American Psychology Association

The American Psychological Association (APA) which was founded in 1892 is the largest association of its kind of professional scientists and psychologists in US and Canada. It has over 134,000 members including students, researchers, consultants, and practicing psychologists. It is headquartered in Washington DC and G. Stanley Hall was its first president*.

The APA has 54 divisions covering a variety of topics like general psychology, clinical psychology, behavior analysis, experimental psychology, psychotherapy, military psychology, addiction, sport psychology and so on. The APA was started with the goal of advancing psychological knowledge and applies it to the benefit of society and improvement of people's lives. Its vision statement includes becoming a leader in dissemination of psychological knowledge at national and international levels. The APA aims to increase awareness of the role of psychology in general well being of people; influence health care reform policies to include psychology as a vital component; promote psychology as a science and expand educational opportunities and research**.

The American Psychological Association achieves its objectives through publication of books on various sub-fields of psychology by well-known experts, including an eight volume encyclopedia on psychology and books for children. It also publishes over 70 journals on different psychological topics, 21 newsletters and 2 magazines. The APA maintains a database on various publications dating back to the 19th century that includes books, reports, articles, journals etc. that students of psychology as well practicing psychologists would find invaluable**.

The APA provides webinar training to students, librarians, and faculty on accessing the database using powerful search tools. It also has instituted several awards that recognize top contributors to the cause of psychology and are considered prestigious by the scientific community worldwide. The APA maintains an online resource center to help distressed persons in need of help. They can locate psychologists nearest to their home, get guidance from experts and find useful information about various every day psychological issues**.

The APA runs special programs for raising safe kids up to the age of 8 years called ACT. It conducts professional training workshops for parents and caretakers in US as well as several countries in Latin America, Greece and Japan. The APA has developed its own 'style' for writing and communicating in the field of social and behavioral sciences. The APA style is a set of rules and guidelines on all aspects of writing, including format, font, structure, tables etc. that have been widely adopted by writers around the world**.

The APA is governed by a board of directors elected by its members. A council of representatives is the policy making body of APA and consists of representatives from its various divisions. In addition, there are committees and task forces setup to deal with specific issues like education and training, professional practice and standards, scientific awards, international relations and so on. Full membership of APA is open to persons with doctoral training while those with at least 2 years of post graduate training can become associate members**.

Thus the American Psychological Association has carved a niche for itself in all aspects of psychology, from education to research to application in daily life. It has set standards in the field of psychology that people associated with the subject are hard pressed to follow throughout the world.



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