Q&A With Armand

What is the single greatest challenge or opportunity facing the discipline of psychology and how would you address it during your presidency?

While on the Board of Directors I learned there are no backburner issues. Every burner represents someone’s most urgent concern. APA’s greatest internal challenges parallel those in the nation and world: inequities in economy, opportunity and privilege, particularly in race and ethnicity. These challenges have no ready solutions. Viable solutions begin with frank, respectful collaborations that adhere to and express our values and mission. I would use the president’s power to convene to assemble stakeholders within and without the APA to generate plausible initiatives that heal painful divisions at home and, by example, empower psychology to lead others.

How do you see APA’s role in providing assistance toward addressing the opioid epidemic present in both urban and rural populations?

  • APA can offer clinicians guidance such as monitoring patient use of opioid medications and symptoms of opioid use disorders (OUD).
  • Since most OUD crises require medical intervention, APA can support integrated care with medical providers.
  • Opioid use differs by urban, rural and region. APA should encourage psychologists to collaborate with community resources to support psychological treatment.
  • As a preventive measure, APA can educate the public, persons with OUDs, and their families about the risks of opioid medications and evidence-based treatments for OUDs.
  • APA should continue monitoring and advising Congress and governmental health agencies on relevant legislation and policies.

How do you think APA should address the scientific process of developing, updating and implementing APA clinical guidelines?

APA’s development of clinical guidelines is a positive contribution to the treatment of specific psychological disorders. Advancing a psychological model of clinical treatment for specific disorders, one that applies its own approved policy on Evidence-Based Practice to guide the development and implementation of clinical guidelines, makes sense. Such a model recognizes, in addition to RCTs, factors proven through research to contribute to positive outcomes such as the therapy relationship and patient characteristics. Advance collaboration with APA’s policy-making body, the Council of Representatives, is wise.

APA should underscore often its distinction between population-based practice guidelines and disorder-based clinical treatment guidelines.

According to its 2009 Vision Statement, APA aspires to be a “principal leader and global partner promoting psychological knowledge and methods to facilitate the resolution of personal, societal, and global challenges in diverse, multicultural and international contexts.” How would your presidency further this vision?

Millions benefit when psychologists collaborate across borders to expand knowledge and understanding.  APA could heighten its global awareness and agenda by adding psychologists with international backgrounds to boards and committees.  By expanding affiliate international memberships in divisions, APA could mobilize training, research, and professional resources to foster productive and meaningful exchanges with other countries. As a past president of two divisions and board chair, I have promoted similar successful initiatives.  
As a Fellow of Division 52 (International Psychology), I have co-chaired an international conference, taught and collaborated with international colleagues, and brought international psychologists to our annual convention program.

How will your presidential initiatives reflect APA’s commitment to addressing social justice and human rights issues?

During my career fighting to advance human rights, I have learned how stigma poisons the lives of all throughout the lifespan and how the stigma I face is like and different from those affecting women, children, poor people, persons of color, immigrants, transgender people, those who suffer because of their religion and in the name of religion, disabled people, war victims, and otherwise oppressed people.

I cannot conceive a presidency that would not have social justice and human rights at its center.  As president, I would marshal the collective power of the underprivileged to correct the corrosive inequities they experience.

What recommendations do you have for actively integrating science and practice into our discipline?

Psychology is as varied a discipline as the human experience itself. Science is the glue that keeps us together. Science is also the fuel that drives every emergent application of psychology in practice.

Our journals and publications keep scientists and practitioners connected. I want the public to grasp the contributions of the science in our psychology to their well-being and success and to see the science in our clinical and applied practices. I would propose a series of collaborations with scientists, applied and clinical practitioners, and public education experts to expand the public’s understanding of the science behind our practice.

What is the ONE primary concern for you and your constituency?

What is the MOST IMPORTANT thing you expect of APA and your next president?

Questions, concerns or ideas? You’ve heard from me. Now I want to hear from you.


Armand Cerbone, PhD, ABPP

For APA President