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BPS Policy Unit

Flawed, but precious

21 August 2017 | by BPS Policy Unit

This article is published on behalf of Dr Lisa Morrison-Coulthard (Acting Director of Policy) and Dr Jon Sutton (Acting Director of Communications).

What is it like to be a psychologist who is also a long-standing member of staff for the British Psychological Society?

Between us we have more than 40 years of service with the Society, and just as many as Society members, and as a result we are perhaps uniquely invested in this flawed diamond we call the BPS.

These are challenging times for the Society (when aren’t they?) and we thought it an opportune moment to share our perspective on how precious our membership is, and how it can take us into the future.

Something we have always been aware of, as members even before we became staff, is that the Society IS its membership.

The Society is not the Trustees, it’s not an office in Leicester, it’s all 60,000 of us, in all corners of the discipline, at all stages of career, and with varying degrees of involvement with each other and the pursuit of our Royal Charter objectives.

There are challenges in this diversity, but also huge strengths, even at times of tension and debate, and neither of us would have achieved anything in our working lives without the input of passionate, intelligent and dedicated members of the Society.

And the reason we’ve stayed so long is because it’s incredibly rewarding to work with such people in a subject we love.

To run with the ‘diamond’ analogy, we know that the Society is far from perfect.

But if members hold it to the light, they can see their own faces… they are the Society, they are its chance to change.

What does this mean in practice? In our areas of policy and communications it means that if psychology is to have more influence it will be through an engaged and expert membership.

If we are to increase and improve our comms across a number of channels, we’ll need to hear from our members.

We believe we have made great strides over the past decade in terms of our procedures and the channels at our disposal (government responses, our media database, the Society website, The Psychologist and Research Digest and much more). So if your work is interesting and important, if you have a message, don’t wait to be asked… come forward, and we’ll discuss how we can get it out there.

To give just three specific examples - why not write for The Psychologist? Or put yourself forward for the Society’s media database? Or work to help the Society broaden its policy base (contact details below)?

We’re always seeking to gain psychology the influence it deserves, and to offer services for members. We know there are other things you can spend your membership fees on (we know because we pay them too!), but we hope that an increasing number of existing and new psychologists will coninue to decide that there is value in being a member of the Society.

Because it’s together that we have the momentum to achieve so much more.

Dr Lisa Morrison-Coulthard, CPsychol (Lead Policy Advisor, Acting Director of Policy)

Dr Jon Sutton, CPsychol (Managing Editor, Acting Director of Communications)

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