11 Jul 2017

Let’s Talk Money, monitorLIVE Event Explores Professional and Personal Financial Wellness

Even though mental health practitioners often cover a wide variety of difficult subjects in their work, money can be an especially challenging topic to broach. So much so, that sessions can begin and end without even addressing fees or payment schedules with clients. Financial wellness is tied to mental health, and we need to learn to talk about it, according to clinical psychologist Mary Gresham, PhD, who recently addressed a group of psychologists gathered in Atlanta, Ga., for APA’s second local networking event, monitorLIVE. monitorLIVE events connect psychology professionals and thought leaders so they can learn about and discuss issues that impact and elevate the discipline.

Dr. Gresham noted that mental health practitioners have models of good marriages and good communication to teach to clients, but they may lack good models of financial wellness. Most leave money matters to finance professionals, even though mental health practitioners should be the ones applying therapy to the field, she said. While financial planners may take a class in coaching, they haven’t studied behavior, relationships, or any of the other deeper issues related to financial wellness. This, Dr. Gresham believes, is where psychologists can step in and effectively address those issues.

One way to begin addressing financial wellness with clients is through the use of schema—a cognitive framework that can help in the understanding of the concept. Doing so will allow you to interpret implicit and explicit beliefs about money and how they can impact individuals’ lives.

Dr. Gresham explained that money beliefs begin early, at about age three or four. She provided an example—a child thinking money grows in one’s pocket. Practitioners can address these misnomers in the context of behavioral finance, developed by the work of Daniel Kahneman and the late Amos Tversky, which examines how individuals make errors in their thought process around money, like believing money grows on trees or, in Dr. Gresham’s example, in a pocket. Behavioral finance explores how rational or irrational one can be about money matters, such as choosing to take one dollar today to immediately satisfy your desire for money, or taking $1.10 next year, which is actually a 10 percent increase, but might not feel like it.

Dr. Gresham went on to say that schema development depends on cultural beliefs, like thinking rich people are bad and poor people are good (or vice versa), or believing that if you work hard, money will come to you. These beliefs affect us, but they are simplistic, and we need to develop them to make them more sophisticated. This necessary development can happen through research on the cultural differences having to do with money, like the particular rules and customs about money that exist within the families of first-generation immigrants,such as not paying interest on a loan, and how those rules differ from cultural norms here in the United States, where borrowers might not like it, but interest is acceptable.

Another area in behavioral finance Dr. Gresham discussed with the audience is financial trauma. Even though many people suffer from financial trauma, whether they’ve lost everything in bad investments, or because of a spouse’s spending habits, there is not enough research on how to assist people with those experiences. “How do you help people come back from financial trauma and rebuild their lives? We need that research,” she said.

During her conversation, Dr. Gresham also touched on gender issues around money, such as women having lower financial levels of literacy than men and the lack of encouragement of women to enter the financial planning field.

She also noted that practitioners must examine money issues in their own lives, pointing out the costs associated with getting an education in the field and the need to understand what it means to be a self-employed business person by learning to communicate fees and by researching market rates, insurance rates, and retirement plans. Dr. Gresham suggested APA’s Division 42 and the book, “Handbook of Private Practice: Keys to Success for Mental Health Practitioners.”

Keep an eye out for future monitorLIVE events coming to a city near you.

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20 Jun 2017

What Do Superheroes and Psychologists Have in Common? monitorLIVE Event Explores the Intersection of Passion and Profession

Much like superheroes, psychologists often have origin stories—impactful events that have shaped their professional identity and defined their mission. This was a major theme of the June 1st monitorLIVE event in Los Angeles, during which clinical psychologist and superhero enthusiast Andrea Letamendi, PhD, shared her origin story that began as a graduate student.

As Dr. Letamendi explained, her origin story was marked by an experience of, “psychic disequilibrium," which occurs when individuals do not see their own identities reflected in their environment. As a graduate student, Dr. Letamendi rarely saw herself represented in her chosen field of psychology—she met few psychologists who shared her cultural background, history of immigration and discrimination, or passions and hobbies, including comics.  This struggle activated her personal supervillain, “Imposter Syndrome.” The villain resurfaced during stressful times such as during comps and dissertation research, making her feel like she did not belong in graduate school or in the field.

She was finally able to defeat the Imposter Syndrome villain with the antidote of being her true professional and personal self. She had been ignoring her love of comic books, which was a large part of her authentic identity. She did not know that the field of psychology offers a variety of career options and many ways to incorporate hobbies and interests into professional careers. She became a true superhero when she combined her passion for comics with her background in psychology to create her side hustle, an extra income stream that allows people to pursue an interest while keeping their full-time job.

Dr. Letamendi shared that side hustles can restore the professional identities of practitioners, helping them remember why they were initially drawn to the psychology field. Side hustles also help with daily burnout and compassion fatigue. She now connects her identity with her psychology background through her podcast, “The Arkham Sessions,” where she analyzes every episode of “Batman: the Animated Series” through the lens of a clinical psychologist. She examines characters and analyzes their behaviors and personalities. Dr. Letamendi’s childhood dream came full circle when DC Comics made her Batgirl’s psychologist in one of its published stories.

The point to a side hustle is not only to make money, but also to fulfill one’s creative passion. This is why Dr. Letamendi’s podcasts are free, in the spirit of “Giving Psychology Away.”

Dr. Letamendi’s mission, shaped by her origin story, is to increase public knowledge of mental health and to encourage help-seeking among people who would not otherwise seek treatment. Although she accomplishes this mission through her daily work, her side hustle gives her the opportunity to live and work authentically.

monitorLIVE events connect psychology professionals and thought leaders to learn about and discuss issues that impact and elevate the discipline. Keep an eye out for future monitorLIVE events coming to a city near you.

Review photos from monitorLIVE: Los Angeles. This networking event from APA brings together psychology professionals and thought leaders to learn about and discuss issues that impact and elevate the discipline. The featured speaker in Los Angeles was clinical psychologist and superhero enthusiast, Andrea Letamendi, PhD. Dr. Letamendi offered her perspective on fusing a psychology background with a passion to open career opportunities one may never have considered.

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08 Nov 2016

Network Using APA Social Media, Listservs

Network Using APA Social Media, Listservs

In addition to networking with other psychologists at APA convention and through our newly improved Member Directory, members looking to grow their network should also tap into APA’s various social media groups and join our Listservs.

Here are some of the best opportunities to make professional connections via social media and APA’s Listservs:


American Psychological Association
APA's flagship Facebook page features discussions on the latest breakthroughs in psychology and human behavior.

APAGS (American Psychological Association of Graduate Students)
The place where psychology grad students can discuss life in grad school and learn about training, grant and travel opportunities.

APA Minority Fellowship Program
News and information from APA's training and development program for ethnic minority communities.

APA Practice Organization
News about the group's work to advance and protect the practice of psychology and promote the professional interests of practicing psychologists.

Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools
Network with fellow high school teachers, share curriculum ideas and learn about professional development opportunities.

Leadership Institute for Women in Psychology
Network with mid-career and senior women psychologists focused on increasing diversity and the effectiveness of women psychologists as leaders.


American Psychological Association Company Page
Information about APA, including address, contacts and recent activity.

APAGS Discussion Group
A forum for psychology students, their advisers and anyone interested in psychology training and education.

American Psychological Foundation Company Page
Information about the foundation, including address, contacts and recent awards.


American Psychological Association
APA's flagship Google+ page features discussions on the latest breakthroughs in psychology and human behavior.

You can explore all of APA’s social media channels here.

APA Listservs

In most cases, you’ll have to message the listserv organizer to be added to the distribution list.

TOPSS (Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools) Listserv
Receive periodic news and updates on Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (TOPSS) activities and programs via e-mail. Learn more | Subscribe

Science Student Council Listserv
APA's Science Student Council — a student advisory group to APA's Science Directorate — has created a Listserv for research-oriented graduate students that will inform them of relevant news, awards, job opportunities and events. Learn moreSubscribe

ECP Listserv
This is for the unique interests and concerns of early career psychologists (ECPs) — that is, those who have received their doctoral degree within the past ten years. Learn more | Subscribe

ECP Leadership
The Early Career Psychologist Leadership Network (ECPLN) is a Listserv for early career leaders and aspiring leaders in APA governance; divisions; and state, provincial and territorial psychological associations. Learn more | Subscribe

The SES Network
The Socioeconomic Status (SES) Listserv provides a platform to share information and ideas, raise questions, and identify critical problems and issues related to socioeconomic status with representatives of various divisions, state associations, committee members, APA staff and other groups. Learn more | Subscribe

APA's Office of International Affairs
APA's Office of International Affairs maintains a listing of global networks related to psychology. Learn more | Subscribe

Practice List
The Practice e-mail list allows member psychologists to communicate with each other on issues related to professional psychology and to distribute important information regarding pending federal legislation, upcoming events or timely updates on other important matters. Learn more | Subscribe

The Psychology Teachers at Community Collages (PT@CC) serves psychology teachers within the two-year college community. Their electronic mailing list is for psychology faculty to discuss topics of shared interest. Learn more | Subscribe

Committee on Associate and Baccalaureate Education
Participate in APA governance by serving on the Committee on Associate and Baccalaureate Education. Learn more

APAGS E-mail Lists
APAGS e-mail lists bridge communication among graduate students within psychology. APAGS has set up a number of Listserv targeted to student interests. Learn more

APA has over 600 Listservs. You can explore them all here.

More Ways to Network Within APA

APA's 54 divisions are interest groups organized by members. Some represent subdisciplines of psychology (e.g., experimental, social or clinical) and others focus on topical areas such as aging, ethnic minorities or trauma. APA members, and nonmembers, can apply to join one or more divisions that have their own eligibility criteria and dues. Learn more

MFP Fellows Networking
The Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) maintains a list of the Minority Fellowship Program Fellows (PDF, 573KB) that includes each person's name, program, doctoral university and cohort year. Learn more | Request access

APA Fellowships
APA fellowships offer the opportunity to connect with a wide and varied group of psychologists at the intersection of psychology and policy-making. Learn more

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02 Nov 2016

Networking and Marketing Yourself: Easy Steps for Success

Networking and Marketing Yourself: Easy Steps for Success

Promoting your strengths and marketing yourself effectively are ways to stand out from the competition.

Many psychologists and graduate students don't feel comfortable promoting themselves. We'd rather allow our research, teaching and clinical experiences to speak for themselves. We just want to do our science or help people. Unfortunately, the real world, requires us to speak up. Open faculty positions often receive hundreds of applications and many of you are already aware of the significant competition in the APPIC Match as a result of the internship crisis. How can you stand out in a crowded field?

Promoting your strengths and marketing yourself effectively are ways to stand out from the competition. Self-promotion does not have to be sleazy; you can promote your skills and expertise in ways that are honest and genuine, but not boastful.

Here's how:

  • Reflect. First, think critically about your strengths, skill sets and what makes you unique as a future psychologist. Also think about the areas of growth you would like to work on while still in training that can help you identify your training goals and help you develop future strengths. If it is hard for you to identify your strengths, ask a trusted colleague to help you.
  • Develop a niche. You stand out by having a unique strength, especially one that is desirable in your area of interest. For a researcher, this could mean having an expertise in statistics/methodology (always desirable in a faculty candidate) or knowledge of a unique assessment technique, like fMRI. For clinicians, this could mean developing an expertise in trauma in veterans, or group interventions for severe mental illness. As a clinician, I have two niches: I am bilingual in Spanish and English and work with children with autism. Both niches have helped me get interviews and land jobs.
  • Update your vita regularly. To effectively market yourself, you have to have your materials ready to send quickly. Keep your vita accurate and up to date at all times. At a minimum, I recommend updating your vita every semester since it is easier to update your vita with each new activity as it occurs. I also recommend storing your vita on a cloud-based network such as Dropbox or Google Drive, since they allow you to forward your vita after meeting someone at a conference, even from your phone.
  • Create a strong elevator pitch. Be able to explain your research or clinical interests in one or two short sentences. I know this is hard because we love what we do and we can talk forever about it, but a short, clear description of your work demonstrates thoughtful communication skills. Practice your elevator pitch with a classmate, who can give you feedback on how you come off when speaking. Also translate your pitch for social media by developing a description of your interests for one or two tweets (140 characters each).
  • Set reasonable goals for networking. Thinking about networking can be overwhelming for you, especially at large conferences such as APA's Annual Convention that has 10,000 attendees. Make it easier for yourself by having small goals, such as talking to three new people and reconnecting with two others for every conference. At APA's convention — this year in Toronto, Aug. 6-10 — connect with others by attending sessions related to your work and at APAGS and APA division social hours (the APAGS Social is always held the Thursday evening of APA's convention; stop by the APAGS booth for more details).
  • Develop and nurture relationships. Many people find jobs through connections. Going to conferences and colloquia are ways of developing those connections. Nurture relationships by communicating regularly, and use social media to allow networking to develop. For example, connecting via LinkedIn is a great way to follow up after meeting someone at a conference.

Networking and marketing aren't dirty words. These steps are manageable ways to identify your strengths and promote yourself in a genuine way.

By Nabil Hassan El-Ghoroury, PhD, associate executive director, APAGS

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02 Nov 2016

8 Ways to Network Better on Twitter

8 Ways to Network Better on Twitter

Your next job or grant may be 140 characters away.

One in five U.S. adults now uses Twitter, finds a 2015 survey by the Pew Research Center. Along with LinkedIn and Facebook, Twitter is a social media platform that's also a valuable tool for netting jobs and other opportunities; a 2014 survey by Jobvite found that half of employers surveyed used Twitter for recruiting.

Because it offers the chance to meet other professionals and share timely information in an informal, open-access environment, Twitter is also an important tool for science communication.

But merely having a Twitter handle won't grow your professional presence — you need unique skills to get and hold people's attention. Here are eight ways to maximize your Twitter network:

  1. Identify yourself. To help people — and search engines — find you on Twitter, make sure your profile includes your real name and a link to your website, as well as a high-quality photo and a few words about your areas of expertise. Find great examples at Twitter's best practices blog: https://blog.twitter.com/2015/tweettip-twitter-profile-best-practices.
  2. Dive in. Follow people and organizations you want to get to know. Then immerse yourself by tweeting about the latest news in your field, retweeting others' posts and applauding psychologists who publish important new research. "When you mention somebody, they'll often retweet you if you've said something nice about them," says Amy Lynn Smith (@alswrite), a communications strategist who helped with President Obama's 2012 campaign. "That kind of reciprocity is what makes Twitter successful."
  3. Participate in online events. Join Twitter chats or consider hosting one yourself. The National Institute of Mental Health hosts chats regularly — find a list at www.nimh.nih.gov/health/twitter-chats/index.shtml.
  4. Live tweet. Attending a conference? Let other attendees know you're there by tweeting top talking points, or discussing sessions including the conference hashtag.
  5. Use graphics. Tweets with photos and video have engagement rates — likes, retweets and clicks — 35 percent higher than those that don't, according to Twitter.
  6. Be modest. Talking about your work builds credibility. Too much self-promotion, though, can be off-putting. "If it's your intent just to share all the wonderful things you have done, Twitter will ignore you," says Benjamin Miller, PsyD, of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, who uses Twitter to share health policy news.
  7. Don't disappear — or deluge. Most followers appreciate regular engagement, according to a 2012 report by Salesforce, a data analysis firm. Posting one to four times per day is optimal; more than seven times daily and your readers may tune out.
  8. Have fun. Let your personality shine to help followers get to know you. Humor helps; think cocktail party conversation. "It's not called social media for nothing," Smith says. Remember, though, that screen grabs are forever, so stay professional.

For more tips on using Twitter effectively, visit #learnsocialmedia, an ongoing chat. And be sure to follow @APA_Monitor to stay on top of practice news and psychology research.

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