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Columns Early Career Psychologists

Becoming a Better Psychologist

Misha Bogomaz, Psy.D., C.G.P.
Misha Bogomaz, Psy.D., C.G.P.

“Misha, you will never be as knowledgeable as on the day you take your licensure exam” said my supervisor. We were talking about my plans to take EPPP and the amount of material I needed to know. I remember feeling overwhelmed by the study guides, notecards, reading, and memorization. There was so much information that I was expected to know! When it came to the test sections that did not relate to my work as a psychologist, I felt particularly frustrated. I know EPPP tests for general skills… but come on! Three days prior to the test, I lived and breathed the study guides. Woke up at 6:00 am for the exam at 12:00 and memorized until the last minute. I came out of the testing center barely containing my tears. My friends took me to a restaurant, bought me food and drinks, and took me to see a movie. I was convinced that I failed the test (at that time we did not get the results immediately) and continued to study for two weeks. The day I received my result, which was passing, I threw away almost everything that related to the test. It felt like I jumped over the last hoop on the road of becoming a licensed psychologist.

I first heard of Board Certified Psychologists while in graduate school. There was a faculty member that we all spoke of reverently because he was Board Certified in psychoanalytic approach. During my internship, the group coordinator was Board Certified. I utilized the Early Entry application process before finishing up my graduate degree. What drove me to do it? I wanted to be one of those people who I saw as an “expert”. I wanted to have ABPP after my name. I wanted to be one of the 4% who went above and beyond! But, when all of the prerequisites were done… the doubt crept in. I am “only” an early career psychologist. What can I possibly know? Surely not enough to be Board Certified. However, with the encouragement of my mentor and my own drive, I kept at it. My passion is anything group psychology related, so it made sense getting Board Certified as a Group Psychologist. I recorded a group session, wrote a practice sample and a professional statement. The date of my examination was set. For months, I kept reading books and articles trying to anticipate the questions. I felt most anxious about the Oral part of the exam: being assessed by three experts felt way more intimidating than answering “multiple guess” questions on EPPP. Once again, I woke up at 6:00 am the day of my exam and frantically reviewed my notes.

What a difference it was walking out of ABPP exam versus EPPP! First of all, I did not feel like crying. I felt examined, for sure, very thoroughly. The questions directed at me were meant to provoke my thinking and challenge me. I was asked to critically examine the way I prepare, think about, facilitate, train, and terminate groups. Most of it, felt like a deep conversation about group psychology. It was very collegial and the examiners were invested in not only examining me, but also making me a better group psychologist. More than the comprehensive exams in school, graduation, passing EPPP, getting a license… walking out of the exam felt like a true rite of passage. Studying for EPPP made me be the most knowledgeable on the day of the exam. Studying for ABPP exam made me a better psychologist … on any day.

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Early Career Psychologists Uncategorized

Polarizing Political Topics in Groups

Polarizing Political Topics in Groups

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Early Career Psychologists

Early Career Psychologists

Early Career Psychologists

Dear Colleagues:

Given the challenging and sometimes divisive world we live in it is no surprise that we are addressing potentially polarizing topics in group.  An upcoming community conversation hour (hosted by the early career psychologist task force) is focused on how to navigate polarizing political topics in group.

Join us in a lively informal conversation, sharing your experiences with fellow group colleagues at all levels. Our hope is to provide a space for participants to discuss how we can initiate and facilitate useful conversations and minimize the polarization around political topics such as race, political parties, the “Time’s Up” Movement, etc. as group leaders.

This CCH will be on March 23rd at Noon (Eastern time) and is conducted via Zoom.

Please email the Society of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy for access to this free CCH at div49group@gmail.com.

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Early Career Psychologists

Early Career Group Psychologist Column

Misha Bogomaz, Psy.D., C.G.P.
Misha Bogomaz, Psy.D., C.G.P.

Facilitating Your First Group

 

I remember vividly the first group I ever co-led during my doctoral internship. My experience in graduate school led me to believe that group is my love and passion. I participated as a group member in various training groups and even had a chance to co-lead a few of them. All of my experiences led up to that one moment; I was about to co-facilitate with my group supervisor. He had decades of experience facilitating and training numerous interns. Of course, I wanted to stand out. Of course, I wanted to be special. Of course, I wanted to impress him! On the outside, I looked calm and ready to go despite feeling tremendous anxiety on the inside. It was important to show him that I looked calm and competent.

A few minutes into our pre-group meeting, he looked straight at me and said: “Misha, I have two things to tell you. First, you need to make sure you’re having fun doing the group. If we are not having fun, it would not be a good experience for the group members.” The goal of having fun never entered my mind at any point during group training. I wondered what was the other piece of wisdom he was about to bestow on me.

“I need you to CTFD, please”, he said. I must have looked very puzzled because he chuckled and asked whether I knew what it meant. I had no idea. He leaned in and said “I need you to calm the f**k down. If something goes wrong, we will fix it.” We both burst out in laughter! With a sigh of relief and fear, I realized he could see right through my calm demeanor. Suddenly I realized that it was okay to be me. It was okay to have all kinds of experiences as a facilitator including anxiety. I also understood that no matter what happens in the group, we will deal with it. Something will always go wrong. However, we… I can fix it!

 

I took this idea to heart in my personal life as well. Instead of concentrating on what can go wrong interpersonally, I concentrate on our amazing capacity for repair. In groups, we repair — in more than one sense. In our personal life, CTFDing and engaging in repair, can lead to amazing deepness in any relationship.

 

I would like to pass this on to anyone about to start a group: CTFD, believe in your capacity to repair, and most importantly, have fun.

 

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Early Career Psychologists

Call for Mentors

Keri Frantell, M.S.
Keri Frantell, M.S.

Mentors Wanted

The student committee is still actively looking for people willing to serve as mentors for students who are interested in getting more involved in group work. This is not limited to people who are interested in group therapy or research, we are looking for a good blend of people holding different positions. Expectations are as follows:

 

  • Provide your mentee an email address or phone number where you can be contacted to answer questions related to professional development (e.g., coursework, future employment, practicum, training experiences, etc.), as needed.
  • Be accessible to have a face-to-face meeting (e.g., lunch, dinner, coffee) with the mentee one to two times per year, such as at APA or convention and/or be available to meet through another means, such as by phone, email or Skype.
  • Assist mentee in networking and meeting with other professionals and/or students in Div. 49 or APA at large. This networking could occur at the Div. 49 social and/or other events.
  • Commit to a one-year mentorship relationship.
  • Refrain from entering into a supervisory relationship with your mentee.
  • Respond to mentee challenges and follow grievance procedures, as appropriate.
  • Maintain Div. 49 member status.

You can apply online by going to http://www.apadivisions.org/division-49/membership/mentor-program.aspx and submitting an application (just asking for basic information to help us better connect mentors to mentees). Though we plan to keep mentorship open throughout the year, we would like to ask people who are particularly interested (this goes for both mentors/mentees) to submit an application before the end of each month. 

Please feel free to pass this email along to colleagues, too. I hope many of you will be able to serve!

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Early Career Psychologists

Division 49 Mentorship Program

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

Division 49 Mentorship Program

We are pleased to introduce the Division 49 mentorship program!  The program was created based on requests from Division 49 student members and is intended to help the next generation of group psychologists enhance their training and professional development and ultimately to help the division and the field grow stronger.  We accept applications on a rolling basis and will make every effort to match mentorship pairs as suitable matches become available.  We welcome mentees in any stage of graduate training or early career, within the first three years of graduation.  We welcome mentor applications from anyone who has obtained their doctoral degree and has some demonstrated expertise in group psychology and/or group psychotherapy.  Early career psychologists, do not underestimate what you have to offer!

Mentor Expectations:

  • Provide your mentee an email address or phone number where they could contact you to ask questions related to professional development (coursework, future employment, practicum, training experiences, etc.) as needed
  • Be accessible to have for a face-to-face meeting (lunch, dinner, coffee) with the mentee 1-2x per year, such as at APA, and/or meet through another means, such as phone, email, or Skype
  • Assist mentee in networking and meeting with other professionals and/or students in Division 49 or APA at large.  This could occur at the Division 49 social and/or other events
  • Commit to a one-year mentorship relationship
  • Refrain from entering into a supervisory relationship with your mentee
  • Respond to mentee challenges and follow grievance procedures, as appropriate
  • Maintain Division 49 member status

Mentee Expectations:

  • Contact your mentor as needed to ask questions related to professional development (coursework, future employment, practicum, training experiences, etc.)
  • Be accessible to have for a face-to-face meeting (lunch, dinner, coffee) with your mentor 1-2x per year, such as at APA, and/or meet through another means, such as phone, email, or Skype
  • If attending APA, network with your mentor to meet with other professionals and/or students in Division 49 or APA at large.  This could occur at the Division 49 social and/or other events
  • Commit to a one-year mentorship relationship.  After this point, you could exit the mentorship program or ask to be connected with another mentor to gain broad exposure to professionals in the field
  • Avoid entering into a supervisory relationship with your mentor by refraining from discussing any client concerns with your mentor
  • Maintain Division 49 student member status

Thanks to the AGPA CC-SIG for their model of a successful mentorship program, from which some of these materials were adapted.

Application Questions

Please complete the following questions and submit your application to the mentorship director, Rosamond Smith rosamondjanesmith@gmail.com. Applications for both mentors and mentees will be taken on a rolling basis, and as such, we will try to match mentees as soon as possible.

Mentors

  • Name:
  • Degree:
  • Graduate program and date:
  • License and date:
  • Current employer and title:
  • Research interests:
  • Group specialties:
  • Current group research (if applicable):
  • Current groups leading (if applicable):
  • What do you think you have to offer a mentee?  If you are interested specifically in research collaboration with a mentee, please list that here.
  • Do you have preferences about the stage of training or development of your mentee?  (If so, please list.)
  • Do you have any other preferences regarding your mentee?

Mentees

  • Name:
  • Graduate university and program:
  • Year in program or graduation date:
  • Current employer and title (including clinical practicum experience):
  • Career goals (generally):
  • Research interests:
  • Group specialties/interests:
  • Current group research (if applicable):
  • Current groups leading (if applicable):
  • What are you looking for from a mentor?  If you are interested specifically in research collaboration with a mentee, please list that here.
  • Are you looking for a mentor involved primarily in practice or academia?
  • Do you have preferences about the stage of career of your mentor?  (If so, please list.)
  • Do you have any other preferences for your mentor?
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Early Career Psychologists

Early Career Group Psychologist Column

Misha Bogomaz, Psy.D., C.G.P.
Misha Bogomaz, Psy.D., C.G.P.

Early Career Group Psychologist Column

I’m taking a chance here. Most of these reports from the ECP Task Force have been simply a report of our activity for the past six months. When I looked at the last one, I wondered, “How many people actually read it?” And if no one reads it, why am I writing? Perhaps this reveals to you more about me than I actually intend: my worry about wasted work, energy, and for my voice to be wasted.

I’ve asked myself, “What would I want to read if I was not a part of the Division 49 ECP Task Force? What would matter to me?” During my first APA Annual Meeting, I wanted to find my place within a large organization and feel like what I did mattered. My friend and I sat on a rooftop at APA in DC and talked with a senior psychologist. She was impressive! I loved her stories about the history of APA and it seemed like she was involved through it all. She talked about APA like it was her professional home for many decades and there would be nothing that stopped her from attending annual meetings.

When asked how she got so involved, she encouraged my friend and I to show up to meetings, volunteer for a project, and deliver on that promise. This is the advice I want to pass to other ECPs who are reading this column and wondering how to fit into APA and make their voice heard. Here I must confess, my fear is for my voice to not matter or to be irrelevant. I would like to have a say, no matter how small, in the events to come. Things might not work out the way I want, but I still want to have a voice in the process.

If you share my fear or have some other internal motivation to become involved, I say to you: “Show up to that meeting, volunteer for projects, and deliver.” It’s that easy.

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Early Career Psychologists

Early Career Group Psychologist Column

Misha Bogomaz, Psy.D., C.G.P.
Misha Bogomaz, Psy.D., C.G.P.

Greetings from the Early Career Psychologist Task Force

In May 2017, we hosted a Community Conversation Hour event (CCH) focused on using creative interventions in group psychotherapy. We discussed using activities to increase group cohesion, address termination related issues, and deepening conversations. We continue to utilize ZOOM as our medium and record our events. If you are interested in catching up with us or listen to previous CCH events, please email us at div49group@gmail.com.

We are also looking to add two members who are interested in participating in the ECP Task Force. The main responsibility would be contributing articles for the Facebook page, helping to host Community Conversation Hours, and helping to organize the social hour at 2017 APA Annual Convention. Please don’t hesitate to contact us and check out our Facebook page!

Speaking of APA Annual Convention, our ECP group is in charge of coordinating the Division 49 social hour. We would love to hear requests on choosing the caterer or the type of food we want while in DC! Typically, the social hour features a drink that is popular to that region… email us a drink that you would love to have at the social! We’ll look forward to seeing many of you there.

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Early Career Psychologists

Notes from the North: History of Experiential Groups in Canada

Kasra Khorsani, M.D.
Kasra Khorsani, M.D., President, CGPA

CGPA multi-centre Experiential Training Groups (ETG) are on Saturday May 13, 2017. This is the second annual ETG day run by CGPA. This was a very well received event in 2016, with 50 people who participated in five groups in Toronto, Winnipeg, and Calgary. This year Halifax and Vancouver have joined the program.

The day consists of two three-hour process groups divided by lunch. These groups offer an opportunity for therapists of all modalities to learn about group dynamics by participating as members of the ETGs. Transference and countertransference issues, intimacy, attachment, boundaries, group cohesion, and issues around termination are reflected upon by the members who are committed to examining their own process.  For more details please see http://cgpa.ca/may-experiential-training-group-intensive/

For over six decades, ETGs have been an important part of group psychotherapy training in Canada.  According to Dr. John Salvendy, these can be put in three categories. The first two categories are all trainee process groups and all trainee therapy groups. In both cases, members could be from the same program or from different programs. In these instances, the frequency could be one time, periodic, or continuous short- or long-term.  Finally, an all patient group that trainees could join have also been used in some programs as a requirement for training (3).

Initially, the training groups in Canada were based on the Tavistok group therapy model (which many experience as an anxiety provoking model). However, since the early ’80s the model applied has been a relational/interpersonal model. This shift has resulted in almost uniform positive assessment of ETGs by trainees (5).

The most prevalent training groups in academic centers are the training process groups. The members of the groups are trainees in the same programs and depending on the size of the program, members may or may not know each other in their professional settings.  The frequency of meeting varies from one time to multiple meetings for the duration of the program. The largest and longest running program in Canada was started in University of Toronto in 1977 and continues to be a successful once per year all day experiential group for the psychiatry residents. This is a very successful and well rated event by the participants. Seventy out of 140 residents attended the latest goup day which was a four and half-hour group experience divided in to a morning and an afternoon session (4,5).

The various non-university group psychotherapy training programs in Canada started in the mid 1960’s in Toronto (Ontario Group Psychotherapy Association), followed by programs in Montreal in early 70’s. With inception of CGPA in 1980, additional training programs were established across the country. These included ones in Calgary, Ottawa, and Winnipeg. The Toronto Group Psychotherapy Training Program operated from 1978 until 2008. They had twenty-four 90-minute experiential sessions led by three different group leaders over the two-year program. The present Toronto-based taining program, Toronto Institute of Group Studies, includes a 90-minute experiential component on each of the 12 days of the program (2). This highlights the variety of training experiences available, as the Calgary program required each trainee to have 90 hours of experiential training obtained either through an all trainees process group or joining a patient interpersonal group.

The CGPA May ETGs is a one-time process group, for mental health professionals (including trainees) from different professional backgrounds and from different settings. CGPA has had a noteworthy history of offering process groups for therapists (initially modeled after AGPA Institute groups).  CGPA’s first national conference (Banff Alberta, 1980) was exclusively experiential/process groups. Impressively, 160 therapists participated in 15 two-day training groups during this first conference (1).

CGPA has continued to offer ETGs in its annual conferences since then. From 1980 until 2007 the conference began with two days of process groups. More recently the experiential groups have been a day to day and half duration and offered at the end of the conference. Over the years, the experiential/process groups have been lead and monitored by exceptionally experienced group psychotherapists from across Canada.

With the start of the multicentre May ETG event now we offer this special training opportunity twice per year, once at the annual meeting in October and again in May at multiple centres simultaneously across Canada.

I would like to thank the following colleagues for their communications regarding this summary: John Salvendy, Molyn Leszcz, Allan Sheps, Joan-Dianne Smith, Anthony Joyce, Linda Goddard, and Eric Jackman.

References

  1. CGPA News Letter March 1981 vol. 1, No 1
  2. Joyce, Anthony S. Ph.D., Tasca, Giorgio A. Ph.D. & Ogrodniczuk, John S. Ph.D. (2015) Group Psychotherapy in Canada, International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, 65:4, 583-593
  3. 3. Salvendy, John T.: Group Therapy Trainees as bona fide members in patient groups. Group and Family Therapy 1982, Brunner/Mazel, Inc., NY 1983, 166-181
  4. Salvendy, John T. M.D., Stewart, Mary F.: Periodic T-Groups for Psychiatric Residents, Journal of Psychiatric Education 7:4, 287-295
  5. Sunderji, Nadiya, M.D., Malat, Jan, M.D. Leszcz, Molyn, M.D. (2013) Group Day: Experiential Learning About Group Psychotherapy for Psychiatry Residents at University of Toronto, Academic Psychiatry 37(5):352-4.
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Early Career Psychologists

Early Career Psychologist Task Force

Misha Bogomaz, Psy.D., C.G.P.
Misha Bogomaz, Psy.D., C.G.P.

Greetings from the Early Career Psychologist Task Force!

In the past six months we hosted two Community Conversation Hour events (CCH) focused on group psychotherapy in private practice. We discussed unique challenges facing us at private practice in terms of group member selection, billing, referrals, and group structure. We continue to utilize ZOOM as our medium and record our events. If you are interested in catching up with us or listen to previous CCH events, please email us at div49group@gmail.com.

We are also looking to add two members who are interested in participating in the ECP Task Force. The main responsibility would be contributing articles for the Facebook page, helping to host Community Conversation Hours, and helping to organize the social hour at 2017 APA Annual Convention. Please don’t hesitate to contact us and check out our Facebook page!