Last updated September 2013.

Life Member LogoAt our Life Members Panel at the AACAP Annual Meeting last October, we ran out of time – just when a penetrating question was posed by the audience: "What changes in child and adolescent psychiatry have surprised you the most over the last (+/-) 50 years?"

Have there been some looking back over our own Child and adolescent careers? Would Rip Van Winkle be surprised waking up today after a decades long sleep? Maybe he'd be puzzled by the change in our field from theory-based to evidence-based. But you might explain that that was simply an evolution, not a dramatic shift. Maybe it just became apparent when we stopped confusing theory with evidence.

OK, then, would Dr. Rip be surprised by the change in the nature of therapy itself? Explain to him how it went from long term to short term. But how on earth did it shift from the 50 minute hour to the 15 minute med check, he will ask? What happened to cause that?

In any event, your Life Member planning committee thought that the question “What has surprised you the most?' was just too good to pass up without giving the wider audience of owls a chance at it. So the Academy has established a Google discussion board for our owl musings. It's our own venture into social media, called The Parliament of Owls. Think of it as our own Facebook, or like one of the sites our kids' and grandkids use to communicate with their contemporaries --but maybe even simpler.

All you have to do to is to click on the following link and apply to join:!forum/parliamentofowls

It will take you to our Parliament of Owls website where you can register with your own user name and password. To learn about registering your non-Google email account with Google, just click here. Then just 'bookmark' the URL (web page address) so you can go to it whenever you feel like.

Once you “Request To Join,” give it until the next business day when our AACAP Development Coordinator, Stephen Major, will accept your application and grant you full access. Alternatively you could email Stephen directly at and he will sign you up and help you get started. This process is necessary to keep out the spammers and scammers who like to lurk around internet discussion boards. Feel free to email Stephen with any questions you may have along the way and he will be delighted to assist you; we’re very glad to have him as our point person for all our technical questions and troubleshooting as we launch this new endeavor.

And, by the way, this 'chat room' type of discussion isn't restricted to “What surprised you the most?' It can range across the long view of our own professional careers, such as: “What did you learn from your first patient?” or “Did you have a mentor in training and just how did that help to shape your professional development?”

You can suggest issues, join the discussion of others, or just audit quietly. No obligation.

Hoot, hoot!

Jack McDermott, M.D.