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Visionary Grants

Up to $20,000 to seed innovation through supporting research, education, and intervention projects and programs.

 The APF Visionary Grants seek to seed innovation through supporting research, education and intervention projects and programs that use psychology to solve social problems in the following priority areas:

  • Applying psychology to at-risk, vulnerable populations (e.g. serious mental illness, returning military, those who are incarcerated or economically disadvantaged)
  • Preventing violence
  • Understanding the connection between behavior and health (e.g. wellness, diabetes, obesity)
  • Understanding and eliminating stigma and prejudice (e.g. race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability and socioeconomic status)

 Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must:

  • Be a graduate student or early career researcher (no more than 10 years postdoctoral).
  • Be affiliated with a nonprofit charitable, educational or scientific institution, or governmental entity operating exclusively for charitable and educational purposes.
  • Have demonstrated competence and capacity to execute the proposed work

 Grants are available in amounts of up to $20,000.

 See our website for more information http://www.apa.org/apf/funding/visionary.aspx

 Click here to apply for this grant: https://www.grantinterface.com/Home/Logon?urlkey=apa&

 The deadline for applications is April 1, 2018.  Please feel free to distribute this call as you see fit.  Thank you for your time.

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Other Information

Call for Papers: Special Issue for Psychology of Violence

Call for Papers

Racism, Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Privilege, and Violence: Advancing Science to Inform Practice and Policy

A Special Issue for Psychology of Violence

Special issue editors:  Lama Hassoun Ayoub, Bonnie Duran, Gabe Kuperminc, Maury Nation, David Sugarman, Nicole Yuan, and Sherry Hamby

Submission deadline: December 8, 2017

               People have been marching in the streets in support of openly racist, anti-Semitic, and Islamophobic ideologies in numbers that have not been seen in the United States for at least half a century. Bias-motivated aggressive beliefs and behaviors add substantially to the health burden of affected individuals and communities. Psychology and other social sciences have important roles to play to further understanding of these biases and to develop strategies and interventions that will reduce prejudice, discrimination, and un-earned race and class privilege. There is limited research on the effects of prejudice, and even less scientific study of the characteristics and dynamics of race and class privilege, or the mechanisms leading to the perpetration of hate-motivated violence. Further, most research on violence and aggression continues to use race, religion, and ethnicity as “social address” markers, instead of unpacking the sources for group differences, such as the burden of discrimination, and disparities in access to treatment and the level of care received during treatment. More sophisticated analyses of the underlying causes and mechanisms of social and health disparities are needed. This special issue is designed to advance the scientific knowledge about racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and other bias-motivated forms of aggressive cognitions and behaviors, with a goal of advancing prevention, intervention, and policy.

               We hope the special issue will comprise a range of methodologies and approaches to these questions, including quantitative and qualitative methods and reviews of the literature. We also welcome studies that adopt a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach.

Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Studies that explore the traumatic impact of victimizations motivated by racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and other forms of prejudice. We are especially interested in studies that go beyond merely using race, ethnicity, religion, immigration status or other sociodemographic characteristics as mere “social address” markers, and systematically investigate the factors that contribute to health and social disparities.  
  • Studies on hate-motivated crime of all types, including studies of interpersonal conflict and inter-group conflict. Studies on perpetrators of hate-motivated crime are especially welcome.
  • Psychometric studies on measures of racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, race privilege, class privilege, or other forms of discrimination and unequitable treatment that lead to aggression, victimization, and trauma.
  • Studies on structural racism and/or historical trauma, especially efforts to improve assessment and analysis of institutional or societal factors that contribute to discrimination.
  • Studies on intersectionality among these and other identities.  For example, individuals who identify as Black and Muslim; multi-faith families; and also intersections with other identities such as LGBTQ or gender.
  • Conceptual and theoretical papers on the links between racism, religious prejudice, violence, victimization, and post-traumatic stress or other psychological sequelae.
  • Evaluations of prevention and intervention programs designed to reduce racism, anti-Semitism, or other forms of prejudice, that include aggression, victimization, post-traumatic stress or related factors as outcome variables.  We are especially interested in strengths-based approaches to prevention and studies on resilience.  
  • “Lessons learned” and other reflections on efforts to advance the scientific understanding of, or intervene against, racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and race or class privilege.

Manuscripts can be submitted through the journal’s submission portal. Please note in your cover letter that you are submitting for the special issue.

Deadline for submitting manuscripts is December 8, 2017. Inquiries regarding topic or scope for the special issue or for other manuscripts can be sent to DSugarman@ric.edu or sherry.hamby@sewanee.edu.

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Other Information

Division 49 Awards

Division 49 Awards

Xu Li, Xuan Jia, and Dennis M. Kivlighan Jr. that you have been selected as the 1st place award recipient for outstanding graduate student poster on behalf of Division 49 Society for Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy for your paper, “Perceptual Fit of Group Cohesion and Member Disclosure: An ActorPartner Response Surface Analysis.”  We were very impressed with the quality, rigor, thoughtfulness, and contribution of your paper to the field of group dynamics. Congratulations!

Elliott DeVore, Keri Frantell, and Dr. Joe Miles were selected as the 2nd place award recipient for outstanding graduate student poster on behalf of Division 49 Society for Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy for your paper, “Attachment and Intergroup Dialogue.”  We were very impressed with the quality, rigor, thoughtfulness, and contribution of your paper to the field of group dynamics. Congratulations!

 Jean Keim was selected as the inaugural award recipient for excellence in teaching group dynamics for 2017. The awards review committee was highly impressed with your credentials, experience, and significant contributions to the field of teaching group psychology. Congratulations! 

Rebecca MacNair-Semands was selected for the Arthur Teicher Group Psychologist of the Year Award. 

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Committee Reports

Liaison Report from the Committee for the Advancement of Professional Practice (CAPP)

Leann Diederich, Ph.D.
Leann Diederich, Ph.D.

Liaison Report from the Committee for the Advancement of Professional Practice (CAPP)

I attended a two-day CAPP board meeting in mid-October as a liaison from our Society. The CAPP board members and fellow liaisons are a group of talented individuals who are invested in coming together as a group to advance the needs of practicing psychologists. A limited summary of the topics, actions, and updates is provided below.

There are several products due to be released next year by the APAPO (the practice organization that advocates and provides for the needs of practicing psychologists). The first is a Qualified Clinical Data Registry (QCDR). This registry has expanded the previous registry option (the APAPO PQRSPRO) available to psychologists who bill for Medicare. There are numerous benefits to an APA/APAPO‐sponsored clinical data registry: (a) APAPO can provide a real‐world view of clinical practice, patient outcomes, safety, and clinical, comparative, and cost‐effectiveness, and that can serve a number of evidence development and decision making purposes; (b) we can define, develop, and/or select the measures that are of the most interest and importance to psychology and to mental health more broadly– as opposed to letting some other health care entity do so for us; (c) we can collect actionable information that can be used to modify behaviors, processes, or systems of care; and (d) we can meet other psychologist data needs, such as licensure/CE requirements, credentialing or board certification requirements, and quality‐based, differential, and reimbursement payment programs (pay‐for‐performance). The second product to be released is the fully updated HIPAA product. The product will give members a simplified and combined compliance resource for the HIPAA Privacy, Security and Breach Notification Rules (including updating state law and preemption analysis for 51 jurisdictions). They expect this product to be given a “soft launch” at the upcoming Practice Leadership Conference in March, with a full release by the summer.

A current product that is available to APAPO members is a Guide to Innovative Practice Models available on the APAPO website at: http://www.apapracticecentral.org/business/innovation/index.aspx. This toolkit provides information and resources for psychologists about emerging trends, challenges and opportunities related to alternative practice models.

The Legal and Regulatory Affairs (LRA) office of the APAPO gave an update on topics related to parity and insurance that they have been pursuing. This includes: (a) taking a lead role in an effort by stakeholders on all sides to develop a parity accreditation system; (b) working with outside counsel and NYSPA on a parity-based class action lawsuit targeting reimbursement discrimination against psychologists and their patients; (c) collaborating with Government Relations to respond to rate cuts by two MCOs brought in to manage TRICARE; and (d) continued collaboration with state associations (GA, FL, PA, KS and MN) on 90837 and reimbursement cut issues.

The LRA and the APA Education Directorate recently celebrated a large success by overcoming a major regulatory barrier and can now move forward on a pilot project to use supervised psychology trainees to bring integrated behavioral health services to underserved Medicaid populations in Washington, DC.  The pilot project will place trainees in primary care physician (PCP) offices; help build a pipeline of highly-qualified psychologists to fill the extraordinary need for these services; and develop a model for replication in other states. The pilot program will involve supervised trainees, both interns and post-docs, providing behavioral health services in three primary care clinics in underserved areas of DC. Their services will be reimbursed by Medicaid through ACDC, a big win for the sustainability of such an integrated care program.

There are a range of other topics covered at the meeting, including a policy on integrated care, master’s level training, Government Relations updates, Clinical Practice Guidelines on PTSD, a policy on Behavior Analysts, updates on APAPO membership and finances, and comments from the current APA CEO and APA President-elect. For more detailed analysis of the meeting, please contact me directly at Leann@LeannDiederich.com.

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Committee Reports

Council of Representatives

Sally Barlow, Ph.D.
Sally Barlow, Ph.D.

The Council of Representatives met during the August 2017 APA Annual meeting in Washington DC for two days, considering a number of items. Key among them were reports from the Civility and Diversity work groups (clearly lots of overlap here) regarding useful ways to advance the causes of civility (in person and on the list serve) and expand diversity beyond just “talking about it”—thus reflecting our mission to respect the rights and dignity of all persons.  In particular, the Civility work group put forward a plan to encourage dealing with civility issues with 5 steps: 1) peer to peer internal [“ouch-oops” feedback–suggesting that a person who appears insensitive may not have realized it. The person who was offended needs to say “ouch” and the person who offended needs to say “oops”], 2) mentor assisted informal, 3) formal complaint, 4) mentor committee elevation and Council of Representatives (CoR) initiated community protection.  The report is lengthy and very thoughtful. If you would like a copy let me know. We will debate implementation of this during the mid-winter meeting in March 2018. The appointment of a Civility Ambassador will be made to oversee this process in order to promote respect and inclusion, utilize the findings of the survey conducted regarding these issues, and develop ways to provide corrective feedback.

The Diversity Work Group put forward suggestions for 2018 council diversity training, encouraged APA leaders to model inclusion by tracking informal as well as formal norms.  Some of the feedback from the diversity survey sent to CoR members last year included such feedback as “enforce term limits—too many council members remain on council by circling through a number of positions and divisions, often remaining dominant, even rude.” Members also recounted “fears of being dismissed, publicly criticized, seen as biased” as deterrents to speaking up against the majority while in meetings. The diversity report is also a very thoughtful document listing short term urgent/longer term urgent/short term import/longer term import, encouraging more data gathering, as well as specific training. Again, I would be happy to share this with you.

Progress with the Good Governance Project continues as the Council Leadership Team (CLT) attempts to make more nimble the daunting bureaucracy of APA.

Several items will be held over until Mid-winter meeting as the August agenda was jam-packed as manifested by the 678 page agenda book (which I would be happy to share with you if you pay for the shipping postage of such a heavy document!)

Council met in Executive Session to further discuss law suit issues, which I am constrained from sharing with you.

Of interest council members were forwarded information on the Press Releases from Kim Mills—media coordinator–during APA that reached a total of 56 million people on topics ranging from mindfulness to helping athletes succeed.

During the mid-winter meeting in March 2018 we will be debating the masters level license issue. This is a complicated issue with an upside and a downside. I would welcome your feedback about what you think about granting masters level psychologists licenses.

Also, just received word of an interesting conference coming up in April in DC.

Thank you for allowing me to represent you on the Council of representatives. Sally H. Barlow, Division 49, Group psychology and group psychotherapy.

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Committee Reports

Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy Specialty Council

Nina Brown, Ed.D., LPC, NCC, FAGPA
Nina Brown, Ed.D., LPC, NCC, FAGPA

Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy Specialty Council

Group Specialty Council President

    The major task for the Group Specialty Council for 2017 began in April with the receipt of the letter from CRSPPP requesting that we supply more information for the petition to include postdoctoral training and, achievement of the specialty at post-licensure.  The Council was also asked by CoA to develop a set of competencies for postdoctoral residency programs reviewed for accreditation.

    A model postdoctoral program was developed under the leadership of Sally Barlow in 2003 but that model was based on what was in effect at that time on the doctoral level for group competencies and experiences.  Doctoral programs had scant training in group psychology and group psychotherapy which was the impetus for the Society trying to gain CRSPPP approval for a specialty.  It was felt that the 2017 version call for significant changes for a model program that would incorporate the proposed doctoral and internship specialty work as having been achieved  and that  the postdoctoral residency would build on the doctoral level work.   

Some of the major changes were to consider the doctoral/internship as the entry level and to describe the training for the postdoctoral at the advanced level.  CoA had requested competencies for the specialty so that site visitors and accreditation reviewers would be able to judge if the postdoctoral program was consistent with established competencies.  

A workgroup composed of Noelle LeForge, Josh Gross and Nina Brown was formed and developed the competencies for postdoctoral and post-licensure programs for the group specialty.  Some examples of major competencies and tasks to be included in postdoctoral programs include the following: that the resident would have an opportunity to lead two different types of groups, to act as a leader not just as a co-leader, their work would be more narrowly focused on specific populations and conditions, there would be broader applications of techniques and procedures such as group process commentary, and residents would gain a more extensive understanding of cultural and diversity characteristics and how they affect the group.  A full list of nine post-doctoral program competencies were created, reviewed by Specialty Council members and by CoS, revised in line with suggested changes, and submitted to CoA.  The competencies were incorporated into the creation of the Education and Training Guidelines for Postdoctoral programs.  In addition, the workgroup developed the process for achieving the group specialty at the post-licensure level that is consistent with ABGP guidelines and standards.

The revisions for the petition are underway with the intent that the resubmission of the petition be no later than mid-December.  Prior to that time, the revisions will be sent to the members of The Society for their review and comment.

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Book Review

The Spirit of Dialogue: Lessons from Faith Traditions in Transforming Conflict

 

 

“Depending on the circumstance, you should be: hard as a diamond, flexible as a willow, smooth-flowing as water, or as empty as space.” – from Morihei Ueshiba, founder of Aikido, as quoted in “The Spirit of Dialogue”

Aaron Wolf trained as a groundwater hydrologist and he would often meet with groups of people angry about the fate of their local river or lake, so he used his science background to try to convince them that a solution was at hand.

It usually didn’t work.

So he began to shift his career to engage in conflict resolution and quickly discovered that neither science nor the Western model of resolving conflicts were enough to engage many people around the world. He eventually began looking at how people of faith addressed conflict to see if there were lessons he could translate into his world of water rights. He was surprised to find there were.

After 12 years of traveling and research, the Oregon State University professor has written a book called “The Spirit of Dialogue: Lessons from Faith Traditions in Transforming Conflict,” which will be published by Island Press on Sept. 14. In the book, Wolf describes, for example, how the Buddhist practice of true listening can identify the root cause of anger, and how Christian grace can look at an energy beyond oneself to transform personal goals into community concerns.

As a scientist, Wolf engages religion not for the purpose of dogma, but for the practical process of mediation.

“Many of us were brought up thinking that science will answer all of our questions,” Wolf said, “but people are people and my background is not going to solve all their problems. The Western model of engaging conflict is based on science, pragmatism and often economics. But there also are transcendental moments of sudden understanding that occur by engaging people spiritually.”

Wolf’s “aha moment” came in Tbilisi, Georgia, where he was one of the facilitators at a tense series of meeting about water rights between Azerbaijan and Armenia. After conducting a series of simple ice-breaking exercises, the leader of one of the delegations stood up, threw down his notebook, and began shouting at Wolf from across the room – loudly and angrily, in Russian.

“My fight-or-flight instinct kicked in immediately but I knew that something must have triggered that reaction,” Wolf said. “As it turns out, many of the scientists in former Soviet republics felt marginalized because outsiders coming to ‘help’ them were treating them as if they were uneducated. He said some aid agencies had actually tried to teach him how to properly wash his hands and he had a Ph.D. in biochemistry.

“Now when I work internationally, I try to team up with a local facilitator for precisely this reason – you can never fully understand all the political nuance and sensitivities of a region, and a poorly informed facilitator can do more harm than good.”

Although he has done most of his work with water conflicts – including working as a facilitator in the Middle East with Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian leaders – Wolf believes the lessons he has learned in his career are applicable in many areas.

That includes gun control and climate change.

“When people express anger, it usually is a shield that masks vulnerability,” Wolf said. “So when people get indignant about gun control, it often can mean they feel their physical well-being is threatened. One person will argue that they feel unsafe and therefore want fewer guns on the street. Someone else will have similar feelings of not being safe, but wants more guns around for protection.

“When you peel away the anger and look at the vulnerability, then you can begin to look for ways to move forward. The good thing about conflict is that it can get two sides into a room to begin a conversation.”

Wolf said climate change arguments frequently result from one group or person expressing disbelief that the other is ignoring overwhelming evidence, while the counter-argument revolves around data manipulation or extrapolating results.

“Many climate skeptics actually believe the Earth is warming, but they don’t believe humans are the cause. Cramming science down their throat hasn’t worked. If you skip the causation for a moment, and begin working on adaptation – “if the Earth is warming, how will we handle it?” – you take the first step toward something positive.”

Wolf said when he began looking at spirituality for lessons, he learned that many faiths look at conflict through the same four lenses – physical, emotional, perceptual and spiritual. He recently returned from the Ganges River region, meeting with water resource managers who were Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist.

“When you sit around a table with them, you can talk from the same construct because of those lenses,” Wolf said. “Then it becomes a matter of transforming conflict by focusing on shared values.”

Understanding this apparently universal structure is extremely helpful in facilitating difficult conversations, Wolf noted.

“When I’ve worked on water disputes, the physical or intellectual nature of water is generally the focus of discussion, while it is actually the emotional or spiritual relationship communities have with their water resources that make the dispute so difficult.  Addressing these aspects explicitly allows for the conversation to be elevated and enriched.”

Wolf is a professor in OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences.

Island Press is a non-profit publisher founded in 1984 to shape ideas for solving environmental problems. “The Spirit of Dialogue” is available at: https://islandpress.org/book/the-spirit-of-dialogue

Note to editors: A photo of Aaron Wolf is available at: https://flic.kr/p/dqY3BN. Journalists who would like a review copy of the book should contact Katharine Sucher of Island Press at 202-232-7933, ext. 43, or ksucher@islandpress.org

By Mark Floyd, mark.floyd@oregonstate.edu

Source: Aaron Wolf, wolfa@geo.oregonstate.edu

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Book Review

The College Counselor’s Guide to Group Psychotherapy: A New Resource for the Practice of Group Psychotherapy in College Counseling and other Group Settings

Michele D. Ribeiro, Ed.D., CGP
Michele D. Ribeiro, Ed.D., CGP

The College Counselor’s Guide to Group Psychotherapy: A New Resource for the Practice of Group Psychotherapy in College Counseling and other Group Settings

Counseling and Psychological Services

Oregon State University

Groups in college counseling center settings have long been an effective albeit under researched modality of treatment.  Most college counseling centers offer a variety of groups ranging from psychoeducation, to support and interpersonal process.  Little research to date within college counseling settings, has captured the variety and clinical outcomes that these varying types of groups offer.  Furthermore, not only do clients benefit from the modality of group, clinicians working in this setting are also given the opportunity to further their training while honing their skills as facilitators and co-facilitators.  

Many doctoral students often get their first real training experience within their practicum and in the arena of college counseling centers.  They then often further their development within their internship.  As an example, I recently began working with a new intern at the counseling center, in which I work, who shared that his tendency was to pull for individual responses more than responses geared toward the group as a whole.  This in turn influenced his behavior and resulted in him sitting back and refraining from verbally engaging in our first group.  I encouraged him to take a risk, to offer a possible group intervention, like a bridging technique or posing a question to the group as a whole.  By the end of our second group, this intern experienced a shift in his perspective and began intervening on a “group as a whole” level.  I was impressed by how quickly he began working on a group level rather than through individually oriented interventions and by his overall shift of trust in the group process.  After our group members left the room, we both looked at each other and with two thumbs up, we agreed “awesome group.”  Upon processing his experience, he shared both his uncertainty regarding how group cohesiveness happens and his amazement in the manner in which the group members opened up one by one, thereby creating an interactive, trusting group.  

My role is to teach this intern and all trainees, how facilitators, through their understanding of stages of group development, assist in creating norms that build a culture of trust and vulnerability.  Sharing vulnerability does not automatically happen; however, through the leader’s facilitation, members begin to follow the norms being set.  Another key to a group’s success, that I am interested in helping this intern and others like him understand, is that of member selection.  Though we do not always know what will happen when we put someone in a group, it is the leaders’ assessment of readiness, ego strength, and matching of issues that play a role in creating the experience that we were fortunate to have in the two groups we have led thus far, this term.  There are other dynamics such as our race, gender, ability, gender identity, sexual orientation, nationality, etc. that are also interfacing with our co-leader dynamics, while impacting group members and their social identities.    

My hope whenever I start a new group is that my co-facilitator/trainee is able to experience what I call the “magic” of group psychotherapy.  This magic of client vulnerability and connection keeps me captivated and yearning for the next term or academic year to roll around so I/we can begin group again, and again.  I believe, the magic of group is particularly cultivated and supported within the setting of higher education.  Although many group psychotherapy resources exist, a new book entitled The College Counselor’s Guide to Group Psychotherapy by Routledge Press is the first of its kind that aims to capture group, as we know it in higher education and in the context of college counseling centers.  

College Counseling Centers are a diverse and rich setting for the implementation of group psychotherapy.  The book responds to the many layers of college counseling group work including social identity issues, the group coordinator’s role, practice-based evidence assessments, marketing, co-leadership, and facilitating groups covering support, psychoeducation, mindfulness, therapy and interpersonal process.  Most if not all of the authors work, have worked and/or have consulted within the college counseling center arena with center staff on best practices.  This book is a helpful guide for those who are just beginning to lead groups in college counseling centers as well as those who help coordinate these efforts.  This book can also be an excellent resource for seasoned professionals.  I recently provided a colleague with whom I have been working with for over 15 years, the chapter on multiculturalism and diversity in groups.  She later shared the material was not only readily accessible as a teaching tool to her, but also to the interns.  The writers who have authored the chapters that comprise this text, practice group psychotherapy in the field and are passionate about learning, teaching and training.  Although the book’s title emphasizes groups and college counseling center settings, it can also be a useful resource for a variety of therapeutic environments that utilize group treatment.  I recently shared another chapter of the book with a colleague who works within a hospital setting and has been charged with creating an effective group psychotherapy program.

This book is a resource for any therapist interested in understanding the complexity of group within settings that aim to build or maintain effective functioning of group therapy programs.  If reading this short article has sparked your interest, then I encourage you to find out for yourself what the book has to offer.  If you do decide to take a peek, you may find a new level of intrigue and excitement about groups in your work setting as well.   For more information on the book, visit:

https://www.routledge.com/The-College-Counselors-Guide-to-Group-Psychotherapy/Ribeiro-Gross-Turner/p/book/9781138681965

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Brief Articles

How Groups Can Make a Difference for Hispanic Immigrant Children

Elaine Clanton Harpine, Ph.D.
Elaine Clanton Harpine, Ph.D.

How Groups Can Make a Difference for Hispanic Immigrant Children

Elaine Clanton Harpine, Ph.D., Thomas Reid, Ph.D., William D. Harpine, Ph.D., Adam Pazda, Ph.D., Shana Ingram, B.A. & B.S., and Collytte Cederstrom

The Latina/Latino ethnic group has the lowest educational scores of any large ethnic/racial group in the United States (Mroczkowski & Sánchez, 2015).  According to the Nation’s Report Card, only 26% of Hispanic 4th graders scored as proficient in reading (National Center for Education Statistics (NCES, 2014).  Hispanic kindergarteners also score lower than other racial groups on reading readiness; 42% were listed in the lowest group (Gándara & Contreras, 2010).  The need to improve reading programs for Hispanic children, especially Hispanic immigrant children, becomes obvious.  Groups have been identified as being more effective than one-on-one tutoring (National Reading Panel, 2000).  Prevention groups have also been shown to be effective in academic settings (Kulic, Horne, & Dagley, 2004).  The question is:  Would a group-centered prevention approach for teaching reading be a better approach for meeting the needs of Hispanic immigrant children struggling to learn to read in English?  

Introduction

The cause of reading failure for Hispanic immigrant children is the same as it is for all children:  lack of phonemic awareness (Keller & Just, 2009; Lyon, 2002).  Phonemic awareness is defined as being able to hear, understand, and make use of letter sounds or phonemes (Shaywitz & Shaywitz, 2007).  As Shaywitz (2003) stated, anyone learning to read must be able to decode (break down) words into letter sounds and then encode (reassemble) the sounds back into words.  Lack of training in phonemic awareness becomes a major concern for schools, since according to the Nation’s Report Card, 74% of Hispanic children are not able to read at grade level by 4th grade (NCES, 2014).  Yet, U. S. census findings show that 22% of all children under the age of 18 are Hispanic and 11% of those children are foreign-born (Fry & Passel, 2009).  

Purpose of the Study

Do Hispanic immigrant students need a different teaching approach than other students in the classroom?  Not really, but research has supported claims that the classroom teaching method is a major cause of reading failure (Foorman et al., 2003; Torgesen et al., 2001).   Neuroimaging research has also provided evidence that children who have failed in learning to read using typical whole language, “look-say,” Reading Recovery, or word list memorization methods can be taught to read when the teaching methods are structured to meet the actual needs of the children (Keller & Just, 2009; Meyler et al., 2008).  Learning to read is one of the most critical developmental steps for any child (Fleming et al., 2004) because it is not only related to development across the life span, but also to mental well-being (Maugban, Rowe, Loeber, & Stouthamer-Loeber, 2003).  

Hispanic immigrant children need to learn how to speak, read, write, and work with the English language (Coll & Marks, 2012; Gándara & Contreras, 2010).  This becomes important in school because Hispanic immigrant children need to be accepted by their peers, to display academic accomplishment, and to develop a positive self-identity in their new culture while maintaining a sense of pride in their family culture (Suarez-Orozco & Suarez-Orozco, 2001).  

About the Intervention Being Tested:  Camp Sharigan

We tested the group-centered approach with Hispanic immigrant children to determine whether the group-centered approach would work with students who were failing in reading at school.  We used the ready-to-use group-centered program packet, Camp Sharigan, designed for first through third grade students (Clanton Harpine, 2016).  

Camp Sharigan is a one-week, group-centered prevention program that emphasizes both learning (reading) and counseling (social skills).  This group-centered week-long intervention’s primary goal is to teach children skills (both cognitive and non-cognitive) that will improve reading ability and thereby improve mental wellness and quality of life.  Camp Sharigan emphasizes phonemic awareness, word decoding skills, oral reading, listening and attention skills, writing, encoding skills (spelling), reading fluency, and reading comprehension.  

Learning.  To teach phonemic awareness, the intervention uses vowel clustering (Clanton Harpine, 2011), a method that teaches children to break words down into letter sounds or phonemes.  Vowel clustering teaches children to break words down into sounds and then put those sounds back together as a word.

Previous Research.  We chose this program as our teaching method because it had been tested previously with Hispanic immigrant children.  In a previous study, first through third grade children from a Mexican-descent, inner-city immigrant neighborhood were randomly selected to participate in a test of two different teaching methods.  The group-centered set participated in the week-long, 10-hr Camp Sharigan program, while the other students participated in a 10-hr structured one-on-one tutoring intervention.  

The group-centered students outscored the children who participated in the one-on-one tutoring program.  One year later, during follow-up testing, the Camp Sharigan group was still showing significant improvement over the one-on-one tutoring group just from the one-week intervention (Clanton Harpine & Reid, 2009).   

Multiple Case Study:  Single-Subject Design

The Group Intervention

Although previous group research supported the effectiveness of the group-centered approach, we wanted to examine the impact that a group program like this could have on an individual student, especially students who were failing in school.  The goal was to discover a new effective group-centered teaching method for helping Hispanic, immigrant children improve their reading skills so that they could succeed in the classroom.  

Participants

We chose first graders from a one-on-one tutoring group because we wanted to examine teaching methods without the added burden and stress of multiple years of failure. We know that repeated academic failure compounds the social-emotional and learning problems of students, especially Hispanic immigrant students striving to learn English as a second language (Castro-Olivo et al., 2011).  

We chose 3 children. All of the participants (3 males) were starting first grade when randomly selected for the one-on-one tutoring group and just prior to starting second grade when they participated in the group-centered Camp Sharigan program.  The three students chosen were from the same neighborhood, and attended the same school, participated in the same English as a Second Language instructional program at school, and attended the same after-school program.  

Study Design:  Single-Case Experimental Design

We used single-case graphic analysis to chart each student’s progress.  Macgowan and Wong (2014) suggest that repeated measures should be taken on a single subject or small group of subjects under treatment and no-treatement (baseline) conditions.  Macgowan and Wong (2014) also state that the subject serves as its own control and that single-case design is a valuable research design for applied study with groups.  Kazdin (1) supports the value of studying group participants individually and states that interventions must be tested in real-world settings to prove practical application.

The Howard Street (Morris 2005) assessment procedures were administered to all three participants because the test reported high reliability and validity (predictive validity of .70 and an internal reliability of .85) (Morris, Tyner, & Perney, 2000).  All tests were age-appropriate.  Assessment scores reflected the number missed (Morris, 2005).  

All three children selected for this study were pre- and post-tested at grade level in spelling, oral reading, and sight words.  All three children received the same Howard Street pre-, mid-, and post-test instruments. All three children received pre- and post-tests the summer before first grade.  The three students were then give the same test at mid-point testing.  The summer before second grade, the three students were pre-tested directly before Camp Sharigan and post-tested again immediately after the Camp Sharigan program.  Words on the assessments were not targeted during the one-on-one tutoring or Camp Sharigan program.  

Assessment was scored on the number missed in an untimed test (Morris, 1999).  Self-corrections were not counted as words missed.  Substitutions, omissions, and insertions all counted as words missed.  

Results of the Test

The results show moderate but consistent improvement in reading and sight word recognition after participating in the 10-hr group-centered Camp Sharigan program (see Figures 1 and 2).  The baseline data incorporated each student’s first grade year in school and one full year of one-on-one tutoring before they entered the Camp Sharigan program.  Longitudinal follow-up testing was not possible with this group because of the transient nature of the population.  Improvement is indicated by reduction in number missed at post-testing. The decrease in missed reading words from the first pre-test (M = 12.67, SD = 2.52) to the last post-test (M = 6, SD = 4.58) demonstrates the program’s effectiveness, as does the decrease in missed sight words from the first pre-test (M = 10.33, SD = 0.58) to the last posttest (M = 5.67, SD = 0.58). 

For example, Student #1.  This student, when first tested before first grade, could only read two words in English from the sight word list for pre-kindergarten: “cat” and “go” and could not read words from the oral passage or pre-primer story.  After a year in first grade and with a full year of one-on-one tutoring during first grade, Student #1 was still barely reading at the pre-primer level (below kindergarten).  The student did show some improvement with sight words, but not oral passages.  He memorized a list of words but could not recognize those words when he encountered them again in a story.  After one week with the group-centered Camp Sharigan vowel clustering teaching method, the student was showing improvement with both sight words and in reading oral passages.  Although he was still below grade level and struggling, a mere 10-hour group program showed more benefit for this student than an entire year in first grade with one-on-one tutoring.  

Student #2 made very slow but gradual improvement throughout the first-grade year in school, even with one-on-one tutoring.  By the middle of first grade (6-month post-test), the student was only able to read two new words.  At the end of first grade, the student could only read four new words.  After Camp Sharigan, the student could read 8 new words.  The student demonstrated as much improvement after a 10-hr program as throughout the entire first year of classroom instruction.  Again, vowel clustering and a group-centered teaching method helped this student improve.  

Student #3 demonstrated a similar outcome.  He could not read at all during the first pre-test when he was tested before first grade.  He missed every word on the sight word list and every word on the oral passage at the pre-primer level (below kindergarten).  At the 6-month point in first grade, using Morris assessment, Student #3 was actually doing worse than when he was first tested before school.  He had given up hope.  At the end of first grade, he could only read four new words from the sight word list.  His oral passage score at the end of first grade remained the same as his original pre-test before first grade; he could not read the pre-primer story—not one word.  After the Camp Sharigan intervention, he not only read the pre-primer level story, but moved up in reading oral passages and even made progress in sight words.  The change in teaching method made success possible.  As Kazdin (1982) states, if individual analysis research can show that change occurred immediately after an intervention, then a strong case can be made that the intervention is working (see Figures 1 and 2). 

Discussion

The group-centered approach helps to meet the needs of struggling Hispanic immigrant students in reading:  (1) vowel clustering offers a new, effective approach for teaching phonemic awareness, (2) group-centered interventions offer a new approach for teaching reading and social skills in a positive cohesive group atmosphere, and (3) hands-on workstations with step-by-step directions offer a new approach to teach reading comprehension and strengthen intrinsic motivation.  

What Made the Group-Centered Approach Effective?

Camp Sharigan, a one-week, 10 hr, group-centered reading program, emphasized improving phonemic awareness, interpersonal skills and rebuilding self-efficacy (belief that the child could read), using group cohesion, vowel clustering, and intrinsic motivation (Ryan & Deci, 2000) in an environment of hands-on reading-based activities in accordance with Bandura’s (1997) self-efficacy theory.  The children did not receive prizes or award; the program worked entirely with intrinsic hands-on motivators and group-centered interventions.  

What Are the Advantages of a Group-Centered Approach?

The Group-Centered Teaching Approach Individualizes Instruction. Sometimes student problems are misidentified in school.  By using six different teaching methods, the needs of the student can often be clarified.  This was true with Student #2.  What at first seemed like stubborn refusal to cooperate was a lack of phonemic awareness.  The student had never been taught to focus on letter sounds.  Instead, the child relied on memorization.  When the student encountered a word that the student did not know, the student stalled and seemed uncooperative.  After the student was taught vowel clustering, the student was willing to attempt new words.  The Snake Pit workstation provided a perfect work place for sounding out words.  This new skill was reinforced at the Rainbow Bridge workstation where the student practiced reading a vowel clustered story.  By the end of the week-long 10-hour group-centered Camp Sharigan program, Student #2 was showing improvement.  Groups really can make a difference.

The Group-Centered Approach Combines Learning and Counseling. The importance of combining learning and counseling into the same program along with the therapeutic power of cohesive group interaction became especially evident on the last day of the program.  Thursday evening, a horrendous thunderstorm struck the city and flooding.  When we opened the doors, all but three children were standing on the sidewalk waiting to enter.  The three not attending had a fever and upper respiratory infection from being out in the rain all night.  The children wanted to finish their pop-up books and to present their puppet play.  The pop-up book was a challenging project that required the children to read and follow directions to assemble their book and to write a story in English before the book could be taken home.  Children who started the week with no desire to read worked hard all week and were excited and motivated to read their finished pop-up book stories.

How Does This Report Help Group Psychologists?

This intervention report provides a new method for working with Hispanic immigrant children.  If Hispanic children in the United States do not learn to read in English, the stigmatization of failure can mark them throughout their lives (Ruiz et al., 2011; Toppelberg, Medrano, Peña Morgens, & Nieto-Castañon , 2002).  If reading scores improve, especially in the early elementary years (Lyon, 2002), then we can increase school completion rates and reduce stress as well as aggressive and dysfunctional behavior (Pressley et al., 2007; Zea et al., 2003).  

The group-centered approach is one innovative technique showing promise.  This study is but a first step.  Replication is needed.  Yet, Moerbeek and Wong (2008) emphasize that selecting a small test group for analysis can be just as effective as a large sample with individual analysis.  

As this study also demonstrates, some children will need more than a mere 10 hr group program.  Group prevention can also be used for year-long classroom and after-school programs (Clanton Harpine, 2013).  Group prevention can make the difference between success and failure for a child (Brigman & Webb, 2007).

References

Bandura, A.  (1997).  Self-efficacy:  The exercise of control.  NY:  W. H. Freeman.

Brigman, G., & Webb, L.  (2007).  Student success skills:  Impacting achievement through large and small group work.  Group Dynamics:  Theory, Research, and Practice, 11, 283-292.

Castro-Olivo, S., Preciado, J., Sanford, A., & Perry, V. (2011). The academic and

socio-emotional needs of secondary Latino English Learners: Implications for screening, identification, and instructional planning. Exceptionality 19, 160-174.

Clanton Harpine, E.  (2011).  Group-Centered Prevention Programs for At-Risk Students.  New York:  Springer.  

Clanton Harpine, E.  (2013).  After-school prevention programs for at-risk students:  Promoting engagement and academic success.  New York:  Springer.  

Clanton Harpine, E.  (2016).  Erasing failure in the classroom, vol. 1:  Camp Sharigan, a ready-to-use group-centered intervention for grades 1-3 (3rd ed.).  North Augusta, SC:  Group-Centered Learning.  

Clanton Harpine, E., & Reid, T.  (2009).  Enhancing academic achievement in a Hispanic immigrant community:  The role of reading in academic failure and mental health.  School Mental Health, 1, 159-170.  doi:  10.1007/s12310-009-9011-z

Coll, C. G., & Marks, A. K.  (2012).  The immigrant paradox in children and adolescents:  Is becoming American a developmental risk?  Washington DC:  American Psychological Association.

Fleming, C. B., Harachi, T. W., Cortes, R. C., Abbott, R. D., & Catalano, R. F.  (2004).  Level and change in reading scores and attention problems during elementary school as predictors of problem behavior in middle school.  Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 12, 130-144.

Foorman, B. R., Breier, J. I., & Fletcher, J. M.  (2003).  Interventions aimed at improving reading success:  An evidence-based approach.  Developmental Neuropsychology, 24, 613-639.

Fry, R., & Passel, J. S.  (2009).  Latino children:  A majority are U. S. – born offspring of immigrants.  Washington, D. C.:  Pew Hispanic Center.

Gándara P., & Contreras, F.  (2010).  The Latino education crisis:  The consequences of failed social policies.  Cambridge, MA:  Harvard University Press.

Kazdin, A. E.  (1982).  Single-case research designs:  Methods for clinical and applied settings.  New York:  Oxford University Press.

Keller, T., A., & Just, M. A.  (2009).  Altering cortical connectivity:  Remediation-induced changes in the white matter of poor readers.  Neuron 64, 624-631.  

Kulic, K. R., Horne, A. M., & Dagley, J. C.  (2004).  A comprehensive review of prevention groups for children and adolescents.  Group Dynamics:  Theory, Research, and Practice, 8, 139-151.

Lyon, G. R.  (2002).  Reading development, reading difficulties, and reading instruction educational and public health issues.  Journal of School Psychology, 40, 3-6.

Macgowan, M. J., & Wong, S. E.  (2014).  Single-case designs in group work:  Past applications, future directions.  Group Dynamics:  Theory, Research, and Practice,18, 138-158.   doi:  10.1037/gdn0000003

Maugban, R. R., Rowe, R., Loeber, R., & Stouthamer-Loeber, M.  (2003).  Reading problems and depressed mood.  Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 31, 219-229.

Meyler, A., Keller, T. A., Cherkassky, V. L., Gabrieli, J. D., & Just, M. A.  (2008).  Modifying the brain activation of poor readers during sentence comprehension with extended remedial instruction:  A longitudinal study of neuroplasticity.  Neuropsychologia, 46, 2580-2592.

Moerbeek, M., & Wong, W. K.  (2008).  Sample size formulae for trials comparing group and individual treatments in a multilevel model.  Statistics in Medicine, 27, 2850-2864.   doi:  10.1002/sim.3115

Morris, D.  (2005). The Howard Street tutoring manual:  Teaching at-risk readers in the primary grades.  NY:  Guilford Press.

Morris, D., Tyner, B., & Perney, J.  (2000).  Early steps: Replicating the effects of a first-grade reading intervention program.  Journal of Educational Psychology, 92, 681-693.

Mroczkowski, A. L., & Sánchez, B., (2015).  The role of racial discrimination in the economic value of education among urban, low-income Latina/o youth:  Ethnic identity and gender as moderators, American Journal of Community Psychology, 56, 1-11.   doi:  10.1007/s10464-015-9728-9

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National Reading Panel, (2000).  Teaching children to read:  An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction (NIH Publication No. 00-4754).  Washington, DC:  National Institute for Literacy.

Pressley, M., Mohan, L., Raphael, L. M., & Fingeret, L.  (2007).  How does Bennett Woods Elementary School produce such high reading and writing achievement?  Journal of Educational Psychology, 99, 221-240.

Ruiz, M., Kabler, B., & Sugarman, M.  (2011).  Understanding the plight of immigrant and refugee students.  Communique, 39, 23-25.  

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Prevention Corner: Preventing Stigma and Suicide Through Mental Health Awareness

Shana Ingram, BA
Shana Ingram, BA

Prevention Corner: Preventing Stigma and Suicide Through Mental Health Awareness

While fall can be a very exciting time of year for kids going back to school, freshmen just starting college, and gatherings with loved ones for the numerous holidays throughout the season, it inevitably brings about change, sometimes life-altering change, which can be very unsettling for many individuals. For some, this time of year means returning to an environment where personal safety is a concern due to bullying, or becoming familiarized with a new environment away from home proves challenging, or perhaps making it through the holiday season with or without loved ones becomes more difficult than expected. Regardless of the different types of obstacles people encounter during this season, many people will also experience the unwelcome feelings of anxiety, depression, and despair as a result of these struggles. While not everyone who experiences these feelings will ultimately seek mental health services for a variety of reasons, unfortunately, these feelings, especially when left untreated, will result in suicidal ideation and attempts for many individuals. Some of the risk factors associated with suicidal ideation and attempts include stressful life events, history of substance use, history of mental illness, and stigma surrounding mental illness and help-seeking behaviors (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2017). Despite the many treatment routes individuals can choose to alleviate the thoughts and feelings associated with suicide, if people feel stigmatized for seeking mental health services, treatment will likely be avoided, or discontinued, and issues may continue to worsen until it is too late. One way to diminish the harmful and deadly effects of stigma surrounding mental health issues is to better educate the public by engaging in more open discussions about mental health, and also by challenging media interpretations of individuals suffering from mental illness (Corrigan, 2004). There are many successful organizations working around the world to fight mental health stigma, particularly the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in the United States (Rüsch, Angermeyer, & Corrigan, 2005). NAMI provides a wide range of services relating to mental health, including educational classes and support groups for individuals with mental health needs and for families of individuals with mental illness, as well as presentations focusing on promoting mental health awareness (NAMI, 2017). Recent research has noted the positive impact this organization has had on mental health advocacy efforts (Fitzpatrick, 2017).

While efforts to promote mental health awareness and decrease the stigma associated with mental health issues, including suicide, is important for everyone across all age groups, prevention efforts are particularly important for individuals between the ages of 15 and 34 since suicide rates are one of the leading causes of death during this time (CDC, 2015). This is understandable since this wide range of time encompasses extensive changes, such as the social and emotional changes related to adolescent development and the onset of mental health issues (Kessler, Berglund, Demler, Jin, & Merikangas, 2005). In the following issue of this column, I will invite individuals who have experience working in prevention efforts targeting areas associated with stigma and suicide with individuals in this age range, such as school climate and bullying, to share their experiences.

If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). 10 leading causes of death, United States. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Retrieved from https://webappa.cdc.gov/cgi-bin/broker.exe

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Preventing suicide. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/features/preventingsuicide/index.html

Corrigan, P. (2004). How stigma interferes with mental health care. American Psychologist, 59(7), 614-625.

Fitzpatrick, J. J. (2017). Psychiatric mental health nurses and family caregivers: Creating synergy. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 31(5), 431.

Kessler, R. C., Berglund, P., Demler, O., Jin, R., & Merikangas, K. R. (2005). Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62, 593-602.

National Alliance on Mental Illness. (2017). NAMI programs. Retrieved from https://www.nami.org/Find-Support/NAMI-Programs.

Rüsch, N., Angermeyer, M. C., & Corrigan, P. W. (2005). Mental illness stigma: Concepts, consequences, and initiatives to reduce stigma. European Psychiatry, 20(8), 529-539.