President's column; Lifetime Achievement Award; Psychology for All event; coaching awards; consultation responses and more

President’s column Liz Campbell

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

In December I was in India for a couple of weeks. This was in part for some visits to Indian institutions on behalf of my employer and also to speak at the annual conference of the National Academy of Psychology in India. The conference was held at the Indian Institute of Technology in Guwahati and attracted psychologists from all over the country. The Society and the National Academy have now signed a Memorandum of Understanding linking our two bodies and we look forward to exploring areas of mutual benefit.

It was a great pleasure to meet so many Indian colleagues and to hear about the issues facing them. Some of these issues are those that have been of concern to our Society; for example there was a conference session on the regulation of psychologists. In India there is little current regulation of psychologists, although some of the clinical psychology postgraduate programmes are recognised by the Rehabilitation Council of India. Other sessions focused on a variety of topics, but one of the most interesting ones was on the concept of whether there is an ‘Indian Psychology’ with its own distinctive theories and methods. There was quite a diversity of views on this topic.

The city in which the conference was held, Guwahati, has had terrorist bombings in November 2008 and January 2009. This made it very pertinent that one of the talks that I gave at the conference was about psychological aid for victims of terrorism. This talk was about the results from the European Commission project that the Society has been leading on over the last 18 months.

The culmination of this project was a dissemination event that was hosted at the European Parliament in December 2008. This is the first time that the Society has organised an event within the European Parliament. The MEP Geoffrey van Orden, who has an interest in this particular area, sponsored the event. Dr Richard Freeman of the Institute of Education, University of London, and Emeritus Professor Bill Yule, of King’s College London Institute of Psychiatry, both part of the project team, presented papers. Over 30 people from key European agencies and institutions attended and we made very useful links with a number of organisations. Unfortunately for me I could not be at this dissemination event because of the clash of dates with my Indian visit.

Our conference team and our Parliamentary Officer, Ana Padilla, worked very hard to make this event the unqualified success that it was and we are very grateful to them for this.

I hope that you will have taken the time to complete our current membership survey. If you have not done it yet, the deadline is 16 February. The survey was sent via e-mail but is also available through the website. Please do take this opportunity to make your views known. 

Lifetime Achievement Award 2008
Barbara Wilson

Professor Barbara Wilson has accepted the Society’s Professional Practice Board Lifetime Achievement Award for 2008.

For over 30 years Barbara has been dedicated to brain injury rehabilitation, in both clinical practice and clinical research. She is an accomplished academic and dedicated practitioner, who has encouraged a holistic approach that regards social and emotional factors as at least as important as cognitive deficits.

Barbara revolutionised the psychology of neurorehabilitation and has been a prime mover in ensuring the advances in neuroscience and neuropsychology were applied to the problems that people with brain injury experience.

After qualifying as a clinical psychologist in 1977 Barbara has worked almost exclusively in brain injury rehabilitation, publishing 18 books, over 260 journal articles and chapters, and 10 neuropsychological tests used widely throughout the world.. Her research is driven by clinical issues relevant to the lives of people who have suffered a brain injury. Her dedication is reflected in the awards she has received from scientific and professional bodies, as well as from groups representing people who have suffered a brain injury. She is a Fellow of the Society and of the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Academy of Learned Societies in Social Sciences, and was awarded an OBE in 1998 for services to medical rehabilitation. She has also been awarded the International Neuropsychological Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award, to be announced in February 2009.

Her focus on making a difference to the lives of people with neurologica disorders and the development of meaningful interventions for people with brain injury has ensured that thousands of people with brain disorders have a better means to manage their lives more effectively. Her work in rehabilitation is best illustrated by her work for people with memory impairment after brain injury. She is responsible for stimulating and carrying out much of the progress on the use of ‘errorless learning’ methods over the last decade. ‘Errorless learning’ is a technique for enabling the acquisition of new information in individuals with severe memory impairments. In 2001 she published a randomised control trial of NeuroPage, a paging-based reminding system that uses radio-paging technology to send reminders of things to do. The success of this led to the development of clinical neuropage services available throughout the UK, which helped thousands of patients.

As Professor Elizabeth Glisky, Head of Department of Psychology at the University of Arizona explained: ‘Errorless learning now stands in the field of brain injury research and rehabilitation as a fundamental principle of memory rehabilitation and is applied ubiquitously in clinical contexts.’

Barbara was instrumental in developing the Oliver Zangwill Centre for Neuropsychological Rehabilitation in 1996. The Centre provides an intensive holistic neuropsychology rehabilitation day programme, which is recognised worldwide for its excellence.

Raising awareness of the need for treatment of psychological problems after brain injury has been a key issue for Barbara. Her contribution is without an easy comparison, but it is also her capacity to communicate so well with academics, clinicians and survivors and their families that has enabled her to meet and surpass their needs. Her contributions to numerous television and radio programmes on cognitive problems after brain injury has helped to educate lay audiences about the psychological consequences of acquired brain injury.

Throughout Barbara’s career she has remained open to new ideas and alternative views so that the science and practice of clinical neuropsychology could evolve. Her commitment to the practice of neuropsychology led to the establishment of the Society’s Division of Neuropsychology (DoN).

In September 2007 Barbara officially retired, but she still has an honorary appointment at the Medical Research Council’s Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge, continues to work as editor on the journal Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, which she established in 1991, and is a consultant to the Oliver Zangwill Centre in Ely. She also continues to be in demand as a speaker around the world. Throughout her career she has inspired and taught many thousands of psychologists as well as other professionals such as occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, physiotherapists and doctors in the UK and beyond.

As Professor Huw Williams, Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology and Chair of the DoN commented: ‘Barbara transformed the area of neurorehabilitation by inspiring professionals, survivors of injury or disease, and policy shapers with her enthusiasm, intellect, wit and perseverance. Barbara is a role model for those who aspire to make a contribution to society through psychology.’

Professor Wilson said: ‘I am of course deeply honoured and pleased to receive this award, which to my mind represents a culmination of the support the BPS has always given me in my efforts to combine theory and “on-the-ground” practice. During my lifetime’s work I have felt that the BPS has been there to encourage and appreciate my efforts, and indeed those of all clinical psychologists working with brain injured patients. In this they have not only served British psychology extremely well but they have also given sympathetic recognition to the needs of patients requiring psychological assistance.’

Beyond statutory regulation

Last year the Trustees set up the Future Structures Group, to look at issues that would follow after statutory regulation given that all the Society’s regulatory functions would disappear.

Proposals were circulated to all the Society’s boards, member networks, and Representative Council, and at the December Trustees’ meeting some initial decisions were made, some of which will require a member vote as they will change our Statutes and Rules. For a full list see; the key ones are:

I    Discontinue the Register of Chartered Psychologists from the date of opening of the statutory register; and establish an online searchable membership list available only to members;I    From 2010 continue to publish a Directory of Chartered Members offering the public the facility to search for those offering services;
I    Change and simplify the Society’s membership structure to just three grades: Student (on an accredited course); Graduate (of an accredited course); Chartered (a graduate with Society recognised postgraduate qualifications/experience); there will also be ‘Subscribers’ (those who are interested in the discipline). Existing grades – Honorary Fellow, Honorary Life Member, Fellow and Associate Fellow will in future be awarded;
I    Change the name of the Graduate Basis for Registration (GBR) to the Graduate Basis for Chartership (GBC);
I    Revise the Code of Conduct/Ethics in the light of the Society’s changed role in relation to fitness to practise;
I    Convert the Division of Neuropsychology member list into a post-qualification register;
I    Set up a Working Group of Trustees, led by President Elect Sue Gardner, to consider the member network structure, the constitution of Representative Council, the Standing Committee on the Promotion of Equal Opportunities (SCPEO) and the Ethics Committee;
I    Cease providing the Statement of Equivalence in Clinical Psychology as soon as the HPC becomes the regulator, as legal authority and responsibility for such activity will pass from the Society to the HPC.

Society responses to consultations
The preparation and submission of the Society’s responses to consultations on public policy is coordinated by the Policy Support Unit (PSU). At the time of writing, the PSU was about to close for the Christmas break so this seemed a good opportunity to give a brief summary of the consultations work conducted by the Society in 2008.
Responses were prepared to 92 consultations on public policy and submitted to 44 bodies from across the UK (including governments, non-government organisations and non-departmental public bodies):

Regional base of    Number of
consulting body    responses submitted    (% of total)
England    67    (72.8)
Northern Ireland    6    (6.5)
Scotland    15    (16.4)
Wales    4    (4.3)
TOTAL    92      (100)

It was only possible for the Society to submit these responses because of the work put into this area of activity by almost 200 members of the Society. Those who contributed represented all
nine of the Society’s Divisions (as well as many of the other member network groups), all four regions of the UK, and were drawn from all levels of membership – from new graduate members undertaking postgraduate training to retired Fellows who have retained their involvement with the Society. We are indebted to everyone who has taken part and would like to take this opportunity to extend our thanks to them for carrying out this work on behalf of the Society.
We would also like to thank all those who completed and returned Areas of Interest forms – the PSU’s database now holds details of 467 members who have provided us with their areas of interest with a view to contributing to responses to relevant future consultations or who have already contributed to Society responses.
Full details of consultations responded to during 2008 (including the seven that were responded to during December) as well as those responded to prior to 2008 and all those currently under consideration are available via our website ( The website received an average of almost 1430 visits per month between 1 December 2007 and 30 November 2008, and we are delighted that so many people were interested in this important area of the Society’s work. A number of refinements were made to the site during the course of the year, and we hope it is now easier to use; but please do let us know if you have any problems finding the information you are looking for – we are always happy to help.
Finally, please remember that every member, regardless of grade or length of experience, is both eligible and welcome to contribute to Society responses to consultations. Further information is available from our website (address as above) and Areas of Interest forms are available for download from there. If you would like to contact us directly with any queries, you are welcome to e-mail us at [email protected] or to give us a call on 0116 252 9926 or 9577.

Psychology for All

A psychology conference for members of the public, organised by the Society’s London and Home Counties Branch, is due to take place at the University of Westminster on Saturday 14 March. Featuring comedienne Ruby Wax on how she ‘found psychology’ and Professor Richard Wiseman on the psychology of luck. The event also includes over 30 other sessions on subjects such as well-being, work and employment, self-help and improvement, mental health, old age and neuropsychology, and the psychology of women.

Entry is £15 for students, and £20 for non-students £20 (minimum age 16; under 18s must be accompanied by a responsible adult). For tickets, contact Amanda Rose (020 8744 1803; e-mail: [email protected]).

There will also be exhibition stalls with various service providers and the opportunity to participate in research projects. If you are a psychologist and would like to conduct research studies on participants on site (whether using surveys or other methodologies), please contact [email protected].

Coaching awards
The Society’s Special Group in Coaching Psychology has recognised the contribution of two of its members, in awards at December’s European Coaching Psychology Conference.

Professor Stephen Palmer received the Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his extensive work in developing and promoting the coaching psychology profession. ‘Without Professor Palmer we would not have the level of development that we see today in the UK in the area of coaching psychological practice and research,’ said Dr Alison Whybrow, Chair of the Special Group. ‘Stephen has provided focus, energy and commitment to ensure the establishment of a recognised and robust coaching psychology profession.’ Professor Palmer said: ‘It was good teamwork that helped to establish coaching psychology in the UK, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues for their unstinting support and hard work in its development.’

Ms Eve Turner received the Research Award, for her work exploring the importance of the unconscious in the practice of coaching. ‘As a coach, I have always wanted, first and foremost, to ensure my clients are in “safe hands”,’ explains Ms Turner. ‘Often coach training emphasises that there is a line between coaching and therapy that should not be crossed. Coaches involved in the research believed unconscious processes occurred and were relevant in coaching and saw the difference more as a continuum. My research highlighted the need for a body of knowledge that includes understanding of unconscious psychological processes and beliefs, personality types, and mental health and possible dysfunction, in order to provide informed and supportive coaching and to know when to refer clients to other practitioners’.

Postgraduate teaching award
The Higher Education Academy Psychology Network and PsyPAG award recognises a postgraduate psychology teacher who has made a significant impact to teaching over the past year by inspiring or supporting students, making a positive impact on the teaching community, or working to enhance their teaching.

Nominations must be made by both a colleague (another postgraduate or a lecturer) and a student of the nominee. Nominations must be received by 27 February 2009.

The recipient will be expected to give a talk at the annual PsyPAG or biennial PLAT conference. The recipient will be awarded £250 and have their conference attendance sponsored.
I    Nomination forms available at  

The next seminar in the History of Psychiatry and Psychology Series is on Monday 2 February, when Professor Elizabeth Lunbeck (Vanderbildt University, Nashville) will talk about ‘Heinz Kohut’s Psychoanalytic Revolution’.
5.30pm at the Wellcome Trust Centre, London
Full details and abstract:


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