5 Reasons Psychologists Don’t Advocate and Why You Should!

As psychologists continue to do important work through research and by practicing in the community, it is critical that the contributions of psychologists are highlighted and shared. This is where advocacy comes in! Without it, political powers will be unaware of the importance of psychology and how psychological science and practice can inform their policy positions. Effective advocacy will remind them that psychology informs the resolutions of social problems and improves human welfare, and that psychologists help meet local, state and national needs every day. By advocating for psychology, you can contribute to the advancement of psychology as a primary care health profession, enhance the status of psychology and behavioral science, and increase federal recognition and funding for education and training initiatives that are important to psychology.

If that sounds like a daunting task rather than an exciting opportunity, don’t worry, you’re not alone. People who choose not to advocate do so for a bunch of different reasons, but it is actually easier to get involved than you think! Below are five common reasons people give for not taking action and why those reasons just aren’t good enough.


“I don’t have enough time”

People often say that they are too busy to take action. However, if you sign up for the Federal Action Network (FAN) and select Education as an area of interest, the process is streamlined and will only take a few minutes. When there is an action alert, you will get an email asking you to take action on the issue. After you follow the link to the action alert, you will be asked to fill out your information, which will be used to determine who represents you and should receive the message. And after you fill in your information once, FAN will remember it and the process will be even quicker the next time!


“I am not aware of the issue(s)”

It makes sense that you wouldn’t want to take action on an issue that you have not been following and when you are busy with other things, it’s hard to stay up to date on every issue. That is why we include a guide with background information about the issue whenever we ask you to take action. You can find this information in the bottom left corner of the Federal Action Network Education Issues Page. By using this resource, you’ll be informed and ready to use your voice to advocate!


“I don’t know what to say”

Even if you know everything about an issue, you may not know how to begin writing a letter to Congress. We’ve got you covered! While we would love for you to personalize the letter to reflect your own stories and experiences, when you click to take action you will find a letter we’ve drafted, ready to send. So if you’re not comfortable writing a message of your own, you don’t have to!


“My Representative Senator does not care what I have to say”

Regardless of whether your views traditionally align with those of your Representative or Senator, it is still their job to listen to their constituents. They want to hear from you! If their constituents show enough support for a piece of legislation or a provision, they will consider it.


“No one asked me”

We are asking right now! Sign up for FAN and select Education as an area of interest and you will always know when we could use your help.

The most helpful thing you can do for us as we advocate for the discipline of psychology and its role in education on the Hill is to respond to the action alerts. It is important for your Senators, Representatives and their staff to hear from their constituents who care about these issues. So what are you waiting for? Take action! You can find our current action alerts on this page.

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About the Author

Dana Leinbach
Dana is the Legislative Assistant for the Education Directorate Government Relations Office. She provides assistance across the office to improve advocacy communications and staffs several coalitions that support the work psychologists do in schools. Before beginning her position at APA, Dana graduated with an undergraduate degree from Northwestern University with a double major in Political Science and History. Her interests outside of work include U.S. Gymnastics, the Washington Nationals and hip hop dance.