A HISTORY OF THE FOUNDING OF OCPA
By Richard L. Stott, PhD OCPA Founder
I have been asked by OCPA President Dr. Julie Cohen to share
with you something of the history of the founding of the Orange County
Psychological Association, since during this year of 2010 we are celebrating
the 50th year of the association.
Ruth, my wife for now 60 years, & I moved to Orange
County in the spring of 1959 when I joined the staff of the new Fairview State
Hospital in Costa Mesa, & when I began my private practice of Clinical
Psychology in Santa Ana. As I became
acquainted with some of the psychologists in Orange County, I began to see the
need for an organization to represent the needs of the local
psychologists. So I did a survey &
discovered that there were about 100 psychologists in the county as of the
summer of 1959.
With this information, I invited four local psychologists to
meet with me to discuss the organizing a county organization: Dr. Jim Judge,
Chief Psychologist at Fairview Hospital, Dr. Everett Shostrom in private
practice, Dr. Walt Winters, a School Psychologist, & Dr. Arvord Belden in
private practice. We met & agreed
that there was a need for an association, so we decided to invite the county
psychologists to meet to discuss & form a local association.
In November 1959 about 35 psychologists met at Fairview
Hospital, & after a discussion we decided to proceed with the organization
of the Orange County Psychological Association. During that meeting I was
nominated for President, but declined & in turn nominated Dr. Jim Judge for
President. Dr. Everett Shostrom was nominated for President Elect, & I
accepted the nomination for Secretary-Treasurer. The nominees were elected
& the installation of officers was scheduled for January 1960. On that occasion we scheduled a gala dinner-dance
at the Mesa Verde Country Club, in Costa Mesa.
We were a very motivated & active group participating
with the Los Angeles Psychological Association, the San Diego Psychological
Association, the California State Psychological & the American
Psychological Associations on many important issues facing psychology.
For 26 years, from 1960 to 1986, when I retired from my
practice as a Clinical & Forensic Psychologist, I held every office in
OCPA. I also was a member of every OCPA
committee at one time or another. I kept a chronological history of the
progress of OCPA & when I retired I asked that the history be continued by
the succeeding presidents. Unfortunately
that did not happen and the following information comes mostly from my personal
vitae. I have included some photos &
other information as an appendix to this brief history.
During my involvement with OCPA I was the first
representative to CSPA. Later I was a member of the Board of Director’s of CSPA
when Presidents Nick Cummings & Rogers Wright were doing such an admirable
job of representing psychologists.
In 1962 OCPA created a Division of Clinical Psychology
requiring a PhD. At that time membership in OCPA only required an MA Degree.
In 1967 OCPA members worked diligently in passing the
California Licensure Law that changed our legal title from "Certified
Psychologist” to "Licensed Psychologist”, resulting in a giant step forward for
the recognition of psychologists.
In 1968 OCPA hosted the CSPA Convention in Newport Beach,
& George Hoff & I were Co-Managers of the successful convention. Now,
42 years later, OCPA is hosting the CSPA Convention again.
In 1971 I had the good fortune of being appointed Chair of
CSPA’s Education & Training Committee, which was the founding committee of
the California School of Professional Psychology. I also served on the Board of Directors for
the first independent standing training institution of clinically oriented
In 1971 OCPA sponsored & opened a Psychological Services
Center in Buena Park staffed by volunteer psychologists, offering no fee or low
In 1978 I served on the OCPA committee that created a
Division of Forensic Psychology.
In 1986, the year that I retired, I did a survey of
psychologists in Orange County & identified 650 psychologists. I wonder how many psychologists are in the
county now, 24 years later.
During my 52 years practicing psychology I experienced a
great deal of enjoyment & a sense of fulfillment working with other
psychologists in the quest for improving our profession. I cherish the OCPA Orange Psy Award, &
the CSPA Silver Psy Award for my service.