Sunday, 6 April 2014


Professional advancement

A group of 26 UK psychologists has written a joint letter to the BPS (British Psychological Society) to express their concern about the present status of the institution of psychology in their county, and propose a solution –
... we believe the BPS risks losing influence and becoming marginalised... we are asking you to support our plan to reform the Society so it can meet the challenges of the 21st century... 
Our belief is that the profile of our entire profession will be enhanced in the eyes of the public, government and business by establishing and using the title of Royal College of Psychologists...
We feel this enhanced title will galvanise the organisation, arrest the slump in recruitment, provide a strong reason for existing members to remain in the organisation and attract new members...
They report that over the last three years the membership of the BPS has levelled off at around 49,000, with particular concern for a fall in the number of student members.
To understand better the mood, we sampled opinions of colleagues and have found a marked degree of dissatisfaction regarding the BPS. In an online survey of 456 psychologists (including 374 BPS members) we found that most believe the BPS neither provided value for money nor met their professional needs...
Some respondents questioned the continuing relevance of the BPS... Other respondents told us they felt the BPS was lacking effectiveness as an advocate for the profession. ‘It’s poor at making a stand, representing the profession, and making any sort of decision’, said one psychologist. While another commented: ‘I don’t believe the BPS can meet the professional representation needs of psychologists with its current configuration.’
This notwithstanding  
By contrast, our respondents were overwhelmingly enthusiastic about the formation of a Royal College of Psychologists, 90.4 per cent supporting the idea. Among the main reasons given in support were that a College would act ‘as a unified voice’ to safeguard the professional integrity of all psychologists, as well being an active advocate for how psychologists and their work are perceived. It would also act as ‘the definitive authority’ in the eyes of the public, both at home and abroad.
The great majority of respondents (84 per cent) also believed a Royal College would play a valuable role in protecting the needs of psychologists...
We believe this move is in accord with both the intentions and actions of the Society’s founders.
As Georges Clemenceau might have said –

La science psychologique! C’est une chose trop grave pour la confier à des psychologues.


Benjamin, M. J. et al., (2014) Call for formation of a Royal College of Psychologists (letter), The Psychologist, vol. 27, no 4, pp.216-217

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