From Your Editors at The Group Psychologist
In this issue of The Group Psychologist you’ll find authors speaking to the powerful roles that groups can have in our lives. While at the recent American Group Psychotherapy Association Annual Meeting, I (Leann) experienced this in many ways. However, one depiction of the power groups have, that caught me off-guard, was while watching the musical Cats. Arguably, one of the most emotional plot lines in the show is that of Grizabella, the old “glamor cat” who is an outcast from the Jellicle tribe of cats. Her anguish at not be accepted, the impact of being shunned, and the loneliness she feels is palpable. One of the most magical, and at times haunting, songs comes from her singing Memory. Without providing too much of a spoiler, it’s a moving moment in the musical when she is accepted back into the tribe. There is a dark side to groups, their ability to shun, to cut-off, and to wound individuals. Yet, Cats, provides a beautiful visual reminder of the healing power of groups: through acceptance, welcoming, and re-incorporation into something bigger than one’s self.
We encourage you, dear reader, to send us your reactions to the articles in this issue. Better yet, post about them on Facebook! Start out by checking out our President-elect’s recent experiences wondering what attending the Division 49 Mid-Winter Board meeting will be like. Our current President, Dr. Craig Parks, while reflecting on the current state of political discourse takes on the question, “How important is it for opposing groups to be calm and friendly while discussing their differences?”
In a different sort of response to the current political state, in his Group Psychotherapy Column, Dr. Tevya Zukor, points out, “We have the training and experience to understand the dynamics of scapegoating, oppression, and irrational fear-based behavior. Not only do we understand how these processes emerge, but we have thousands of years of combined experience helping people navigate through the worst times of their lives and being there as they to emerge from the darkness that once overwhelmed them.”
Finally, we encourage you to check out the range of awards described in the Diversity Column. These include cash awards of $500 and $1000 for members (or those whose membership is pending) of Division 49. These awards are to “recognize excellence in group psychology practice, research, service, and/or advocacy with a focus on promoting understanding and respect for diversity.” It’s not too early to start thinking about the APA annual convention. The Diversity Committee is hoping to use the Suite to foster dialogue among Division members about diversity in group psychology and group psychotherapy in an informal setting. Please email Dr. Joe Miles (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have ideas or requests about what could be offered.