CPA Fact Sheet
What is the California Psychological Association?
The California Psychological Association is a 60-year-old 501(c)(6) non-profit professional association for licensed psychologists and others affiliated with the delivery of psychological services.
The California Psychological Association's Goals:
To support the psychologists of California in their efforts to promote the health and well-being of all Californians through volunteer association members and professional staff who:
- Educate the public about when and how to access psychological services as well as provide referrals when requested
- Provide leadership to the profession through legislative advocacy and regulatory oversight, marketing, and media outreach
- Create opportunities for continuing education, networking and mutual support among psychologists of all areas of specialty
- Offer professional practice consultation by providing information on clinical, legal, and ethical issues to help psychologists better serve the public
- Promote research, education, and training in psychology
What do psychologists do?
Psychology is the study of the mind, human experience and behavior. Psychologists spend an average of 7.2 years, in addition to their undergraduate college degree, in education and training. Psychologists are trained to help people cope more effectively with life problems, using techniques based on best available research and their clinical skills and experience, and taking into account the person's unique values, goals and circumstances.
In California, psychologists conduct research, perform psychological testing, and evaluate and treat a full range of emotional and psychological challenges. They diagnose mental disorders and coordinate the care of their patients in both outpatient and hospital settings.
In addition to conducting individual and group therapy with adults, adolescents, and children, psychologists are involved in many other areas of work. They coach other professionals to improve their communications skills, and to increase their productivity and job satisfaction. They work with athletes, actors and musicians to develop their concentration, reduce anxiety, and enhance their performance. They often obtain advanced training that allows them to provide specialized services such as the evaluation and treatment of stroke patients, assisting patients in the management of chronic pain, and providing expert testimony to our judicial system, offering guidance to the courts.
The California Board of Psychology (http://www.psychboard.ca.gov) is responsible for the licensure of psychologists in our state.
CPA was founded in Los Angeles in 1948 initially to work for the licensure of psychologists. As the role of California psychologists expanded over the years, so did CPA.
To more closely interact with the state legislature, CPA moved from Los Angeles to Sacramento in 1989, and has sponsored many legislative proposals dealing with access to mental health care services, managed care, hospital practice, prescription privilege authority, and many other important issues.
CPA's role has expanded throughout the state of California as its members regularly provide free public service through programs such as its well-respected disaster response service. Additionally, CPA works closely with the media to provide timely and accurate information on a variety of issues to the increase understanding of human behavior.
The nearly 4,000 members of the California Psychological Association are as diverse as the state of California itself. A doctoral degree in psychology, philosophy or education is required to qualify for full membership in CPA, although there are special membership categories for students and allied health professionals who wish to be affiliated with CPA.
CPA is comprised of 22 regional chapters and seven professional divisions including professional and clinical practice, education and training, industrial and organizational psychology, public service, clinical psychopharmacology, media technology and communications, and public interest. All of CPA's divisions play a vital role in developing policies for CPA operations, and directing, overseeing, and constantly improving the quality of psychological services provided to Californians. CPA is governed by a Board of Directors representing all geographic areas of the state.