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General Vice President Election
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2013 General Vice President Elections

The candidates are:

The candidates' statements

Brin Grenyer, Ph.D.
University of Wollongong, Australia


Brin GrenyerI am deeply honoured to be nominated for a leadership position. I have agreed to be nominated because I think symbolically it is very important for the Society to recognise and encourage leadership from its international regions. Over the past 44 years there has not been a General Vice-President from Australia or the Asia-Pacific region; there has been 1 from South America and 1 from the Middle East, 2 from the UK, 5 from Europe and the rest (35; some 80%) from North America. Approximately one-fifth of SPR members come from the Asia-Pacific region and it is one of the strongest and growing areas of the Society. The international conference in Brisbane Australia brought some 100 new members into the Society. One of the other challenges for SPR's growth lays in its ability to connect with clinicians. This was brought home to me recently through my experience of two recent conferences - the Brisbane SPR had 250 speakers and attracted some 300 delegates, the other had 7 speakers and attracted 350 delegates. When clinicians do come to SPR they find it enriching. We can do better!

As well as my work for the SPR including a stint as Advisory Editor of Psychotherapy Research and Local Host of the Brisbane international meeting, I have been a scientific committee member for the 6th World Congress of Psychotherapy, Sydney August 2011 and the International Society for the Study of Personality Disorders 12th International Congress in Melbourne in March 2011, was Chair of the 4th International Congress on Licensure, Certification and Credentialing in Psychology, Sydney 2010 and was on the organising committee of the 5th Congress in Stockholm, 2013. I am foundation Chair of the Psychology Board of Australia overseeing 30,000 Australian Psychologists. I am currently leading a major initiative within our State mental health services to improve the treatment of personality disorders (www.projectairstrategy.org). The experience of my first SPR set my research direction, and with Lester Luborsky's guidance began new psychotherapy research studies in mastering core conflictual relationships (Grenyer & Luborsky, 1996, JCCP), followed by work for the Understanding Transference 2nd Edition and my own Mastering Relationship Conflicts Book (APA 2002). Since then my psychotherapy clinics for personality disorder and depression have enrolled over 1,000 patients in treatment and research. I have over 100 publications, have supervised over 20 Doctoral graduates, have been invited to present over 35 invited international and keynote presentations, and have been awarded over 30 grants totaling more than $8 million. I am a practicing psychotherapist and full Professor of Clinical Psychology, and Scientific Leader of Neuroscience and Mental Health Research in the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute.

Being elected SPR General Vice President would provide an opportunity to promote the work of SPR members to a wider audience - our Society has many scientific leaders but this work is not always known internationally. For example, the Asia-Pacific comprises some 45 countries - including China, Taiwan, India, Singapore, New Zealand, and Malaysia - some 4.2 billion people. The cost of travel continues to be a barrier for students and young faculty, meaning local developments are important. Like my Latin American colleagues, in Australia we started small, and with my colleagues Robert King, Robert Schweitzer, Tom O'Brien, Sophie Holmes, Mike Startup and Carla Walton we each decided to try running a regional SPR meeting in Australia - first in Brisbane in 2004, followed by Wollongong 2007, Brisbane 2009, Newcastle 2010, Sydney 2011, Melbourne 2012, before we hosted the 2013 international meeting in Australia. The strategy of growing regional groups at a local level works well. I will use my experience to promote that growth. Finally, I thank Jacques Barber for nominating me and Margot Schofield for seconding that nomination; I am grateful to the many wonderful colleagues for their warm support over the years in this splendid scientific organisation. 

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J. Christopher Perry, M.P.H., M.D.
McGill University, Canada


Jeanne Watson I am honored to be nominated to run for General Vice-President of SPR.  Since my first annual meeting in 1985, SPR is the meeting I most enjoy, having missed only twice since then. My early excitement at hearing the leaders in our field was soon complemented by experiencing SPR’s collegiality, with some resulting collaborations, and later by my students’ excitement at learning, presenting, and interacting.  Presentations and impromptu conversations continue to facilitate new ideas and collaborations alike.  I chaired the host committee for the 2005 meeting in Montreal, worked hard to make the venue, food and banquet a worthy backdrop, and I know what a sustained effort that required!  SPR remains special.

For those not familiar with me, I am a Professor of Psychiatry at McGill University, and Director of Psychotherapy Research at Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Canada, having worked there since 1992.  But things aren’t so simple! My family and I live in Pittsfield (western) Massachusetts, USA, which has allowed practice and research in both countries.  While frequent driver miles just bring gasoline bills rather than points, the commute does allow plenty of time to think about different perspectives in different places.  Before moving to McGill, I was an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School.  I graduated from Duke Medical School, obtained a Masters in Public Health from Harvard and did my psychiatric residency and research fellowship there.

While I was learning behavioral, dynamic and supportive psychotherapy, my mentors emphasized the long-term view of individual development. My research began with studying the course of adult psychopathology, the psychodynamic and cognitive bases of personality functioning, and effects of psychotherapy.  I’ve conducted several long-term follow-up studies, as well as several small RCTs. Since 1990 I’ve enjoyed collaborating with a number of SPR colleagues in Europe, North and South America. I currently study how individuals with recurrent depression, personality disorders, and/or treatment-refractory disorders attain sustained recovery and healthy functioning.  These treatments and study durations require years.  I am a patient person!

SPR is lively and durable. Its strength builds from those devoted to it.  While it is fiscally strong, greater resources should promote greater possibilities. An investment committee could advise the Executive Officer to enhance return on investments.  Building an endowment would allow more travel awards to enhance student participation.  Because those finishing training are least favored in research grant competitions, we could develop a competition for first/pilot research grants, equitably considering resources and membership across different regions.  This may help foster good ideas outside of favored paradigms among the coming generation. Continued overtures to psychotherapists primarily attending other societies should help renew SPR’s intellectual richness.  The same is true for developing economies, where psychotherapy confronts large public health challenges.  SPR can continue to enhance web-based resources (manuals, scales, resource directories, interest groups, literature) to facilitate training and research everywhere.  While some aspects of these currently exist, we could extend our interchange and become a more systematic resource.        

Over my career I have worked mostly with psychologists and graduate students, but I would like to see more participation by psychiatry in psychotherapy research.  I believe psychotherapy is a field common to all the therapeutic disciplines, each bringing unique perspectives. Although some health financing schemes reward prescribing over psychotherapy, I’ve always found that good psychotherapy is a sine qua non of lasting change. I have been impressed that research on cost-effectiveness can provide a bridge between those concerned with psychotherapy outcomes and those who consider the financial aspects of health systems.  Enhanced representation of this type of research at SPR should enhance our input to the politics of health care. Psychotherapy comes in a wide range of treatment and follow-up durations.  What is helpful for the student having trouble adjusting to school may differ widely from what is required to help a chronically depressed person with a lifetime accumulation of familial and societal traumas.  Psychotherapy studies that aim at producing sustained recovery in our patients/clients have an immediate appeal to the public, a group to whom we must also pay more attention.

If elected, I will try to offer thoughtful, collaborative and devoted service to enhance the mission of SPR.  Thank you for your time in considering my nomination.

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