Presidential Update Fall 2022

headshot of Dr. KeedyAs the leaves begin create their stunning autumn landscape and pumpkin flavor takes its turn on the chalkboard menus of local coffee shops, this update occurs at a fitting time for an annual reflection on gratitude. I am filled with an immense gratitude for IPA members and what we have been able to accomplish and expect to achieve in the upcoming year due to our collective efforts as an association. In the summer update, I provided a snapshot of the efforts of our leaders and committees this year. We have a number of upcoming training events, a virtual book club hosted by the Diversity and Social Justice Committee, in-person social opportunities, and continually expanding troves of informational resources on our website, our blog, and our E-list. I am routinely impressed by the talents and devoted efforts of IPA members. As I consider the whirlwind of the past three years, this association’s level of ambition and achievement is amplified.

The past few years created an increase in awareness of the importance of access to mental healthcare, which is wonderful in terms of a significant shift away from stigmatization. Unfortunately, this time period did not also create a commensurate increase in providers to deliver this care. This is a challenging time to serve as a psychologist in a state already suffering psychologist shortages prior to the pandemic. Similar challenges extend to other spheres in which psychologists serve as well (e.g., educational settings). My conversations with psychologists over the past several months have consistently included a sense of the pressure we feel of wanting to help as many people as we can while also wanting to ensure we are setting the limits we need to take care of our own mental health needs and to maintain activities and relationships we find nourishing. The pressure, however, does not disappear. It is the norm, rather than the exception, to receive direct and specific requests to reconsider each type of limit we may have established. We are also exposed to messages that indicate the mental healthcare system is “broken,” access is difficult, and somehow there is more that must be done. Naturally, many if not all of us may treat our limits as flexible and try to tread carefully on the fine line between nourishment and depletion in our professional lives.

In January of this year, our amazing and incredibly compassionate President Elect, Dr. Nicole Holmberg, voiced the initial formulations of an idea to plan a retreat for psychologists and other mental health providers that would provide continuing education regarding topics associated with optimizing psychological well-being while also allowing respite, time to unwind, and experiential components interwoven into the educational activities. This general idea sparked initial outreach that led to our similarly wonderful and reflective Past President, Dr. Valerie Keffala, inviting Dr. Russell Kolts to speak about Compassion-Focused Therapy at the upcoming Fall Conference. This workshop fits with the desire to provide professional nourishment within a professional development activity.

The two-day Spring 2023 Conference will serve as a way for IPA to provide a retreat for IPA members with renowned speakers, Dr. Fadel Zeidan and Dr. Jenna LeJeune, who have agreed to offer experiential components within their presentations, as well as opportunities for guided self-care activities (e.g., yoga) interspersed through the weekend and a serene outdoor setting at Honey Creek Resort. It is hoped that IPA members and others who may attend the retreat will benefit from an opportunity for self-care within a professional learning activity after a particularly taxing three years. We hope to see IPA members take advantage of this unique continuing education opportunity. I would be remiss in not again highlighting the enthusiasm and energy of Dr. Holmberg and Dr. Keffala in leading the Program Planning Committee and securing an exciting array of speakers for these unique events. I am merely fortunate in having this opportunity to provide a window into the impetus for the self-care theme reflected in these conferences.

While gratitude is occasionally voiced and highly rewarding in our professional lives, it may at times feel minor in comparison to the requests to offer more than we have to give. As one person, I would like to say, thank you for staying the course and continuing to provide this care to Iowans. Our connection and support is a major factor that helps us serve Iowans better than we could without the camaraderie, shared knowledge, and collective efforts that are possible through this exceptional association. With you all, I share a world of gratitude.


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Comments on "Presidential Update Fall 2022"

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Valerie Keffala - Thursday, November 03, 2022

What a beautifully written blog post, Dr. Keedy! You have been an amazing leader through it all. I am very grateful for YOU!!

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