The Future of Professional Psychology: At the Edge of Knowledge

The Future of Professional Psychology: At the Edge of Knowledge

Welcome to the Future of Professional Psychology–a digital journal that is concerned with the edge of knowledge in professional psychology. Sponsored by The Professional School of Psychology (PSP), and augmented by the research and scholarship being generated from PSP’s Research and Development center (appropriately called “The Edge of Knowledge”) this journal is distinctive in many ways and we think you will find it to be particularly informative, provocative and useful.

The Distinctive Structure of the Journal

The Edge of Knowledge is a unique journal not only because it is digital and is concerned with the future of professional psychology, but also because it is a document that doesn’t stand still. Unlike a printed journal that must remain static–since the printed word can never be unprinted–The Future of Professional Psychology contains documents that can be frequently modified.

A “Living” Journal

Articles in the journal can be updated as a result of comments made about the article or the author’s further thoughts about the topic. It also can be expanded with new material being added. Additional authors might join in further enriching an article, or portions of the article can be deleted if considered by the author to no longer being valid. An article can even be deleted entering if an author wishes their work to no longer be “in print” (though we encourage authors to add or modify rather than delete–self-censorship is rarely constructive).

The Static Journal

Traditionally journals were published in print form and distributed, read and archived without any changes ever being made (or even possible given its printed form). Even with the introduction of digital publications, it was assumed that the “printed” word remains unchanged. A mechanistic/closed system perspective on publication.

The Living Journal

Digital publishing allows for the creation of publications that are growing, changing, dialogic in nature and format. An organic/open system perspective on publication.

Level One: the publication can include both written words and video recordings (through use of Vimeo and other modes of digital storage). The reader is introduced to the author “talking” about their work, as well as (potentially) other people commenting on the work (via video recording) in the midst of the written document.

Level Two: the publication is changing, with the author(s) including new material, based on comments regarding earlier versions and their own reflection on the work. The work is always “in progress.” The video recordings influence the ongoing work.

Level Three: the publication is set within a broader dialogic framework, with brief digital presentations by the author and/or question/answer/commentary sessions being part of what the “reader” purchases (subscribes to). In a more expansive format, the “journal” can be incorporated in a workshop program or even complete certification/academic credit-generating program. Content from the digital presentations/dialogues being incorporated in the publication: there is full integration of the printed word and the enacted (and recorded) dialogue.

A Multi-Media Journal Allowing for Constructive Dialogue

We can portray our “living” journal in yet another way. The digital format allows us to blend the printed word with video clips (produced through use of tools such as Zoom and Vimeo).As you enter the multi-media world of this journal, you will find yourself getting to know the author in their own setting and will get to listen to what they have to say in a venue that is more informal and spontaneous than is the carefully crafted and edited printed word. Because the  journal is offered in a dynamic, changing format, we can also add in videoclips prepared by the author at a later time or can incorporate video-recorded comments made by other people who have read the article and/or listened to what the author has had to say. In other words: welcome to a venue that allows for constructive dialogue..

In Sum . . .

We offer quarterly issues of this journal, based on this distinctive mission of offering documents on the cutting edge — and future– of professional psychology. We address these quarterly themes by means of a cutting edge (digital) mode of publication. This dynamic and agile mode enables us to best focus on the ever shifting landscape of perspectives and practices this profession. A further exposition of the specific epistemological stance being taken in the creation and ongoing production of this journal follows the presentation of themes for each issue and links to the specific articles contained in each issue.


Issue One: Professional Psychology and the COVID-19 Crisis

We did not intend the first issue of the Edge of Knowledge to be about this profoundly influential health challenge. Nevertheless, right now this an important element in Professional Psychology’s future. As professionals around the world who are in the business of applying psychological perspectives and practices to the challenges facing our clients and other members of our society, there is much we can say and do. The future of professional psychology might in part depend on how we address the psychological ramifications of COVID-19. Put simply, professional psychology’s future might be as much in the domain of physical health as it is in the business of mental health.


Issue Two: Clinical Psychology in Singapore

In this second issue of The Future of Professional Psychology we offer the first in a series of issues focusing on the perspectives and practices of professional psychologists who provide services in a specific country or region of the world. In this case, we are turning our attention to the small, but highly influential country of Singapore. As a leading center of commerce and intellectual life in Southeast Asia, Singapore plays an important role in defining future directions to be taken by professional psychology in this geographic region. Specifically, we will be focusing on those professional psychology services that are directed toward mental health issues.


Background Information:

Epistemological Foundation of The Edge of Knowledge

The final belief is to believe in a fiction, which you know to be a fiction, there being nothing else. The exquisite truth is to know that it is a fiction and that you believe in it willingly. — Wallace Stevens

What an extraordinary statement. It seems to shatter all of our firm convictions that there is truth in the world and that what we should believe is based in a clear sense of truth and reality. But is this really the case? Is Stevens telling us something that rings true, especially as we enter the third decade of the 20th Century. We would suggest that our own field, psychology is one of the “fictions” of which Stevens speaks. It is a fiction which can be of great value to society if used in a wise and skillful manner and if used with full knowledge that it is only one of many fictions that help inform the complex human condition.

The Constructivist Foundation

The Edge of Knowledge is founded on a constructive foundation–with recognition that any psychological “findings” must be set in a specific context and must always be considered “fictions” in the sense offered by Stevens. The following essay conveys the essential points to be made regarding this constructivist foundation:

Psychology and the Social Construction of Reality

With this base in a social constructive perspective on psychology, we will be producing essays in this journal that purport not to be telling the “truth” but rather to be exploring diverse perspective and practices in the field of professional psychology. This will allow us to remain on the edge of knowledge in this field–but then what is the edge of knowledge really all about?

What is at the Edge of Knowledge?

To provide a broader sense regarding the mission and vision of The Edge of Knowledge, we provide the following more general statement regarding this epistemological edge. In setting up this broader perspective, we offer a basic question: what is at the edge of knowledge? To answer this question, we need to mix together a bit of epistemological theory and the “wisdom” offered by an American administrator, Donald Rumsfeld. While Rumsfeld might be criticized for many other things, he does seem to be quite wise about the nature of knowledge (epistemology).

He noted that there are four conditions with regard to knowledge: (1) there are some things we know and we know that we know it, (2) there are some things that we know and don’t realize that we know it, (3) there are some things that we don’t know and know that we don’t know it, and (4) there are some things we don’t know and don’t know that we don’t know it. We can diagram these four conditions by creating one dimension concerning the acquisition of specific content (direct knowledge), and a second dimension concerning our level of awareness regarding the status of our knowledge.

The Edge of Knowledge is embedded in the recognition that all knowledge resides near some edge – the last four letters of the word “knowlEDGE” even convey this important fact.

At a more precise level, we suggest that the edge of knowledge is particularly prevalent in Sector III (I know that I don’t know it) – which is the primary source of motivation to learn more (to become knowledgeable about something). Sector II is also an important element of the edge—it involves a process of appreciation (recognizing that we know more than we are initially aware). There is even a strong “edginess” to be found in Sector IV – as we become aware that there are areas in which we are not knowledgeable but should be.

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About the Author

William Bergquist

William BergquistWilliam Bergquist, Ph.D. An international coach and consultant, professor in the fields of psychology, management and public administration, author of more than 45 books, and president of a graduate school of psychology. Dr. Bergquist consults on and writes about personal, group, organizational and societal transitions and transformations. His published work ranges from the personal transitions of men and women in their 50s and the struggles of men and women in recovering from strokes to the experiences of freedom among the men and women of Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In recent years, Bergquist has focused on the processes of organizational coaching. He is coauthor with Agnes Mura of coachbook, co-founder of the International Journal of Coaching in Organizations and co-founder of the International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations. His graduate school (The Professional School of Psychology: offers Master and Doctoral degrees in both clinical and organizational psychology to mature, accomplished adults.

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