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History of OPA & Ohio's Licensing Law
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Adapted from the 50th Anniversary issue of The Ohio Psychologist, September 1999, Volume 46, Number 1.

A Brief History of Psychology and the OPA: Celebrating 50 Years of Psychological Advancement in Ohio

By Garland Y. (Gary) DeNelsky, Ph.D.

When the Ohio Psychological Association was established 50 years ago, psychology looked rather differently than it does today. Most psychologists then were affiliated with academia, making their living teaching, doing research, or fulfilling administrative duties. Applied psychology was only a small fraction of the total psychology endeavor.

The Ohio Psychological Association, born during the immediate post-war period, was in many respects a miniature American Psychological Association. Its membership contained few clinicians, its dues were quite low, its focus primarily on research and academic matters. Its meetings — hardly large enough to earn the name “conventions” — were primarily paper reading gatherings. The president of the Association was typically a highly respected academician whose works were widely known throughout psychology — individuals such as George Kelley, Sidney Pressey, and Calvin Hall. The leadership positions of the Association were more honorary than active.

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OPA: The Second Half Century

Addendum By Michael O. Ranney, MPA, OPA Executive Director

In the 90’s the pace of change in the profession increased and OPA kept up with it. OPA membership grew significantly, and mirroring trends in the profession, new members included more women and minorities. Third party management of patient access to mental health care created more and more problems for psychologists, leading OPA to create a special advocacy program to confront insurers about slow payments of claims and denials of treatment (Project FAIR). Legislation requiring prompt payment of claims had a significant impact on Ohio psychologists. Mandatory continuing education became the law in Ohio and OPA provided new services to help psychologists meet these requirements. Growth included an increase of graduate programs in psychology and professional schools and OPA responded by establishing a graduate student association with a voting seat on the Board of Directors. Staff grew with the addition of a Director of Professional Affairs and a psychologist/consultant to help with advocacy on behalf of the profession. OPA was recognized for the second time by APA as the outstanding psychological association and also received awards for its outstanding graduate student association and for its work in diversity.

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The Ohio Psychology Licensing Law: A Case Study in the Professionalization of Psychology

David A. Rodgers, Ph.D., Cleveland Clinic Foundation

[NOTE OF EXPLANATION: This manuscript was written in the mid 1970’s, as I began to realize that the detailed history would be lost if it were not written down. I had thought of preparing it for a chapter in a book on professional psychology, that Herb Dörken was editing, and revised it slightly for that purpose. It was too detailed for that purpose, though, so was set aside. The two versions ultimately got filed in a large pile of papers with nowhere to go. I discovered them again, in 2010, in looking for some material for the OPA 60th Anniversary Committee. What is presented here is essentially the original manuscript, after the two versions were scanned, converted to editable text, reconciled, and subjected to minor editing changes. In reconciling the two versions, I gave preference to the less refined, no doubt more politically incorrect, one that named more names and was more candid in describing events. If others feel this account of events is incorrect or incomplete, then they should provide the corrections or additions as they understand them. DAR]

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