James H. Bray, PhD

The theme of Dr. James Bray's presidential year in 2009 was the future of psychology. He focused on creating a new vision and future for APA and psychology as a profession.

Biography

James H. Bray, PhD, is an associate professor of Family and Community Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Within the department he serves as the director of the Family Counseling Clinic, Faculty Development, and in the Harris County Hospital District Community Health Programs. He received his doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Houston in 1980. Dr. Bray has published and presented numerous works in the areas of divorce, remarriage, adolescent substance use, intergenerational family relationships, and collaboration between physicians and psychologists. As a clinical psychologist, he conducts research and teaches resident physicians, medical students, and psychology students. He also maintains an active clinical practice focusing on children and families and primary care psychology.

Following a post-doctoral degree in Family Therapy and Research, he joined the faculty at Texas Woman’s University (TWU)— Houston Center and remained there for six years. At TWU, he started the NIH-funded Developmental Issues in Stepfamilies research project. This project studied the social, emotional, and behavioral development of children in stepfamilies and first marriage families. He applied his research skills and knowledge of family systems to this groundbreaking work. His study was one of the first longitudinal studies on the effects of divorce and remarriage on children and adolescents and is summarized in his book, "Stepfamilies: Love, Marriage, and Parenting in the First Decade."

In 1987, he joined the faculty at Baylor. While at Baylor, Bray completed his research with the StepFamily Project and focused on the collaboration between psychologists and family physicians. He and colleague John Rogers, MD, completed one of the first demonstration projects on teaching psychologists to collaborate with family doctors. The Linkages Project demonstrated that collaboration was possible in both rural and urban areas and that it resulted in positive benefits for both professionals.

Bray’s next project was a series of National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)-funded studies on adolescent alcohol use. The Baylor Adolescent Alcohol Project used measures and methods developed in previous research to investigate how family, peers, and the developmental process of individuation influence adolescent drinking in junior high and high school aged students. The research also focused on ethnic differences in adolescent drinking. Bray continues to apply these findings in his clinical work in both community and private health and mental health clinics.

Bray has published more than 125 articles, tests, book chapters, books and reviews. He is on the editorial board of the Journal of Family Psychology, Psychotherapy, and Families Systems and Health. He is the co-editor of "Primary Care Psychology" and the "Handbook of Family Psychology." Bray has received numerous awards including Family Psychologist of the Year from the Society of Family Psychology, election into the National Academies of Practice for Psychology, and the Karl F. Heiser Presidential Award for Advocacy on Behalf of Professional Psychology from the American Psychological Association.

He has been active in APA governance since 1988, involved in practice, science, education and state issues. He served on the Board of Educational Affairs; Rural Health Task Force and Committee on Rural Health; Primary Care Task Force; State Leadership Organizing Committee; and observer on the Board of Scientific Affairs. Dr. Bray’s Division activity includes membership and service as follows: president of Division 43 (Society for Family Psychology); treasurer for five APA divisions (34, Population and Environmental Psychology; 37, Society for Child and Family Policy and Practice; 43; 46, Society for Media Psychology and Technology; and 55, American Society for the Advancement of Pharmacotherapy); member-at-large, Divisions 29 (Division of Psychotherapy), 46, and 55. Dr Bray is a fellow of 12 APA Divisions: 5 (Evaluation, Measurement, and Statistics); 7 (Developmental Psychology); 12 (Society of Clinical Psychology); 29; 31 (State, Provincial and Territorial Psychological Association Affairs); 34; 37; 38 (Health Psychology); 42 (Psychologists in Independent Practice); 43; 46; and 55.

Bray has also been a strong advocate for all of psychology, serving as: Federal advocacy coordinator for the Texas Psychological Association and Divisions 12 and 43; a member APA Public Policy Advocacy Network, the APA Education Advocacy Network, the Texas Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Child Support and Child Visitation, the National Leadership Coalition for Health Care Reform, and the National Health Policy Council; fundraiser for the Association for Advancement of Psychology; a member of the Steering Committee.

Bray is also licensed as a private pilot with an instrument rating and enjoys studying oenology in his spare time. He is married to Elizabeth M. Bray, the owner of a HR Consulting firm. He has three children and two stepchildren.

Initiatives

During his term as president, Dr. Bray supported four major initiatives:

  • The Task Force on the Future of Psychology Practice addressed current issues in the practice of psychology and identified models and policies for the future. Psychological practice in the 21st century requires changes in traditional ways of practice and creating a vision to take advantage of the new possibilities in society. The task force identified priorities, resources, key partnerships and roles for various groups to implement our agenda. They focused on challenges practitioners in private and public settings must meet to serve the needs of a changing and diverse population. The scope of practice includes health services psychology and other forms of practice, such as business consulting and community services that address public health. The APA Practice Directorate provided support for this initiative.

  • To expand the work of this task force, the Presidential Summit on the Future of Psychology Practice, was held May 14-17, 2009 in San Antonio, Texas. Through the summit the broader practice community was engaged to recommend strategic initiatives that will guide the work of APA and the APA Practice Organization. The summit assembled psychology leaders and other professionals who are critical stakeholders to the practice of psychology.

  • The Task Force on the Future of Psychological Science Education identified the changes needed in graduate and postgraduate psychological science training and education to keep our discipline productive and vibrant. Much research, especially federally funded research, requires multidisciplinary work, yet future scientists are often trained in psychology silos. The Task Force identified the best education and training models, determine the resources needed, and identified the barriers to implementing change and partnerships to further their agenda. The APA Science and Education Directorates provided support for this initiative.

  • The Task Force on Psychology's Contributions to Ending Homelessness addressed psychological factors that contribute to homelessness and the influences and interventions that help both children and adults overcome these problems and resume productive and healthy lives. Homelessness is once again on the rise and it was deemed timely for psychologists to shine a light on some of the most vulnerable adults and children and see what can be done to improve their lives. In addition, the group identified resources needed to address these factors and implement these interventions. The APA Public Interest Directorate provided support for this initiative.

Publications

Books:

  • Primary Care Psychology
    This APA book brings together the leading researchers, scholars, and practitioners in the field to create a thorough and integrated manual about the major topics in primary care psychology.

  • Family Psychology: Science-Based Interventions
    This book explores the latest research and practices in family intervention therapy.