Group Psychotherapy Column: Current Thoughts about Group Therapy Theory

John Breeskin, PhD
John Breeskin, Ph.D.

After 50 years of running a wide variety of groups I am tentatively ready to make some general statements about the field. These thoughts are the result of a lengthy process of my learning and they represent, as clear as I can make them, a part of my current conceptual framework.

I use, as fundamental building blocks, the sequence of:

  1. 1. A focus upon internal- personal learning
  2. 2. A focus upon intra-personal learning
  3. 3. A focus upon transpersonal learning

Another way of saying the same thing is looking inward, looking outward, and looking upward, always remembering that Jungian archetypes are the DNA of the unconscious.

These concepts are fundamentally based upon the four beats on the kettle drum as follows:

  1. Forming
  2. Storming
  3. Performing
  4. Adjourning (A necessary addition which cannot be ignored)

As an additional complicating factor, as if the topic were not complicated enough, the group, from a psychodynamic point of view, operates on two levels simultaneously. Level one consists of the content of the group’s membership with one another and can be thought of as content in the here and now.

The second level, operating simultaneously with the first, consists of the powerful family of origin dynamics which are inextricably merged with level one. The group functions on both levels simultaneously and every action on the part of group members can be looked at through the twisting tube of that kaleidoscope. A group member, for example, can act toward other group members with contempt but he/she is accurately mirroring how he/she was treated when growing up.

A fair pictorial analogy would depict a group therapist juggling tomatoes while blindfolded. Another ingredient in the Stone Soup is, for me, comfortably within this theoretical framework, is whether or not the individual group member presents himself/herself as either a victim or a victimizer. The “Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner” by Coleridge is particularly appropriate here as is the most famous short story in English literature by Herman Melville called “Bartelby , The Scrivener “ which is, to me, the Victim’s National Anthem.

Still another compelling image from my symbolic toolbox: My clients who define themselves as victims try to pay for my services by using counterfeit gold coins. I carefully bite the coins, learn that they are counterfeit and let my client know that I know. Then I take out a purse of true gold coins and I offer one of them to the client has a temporary loan until he/she can mint one of her own and repay the loan. As to reader will have determined a long time ago, my clients are very high functioning human beings and they have no trouble following me at the symbolic level.

It is my earnest hope that I have succeeded in thoroughly confusing the gentle reader of this paper. That has been my hope from the start. I hope that I have succeeded.

Your Friendly Shape Shifter Who Promises to Continue,



“The Group Psychologist” Satisfaction Survey Results

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

As your Associate Editor for The Group Psychologist, I want to thank those of you who participated in our satisfaction survey from the fall. We received 41 responses and appreciated the feedback. We wanted to take the time to summarize some of the highlights from the quantitative and qualitative results. For more details on the results, please email me directly (

Here’s a quick snapshot of some of the results:

  • 90% of the respondents ranged from being satisfied to very satisfied with the overall newsletter.
  • The top sections that respondents found to be the most important to them were the news (#1), brief articles (#2), and the various columns (#3).
  • The sections with the highest levels of satisfaction were the President’s column, President-elect column, and the Editor’s column (all tied for first).
  • With regards to the TGP contributing to the respondent’s practice, research, or teaching, 57% thought it contributed, 30% didn’t think it contributed, and 13% were undecided.
  • Most respondents read 4 or fewer articles each newsletter, with only 18% reading 5 or more.

Several themes emerged from the qualitative results. Multiple respondents wanted a better balance of theory and research, in addition to the practice and clinical materials that are currently focused on. However, others wanted more clinical material! Overall, it seems the TGP could reflect other types of groups, not just psychotherapy groups. As your editors, we are always open to suggestions for authors to contact to help us bring this type of focus to the TGP. Others praised the TGP, giving feedback like: “The articles are very relevant and helpful. Enjoy keeping up with latest developments in our division”.

The respondents to the survey mirrored our typical member (e.g., late-career psychologist) with 59% of participants identifying as a late-career psychologist. Mid-career and early-career psychologists made up 20% of respondents.

While not all of the feedback can be reflected in this article, we will use all of it to help us tailor future editions of the newsletter. If you didn’t get a chance to participate, and want to send us feedback, please feel email us! I



Prevention Corner: Violence Prevention

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

Violence seems to be a problem plaguing many practitioners as evidenced by the number of letters that we have received recently asking for help. The letter chosen for today highlights a problem facing families, schools, parenting prevention groups, and those training prevention group practitioners.

Editorial Question Posed:

Dear Prevention Corner: 

I have a second-grade student who lives in a violent household.  The parents are not married but live together.  There are five children living at home.  My student is the middle child.  My student “worships” his father.  The father has just returned to the household from prison.  Drugs are also part of the family scene. 

Upon the father’s return from prison, my student has turned violent in the classroom.  He was so excited to have his father return but now he is angry and acting out violently toward others.  He has been to the school counselor, but it has not helped.  What can I do to help this student?  I have heard that a prevention group might be helpful.  Do you think this would help?  If so, what kind of group should I look for?


Wanting to Help

Dear Wanting to Help:

Thank you for sending in your question. Unfortunately your student is not alone, as millions of American children live in homes with exposure to drugs and violence. Additionally, it is common in those situations for children to act out in their other environments, such as in school. As an educator, it can be particularly distressing to watch this happen to one of your students.

Even though you suspect that the problem behavior does not originate within this individual child, and is a result of distressing changes within the family system, it can be difficult to make referrals based on what the child alone has to say about his family. Therefore, you need to find a way to corroborate what is happening and to what extent the child is exposed to violence or is in danger. If you suspect that the child is being abused, you should call the local protective services department and report it. Another way to get some help for the child and the family would be to ask for an evaluation of the child by a school or clinical psychologist. This evaluation should include separate interviews with the parents where questions are asked about conflict tactics used in the home. Hopefully, there will be a recommendation for individual child treatment with parent guidance. This would bring attention and support to the child and his family. Community clinics with sliding fee scales may be an option here. Another option is for the evaluator to call the local domestic violence shelter to inquire whether support or intervention groups are available to those living in the community but not residing in the shelter. These kinds of support groups have been found to be effective in reducing child aggression and in providing support and education to the mother and thus would be ideal for both the child and the mother in this family.

Ultimately, children living in homes with violence are under great stress. Your support and continued interest in this child’s well-being will do a good deal towards helping him and, hopefully, his whole family.


Maria Galano, M.S. and Sandra A. Graham-Bermann Ph.D.

Department of Psychology

University of Michigan


Other Information

Call for Papers: Interventions for Violence

A Special Issue for Psychology of Violence

Special Issue co-edited by Laura Miller and Kathryn Howell

Psychology of Violence invites manuscripts for a special issue on interventions for violence to be compiled by guest editors Laura Miller and Kathryn Howell. The special issue will appear in 2016.

This special issue will attempt to reflect state-of-the-art intervention science that focuses on the theoretical underpinnings, critical mechanisms, cultural adaptations and systemic implications of intervention related to violence exposure, victimization and perpetration. We conceptualize violence broadly to include child maltreatment, psychological aggression, sexual violence and coercive control, intimate partner violence, teen dating violence, bullying, community violence, and political violence.

To date, intervention science has primarily assessed singular types of violence exposure (e.g., child maltreatment) and disorder-specific outcomes (e.g., PTSD). It is essential that intervention science gain greater depth in its understanding of the mechanisms of treatment to move the field toward the development of more refined approaches that are effective across types of violence and impact a range of mental health challenges. Theory-based resilience interventions that reflect basic science are also needed.

Important, too, is the recognition that violence exposure is associated with multiple risk factors across the social ecology. For this reason, intervention science that considers novel approaches, which are inclusive of broader systemic influences on successful intervention programs, are critical to advance the implementation of successful treatment paradigms in high-risk contexts.

Finally, we also recognize that cultural, sociopolitical, and socioeconomic contexts may significantly affect the appropriateness and feasibility of individual, Western-centric approaches to intervention. We believe the promulgation of scientifically rigorous trials of adapted treatment programming are critical to better understand the generalizable and unique aspects of evidence-based interventions across settings.

Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Randomized controlled trials of intervention programs
  • Review of effective treatment mechanisms through meta-analysis or narrative review
  • Treatment studies with poly-victims
  • Scientific analysis of environmental and contextual influences on treatment success
  • Successful cultural adaptations of empirically supported treatments
  • Theoretical and conceptual papers that present models of intervention for violence
  • “Lessons learned” and other reflections on efforts to develop and evaluate interventions.

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 March 31, 2015. Inquiries regarding topic or scope for the special issue or for other manuscripts can be sent to Laura Miller ( and Kathryn Howell (

Book Review

Book Review: The Oxford Handbook of Group Counseling

The Oxford Handbook of Group Counseling

Edited by Robert Conyne

Reviewed by Ed Jacobs, Ph.D.

Coordinator of master’s counseling program at West Virginia University

Fellow in ASGW


Robert Conyne’s edited book, The Oxford Handbook of Group Counseling, truly lives up to the title. The chapters are written by some of the leading group educators. Each chapter is comprehensive and filled with rich information about the literature regarding the chapter’s focus on some specific aspect of group counseling. In the introductory chapter, Robert Conyne gives an excellent overview of what’s to come and also briefly discusses important concepts related to group counseling. In Part II, the various authors do a first-rate job giving the history and definition of groups along with describing the role of social justice and diversity in regards to group work. Lynn Rapin’s chapter on ethics is thorough and thought provoking. Janice Delucia-Waack provides an excellent discussion regarding diversity in groups.

Conyne gives Part III the title of Key Change Processes and has different authors write about therapeutic forces, cohesion, group climate, and group development. Each of these chapters gives the reader an in-depth look at the literature and development of these constructs as they relate to group counseling. This book is excellent for the reader who wants to delve into the research on aspects of group counseling. The chapter on group development is the most thorough discussion I have ever read on the various models of stages of groups. Part IV is titled Research but actually the whole book is filled with research. In this section, there are chapters on evidenced based practice, general research models, assessing groups, and qualitative research approaches to group counseling.

In Part V (Leadership), Conye includes six chapters. Two chapters are about the personhood of the leader and the style and function of the leader. Both of these chapters go deep into the literature regarding various aspects of the leader as a person. Also in this section is a chapter titled “Group Techniques” which more appropriately should be titled “Group Exercises.” In his chapter, Sam Gladding urges leaders to be more creative. Gladding also offers some specific ways to use creativity in group sessions. The chapter on teaching and training group leaders gives an excellent account of the different ways educators approach the task of training students to be group leaders. Nina Brown discusses many of the pros and cons of the different forms of experiential learning when it comes to teaching.

Part VI covers many aspects of the applications of groups in different settings and different formats. Groups in the military, schools, across the life span, sexual minorities and international groups are presented. One of the drawbacks of the book is that it is somewhat dated since the copyright is 2010. With that said, the reader will still find every chapter valuable in regards to the literature on the given subject of the chapter through 2009.The chapter on group work internationally is well done and gives an overview of group work in numerous countries. The Online Groups chapter is filled with excellent resources regarding the history and development of online groups; however, anyone researching this subject would need to review the literature from 2010 to the present since so much has occurred with socials media since 2010.

Conyne’s finishes this book with a very interesting chapter that he titles; Group Counseling: 50 Basic Premises and the Need for Mainstreaming. The chapter causes the reader to reflect on all the main issues pertaining to group work based on the writings found in the book. Overall I think anyone interested in the study of group counseling will find this book to be a valuable book to read.

Other Information

Group Therapy Papers for Group Dynamics

While not an exhaustive list the following may help authors get a better idea of what types of group therapy papers would be most welcome at Group Dynamics (and which papers might not be appropriate).

1. Treatment outcome studies

Studies that compare two (or more) different treatment approaches, compare a treatment to a waitlist or placebo control, or compare group to individual therapy would all be welcome at Group Dynamics. Additive or dismantling studies (adding or removing a treatment component in some groups) would also be great. Of course, one challenge is that outcome studies should include multiple groups not just a single group in the treatment condition. If the treatment is being compared to a control group, there should be random assignment and the control should be reasonable (e.g., I recently desk rejected a paper where the treatment group was compared to a control of people who refused treatment).

Admittedly, most of the group treatment outcome studies that are done well are being published in higher impact journals, so we have to be somewhat flexible about design issues. For example, a very well done pre-post design study might be considered if there is a compelling rationale for the treatment being examined, the condition being treated is chronic if untreated, multiple groups were included in the analyses etc. A paper describing an innovative and theoretically well-grounded new group treatment with some supporting pilot data might also be considered.

2. Predictors of treatment outcome (including “process” studies)

Studies examining what characteristics of clients, therapists, or groups predict outcome are probably more feasible than rigorous outcome studies. These predictor variables could be at either the individual or group level (or both). Studies that look at treatment by individual characteristics interactions (i.e., aptitude by treatment interactions) would be especially welcome (e.g., studies that examine personality traits that predict who benefits more from group therapy versus individual therapy).

3. Assessment/Psychometric papers

Papers that present new measurement instruments for studying groups or group members (with some preliminary psychometric data) or psychometric studies of existing group measures would be very welcome.

4. Meta-analyses or systematic reviews

While we are unlikely to publish purely theoretical papers, papers that synthesize an existing empirical literature (either quantitatively using meta-analysis, or qualitatively using a traditional literature review) and help clarify important questions in group therapy would be great.

5. Methods/statistics papers

One the challenges facing group therapy researchers is that design and analysis issues are often much more complicated than when studying individual therapy. Papers that present new ways of addressing these challenges or more instructional/how-to papers that help walk researchers through established methods for setting up these studies and doing these analyses would be welcome.

6. Evidence-Based Case Studies

These case studies would require quality data to support the case description, but could be a good way to bridge research and practice.

David Marcus, Ph.D.

Editor for Group Dynamics


Committee Reports

Division 49’s New Journal

Joe Powers Ph.D
Joe Powers Ph.D.

A proposal for a second journal for Division 49, Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy, was presented at the Board’s August meeting in Washington, D.C.  Based on survey results conducted earlier in the year among Division 49 members and the discussion at the Board meeting, there was strong support for a second journal. Discussion highlighted the preeminence of “Group Dynamics” as the esteemed journal of Division 49 yet a second journal, focused more upon group work practice, would address an important need in our field.  The proposal was presented to the Board in January 2015 and approved. The immediate task now is contacting APA to meet with representatives to discuss our proposal. Due diligence requires processing several important details to ensure a successful outcome.  We welcome questions and suggestions, so please contact the proposal committee chair or committee members.

Joe Powers, Ad Hoc Committee Chair

Other Committee Members:

Dennis KivlighanRebecca MacNair-Semands

Thomas Treadwell

Nina Brown


Maria RivaSally Barlow

David Marcus

Jill Paquin

Craig Parks




2015 Mid-Winter Board Meeting Minutes

January 10 and 11, 2015; Washington DC

Attendees: Dr. Dennis Kivlighan (President), Dr. Lee Gillis (Past-President), Dr. Craig Parks (President-Elect), Dr. Jennifer Alonso (Secretary), Dr. Amy Nitza (Treasurer), Dr. Leann Diederich (Member at Large), Dr. Rex Stockton (Member at Large), Dr. Jill Paquin (Member at Large), Dr. Joe Miles (Convention Program Chair), and Dr. Sally Barlow (Council of Representatives)

midwinter mtg

1/10/15 – Meeting began: 8:45am; Meeting adjourned: 3:40pm

1/11/15 – Meeting began: 8:45am; Meeting adjourned: 11:50am


Past President – Dr. Lee Gillis

  • Two open positions: President-elect and member-at-large
  • Candidates for President-elect: Dr. Robert Gleave and Dr. Verlin Hinsz
  • Candidates for member-at-large: Dr. Misha Bogomaz and Dr. Michele Ribeiro
  • MOTION APPROVED: Put forth these candidates
  • Policy Manual
  • Sections with extensive revisions: Secretary, Treasurer, Awards, Fellows. Clarified Student Poster Award winners section:
  • Give one year free membership to all student authors of poster winners; Reassess in a few years to identify if this positively impacts retention of new members
  • Winners: Put a ribbon on poster at the poster session; Invite them to bring and share their poster at the social; Present their certificate at the social.
  • Awards recruitment: Post in various listservs, social media sites, contract graduate programs with a group emphasis.
  • ACTION ITEM: Dr. Gillis will send updated policy manual to APA to get their recommendations
  • ACTION ITEM: Dr. Diederich will arrange for Aug 2015 student winners to receive free membership
  • ACTION ITEMS: Dr. Parks will purchase ribbons and present awards and invitations to winners
  • ACTION ITEM: Dr. Parks will post on different listservs; social media sites; contact graduate programs with a group emphasis about the upcoming student poster awards

President – Dr. Dennis Kivlighan

  • Presidential initiative: (1) Ensure we are a Society of group psychology AND group psychotherapy. A review of current fellows, past Society presidents, presented posters are a majority of group psychotherapy focused. The exception is the dissertation award winners.
  • Presidential initiative: (2) StoryCorp for the Society. Brief, TED talk model. A way for members to talk about and archive their group journey, learning from each other’s collective wisdom, and celebrating people who get fellow status.
  • Example: SAGE Publications is doing a similar type of video for their instructors. Starts broad (e.g. who you are as a person) and moves into what the key messages are that come out of the research you have done.
  • ACTION ITEM: Dr. Parks will ask SAGE (based in Toronto) for a copy of the questions they use, and to gauge pricing for recording videos at 2015 Convention (or another outside contractor, such as students at a university; APA Publications; Alexander Street Press)
  • Student Committee could assist with this task. Providing standardized questions to participants in advance and having a dialogue with them if they do the recording in person. Participants are also given the option to record at home if preferred.

President-Elect – Dr. Craig Parks

  • Presidential Initiative: Defining the Society as a place for ALL people working in groups. Many fields in Psychology are asking similar questions about group, teams, teamwork, etc. However, we are not connected as a field related to groups and some may not realize the Society’s journal could publish their work. The initiative is to forge connections with researchers to invite them to the Society’s events, creating dialogues together, to submit to the Journal and invite their students to participate.
  • Divisions to connect with: Div 8: Social and Personality; Div 47: Exercise and Sports; Div 19: Military; Div 40: Addiction; Div: 14:Industrial and Organizational
  • ACTION ITEM: Dr. Parks will begin to connect and create with relationships with other relevant divisions.
  • ACTION ITEM: Dr. Miles and Dr. Paquin will identify a Division to co-sponsor a second Social Hour with at the 2015 Convention.

Treasurer – Dr. Amy Nitza

  • Ended 2014 with over $47,000 in income. Society’s finances are in good shape.
  • American Psychological Foundation (APF): The Society has contributed $80,000 of the mandatory $100,000 thus far. Currently budgeted to contribute $12,000 for 2015. If we instead doubled this amount $24,000 (approximately 25% of 2015 income), the foundation would be fully funded.
  • MOTION APPROVED: Fully fund the remainder of the APF amount of $24,000. All approved, with no nays and no abstains.
  • Reviewed Convention costs:
  • Recurring costs: Social, Division suite, awards and plaques, materials and one night of the council of representatives hotel
  • New items: Door prizes ($500) at social and/or business meeting to increase attendance and awareness of society; Second co-sponsored social
  • MOTION APPROVED: Pass budget for 2015. All approved, with no nays and no abstains.

Secretary – Dr. Jen Alonso

  • The website and MyCommunities sites continue to be updated regularly. The social media sites continue to be updated by the Social Media Coordinator (independent contractor, not a Psychologist).
  • Budget requests (existing expenses):
  • Hootsuite ($108/year), WordPress ($299/year) and Social Media Coordinator ($1500/year).
  • Budget requests (new expenses):
  • Social Media Coordinator: Increase stipend by $500 (Ms. Tanya Dvorak has put in over 96 hours this past year)
  • Google Apps for work: $299/year to upgrade email to a Business account.
  • MOTION APPROVED: Pass all existing and new secretary’s budget requests. All approved, with no nays and no abstains.

Membership Committee – Dr. Leann Diederich

  • In 2014 there were 238 paid members and 404 total members (down from 247 paid members in 2013, but there was an increase in new members).
  • ECP Taskforce has been very active. Started a Member of the Month feature for the website, continue to post regularly on social media and hold free conference calls.
  • ECP is proposing a new mentorship program. This would include a bimonthly video chat with a group of 4-6 ECP members and one later career mentor. Available for Society members only as a members benefit. This piloted program would be attended by at least one ECP committee member per group. Board approved committee to move forward with this.
  • A list of possible mentors was submitted. Other possible mentors were added:
  • Verlin Hinsz (Military; Securing research funding)
  • Joe Miles (Intergroup dialogue; Research)
  • Debra Feltz (Sports)

APA Wide Committee Participation

  • We have some members attending different APA committees. A goal is to get members elected to some APA positions to further the Society’s mission. We discussed the relevancy of various APA committees and the importance of creating a strategic plan regarding the priorities of the Society to assist in making decisions about where our representation and resources should go.
  • Discussion about having one year commitment for liasionship and then reevaluate if funding should continue.
  • APA Council – Dr. Sally Barlow is the representative and attended two APA Council meetings in 2014. Overall, there is a lot of conflict and tension in the meetings. Dr. Barlow is continuing to identify ways to advocate for the Society’s interests. Receiving financial support for attending.
  • Board of Professional Affairs – Dr. Diederich attended one meeting and is receiving financial support for attending. It is recommended that the Society has a liaison on either this board and on the Committee for the Advancement of Professional Practice (CAPP). Through discussion, it was agreed that a liaison for CAPP is preferred at this time.
  • Both assist and advocate primarily for psychotherapy focused members. However, BPA is under APA and is non-profit. CAPP is under APA’s practice organization and they advocate for political and financial reimbursement of therapy.
  • 2015 CAPP Meeting 1: Feb 6-7; Meeting II: May 1-2; Meeting III: Oct 2-3, 2015
  • MOTION APPROVED: Officially appoint Dr. Diederich to this position for a one year trial period (possible 3 year term).
  • Board of Educational Affairs (BEA): Liaison is Cheri Marmarosh. Meetings held twice a year, but was attended once last year by Dr. Gillis. Receiving financial support for attending. No further information.
  • Coalition for Psychology in Schools and Education: Liaison is Karin Hodges. Unclear is she is requesting / receiving financial support for attending. Recently completed project on improving teamwork that will be piloted in K-12 schools.
  • Board of Scientific Affairs: No current liaison. However, this was brought up as a possible committee we may want to assign a liaison to.
  • ACTION ITEM: Dr. Kivlighan will contact APA Joan Freund ( to inform her Dr. Diederich will be the CAPP liaison.
  • ACTION ITEM: Dr. Kivlighan will create a list of current liaisons and invite them to attend August 2015 board meeting.
  • ACTION ITEM: Dr. Alonso will aside time at Aug 2015 meeting to discuss this issue.
  • (1) Prioritize what committees we want Division members to be a part of,
  • (2) Create procedures regarding what to do with the information received from committee liaisons (e.g. TGP; post on listserv) we get it? (TGP? listerv?)
  • ACTION ITEM: Dr. Kivlighan will contact members from other divisions who have held similar liaison roles to identify the usefulness of different committees. Investigate Board of Scientific Affairs as another possible board to assign a liaison.
  • ACTION ITEM: Reevaluate 2016 mid-winter board meeting – How has CAPP liaisonship gone? Consider adding liaisons to the other boards?
  • ACTION ITEM: Dr. Kivlighan will invite Dr. McDaniels (incoming APA president elect) to August board meeting

New Journal – (Dr. Joe Powers)

  • Powers referenced a proposal he had submitted but this could not be located, so it was not discussed. Did not receive a copy of the proposal so this could not be discussed.
  • See 2014 August board meeting minutes for questions regarding that journal that need further discussions. One thing brought up was financial considerations (e.g. will libraries be interested in this? Cost of printing)
  • ACTION ITEM: Dr. Alonso will request a copy of the proposal from Dr. Powers
  • ACTION ITEM: Dr. Kivlighan will invite Dr. Powers to approach APA journals (e.g. Rose Sokol-Chang at APA) to get more information about this possibility (e.g. market research)
  • ACTION ITEM: Dr. Jill Paquin volunteered to participate on this committee (replacing Dr. Kivlighan)

Publications Committee – Dr. Jen Alonso

  • Listserv currently functions as an announcements list that is minimally utilized. Discussed ways to use the listserv to create a community and add increased benefit from members (e.g. consultation regarding clinical services).
  • Listserv is currently moderated by Dr. Gillis. Discussed whether the listserv needed to be moderated, and it was agreed that this should be continued to ensure emails are group related.
  • ACTION ITEM: Dr. Miles will join Dr. Gillis as an email moderator
  • ACTION ITEM: Dr. Paquin and Dr. Diederich will email the listserv about the policy of the listserv. Dr. Paquin will post a consultation question to begin to a discussion.
  • ACTION ITEM: Dr. Gillis will add all liaison and committee chairs to board listserv. This includes: Dr. Jeanne Steffen; Dr. Cheri Marmarosh; Dr. Nina Brown; Dr. Karin Hodge; Dr. Gary Burlingame; Dr. Nora Slone; and Dr. Misha Bogomaz

“The Group Psychologist” Newsletter – Dr. Tom Treadwell

  • Transferred TGP to WordPress website successfully. APA made the first post in 2014 and the final two posts were posted by the Secretary and Social Media Coordinator.
  • Concern: When next secretary takes office in 2017, who will do the TGP posts? Discussed the benefit of having the Social Media Coordinator position so that the secretary does not need to have that skill set. In addition, it is encouraged that future secretaries are technologically advanced to assist with the website, MyCommunities and social media.
  • ACTION ITEM: Dr. Treadwell will write an article in the next TGP issue summarizing the recent survey results regarding the TGP.

Program Committee – Dr. Joe Miles

  • The chairs have continued to discuss collaborative programming with other Divisions since the previous convention. For the Toronto conference, APA decreased the allotted Division hours to 14 (2 less than 2014). Five of seven collaborative programs submitted were accepted.
  • When receiving submissions, the program chair(s) will continue to ask people to revise and resubmit if it appears unclear if they are including information about group in their proposal. They are also requesting all convert the programs into CE eligible.
  • Discussed the benefit of frontloading events during the Convention so we can maximize the number of invites to the social that can go out. Thus, board meeting is moved to Saturday AM.
  • Discussed having a giveaway at the social to increase overall attendance, especially of students and ECPs. Distribute mock tickets at all Division events inviting people to attend (“must be present to win”)
  • Ideas (e.g. 1 large item, and several smaller ones): Amazon gift card, Psychology related book or APA/Sage/Guilford Publications gift card, or electronics (e.g. ipad, fitbit, headphones). In the past, Sage/Guilford has offered a free gift card.
  • ACTION ITEM: Dr. Miles and Dr. Paquin will schedule space in the suite for the StoryCorps recordings
  • ACTION ITEM: Dr. Miles and Dr. Paquin – Request full sized fridge/two mini fridges for night of social
  • ACTION ITEM: Rosamond Smith will coordinate schedule to ensure someone is always at the suite and at programming. Monetary incentive to students for helping (four students: attend 4 events, earn $100).
  • ACTION ITEM: Dr. Alonso and Dr. Diederich will purchase buttons to distribute at the convention
  • Order 1: A larger button. “Ask me about Div 49” with Division logo for board members and student volunteers
  • Order 2: Standardize sized button. Unique shape. “Keep Calm, I’m a Group Psychologist”
  • Future ideas: “It goes better in group”; “Got group”; “Keep Calm I Know Group Dynamics”; “Watch out I know group dynamics”; #APAdiv49; I <3 group
  • ACTION ITEM: Dr. Miles will email listserv an example of an accepted collaborative program for 2016 convention submissions
  • ACTION ITEM: Dr Miles and Dr. Paquin will discuss the option of cosponsoring programming with Divisions we have not collaborated with in the past (e.g. as mentioned in the President-elect section)

Group Dynamics Journal – Dr. David Marcus

  • 2015: New journal contract officially started. Assigned new manuscript coordinator from APA.
  • Number of submissions is adequate. Limited psychotherapy and sports related articles submitted, but we are receiving a significant number of I/O and Social Psychology article. Publication delay is short. New associate editor (Michael Baumann) took over for one of the four associate editors in 2015.
  • Discussed what seems to be a high rejection rate (about 85%) and limited international submissions (especially related to group psychotherapy). One idea included contacting strong researchers, especially in counseling/clinical who have not published in GD in a while to request a submission.
  • ACTION ITEM: Dr. Marcus will write up information about the journal that can be posted on the listservs of other Divisions so others are aware of journal (see divisions listed in Past President section, as well as other divisions like clinical, counseling, etc.)
  • ACTION ITEM: Dr. Marcus will write up what a good empirical psychotherapy based article is. Send to listserv, post on website, and social media sites.
  • ACTION ITEM: Dr. Miles will email Rose Sokol-Chang at APA to see a copy of the half page invitations mark advertising sheet. If it doesn’t include information about submission, have Dr. Miles include information that can be stapled to the paper. This can be distributed at the Convention at targeted and relevant programming.

Student Committee – Rosamond Smith, MS

  • Discussed ways for students to get involved in the Society and topics for the student committee. These included: Creating a half page document on the effectiveness of group psychotherapy for the APA Directorate; Continuing to have students assist with manning convention events and the suite and distributing materials; StoryCorps (see president section) at the Convention; Create content for Facebook posts
  • ACTION ITEM: Dr. Diederich will provide email list of students to Rosamond. She will email students to introduce herself and identify who wants to get involved in the Society. When new students join, Rosamond will send them a welcome at that time.
  • ACTION ITEM: Rosamond will write up information about the Society, what students are doing, and how to get involved in the Society. Board members will distribute to students at their university and faculty members who completed the survey; Dr. Parks will email to Social psychologists who teach Group courses; Dr. Marcus will email to Clinical Psychology Training Director listserv and Dr. Stockton to the Counseling Psychology Training Director listserv

Fellows Committee – (Dr. Gary Burlingame)

  • Four new fellows applicants submitted and are being reviewed.
  • During the 2015 convention, there will be time set aside from now on for a fellows talk. For fellows inducted prior to this time, 1-2 “senior” fellows (who did not have an opportunity to previously speak) will be invited to speak. All speakers will be provided a few questions for them to consider speaking about (see StoryCorps questions)
  • ACTION ITEM: Dr. Kivlighan will ask Dr. Burlingame to inform applying fellows that there is an expectation for them to speak at the convention’s fellow talk the year after they are chosen as fellows
  • ACTION ITEM: Dr. Miles will ask APA if we can record a video of the fellows talk at the convention for the Society’s purposes (e.g. StoryCorps)
  • ACTION ITEM: At each upcoming mid-winter meeting, the President-Elect will nominate 1-2 senior fellows to speak at the upcoming fellows talk.
  • ACTION ITEM: (1) Dr. Kivlighan will contact 2015 fellows to invite them to attend 2015 Toronto convention (with email written by Dr. Miles), and (2) Dr. Miles will assign one hour of convention to fellows talks.

Awards Committee – Dr. Craig Parks

  • Diversity Committee did not request applications for this year’s award, so they will choose a winner from the remaining 2014 applications.
  • Finalized the wording for future submission requests for the Group Psychologist of the Year award
  • Given the foundation will be funded soon, we discussed possible future awards. Awards could include a plaque and monetary prize:
  • Teaching of Group Psychotherapy. Given to an individual who would also be invited to speak at the Convention about their work.
  • Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy academic and training programs. Given to a program and nominated by students.
  • Practice of Group Psychotherapy. Given to an individual or agency who use group therapy to serve the community, social justice/advocacy oriented, etc.
  • ACTION ITEM: Dr. Paquin will draft criteria for the Teaching award and bring proposal to August meeting
  • ACTION ITEM: Dr. Diederich and Student Committee will draft criteria for Training Program award and bring proposal to August meeting (Dr. Stockton also volunteered to help if needed)
  • ACTION ITEM: Dr. Diederich and ECP Committee will draft criteria for Practice award and bring proposal to August meeting
  • ACTION ITEM: Dr. Miles and Dr. Paquin will talk with Div 2 about co-sponsoring 2016 convention talk for Teaching award

CRSPPP Proposal – (Dr. Nina Brown)

  • CRSPPP = Commission for the Recognition of Specialties and Proficiencies in Professional Psychology (CRSPPP)
  • Brown and her committee submitted petition to APA in December 2014 for Group Therapy to be recognized as a specialty. The petition was posted online in January 2015 for a comment period for two months. It is important for positive comments be posted supporting the petition.
  • The committee is required to meet face to face once a year. Next meeting planned for the Toronto Convention. There is already $400 in the budget allotted to a lunch for the committee.
  • ACTION ITEM: Dr. Diederich will speak with Dr. Brown about writing a brief paragraph that can be described regarding the importance of commenting regarding the petition. All board members are asked to distribute to those in their lives.
  • ACTION ITEM: Dr. Alonso will upload all files related to the petition onto MyCommunities website.

Foundation Committee – (Dr. Jean Keim)

  • Will be fully funded by the end of 2015, one year ahead of schedule.
  • Next step is the formation of the Foundation Committee. They create recommendations on how to spend the money which is brought to APF and the board for approval.
  • Reviewed bylaws about committee members (e.g. 3 year terms, treasurer, two current board members)
  • Appointed the following board members: Treasurer (Dr. Nitza), President (Dr. Kivlighan), and two board members (Dr. Paquin and Dr. Stockton).
  • ACTION ITEMS: Dr. Kivlighan will ask Dr. Keim to chair the committee and have her nominate some other members. When committee is finalized, inform Dr. Alonso so the information can be updated on the website.

Candidate Statements: President-Elect and Member-at-Large


Robert Gleave, Ph.D., ABGP, CGP
Robert Gleave, Ph.D., ABGP, CGP

Robert Gleave, Ph.D., ABGP, CGP

I became a believer in group psychotherapy with my first exposure to the dynamics and power of interpersonal interactions early in my graduate studies. I found something resonating within me that still continues as a central part of my professional identity. As a clinical professor at BYU, my career has been spent building a robust group program and culture, nurturing strong group research collaborations, teaching and mentoring graduate students in group skills, providing clinical services and serving on various association committees and boards. Div. 49 has been my APA home for nearly three decades.

As president, I will continue to reach out to other proponents of group work in North America. Div. 49 can be a force toward more cooperation among us all. As a member of AGPA’s leadership (IBCGP), I have seen how we can use our skills to work together synergistically as we focus on common national and international interests (e.g. strengthening graduate training, encouraging insurers toward group, CRSPPP application, etc.).

There is much we can offer to our members with distance learning. I am excited about using technology to improve training and collaboration. I recently participated in a five week multi-screen online “classroom” and am pleased with the format. I am also excited about the online mentoring opportunity that Div. 49 has scheduled to begin soon.

Maintaining and enhancing what has been done by those on whose shoulders we stand is also important. I ask for your support and thank you for voting and being involved.

Verlin B. Hinsz, Ph.D.
Verlin B. Hinsz, Ph.D.

Verlin B. Hinsz, Ph.D.

I am pleased to be a candidate for President of Division 49. Broaden and build reflect terms that are the objectives of my term as president of our division. Continuing the efforts of earlier officers, I would seek to broaden membership in terms of numbers as well as disciplinary scope. Moreover, I would seek to build better bridges to other disciplines related to group psychology and group psychotherapy. In particular, given the cross-divisional nature of presentations at the APA meeting, we need to build more fruitful relations with other divisions. I also want to continue the efforts to integrate the diverse perspectives of the division’s membership to reflect a more cohesive identity for the division. As a scholar in the study of groups for over 35 years, I believe we can draw upon the diversity of perspectives to reflect the shared goal of an understanding of the basic and applied features and processes of groups. I also want to continue the efforts of previous presidents to further encourage training and education in group psychology and group psychotherapy as well as to help undergraduate students enter graduate programs. Because my background concerns basic and applied aspects of groups in various domains (e.g., legal, organizational, sport, military, business, counseling, health, human factors, finance), I believe that our division can both broaden our membership base as well as build better relationships with scholars in other disciplines in ways that integrate the field while enhancing our shared identity. I thank you for your consideration.


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

Michele D. Ribeiro, Ed.D.

I am thrilled to be applying for the Member at Large position for Division 49. My passion for group psychotherapy extends during my early years as a practicum student to my current experience in co-facilitating process groups at the counseling center at Oregon State University. During my tenure at CAPS, I served as the Coordinator of Group Therapy Programs for six years, co-created and taught a ten-month doctoral intern seminar in group psychotherapy, and provide group consultation to support therapists training toward their CGP. I am also in the process of co-designing a two day conference on group psychotherapy for the fall.

Nationally my involvement has included being a Certified Group Psychotherapist for three years, a member of the American Group Psychotherapy Association for eleven years and co-chairing the College Counseling Special Interest Group for three years. During my tenure as co-chair I also helped with the creation of the website and mentored the new co-chairs in taking on the leadership as I stepped down. Further I have co-chaired or served on the Principles in Group Psychotherapy Course through AGPA for the past three years and have served on the open session conference committee for two years. Through these experiences I have become more familiar with Division 49 and some of the leadership. Although I am fairly new to Division 49, I am excited to get involved and hope to bring my energy and ideas through the Member at Large position.

Misha Bogomaz, Psy.D., CGP
Misha Bogomaz, Psy.D., CGP

Misha Bogomaz Psy.D., CGP

I truly believe, as Aristotle once said, human beings “by nature are social animals.” My love for groups was ignited while participating as a member in an experiential group for first year graduate students. After experiencing a great deal of anxiety at the start, I have realized at the end how much I have grown personally and professionally! I have made it my mission to get involved in as much as I could in the field to advocate for group psychology and psychotherapy.

As a graduate student, I wrote my dissertation on group leadership and attended numerous group conferences/trainings in Chicago. Since graduation, I have been involved in several professional organizations. With regards to Division 49, I have been involved with the Task Force for Early Career Psychologists and, currently, along with Dr. Leann Diederich, serve as a co-chair. I am a member of the Group Specialty Counsel and helped with the development of the petition to the Commission for the Recognition of Specialties and Proficiencies in Professional Psychology (CRSPPP) to have group psychotherapy/psychology designated as a specialty. I have also been involved in the American Group Psychotherapy Association (AGPA). I am on Workshop Committee for the 2014-2016 term; we are tasked with reviewing of workshop proposals, observing assigned program events, and providing feedback to the assigned workshop faculty. Shortly after being licensed I was certified as a group psychotherapist (CGP) with AGPA. Currently I work as a staff psychologist at the University of North Florida Counseling Center and facilitate two interpersonal process groups there, in addition to one group at my private practice.

My focus as a Member-at-Large would be to continue engagement of early career psychologists and graduate students as well as advocating for group psychology/psychotherapy. I truly believe that my passion, energy, and experience within Div. 49 and other organizations have prepared me well for the Member-at-Large position. Please don’t hesitate to email me if you have any questions or comments about my candidacy.


Brief Articles

Career Paths: Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy

Lee Gillis, PhD
Lee Gillis, Ph.D.

It is difficult to imagine you will embark on a career path after completing your undergraduate degree in psychology that will not require you to work with a group. Clinical, counseling, social, industrial-organizational, addiction, child and adolescent, military and sport psychologists, among others, all work with groups. We may take different academic paths in graduate school, but we all share a belief in the power of the group. If you have an interest in groups you may wish to consider joining us and becoming a group psychologist or group psychotherapist.

What We Do

Group psychologists specialize in social, industrial-organizational, addiction, child and adolescent, military and sport psychology. We are interested in such issues as researching group factors that help an organization function more efficiently, enable addicts to reduce destructive behaviors, keep youth from bullying one another, lessen the impact of PTSD and allow individuals to perform at peak levels — and that’s just scratching the surface.

Group psychologists are also interested in leadership. For example, we research whether there are natural born leaders. We explore leadership traits that can help transform a group into a high-performing team.

Clinical and counseling psychologists conduct individual, couples, family and group psychotherapy. Research demonstrates that group psychotherapy is as effective as individual psychotherapy (Burlingame, Strauss, & Joyce, 2013), and it costs less. When clinical and counseling psychologists practice in independent practice, community mental health clinics, university counseling centers, veterans’ hospitals, recovery centers or geriatric facilities, to name a few places of employment, they are often asked to conduct group psychotherapy. Groups are efficient; groups are effective.

Group psychotherapy offers its members therapeutic benefits that cannot be as easily obtained in individual therapy. For instance a group member can experience universality — when they realize that at least one other person in their group feels similarly to them, when before, they felt they were the only person in the world who had ever had such feelings. Group psychotherapy can instill hope as group members develop insight and learn social skills while receiving feedback from others.

Why You Should Pursue This Career

If what is projected about your work environment in the future is true, most of you reading this article will be part of a group or team in your work world. The recently revised APA Guidelines for the Undergraduate Psychology Major (PDF, 447KB) places emphasis on enhanced teamwork capacity (Goal 5.4) and specifically states that those with a baccalaureate degree in psychology should be able to, among other things, “collaborate successfully on complex group projects,” “assess basic strengths and weaknesses of team performance on complex projects” and “work effectively with diverse populations.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be an increase in the need for industrial-organizational psychologists at a rate much greater than in other fields of employment. In addition, as mental health care gains parity with physical health care under the Affordable Care Act, demand for psychological services may increase. There is no doubt that psychologists will increasingly work in collaborative teams with medical doctors, social workers and other health care professionals to help provide more interdisciplinary, effective and efficient treatment. As a psychologist who understands both group dynamics and group psychotherapy, you will be a double asset to the teams in which you belong.

How To Get Involved

After graduating with an undergraduate degree in psychology, most group psychologists and group psychotherapists pursue a graduate degree at the master’s or doctoral level. Research psychologists pursue careers in academia or industry. Clinical and counseling psychologists who specialize in group psychotherapy attend doctoral programs accredited by APA, and many pursue a license to practice psychology.

Group psychologists and group psychotherapists may both belong to Div. 49 (the Society of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy). The division welcomes all psychologists who believe in the power of group. You can become a student affiliate member of Div. 49 or join us on Facebook, Google+ or LinkedIn. You are also invited to attend our division’s activities at the annual APA convention. We would love to connect with you.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor (n.d.). Occupational outlook handbook, 2014-15 edition, Psychologists.

Burlingame, G. M., Strauss, B., & Joyce, A. S. (2013). Change mechanisms and effectiveness of small group treatments. In M. J. Lambert (Ed.), Bergin and Garfield’s handbook of psychotherapy and behavior change (6th ed.; pp. 640-689).

This article first appeared in the Psychology Student Network (January 2015).