Friday, 17 May 2013
AT THIS YEAR'S PSYSSA CONGRESS: SCHOLARLY DEVELOPMENT - A SERIES OF ROUND TABLE DISCUSSIONS
The PsySSA Student Division and Community and Social Psychology Division will be hosting a series of round table discussions with a focus on scholarly development at the 19th PsySSA Congress in September 2013. The ethos underpinning these round tables is one of critical, honest and pragmatic conversations on studying and entering the field of psychology in South Africa. The hope is to facilitate open discussions between training institutions, between students and training institutions, organised psychology and the professional board. These discussions aim to illuminate the journey that students take on their way toward professional practice. We welcome all scholars and practitioners to participate in these discussions.
Coordinators: Eduard Fourie (chair of the Community and Social Psychology Division), Angelo Fynn (chair of the Student Division), Puleng Segalo and Catherine Govender.
The series of round table discussions includes the following:
1) TRAINING AND PRACTISING PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH IN AFRICA TODAY: A REFLECTION
Angelo Fynn (email@example.com), Eduard Fourie (firstname.lastname@example.org), Catherine Govender (email@example.com), Kevin Whitehead (Kevin.Whitehead@wits.ac.za) and Jennifer Graham (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Research in psychology is the centre of much contestation in the discipline. The fragmentation of the discipline into discrete categories further obfuscates the role of research in the discipline. The aim is to create dialogue between training institutions in South Africa, with a focus on research in psychology. Key questions asked about the “informal” distinction between research in psychology and research psychology as a sub category; the role psychological research could or should play in developing psychology’s role in promoting human rights, mental health; whether research psychology should stand as a sub category or whether greater integration of research into the other categories should be the focus.
2) STUDENT PERCEPTIONS OF RESEARCH IN PSYCHOLOGY
Leana Meiring (email@example.com), Kyla Mills (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Angelo Fynn (email@example.com)
The holistic development of students as psychological professionals requires consistent and regular reflection on the various functions psychologists are required to perform. It is therefore important to create spaces in which students can actively voice their perceptions and ideas of how the various aspects of a psychological professional integrate for them individually. This active voicing of their envisaged professional ideals performs multiple functions. First, such a discussion can provide one with a multitude of ideals obtained from students coming from various fields of psychological specialisation, for example clinical, counselling and research psychology. These ideals can be construed as the expectations that students hold of the field in which they seek to embed their careers. This may further provide training institutions - and the student themselves - with insight into the expectations of the different fields of psychological specialization which in turn can contribute to the enhancement of training curricula at various training institutions. Second, active discussion of these professional ideals might facilitate the process where psychology students re-envision the importance of the various roles within the profession of psychology.
This conversation proposes to bring psychology students from the various registration categories in psychology to collaboratively discuss their development as a psychological professional. The discussion will focus on key issues such as duration of study, access to psychological knowledge, the relevance of psychological training methods, the role of research in psychology and the value of a psychology degree in the job market.
3) CONVERSATION WITH THE PROFESSIONAL BOARD
Fatima Seedat (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Angelo Fynn (email@example.com)
This roundtable aims to facilitate a discussion between the student body, training institutions, organised psychology, practitioners and the professional board regarding the registration categories in psychology. Key discussion points include: Scope of practice; registration requirements; training guidelines; the dynamics of communication between stakeholders and ethical standards and enforcement.
4) THE PROBLEM WITH STUDYING PSYCHOLOGY...
Angelo Fynn (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Fatima Seedat (email@example.com)
This roundtable invites departments of psychology representatives to participate in a vigorous and active debate on the recruiting, training and exit levels in psychology. The socioeconomic context of South Africa dictates a practical training approach which focuses strongly on access to the job market. Yet, psychology as a discipline provides few market ready exit points relative to the large number of students registered at undergraduate levels. This roundtable questions the ethics of accepted training practices such as accepting large numbers of undergraduates with the knowledge that only a small percentage can be accommodated at the post graduate level.
5) COMMUNITY OF PSYCHOLOGY
Puleng Segalo (firstname.lastname@example.org)
As part of the relevance debate, there have been moves within training institutions to integrate more community-based settings in an attempt to bypass the individual focus of treatment. These moves are at best ad hoc and disjointed and largely divorced from the principles of community psychology. The consequent focus on throughput and skills development sets the stage for potential exploitation of both student and chosen community. This roundtable focuses on the ethics of training in communities; the nature of empowerment and challenges the notion that psychology in communities is for poor black people. Students are encouraged to share their experiences of engagements with communities.
6 ) DEVELOPING STUDENT COMMUNITIES/ORGANISATIONS
Angelo Fynn (email@example.com) and Tebogo Fafudi (firstname.lastname@example.org)
In this roundtable the PsySSA Student division invites representative from all universities to share their experiences of being involved in a student society. The discussion will centre on the process of establishing a student society, the benefits of belonging to student societies, the role these societies could or should play in giving psychology students a voice in organised psychology.
7) INDIVIDUAL MENTAL HEALTH
Catherine Govender (email@example.com) and Nikki Themistocleous (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Training for psychological interventions is still dominated by the discourse of individual treatment. The National Health Act poses a challenge for psychology to which psychology needs to adapt. The perception of psychology as a suburban treatment persists and, if psychology is to survive as a discipline we must question if we afford to maintain this perceived exclusivity. On a practical level, we have few psychologists working in national health, very few paid posts available to them, few training and work opportunities for categories such as registered counsellors and too much debate around scope of practice.
8) SCHOLARLY DEVELOPMENT: PUBLICATION AND PRACTICE
Eduard Fourie (email@example.com), Puleng Segalo (firstname.lastname@example.org), Elliot Masemola (email@example.com) and Sumaya Laher (Sumaya.Laher@wits.ac.za)
Scholarly development is synonymous with publication. This roundtable focuses on the realities of entering the publication context as an emerging scholar. This discussion is a continuation of a process initiated at the third biannual Southern African Students’ Psychology conference. The discussion will address the stages of publication: the fear and loathing of drafting manuscripts, the terror and terrorism of the peer review, the absolution of eventual publication.
9) SOME STUDENT PUBLICATIONS IMAGINED
Yaseen Ally (firstname.lastname@example.org), Melusi Mbatha (email@example.com), Eduard Fourie (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Martin Terre Blanche (email@example.com)
Over the past few years we have been involved with a number of publications that involve collaboration between students and academics. We briefly review these, and then describe our most recent initiative, a book entitled “Some communities imagined”, in more detail. We describe the process of putting the book together, highlight important themes that emerged from the students’ writing, and critically discuss the implications for community and psychology in South Africa. We also provide some details on pragmatic considerations and practical mechanisms in creating publications, and consider the theoretical and political implications for the knowledge (re-)production process. Finally,