Society

President’s column; ‘PsychSource’ launches; new Society-funded POSTnote; e-learning wins award; and more

President’s column
Peter Banister
Contact Peter Banister via the Society’s Leicester office,
or e-mail: [email protected]

Looking through my President’s columns I noticed that in recent issues the space opposite has been used to inform us about recent BPS Awards. In October there was a picture of Annie Trapp with accompanying text, celebrating her well earned Lifetime Achievement Award in psychology education. In November there was an article about the 2012 Book Award for what looks like an engaging book on psychology targeting the general public. It is worth noting that this area continues to expand despite the pressures of the need to demonstrate research publications in prestigious journals. As from this year the Book Award will have four categories to recognise excellent published work in psychology, ranging from popular science to academic monographs via practitioner texts and textbooks. This expansion should make the onerous task of choosing a winner easier; last year there were boxes of nominated books, making the choice between them very difficult. In addition this should help us to further our aims of communicating about psychology to our audiences.

It is good that we celebrate the achievements of our members and recognise their myriad contributions to the development of the profession in terms of the ‘science, education, research and practical applications of psychology’ (to quote from our current strategic plan). These awards have a long history, and some fascinating details are provided at our History of Psychology Centre (HoPC) website (http://hopc.bps.org.uk). The highest award used to be Honorary Membership, which dates back to near the beginning of the Society from 1904. There are lists of early honorands, which included Freud, William James and many others; some still widely cited and others not so well known now. From 1945 Honorary Members were replaced by awarding Honorary Fellows and in all less than 150 people to date have been recognised with this distinguished award and its predecessor.

Now the BPS gives many awards, ranging from outstanding contributions to public engagement by raising the profile of psychology, to the achievement of the highest overall score by students in their Psychology A-level or Scottish Highers examinations, to awards for making a significant contribution to challenging social inequalities in the UK. There are Lifetime Achievement Awards for practitioners, psychology educators and for the advancement of psychological knowledge. Other famous awards include the Presidents’ (sic) Award which is given in recognition of exceptional contributions to psychological knowledge, and the Spearman Medal (named after Charles Spearman, renowned for his work on factor analysis and in the area of intelligence, and of course for Spearman’s rank correlation) which has been awarded from 1965 for outstanding published research in psychology by early career researchers (and whose recipients read like a ‘who’s who’ of current academic psychology).

There are lists of many of these awards both on the HoPC and on the main Society websites and publicity is given for many of them in the pages of The Psychologist; there are also international awards, which Society members have rightly received. Awards are being developed all the time, and I would like you to look out in particular for one to be launched next year recognising innovation in any psychology programme (undergraduate or postgraduate) accredited by the Society. There are lots of interesting such developments currently going on, and this award will hopefully help to promote good practice.

Curiously nobody seems to know how many awards there are in total, especially as many are provided through the Divisions, Sections and Branches and may have only been awarded sporadically. There is in fact a plea on the HoPC site for more information, so if any reader knows of any such awards that are not listed then please get in touch, as we would be pleased to receive and publish lists of awards and awardees. I am aware from personal experience that this is likely to prove to be a very difficult task, as awards come and go depending on the collective memory of members and what the success has been of initiatives (I have been involved with at least three separate awards where there were no suitable recipients due to a paucity of appropriate nominations).

Whilst looking around this area I came across on the HoPC site details of the William Inman Prize, which was meant to be awarded annually from 1968 for original publications in the area of psychosomatic ophthalmology, and not surprisingly was only awarded once (and then only after a slight relaxation of the conditions) up to 2011. It has now been further changed to become a quinquennial award on ‘the effects of psychological factors on physical conditions’, with the next award due to be made in 2015, which should be plenty of time to get some relevant work completed!

In addition to these various awards there are also a number of grants available to help us to further our aims; details can be found of these on the Society website. Again just to draw your attention to some of those available, they include bursaries to support postdoctoral researchers and lecturers to attend academic conferences both nationally and internationally, a scheme to allow researchers to provide undergraduates with hands on experience of research, and postgraduate study visit support. Grants are also available to enable institutions to co-operate in holding scientific seminars, and for members to promote the relevance of psychology to wider audiences through public engagement.

So keep the nominations rolling in, and do not be afraid to put in for a grant to support your initiatives or to nominate a colleague for an award – we are all here to help to promote the discipline of psychology! Season’s greetings to you all!

 

PsychSource launched

New online portal for psychology resources supporting research, teaching and practice

The Society has launched a new online portal, PsychSource, for all its psychology research resources.

Developed in partnership with Wiley-Blackwell, PsychSource’s primary function is to provide a single gateway to the 11 BPS journals, 32 other Wiley psychology journals, BPS Blackwell books, and a growing collection of multimedia resources. The new facility  has sophisticated search and browse functions, making it a convenient way to access not only the latest offerings but also the Society’s growing publications archive, right back to volume 1 of the British Journal of Psychology in 1904.

Dr Peter Banister, President of the Society said: ‘BPS journals form an essential part of the Society’s aim to advance and disseminate psychological knowledge. Our partnership with Wiley-Blackwell has developed over many years. PsychSource is the latest development to bring all our online resources together to help our members and others with an interest find the latest research, or look at the archive easily.’
Philip Carpenter, Wiley-Blackwell’s Managing Director, Social Sciences and Humanities, said: ‘We are very proud of the relationship we have built with the British Psychological Society over the course of a decade. Our publishing partnership develops book and journal resources that benefit the psychological community in education, research and practice, and PsychSource is the next logical step for improving access to those resources for psychologists at every stage of their career.’

Not only will PsychSource be a major benefit to members, but it is also a publicly available website. Anyone may visit the site, sign up for personalisation, search and view everything down to article abstracts. In this way it contributes to our Charter objective to disseminate psychology. But only BPS members, once signed in, will be able to view and download full-text articles and be offered generous book discounts.

One particularly useful facility is that the sign-in process is the same for PsychSource as for the main BPS website. Once signed in for one, you are automatically signed in for the other, and your web profile is carried across, allowing personalised presentation of items of interest on the PsychSource home page.

As well as its primary function as a gateway to BPS and Wiley journals, books and multimedia, PsychSource also conveniently brings together a categorised selection of links to complementary BPS online resources for research, teaching and practice. These include the EBSCO Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection of academic journals, the Psychologist and Research Digest archives, conference proceedings, various historical resources, guidelines and policy documents, and much more.

Visit http://psychsource.bps.org.uk

 

Chair’s column
Jill D. Wilkinson
Chair of Representative Council

On 1 and 2 November, the Representative Council met at the third annual meeting of the General Assembly. Just for information (or as a reminder) the Representative Council consists of the Chairs, or their Representatives, of all the Member Networks (that is, the Branches, Sections, Divisions and Special Groups) as well as the Trustees (including the Chairs of the four Boards). The Representative Council provides a forum in which the views of the membership of the Society can be expressed and acts as an advisory body for the Board of Trustees (which has the final authority for the governance of the Society).

The formal meeting of the Representative Council forms part of the proceedings of the General Assembly and includes standing items such as the call for names to be put forward for Honorary Fellowships and Honorary Life Members as well as topics which will vary from year to year. This year it included discussions on the consultation process and the consultation on suggested changes to the Membership Network rules.

The General Assembly, however, has a much wider remit and was established in order to facilitate networking between Member Network Representatives, Officers and Trustees. What this in effect means is that it provides an extremely important and lively forum for discussion, debate, the raising of issues relevant to the membership, the exploration of the inevitable tensions that exist, the commonalities and differences and the sharing of information across the Member Networks. It also, very importantly, serves as an opportunity for the Member Network Chairs to find out what other Member Networks are doing and planning and to get a better picture of the BPS as a whole.
This year the Member Network Chairs were asked to prepare a brief presentation focusing on the developments in their specific group and developments in their groups’ specialist areas.

The presentations were, for me, a highlight (as I am sure was the case with others attending). We heard first from the Chairs of the respective Branches, which operate in geographical areas across the Member Networks and also reach out to those members who are not affiliated to any of the Sections, Divisions or Special Groups. As well as their ongoing work in career support and CPD events in these areas, we heard about developments in the use of social networking and their commitment to reaching the ‘wider public’ through events such as ‘Psychology in the pub’ – now, how good is that! Unsurprisingly these events have attracted large audiences. It was also encouraging that some of the key researchers and practitioners in their fields had contributed to these events. So – maybe coming to a pub near you soon – watch out for it!

The presentations of the Chairs of the Sections, which exist to further members’ specialised scientific interests and to promote psychological research and the exchange of ideas, gave a snapshot of the richness and diversity of psychology and highlighted the ways in which the Sections form a ‘core’ element of the Society. We heard about the ways in which the Sections are engaging with not only their members, but with external agencies and the international community. It was also interesting to learn that a number of Sections are collaborating with other Member Networks: for example, a joint annual conference is being planned by the Cognitive and Developmental Sections.

The Chairs of the Divisions and of the Special Groups, both of which are concerned with the development of psychology as a profession and as a body of knowledge and skills, understandably are concerned about the ways in which those involved in professional practice are grappling with and working towards finding creative solutions to changes in the public and private sectors which are having a major impact on their members. Most of the Divisions are also very involved in building local and national influence and with forming and maintaining close links with training providers, external bodies, such as the NHS and LEAs and in some cases, service users and carers.
There was excellent attendance with presentations from all eight of the Branches, 13 out of 14 of the Sections, eight of the ten Divisions and both Special Groups. This was followed by the three breakout groups for the Chairs of the Branches, Sections and Divisions and Special Groups (known as the forums). They were asked to discuss, amongst other topics, ways in which their particular forum contributes, or could contribute, to the BPS as a whole, again looking at the ‘Bigger Picture’. The outcomes of these forums were presented as the final item and will be acted on as appropriate.

What was particularly exciting was the energy and enthusiasm that came through during these presentations. It gave me a lot of hope for our future. I look forward to the General Assembly meeting next year as Vice Chair when hopefully, we will be joined by a new Branch, which will bring the Branches to only one short of the full complement and, depending on the outcome of membership voting, possibly a new Section and a new Special Group.

Finally, the General Assembly takes place for the benefit membership of the BPS as a whole and is only made possible by the dedication and hard work of the members of the Representative Council and the BPS staff. Thank you!

 

Promoting evidence-based psychological interventions

Implementation of evidence-based treatments is central to Scottish Government health policy, so in October Edinburgh played host to a conference organised by the Society’s Division of Clinical Psychology Scottish Branch and NHS Education for Scotland. 

The event was designed to demonstrate the key role psychologists play in developing the evidence base for interventions, and to encourage more psychologists to become active in research in this area. The day began with three keynote presentations. Professor Steve Pilling (University College London) gave a detailed and highly informative review of what is considered to be evidence in his presentation ‘Psychological interventions – the evidence and what can it be used for?

A NICE perspective’. He was followed by Professor Tony Roth (University College London), whose presentation ‘Putting evidence into practice: Therapist competence and competence frameworks’ spelled out the importance of training and supervision in maintaining the effectiveness of an evidence-based therapy and described a range of competence frameworks (www.ucl.ac.uk/CORE). Professor Kate Davidson, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and University of Glasgow, then detailed the work involved in ‘Developing the matrix for the psychological therapies target in Scotland’. The Matrix aims to help NHS Boards plan and deliver evidence-based psychological therapies.

Later in the day, after stimulating presentations on both research in practice and implementation, Jude Clarke, one of DCP-Scotland’s service-user reps, gave a powerful and moving summary of her experience of working with a clinical psychologist. This provided a good balance to the focus on considering effectiveness and value in terms of research designs, protocols and data.

The conference ended with a speech from Michael Matheson, MSP, Minister for Public Health, outlining Scotland’s mental health strategy and the significance which the Scottish Government places on psychological therapies. His presence alone was a hugely positive sign that the Government recognises the value of applied psychology. It was encouraging to see the wide scope of research within routine clinical practice and how we as a profession might expand this. It was also a useful reminder that we need to maintain our awareness of why we do what we do and continue to promote high quality, safe practice. The buzz amongst delegates, the passion behind some of the many questions plus the very positive feedback from the evaluation forms, supports  our view that this was a highly successful event. 
Dr Frances Baty
DCP-Scotland Honorary
Vice-Chair
Dr Belinda Hacking
DCP-Scotland Chair

 

News from BPS journals

New journal editors

We are delighted to announce the appointments of new Editors for several of the BPS journals. British Journal of Psychology, with an Impact Factor of 2.368, welcomes Professor Stefan R. Schweinberger of Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, who will take over from Professor Peter Mitchell of University of Nottingham. Professors David French and Alison Wearden, both of University of Manchester, will take the helm of British Journal of Health Psychology (Impact Factor 2.697) from Professors Kavita Vedhara of University of Nottingham and Paul Bennett of Swansea University. British Journal of Mathematical and Statistical Psychology, with an Impact Factor of 1.314, welcomes Dr Matthias von Davier of the Educational Testing Service in Princeton, who will take over from Professor Thom Baguley of Nottingham Trent University. Last but not least, the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology (Impact Factor 1.939) welcomes Dr Jonathon Halbesleben of University of Alabama, who will succeed Professor Jan de Jonge of Eindhoven University of Technology. We’d like to thank all the outgoing Editors for the sterling job they have done in making the journals into leading publications in their fields.

All of the Society’s journals are available via PsychSource (see p.919). For author guidelines on article submissions go to http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com

 

Giving psychology the influence on public policy that it deserves

‘When you are absorbed in the process of data collection, you do sometimes wonder how your research could extend to environments beyond the lab,’ says Aiysha Malik. ‘So it is great to meet decision makers and see the effect that psychology research can have in the wider world.’

Malik is speaking about her experiences after taking up a fellowship, funded by the Society (see tinyurl.com/bpspostaward), with the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST). Based at POST’s Millbank offices, Malik used her time at Westminster to produce a briefing (or ‘POSTnote’) on mental health in the workplace. This draws together the latest psychological research and presented it in a format accessible to a lay readership.

Malik says she valued the opportunity to mix, not only with politicians, civil servants and advisers, but also with past and present fellowship holders. ‘One of the best things about the fellowship was that I was able to attend events with postgraduate fellows and speakers from other scientific disciplines. This, together with the chance to mix with people from the political world, gave me a much better sense of how psychology fits and has the potential to fit into the bigger picture.’

Her POSTnote, ‘Mental Health and the Workplace’ (see tinyurl.com/malikpost), begins with the striking observation that mental health conditions cost British employers an estimated £26bn a year.  This figure is arrived at by adding the toll of absenteeism, presenteeism (where an individual continues to come to work despite being unable to function at full capacity) and staff turnover, and drawn from research published by what was then the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health in 2007.

Emphasising that the workplace can contribute to the development and exacerbation of poor mental health, Malik mentions factors including stressful working environments, long working hours, bullying and shift work. She also points to the considerable variation across England in the availability of talking therapies and employment support in primary and secondary health care.

On a positive note, she gives examples of good practice in the workplace, such as changing the working environment and training managers to manage mental health, that reduce the sickness absence associated with mental health and are therefore financially beneficial to businesses

The Society funds a POST fellowship each year for a postgraduate studying for a PhD or MPhil in psychology. Malik was studying for a DPhil in Psychiatry at the University of Oxford when she took up her fellowship – she has now started a DClinPsych, also at Oxford. Other recent fellowship holders include Jo Archer, who produced a POST note on the impact on health of poor housing, and Hannah Swift, who produced on one the impact of video games. Just as they did, Aiysha Malik has taken the latest research and made it accessible to a general readership.

Malik, for one, is convinced such initiatives are valuable. She says: ‘If we want psychology to have the influence on public policy that it deserves, then we are going to have to learn to speak the same language as politicians and other decision makers.’
- Jonathan Calder

New register for Chartered Members

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has supported a number of participating professional bodies and other stakeholders to establish the Occupational Safety and Health Consultants Register (OSHCR). The register is a first step to resolving the problems identified by the Common Sense, Common Safety Report. While many businesses develop in-house competence to manage their health and safety risks, and do not need to use health and safety consultants, some will need help. Those that use a consultant who is on the register can have confidence that such a person belongs to a professional body and has had their experience and qualifications assessed, that they are undertaking a continuing professional development scheme, are committed to providing sensible and proportionate advice and should also be properly insured.

Over the last two years the Society’s Occupational Psychology Health and Well-being Working Group has been working with the HSE and OSHCR to establish recognition for our Chartered Members, and we are delighted that their hard work has resulted in such recognition being granted.

Although registration is voluntary, the register is a means by which consultants can demonstrate their professional standing and experience in occupational health and safety. It is freely accessible and searchable by the public, including potential clients. Consultants on the register are entitled to inform others that they are OSHCR registered. Any Chartered Member is eligible to apply.

For further information, please visit the Society website at www.bps.org.uk/oshcr

 

Society’s autism e-learning wins gold

E-learning modules on adult autism published by the British Psychological Society’s Learning Centre won gold in the category for ‘Excellence in the Production of Learning Content – Not for Profit Sector’ at the E-Learning awards in November.

The BPS Learning Centre worked with Chartered Psychologists Dr Sally Twist and Dr Anna Dodd, and e-learning partners Nelson Croom, to select the content and develop the modules. The modules are designed to build awareness of adult autism amongst psychologists and the general public, and to support both adults with autism and professionals working with them. People with autism helped generate ideas, gave feedback and shared real-life stories that became the core of the course. There are more details of the modules at www.bps.org.uk/news/raising-awareness-adult-autism

The judges explained: ‘This programme has revolutionised the way a long-standing and very traditional organisation looks at learning. Usage has far exceeded expectations, with news spread largely by word of mouth.’

Dr Peter Banister, President of the Society said: ‘Not only has taking part in this course raised individual awareness of autism, but it also has impacted on the wider provision of autism training. These courses have been a great success in terms of their impact on wider society.’
Ann Colley, Chief Executive Officer of the Society, added: ‘This is a welcome and well-earned endorsement of the work of the Learning Centre, and excellent recognition of a successful partnership.’

Now in their eighth-year, the E-Learning Awards aim to recognise excellence in the e-learning industry and are presented by the website www.elearningage.co.uk. The award recognises excellent content that enables learning for those working in the not-for-profit sector. Submissions are judged on their contribution to individual learning and performance, the views of learners and other key stake holders, and the impact on organisational performance.

The Learning Centre, in conjunction with the Society’s member networks, produces an annual programme of CPD events and workshops. The 2013 CPD Directory contains over 130 workshops. More details are available at www.bps.org.uk/findcp


 


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