who wish to move to the UK, this situation may gradually change. Faced with higher tuition fees, numbers of UK students are choosing to study in other countries. The Bologna process and programmes such as Erasmus and Erasmus Mundus are increasing the numbers of UK students who are able take parts of their degree in another country. Many of the countries in Europe that have more demanding requirements for professional qualification are facing pressures from governments to recognise practitioners qualified with a lower level of psychological education. EFPA provides a powerful forum for discussion and debate and increasingly for representation at EU level, as shown by the first ‘Psychology for Europe’ conference, which takes place at the European Parliament on 9 November 2011.

Following EFPA’s approval, the Society is putting in place the application process for EuroPsy and developing a EuroPsy website. We are on track to start receiving applications during the first quarter of 2012.

A number of members successfully applied for EuroPsy during the pilot phase that ran between 2007 and 2009. These members will be automatically transferred to the Register of EuroPsy Psychologists without the need to make a further application.

For post-pilot phase applicants, there will be both a transitional and a regular route to achieving EuroPsy and detailed information about the criteria and process for each will be published on the website as soon as the EuroPsy pages are live.

In the meantime, if you are a Chartered Psychologist and/or registered with the HPC and would like to express an interest in applying, or find out more about the EuroPsy award, please contact Janet Vaughan ([email protected]) or Alex Minshall ([email protected]) in the Society’s Membership Team.

Ingrid Lunt (Chair, European Awarding Committee) and Peter Banister (Chair, National Awarding Committee)

Society response to Care Quality Commission

The Society took the opportunity to respond to a recent Care Quality Commission (CQC) consultation on proposed changes to their regulations. The CQC is an independent body responsible for regulating health and social care services provided by the NHS, local authorities, private companies and voluntary organisations in England. The consultation concerned proposed changes to their regulations, and the Society recommend extending the list of those professions which come under the scope of CQC regulation to include HPC-registered practitioner psychologists.

Increasingly, under the ‘Any Qualified Provider’ regulation, services employing psychologists and serving the public do not always employ doctors, nurses or social workers; therefore, as Jenny Taylor and John Hanna of the Division of Clinical Psychology pointed out in the Society’s response, ‘if practitioner psychologists are not under the scope of CQC regulation, these services will be exempt from regulation in a situation where safety and risk are of paramount importance’.

The Society’s response to the consultation further called upon the CQC to regulate quality by undertaking thematic reviews of access to evidence-based psychological therapies. As Taylor and Hanna noted, ‘many of the services under CQC review are currently able to pass inspections of safety and quality without providing sufficient, or any, psychological interventions to their service users’. The Society calls upon the CQC to include access to evidence-based psychological interventions within the scope of its reviews to complement the Commission’s close scrutiny of medical and environmental safety, to enhance quality and to further reduce risk, particularly in relation to self-harm and suicide.

- View full details of the consultation and the Society’s response via the Consultation Response Team’s website: www.bps.org.uk/consult

Spearman Medal

Professor Essi Viding has won the Society’s Spearman Medal for 2011.

The Medal is given each year to a British psychologist for work completed within eight years of completing a PhD, based on its theoretical importance, originality and impact.

Together with Dr Eamon McCrory, Professor Viding co-directs the Developmental Risk and Resilience Unit at University College London. The unit’s work explores the genetic and environmental risk factors that shape how the brain processes social and emotional information in childhood and seeks to better understand mechanisms of developmental vulnerability and resilience.

Professor Viding’s key research contribution has been to identify the phenomenology and biology of callous-unemotional trains in children. These represent the major risk factor for the most severe form of antisocial behaviour through the lifespan and can lead to psychopathy in adulthood.

Interviewed by the Nature Jobs website last year, Professor Viding described her work: ‘Our research seems to strike a chord with people fascinated by what makes children behave in an extreme, antisocial way. Whether the data turn out as predicted or are different in interesting ways, both outcomes keep you on your toes and interested in asking the next question.’

Professor Viding currently has two postdoctoral scientists, three PhD students and two research assistants under her supervision.

In the past, two international postdoctoral research fellows, with their own funding, have chosen to work with her for the duration of their award, reflecting her international reputation.

After receiving a first class degree in psychology from University College London, Professor Viding spent two years as a research assistant at UCL’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience with Dr James Blair. She studied for a PhD at the MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry, supervised by Professor Francesca Happé and Dr. Jonna Kuntsi. During this time she also closely worked with Professor Robert Plomin, a collaboration that she continues to date. She was awarded her doctorate in 2004 and a postdoctoral fellowship by the Economic and Social Sciences Research Council the same year. She was hired as a lecturer in the UCL Division of Psychology Science in October 2005, and by 2008 had been promoted to Reader, followed by a promotion to Professor in 2011.

Besides the Spearman Medal, Professor Viding has won several research grants and awards in recent years. These include an MRC Brain Sciences Pathfinder grant, a British Academy Research Development Award and an ESRC research grant. In addition, she was awarded the Development Science Early Career Researcher Prize in 2008, Society for Scientific Study of Psychopathy Early Career Award in 2011 and the British Academy’s Wiley Prize in 2010, the latter leading to her being interviewed in Nature.

To date Dr Viding has published over 60 papers in highly regarded journals such as Archives of General Psychiatry, American Journal of Psychiatry, Brain and the Journal of Child Psychiatry and Psychology, and she is regularly invited as a keynote speaker in the UK and abroad.

Occupational psychology awards

Some of Britain’s leading occupational psychologists were honoured in an October awards ceremony hosted by the British Psychological Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology and held at the British Medical Association in London.

The Lifetime Achievement Award was won by John Toplis. Mr Toplis has enjoyed a long and varied career spanning the public sector, education and consultancy. He was the founding director of the occupational psychology unit at Barking College of Technology (now the University of East London). Later he became head of psychology services and then head of consultancy services in the training and development group at the Royal Mail. He is also a former Chair of the Division of Occupational Psychology itself.

The Academic Contribution to Practice Award went to Professor Adrian Furnham from University College London. Professor Furnham has lectured widely and has held scholarships and visiting professorships at many universities. He has written over 700 scientific papers and 57 books and is on the editorial boards of a number of journals. He is a past president of the International Society for the Study of Individual Differences and a Fellow of the British Psychological Society.

The Practitioner of the Year Award went to Laura Empey from the National Policing Improvement Agency, who has been working on the recruitment of the special constables needed for the 2012 Olympics in London. She has developed implemented and evaluated a new system that has replaced the 43 different ones that were previously used by local police forces.

The runner-up in this category was Vicki Archer from the Work Psychology Group for her work with the Department of Health developing a new selection method for junior doctors.

The guest speaker at the event was Professor Geoffrey Beattie from the University of Manchester. He said: ‘The research and career achievements honoured at this evening’s event show that occupational psychology is continuing to grow both as an academic discipline and a profession. The work of Laura Empey and Vicki Archer, for instance, shows how widely its insights are now applied.’

Jonathan Calder

Guidance on electronic health records

The Society is publishing guidance for applied psychologists on the use of electronic health records. This relatively new way of storing clinical information creates new opportunities but also poses new problems. Society members may find it helpful to be able to refer to official professional body guidance in the event of potential conflicts between their perception of the interests of their clients and the requirements of these systems.

- To download the guidelines as a PDF, see tinyurl.com/elechealthrec

Frederik Schroeder Award

Dr Allan Dodds, a Fellow of the Society and former Director of the Blind Mobility Research Unit in the Department of Psychology at the University of Nottingham, has received the Frederik Schroeder Award. The citation read: ‘For excellence in furthering Structured Discovery Cane methodology and the National Orientation & Mobility Certification.’

The citation continued: ‘Because of your pioneering, dedicated and exemplary contribution to the field of Orientation and Mobility, the blind of tomorrow will be enabled to walk independently through life with faith justified by self-confidence.’

Dr Dodds was pleased to receive this award following his keynote presentation at a convention in Orlando attended by over three thousand blind people. Frederik Schroeder, a blind person, is now a Research Professor in the United States and Vice President of the National Federation for the Blind.

News from BPS journals

2010 impact factors

The 2010 impact factors for all journals included within the ISI database were released over the summer. The BPS journals enjoyed some fantastic results, thanks to the hard work of our editors, authors and reviewers.

We now have four journals with two-year impact factors above 2.0 – British Journal of Psychology (2.172), British Journal of Health Psychology (2.336), British Journal of Social Psychology (2.056) and Journal of Neuropsychology (2.364) – and seven journals with five-year impact factors above 2.0. The Journal of Neuropsychology’s 2010 Impact Factor has seen an impressive increase – more than doubling its first Impact Factor, received in the 2009 release. Three of our journals are now ranked within the top 20 of their ISI disciplines, with two journals poised just outside of the top 10.

Celebrating 50th anniversaries

2011 marks the 50th anniversary for both the British Journal of Social Psychology and the British Journal of Clinical Psychology. Both journals have their origins in the British Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, which published its first issue in February 1962 co-edited by Michael Argyle and Jack Tizard. 1982 saw the journal split into its separate disciplines, and so the two titles were formed.

To mark the British Journal of Clinical Psychology’s 50th anniversary, Professors Michael Barkham and Gillian Hardy, in conjunction with the previous editors of the journal, co-authored a special editorial (volume 50, issue 1) looking at some of the most impactful work published in the journal’s history (see tinyurl.com/6f3qbl5).

To celebrate the British Journal of Social Psychology’s 50th birthday, Professors Jolanda Jetten and John Dixon commissioned a special issue (volume 50, issue 3) reflecting on what the journal has achieved so far and the shape of the discipline in the future. All articles are authored by BJSP’s previous editors, including Antony Manstead, Miles Hewstone (with Hermann Swart), Russell Spears, Stephen Reicher, Margaret Wetherell and Brian Parkinson (see tinyurl.com/5uta544).

Society members can access the journals for free as a member benefit.

Public engagement

A collection of resources for elite athletes with learning disabilities and a project to communicate psychology to the public through expressive dance are among the schemes to receive a public engagement grant from the British Psychological Society this year.

Each year the Society makes grants to help its members promote the relevance of evidence-based psychology to wider audiences, either through direct work or by organising special communications activities. For 2011 the Society increased the sum available for grants to £40,000. This year grants have been given to five Society members:

- Professor Jan Burns (Canterbury Christ Church University) – Web and physical resources for elite athletes with learning disabilities

- Ian Conyers (Independent Living Solutions) – Demonstrating psychology experiments and tests at British Science Festival

- Dr Diana Harcourt (University of the West of England) –

A permanent interactive exhibit within an award-winning science centre (At-Bristol) to promote understanding of the psychology of appearance and stereotypes

- Professor David Lavallee (University of Stirling) – A website for the greatest (sport) psychological show on earth

- Dr Carl Senior (Aston University) – Communicating psychology to the public with expressive dance.

Professor Graham Powell, Chair of the Society’s Publications and Communication Board, said: ‘We are delighted with the range and quality of this year’s recipients. Making the public aware of the breadth of psychology as a science, and of the practical help it can give, is an important part of the Society’s work.’

 

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