Section on Positive Psychology – Mission

Section on Positive Psychology Mission Statement

Positive psychology involves an attempt to move toward a more positive and appreciative perspective regarding motives, capacities, and human potentials. Counseling Psychology historically and presently continues to be one of the few disciplines that highlights the values of fostering human capacities, satisfaction, and well-being. In some form Counseling Psychology always has been a vital part of promoting good health and preventing disease, including mental, physical, and social disorders for individuals and communities. It is in the context that this Section was formed. The aim of the this group is to focus on how Counseling Psychology fosters and builds human strength and well-being and in pursuing this endeavor, furthers the development of positive psychological science and practice.


Positive Psychology:

A Section of the Division of Counseling Psychology (17) of the American Psychological Association

Article 1: Name and Purpose

1. The name of this Section shall be “Positive Psychology: A Section of the Division of Counseling Psychology (17) of the American Psychological Association” (hereinafter referred to as the Section, the Division, and the APA, respectively). This full title shall be used in all public references to the Section. The American Psychological Association is a not-for-profit, tax exempt corporation and the Section, as a part of the Division and Association, shall act consistently with the exempt purposes of the Association.

2. The purpose of this Section is to encourage, promote and facilitate contributions to research, teaching, practice, and public interest in positive psychology by Division members. Section members recognize that science is the key to accomplishing this purpose. The Section operates by consensus of its members and is committed to advancing the human rights of all men and women regardless of race, sexual orientation, class, nationality, ethnicity, age, disability, or religious orientation. Further, the Section is sensitive to the positive psychological functioning needs unique to members of these various constituencies. Specific goals of this Section include:

(a) Continuing to define and promote the science and practice of positive psychology both within and outside of Counseling Psychology as a fundamental part of Counseling Psychology in a manner consistent with the Bylaws
and Rules of APA and the Division. It is the aim of the Section to focus on how Counseling Psychology fosters and builds human strength and well-being and in pursuing this endeavor, furthers the development of positive psychological science and practice;

(b) Bringing together in a collegial and spontaneous atmosphere counseling psychologists who specialize or have an interest in positive psychology, especially students and new professionals;

(c) Promoting the integration of science and practice in positive psychology;

(d) Promoting positive psychology within the field of psychology and in the public sphere, and providing leadership in all issues pertaining to the well-being and growth of positive psychology;

(e) Helping to define, promote and support (in a manner consistent with the Bylaws and Rules of APA and the Division) the education and training of Section members or other counseling psychologists involved or interested
in positive psychology, especially as this goal may be accomplished by the organization of working groups of Section members;

(f) Supporting, encouraging, and promoting linkages between Section members and members of other related specialties;

(g) Developing and sponsoring programs related to positive psychology to be presented at APA conventions and other national and regional conventions and conferences;

(h) Recognizing outstanding contributions of members with Section awards which will be presented annually at the APA convention;

(i) Publishing a membership directory to facilitate networking among Section members;

(j) Developing for and making available to Section members resources to assist with training and education, research, and practice in positive psychology and career intervention (e.g., videos, classroom aids, books).

3. The Section shall not knowingly establish policies that are in direct conflict with the policies of the Division or the APA. The Section is accountable to the governing board of the Division and shall operate in a manner that is consistent with the APA Bylaws, Rules and current APA policies and the Division Bylaws and Rules, including the Division Rules and Procedures for the Formation, Governance and Operation of Sections.

Article II: Membership

1. The membership of the Section shall consist of two categories: Section Member and Section Affiliate.

2. Section Member qualifications. Any Associate Member, Member, or Fellow of the Division who has an interest in the purposes of the Section may apply to be a Section Member. Section Members who are Fellows or Members of the Division may hold Section elected offices. All Section Members shall be entitled to all other rights and privileges of the Section. That is, all Section Members may hold appointed offices, may serve on Section committees and task forces, and are eligible to vote in Section elections.

3. Section Affiliate qualifications. There are two categories of Section Affiliates: Section Professional Affiliates and Section Student Affiliates.

(a) Professional Affiliates of the Division, or Fellows or Members of APA who are not members of the Division but who have an interest in the purposes of the Section, may apply for Professional Affiliate status in the Section. Professional Affiliates may not hold Section elected offices, but may hold appointed offices. They may serve on committees and task forces, and are eligible to vote in Section elections.

(b) Any student belonging to APAGS or Division 17 SAG may apply for Student Affiliate status in the Section. Student Affiliates may not hold elected officer, but may hold appointed offices and serve on committees and task forces. They may vote in Section elections.

4. At least 50 of the members of the Section must be voting members (i.e., Fellows or Members) of the Division.

Article III: Officers

1. The officers of the Section shall be a Chair, a Chair-Elect, a Treasurer, a Communications Officer and a Past Chair. The term of office of the Chair shall be two years. The term of office of the Chair-Elect shall be two years. The term of office of the Treasurer shall be two years. The term of office for the Communications Officer shall be two years.
The term of office for the Past Chair shall be two years. All terms of office will run from the end of the annual business meeting of the Division following the election to the end of the annual business meeting of the Division two years later. All officers of the Section shall serve as its Executive Committee. This creates a five person Executive Committee.

2. The Chair shall be the individual who has served as Chair-Elect. The Chair shall perform such duties as are customarily incident to the office of a Division 17 Section Chair. In addition, the Chair’s responsibilities shall include but not be limited to the following tasks:

(a) Maintaining proper relationships with the Division Vice President for Science, the Science Directorate of APA, and other VPs and officers of Division 17 who have functions relevant to positive psychology;

(b) Planning and chairing the annual business meeting of the Section
at the APA convention;

(c) Submitting mid-year and year-end reports and other required documents to the Division’s Executive Board;

(d) Encouraging or recommending and coordinating the development of formal proposals for programming at the APA annual convention on issues of timely concern to counseling psychologists interested in positive

(e) Ensuring the Section responds to initiatives as directed by the President of Division 17 concerning Division interests in positive psychology;

(f) Encouraging the Section to initiate, and coordinating, projects that will address specific needs and interests of counseling psychologists involved in positive psychology (e.g., conferences on topics of interest to Section membership and development of education and training resources);

(g) Appointing task forces or standing committees comprised of Section Members and Affiliates to address issues of concern to the Section;

(h) Ensuring that regular newsletter columns and/or other communications tools keep membership informed of Divisional, APA, and national events of particular interest or relevance to counseling psychologists interested
in positive psychology;

(i) Coordinating activities with chairs of relevant groups or committees to promote the interests of Counseling Psychology.

3. The Chair-Elect shall perform all duties as assigned by the Chair. In the event that the Chair shall not serve the full term of office, the Chair-Elect shall succeed to the unexpired remainder thereof and continue to serve through the next full term.

4. The Treasurer shall be responsible for maintaining the funds and financial records of the Section and for preparing the reports and performing the duties and responsibilities outlined in Article VIII. The Treasurer shall work with the Division Treasurer to establish and maintain appropriate financial records and procedures. The Treasurer shall, upon request and at reasonable times, make the financial records of the Section available
to Section members.

5. The Communications Officer shall keep the records of the Section (including but not limited to minutes of meetings of the Section and the Executive Committee), conduct the official correspondence of the Section, and keep membership informed about the activities of the Section through the Section newsletter. The Communications Officer will prepare an annual column on the Section for the Division newsletter. The Communications Officer also will maintain an updated membership roster of the Section.

6. The Past Chair is the most immediately retired Chair of the Section and shall serve as a member of the Executive Committee for the two years immediately following the term of office as Chair. If for any reason the Past Chair cannot complete the term of office, the office shall remain vacant through the balance of the term in which it occurs and the duties of the Past Chair will be carried out by the Chair. The Past Chair shall be responsible for conducting the Section elections. The Past Chair also shall coordinate and communicate with the Division’s Executive Board regarding Section elections. The Past Chair shall be responsible for coordinating Section awards presentations, including student awards.

Article IV: Governing Committee

1. The Executive Committee of the Section shall function as the governing committee for the Section. The Executive Committee shall be comprised of the Chair, Chair-Elect, Treasurer, Communications Officer, and immediate Past Chair of the Section. Four members of the Executive Committee will constitute a quorum, except during the first two years when three Executive Committee members will suffice. Actions taken by the Executive Committee
shall be based on a majority vote.

2. The Executive Committee shall be authorized to act on behalf of the Section between Section meetings. All actions of the Executive Committee will be reported during the annual meeting of the Section.

Article V: Committees

1. The Chair shall appoint such committee and task force chairs as may be needed to conduct the affairs of the Section.

2. Chairs will report on the activities of their committee or task force at the annual meeting of the Section.

Article VI: Meetings

1. The Section shall hold an annual meeting at the time and place of the annual convention of the APA and shall thereat sponsor or conduct such other scientific and professional events as the Executive committee deems appropriate. The membership present at this meeting will constitute a quorum. The agenda for the meeting will be set by the Chair with due regard for member input and will be published in the Section newsletter distributed prior to the convention; members not attending the meeting may forward to the Chair their comments on any agenda items and these comments may be shared by the Chair with members present at the meeting.

2. Business at this meeting will be conducted in a collegial manner and decisions other than elections and bylaws changes (which are detailed elsewhere in these Bylaws) will be accomplished through consensus. If consensus cannot be reached, the Chair may take a vote of members in attendance and a simple majority will rule. Occasionally, business decisions may be referred by the Chair to a mail ballot of the entire Section membership. In such situations a simple majority of those responding to the ballot will determine the course to be taken.

Article VII: Nominations and Elections

1. The Chair-Elect, the Treasurer, and the Communications Officer shall be elected by a plurality mail ballot vote of all ballots cast by all Members in good standing.

2. It shall be the duty of the Executive Committee to conduct and supervise the mail elections of the Section. The Past Chair will oversee the elections process.

3. The Executive Committee shall issue a call for nominations to membership via either a Section mailing or the Division 17 newsletter.

4. The following schedules of terms of office shall govern the call for nominations and election:

(a) Chair-Elect: to serve a term of two years, followed by a term of two years as Chair for the two immediately subsequent years and finally a term of two years as Past Chair subsequent to the term as Chair.

(b) Treasurer: to serve a term of two years.

(c) Communications Officer: to serve a term of two years.

5. The Executive Committee, under the Past Chair’s direction, shall certify a list of names of persons who are nominated for each office, secure permission of the candidates to be placed on the mail ballot, and prepare a ballot for mailing to voting membership. All nominees must be Section Members. The top three nominations for each office shall stand for election.

6. It shall be the responsibility of the Past Chair to coordinate Section nominations and elections with those of the Division and APA. The election results shall be reported by the Section to the Division 17 Executive Board at least one month prior to the Division’s annual business meeting held in conjunction with the annual APA convention.

Article VIII: Finances

1. The Section, with the approval of the majority of its membership and the Division 17 Executive Board, may set and collect dues from its Members and Affiliates. These individual Section dues shall not exceed the sum of one-half (1/2) the total individual dues and assessments charged by the Division during the preceding year. If such dues are implemented, the Treasurer shall be responsible for the billing and collection of dues which shall be payable during the first quarter of the Section’s current fiscal year.

2. The Treasurer shall keep a full record of all funds received and all funds disbursed and shall work with the Executive Committee to develop and review the Section’s budget. The Treasurer shall submit (a) an annual report of Section income and expenditures, and (b) a proposed Section budget to the Division Executive Board at its Midyear meeting. This information also will be reported to the Section membership at the Section’s annual meeting.

3. The Treasurer shall submit semi-annual reports to the Division Treasurer showing income and expenditures in the line-item format used by APA. These reports are due July 15 and December 1 of each year.

4. The Treasurer is authorized to disburse funds (including signing checks) which have been duly authorized in the approved budget. In the event of the inability of the Treasurer (due to unavailability or incapacity) to disburse funds, the Section Chair is authorized to disburse funds (including signing checks) on behalf of the Section under the same provisions. All other financial documents, other than direct payment disbursements as noted above, shall be signed by the Section Chair and the Treasurer.

5. The Section, in keeping with its not-for-profit status, will disburse funds by policies and methods consistent with relevant statutes and regulations for organizations with not-for-profit status of similar standing.

6. The Section’s fiscal year shall be the same as the fiscal year of the Division.

7. If dues are implemented, membership who have not paid dues during the current fiscal year may be considered as having tendered their resignation from the Section by non-payment.

8. In the event of the dissolution of the Section, all unencumbered funds in the Section treasury at that time shall be turned over to the Division.

Article IX: Amendments

1. These Bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds (2/3) majority of the voting membership on a mail ballot. Proposals to amend these Bylaws may be introduced to the Executive Committee and they will determine whether
to put the proposal on a ballot. The balloting shall close not less than one month after the ballot mailing or publication of the proposed amendment.

(Revised 12-29-03)