In an effort to come to a better understanding of what our membership expects from our association, many of our members were interviewed and surveyed within the past year. A number of important areas of emphasis emerged from this, and among these was goal number three from our Strategic Plan: “Make psychology more visible to the citizens of Ohio by providing psychological resources, scientific knowledge, public education and referrals.” As I view our new initiatives, this one appears to me to be the most ground breaking and innovative, since it focuses our energy on enhancing public understanding of our professional identity.
I believe a number circumstances and developments in the mental health world have led to the need for this goal. New, competing professions have emerged which offer services similar to ours to the general public. Insurance companies have developed provider panels, while at the same time often refuse to acknowledge psychologists’ professional strengths and uniqueness. These factors and others have led to a quite limited understanding of what psychologists have to offer, or the advantages of seeking the services of a psychologist. The new Strategic Plan goal in this area is meant to address this problem.
Our newly created Marketing Task Force was also developed in part to further our efforts in this area. The intent of this group is to work on influencing general public perception of who psychologists are, what we do, and what we have to offer. The group will explore resources and ideas from the business world, such as “branding” professional psychology to further enhance our image. They will search for ways to publicly highlight the efforts of psychologists, while at the same time develop resources and tools for individual professionals to market themselves.
From my perspective, the initiatives of this group hold such great potential, the potential to have a significant positive impact on our professional as a whole. At this time, the efforts of the task force are just getting started, and the group is looking for OPA members who have talent or interest in this area. OPA Past President Dr. Mike Dwyer is the chair of this group, and would love to hear from you if have interest in these ideas. Please send him an email of you would like to be a part of his group.