LACPA’s 2020 Presidential Theme

Remembering Our Shared Humanity
Kenneth Skale, Psy.D.

Photo of Dr. Kenneth SkaleFour years and seven months ago (or thereabouts) I began my journey in LACPA leadership as a student representative, and somehow I find myself here today as LACPA’s incoming president for 2020. For those familiar with the responsibility this entails, you would be forgiven for asking why someone would want to do this! Stepping into this role comes with a host of meetings, events, speeches, and a truly untoward amount of emails on top of everyday practice and home life. Nietzsche is quoted as saying, “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” The duties of LACPA’s presidency are enjoyable and rewarding, save the emails, but as I have watched our past-presidents shoulder this responsibility, I realized I would need a compelling why of my own to make it through.

As a nation, we appear polarized to an alarming degree. Even the most mindful among us experience mounting angst, and frustration, and argumentativeness by simply watching the news. Engaging with such light topics such as 2nd Amendment rights vs. gun control, the possibility of the planet’s gradual incineration, and whether universal healthcare will solve more problems than it creates beckons elicit the worst in each of us. The tension surrounding healthcare in particular was underscored for me as I represented LACPA at APA’s Practice Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. last year. I attended a presentation entitled “Translating Clinical Science to Enhance Practice,” which reviewed , among other things, the inevitability of outcome-contingent reimbursement for our services. As you can imagine, a heated livelyThe ensuing discussion ensued which saw featured the polarized perspectives between folks endorsing evidence-based practice and those more psychoanalytically inclined emerge almost immediately. As I reflected on this experience and the circumstances we face as Americans, my why became clear.

The theme I have chosen for 2020 is “Remembering Our Shared Humanity,” which refers to the recognition of the humanity being in each of us. In times of tension, we can easily lose sight of the common human core we share, underneath exclusive of race, class, nationality, and ideology. As Desmond Tutu writes, “My humanity is inextricably bound up in yours.” You may experience this feeling when viewing the tragic picture of the Syrian “boy on the beach,” for example, or certainly when reading the Gulag Archipelago. During moments like these, we see the other as a person just like us, before anything we typically think of as representative of identity. At this moment in our profession’s—profession—and indeed our nation’s—history, I believe we would do well to refocus on the humanity of others, especially those with whom we disagree. Only then can we soften, learn from one another, and actually solve the problems we face, both as a profession and a nation.

In 2020, LAPCA is embracing this mission in many ways, from our Community Outreach Committee’s renewed focus on direct service to the Los Angeles Community, to our 2020 Convention’s spotlight on healing trauma through relationship-driven treatment. LACPA’s wonderful Board of Directors and I are excited for the coming year and hope you will come out, get involved, and share in our mission to re-discover what really matters—the human in each of us.

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