Most psychologists already have an established network of colleagues and other professional contacts with whom they regularly communicate. These existing networks are vital to practice, but looking outside familiar circles to make other contacts is also important.
Networking can happen in a variety of settings, from professional events, conferences, and continuing education workshops to informal social gatherings and e-mail discussions. The benefits of networking can flow from psychology-related events, community events, and gatherings of other professionals, such as teachers, physicians, attorneys and industry leaders who interact with or serve your client base.
Dr. Gavazzi, a member of APA and the Pennsylvania Psychological Association (PPA), is an active networker. He frequently attends conventions and workshops and speaks to professional and community groups through his participation in a local speakers bureau.
“Community organizations are always looking for people to speak on a variety of topics, such as child and adolescent development, ADHD, depression and Alzheimer’s,” he says. The 45-minute, pro bono presentations allow him to give back to the community and, as an added benefit, raise his visibility and expand his referral network.
Taking on voluntary leadership roles with professional associations, community groups and service organizations is one way to showcase your talents and connect with colleagues and peers in your community and across the country.
Psychologists can also expand their networks through involvement in public service activities. Bill Safarjan, PhD, staff psychologist at Atascadero State Hospital in Atascadero, CA, has made numerous and diverse contacts through his involvement with various professional and community organizations, including the California Psychological Association, Rotary International, United Way, and various health-related groups, such as the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill-California. These connections in turn have helped him to build support for a variety of legislative advocacy and public education initiatives.