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Welcome

President’s Column

Lee Gillis, PhD
Lee Gillis, PhD

Lee Gillis, PhD
President

The theme of my presidential year is connecting to the group experience. Connecting as I view it will occur on multiple levels. First, the face of our society will embrace and utilize social networking connections to promote our next publications and our website such that we increase our visibility within APA and beyond.

For membership I would like to see a connection between the people who publish and read our journal and those who present at the convention and write for the newsletter. I would like to see a stronger connection between group psychology and group psychotherapy.

I’m committed to promoting early career psychologists (ECPs) throughout our division. It only takes a brief look at the demographics of our division to see that we need to attract and retain ECPs as well as student members to support the midcareer and later career psychologist who make up the bulk of our membership.

As I listed in my president-elect columns I am committed to helping undergraduates connect to both group psychology and group psychotherapy graduate programs. As mentioned before, I would also like to help those doctoral students seeking internships that emphasize group work to be able to identify them more easily.

Our membership committee, under the leadership of the Dr. Leann Diederich, and assisted in ECP initiatives by Dr. Joe Miles, have provided a number of ways that members can connect on telephone conversations that focus on professional issues related to teaching group and practicing group. I know these will continue under their leadership. I also know that their work on the Facebook group and with Google+ Hangouts will continue. The hangout that we did at the 2013 Convention was quite a hit. We’ve learned much from that experience and hope to continue this method of delivering information to members throughout the year.

I want to encourage interested members to explore the APA communities, a membership-only site where we are storing current and archival information about the division, including our current bylaws, policy manuals, and budgets.

While it might sound a bit wonky, I would like to continue the work that Nina Brown oversaw and ensure that our policy manual is an accurate representation of what we as a board actually do. The previous efforts on the policy manual have been invaluable to me as an officer of this society and I hope with help from board members and membership that the policy manual will be as accurate as possible and serve as a guide for current and future leadership.

We will continue to make connections among like-minded divisions within APA. We identified many divisions that utilize a group format but are perhaps not aware of what our members do and how they might benefit from joining us and learning about what we do. I have made a decision along with the executive committee to appoint liaisons to APA groups and committees where our voices will be heard – or at least listened to.

Finally, I want to give a strong shout out to Drs. Jill Paquin and Joe Miles for their work on our APA convention program. Due to some unforeseeable events, Jill agreed in August to chair the program committee and Joe Miles was willing to assist her this year and chair this position next year. They have put together an excellent program and have collaborated with a number of other divisions within APA. This type of collaboration and connection must continue in all the work we do for us to be able to survive and to thrive.

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Welcome

President-Elect Column

Dennnis M. Kivlighan , Jr., PhD
Dennnis M. Kivlighan , Jr., PhD

Dennis M. Kivlighan, Jr., PhD
President-Elect

I just returned from the mid-winter meeting, where we were conducting the business of our society. It was a productive, fun, and thought-provoking meeting. As you would expect when a meeting is run by someone with extensive group experience, we paid appropriate attention to both the task and social aspect of group process; thanks, Lee Gillis. The members of the board are smart, hard-working, and they care about and want to enhance our society and research and practice in group psychology and about group therapy. I feel honored to be working with such a great group of people. If any of you are thinking about getting more involved with the society, either by running for an office or a board position or by participating in one of our committees, I can guarantee that your involvement will be rewarding both professionally and personally.

In his column Lee addresses the theme of his presidential year. It may seem early, but our bylaws ask me to already be thinking about the theme for my presidential year. It is important to me that the theme that I choose both support and build on the theme that Lee has articulated, “connecting to the group experience.” I especially want to further his desire to “see a stronger connection between group psychology and group psychotherapy.” Simply put, my theme will be AND.

Our society is the Society of Group Psychology AND Group Psychotherapy. I love the aspirational goal implied in this name; to bring together all people interested in, working with, and examining groups and group processes, regardless of disciplinary subspecialty, to advance our understanding of and our practice with groups. I know that my research on and thinking about psychotherapy and training groups has been greatly influenced by and benefited from theory and research from social, organizational, and sports psychologists studying small groups. Unfortunately, our society seems to act more like the Society of Group Psychology OR Group Psychotherapy.

For example, several years ago my colleague Joe Miles and I did a study examining the articles published in the first five volumes of Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice. We analyzed these articles in two different ways. First, we used a language analysis program to examine the content of the articles and develop themes based on this content. Second, we developed themes among these same articles by analyzing the articles’ reference lists. When we looked at the content of the articles we came up with broad themes, like cohesion, that cut across different sub-disciplines of group researchers. When we examined references, however, the articles clumped into sup-disciplinary areas ( e.g., sport teams). We concluded that we were studying similar phenomena but were not learning from or incorporating each other’s scholarship.

I want to provide a second example of how we seem to function as the Society of Group Psychology OR Group Psychotherapy. As acknowledged by Lee, Dr. Jill Paquin and Dr. Joe Miles have put together an exciting and interesting program for the APA convention in Washington, DC (I hope you will all come and attend these Division 49 programs). We have one poster session as part of the program with a number of what look like informative and interesting posters. However, all of these posters are examining some aspect of group psychotherapy or group counseling (the program chairs are limited by what types of proposals they receive). By contrast, under Dick Moreland’s leadership and continued stewardship, Division 49 annually offers an award for the best dissertation research on small groups. This Dissertation Research Award is now entering its 15th year. I have been fortunate to be part of the review committee each year for these awards and have been privileged to see the high-quality small group research being produced. In reviewing these awards it is striking that almost none of the submissions and none of the award winners are studies examining group therapy. I am absolutely convinced that the program chairs are not biased toward accepting only group psychotherapy proposals and the Dissertation Award committee members are not biased toward only awarding organizational or social psychological research. Rather, we seem to be selectively sorting ourselves into different aspects of the division and by this selective sorting process inadvertently creating the Society of Group Psychology OR Group Psychotherapy.

Therefore, I am asking for your help in addressing my AND presidential initiative. I would like to develop a number of proposals to concretely create more AND in our Society. If you have ideas related to AND or you would like to be involved with this AND initiative when I take over as president in 2015, please contact me at dennisk@umd.edu.

Categories
Welcome

From Your Editors

Tom Treadwell, Ed.D., T.E.P, CGP
Editor

Leann Terry Diederich, Ph.D.
Associate Editor

It was nice seeing many of you at the AGPA Annual Convention in Boston and we are looking forward to APA’s Convention in Washington, DC, this August. This is an excellent way to get and stay reconnected, gain new skills and knowledge, and come together as part of a larger group to revitalize and enjoy each other’s company.

In this issue, you can read about the following:

  • President Lee Gillis is focused on helping undergraduates connect to both group psychology and group psychotherapy graduate programs. Currently Lee has developed a team of students and Early Career Psychologists (ECPs) who are constructing a survey of graduate programs to ascertain the depth and breadth of their graduate studies in-group. Additionally, he would also like to help doctoral students seeking internships emphasizing group work to be able to identify them more easily.
  • President-Elect Dennis Kivlighan, Jr. plans to focus on connecting and furthering the group experience that our current president has established to intensify a stronger connection between group psychology and group psychotherapy.

Members may recall that over the past three years a discussion regarding the format of The Group Psychologist surfaced and we elected to have the newsletter delivered as an online electronic newsletter, PDF version. Starting with this issue we have upgraded our electronic edition to an easier navigational format allowing members to traverse the pages quickly on a computer, smartphone, or tablet. We feel this is an excellent way to offer expanded content in an electronic format to our membership beyond the content on the Division website.

This issue has links to individual articles, tabs across the top and bottom of pages (for current issue, past issues, instructions to authors, link to website, about TGP/the Division, how to join the division, and a link to Facebook). Other features include a photo gallery, a way to sign-up to follow the site (e.g., get emails when it’s updated), a search feature, archives by month, and categories (types of articles). If you like one of the articles you read, be sure to comment, send it via email to a colleague, or “like” it on Facebook.

We encourage your feedback regarding this electronic format and want you to share your thoughts with us.

Articles or brief reports and news items can be emailed directly to Tom, Leann, Letitia, and Noranne at ttreadwe@mail.med.upenn.edu, as can Letters to the Editor.

 

Categories
Elections

President-Elect Candidate Statements

Robert L. Gleave, PhD, ABGP, CGP
Robert L. Gleave, PhD, ABGP, CGP

Robert L. Gleave, PhD, ABGP, CGP

I am a Clinical Professor at BYU, with joint appointments in the Counseling Center and the Counseling Psychology Doctoral Program. I became a believer in group work early in my graduate studies. In my first exposure to the power of interactional processes, I found something resonating within me that would be an ongoing part of my professional identity.  My chair introduced me to professional association work and I have been on an association board consistently ever since. So far, my career has been spent building a strong group program and culture at the BYU Counseling Center, nurturing strong research collaborations, teaching and mentoring graduate students, and providing clinical services.  I have consistently wanted to offer service to the profession on a national level, but have added – not yet. I now feel ready to offer my time and energy to Division 49. As we move forward, there is so much we can offer to members with distance learning and collaboration.  I want to take steps to capture the opportunities that are available now (especially as time at convention is shrinking).  I also hope for more cooperation among all proponents of group work.  Our differences sometimes are expressed in competitive ways and we miss the strength of working cooperatively and synergistically. Maintaining and enhancing what has been done by those on whose shoulders we stand is important. The organization is functioning well, yet improvement is an ongoing responsibility. I ask for your support and thank you for voting and being involved.

Craig Parks, PhD
Craig Parks, PhD

Craig Parks, PhD

If elected to the presidency of Division 49, my goal will be to broaden membership. Division 49 should be a place where group researchers of all types come together to discuss common interests, and generate ideas about the generality of, and limits to, principles of group process and performance. Yet despite the wide range of articles published in Group Dynamics, the division’s journal, actual membership in the division is almost exclusively clinical and counseling psychologists. This is discouraging and ironic given that group researchers in other areas of psychology (social, organizational, sport/exercise, educational) often complain about lack of recognition within their own divisions. As a social psychologist, I have learned much from my years of interaction with other Division 49 members, and have begun planning collaborative projects with them. I am convinced that Division 49 can become a wellspring of similar types of cross-cutting projects. I am also a member of Division 8 (Personality and Social) and have connections in Divisions 14 (Industrial/Organizational), 19 (Military), and 47 (Exercise and Sport), so I have the ability to get the word out. The great conflict researcher Morton Deutsch earned his PhD in experimental group’s research, and ten years later became a licensed therapist, because he believed you cannot truly understand groups until you know how to both document their problems and help solve those problems. While I do not intend to persuade Division 49 members to go earn second doctorates, I do believe we can embody Deutsch’s ideal through a broader membership.

Categories
Elections

Treasurer Candidate Statements

Amy
Amy Nitza, PhD

Amy Nitza, PhD

I am honored to be nominated for the position of Treasurer of Division 49. Throughout my career, I have had the good fortune to have been mentored by long-standing members and leaders of the Division. I welcome this opportunity to be able to give back.

My interest in groups began during my masters training, when my professor Janice DeLucia-Waack asked for a volunteer to co-lead an inpatient psychotherapy group. Having been ‘hooked’ on groups after this experience, I was fortunate to complete my doctoral work under the supervision of Rex Stockton, who provided invaluable mentoring in group research. With this strong foundation, my teaching, research, and professional service has largely been group focused. One of the highlights was my year as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Botswana, where I taught group counseling and studied the cultural factors influencing group dynamics in the country. As I write this I am on sabbatical in Bhutan, where my interest in group work has now come full circle. I am posted at the National Hospital here, where I am working to develop a culturally appropriate inpatient group psychotherapy program on the psychiatry ward.

My experience in national leadership of professional group work organizations includes six years on the Executive Board of the Association for Specialists in Group Work, with three years as Newsletter Editor followed by three years as Secretary. I am excited to be able to apply my group experience and passion to advance the goals of Division 49.

Norah Slone, PhD
Norah Slone, PhD

Norah Slone, PhD

Greetings! I am an Early Career Counseling Psychologist and recently graduated with my Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky. I completed my internship at the University of North Carolina – Charlotte Counseling Center and my dissertation is entitled, Evaluating the Efficacy of Client Feedback in Group Psychotherapy. I am currently serving as a faculty member engaged in clinical training and research with doctoral students in the School of Professional Psychology at Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to run for the Treasurer position for the Society of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy, Division 49, given my career goals. In addition to developing professional practices as a group psychotherapy researcher and clinician, my career goals include honing leadership skills to serve the division by collaborating with others and learning how to advance important initiatives as a team. I am particularly interested in collaborating on ideas that will contribute to furthering group psychotherapy process and outcome research as well as those that increase the implementation of high quality group therapy training in graduate programs. As group psychotherapy has been a professional passion throughout my career to this point, I look forward to the opportunity to become more involved in Division 49 as well as connect with others who share a similar enthusiasm for this work.

Categories
Elections

Member-at-Large Statements

Jill Paquin, PhD
Jill Paquin, PhD

Jill Paquin, PhD, Member-at-Large

I am an early career academic and counseling psychologist dedicated to helping my students learn what psychology is, as well as how good psychologists think, both ethically, critically, in conjunction with their openness to cultural differences. Secondly, I am passionate about my clinical work both with individuals and groups, and believe my continued involvement in this domain brings a valuable synergy to both my teaching and scholarly work. Thirdly, I am dedicated to advancing a program of research connected to understanding the experiences of diverse groups of women and to better understanding how group therapy helps people. As a counseling psychologist, I believe that research is embedded within a sociopolitical context and it is important to me that my research has the potential to help people, particularly marginalized groups of people. Fourthly, my experiences working in public policy and advocacy have provided the foundation for my values, interests, and current scholarly pursuits, as my early identification as an activist and feminist is what led me to psychology in the first place. Lastly, I believe embodying the kind of professional we want our students to become is one of the most powerful tools we have as teachers, supervisors, clinicians and scholars. I feel so fortunate to have been mentored so well by so many, and I strive to do this for others each day. I hope that I could bring this experience to Division 49 and contribute to the growth of the organization.

For information about my research, teaching, clinical background, and professional service, please visit http://www.chatham.edu/academics/programs/graduate/mscp/facultydetails.cfm?FacultyID=335.

Tracy Thomas, PsyD
Tracy Thomas, PsyD

Tracy Thomas, PsyD, Member-at-Large

Early in my training, I requested to run a Severe and Persistent Mental Illness (SPMI) population inpatient group. At this time I had no group training .I envisioned facilitating a “process” group. As you might expect, the group decompensated. I quickly learned that group takes a lot of nuanced knowledge and skill. Although this experience could be considered a disaster, it sparked my appreciation for the challenges and rewards of group work. I’ve been hooked ever since.

Previously, I was a psychologist and group coordinator at Stony Brook University Counseling and Psychological Services, seeing individuals, running groups (ranging from support to process like groups), supervising interns, teaching a group therapy seminar, and performing the logistical responsibilities required to develop and grow a group program. I recently began working at the Capitol Institute for Cognitive Therapy in Washington, DC and I am looking forward to the next challenge of developing and running groups in private practice. I am excited to be nominated for member-at-large in APA Division 49. My membership has had a significant impact on my professional development. In addition, I am an active member of the Early Career Psychologist (ECP) Subcommittee, collaborating with other members to develop and implement various educational and professional development opportunities and increasing the visibility of Division 49. Being a member-at-large would allow me to further develop resources, programs, and products that help ECPs. In addition, I am interested in the training of therapists new to group and would like to be involved in the continued growth of our field.

 

Categories
Elections

Student Representative Statements

Rosamond J. Smith, MS
Rosamond J. Smith, MS

Rosamond J. Smith, MS
Counseling Psychology Doctoral Student, University of Louisville

I am honored and delighted to be nominated for Student Representative of Division 49.  Since 2012, I have had the privilege of working with the Division to further the mission of promoting the development and advancement of group psychology and psychotherapy. Most recently, Dr. “Lee” Gillis, Dr. Leann Terry Diederich, Sean Woodland, and I have been working together to create a study on group training and research in APA-accredited programs. One goal for my future with Division 49 is to use the knowledge gained from this study, combined with the wisdom of the Division’s current members, to improve training and research in group psychology and psychotherapy.

As a student, I have co-led groups for five year-olds with autism spectrum and behavioral disorders, adolescents mandated to treatment through the court system, and active-duty women in the military. Through these varied experiences, I recognized the strengths and weaknesses of my prior group training. With hopes for a career educating the next generation of psychologists, I am passionate about preparing and maintaining group psychotherapists and researchers through high quality and continuing education. As Student Representative, I would reach out to current psychologists-in-training to help educate them on the importance of group training and research. I would also encourage students, faculty, researchers, and practitioners to push for and/or provide increased and improved group-related training opportunities. I greatly appreciate the chance to serve the Division as Student Representative, and thank you for your consideration.

Britney Tibbits, MA
Britney Tibbits, MA

Britney Tibbits, MA
University of Denver, Doctoral Candidate

I am a first year counseling psychology doctoral student at the University of Denver, and I am so honored to run for the Student Member position for Division 49. The position would be a wonderful opportunity for me to become more involved and increase involvement in the division among my peers nationally. I have had the opportunity to work with some wonderful people who are actively involved in the division, and they inspired my enduring interest in contributing to the knowledge surrounding group research and practice. I have specific interest and experience in looking at how novice group leaders differ from expert group leaders in their knowledge structures and how groups can be most effectively utilized for eating disorder treatment and prevention.  I am very excited and grateful to be a part of division 49 in any capacity!

 

 

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Columns

Research Column: Why Measurement Matters: A Systematic Inquiry of Group Therapy Outcome Studies

Sean Woodland, Marie Ricks, Griffith Jones, & Kyle Lindsay
Brigham Young University

Conclusions regarding treatment efficacy are best justified when ascertained with a high level of measurement precision, rigorous methods, and inferences accurately reflecting the research question (Cook & Campbell, 1979; Bednar, Burlingame, & Masters, 1988). Measurement precision is a foundational piece that, when ignored, can negatively affect the ability to assert therapy effectiveness. Several proposed frameworks for better understanding outcome measures illustrate that the level of rigor applied is directly related to the strength of the study’s inferences (Bednar, Burlingame, & Masters, 1988; Burlingame et al. 2005; Erbes et al. 2004; Lambert, Ogles, & Masters, 1992). Unfortunately, the psychometric properties of outcome measures often go unreported, which leads to unneeded diversity in measures used, and either chaos or apathy in measurement selection (Lambert, Ogles, & Masters, 1992).  The aim of our study was to ascertain whether these issues hold true in studies of group psychotherapy.

Group therapy outcome studies (n=89) were obtained through extensive literature searches. To be included samples needed to have at least 12 participants, with a minimum two-thirds primarily diagnosable with either schizophrenia or borderline personality disorder. Outcome measures (n=197) were extracted from these studies and reviewed for listing of normative and local psychometrics (i.e., reporting of reliability and/or validity). Outcome domains included depression, anxiety, general mental health, quality of life, and disorder-specific symptoms.  Measures were excluded from the study if articles cited as seminal were unobtainable.  All literature searches were completed twice to insure accuracy.

Of the measures analyzed 31 (15.8%) were “investigator-generated” measures created specifically for the outcome study without prior use or citation.  Each study used an average of 4.68 measures (SD=2.81).  The average number of validities reported within each outcome study was 1.09 (SD=2.56), making up 19% of sample of measures.  The average reliability reported was 1.63 (SD=2.84), representing 45.1% of the average number of measures used per study. Evidence of previous internal consistency was reported 64 times. The average validities found per measure were 1.57 (SD=1.60). For measures used at least three times, the average number of validities increased to 3.20 (SD=1.39).  The most common validity was criterion-related, followed by construct-validity, discriminant, convergent, factorial, and content-validity.

While fairly simple, the results are notable. The studies in our sample reported instrument reliability less than 30% of the time and validity was reported less than 25% of the time; this indicates chronic underreporting of both normative and local psychometrics. Also notable was the fact that 16% of the measures were “investigator-generated.” Combined with the result that less than half of the 197 measures were used more than once, this implies an overabundance of instruments measuring similar constructs, and raises questions about creating new measures rather than relying on those previously validated. It is recommended that previously validated instruments be favored in future studies to better insure measurement precision. Further, we suggest that group researchers increase inclusion of psychometric data in their methods sections to decrease doubt about the rigor associated with measures they implement in outcome studies.

References

Bednar, R. L., Burlingame, G. M., & Masters, K. S. (1988). Systems of family treatment: Substance or semantics? Annual Review of Psychology39(1), 401-434.

Burlingame, G. M., Dunn, T. W., Chen, S., Lehman, A., Axman, R., Earnshaw, D., & Rees, F. M. (2005). Special section on the GAF: Selection of outcome assessment instruments for in patients with severe and persistent mental illness. Psychiatric Services56(4), 444-451.

Cook, T. D., & Campbell, D. T. (1979). Quasi-experimentation: Design and analysis for field setting. MA: Houghton Mifflin.

Erbes, C., Polusny, M. A., Billig, J., Mylan, M., McGuire, K., Isenhart, C., & Olson, D. (2004). Developing and Applying a Systematic Process for Evaluation of Clinical Outcome Assessment Instruments. Psychological Services1(1), 31.

Lambert, M. J., Ogles, B. M., & Masters, K. S. (1992). Choosing outcome assessment devices: An organizational and conceptual scheme. Journal of Counseling & Development70(4), 527-532.

Categories
Columns

Group Psychotherapy Column: What Do You Say After You Say “Hello”?

John Breeskin, PhD
John Breeskin, PhD

John Breeskin, PhD

This set of guidelines closely follows a chapter from my book titled, “Sparky Says Hello” and should be read in connection with this article.

My illustration will consist of the questions that I feel need to be asked in this first interview. I understand that the format for an interview is very much idiosyncratic so my comments are no more than suggestions.

These suggestions are generic in nature and can be used for crisis intervention, pre-therapy interviews, for forensic interviews, for group placement evaluations and the like.

Hello, my name is Sarah Smith and I comfortable being called Sarah if that is alright with you. Our job is to interview each other so that you and I can get to know one another and, as a result, we can plan together as to our next step to help you deal with specific nature of the reasons that brings you here today and, additionally, and so we can get a sense of the historical events that contribute to the present situation. In sense, this interview can act as a preview to introduce the main feature which can be called “a part of your life’s journey.”

The first question you are probably asking yourself is, “Can Sarah be trusted?” That particular question is quite appropriate and I hope you can give me the chance to prove that I am trust worthy. I hope that you understand that I am not asking you to trust me just because I am sitting on this side of the desk. I expect to be given your trust in an n old fashioned way: I expect to earn it and I will try to be very clear as attempt to accomplish this goal of earning your trust.

What I will need form you, in this context, is periodic information as to how well or how poorly I am establishing this goal from your point of view.

As the first step, and the most important of all, I hope you will see me as non-judgmental. I do not have any idea as to what is best for you. Only you know that but I promise that I will listen and keep track of where you want to go without any sense of good or bad or any sense of guilt, shame or blame.

The reason that I can be non-judgmental is because you and I are sisters (or brother or a brother and a sister): not biological sisters but I hope you will quickly see that the two of us have shared the same journey and, while the details are different, the overall theme may probably be the same.

From a specific point, of view, with respect to the structure of your participation in this therapy program, I will do an intake evaluation, and, if we decide together it is appropriate, I will present you with a series of options for you to consider.

If you and I succeed in establishing a comfortable style of speaking to one another, the danger is that you might feel abandoned if I pass you on to another person. I would probably feel the same way myself. My wish is that you will take whatever we accomplish together and bring it to the next step of your journey. As a temporary bridge, you can keep me posted as to your decision.

The interview information that we will be looking at are the details of your current situation and your past history. At this point you may ask yourself the reasonable question, “what does my past history have to do with my current situation?” I hope that as a result of our interaction, you will see that the two points in time are connected and that past behavior can guide us to making sense of our current behavior. It will also give us a road map in terms of how to free ourselves form the danger of repeating past problematic behavior and allow you to experiences, perhaps for the first time, a powerful sense of freedom.

In terms of obvious but very important information, the fact that you came in today and that you came to talk to me is an optimistic sign that you want your life to be better. That is a significantly positive step and I want you to know that you being in my office right now strongly suggest that your reward for taking that first step is that your journey will be better and earn my deep respect.

I am looking forward for the two of us getting to know each other better. Please feel free to ask me questions which, I hope, will include questions about myself as another traveler on the road since there can be safety in interacting with other human beings. Of course there is also potential danger as well but you and I must work together through that aspect of human connection.

I hope that you do not see me as talking about myself as trying to compete with you in any way. I see our discussion as an enhancement model and not a scarcity model. I am looking forward to continuing our discussion next week; good bye for now.

I think it is overly optimistic to pack all this information into one session. These ideas probably need to be spread out over at least two or three sessions so these comments can be used as general guidelines. I am quite aware that my style is uniquely my own. Please feel free to modify in terms of your own degree of comfort.

 

 

 

 

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Columns

Diversity Column: Committee Activities at the 2013 Annual APA Convention

Jeanne Bulgin Steffen, PhD
Jeanne Bulgin Steffen, PhD

Jeanne Bulgin Steffen, PhD

The Diversity Committee, founded as a subcommittee under the Society of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy in 2007, was created with the overarching goal of promoting the inclusion and visibility of underrepresented populations in the Division. This year, Dr. Eric Chen completed his third year term as Chair of the Diversity Committee in December 2013, and yours truly was asked to serve as new Chair of the Diversity Committee for January 2014-December 2016. I want to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Chen for his commitment and work throughout the past three years and express how excited and honored I am to continue to work with him and the rest of the committee to advance our goals in 2014 and in the coming years. In this column, I would like to focus on summarizing our major activities for 2013 related to our overarching goal mentioned previously.

One of the major activities related to our overarching goal is to formally honor those individuals who make significant contributions to group psychology practice, research, service, and/or mentoring, with a focus on promoting understanding and respect for diversity. Each year we encourage nominations from the Division for the Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy Diversity Award, which is presented at the Annual APA Convention. Dr. Clayton P. Alderfer was recognized as the 2013 recipient of this award at the business meeting of Division 49 in Honolulu, Hawaii in August. Dr. Alderfer has had a prolific career in organizational psychology, producing more than 100 published articles and four books over the years, of which more than half pertain to intergroup relations. His empirical work addresses intergroup relations among intersecting identities (e.g., race, gender, ethnicity, generation) using a number of methodology. Dr. Alderfer has provided interventions to change race relations within various organizations through the use of race and gender based consulting teams, and has also provided service and mentoring through his academic positions at Yale University and Rutgers University. The Committee concluded that Dr. Alderfer is highly deserving of the Diversity Award from Division 49 as he has made outstanding contributions within the overall field of group psychology and especially in promoting understanding and respect for diversity. Congratulations, Dr. Alderfer, and thank you for your contributions to the field!

At the 2013 APA convention, the Diversity Committee engaged in another important activity related to our overarching goal, that of providing education and encouraging diversity related conversations among our colleagues and ourselves in order to increase awareness, knowledge and skills related to multicultural competence. In this case, the educational activity was a symposium, which was contextually related to Hawaii, where the 2013 APA convention was held, and closely aligned with Division 49’s conference theme of “Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy Around the World: Research and Practice.” It consisted of four paper presentations aimed to highlight the complex process of “border crossing,” giving special attention to the interplay of multicultural competence and social justice within the context of group counseling. Topics included: (a) “Themes on Multiculturalism and Social Justice in Group Counseling Research” by Jill D. Paquin and Joseph R. Miles; (b) “Multicultural Groups and Social Justice Issues with Transgender Native Hawaiians” by Rick Trammel and Patrick K. Kamakawiwo‘ole; (c) “Ethical and Legal Considerations in Group Counseling for Undocumented Immigrants” by Allyson Regis, Kourtney Bennett and Eric C. Chen; and (d) “Group Counseling with Undocumented College Students: Supports and Barriers” by Gary Dillon, Jill Huang, and Eric C. Chen. Although this activity was held on an early Saturday morning, more than 30 individuals participated in the symposium.

As the chair of the Diversity Committee, I also have a special opportunity to provide education and encourage conversations to increase multicultural competency and spark interest in diversity related topics through this column. I hope I can engage my fellow group psychologists and psychotherapists on path to increase their competence and confidence by providing intriguing topics and talking points over the next few years. After all, as group psychologists we are especially poised for multicultural competence since we, in essence, work within the multicultural social microcosms of our own psychotherapy groups and thus have the opportunity to be exposed to and to participate in various interplays of intersecting identities—hopefully with the outcome of improving intrapersonal and interpersonal health and the overall health of our family, community, nation and international systems. I welcome comments, concerns and requests for various topics. In addition, if you are interested in participating in the Diversity Committee, we are currently welcoming new members. Please contact me at jsteffen2013@gmail.com.