Categories
Uncategorized

Group Psychotherapy Column

Tevya Zukor, Ph.D.

Directions to Neverland:
Second star to the right and straight on ‘til morning.

The night air was cold. I could see the condensation of my breath billowing before my eyes with each exhale. As it was past midnight, the neighborhood was eerily quiet. There were only a few lights on; dotting the porches of nearby houses in the placid stillness.

Earlier in the evening, I had forgotten to take the trash to the curb for early-morning pick-up. As I was preparing for bed, I remembered this chore, which explains why I was outside in little more than a pair of slippers and a bathrobe.

It had already been a tough day.  I was feeling particularly down about recent life circumstances.  I had just learned of the death of my ex-father-in-law; who had been an extremely kind and caring man. Some of my closest friends had been more distant due to their changing life circumstances. I had some clients who were struggling to make progress in their lives and I was feel powerless to affect change. As far as reasons for melancholy, it was the usual suspects and while the feelings were unpleasant; they were neither debilitating nor overwhelming.

These were some of the dark thoughts swirling through my mind that night as I stood on my porch; feeling literally and figuratively exposed to the frozen wind. I observed the quiet all around me and for a brief, fleeting moment; I felt a deep, profound sense of isolation and aloneness.  In that instant, the world started to shrink into nothing and that great existential loneliness of finite existence started to take root.

During that moment of reflection; surrounded by a self-made cauldron of anxiety, depression, and fear; I looked up into the heavens and stared at the stars. I saw the constellations in the night sky and followed the handle of the Big Dipper to Arcturus and then found the brightest star of Spica.

Despite the frigid temperature, I noticed a momentary warmth pour over me. My mind went back to a time when I was young, first learning about the cosmos and the galaxy.  I was transported back to the time when I was sitting in my high school planetarium as a teenager, listening to the teacher explain how one can always find the stars Arcturus and Spica as long as one can locate Ursa Major in the night sky. I thought about the hundreds, if not thousands, of times since that high-school day where I have looked at the night sky, followed a gentle path with my eyes, and mumbled, “Arc to Arcturus; spike to Spica.”

In that moment while physically standing alone on my porch in the middle of the night, my mind was transferred back to a moment in college.  I had met a young woman that I wanted to impress with my wit, intelligence, and charm.  I flashed to the memory from nearly two decades ago when as a freshman at James Madison University, this woman and I drove an hour outside of town to find a field that was not so light-contaminated. We sat on a warm fleece blanket, which I had draped over the hood of my car. We spent much of the evening embraced in a hug of friendship and watched the universe unfold before our eyes.  It was a magical night and one I remember fondly after all of these years.

As I wrestled with my place in the world; standing alone in my slippers and bathrobe with my eyes turned to the stars; I reflected on the many previous times I have found solace in the peacefulness of a night sky. Far from being alone, all of a sudden I felt connected.  I was connected to all the past versions of me who had stared at those very same stars while trying to sort out complicated thoughts.  I found myself connected to people thousands of years old, from civilizations that have long since crumbled.  The stars I saw were the same stars those nameless, faceless people saw when they gazed into the night sky during their lifetime.  Even though we would never know each other’s names or even directly know of the other’s existence; we had a common, shared experience. We were bonded through space and time.

Even the giant, combustible balls of gas we call stars highlight the shared journey we have in common.   Due to the limitations of the speed of light, we never see a star in real-time.  Instead, the light particles necessary to produce those images have traveled many thousands of years before they are visible to us. If at any point in that cosmic journey, another celestial object moves into that path of light, we will never see the star.   It means that even the shared human experience of gazing up at the same sky of our ancestors requires a very particular set of events to occur in a very particular order. These events were set into motion billions of years ago and will likely continue for billions of years into the future.

It was a profound realization. My temporary existential crisis of the night had uncovered something remarkable – It is impossible to be alone in the world. As an individual, one cannot see and accomplish everything that one desires in a lifetime.  However, when considered as part of a collective known as human beings – part of a truly Large Group – the confines of living a single life fade in importance as we recognize the unfettered accomplishment of the group. Maybe the true human condition is learning that we will often feel weak when we view ourselves as just one of many, but we have strength in our groups. It forms the foundation for all of our accomplishments. As long as we identify with the “human” sub-group, we can never be alone – sometimes, we can just feel temporarily disconnected.

 

Categories
APA Programming

2018 Division 49 APA Programming

Debra O'Connell, M.S.
Debra O’Connell, M.S.

APA Programming Committee

The Division 49 Convention Committee looks forward to seeing everyone at the upcoming APA Annual Convention in San Francisco on August 9-12, 2018. We have an exciting program with symposia, skill-building sessions, and a poster session with an emphasis on diversity planned for the convention. Additionally, this year’s convention program will feature the annual business meeting, presidential address, two Fellows’ addresses, and the presentation of the Arthur Teicher Group Psychologist of the Year (the names of the two Fellows and winner of the Arthur Teicher award are TBD). The Presidential Address will be given by Dr. Tasca, and is titled “Towards an Interdisciplinary Discipline of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy.” Please see below for the titles of symposia, and skill-building sessions.

  • Examining Interpersonal Psychotherapy within Cultural and Group Contexts
  • Expanding Our Therapeutic Viewpoint: Binocular Vision and Group-As-A-Whole Work
  • Group180: CBT-Informed Group Art Therapy for Anxiety Disorders in Adults
  • Predictive Power of the ATES: Group Adventure Factor in Adventure Therapy
  • Should I Stay or Should I Go: Preventing Dropout in Group Therapy
  • The Nuts and Bolts of Creating and Maintaining Groups that Thrive
  • In addition to the above Division 49 programming, members of our Division collaborated on a proposal which was accepted by APA’s Collaborative Programming Group, titled “Multicultural Orientation: Research, Training, Practice and Future Directions.”

Full descriptions of the sessions as well as the accepted posters will be available when the full convention program is finalized. Please look for upcoming emails from the Convention Program Chair with more details this summer!

Categories
Uncategorized

Election Slate for Division 49

Election Slate for Division 49

President-Elect

Cheri Marmarosh
Nathaniel Wade

At-Large/Education and Training

Joshua Gross
Michele Ribeiro

Student Representative

Angela Galioto
Meredith Tittler

Categories
Leadership

2018 Division 49 Leadership

2018 Division 49 Leadership 

President: Giorgio Tasca
President-Elect:  Martyn Whittingham
Past President: Craig Parks
Treasurer:  Amy Nitza
Secretary:  Joe Miles
At-Large/Education: Michele Ribeiro
At-Large/ECP: Misha Bogomaz
At-Large/Group Psychology: Verlin Hinsz
At-Large/Diversity:  Nicole Coleman
At-Large/Practice: Jennifer Alonso
Student representative: Keri Frantell
Council representative: Sally Barlow
___________________________________________________

Editor, Group Dynamics: David Marcus
Editor, Division Newsletter: Thomas Treadwell
Chair, Membership Committee: Norah Chapman
Chair, Program Committee: Debra O’Connell
Assistant Chair:  Lisa de la Rue
Chair, Awards Committee:  Martyn Whittingham
Chair, Foundation Committee: Jeanmarie Keim
Chair, Committee on Fellows: Dennis Kivlighan
Chair, Early Career Professionals Task Force: Misha Bogomaz
Chair, Finance Committee:  Amy Nitza
Chair, Diversity Committee: Nicole Coleman
Women in Psychology Network representative: Penelope Asay
Coalition for Psychology in Schools and Education representative:  Rex Stockton
CAPP liaison/Federal Advocacy coordinator: Sean Woodland
___________________________________________________

Listserv manager:  Misha Bogomaz

Categories
Columns

From your Editors

 

Tom Treadwell, EdD, T.E.P. C.G.P.
Tom Treadwell, EdD, T.E.P. C.G.P.
Leann Diederich, Ph.D.
Leann Diederich, Ph.D.

From Your Editors at The Group Psychologist

Winter can bring on a time for self-reflection. The quietness of the season, the (often) cold night air, and witnessing the dormancy or hibernation state that many natural beings go through, all can prompt introspection. In this issue of The Group Psychologist you’ll find one such introspection in Dr. Tevya Zukor’s column. As he writes, “Maybe the true human condition is learning that we will often feel weak when we view ourselves as just one of many, but we have strength in our groups. It forms the foundation for all of our accomplishments. As long as we identify with the “human” sub-group, we can never be alone – sometimes, we can just feel temporarily disconnected.” We encourage you to read his entire column from this issue (Directions to Neverland).

Winter can also be a time for intense productivity, such as at the recent Mid-Winter Division 49 Board Meeting or at the Committee for the Advancement of Professional Practice (CAPP) Board Meeting. As Dr. Sean Woodland updated us from his recent attendance as a liaison to the CAPP meeting, CAPP is working closely with APA on the new membership model for APA and APAPO (more details can be found here: http://www.apapracticecentral.org/update/2018/02-08/association-structure.aspx). CAPP also is working to take on the complicated topic of master’s level psychological graduates and what licensure and independent practice options should be available to them. Be sure to check out the article summarizing more of what CAPP is focusing on in this issue [Committee for the Advancement of Professional Practice].

Speaking of intense productivity, we want to echo President Georgio Tasca’s appreciation to the work of the Division 49 Board who worked tirelessly on a resubmission of a petition to the Education Directorate of the APA Commission for the Recognition of Specialities and Proficiencies in Professional Psychology (CRSPPP) to have Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy receive designation as a specialty. While this was a joint effort of your Division, the American Group Psychotherapy Association, the American Board of Group Psychology, the American Academy of Group Psychology, and the International Board of Certification of Group Psychotherapists, we recognize that several Division 49 members have been instrumental in this effort over the years.

So in closing, we hope you take some time this winter season for a range of activities, from quiet introspection all the way to intense productivity (often done in groups).

Categories
Columns

President-Elect’s Column

Martyn Whittingham, Ph.D.
Martyn Whittingham, Ph.D.

Call to Action on Awards

As the incoming President-elect of the Society, it is my privilege to seek out nominations for Society awards. Awards are important because they give recognition and encouragement to people and programs that have poured their heart and soul into making groups work. They can provide an important boost to the mission of promoting group therapy by attracting the attention of stakeholders such as university Presidents, CEO’s and local or regional partners.  However, awards do require submissions of names and a rationale, which becomes difficult for several reasons. First, we are often too consumed with the day-to-day tasks in front of us to find the time to put together a packet that recognizes someone else.  Much though we might want to, we get busy and then later feel guilty for not having done so! Second, we are often loathe to self-nominate because it seems too self-aggrandizing. Humility is a quality that many of the best therapists possess, but in this case, it can get in the way of sometimes overdue recognition. Third, it is sometimes difficult to evaluate whether the award is something you, a colleague or program are worthy of? We are seldom aware of the efforts of others, so it is difficult to benchmark against others’ accomplishments.  These and other factors often result in people and practices not submitting very worthwhile potential awardees for consideration.

However, without nominations and the public recognition that awards bring, effective group therapy programs, teaching efforts, research or skilled group psychologists become a success story that are under-recognized.  Awards not only validate hard work and accomplishment but also elevate the awardee and their efforts within their agency, community and region.  They also serve to inspire others to greater feats or show that seemingly impossible tasks can be accomplished. That can give a lot of hope and inspiration. So, this is the call to action. Put aside your reservations about self or other-nomination and do this for the field. Take a minute as you finish this article and write a name down for each award and then rally some help from others to put together a submission. Group needs to celebrate its worth and its success stories.  Not only does it provide validation to the people nominated, but it also promotes the field and allows a light to be shone on what talented and dedicated people can accomplish with and through group therapy.

Please also note, that many of these awards also come with a financial prize as well as the award itself.  More information can be found on our web page at: http://www.apadivisions.org/division-49/awards/index.aspx. The awards are:

Professionals

  • The Arthur Teicher Group Psychologist of the Year Award
  • Award for Outstanding Professional Contribution to Diversity in Group Psychology or Group Psychotherapy
  • Excellence in Teaching of Group Dynamics
  • Excellence in Group Practice
  • Division 49 research grant
  • APF/Division 49 grants

Students

  • The Student award for outstanding contribution to diversity in group psychology or group psychotherapy
  • Student travel awards for the APA Convention
  • Student Poster Awards for the APA Convention

Send your nominations to: division49awards@gmail.com

Nomination Process:

To submit a nomination, the following is required:

  • A letter from the nominee that describes and illustrates the individual/agency/organization’s commitment to group intervention (e.g., nature of the nominee’s commitment, commitment to supervision and training, use of research or best practices to enhance group services, etc.). The letter should be no more than three pages long.
  • Three letters of support from individuals familiar with the nominee’s group psychotherapy practices (these letters can be from current or past employees, a collaborating partner or agency, or members of a Board of Directors, etc.).
  • Copy of current CV.
  • All materials should be submitted via a zipped/compressed folder in one email with the following subject line: [Candidate’s First and Last Name] – Application for Group Dynamics Teaching Award. For example, DIANA PRINCE – APPLICATION FOR PRACTICE AWARD.zip.

All submissions must be received by May 1, 2018 to be considered.

Thanks for taking the time to do this!  It means a lot to our field to recognize and celebrate the hard work and dedication that these awards highlight.

 

 

Categories
Columns

President’s Column

Giorgio A. Tasca, Ph.D.
Giorgio A. Tasca, Ph.D.

President’s Column

Recently Division 49 participated in a resubmission of a petition to the Education Directorate of the APA Commission for the Recognition of Specialities and Proficiencies in Professional Psychology (CRSPPP) to have Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy receive designation as a specialty. This is a joint effort of your Division, the American Group Psychotherapy Association, the American Board of Group Psychology, the American Academy of Group Psychology, and the International Board of Certification of Group Psychotherapists. Together, these organizations developed the Group Specialty Council to prepare the petition. Members of the Division 49 Board did an outstanding job and have contributed to the petition, including: Sally Barlow, Martyn Whittingham, and Nina Brown. The petition is an impressive 500-page document outlining a cogent argument for the unique aspects of group work and why specialty designation is important. Anyone can see the document and comment – and we certainly encourage our members to do so at: http://apaoutside.apa.org/EducCSS/public/.

Below are my comments on the petition on behalf of our division.

On behalf of the Society for Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy (Division 49 of the American Psychological Association) I endorse this Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy Specialty Petition in the strongest possible terms. Increasingly, group work is playing an important role in the delivery of health and mental health care in a variety of organizations. Many settings (health care, education, counseling, workplaces) rely on group work to deliver effective and timely interventions, including psychoeducation and psychotherapy. The evidence is mounting that group psychotherapy works for a variety of disorders, it is as effective as individual therapy, and so it is cost effective. In 2017 alone there were 17 meta-analyses of group work, group factors, or group psychotherapy. Despite this evidence, it would be a mistake to assume that a practitioner who is solely trained as an individual therapist, for example, can effectively transfer their skills to a group setting. There is important overlap between knowledge of individuals and knowledge of groups, such as the role of individual psychopathology in treatment, for example. However, it is well known that groups have unique properties that diverge significantly from individual contexts. The multiple interaction networks that develop between individuals over time represent emergent properties of groups that impact outcomes, and these emergent properties cannot be predicted from knowing about the individuals alone. And so practitioners require specific skills and knowledge to manage the complexities that come with group work. These complexities are now reflected in and studied in the research literature. Novel methods of multilevel statistical modeling, for example, are opening up venues of new knowledge and scholarship about the unique functioning of groups, the impact of the group on the individual, the multiple levels of interactions that occur, and the specific skills required by a group leader to make the most of groups and their interactional properties. Lack of knowledge, expertise, and training in group psychology and in group psychotherapy could result in negative outcomes for clients and antitherapeutic events for social groups. And so it is imperative that this specialty designation is successful in order that public who seek or require the input of group psychologists receive the best possible of evidence-based care. This specialty designation will go a long way to ensure that trainees, therapists, practitioners, supervisors, training programs, the public, and funding partners are appropriately aware of the unique properties and effects of groups, and the skills and professional training required to lead groups.