After a trip to the 1974 American Psychological Association Convention, two Asheville psychologists, Dr. Ted Seitz and Dr. John Fellerath, decided to invite area psychologists to organize. In their first meeting, 20 psychologists gathered at the Bavarian Cellar in Innsbrook Mall. Three decades later, several of the original members continue to live in the Asheville area: William Bruce, Bernie Harris, Joe Lanier, Bill Matthews, Ted Seitz, Linda Branon Shamblin, and Jane Stephens. Since then, the number of psychologists in western North Carolina has increased by ten-fold.
WNCPA was somewhat of a leader in the development of local psychological groups and organizations. In 1974, there were only two other such groups in North Carolina— Charlotte and Eastern North Carolina. The Asheville Area Psychologists remained an informal group until 1982, when the Western North Carolina Psychological Association was officially formed. Over the years, the organization has grown considerably. We now have over 100 members from ten counties in western North Carolina. We just published our fourth membership directory, and have included the directory on this website.
We have developed a number of traditions. An annual Holiday party ushers in new officers and board members. We often have a fund raising event for a worthy cause. In years past, we have generated substantial monetary gifts for Habitat, the All Souls Counseling Center, Child Advocacy Center and Helpmate. Additionally, we enjoy contributing to community service projects such as donating our labor to a Habitat for Humanity house. And finally, a highlight of the year is the physician-psychologist dinner featuring the presentation of the William Bruce Awards to a physician and a psychologist for outstanding contributions to the collaboration between the fields of medicine and psychology.