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Chief Executive

Psychology across borders and the impact of Brexit

01 February 2019 | by Chief Executive

Since I joined the Society in April 2018, we’ve had a real focus on strengthening our ties internationally.

Encouraging collaborative working between psychologists, and highlighting the important of psychology as a profession, in the UK, the EU and further afield.

At our annual conference in May 2018, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with our colleagues at Ordem dos Psicólogos Portugueses, the psychologists’ association in Portugal, and I was delighted that they recently invited the BPS to propose two British psychologists to present at the European Commission Psychology Day in Brussels. This is the first time that the EU Commission has dedicated a day to highlighting the impact of psychology.

We invited two Society members, Dr Angela Carter and Professor David Uzzell, to present to European Union Commissioners on topics that they specialise in – and which are some of the most important for policy makers to consider.

Angela is an occupational psychologist who spoke about employment and how psychological knowledge and research can contribute to ensuring that modern workplaces are healthy and productive places to be.

David, from the University of Surrey, spoke about climate change, and the role that psychologists in Europe can play to encourage behaviour change within populations.

These are two of the defining issues of our time, and it was fascinating to hear how psychological expertise can help to tackle such significant topics.

As well as the two psychologists from the UK, we also heard contributions from Portuguese, Swedish and Belgian psychologists, and it was heartening to see how psychologists in Europe are continuing to work together despite the uncertain political climate.

Brexit is a subject which is impossible to get away from right now, but sometimes we can lose sight of the very real human impact, with twenty four hour news channels and constant votes in the House of Commons.

At our Division of Clinical Psychology’s annual conference in Manchester recently, I attended a workshop organised by Richard Pemberton and Annette Schlosser, where European psychologists currently working in the UK shared their stories about the impact Brexit has had on them, both as psychologists and as people.

This session was extremely moving, and as a Society we will do everything that we can to support any of our members who find themselves in this position.

As well as the DCP conference, I also attended our Division of Occupational Psychology’s conference, and Trainee Educational Psychologists’ conference this month. Being able to meet members at these events is one of the most enjoyable parts of my job, and I’d like to thank everyone at all three conferences for their kindness and hospitality.

If you think that we can offer you some support, or want to share your story, I’d be delighted to hear from you.


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