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  • 1.MOTIVATE TO ADVOCATE Political Advocacy, Leadership, and Organizational Strength John D. Gavazzi, PsyD, ABPP

2. Political Advocacy: What is it?

  • The act of pleading or arguing in favor of something, such as a cause, idea, or policy; active support.
  • Psychologists have varying expectations about the purpose and function

3. Political Advocacy: Why do we need it?

  • No one else will look out for psychology and our patients
  • Educate legislators and the public on the importance of psychological services
  • Give voice to those who have none or are fearful to express their concerns

4. Political Advocacy: Why do we need it?

  • Rights: Concerned with law, socialstructures, and patient protection
  • Mental Health Parity
  • Organizational: Inclusiveness, communitybuilding, and working towardsomething beneficial; rally around acause

5. Pitfalls of Advocacy

  • Psychologists must focus on the topics that they are advocating
  • Easy to get lost in the technical aspects of advocacy
  • Fear and intimidation because advocacy can be seen as outside of our comfort zone

6. Psychological Concerns

  • Challenging authority: Anxiety and conflict avoidance
  • Social loafing: The belief that someone else is responsible for advocacy
  • Isolation: Many psychologists practice alone and lack a comprehensive understanding

7. A Day in the Life

  • Wake up to the radio
  • Have a cup of coffee
  • Drive to work
  • Check email
  • Restroom Break
  • FCC regulation of spectrum
  • Trade tariffs on coffee beans
  • Government roads and maintenance
  • Government regulation of telephone service
  • Local sewer overflow regulation
  • Activity
  • Governmental Issue

8. Whether you like it or not.

  • Many of the rules and regulations do not rise to the level of conscious awareness.
  • Why is that?
  • What do we need to do about it?
  • Government regulation influences many things that we do in our lives, including the air we breathe, the food we eat, how we drive, etc.

9. What is the overarching message?

  • Political Advocacy is part of our professional responsibility
  • By not becoming involved in political advocacy, the psychologist is engaging in social loafing behavior and free rider mentality.


  • You are taking a leadership role

By participating in advocacy and the Pennsylvania Psych Association 11. Political Advocacy: Broader View

  • Depth of feeling and commitment to advance a cause
  • Going beyond the call of duty, truly an aspirational ethic
  • Stresses vision, voice, and choice
  • Passionate volunteerism: Making the world a better place (Exercise about career choice)

12. Stages of Change: Advocacy

  • Pre-contemplative
  • Contemplative
  • Preparation
  • Action
  • Maintenance

13. First Step: Find your passion

  • Why is advocacy important to you?
  • Why is advocacy important to your patients?
  • Why is advocacy important to your job and profession?
  • Is it part of your aspirational ethic?

14. How do we message it?

  • Take into account political, socio-economic and professional circumstances
  • Language of psychology and our culture
  • Trustworthy and Credible
  • Informs, Convinces, and Encourages (ICE)
  • Treats members/psychologists with respect

15. Relationship Building

  • Start with similarities (bonding)
  • Talk about your excitement and enthusiasm about political advocacy (modeling)
  • Provide some concrete examples of how political advocacy has helped your practice (sharing)
  • Expand on how laws or regulations have helped the other psychologists practice (education)

16. Relationship Building

  • Multiple contacts or sources of information (repetition)
  • Creating a reason or passion (motivation, fear)
  • Outline options for involvement: Start low and go slow (Foot in the door technique)
  • Invite to Advocacy Day, encourage to respond to legislative alerts, contact legislators directly

17. Modern ways of outreach and repetition

  • Web sites
  • Listserv
  • Email
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Social networking sites


  • One contact, one conversation, one statement, one email, one tweet, one phone call, one article, one blog post, one meeting, one text at a time.
  • We can build organizational strength and value through advocacy.

Building a Community of Advocacy 19.

  • What are you signing up for?

To be a leader 20. Building Organizational Strength through Advocacy

  • Part of the culture of PPA needs to be that advocacy is an important component to our professional responsibility (Print, social media, etc.)
  • Needs to start at the Board of Directors level and work down toward the committee members
  • Supervisors, professors, mentors, and peer contacts need to acculturate psychologists to political advocacy

21. Reminding psychologists (and ourselves) of our legislative successes

  • Mental Health Parity
  • Helped to ban corporal punishment in schools
  • 20 year effort to establish psychologists to practice psychotherapy in private practices as INDEPENDENT practitioners
  • Major force for recognition under Medicare (in conjunction with APA)

22. Advocacy includes

  • Political activity in service to our clients, our community, our citizens, and our profession
  • Leadership skills, either within the formal hierarchy of PPA or within our community of psychologists
  • A process to build better organizational unity and value


  • Questions
  • Comments
  • Testimony

Grand Finale

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