History of APP

To our members, past and present – We are compiling this organizational history mainly from the recollections of previous members and officers. If you have information that would help us make it more complete, or if you spot a mistake we have made, we would appreciate it very much if you would contact our archivist, Dana O’Brien, and share your insights with her.

ORGANIZATION:

The Association of Practicing Psychologists: Montgomery-Prince George’s Counties, Inc. (APP) was founded in 1973 by Drs. Harvey Sweetbaum, Robert Kayton, and Irving Raifman, to give a stronger voice to the practicing psychologists in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties.

APP is a non-profit corporation, and its non-profit status was first recognized by the State of Maryland in 1975. Its officers and committee chairs serve without pay.

APP currently has approximately 225 psychologist members.

THE EARLY DAYS:

APP was formed initially as a vehicle for mobilizing official support for legislation to allow psychologists to serve as expert witnesses in court proceedings. The effort was successful, and APP continued on in the 1970’s and 1980’s primarily as a political/legislative advocacy group.

In the early years the group met at members’ homes. Meetings began to be held at what is now the Town Center Hotel on Colesville Road in Silver Spring as membership increased and the focus shifted from advocacy to continuing education.

CONTINUING EDUCATION PROGRAMS:

Since the late 1980’s APP’s primary focus has been on providing its psychologist members high quality continuing education at reasonable cost.

In December, 1982 APP was approved by Maryland’s Board of Examiners in Psychology to give continuing education credits.

APP annually offers at least one CE program covering legal and ethical matters in order to help its members meet licensure requirements for six CEU’s biannually in these areas.

CE programs have traditionally been held on Sunday mornings, and members are encouraged to come early to enjoy the breakfast buffet and the fellowship of colleagues.

In 2001 the venue was relocated from the Town Center Hotel to the Holiday Inn on Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring.

LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITIES:

Despite its early roots in political and legislative advocacy, APP is no longer so politically active, preferring to support the lead of the Maryland Psychological Association in such matters. Since 1997 APP has been authorized by the Maryland Psychological Association to send a representative to its Legislative Working Group, which works with professional lobbyists to set state-wide legislative priorities.

In several instances, however, APP has been moved to independent action when it perceived the interests of its Montgomery and Prince George’s County members and the general public to be at stake.

As a rule APP polls its members before a major legislative initiative is undertaken. When time requires immediate action on a lesser matter, the Executive Board acts and then reports to the members.

Expert Witnesses Law: APP’s founders and early officers initiated and took the lead in promoting this legislation. They wrote the bill which was introduced in the Maryland Legislature in 1978 and which was enacted into law in 1979. (The 1979 article written Anita Solomon, Ph.D., cited below, summarizes their work on the law and is included as an Appendix for the interested reader). For her work on this legislation Dr. Anita Solomon was awarded the American Psychological Association’s Karl F. Heiser Award.

Home Practices: In 1988 APP collaborated successfully with the Montgomery County Council to pass an official policy allowing psychologists to practice in their homes. APP received a Certificate of Recognition from the Maryland Psychological Association for its work on this legislation.

Patients’ Privacy Rights: In 1997 APP was active in supporting legislation supporting a requirement that patients be given the right of informed consent before information pertaining to their mental health treatment could be added to a state database. As part of this initiative, APP sponsored a forum for its members in which leaders from the American Psychological Association and the Maryland Psychological Association participated as panelists.

Psychologists in the Public Schools: In 2000 wrote the Montgomery County Council to oppose cutting any school psychologist positions.

OTHER ACTIVITIES:

Science Fair: APP has participated in the Montgomery County Science Fair since 1987, giving awards to high school students.

Social: In many years APP has held an annual dinner or brunch for its members and/or board members and their guests, often with a prestigious speaker.

Website: Most recently APP has developed its own web site, allowing mental health professionals to obtain information on CE programs and other association business. A search feature is currently being added to the site, which will allow members of the general public, as well as fellow mental health professionals, to search the roster of APP member psychologists for desired services.

RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER ORGANIZATIONS:

Although APP is not formally affiliated with any other organization, at various times in its history APP has worked cooperatively with other psychological organizations on issues of mutual interest and concern, sometimes giving joint programs with them. These organizations have included the American Psychological Association, the Maryland Psychological Association, and the D.C. Baltimore and Virginia Psychological Associations.

The Expert Witnesses Law was written by Drs. Anita Solomon, Harvey Sweetbaum, Irving Raifman, and Irene Vogel, Frederic Solomon, Esq., and Ken Vogel (then Assistant to Congressman Steny Hoyer) with the assistance of Drs. Don Bersoff and Counsel Martin of the American Psychological Association.

Solomon, A.O., (1979). Psychologists As Expert Witnesses - New Law in Maryland. The Forum. Journal of Professional Psychology. 10.