CPA’s “Psychology Works” Fact Sheets responding to COVID-19

The CPA has produced a series of Fact Sheets in response to the coronavirus pandemic:

  • Why Does Culture Matter to COVID-19? – PDF | HTML 06/04/2020
  • Grief, Bereavement and COVID-19 – PDF | HTML 05/12/2020
  • Research Funding Information as relates to COVID-19 – PDF | HTML 05/08/2020
  • Guidance for Psychology Students as Relates to COVID-19 – PDF | HTML 05/08/2020
  • Guidance for Psychology Faculty and Researchers as Relates to COVID-19 – PDF | HTML 05/08/2020
  • Emotional and Psychological Challenges Faced by Frontline Health Care Providers During the COVID-19 Pandemic – PDF | HTML 04/07/2020
  • Psychological Practice and the Coronavirus (COVID-19) – PDF | HTML 03/18/2020
  • Student Wellness and COVID-19 – PDF | HTML 04/02/2020
  • Helping Teens Cope with the Impacts of and Restrictions Related to COVID-19 – PDF | HTML 03/31/2020
  • Psychological Impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) – PDF | HTML 03/20/2020
  • Working from Home During COVID-19, With and Without Children – PDF | HTML 03/17/2020
  • Coping With and Preventing COVID-19 – PDF | HTML 04/04/2020

You can find all of our “Psychology Works” Fact Sheets here


COVID-19 Worsening Canadians’ Access to Psychologists

CPA LogoCPAP logo

COVID-19 Worsening Canadians’ Access to Psychologists

December 2, 2020 (Ottawa) – With the significant impact COVID-19 is having on the mental health of Canadians, the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) and the Council of Professional Associations of Psychologists (CPAP) asked Nanos Research to survey over 3,000 Canadians to better understand how they are managing their mental health and accessing care provided by psychologists.

“We are very concerned about the global pandemic’s impact on the mental health of Canadians, now and into the foreseeable future.  Canada had a crisis of access to mental health care before the pandemic.  Now, more than ever, we need to implement innovative and sustainable solutions – in the public and private sectors – to improve timely access to mental health care provided by psychologists when the people of Canada need it”, said Dr. Karen Cohen CEO of the CPA.

“While other public surveys tell us that Canadians’ mental health is in decline, we need to ensure that the public and private sectors have the policies, programs and services to meet this impending demand for mental health care”, said Mr. Christopher Cameron, CPAP Executive Director.  “Psychologists are highly trained professionals who can play a vital role in assessing, treating and managing one’s mental health.”

In a pandemic environment where face to face human contact is not an option, Canadians have a strong preference to be treated face-to-face by a psychologist.  The CPA, however, is encouraged that there is an openness to using technology.

The survey found:

Access to Care

  • 56% of Canadians report that COVID-19 has had a negative (33%) or somewhat negative (23%) impact on the ability of Canadians to access mental health care provided by psychologists.
  • At 73%, the majority of Canadians prefer to receive psychological services face-to-face. Although older Canadians (55+) are more likely to say they would prefer to receive services face-to-face (80%) than those 35 to 54 (70%), and 18 to 34 (65%).
  • 92% of Canadians report that they have not accessed services from a psychologist since the COVID-19 pandemic. Of note, older Canadians (55+) are less likely to report having accessed services (3%) than those 35 to 54, or 18 to 34 (11% each).
  • For those who accessed psychological care during COVID-19, 47% of Canadians report it was provided through private insurance, 26% from the public health system, or 26% from out-of-pocket expenses. The highest group paying out-of-pocket 55+ years (39%) is likely because in retirement fewer have employer-provided, private health insurance.
  • For those who accessed psychological care during COVID-19 (8%), 84% of Canadians report it was provided within a reasonable (50%) or somewhat reasonable (34%) period of time.
  • 85% of Canadians would be willing (58%) or somewhat willing (27%) to attend if an in-person assessment by a psychologist was needed for memory loss, stroke, brain injury, ADHD, or a learning disorder.

Virtual Care

  • With physical/social distancing rules in place, 71% of Canadians say they are willing (36%) or somewhat willing (35%) to use technology – like telemedicine – to receive mental health care provided by psychologists.
  • Of the 29% of Canadians who had concerns using technology to receive care provided by psychologists, they identified the following issues: (1) privacy/ confidentiality (8%); (2) barriers to establishing good communication (5%); (3) security/ hackers (4%); (4) prefer face-to-face (3%); (5) impersonal (2%); and (6) challenges using technology (2%).

Given the unprecedented times in which we live, we must invest and protect our most valuable assets…people.  Our first wealth must always be our mental health.  The CPA is committed to working collaboratively with all levels of government, employers and insurers so that Canadians receive evidence-based care where, and when, they need it.

To review the results in detail – which includes a breakdown by province and territory, gender and age, please visit our website:  cpa.ca.

– 30 –

About the CPA

The Canadian Psychological Association is the national voice for the science, practice and education of psychology in the service of the health and welfare of Canadians.  The CPA is Canada’s largest association for psychology and represents psychologists in public and private practice, university educators and researchers, as well as students.  Psychologists are the country’s largest group of regulated and specialized mental health providers, making our profession a key resource for the mental health treatment Canadians need.

About CPAP

The Council of Professional Associations of Psychologists is comprised of 13 national, provincial and territorial psychology associations, and has four objectives: facilitating knowledge exchange amongst member associations; identify and share best practices amongst member associations; advocating for the needs of Canadian psychologists and the people that they support; and develop leadership potential and capacity in Canadian psychologists.

About the Survey

Nanos Research conducted a representative online survey of 3,070 Canadians, drawn from a non-probability panel between September 25th and October 2nd, 2020.  The results were statistically checked and weighted by age and gender using the latest Census information and the sample is geographically stratified to be representative of Canada.  The research was commissioned by the Canadian Psychological Association and was conducted by Nanos Research.

Contact: Mr. Eric Bollman
Communications Specialist
Canadian Psychological Association
(613) 853-1061
ebollman@cpa.ca(613) 853-1061


To view the national survey results, click HERE.

Provincial/Territorial Survey Results:


CPA’s 2020 Student Research Grants: Rules and Eligibility Criteria – DEADLINE NOV. 27th, 4pm!

CANADIAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION STUDENT RESEARCH GRANTS : RULES AND ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

APPLICANT ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

The Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) wishes to support student research in all areas of psychology.

Funding up to $1,500.00 is available per project.  For 2020, a maximum of 10 awards will be dispersed.  Deadline for applications is Friday November 27, 2020 at 4pm EST.

At the time of application and if successful, over the term of the grant, the applicant/grantee must be a graduate student affiliate in good standing of the CPA; enrolled full-time in a psychology graduate program at a provincially or territorially chartered Canadian University. The applicant’s/grantee’s direct supervisor must also be a member in good standing of the CPA.

Students can only be funded once from this funding opportunity.

The adjudication committee will consider the following in evaluating proposals:

  1. Applicant’s Qualifications
    • Scholarships & Awards
    • Publications
    • Conference Presentations & Other Relevant Experience
  2. Merits of Proposal
    • Rationale & Background
    • Feasibility, Design & Methods
    • Potential Impact & Originality

NEW THIS YEAR!

CPA logoCSBBCS logo

One additional award valued at $1,500.00 will be given out to a proposal specific to the Brain and Cognitive Sciences; this award is financially co-sponsored by Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour and Cognitive Science (CSBBCS).  To apply for this award, a student applicant/grantee and their supervisor must be an affiliate/member in good standing, at the time of application and over the term of the grant (if successful), of either the CPA or the CSBBCS.

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS

Applications must be submitted electronically via this link: https://cpa.ca/machform/view.php?id=15577

Applications can be submitted in English or in French.

Application requirements include:

  1. An abstract of 250 words or less summarizing the research.
  2. A description (maximum 5 double-spaced pages including references, figures) outlining:
    1. the rationale and background, feasibility, design and methods, potential impact, and originality
  3. Status/proof of REB review process (i.e. acknowledgement/confirmation from REB that application has been received, process is underway, or approval has been granted)
  4. Specific amount requested, including an itemized budget.
  5. CV of applying student.
  6. A statement from the student’s department chair that the department supports the student’s application and will comply with the CPA’s rules for funds administration if the student’s application is successful. The letter must note that expenditures will only be authorized once REB approval or registration is obtained.  The appropriate University administrator’s name, email address, postal address, title and business phone number should be indicated.

Applications not meeting all of the proposal requirements will not be considered for funding.

RELEASE OF FUNDS

For funded projects, the CPA will release funds upon receiving a valid certificate of compliance from the Research Ethics Board (REB) of the applicant’s institution along with confirmation of affiliate status from the CPA’s Membership Department (or the CSBBCS’s Membership Department in the case of the CPA-CSBBCS Joint Award).

RESPONSIBILITIES OF GRANT RECIPIENTS

Successful applicants will be expected to provide a final (or progress) report to the CPA’s Scientific Affairs Committee (science@cpa.ca) of the outcome of their research (approximately 500 words) within 18-months of receiving funding. Successful applicants will also be expected to submit a 150-word write up of their research for Psynopsis, the CPA’s quarterly magazine. The CPA should be acknowledged in any publications or presentations resulting from the research.  Unused funds after the defense of the thesis must be returned to the CPA.

GENERAL RULES

  • Note that only one of the following grants can be held at any given time: CPA Student Research Grant, CPA Student Section Research Grant, BMS-sponsored Research or Leadership Grant. Eligible students can apply for one or more of these grants but can only hold one grant.
  • At the time of application and if successful, over the term of the grant, the applicant/grantee must be a graduate student affiliate in good standing of the CPA (or the CSBBCS in the case of the CPA-CSBBCS Joint Award); enrolled full time in a psychology graduate program at provincially or territorially chartered Canadian University.
  • At the time of application and over the term of the grant (if successful), the applicant’s/grantee’s direct supervisor must also be a member in good standing of the CPA (or the CSBBCS in the case of the CPA-CSBBCS Joint Award)
  • Proposals with co-applicants will not be accepted/considered.
  • Grants are awarded to eligible student researchers and are administered through the institution’s administration systems. The student grantee authorizes expenditures in accordance with the CPA’s policies and requirements, as outlined here, and with institution policies. No one may initiate or authorize expenditures from the CPA grant account without the student grantee’s delegated authority.
  • Grant funds must contribute towards the direct costs of the research for which the funds were awarded, and the benefits should be directly attributable to the grant. The institution pays for the indirect or overhead costs associated with managing the research funded by CPA.
  • Expenditures will only be authorized once Research Ethics Board (REB) approval is obtained.
  • Each institution establishes appropriate procedures, systems and controls to ensure that the CPA’s requirements are followed. The institution has the right and responsibility to withhold and withdraw approval of expenditures proposed by a student grantee that contravene the CPA’s requirements or the institution’s policies and, when appropriate, to seek advice or ruling from the CPA as to eligibility of expenses.
  • The CPA follows the Canadian tax regulation for reporting and as such, will be required to issue a T4A. Please contact the CPA’s Executive Assistant, Kimberley Black via telephone: Local: 613-237-2144, ext. 323; Toll-free : 1-888-472-0657 ext. 323, to provide your Social Insurance Number.

ELIGIBLE EXPENSES

  • Research personnel (e.g., research assistant)
  • Consulting fees (e.g., programmer, statistician)
  • Fees paid for the purpose of participant recruitment, such as modest incentives to consider participation (i.e., to establish a potential participant pool), where approved by a Research Ethics Board
  • Fees paid to research participants, such as modest incentives for participation, where approved by a Research Ethics Board
  • Materials

NON-ELIGIBLE EXPENSES

  • Costs of alcohol
  • Costs of entertainment, hospitality and gifts
  • Travel/registration/accommodation costs related to attending a conference
  • Costs related to staff awards and recognition
  • Education-related costs such as thesis preparation, tuition and course fees, leading up to a degree
  • Costs involved in the preparation of teaching materials
  • Costs of basic services such as heat, light, water, compressed air, distilled water, vacuums and janitorial services supplied to all laboratories in a research facility
  • Insurance costs for buildings or equipment
  • Costs associated with regulatory compliance, including ethical review, biohazard, or provincial or municipal regulations and by-laws
  • Monthly parking fees for vehicles, unless specifically required for field work
  • Sales taxes to which an exemption or rebate applies
  • Costs of regular clothing
  • Patenting expenses
  • Costs of moving a lab

APPLICATION FORM

You cans submit your application here: https://cpa.ca/machform/view.php?id=15577

BMS Scholarship: Student Research and Leadership Development – DEADLINE NOV. 27th, 4pm!

BMS SCHOLARSHIP:

STUDENT RESEARCH AND LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

Sponsored by BMS, the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) and the Council of Professional Associations of Psychology (CPAP) wish to support student research and leadership development in all areas of psychology.

For 2020:

  • Up to two (2) awards will be dispersed per project for research-based submissions, at amounts up to $2,500.00 per application.
  • Up to five (5) awards will be dispersed to individuals wishing to pursue training, either practice or leadership focused, at amounts up to $500.00 per application.

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

At the time of application and if successful, over the term of the grant,

  • the applicant must be a current graduate student affiliate of the CPA and/or a current graduate student member of a provincial psychological association; enrolled full time in a psychology graduate program at a provincially or territorially chartered Canadian University; and
  • the applicant’s direct supervisor must also be a current member of the CPA and/or a provincial psychological association.

Of note, students can only be funded once during the lifetime of this funding program.

Applications by co-applicants will not be accepted/considered.

USE OF FUNDS

Awarded funds can be used to cover expenses as follows:

Research-Based Submissions Leadership and Practice-Focused Submissions
Direct research costs such as participant honorarium equipment, research assistant (see Eligible and Not Eligible Expenses for full list) but cannot be used to fund travel to attend conferences. Enrollment in a course/workshop, registration for a leadership or practice event, or other activity with appropriate justification.

ADJUDICATION OF APPLICATIONS

In evaluating applications, the adjudication committee will consider the following:

Research-Based Submissions Leadership and Practice-Focused Submissions
Applicant’s Qualifications (scholarships & awards, publications, conference presentations & other relevant experience)

Merits of Proposal (rationale & background; feasibility, design & methods; potential impact & originality)

Relevance to career development

Area of psychological study and practice

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS

Applications can be submitted in English or in French. Applications not meeting all proposal requirements will not be considered for funding.

Research-based Submissions Leadership and Practice-Focused Submissions
·         An abstract of 250 words or less summarizing the research project.

·         A description (maximum 5 double-spaced pages including references, figures) outlining the rationale and background, feasibility, design and methods, potential impacts, and originality.

·         Status/proof of REB review process. (i.e. acknowledgement/confirmation from REB that application has been received, process is underway, or approval has been granted)

·         Specific amount requested, including an itemized budget.  If the BMS funding will only cover part of the costs, indicate institutional, personal, or other sources of support sought or obtained.

·         CV of applying student.

·         A statement from the student’s department chair that the department supports the student’s application and will comply with the CPA’s rules for funds administration if the student’s application is successful.  The appropriate University administrator’s name, email address, postal address, title, and business phone number should be indicated. For research applications, the letter must note that expenditures will only be authorized once REB approval is obtained.

·         A description (maximum 5 double-spaced pages) outlining the focus of the practice or leadership activity, an overview of when/were the activity will take place, duration of the activity, intended objectives of the activity, and relevance to the applicant’s career development.

·         Status/proof of event/activity registration.

·         Specific amount requested.  If the BMS funding will only cover part of the costs, indicate institutional, personal, or other sources of support sought or obtained.

·         CV of applying student.

·         A statement from the student’s department chair that the department supports the student’s application.

APPLICATION DEADLINE AND SUBMISSION PROCESS

Applications for the 2020 awards must be received by 4pm EST on November 27, 2020.  The winners will be announced by late December.

Applications must be submitted electronically via the appropriate link

Research-Based Submissions Leadership and Practice-Focused Submissions
https://cpa.ca/machform/view.php?id=30292 https://cpa.ca/machform/view.php?id=30405

RELEASE OF FUNDS

For funded research projects, the CPA will release funds to the student’s university upon receiving a valid certificate of compliance from the Research Ethics Board (REB) of the applicant’s institution.

For funded practice and leadership-focused activities, the CPA will release funds directly to the funded applicant upon receiving confirmation of registration in the specified activity.

GENERAL RULES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF GRANT RECIPIENTS
Note that only one of the following grants can be held at any given time: CPA Student Research Grant, CPA Student Section Research Grant, BMS-sponsored Research or Leadership Grant. Eligible students can apply for one or more of these grants but can only hold one grant.

Successful applicants will be expected to provide a final (or progress) report to the CPA (approximately 500 words) within 18 months of receiving funding; successful applicants will also be expected to submit a 150-word write up for Psynopsis and their provincial association’s newsletter or website.

BMS should be acknowledged in any publications or presentations resulting from the research or presenting on the leadership or practice activity.

Research funds are awarded to eligible students and are administered through the institution’s administration systems. The student grantee authorizes expenditures in accordance with the CPA’s policies and requirements, as outlined here, and with institution policies. No one may initiate or authorize expenditures from the CPA grant account without the student grantee’s delegated authority. Each institution establishes appropriate procedures, systems and controls to ensure that the CPA’s requirements are followed. The institution has the right and responsibility to withhold and withdraw approval of expenditures proposed by a student grantee that contravene the CPA’s requirements or the institution’s policies and, when appropriate, to seek advice or ruling from the CPA as to eligibility of expenses.

Funds must contribute towards the direct costs of the research or practice/leadership training for which the funds were awarded, and the benefits should be directly attributable to the grant. For research awards, the institution pays for the indirect or overhead costs associated with managing the research funded by the CPA.

The CPA follows the Canadian tax regulation for reporting and as such, will be required to issue a T4A.  The CPA will provide funded applicants with a secure link by which to obtain their social insurance number.

ELIGIBLE RESEARCH GRANT EXPENSES

  • Research personnel (e.g., research assistant)
  • Consulting fees (e.g., programmer, statistician)
  • Fees paid for the purpose of participant recruitment, such as modest incentives to consider participation (i.e., to establish a potential participant pool), where approved by a Research Ethics Board
  • Fees paid to research participants, such as modest incentives for participation, where approved by a Research Ethics Board
  • Materials

ELIGIBLE PRACTICE/LEADERSHIP EXPENSES

  • Registration fees to participate in practice or leadership event
  • Fees for print or digital materials to support learning objectives of event
  • Travel and hotel costs to attend in-person even
  • Meal costs (based on CPA schedule) not otherwise provided by in-person event

NON-ELIGIBLE EXPENSES

  • Costs of alcohol
  • Costs of entertainment, hospitality and gifts
  • Travel/registration/accommodation costs related to attending a conference
  • Costs related to staff awards and recognition
  • Education-related costs such as thesis preparation, tuition and course fees, leading up to a degree
  • Costs involved in the preparation of teaching materials
  • Costs of basic services such as heat, light, water, compressed air, distilled water, vacuums and janitorial services supplied to all laboratories in a research facility
  • Insurance costs for buildings or equipment
  • Costs associated with regulatory compliance, including ethical review, biohazard, or provincial or municipal regulations and by-laws
  • Monthly parking fees for vehicles, unless specifically required for field work
  • Sales taxes to which an exemption or rebate applies
  • Costs of regular clothing
  • Patenting expenses
  • Costs of moving a lab

Spotlight: CPA Campus Representative Kaytlin Constantin

Kaytlin Constantin photo
photo credit Bianca Sabatini Photography

Emily and Lucy

One of these days, and hopefully sooner rather than later, Kaytlin Constantin is going to kick someone in the ribs. She was scheduled to compete at a kickboxing tournament in May, but it got postponed. And postponed again. And postponed once more. She’s looking forward to the day it actually takes place, but is hoping she will not be competing in the 55-and-older division by the time it does. Rib-kicking is much worse for you when you are 55 and older. In the meantime, kickboxing helps with confidence, and with determination. Kaytlin says,

“A trainer I once had told me ‘What doesn’t challenge you doesn’t change you.’ So when I’m going through a tough time I tell myself this, that maybe it’s an opportunity for growth. To me it means, some goals can be hard, but that it also means you’re growing toward something or achieving something.”

Despite the ups and downs of 2020, Kaytlin is still growing toward something. She is, like the rest of us, kicking it at home. She is a CPA Campus Rep at the University of Guelph, which means she’s involved in all aspects of the campus rep program. She describes it as being the middle person for all the other reps. That means organizing and helping the other student reps to fulfil their duties, being a liaison between students and the university, and also between students and the CPA.

The Campus Rep job is primarily about making connections and helping navigate processes. Students who want to become CPA Student Reps, who want to present at the CPA Convention, or who are looking to submit articles to Mindpad, the newsletter publication written, edited, and published by the CPA Section for students.

Kaytlin did her undergrad degree at Lakehead, where she was a CPA Undergrad Rep. That means she’s been repping the CPA for about five years now, and seems to have no intention of stopping here.

“When I was an undergrad rep, I led a workshop for other students to help them create posters for the CPA convention. It was the first experience I had in more of a leadership role. Learning what the CPA convention is all about, and becoming familiar with the guidelines and expectations, was a big step in my journey to take on more leadership roles and duties.”

Perhaps Kaytlin’s lengthy involvement with CPA helped paved the way for her success. As a fourth year PhD Candidate in clinical child psychology, Kaytlin holds a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, one of the most prestigious awards available for Canadian graduate students. With this funding, she has been working on her dissertation, supervised by Dr. Meghan McMurtry in the Pediatric Pain, Health and Communication (PPHC) lab, which focuses on better understanding the way parents respond when their child is in acute pain, like during a needle procedure. Related to this, she and a team of clinicians and researchers have been working on a virtual intervention for parents and children, to help kids manage their fear of needles. Which, it turns out, is an even more timely research project than anyone could have imagined nine months ago.

TAKE FIVE WITH KAYTLIN CONSTANTIN

What is the psychological concept that blew you away when you first heard it?
The idea of self-compassion, recently, has been huge for me. The notion of responding to your own pain and suffering with the same warmth and kindness that you would to a friend. What’s amazing is how strong an effect that can have on someone’s overall well-being. I used to think being critical of myself made me a better student, researcher, clinician. But I’ve come to realize through my work in this program, and through my research, that self-compassion is an empowering and beneficial psychological skill to practice.

Favourite book
I have a favourite type of book. I like memoirs and autobiographies. I like learning about peoples’ life experiences, and I think that when someone has had a very different life experience from your own, to learn about that person’s life and to develop more perspective. Recently I’ve read Educated by Tara Westover, and Born A Crime by Trevor Noah.

Favourite word
Right now, I think I’d have to say ‘certainly’. I’ve always struggled with my confidence, and appearing confident in my work. And I feel like sometimes adding the word ‘certainly’ can help me feel more confident.

If you could spend a day in someone else’s shoes who would it be and why?
I’m going to say AOC (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez). I think she’s just phenomenal, and her advocacy around racial, economic, social justice, environmental issues is so inspiring. I would love to be able to pick her brain one day, or just shadow her for a day to see what her days are like and what her strategies and approaches are for the work she does.

If you could become an expert at something outside psychology, what would it be?
Probably something related to politics or policy works. I feel really passionate about making psychological services more accessible. Often in my day-to-day work, I feel that a systems-level change is needed, and we can’t separate health, including mental health, from socio-economic and demographic factors. And so, I think that it’s important for those of us in a position where we have a voice to be able to advocate and work toward making services more accessible and inclusive.

Kaytlin always knew she wanted to work with children, and is well on her way to doing so. Growing up in the small Northern Ontario mining town of Marathon, she never thought the path to working with children would have been psychology – her only exposure and knowledge of the discipline was through movies and television. Like the therapist who shows up in some episodes of Law & Order: SVU. But a particularly inspirational high school English teacher began to speak about the human condition, and the human mind, in the context of Shakespeare and other classic works. That teacher told Kaytlin about all the various paths psychology could provide, and she determined she was going to learn about the mind, and why people do what they do. Now here she is, just a few years later, preparing a five-week therapeutic intervention to help kids manage their fears.

Growing up in such a remote community, Kaytlin has been keenly aware of some of the impediments to receiving psychological services. She knows first-hand how geographic location can be one of the biggest barriers to receiving needed care and attention. With the intervention she’s planning, she sees the benefit of tele-psychology, especially for people in more remote locations. She also sees the more rapid embrace of technology, accelerated by the pandemic, that has allowed some of those barriers to be lessened.

Ah yes, the pandemic. It’s sort of impossible to talk to anyone now without discussing it in some way. It’s keeping us cooped up inside, preventing us from meeting at large conventions, and canceling kickboxing tournaments indefinitely. Kaytlin is taking it all in stride, and says she has been lucky enough to be able to work from home, continue with her dissertation and clinical activities, and carry on with her duties as a CPA Campus Rep, like organizing workshops – it’s just that now, they’re over Zoom. She’s especially interested in getting other students involved, whether they be collaborating with another psychology student association or signing up to be a CPA Undergrad Rep.

“It’s a great opportunity for networking, as well as a chance to develop some more leadership skills. Getting connected with other psychology student associations, becoming informed about what kind of psychology initiatives they’re involved in, and helping support and promote a community in psychology has been a wonderful experience.”

And the kickboxing? It seems like one of those sports that would be difficult to do while maintaining physical distancing. To keep up with training, does Kaytlin have anyone in her bubble who could be a willing (or unwilling) sparring partner?

“I have had to get creative…I think maybe some friends from my gym would be willing to mask up and hold pads to train, we’ll have to see! Life does go on!”

Life does, indeed, go on. Kaytlin will get her PhD. More people will connect to psychologists through remote internet platforms. Children will overcome their fear of needles. And some day, hopefully sooner rather than later, Kaytlin will earn points in competition for kicking someone right in the ribs.

The CPA has created an electronic submission system for Providers and Sponsors submitting applications to grant CPA-approved Continuing Education credit through CPA’s Continuing Education (CE) Approval Programme.

The CPA has created an electronic submission system for Providers and Sponsors submitting applications to grant CPA-approved Continuing Education credit through CPA’s Continuing Education (CE) Approval Programme.

This change also applies to existing Sponsors submitting Annual Reports for 2020-2021. This change in submission procedures includes the development of an online system for processing credit card payments. Details are available at https://cpa.ca/professionaldevelopment/applicationforms/ (English) or https://cpa.ca/fr/professionaldevelopment/applicationforms/ (French).

Spotlight: CPA Student Mentor Emily Cruikshank and Mentee Lucy Muir

Emily Cruikshank photo

Emily and Lucy

In 1958 a woman named Sue immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong. She faced a language barrier, culture shock, and a brand-new community into which she was entering. It must have been quite difficult, but also quite fascinating, to experience everything that was new and different about our country. Emily Cruikshank thinks about Sue, her grandmother, a lot. What frightened her? What amused her? What did she find overwhelming, and what did she take to right away? And how did she manage to make connections with other people despite all the obstacles?

Emily thinks about Sue because her experience has been very different. Emily makes connections quite easily, sometimes in ways that come as a surprise.
Lucy Muir photo
When students sign up for the CPA’s Student Mentorship program, they fill out a questionnaire that, much like a dating site, pairs them with a mentor or mentee that shares common traits. Are they looking to follow a similar career path? Is their reason for choosing psychology aligned with that of the other person? What are they looking to get out of their school, their courses, and their affiliation with the CPA?

Every now and then, the partnership that is formed goes well beyond the commonalities identified by that questionnaire. Such is the case with Lucy Muir, an undergrad psychology student at Ryerson, and her mentor Emily Cruikshank, a PhD student at the University of Alberta.

Emily is really into popular music – the way pop songs affect people, the way they influence culture, and the music of history that shapes the music of today. Before going to Ryerson for psychology, Lucy spent six years working across Canada in the radio industry.

TAKE FIVE WITH EMILY CRUIKSHANK AND LUCY MUIR

What is the psychological concept (bystander apathy, confirmation bias, that sort of thing) that blew you away when you first heard it?
Emily: So many! Psychology is such a rich and interesting field. But one that really shook me has to do with situational attribution or the idea that the role you are given can impact your behaviour so much. When I first learned about the Stanford Prison Experiment and the Milgram Shock Experiment I could not believe that people could do such awful things based on suggestions. But once I understood the motivation behind these actions I realized that none of us are that far off from “shocking” an innocent person!
Lucy: The rubber hand illusion! That’s and experiment where the participant has one hand out on the table, and their other hand is hidden behind an object. Then the researcher puts a rubber hand where that hidden hand would ordinarily be, beside the real hand. Then the researcher strokes your hidden hand and the rubber hand at the same time. Eventually, the participant feels the sensation IN the rubber hand. They feel as if that rubber hand is part of their body!

Do you have a sport? What is it and do you watch, play, follow it?
Emily: I am slowly getting better at long-distance running, and I love following some of the big long-distance runners in Canada and all over the world. But my all-time favourite sport is Rhythmic Gymnastics. I was on a provincial-level team when I was a young girl and I fell in love with the strength and beauty of the sport. I think it is such an amazing combination of athleticism, dance and art. My mom and I always watch the world championships and the Olympics together.
Lucy: Both of us are long distance runners. When I’d go for a long run, weird stuff was happening in my brain, and that’s one of the things that got me into psychology – I thought, ‘I want to know more about what is going on!’

If you could spend a day in someone else’s shoes who would it be and why
Lucy: As I’m answering all these questions, I’m thinking maybe I want to be a Broadway star! I’m always thinking about Broadway. So I’d love to spend a day in the mind and shoes of any of the cast members of Hamilton!
Emily: Oh my gosh, right!? I totally agree. Anyone from Hamilton. But I still think I would choose my grandma when she first came to Canada. I have always been so amazed at her strength in coming to Canada from Hong Kong and wondered what it must have been like for her.

If you could become an expert at something outside psychology, what would it be?
Emily: I would love to be an expert in popular music. It’s an area I love, I took one class in my undergraduate degree on the topic, and I think it is so cool that you could become an academic on something that impacts and changes our culture so heavily and at such a quick pace!
Lucy: There’s so much! But I would probably say physics, like quantum physics or something. I was really into math in high school and I didn’t go anywhere with it, but I’ve always found it fascinating.

Favourite word
Emily: Empower
Lucy: Burrito

Lucy is a passionate long-distance runner, and gets out to run every day as she finds it helps her mental health, especially during this pandemic where she is stuck inside so much of the time. Emily is also a distance runner, and has done 10k races and half marathons.

And, of course, they share a passion for psychology. When Lucy describes being blown away by the rubber hand illusion, Emily chimes in right away – that WAS amazing, wasn’t it? She expands on the concept, describing how that particular phenomenon has led to some interesting therapies for people with amputated limbs.

Theirs is a symbiotic mentor-mentee relationship. They meet about once a month, and Lucy tells Emily all about what she’s doing, and where she might need help. Recently, she needed some clarification on the very broad concept of ‘consciousness’.

“I just talked to Emily about it. I wasn’t quite getting what consciousness actually was, and we basically talked it out. Emily wasn’t giving me a quick nice definition for what it is – because that might not even exist – but we just talked it out. And now I get it a lot better. We also talk about just general school things, like doing classes over Zoom, and that’s pretty great.”

It’s pretty great for Emily as well. When the opportunity came up to become a mentor, she realized she wished she had had one herself as a young undergrad. So she signed up, was paired with Lucy, and they entered the program together. But that was only the beginning for Emily, who became quite inspired with the process – enough to extend her mentorship far beyond just the CPA program.

“I got really excited about [being a mentor] because I’m a big advocate of mentoring, especially for people who are looking to move forward in their studies in psychology. When I got into grad school, I wanted to participate in bridging the gap between people in undergraduate work who were interested but maybe didn’t know what options were out there. I’m really happy that the CPA is doing this kind of program because I think it’s so helpful. My program at the University of Alberta has their own internal mentoring program, so I’m also mentoring a student in the first year of their Masters program. I even do some work at my undergrad alma mater [MacEwan University] where I go into one of the 400-level classes each semester and do a Q&A about graduate school with them.”

Imagine how Sue’s life would have been different had she had a mentor when she arrived in Canada. Someone to show her who the Chinese-speaking community was, where to find the groceries she wanted, how to navigate finding employment, housing, and education for her family. Even without a mentor Sue managed to overcome all the hurdles she faced, with a strength that impresses Emily to this day.

Sue passed down some of that strength to Emily, who now shares some of it with Lucy. Lucy brings a strength of her own to Ryerson, to her studies, and to this partnership with Emily. Together, they are better off than they would be alone – and the fact that they enjoy speaking with one another is a nice bonus.

Perhaps one day they can meet in person, maybe at a race weekend half-marathon event somewhere in Canada. In the meantime, Emily will complete her PhD and go into the clinical work toward which she’s been working. Lucy will make her way through psychology studies, her future and a variety of career paths wide open to her. She says her initial attraction to the discipline came from sport psychology. Emily jumps in.

“My husband was telling me how these e-sport teams even have their own sport psychologists now, who work with them on their training for video game competitions. They do it in Korea and China, and I just thought wow – that’s a whole other level of sports psychology!”

So how about that for a career path, Lucy? Sports psychologist for a Korean team of Super Smash Brothers experts?

“Yep, done. Decision made. This is now what I’m working toward, officially.”

Call for applications for TUTOR-PHC

This call for applications for TUTOR-PHC is open to graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, mid-career clinicians, and decision makers from across primary health care. Please find more information below or distribute to people in your organization or department that may be interested in this opportunity. Thank you.

What is the TUTOR-PHC program?

Transdisciplinary Understanding and Training on Research – Primary Health Care (TUTOR-PHC), is a one-year, pan-Canadian interdisciplinary research capacity building program that has been training primary and integrated health care researchers, clinicians and decision-makers from family medicine, nursing, psychology, epidemiology, social work, occupational therapy, education, policy and many other disciplines since 2003.

CLick her for the Flyer PDF (version français ici)
Why apply?

  • Primary health care interdisciplinary research training
  • Earn University Credit & MAINPRO+ credits
  • Valuable feedback on your own primary health care research
  • Gain increased knowledge and skills in Patient-Oriented Research
  • Mentorship from experienced interdisciplinary primary health care researchers and decision-makers
  • NETWORKING experiences with research mentors & 200+ pan-Canadian / international alumni
  • Interdisciplinary team experience

TUTOR-PHC trainees gain enhanced evidence-informed decision making & leadership skills to help them become the primary health care leaders of tomorrow.

  • Each trainee will be responsible for a $3000 CND program fee

The deadline to apply is   November 30, 2020

For more information, please go to the website at: www.uwo.ca/fammed/csfm/tutor-phc

 Please contact Project Coordinator, Rob Van Hoorn (tutor@uwo.ca) if you are interested in applying.

Spotlight: Alejandra Botia, Chair-Elect of the Student Section of the CPA, and the Student Representative on the CPA Board of Directors

Alejandra Botia

“To know how to persevere
when the way grows long
and does not end
To find in the roots the answer to
this undeciphered story”

– Fonseca, ‘Vida sagrada’

Alright, these are not the actual lyrics to the Fonseca song ‘Vida sagrada’, they’re a weak English translation to the Spanish lyrics. Fonseca is a Colombian singer, and ‘Vida sagrada’ is a song about war, conflict, income inequality, and environmentalism. And, despite such heavy subject matter, it will make you want to get up and dance, just as Alejandra Botia said it would. If there’s one thing Alejandra knows (besides psychology) it’s salsa dancing.

Alejandra has only recently begun to reconnect with her Colombian roots (like salsa dancing, and Fonseca). She and her family moved to Canada when she was 12 years old, and she began quickly to detach from her country’s culture. She stopped listening to Spanish music, she started focusing entirely on the English language, and becoming integrated into Canadian culture. She became a competitive swimmer, and started the journey of lifelong learning that led her to psychology.

Alejandra is currently pursuing her PhD in Counselling Psychology at UBC. She is the Chair-Elect of the Student Section of the CPA, and she is the Student Representative on the CPA Board of Directors and will be for the duration of her term as Chair-Elect, Chair, and then Past Chair of the section. As is the custom. The way of a student in psychology is long, and does not necessarily have an end to it – but Alejandra says the experiences along the way are invaluable.

“The main reason that I wanted to become chair-elect, and be on the board, is that throughout my experiences as a student I’ve become really passionate about student engagement and professional development. It’s all about the opportunities that come up along the way that make our educational experience that much more rewarding than if you’re just going through courses and doing what you have to do.”

TAKE FIVE WITH ALEJANDRA BOTIA

What is the psychological concept that blew you away when you first heard it?
The concept of bystander apathy blew my mind in a way. It was a simple way to understand something that always seemed complex in my mind. It always seemed odd that people could see others in need of help, and yet their actions were not helpful. I was trying to understand what happened in those situations, where people just kind of froze. A better understanding of this allows me to act differently in a situation where someone needs help.
I was at a restaurant at my sister’s birthday dinner, and there was a car that crashed straight into the store across the street. Thankfully it was late at night and it was closed, so no one was inside. I remember the sound was so loud, everybody came out of the restaurant and they were standing, assessing what had happened and I think assessing whether someone needed help. But I noticed that it wasn’t everyone who got closer to see if that person needed help, and not everybody was picking up their phones to call 911. It was only a few people who were doing that, while everyone else was kind of standing still. That was a situation where I thought about bystander apathy, and how it affects our ability to help someone who might be in need.

Favourite book?
One of my favourites I’ve read recently is Untamed, by Glennon Doyle. It just speaks to so many issues that I feel passionate about. It touches on body image and eating disorders, and also on the idea of gender – becoming a woman. How much of that process in the world we think is natural, but really a lot of it is learned.

Favourite quote?
“Breathe, let go, and remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure” – Oprah Winfrey
I think COVID has some influence over why that’s my favourite quote right now, and also going through this PhD process where there are so many moving parts that demand my attention. I need to remember that if I don’t find ways to stay present and mindful, that time just goes by. And it goes by quite quickly.

If you could spend a day in someone else’s shoes who would it be and why?
I’ve been following Alexandria Ocasio Cortez for a while now. I would love to be in her brain for a day. I find her so confident, and eloquent, and strong. I think what I admire the most about her is how she doesn’t allow what others think of her to stop her from taking a stand on what she believes.

If you could become an expert at something outside psychology, what would it be?
I’d have to say the ocean. When I was little I wanted to be a marine biologist. I think that’s because when I was five, I thought that meant you would just get to play with dolphins all the time. But I’m still fascinated by it now, and I think if I could be an expert in ocean matters, that would be amazing.

Alejandra chose psychology because she wanted to learn how to help people by facilitating their work toward accomplishing their goals and experience higher levels of wellbeing. Over many years of study, she has become passionate about the intersection of psychology and areas of social justice. She’s extremely interested in how psychology can influence change at the societal level. Being a CPA board member has helped in this pursuit, not only as an inspiration but as an affirmation of those passions.

“One of the ways being part of these initiatives, and being on the board, has really helped me is that I can take that passion and learn how to transform it in a practical way. I’m learning how to take action, how to communicate with the rest of my team, brainstorming ideas so we can best benefit the Student Section. But also it’s teaching me to speak up, and learning that it’s okay to speak up. Bringing forward new initiatives and new ideas where there are people who will hear you, and who will support you. That’s what has made this a really wonderful experience already.”

Alejandra is not simply content with making the most of the opportunities afforded her as the Chair-Elect of the Student Section or the Student Representative on the CPA Board. She is also keenly invested in breaking new ground. For example, she and her cohort recently created the Counseling Psychology Student Association. She is proud of what her team, including Katie McCloskey , Syler Hayes, Sarah Woolgar, and Christopher Cook has accomplished in a short time. As Chair-Elect, she coordinates the mentorship program and contributes to newsletters, the adjudication of student grants, and to the annual conference by helping with the organization of the student section events.

Along with some teammates, she will soon be leading a workshop on equity, diversity, and inclusion. Alejandra’s main job, of course, is to work in collaboration with the Executive Team, continuously reflecting on how they can better serve our student community. All this while pursuing her other passions in the field of psychology – women’s leadership, vocational growth, and factors related to resilience in eating disorders. So what inspired her to take on even more on top of all this, to become as involved as she has in the future of Canadian psychology?

“I think one thing that drew me to it is that I’m becoming more and more involved in understanding matters relating to the intersection of psychology and social justice. So learning how to come prepared, how to be ready to speak about it, and stand by it without fear of what might happen, was a major part of what I hoped to gain by getting involved. And I have!”

Some time ago, Alejandra gave up competitive swimming and started to focus on salsa dancing. Despite the pandemic, she’s able to keep up with her lessons – she met her partner salsa dancing, and so the two of them can get some dancing in at home, in those fleeting downtimes where there is no school, and there are no executive duties, to which she must attend.

Re-connecting with her Colombian roots has been transformational for Alejandra. As Fonseca sings, she is finding in her roots the answer to an undeciphered story. It’s a story she’s currently writing, in a project she has tentatively called ‘Letters to Stella’. Stella was Alejandra’s grandmother, with whom she was very close. Stella would sometimes visit from Colombia, and Alejandra would sometimes go there to visit Stella. Sometimes, when she’s feeling down or overwhelmed, she thinks about Stella and what she would say to her in those moments. So she had this book idea where she’d be writing letters to Stella.

“She was always cheering me on and just so curious about my life.”

Were Stella alive today, there is no doubt she would be fascinated, and proud, of Alejandra’s life. She is pursuing her dream, she is re-connecting with Colombia, she’s dancing away in her apartment, confined by COVID with her partner. But of course, this is just the beginning of Alejandra’s life, and her journey. As Fonseca says;

“The way grows long, and does not end.”

Except that Fonseca, like Alejandra, says it in Spanish.

Alejandra Botia salsa dance team.

Spotlight: Ece Aydin, CPA Undergrad Representative for the UBC-Okanagan campus

Ece Aydin.
Ece Aydin has lived in the same place now for three whole years. This is unusual for her, as she has previously moved around all over the world for her entire life. Ece came straight out of high school into psychology at UBC Okanagan – but high school was in Dubai. Born in Turkey, Ece moved to Europe when she was five. There was a time where her family moved back to Turkey, and since then she has gone to an international high school in countries all over the world. Her three years at UBCO are maybe the first time in a long time she has spent three years in just once place.

Ece decided she wanted to study psychology when she was fifteen. She was fascinated by human behaviour – how our thoughts influence our behaviour, and vice versa. She was comfortable with hearing problems and anxieties from her friends, and she was good at helping them out. Now, a few years later, Ece is a third-year psychology student at UBC Okanagan, and this year became an Undergrad Representative for the CPA. A straight line academically, if not geographically.

“The things I’m learning blow my mind every single day.”

After Ece finishes her undergrad, she hopes to go to grad school – and stay in the same area. She hopes to be able to do her grad school in Vancouver, and after that a PhD in counselling psychology. Her passion is child and developmental psychology, with an eye toward adolescent psychology and addiction one day.

“I really believe in early interventions. As a child we can be molded into any type of person. Especially with disorders as children, like ADHD or autism, I feel like diagnosis in early years is really important for children to be able to navigate their lives in the future.”

When it comes to addiction, Ece really feels that early intervention is key, but also that the stigma society places on those who suffer can be overcome. That people who have substance use difficulties can be accepted, and integrated into society, in a more accepting way than they currently are. The destigmatization of addiction is something that comes up often in our conversation.

TAKE FIVE WITH ECE AYDIN

What is the psychological concept that blew you away when you first heard it?
I think it was something I learned in one of my psych classes in grade 11. It was the first time I heard about the fundamental attribution error. Which basically means that when we make a mistake, we tend to blame external factors, like our environment. But when someone else makes the same mistake as we did, we tend to blame it on their personal flaws. I never knew that I was actually doing this, until it was defined and had a name associated with it.

You can listen to only one musical artist/group for the rest of your life. Who is it?
It’s probably Amy Winehouse, as depressing as that may sound. But it’s very peaceful for me, and it has a lot of sentimental meaning for me as her album was one of the first birthday presents I remember receiving.

Top three websites or apps you could not live without and why
My messaging app, because I have to keep in contact with people, especially right now. There are people I haven’t seen in many months with whom I like to be in constant contact. Also the CNN international news, because I kind of get anxious when I don’t know what’s going on around the world. And for the third one…I guess Pinterest. I like the whole ‘organizing’ aspect of it.

If you could spend a day in someone else’s shoes who would it be and why?
That’s a very hard question. I remember when I was a kid seeing Doctors Without Borders on TV, and I think I would really like to see what that’s like. To see how it is that they’re so selfless that they go into situations that we couldn’t even imagine.

If you could become an expert at something outside psychology, what would it be?
Definitely art. It’s something I do in my personal time, and I would want to be an amazing artist, or an art critic. I want to be able to see a piece of art and define right away what it is, what the story behind it is, and what emotion they’re trying to convey.

“Whoever you are, and whatever addiction you might be going through, that doesn’t define you as a person. That’s just something you went through. And I hope to get out there and help others understand exactly what addiction is.”

As she began her second year at UBCO, Ece was looking for ways to become more involved. Student life had to be more than just attending and passing classes, right? She found the CPA website, and saw that they had Student Members and Student Affiliates. She found the Student Representative on the campus, and discovered that they were looking for an Undergraduate Rep. It was, as Ece describes, the lucky break she had not even been aware she was seeking.

“It’s really nice to be part of a psychology network where there are so many researchers and students like me. I find that I learn so many interesting things all at once when I get newsletters from the CPA.”

Of course, with COVID, the life of a CPA Undergrad Rep is not exactly like it has been for previous students in the same position.

“I haven’t been able to do anything yet this semester…I wanted to host workshops, and events, and things like that to introduce myself to other psych students – explain to them what the CPA is and the benefits of membership. But as you know, the pandemic has changed a lot of plans. We’re going to send out social media posts so anyone who is on our campus can join, and get to know us. But of course everything is going to be virtual.”

This also means that not only has Ece been living in the same place for three years, she has now been confined to the same place for eight months. Maybe this is a welcome rest, although being an undergrad psychology student, coupled with being a CPA Student Rep, does not make for the most restful of lives. What it does mean, however, is that Ece has been able to focus on her environment, and her studies, for as much time as it takes to know what she wants, and where she wants to go.

“I am going to help people in my life. This is what it’s all for, in the end.”

Spotlight: Chris Schiafone, CPA Campus Rep at the University of Guelph-Humber.

Chris Schiafone examining corpus callosum from underside of a brain model.

“Chris is awesome. He’s an awesome person to work with, and he’s taught me a lot. And even just in terms of accessibility I’ve learned so much. He’s implemented a lot of things at Guelph-Humber that other people just didn’t think of because they didn’t have an accessibility problem. I’ve been really thankful to work with Chris.”
– Angelisa Hatfield

Chris Schiafone is totally blind, but he wasn’t always. He had a little bit of vision when he was younger, and says he’s fortunate to be able to remember what things look like. It means that if you were to describe the spokes on a wheel or the shape of a pear, that he can visualize that pattern or shape. For people who are congenitally blind (since birth), however, these are more difficult concepts, and they will require a different kind of description of something. It makes things more difficult, in different ways, for a myriad of visually impaired people. And Chris advocates for all of them. Everything he has been doing in his four years of psychology has centred around trying to make the field of psychology more accessible for students with vision loss. All this with the hope that one day, there is a correction to the under-representation of visually impaired STEM students.

Chris is the CPA Campus Rep at the University of Guelph-Humber. He was formerly the Student Rep, a role now filled by his protégé Angelisa. Student Rep is just one of several roles Chris plays on the Guelph-Humber campus. He is also a committee member at Humber College for the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. He was a presenter in Halifax at the 2019 CPA Convention where he and his brother were facilitators of a forum called “Understanding the Needs of Disabled Students”. And in September he presented, with his research team, a CPA-hosted workshop called “Making Science Accessible: A Co-Design of Non-visual Representations for Visually Impaired Students”.

All of this is, of course, challenging. But it was the challenge that drew Chris to psychology in the first place. He had just completed a diploma in social service work at Seneca College, and was looking for something that would test him in a myriad of ways. While he knew psychology would be difficult, he says he had no idea what he’d be walking into on his first day.

“Scientific content can be very challenging for somebody who is visually impaired. There’s an average of about 11 images for every 1,000 words in a scientific textbook, like a psychology textbook. It’s very difficult for someone who’s blind to scale through that kind of material.”

While his passion for confronting and overcoming challenges was what drew Chris to Guelph-Humber and psychology, it was his Social Service work background at Seneca that he credits for imbuing him with the spirit of advocacy.

Chris’ very first advocacy project outside of psychology at university began almost the moment he got to Guelph-Humber. When Chris first started there, four years ago, there was no Braille in the building at all. So in his first semester, he spent the whole summer working with the CNIB orientation and mobility instructor trying to learn the building and the campus. Chris is a guide dog user, and what that means is that he has to learn the building himself, and then try to teach the dog. And once he got his schedule for school, he had to train the dog to know where his lectures would take place.

Even once all those things were done, it was still very difficult. Every hallway had dozens of doors. Some lecture halls have two doors. Chris was still not completely sure he was walking into the correct classroom, despite the hours upon hours of orientation and dog training. So he advocated. Through the first semester. Into part of the second semester. Have Braille signs put up in the university building. He wrote up a document explaining it all, things like Braille signs are best suited to be on the side of the door near the handle so a person with vision loss can read the sign and find the handle at the same time.

TAKE FIVE WITH CHRIS SCHIAFONE

What is the psychological concept that blew you away when you first heard it?
The bystander effect, for sure. I’d say that because we talk about humans helping humans, and about people doing things in society, organizations that are reaching out to help for every cause under the sun. But then there’s this whole concept of the bystander effect, and it’s like “well, I’m not going to help, because somebody else will”. And it’s like, why would you wait for somebody else to do that if you can? I’ve witnessed this personally, and that’s why it’s one of the most fascinating things. After I learned about it in school, I started to be more mindful when I was doing things, to see where  this actually occurs. And unfortunately, it probably occurs more often than we’d like it to.

Do you have a sport that you like to watch or play, and what is it?
Not an avid follower, but I do follow hockey a little bit. I find it to be one of the best sports being commentated. There’s a lot of talking, and I find it much easier to follow. I watched football before I lost my vision, but now I find following football too challenging.

If you were to write a book about yourself, what would you name it and why
Possibly…a journey through experience. I’d call it that because I don’t want to write it as ‘look at me I’m totally blind’, but rather as a journey of someone who starts as a low-vision person, and ends up totally blind. What that journey looks like in terms of education, in terms of finding work, and finally in studying neuroscience. Finding out that I had a big interest in neuroscience, and what that meant – what I had to do – to make that happen. And the supports as well – you can’t always do everything yourself. And we need help more often than we think we do.

Top three websites or apps you could not live without and why
I use a few apps that are made for the visually impaired. One I just started using again is called BlindSquare. It’s a GPS navigation app for people who are visually impaired. We can punch in addresses and it’s almost like using a Garmin or a TomTom or another regular GPS device. Google Maps actually works quite well too, so I do use both, depending on which one gives me better data! Also, I’ve always used Zoom, but since the pandemic started I’ve had to get to know Slack and Microsoft Teams, sometimes at rapid speeds which included accessibility testing to make sure I am able to use them with Screen Readers.

Favourite quote
No. I kind of have my own, that I live by. I actually closed my presentation at CPA last year with this one. “Know your goals and the pathway to get there. Don’t let any barriers stand in your way. Persistence and a positive attitude will get you where you need to go.”

At the time, Chris believes he was the only blind student at Guelph-Humber. He says his younger brother had studied there previously, but he just managed and didn’t worry about Braille. But for Chris, it comes down to different ways of learning things. Something that he takes into the rest of his schooling as well.

“If you do not have any vision, you start to lose out on some of the content that your peers have. That can even come down to learning styles, like if you’re somebody who learns better by seeing a diagram, or a 3-dimensional model. The 3D model is fine, but the images are not there for somebody like us unless they’re made into something tactile like a raised-line graphic. That’s not something that traditionally just happens in the classroom, unless the professor has prior knowledge around accessible content creation and is really, really on the ball with inclusivity.”

Now that Guelph-Humber has Braille throughout the building, Chris is confident and content in the knowledge that the next blind student who attends will have an easier time navigating the campus as a result, and that was reason enough to make sure it got done.

When we spoke for this interview, Chris expressed his love for music, and especially the work of Van Halen. He chose David Lee Roth over Sammy Hagar as his favourite lead singer, but that was a marginal call – it was the music he loved most. Sadly, Eddie Van Halen passed away from lung cancer shortly after we spoke. Just another thing to make 2020 a little bit more difficult.

Another difficulty is that COVID has forced Chris to do his 2020 schooling online, he’s a little apprehensive. Mostly about how the online content will be structured by his professors. Chris is not the kind of person who tackles an issue when it arises. Rather, he’s the kind of person who anticipates the issue ahead of time, and works out a way to ensure that the issue never comes up. Before starting any course, he reviews the entire syllabus and identifies the potential stumbling blocks along the way. He then meets with his professor to outline those potential challenges in order to have a plan in place. This may not be possible in the current school year, which presents a whole new set of tests for both Chris and his professors. He says he has a couple of particularly engaged profs; Deena and Amanda were extremely instrumental in ensuring access to their courses, even if it meant one-to-one time explaining challenges related to content specific to their Quantification and Neuroscience courses.

“I’m a big fan of neuroscience, which is where my recent Thesis research and CPA Workshop came from and a lot of my research stems from neuroscience. And in that class the professor, Dr. Mandy Wintink, did some things that were very simple, but very helpful. For example, the professor was giving a lecture on the neuron, and I was sitting there trying to visualize what it could possibly look like. How is it structured, where are the dendrites, all these different components of a neuron. Unless it’s explained in very specific terms, it’s challenging to picture what a neuron might look like if you’ve never seen it or felt it. So Dr. Winktink went out and bought candy. And she put us in groups where we made a neuron graphic on a piece of paper using candy. 3D models can be very expensive, sometimes into the thousands of dollars. So it’s not the expectation that we’d have a 3D model of a neuron just sitting there. But she found a way to include me 100% in the class through a simple activity that is likely MUCH more cost-effective.”

If there’s one thing to know about Chris it’s that not only overcoming challenges but also anticipating those challenges, is his thing. It’s what he does regularly, and what he does best. We can be certain that he will continue his schooling, his advocacy work, and his exemplary work as a CPA Student Rep through 2020 and beyond.

Postscript: RIP, Eddie Van Halen.

CPA’s 2021 National Annual Convention


The CPA has continued to monitor the ongoing issues related to the COVID-19 situation in Canada and abroad, inclusive of federal and provincial government decisions taken in the service of community safety.  Experts and all levels of government continue to warn or advise about the greater transmission risks posed by large gatherings of people.

While we do not know for how long COVID-19 will remain a public health emergency in Canada, we do know that at this time, restrictions continue to exist regarding in-person gatherings of more than 50 attendees, where proper physical distancing measures would be difficult to implement and maintain.  Accordingly, the CPA has taken the decision to cancel our in-person 82nd CPA Annual National Convention in Ottawa, ON, scheduled for June 4-6, 2021, inclusive of all pre-convention workshops that would occur on June 3rd and pivot, once again, to a virtual event over the month of June.

We have made this decision based on the guidance and directives of experts and governments, and out of concern for the safety and well-being of our members and affiliates, attendees, staff, public and the various teams that support the annual convention. With the benefit of time to plan, we are excited and confident in our ability to plan a fabulous virtual event.

In accordance with our by-laws, the CPA will convene its Annual General Meeting (AGM) virtually in June; more details will follow in the months ahead.

We will open the abstract submission system for the CPA2021 Convention by the end of October.  We hope that you will consider submitting to and participating in our virtual event; it will feature familiar presentation types as well as some new formats that align with a virtual offering.

We appreciate your understanding and flexibility as we remain responsive to the ongoing situation that COVID-19 presents, while continuing to serve our members and affiliates, and the broader community of psychological scientists, practitioners and/or educators.

We recognize and appreciate that you are likely experiencing upheaval and disruption in your daily life, both personally and professionally. We continue to wish you strength and patience, both personally and professionally, as you cope with the ongoing pandemic and look forward to “seeing” you at our virtual event.

If you have any questions or want further information, please contact the CPA at convention@cpa.ca.

Take good care and be well.
CPA Convention Department

Spotlight: Mentorship Program creator Zarina Giannone

Zarina in the House of Commons

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity. An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
– unknown

Zarina Giannone lives by the principle of creating, grasping, and making the most of every opportunity she can. When I spoke with her, we attributed this quote to Winston Churchill – almost everyone does. On further investigation, however, there is no evidence that Churchill ever said this. The earliest known utterance of a similar sentiment was by the Mayor of Carlisle, Bertram Carr, in 1919, as he addressed the Fifty-First Annual Cooperative Congress in the middle of a global pandemic.

The provenance of the quote is, of course, immaterial. It is quite likely that this was a saying that circulated England for many years before being transcribed from Bertram’s speech. I just happen to be the person who has the time to look up such things as the provenance of quotes. Zarina Giannone is not that person – she is too busy seizing real opportunities.

One of those opportunities was her election to the CPA Board of Directors as the Student Representative. Zarina had been a student rep, and from there took on role after role until finally making this step in the first year of her Master’s. She says of her three year term on the CPA Board,

“Seriously, it goes down in the books as the most important part of my training to date. Even counting my seven years of graduate school, the experience [of sitting on the Board] was the most valuable to me. Because of the people I met and learned from, but also just to see the system, how it works across the country. After my term ended on the board, I was elected to the BC Psychological Association Board, where I’ve just now come to the end of my three-year term. I’m now a senior student, and with the experience I had with the CPA Board, I have a lot more to contribute.”

There are many important parts of Zarina’s training, not all of them academic. For many years, she was an elite-level soccer player, going to UBC on an athletic scholarship and playing for the Thunderbirds for the duration of that scholarship. In fact, she focused so much on soccer at that time that she neglected her studies a little bit – it was her boyfriend at the time (now fiancé – more on that later) who encouraged her to dive more heavily into her studies, and her love for the field of psychology took off from there.

Zarina’s experiences as a high-performance athlete come in to play all the time for her now, as she works with sports teams as a mental performance consultant. In her job at the Vancouver Psychology Centre, she provides two different services, broadly speaking. One is performance related – how do you achieve peak performance, how do you get around barriers like choking or performance anxiety. The other is on the clinical side, where she deals with clinical psychological issues in sports. These might be anxiety-related, depressive symptoms, trauma-related challenges, disordered eating, and that kind of thing.

All these things – soccer, scholarships, the CPA Student Rep Program, the Student Section, the Boards, the job at Vancouver Psychology Centre, are opportunities Zarina has seized when they presented themselves. But she is also, by nature, a creator of opportunity as well. In 2015, she was learning about the systems-level approach to education and psychology from her position on the CPA Board of Directors, and also representing students on the section level as the Chair of the Student Executive.

TAKE FIVE WITH ZARINA GIANNONE

What is the psychological concept (bystander apathy, confirmation bias, that sort of thing) that blew you away when you first heard it?
There are so many… psychology is so rich with little tidbits that are mind-boggling, and I’m always impressed with something new. One specific thing might be attribution error. It’s peoples’ tendency to underemphasize situational factors when explaining other peoples’ behaviour, and to over-emphasize personality-based factors or dispositional factors to explain behaviour. The more I work with clients, the more I see that error happening. People attribute the behaviour of other people to being a bad person, or a mean person, versus something that was happening for or to that person in their own context.

Do you have a sport that you like to watch or play, and what is it?
I got into soccer very early, before I was 5. I played with an older age group, went into the provincial program and then into the youth National program. I got recruited to UBC on scholarship in Grade 12, and played out my scholarship at UBC. I also got a chance to play one season at Cardiff University in the UK. After I came back, I took up boxing and suffered a back strain, and so that changed things a lot – I play just for fun at this point, I like the co-ed leagues where I can push the guys around. Soccer still holds a huge place in my heart, and I love watching international tournaments whenever they happen. Go Italia!

You can listen to only one musical artist/group for the rest of your life. Who is it?
This one’s a bit embarrassing… one of my favourites is Sean Paul. He was really big when I was back in high school. I don’t care where I am, when I hear a Sean Paul song it puts me in a good mood and takes me back. If I could have anyone perform at my wedding, it would be Sean Paul.

If you could spend a day in someone else’s shoes who would it be and why
One of my role models, and a person that’s so interesting to me, is Michael Jordan. I’ve always been a huge fan, and I think he is a textbook case study of drive and competitiveness, and obviously his track record of being the best player of all time. I’d love to spend a day in his brain to see how he does it. And I think if we could take a little of that and spread it throughout sports, then sports might change a lot.

If you could become an expert at something outside psychology, what would it be?
I attribute this to my experiences being on the boards I’ve served on. I think it’s in politics. We want so badly to effect change within our field of psychology and we do – at the individual, group, and sometimes organizational level. But to be able to have that kind of impact on a systems level, on a larger scale, I would love to be able to effect change in that way. To really represent and advocate and be involved in changes that I see as important.

She noted issues and challenges that she had experienced as a student – having to be really resourceful throughout the various steps of her training, and not having enough information available and accessible to her. Out of this need, the Student Mentorship Program was born. Zarina realized that connecting students with one another across the country could alleviate some of these stresses for students just starting out, by pairing them with older students who had gone through the same process and could direct them in constructive ways.

Mentors are graduate-level students, while mentees are undergrads or early graduate level students. Most psychology students, by virtue of the fact that they are taking similar courses in similar subjects and following similar career paths, have a lot in common. They share a career passion and a course load, for example. But Zarina thought there could be more to the mentor-mentee relationship than simply subject matter.

When students signed up to be on either side of this partnership, they would fill out forms. What area are you hoping to go into? What are some of your interests? What would you like to get out of the mentoring relationship? Once those questions had been answered, Zarina and her colleagues from the Student Section Executive would match mentors and mentees based on shared goals, interests, and other commonalities. Kind of like a matchmaking service, in a non-romantic sense. And one that proved to be a little bit COVID-proof, since students were connecting virtually with mentors from universities all across Canada for the program.

Not all things, however, are COVID-proof, and not all things are non-romantic. Though Zarina says she hasn’t had too many problems with school, or work, since the pandemic began, one big thing remains undone. Remember that boyfriend, now fiancé, who encouraged her to get more into psychology? She was scheduled to marry him in Mexico, in November.

Even the most prepared among us, those accustomed to turning every difficulty into an opportunity, are sometimes confronted by a disappointment beyond our control. It is in this case that Zarina sees that one opportunity that exists in all circumstances – the opportunity to learn something.

“We’re going to postpone it, and hopefully have it in November of next year. Or…whenever it’s possible. We’ll figure it out, we’ll work through it, we’ll learn. I think it’s such a privilege that our whole lives we can be learning. I’m always reminded of the things I don’t know. On his death bed Michelangelo was in the middle of painting a fresco, and he told someone near him ‘ancora imparo’. ‘I’m still learning’. That’s kind of my attitude too.”

Zarina is far from the end of her days, as she is just starting her career in psychology, has just finished her PhD, and is about to start life as a married person. That leaves a lot of life, and a lot of learning, to do. And Zarina is on her way to experiencing it all.

Postscript: Michelangelo really did say ‘ancora imparo’ on his death bed, that quote checks out.

CPA/CSBBCS Virtual Career Fair

The Canadian Psychological Association (CPA), in collaboration with the Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour and Cognitive Science (CSBBCS), is pleased to announce that it will be hosting a Career Fair on November 12th, 2020.  This Fair will mark the first in a series of Career Fairs the CPA will host in 2020 and 2021.

When: Thursday November 12th, 2020 from 12pm – 4pm EST
Where: Virtual
Limited spaces available.
Cost: $10.00

Click here for more information


The CPA’s response to the federal government’s speech from the throne

The CPA applauds the government for recognizing the need to invest in the mental health of the people of Canada in today’s Speech from The Throne. The pandemic, and in particular the necessary way in which we must manage the pandemic, is taking a big toll on our mental health and resilience. The wealth of any country depends in large measure on the mental health and well-being of the people and citizens it serves. While commitment to publicly-funded health care is a core value of this country, Canada has not funded mental health care in parity with physical health care. That must change. Canada needs a health care system that delivers the care people need, where, when and from whom they need it – and includes the evidence-based services of licensed health providers like psychologists, who are trained and licensed to deliver that care. The CPA looks forward to working with the federal government to protect and advance our collective mental health.


Spotlight: CPA Undergraduate Student Rep Angelisa Hatfield

Angelisa Hatfield Vancouver gardenAngelisa Hatfield has been sitting still for an entire hour. She’s on a Zoom call, and stuck outside on her boyfriend’s porch – the result of having a hole in her own room repaired while she temporarily resides five minutes away. I get the sense that sitting in one place for something like a Zoom call is atypical for Angelisa, who is always on the move.

We’re talking about psychology, and the CPA student rep program. Angelisa is just starting her second year as the undergrad student rep at the University of Guelph-Humber in Toronto. Guelph-Humber does only undergrad programs, so that makes Angelisa one of only two student reps on the campus (the other, Chris Schiafone, is the campus rep).

“It’s a small school, so you get to connect with students a lot more. I’m so involved on campus that everything is kind of intertwined for me now. I did research with the assistant program head in facial recognition, and then working at the front desk at school under the main office’s supervision, working in student services – everything connects so quickly that it kind of blurs the lines between my roles.

For example, I’m now doing CPA events with Career Services, because my career coordinator is so good at planning events, and she has so many ideas, that we thought ‘why not just collaborate – no reason to be doing this separately when we could be doing it together’. So now we’ll do something like a big psychology dinner, bringing the CPA’s connections in with the school’s connections. We’re talking about bringing Addiction Rehab Toronto (more on them later) in for coffee time chats.

Guelph-Humber is one of those communities where there’s a lot of community connection and involvement, and I’ve found myself being the networking tool, especially remotely!”

Before she started her university career in psychology, she considered other fields – she thought about nursing, social work, radiology, cardiology…the list goes on. Basically, she knew she wanted to be in what she calls the ‘helping fields’ – somewhere where she could impact the lives of other people. Psychology seemed like a field where you could learn a LOT of different things, and the inclusion of a co-op program at Guelph-Humber meant she could get hands-on experience helping people. That sealed the deal.

Even now, in the summer months away from school and in the middle of a pandemic, Angelisa is helping people every day. She is a volunteer at Addiction Rehab Toronto (A.R.T.) a private rehab centre in Toronto, and she shows up randomly even when she doesn’t have a volunteer shift. ART is a lot like Angelisa herself, in that it has a wide variety of interests and specialties. It offers a nutrition program, group therapy, CBT and DBT, mindfulness activities, psychotherapists and addiction counselors…the list goes on.

TAKE FIVE with Angelisa Hatfield

What is the psychological concept that blew you away when you first heard it?
For me, it’s the self-fulfilling prophecy. It was a huge realization that our thoughts have more power than we thought they did. And also how when we impose our thoughts on other people sometimes it can influence them too. I’ve thought a lot about how self-fulfilling prophecy interacts with racism. For example if a teacher has an idea about a certain student of a certain race, and thinks they’re going to behave a certain way, then they treat them that way, and that student begins behaving that way. It becomes this cycle that fulfills itself. But you can also use it on the positive side and if you think positively you can bring about positive things in your life and that of others.

Top three websites or apps you could not live without and why
Definitely news apps. I need news. Not knowing what’s going on makes me scared. Also Twitter, that’s the social media I’m on all the time. It’s a place where people can dump their ideas and feelings and people can relate to each other. And it’s funny sometimes to watch people argue while you sit with popcorn. And the last one is Google – I use it all the time, any time I don’t know something we’re Googling it. And it’s something where if you spent two minutes on Google you can spare a lot of time arguing with someone, or saying something ignorant.

Favourite book
It sounds really cliché, but it’s Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. It’s a good book and I could really relate to it at the time. It kind of introduced me to mental health in my pre-teen years. And another is It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini. Both of these were books that were about mental health that were adapted into movies that I didn’t hate. And they were books that needed to become coming-of-age movies.

If you could spend a day in someone else’s shoes who would it be and why?
I’ve always wanted to be an eagle, or a hummingbird. Just having the ability to fly, and go wherever you want whenever you want and make a home wherever it is you land. I also feel like birds have a sense of community – you hear one bird chirp, and then three others come, and they’re never alone. For me it was always birds. My next tattoo is a bird. The hummingbird reminds me of myself, always zooming around from one thing to another, always with others and arguing and moving. And the eagle reminds me of my heritage. I’m from the Azores, an island off Portugal, and there’s an eagle in our flag.

If you could become an expert at something outside psychology, what would it be?
Everything, ideally. But if I had to pick just one thing, it would probably be architecture. Or home design. Or environmentalism, animals, biology, and how the ecosystem works.

“Addiction is a [field] where you don’t have to choose a specialty. You can learn a little bit of everything. There are people who have all sorts of mental health problems, and all sorts of backgrounds. I was struggling with ‘what do I focus on – just schizophrenia, just PTSD, just eating disorders’ but at an addiction centre you deal with everything because everyone has something. It’s a very diverse place, so it’s a great way to get a lot of perspectives and world views from a wide variety of people.”

Angelisa collects diverse perspectives and world views, and has about as open a mind as anyone I’ve ever met. She recognizes in herself the desire to learn everything she can about every subject she can, and she will move on quickly after learning something to whatever is next. She can’t listen to the same artist twice in a row on her phone’s playlist, and will skip and move on. She identifies with hummingbirds, who aren’t content with sampling just one flower, but who flit from one to the other so they can take in the absolute most that the field has to offer. The only thing consistent in this constant movement is that the learning she does is geared toward just one thing – helping others.

She says that one thing learning psychology has meant for her is that she can no longer get annoyed with other people. Even if they’re behaving in a way that’s injurious to her, or doing something she knows to be wrong, she understands at a base level why they’re behaving that way, and for that reason interpersonal anger is not an option.

In fact, she has a tattoo of a bee – because, she says, ‘even though life stings, bees are necessary’. With that logic, you can’t even be mad at a bee that stings you!

Even COVID is not making Angelisa angry, it’s something that gives her an opportunity to maintain her connections and forge new ones remotely as she plans for the upcoming school year. Where she will continue to volunteer with ART, work in student services, be involved in every aspect of campus life, and get on with being a CPA undergrad student rep. Much like everything else she does, Angelisa thinks of her nomination to be a student rep as a sort of happenstance.

“I got really close with my program head and with Chris (Schiafone, the Campus Rep), and they said I’d be a good fit. [Being an undergrad CPA rep] was something that I just fell into randomly, but I’m glad that I did. It opened up a lot of doors and it let me use my background and skills the way I wanted to. Chris has given me a lot of freedom with it, and let me take it where I want it to go. So it’s been nice.”

For this, her last year at Guelph-Humber, Angelisa will serve as CPA undergraduate rep and complete her bachelor’s degree. After that it’s on to more learning and more schooling. And then? Maybe she’ll continue working in the addiction field, where the variety of the job is appealing. Maybe as a researcher, or a clinician, or something else entirely. Maybe all of it at once.

Along the way she will find time, every now and then, to sit in one place and do one thing for an hour. Even if it’s to get a hummingbird tattoo that matches the bee.

Spotlight: CPA Graduate Student Affairs Officer Melissa Mueller

“You’ll never be more than a 70s student.”
Some Grade 12 math teacher in Calgary, one time

Melissa Mueller boxingMelissa Mueller is a fighter. Figuratively speaking, that is, in that she’s determined and focused. In Grade 10, a friend mentioned in passing that she was able to talk to Melissa about her problems without fear of everyone else finding out. She decided at that moment, in Grade TEN, she would become a psychologist. Two years later, her Grade 12 math teacher told her she’d never get better marks than 70s. She determined then and there that her goal would be to obtain a PhD. She’s currently a few steps away from obtaining a PhD in psychology.

Melissa is also a fighter – literally. She is a boxer, and trains at a local gym in Calgary (Rumble) when she’s not at school. “It’s a way to blow off some steam”, she says – and as busy as Melissa is, it’s important to make time for self-care and relieve the pressures of school, practicums, COVID, and everything else.

As it has for almost all of us, COVID has created some stress for Melissa. As she returns to the University of Calgary in the fall, all her classes are now online. But as a TA, she does have to go to the campus to teach a lab. As a school and applied child psychology student, any practicum that she does will likely be in a school setting as schools re-open with a lot of uncertainty. And as the CPA Graduate Student Affairs Officer, the process of recruitment, retention, and communication with Graduate Student Representatives across Canada has changed a good deal as well.

TAKE FIVE with Melissa Mueller

What is the psychological concept that blew you away when you first heard it?
Something I found out while learning about CBT – which is the way we can separate thought from emotion… that you can change the way you think about things which can change the way you feel about them which can in turn change your behaviour.

You can listen to only one musical artist/group for the rest of your life. Who is it?
Noah Schnacky, a country singer I discovered on TikTok. He’s quite young, so he’ll be building a catalogue for many years and I can hear all the new stuff that way!

Favourite book
Anything by Nicholas Sparks. I think my current favourite is Safe Haven.

Favourite word
“Gregarious”. I had to learn it while studying for the GRE, and I think it sounds amazing.

If you could become an expert at something outside psychology, what would it be?
Interior design. Right now I go to Pinterest for all my ideas, but it would be pretty cool to be able to create spaces with the knowledge and intention to facilitate a certain atmosphere or “feel.”

She always struggled with math in high school. Trying to keep numbers in her head while doing a calculation was not her strong suit, and she would get confused and mess up even relatively easy equations. What turned things around for her was a pretty simple accommodation. At some point in math class, as you start to do more advanced things like algebra, calculus, and trigonometry – they let you have a calculator. Now Melissa no longer had to keep all those numbers in her head, and she could focus on the important stuff – the actual math problems.

It was struggles (and solutions) like these in school that led Melissa down her current path. She is in the School and Child Psychology program, because she knows that all children learn things a little differently. She can empathize with them and wants nothing more than to help them overcome similar struggles to those she herself had when she was younger.

Melissa’s last practicum was at a school for kids with severe disabilities. There were many specialists who worked there, in a holistic environment that took into account the idea than few disabilities exist in a vacuum, and there is often correlation between difficulties. For this reason, the school employed psychologists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists among others.

This is one of two dream scenarios for Melissa post-graduation. She wants to work in a school with an interdisciplinary team – and also run a private practice where she has more direct personal control over direction, treatment, and outcomes. It seems very likely she will end up doing both, and few people are likely to dissuade her. Or maybe somebody will tell her she can’t do both – which will all but guarantee that she will.

Spotlight: CPA Undergraduate Student Affairs Officer Nicole Boles

“If you could walk in someone else’s shoes for just one day, who would it be?”

“It would have to be a famous and brilliant mathematician like Nicolas Copernicus, because my brain seems to shut down whenever I’m given a task involving any sort of math. So I feel like being able to switch brains with a mathematician and seeing what happens in their head would be quite interesting.”

It’s not random that Nicole Boles chose Nicolas Copernicus, of all the famous mathematicians. Copernicus was the mathematician and astronomer who, in the Renaissance era, proposed a model of the universe that had the sun at the centre of it, rather than the Earth. He had, one can assume, a very interesting head in which a psychologist could spend a day. He was also Polish.

Nicole Boles dancingNicole is very much connected to her Polish heritage. She still speaks Polish, although she says it’s getting a little rusty and she needs to keep it up so as not to lose it. She has deep connections with the Polish community in Calgary, and at the University of Calgary where she studies. And she’s actually been to Poland, traveling there with friends as part of a Polish folk dancing group. She was part of that group until her third year of university, when she found her specific passion, and quit to focus on her studies.

Now a fifth-year student at the University of Calgary, Nicole is going to apply to graduate schools throughout the year, with an eye toward studying speech and language pathology. She is also working as a literacy instructor by following a one on one literacy program aiming at strengthening children’s oral and written language skills. This was the passion she discovered in third year, and she is heading in a straight line toward the ultimate goal – working with children to help them with speech, language, and communication.

Nicole is also the Undergraduate Student Affairs Officer for the Canadian Psychological Association. That means she manages the student representative program. Recruiting members and prospective applicants, ensuring constant communication with those members, applicants, and current representatives. Nicole also collects and distributes reports from each campus.

TAKE FIVE with Nicole Boles

What is the psychological concept that blew you away when you first heard it?
A recent one is the Whorfian hypothesis. This is, basically, the idea that language influences thought in a certain way. People who speak different languages will construe reality in different ways. For example, Russian speakers divide light and dark blues. That is, they have a term for light blue and another term for dark blue. And research has shown that they can distinguish between these two colours at a faster rate than English speakers. The difference is not that English speakers are unable to distinguish between light blue and dark blue, but that Russian speakers are unable to avoid making that distinction.

You can listen to only one musical artist/group for the rest of your life. Who is it?
I grew up listening to Fleetwood Mac, and that would have to be it. And the catalogue would be a lot wider if I can throw in the spinoffs – Steve Nicks solo, the Buckingham-McVie stuff. I actually attended Fleetwood Mac’s final concert, which was very special.

Top three websites or apps you could not live without and why
My camera app. Also Apple Notes, because I always need to write down everything and I need it to be in once place or else I’ll inevitably forget or lose it. And…does the phone app itself count as an app on a phone? Like making phone calls? I need that one too.

Favourite book
My favourite book, hands down, is Kids These Days. It’s a game-changing book by a clinical psychologist named Dr. Jody Carrington. She offers strategies to educators, teachers, bus drivers, etcetera to re-connect with “kids these days”. I work with children, so I could really empathize with certain aspects of this book, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who works with kids or has worked with kids in the past.

Favourite quote
“If you want something done right, ask a busy person.” I feel like there’s nothing truer than that.

“I wasn’t really aware that CPA even existed until [that] third year as a university student. At that point I was now involved in research, and I had found my specialization, and I got a job related to it. At that time I became a little more involved with the psychology association on my campus, and they brought up CPA. It was super-cool to see that there’s this higher-level association working to promote psychology. I knew I was going to want to be more involved.”

Fortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has not affected her duties as the Undergrad Officer very much – a lot of the job is sending and receiving emails from all over Canada, and very little of the job in the past has been done in person. It’s the school year itself that might be a little more tumultuous, as Nicole will be taking her fifth year entirely online. She realizes that she’ll have to adapt her learning style a little bit, to become more of a self-directed learner than she has been up to this point.

That includes the more difficult assignments and research projects – the ones involving math. Though she may struggle with math, Nicole is driven and ambitious and has a goal in mind. I get the sense that could she actually live for a day in the head of Copernicus, she would emerge a competent, if not a brilliant, mathematician herself.

For the time being though, Nicole is going to struggle through math, adjust to full-time online learning, and complete her fifth year at the University of Calgary. She’s also going to spend the next two years as the Undergraduate Student Affairs Officer at the CPA, helping undergrads navigate this brand new world in which they find themselves.

“I really like working for an organization that allows you to work closely with professionals in the field, and I really want to reach out to undergrads, so I’m looking forward to that. I know that for me personally it was a bit of a struggle transitioning from high school to university, and I’m sure that’s a hurdle that many students face. So I feel pretty proud to be part of CPA, because they strive to make students feel more at ease, more confident, and more supported.”

Nicole is certainly at ease when we speak, and she is confident in her abilities and in her chosen career path. It’s a straight line toward the future, helping children with speech and language difficulties. And it’s also a straight line from the past, a past which Nicole is intentionally bringing along with her. One day, she will be helping with communication in both English and French. And who knows? Perhaps in Polish as well.

32nd ICP2020 and IUPsyS Assembly Rescheduled to July 2021

Due to the public health risks and challenges presented by the novel coronavirus pandemic, the 32nd International Congress of Psychology (ICP) 2020 and the Annual General Assembly of the International Union of Psychological Science (IUPsyS), which was to be held from July 19-24, 2020 in Prague, Czech Republic, has been re-scheduled to July 18-23, 2021 at the same Prague Congress Centre. 

APA PsychSolutions Competition

The American Psychological Association, has invited CPA members to participate in the PsychSolutions Competition on behalf of CPA, an organizational partner of the APA. PsychSolutions is a new international initiative of APA’s Office of International Affairs that promotes the critical role of psychological science in addressing global health challenges. This competition, open to all APA members/affiliates and members of APA partner associations, will seek proposals that demonstrate impact in prevention of mental health challenges/well-being and/or the reduction of the burden of suffering. The selected winner will be awarded a $10,000 USD grant to advance their initiative and will work with the APA communications team to promote their efforts.

PsychSolutions Summary.pdf

PsychSolutions Terms and Conditions.pdf


Written Submission for the Pre-Budget Consultations in Advance of the 2021 Budget by the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA)

Written Submission for the Pre-Budget Consultations in Advance of the 2021 Budget by the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA)

Read the submission (PDF). (version francais ici).

See also the submissions from The Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) and The Canadian Consortium for Research (CCR)


Making the Transition to Online Teaching and Learning: A Guide for Instructors

In response to requests from psychology educators, The CPA’s Education Directorate has developed a brief guide to taking university instruction in psychology online. The guide has a brief overview of the processes involved in student learning, as well as helpful tips to increase student engagement, and provides a framework for course planning and development along with templates for course and lesson planning. It contains extensive links to other sources of practical help in making the transition from in-person to online environments. The guide is intended to be a living document, and will be updated as new links and information become available.

Making the Transition to Online Teaching and Learning: A Guide for Instructors


Dr. Kim Corace, CPA President (2020/2022), named the first Vice President of Innovation at Transformation at The Royal

Dr. Kim CoraceCongratulations to CPA President (2020/2022), Dr. Kim Corace, who has been named the first Vice President of Innovation at Transformation at The Royal. Her role will be to provide strategic leadership for mental health and addiction system transformation, including innovation in patient care service delivery models, at the regional and provincial levels.

The full release can be found here.

 


Practice Disruption Insurance Coverage

Any CPA member, or any member of a provincial/territorial association of psychology, who purchased the Clinic/Business insurance package through BMS, in the year ending June 2020, and wishes information or advice about practice disruption coverage as the result of COVID-19, please contact Chris Blom at Miller Thomson cblom@millerthomson.com  


Special Call for COVID-19 Related Submissions for Presentation at the CPA’s 2020 Virtual Series

CPA 2020 Virtual EventThe impacts of COVID-19 are wide-reaching, impacting all aspects of life as we know it.  In light of COVID-19, the CPA made the decision to transition its annual 2020 in-person convention to a virtual series offered over the months of July and August.

The CPA is committed to knowledge exchange and community for all its members and affiliates. To that end, the virtual series will feature hundreds of submissions from individuals accepted to present at the CPA’s in-person convention. It will also feature a specialized stream devoted to COVID-19 and pandemics.

We are re-opening and accepting new submissions, specific only to COVID-19 and pandemic-related presentations at the CPA’s virtual series in August.  Submissions unrelated to COVID-19 or pandemics will not be accepted.

You may submit to virtually present a poster, Gimme 5, 12-minute spoken presentation, 25-minute theory review, or 55-minute symposium (comprised of at least 2 presentations).

We will begin accepting submissions Monday June 15th (https://events.decorporate.ca/CPA2020/abstract/. Deadline for submissions is June 26th. All submissions will undergo a rapid peer review. Acceptance notices will go out by July 10th.

For more information, contact us at convention@cpa.ca.


CPA Statement against Anti-Black Racism and Discrimination

The Canadian Psychological Association rests on a foundation of policy and principle of anti-discrimination and respect for the dignity of persons.  These policies and principles are embedded in the Code of Ethics which guide the science, practice and education of psychology in Canada. 

2020 has challenged Canadians, and citizens of the world, to be brave; to overcome stresses to our health and welfare and to do it with kindness, respect, and compassion. Anti-Black racism jeopardizes our success as individuals, families, communities, workplaces and societies.  Our success depends on our willingness and ability to look after ourselves and each other and to work together. There is no room for racism, prejudice or systemic discrimination in a just society.  

A just society enables all its members to contribute, to thrive, and to make a positive difference when facing fortune and when facing adversity.  The CPA invites people to stand together, to stand up and to stand close against anti-Black racism and discrimination of all kinds. 


CIHR Operating Grant : COVID-19 Mental Health & Substance Use Service Needs and Delivery

Registration Deadline: June 18, 2020
Application Deadline: July 7, 2020
Anticipated Notice of Decision: Aug. 25, 2020
Funding Start Date: Sept. 1, 2020

Click here to apply for the opportunity: https://www.researchnet-recherchenet.ca/rnr16/vwOpprtntyDtls.do?prog=3340&language=E


As a part of the Government of Canada’s continued rapid response to address major health challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the third funding opportunity in CIHR’s COVID-19 and Mental Health (CMH) Initiative, Operating Grant: COVID-19 Mental Health & Substance Use Service Needs and Delivery, launches today to:

  1.  Understand and address the acute mental health and/or substance use needs of individuals, communities and/or populations, and/or the effects on related care systems, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and
  2. Develop the evidence to better match access to mental health and/or substance use services with the people who need them the most, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The registration deadline for this funding opportunity is June 18. Like the previous CMH Initiative funding opportunities, Operating Grant: COVID-19 Mental Health & Substance Use Service Needs and Delivery has urgent deadlines to ensure the timely delivery of critical knowledge. As the mental health effects of the pandemic continue, help us fill this critical research need by sharing this information with interested colleagues.

To connect with CIHR about the CMH Initiative or funding opportunities therein, please email COVID19MH-COVID19SM@cihr-irsc.gc.ca

CPA’s 2020 Strategic Plan

At the 2020 Annual General Meeting, the CPA was glad to announce the launch of its 2020 Strategic Plan.  The plan was developed in consultation with CPA members and prospective members, affiliates as well as its Board and staff. It defines the CPA’s mission, vision, guiding principles, operating principles, as well as six strategic goals which will guide the organization’s activity from 2020 through 2025.  I would like to invite you to review our new Strategic Plan and consider how you can help your association work for you.”
Dr. Kim Corace, CPA President 2020/21


Working with the Federal Government

CPA sent a letter to the House of Commons Standing Committee to offer our expertise in assisting in identifying sustainable solutions that keep Canadians mentally as well as physically healthy (see letter).

CPA, along with other national health organizations, met with the Federal Minister of Health on May 21st to discuss the role of the federal government in the context of COVID-19.  The Minister did indicate that the government is discussing what additional investments could be made in the mental health space.


COVID-19 and the Impact on Research

COVID-19 has had an enormous impact, in a short period of time, on the academic workplace. CAUT launched an online town hall series titled COVID-19 and the Academic Job, to support academic staff in this constantly changing and uncertain time.

Join us for an online forum discussion with the Tri-Councils on funding measures to address impact on research

in the context of COVID-19, Thursday, May 21, 11:30 am to 1:00pm EDT.

Please register now at https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_oVWAsWyNTMW-cRhs1dxcPQ.

Representatives:
• Dominique Bérubé, Vice-President, Research, SSHRC
• Dr. Marc Fortin, Vice-President, Research Partnerships, NSERC
• Dr. Danika Goosney, Vice-President, Research Grants and Scholarships Directorate, NSERC
• Adrian Mota, Acting Associate Vice-President, Research, Knowledge Translation and Ethics, CIHR

Submit advance questions for the panelists to education@caut.ca.

CPA Members Leading an International Study on Awareness, Attitudes, Impacts and Behaviors related to COVID-19: Please complete the Phase 2 survey!

The Montreal Behavioural Medicine Centre (www.mbmc-cmcm.ca), along with international team of over 150 researchers from more than 40 countries around the world, are trying to assess the public perceptions, attitudes, concerns, and responses to the various measures put in place to prevent or reduce the spread of COVID-19. The study, led by Dr. Kim Lavoie (UQAM, CIUSSS-NIM) and Simon Bacon (Concordia University, CIUSSS-NIM) in collaboration with several CPA members from across Canada, will link the survey to policy and case data from around the world to estimate the effectiveness and impacts of current strategies used to ‘flatten the curve’ of COVID-19. 

Thanks to your help, we received over 35,000 responses for phase 1! (see preliminary result updates here: https://mbmc-cmcm.ca/covid19/stats-wave1/)

To find out more information or to take the Phase 2 survey (which is available in multiple languages), please go to: www.mbmc-cmcm.ca/covid19

Health Psychology and Behavioural Medicine Section Survey: How is the COVID-19 pandemic affecting academic faculty in Canada?.

Tell us how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting you and your research!

  • We are recruiting academic faculty to participate in a short survey about the experience and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Canadian academics
  • Survey duration: 20 minutes
  • Participants can enter into a draw to win a $100 gift card for Skipthedishes or UberEats (odds of winning are approx. 1 in 20). 

Click here to complete the survey: https://uregina.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6Qqe4GgmDJaO2Ut

Message Regarding the CPA/CPAP BMS Liability Insurance Program

BMS, CPA logo
Dear Members,

We hope that you are continuing to stay healthy during this challenging time.

On or around May 1st, you will receive the 2020-2021 CPA/CPAP[1] Liability Insurance Program renewal from the program’s broker, BMS. You will see that Professional Liability Insurance (PLI) premium has increased this year. We regret that the increase comes at this challenging time of COVID-19, but please know that the increase is not related to the pandemic but to the increased cost of claims on the psychology program. There has been a steady increase in the cost of claims on the program year over year, with several years where the costs of claims paid by the Insurer have exceeded the premium they collected.

When BMS presented CPA/CPAP with this year’s renewal terms, we requested that they conduct a marketing exercise and approach different Insurers to provide alternate quotes. Several Insurers declined to provide terms due to the volume and frequency of claims and costs paid under the program. Two Insurers did provide alternate terms; however, they did not offer comparable coverage and were not competitively priced. The premium charged this year is substantiated by actuarial analysis and has been renegotiated several times to keep the increase to the lowest amount acceptable to the Insurer to renew the policy.

We recognize the financial difficulty that a premium increase may present, particularly given the timing and impact that the current COVID-19 pandemic continues to have on individuals and businesses. Given this, CPA/CPAP and BMS, have collectively negotiated with the Insurer to offer members the option to defer a portion of their PLI premium to lessen the immediate impact of this change. To support CPA members, and members of CPAP associations during this time, there is an option to pay 50% of your Professional Liability / Commercial General Liability premium by June 1st, with the remaining half deferred to November 1, 2020. This is not mandatory, and premiums can be paid in full for the June 1st renewal, however we wanted to provide an option for members seeking assistance.

2020-2021 Professional Liability Insurance coverage

Our goal at renewal, was to give members the best coverage at the best possible premium. One of the ways to keep premiums as low as possible was to offer only the $10M/$10M Professional Liability (PLI) limit rather than both the $7M/$10M and $10M/$10M options as in previous years.

Your CPA PLI policy continues to include $300,000 of Regulatory Legal Expense coverage to protect members by covering defence costs if you are investigated by your regulatory body (College). This is an essential piece of coverage as over 80% of claims under the CPA/CPAP program in any given year are College complaints. We are aware that in an effort to reduce insurance claims, other programs or policies for psychologists have removed coverage for defence against College complaints and disciplinary hearings. While this may result in lower premiums, it also leaves psychologists without the kind of insurance coverage they are most likely to need. BMS is committed to ensuring that members areprovided with comprehensive coverage that represents the needs and greatest practice exposures for psychologists.

With some members shifting to deliver professional services via telepsychology, we would also like to confirm that the CPA/CPAP PLI policy will cover you for services delivered virtually. As with the coverage generally, you must be acting within your scope of practice and licenced jurisdiction(s). If you are delivering your services via telepsychology, however, BMS recommends that you purchase additional cyber security and privacy liability coverage so that you have adequate coverage for the kinds of exposures specific to a virtual practice.

Retiring members, or those discontinuing practice, will also benefit from an increase in the Automatic Extended Reporting Period coverage from one year to two years. You also continue to have the option to secure unlimited reporting period (tail coverage) to protect you indefinitely following retirement. To our knowledge, this is the only program for psychologists where this is offered.

Psychologists who are members of both CPA and a participating provincial/territorial association will continue to receive a discount on their premiums. Please feel free to connect with BMS at 1-855-318-6038 or psy.insurance@bmsgroup.com if you have any questions about the policy. To share any queries or concerns with the management of the program, contact executiveoffice@cpa.ca

We thank you for your participation in this program and the confidence you have placed in Canada’s associations of psychology. Be safe, stay well.

[1]The CPA/CPAP program is available to members of CPA as well as members of the provincial/territorial associations of psychology who make up the Council of Professional Associations of Psychologists (CPAP).

Federal Emergency Response Programs

The federal government has announced a series of programs to address disruptions in employment income and business revenue.  Most recently the CPA was pleased to see changes in the Canada Emergency Business Account [CEBA], which expands the payroll threshold from $50,000 to $20,000 to be eligible for a maximum loan of $40,000.  The CPA remains concerned that members in private practice are still not eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit [CERB], the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy [CEWS], and Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) programs and has communicated with the Minister of Finance and Health (see letter). In coordinating its efforts, the CPA has worked closely with the Extended Health Care Professionals Coalition.