The mental health community is focused on pharmacology, brain mapping and addiction. The severely mentally ill are no longer the important category of public concern that they were in Kennedy’s era when the strategy of state hospital care was replaced with proposed outpatient supports. In private practice the old-fashioned neurotic patient has been replaced by the functional borderline patient, or the severe hysteric, depressive or bipolar patient. All these external changes challenge our ability to theorize about our clinical discipline and conduct it effectively. Although academics find psychoanalysis interesting and claim it as part of their intellectual terrain, they often know nothing of psychoanalysis past Freudian theory of 1920. (C. Fisher, APsaA members’ listserv communication, March 23, 2013)
Strategic planning is an important method for an organization to remain up-to-date in its mission and organized in its approach to fulfilling it. In 2011 a formal strategic planning process was undertaken by APsaA. Specific areas were explored: mission and vision, governance and leadership, education and training, APsaA meetings, publications, advocacy, research and the APsaA Foundation, online communications (website, listservs), and communications, membership and public relations. All important areas and plans for addressing them were defined. Timelines and evaluation tools were established.
In the climate of legal recourse, this strategic plan means little to the membership and perhaps, at the moment, less than it did to our elected leaders. This broad and potentially useful view of our Association, its output, its internal workings and its relationship to the world, is on a back burner.
Minimally we need to revisit our strategic plan in a systematic manner every two years. Even in the best of times, an organization as diverse as APsaA can lose or shift its focus related to its priorities and lose track of its progress.