History of the San Gabriel Valley Psychological Association

Initially calling themselves the Pasadena Area Psychological Association, a small group of psychologists began meeting during 1976 with the aim of serving the community and creating networking and social opportunities. Over the next ten years, the group grew from a dozen local psychologists meeting in someone’s living room to a more formally organized group. Meetings evolved from occasional to monthly. The group formally registered as a Chapter of the California Psychological Association. The mission of the group was quite focused: To be of service to the community, to receive and provide educational seminars; and to offer occasions for relaxed, social interaction.

The organization expanded substantially during the early 1990s, with membership soaring to just over 200 members. Meetings were formalized and began to be held the first Friday of each month at the University Club. As of January 1995, when regulations for the mandatory continuing education for psychologists went into effect, these presentations offered MCEP units. Usually eight or nine meetings per year offered 1.5 hours of credit each.

Another tradition developed, namely to present a keynote speaker each November. Speakers included Thomas Szasz, M.D.; J. Reid Meloy, Ph.D.; James Grotstein, M.D., Ph.D.; and Robert Stolorow, Ph.D. In November 1996, the organization hosted a distinguished panel of nationally-acclaimed speakers, including Giulio Tononi, M.D., Esther Thelan, Ph.D., Beatrice Beebe, Ph.D., and Morton Shane, M.D. More recently, the November Event has addressed the following topics of interest and importance: Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI), presented by Geoffrey M. Reed Ph.D. and co-sponsored with the Huntington Cancer Center; Practicing Psychology Online in the 21st Century, presented by Stephen Sulzbacher Ph.D.; Clinical, Legal and Ethical Issues for Supervision, presented by the Ethics Committee and co-sponsored with the California Psychological Association; A Tribute to Stephen Michell, presented by Philip Ringstrom Ph.D., Randall Sorenson Ph.D. and Enrico Gnaulati Ph.D.

Our newsletter has become a bi-monthly publication and includes a current communication from the president, upcoming programs and announcements, personal member profiles, articles authored by members and classified advertisements.

As of January 1, 1997, the name of the organization was formally changed to the San Gabriel Valley Psychological Association (SGVPA) to acknowledge the chapter’s expanding membership which, by then, spanned the entire San Gabriel Valley area. All of the above mentioned programs and services continued in greater force. Since the name change, committees have been more active than ever before. The Program Committee oversees the monthly programs as well as the annual keynote speaker program. The Ethics Committee provides yearly educational programs for the chapter, articles in every newsletter, and is also available on an on-call basis should any SGVPA member have a legal or ethical question. SGVPA also supports a Colleague Assistance and Support Program (CLASP) which arranges for treatment for impaired psychologists in our community and its environs. Additional committees include Membership, Continuing Education, Disaster Response, Pre-licensed Professionals and Website Development. Members are appointed to serve as representatives to the CPA Board, Governmental Affairs and LACPA.

We encourage you to join, and to become active in the continuing invigoration of the San Gabriel Valley Psychological Association. Advantages in membership involve opportunities to network and disseminate information amongst professionals regarding new projects and groups; education and training in current clinical, ethical, and professional issues; obtainment of MCEP units; organized “grass roots” efforts intended to address our ever-changing political climate; and a structure for providing resources and assistance to those in the community. The focus of the organization remains on advocating for the health and well-being of psychology as a profession, of those that we serve, and of ourselves.

Please find an application for membership available to complete online or download an application and fax or mail back to us. Should you have any questions, feel free to contact the group’s president, Dustin Plattner, Psy.D., at (626) 788-5853.


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