Arkansas Association of Black Psychology Professionals (AABPP)

The Arkansas Association of Black Psychology Professionals (AABPP), founded in January 2011, is a professional organization of African American psychology professionals in Arkansas. AABPP was established to: (1) form an affiliation of Black psychology professionals; (2) promote professional development for its members; (3) promote cultural competency and awareness of mental health issues unique to individuals of African descent; (4) promote mental health education, social change, and advocacy within the Black community; and (5) support and mentor students to pursue careers in the mental health professions.

AABPP is the first organization of African American psychology professionals in Arkansas. For decades, African Americans from Arkansas pursuing a career in psychology had to leave the state for educational and employment opportunities. It was not until 1972 that the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) admitted its first African Americans to the graduate program in psychology. Two of the first doctoral graduates of that program became members of AABPP. Not until the twenty-first century did Arkansas have a significant number of African American psychology professionals to form a professional organization.

Distinguished Arkansas natives associated with the AABPP include Dr. Robert L. Williams, Dr. William Sterling Hall, and Dr. Terrence J. Roberts, one of the Little Rock Nine. These psychologists were granted honorary AABPP membership due to their significant contributions to the field of psychology.

Based on statistics from the Arkansas Board of Examiners in Psychology, 3.4 percent of licensed psychology professionals in Arkansas are African American. Of that percentage, 27 percent are master’s level and 73 percent doctoral level. Members of AABPP serve in various settings throughout the state including training and supervisory roles. AABPP members are employed in a range of settings to include academia, clinical settings such as the Arkansas State Hospital, child clinical practices, rehabilitation services, Social Security Administration, juvenile mental health settings, private practice, Veterans Administration, community mental health, schools, and the criminal justice system.

Members of AABPP hold dual membership with the Arkansas Psychological Association (ArPA) and are in leadership positions. Three of AABPP’s members have served as president of ArPA, Committee Chairs of the Professional Development Committee, and Diversity Committee Chairs. These joint appointments have been critical in promoting cultural competency and awareness of mental health issues across a diverse population including African Americans in the state.

AABPP received multiple grants and collaborated with the Arkansas Psychological Association and the Little Rock Chapter of the National Association of Black Social Workers to sponsor community events related to issues that impact the Black community. In 2015, through a collaborative initiative, AABPP co-sponsored, “The Effect of Racism—A Call for Reconciliation and Need to Build a More Inclusive Community.” In 2020, in collaboration with ArPA, AABPP sponsored “Historical Contributions of African American Psychologists from Arkansas.” Dr. Terrence J. Roberts was the keynote speaker, while fellow Little Rock Nine member Minnijean Brown Trickey was honored for her social justice advocacy work.

Student members of AABPP have completed master’s and doctoral degrees in psychology. AABPP student members completing advanced degrees are employed in academia, clinical settings, consultants for private, and government organizations and with cross-cultural international initiatives in psychology.

AABPP members are involved both locally and nationally in the field of psychology. Members are active and have served in leadership roles with regional psychological associations, the American Psychological Association (APA), the Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi), and other professional organizations. AABPP members are researchers, published authors, and presenters at national psychological conferences.

For additional information:
Arkansas Association of Black Psychology Professionals. https://www.facebook.com/arblackpsych/ (accessed March 5, 2022).

“Historical Contributions of African American Psychologists from Arkansas.” Roberts Library of Arkansas History & Art, Central Arkansas Library System. https://robertslibrary.org/blog/historical-contributions-of-african-american-psychologists-from-arkansas/ (accessed March 5, 2022).

Patricia Griffen
Arkansas Association of Black Psychology Professionals

Last Updated: 03/05/2022