Articles & Resources

Society for Health Psychology

Advocating for Psychology in Interdisciplinary Settings

Early Career Professionals, Professional Development

By Sabrina Esbitt, PhD

Advocating for psychology’s home in medicine builds on our skills and expertise as psychologists. Evidence is necessary for that advocacy, but not sufficient. We need to organize our clinic or ward community around psychology’s contributions to interdisciplinary healthcare teams. Some suggestions:

  • Get to know people. From the security guards to the clinic director. Gather information–the joys of practice, the struggles, favorite patients, feared patient encounters, their hopes for the future–for themselves and for the team/clinic. See how you can engage those challenges, hopes, and dreams via psychology. Create SMART goals around those community-driven integration needs, feed those back to your stakeholders, and advocate for that.
  • Take successive action. Identify low hanging fruit that meets your community’s needs (and that you can reasonably offer given your own resources). This could be offering workshops, journal clubs, coaching/ shadowing, specialty case consultation, baliant/joy of practice/process groups, or collaborating on QI or other scholarly initiatives. You will enhance your integration in your community and open the doors for identifying and building towards successively more complex and impactful goals.
  • Be generous. Look for ways to expand collaboration and authorship in scholarly projects. Do not start and end your collaboration with team members with advanced degrees. Use your group skills to bring teams together and build opportunities for mutual professional development and recognition.