Nowadays, the field of psychology is acknowledged as being extremely useful and beneficial in the contemporary society even though many people still remain skeptical about its necessity. Thus, psychologists and counselors become demanded professionals, especially in such highly developed countries as the USA. However, they still face many challenges and can significantly benefit from membership in various professional associations where they can meet other professionals from the field, exchange their experience, learn something new, and promote psychological knowledge on the whole. The current paper is aimed at providing a brief overview of five leading professional psychological organizations with a special emphasis on their mission, purpose, function, and resources provided to the members, as well as general public.
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American Psychological Association (APA)
American Psychological Association (hereinafter referred to as the APA) represents a wide network of psychologists and related professionals who have joined the scientific organization that is currently among the leaders of similar organizations in the USA. The organization has been functioning and gradually expanding in terms of the number of its members and outreach since its establishment in 1892 (American Psychological Association, 2015). The number of members has grown from 31 people at the beginning of its operation to more than 122 thousands individuals, who are the members of the APA nowadays. They are divided into 54 divisions within the overall field of psychological research, education, and counseling (American Psychological Association, 2015).
According to the APA’s website, its core mission is to ensure promotion and advancements in the field of psychology, as well as application of respective knowledge within the field with a view to benefiting and improving the society and individuals’ lives (American Psychological Association, 2015). Besides, the organization strives to foster research and communication within the field to ensure its efficacy and effectiveness. Respectively, the APA’s vision concerns evolution of the organization into an excellent and powerful institution that provides valuable and beneficial services both to professionals within the field and the general public (American Psychological Association, 2015). Some of its key functions connected to the above stated vision and mission are aimed at promoting growth and researches within the psychological field, rendering educational and training services, advocating for broad dissemination of available psychological knowledge, and championing for well-being, health, and human rights of people (American Psychological Association, 2015).
Overall, the above vision and functions may be considered as broad, which is why the APA has decided to narrow them to three core objectives in the most recent strategic development plan. The functions include maximization of organization’s effectiveness, expansion of the role of psychology in promotion of people’s health and well-being, and recognition of psychology as an essential and beneficial science (American Psychological Association, 2015). In terms of resources available, the organization offers a wide range of publications, including studies, researchers, guidelines, manuals, and many other sources of information relating to psychology, as well as specialized training and education within the field. Besides, the APA offers approximately 650 grants, awards, and scholarships within different domains of the psychological field with a view to promoting researches, encouraging all sorts of initiatives, and sponsoring further development of the science.
American Counseling Association (ACA)
Another large and influential professional organization uniting counselors from all over the world is entitled American Counseling Association (hereinafter referred to as the ACA). The current association was established in 1952 by four independent professional associations guided by the common purpose of promoting the field of psychology and supporting professional counselors in their practice (American Counseling Association, 2015). Nowadays, the amount of its members exceeds 56 thousand and they function in more than 50 countries of the world besides the USA (American Counseling Association, 2015).
The ACA’s mission consists in enhancement of the society’s well-being and quality of life by means of assisting and developing professional counselors, as well as ensuring constant development of the counseling profession. In turn, it can significantly contribute to the promotion of diversity and human dignity all over the world (American Counseling Association, 2015). Accordingly, its vision concerns promotion and improvement of the counseling profession and elevation of the counselor’s role in the society. Such people are supposed to become an integral part of the social fabrics and promote both the profession and well-being of people. With account for the above stated, the ACA offers a variety of resources to its members so that they could make a difference in their respective communities and, consequently, in the world. Such resources primarily include various publications, webinars, training sessions, legislative action alerts, and other notifications about issues that concern the counseling profession and would be deemed interesting and important by the organization’s members (American Counseling Association, 2015). Besides, the association offers resources on the counseling profession and different related topics to any person interested in obtaining them either through publications or online. Overall, the resources provided by the ACA are aimed at fulfilling its core function of supporting counselors in their practice and education, as well as empowering them to make a change in the society when possible and necessary.
American School Counselor Association (ASCA)
In turn, the American School Counselor Association, which is hereinafter referred to as the ASCA, is an organization that unites counselors from all over the world and supports their work irrespective of the school setting they are employed in. Hence, its focus is a little narrower than the ones represented by the two organizations described above. At the same time, the ASCA’s ambition is extensive and large in scope as it targets counselors working in school settings of different levels and forms in all countries of the world. The ASCA targets all school counselors irrespective of their needs and previous experience within the field. Consequently, it enables them to perform their professional duties in an effective, beneficial, professional, and ethical way. Significance of providing such support and creating a global network of school counselors is justified by the importance of the population group they are primarily dealing with. It includes children, adolescents, and young adults who need guidance and support during the process of becoming decent members of the society.
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Hence, the mission of the organization under consideration consists in creating an association that would represent all professional school counselors, as well as promote high professional standards and development of their practices considering their ethicality (American School Counselor Association, 2015). Respectively, the ASCA’s vision concerns creation of an international influential foundation that can assist all school counselors regarding training, professional development, and practice (American School Counselor Association, 2015). Besides, the organization strives to provide leadership and advocacy within the targeted subfield of professional counseling and promote systemic change and collaboration when necessary (American School Counselor Association, 2015). Thus, the ASCA is aimed at empowering its members through offering them required knowledge, professional skills, and useful resources for improving their profession and promoting their students’ well-being and success in all domains of life.
The above mission and vision are tightly interconnected with the goals of the ASCA regarding its functioning and pursued by its members. Some of such goals include provision of opportunities for professional development of school counselors, promotion of knowledge and the best practices available within the field, implementation of high ethical standards of conduct and practice. Moreover, the organization strives to pursue such goals as initiation and support of relevant studies and researches relating to school counseling, establishment and maintenance of partnerships with professional organizations, schools, corporate institutions, and the government on relevant issues, and creation of various networks and national models concerning school counseling (American School Counselor Association, 2015). With a view to accomplishing all the goals and objectives, the organization offers various resources to its members and other stakeholders, which can also be generally accessed by the public. Some of the most numerous resources include publications, guidelines, codes of conduct and ethical norms, professional codes, professional development initiatives and programs, advocacy services, researches and grants for researches, and notifications about the recent trends within the domain of school counseling.
Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP)
In the beginning of its functioning, the APA was heavily criticized for its reluctance to establish a division that would deal with issues pertaining to the applied psychology, including industrial and organizational psychology. Hence, separate associations were established for such purpose in different years, which in the after-war period united under the auspices of various APA’s divisions. The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (hereinafter referred to as the SIOP) is one of such divisions of the APA. Regardless of the fact that it is affiliated with the APS, its representatives emphasize that the organization is an independently functioning unit focusing only on issues relating to industrial and organizational psychology (Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 2015). The organization members claim that its activities are of utmost importance in the contemporary world due to the role business plays in it. For such reason, the organization sees a vast potential of contributing to sustainable development of international and national companies and organizations.
The SIOP’s mission is in enhancement of the society’s well-being and individuals’ performance in all kinds of organizational and employments settings, which can be achieved through promotion of the field of industrial and organizational psychology, improvement of related practice, and teaching of professional counselors, researchers, and specialists working within the field (Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 2015). In turn, the SIOP’s vision relates to the recognition of the role that the field of industrial and organizational psychology can play in the sustainable development of the world in general and business and organizational setting in particular.
Respectively, the SIOP envisions the following functions as the main task of its performance: support of all members in terms of their willingness and ability to learn and develop within the field, promote respective principles, methods, and findings available within the field, creation of forums for stakeholders and members to discuss topical issues and exchange experience, expand both theoretical and empirical aspects of organizational and industrial psychology, respond to the emerging challenges, advocate for education of industrial and organizational psychologists, increase public awareness of the psychology subfield, and provide grants and awards for further researches within the field (Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 2015). The SIOP offers various resources to its members and non-members either working within the organization or merely interested in industrial and organizational psychology. Some of the resources include publications, researchers, ethical and professional principles, findings of miscellaneous studies, trainings, webinars, seminars, forums, governmental initiatives, advocacy services, and financial support of researches and practices.
American Psychology-Law Society
Another organization that is a division of the APA is the American Psychology-La Society, which is hereinafter referred to as the AP-LS. The AP-LS primarily functions in the USA and the overwhelming majority of its members originate from this country. At the same time, it strives to expand its international reach through cooperation with various international organizations interested in issues relating to psychology within the legal context. It pursues several key goals with a view to promoting and advancing the study and practice of psychology from the legal perspective and with incorporation of understanding through law. The AP-LS is aimed at encouraging and improving education of current and future psychologists with respect to the field of law and educating legal professionals in psychology (American Psychology-Law Society, 2015). Hence, the AP-LS strives to combine the two fields and integrate psychological and legal issues into each other respectively, in order to respond adequately to new demands of psychology and laws used by the contemporary society.
With account for the above mentioned goals, the AP-LS’s mission consists in enhancement and promotion of human rights, dignity, justice, and well-being though the combination of psychology and law and practicing psychology in various legal contexts (American Psychology-Law Society, 2015). Such mission correlates with the declared vision, which relates to the society’s ambitious plan of becoming an excellent, highly effective, powerful, and valuable organization that can promote psychology-law as a unique science and apply theoretical knowledge obtained within such science to real-life policies and practices (American Psychology-Law Society, 2015). In such way, the AP-LS strives to unite all stakeholders within the field of psychology-law and empower both psychological and legal scholars to research topical issues within the field. The AP-LS attempts to become an international leader within the domain of psychology-law and promote through its activities human rights, dignity, justice, and well-being. Ethicality and high quality of all services rendered are envisioned to assist the AP-LS with becoming the leader within the science of psychology-law. In terms of resources offered to members and stakeholders, the AP-LS provides publications, research opportunities, training, educational materials, research mentoring, ethical and professional conduct guidelines, practice documents, online forums, other online resources, advocacy services, grants, and awards (American Psychology-Law Society, 2015). Furthermore, the organization under consideration is dedicated to a constant improvement of services and resources it offers so that its members could receive the most recent and relevant information regarding the field of psychology-law.
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The above discussion has provided a brief overview of five leading psychological associations functioning in the USA and internationally. All of them are primarily devoted to studying and promoting some peculiar fields of the psychological science. In any case, they all are united by their dedication to providing superb services and equipping their members with outstanding and current resources. Moreover, they share the common goal of ensuring and promoting well-being and health of the society even though they target different groups of population. Nonetheless, many strategies and techniques they employ to achieve their goals are similar, which calls for consideration of a strategic cooperation between them in order to increase their effectiveness and efficiency.