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 psychologists.

In 1971 OCPA sponsored & opened a Psychological Services Center in Buena Park staffed by volunteer psychologists, offering no fee or low fee services.

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.