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Columns

Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy Diversity Column

Jeanne Steffen, Ph.D.
Jeanne Steffen, Ph.D.

Summary: Awarding of the 2016 Diversity Award, election of a new chair(s), and summary of the diversity committee activities at APA

After three years as the chair of the diversity committee, it is time for me to pass the baton and introduce new energy and leadership to our division.   Speaking on behalf of the diversity committee, we are very excited to welcome Dr. Joe Miles as the new chair.  He will be starting a three year term with some help due to his transitioning from another division role.  Dr. Eric Chen will be joining Dr. Miles as co-chair for the committee.  Thus, technically and particularly for the first year, the diversity committee will benefit from dual leadership.  As is typical for the issue of the Group Psychologist that comes out after the American Psychological Association Annual Convention, the focus of the diversity column is on the Diversity Committee’s activities at APA, as well as goals for the upcoming year.  One of the major activities we are involved in annually is to recognize those colleagues who are instrumental in promoting diversity informed group psychology and psychotherapy practices.  The Diversity Award is intended to formally honor individuals who have made significant contributions to group psychology practice, research, service, and/or mentoring, with a focus on promoting understanding and respect for diversity.

This year we recognized Dr. Kathryn Norsworthy as our Diversity Award recipient for 2016-17.  Dr. Norsworthy, a Professor in the Counseling program at Rollins College in Winter Park Florida, has consistently been recognized as an advocate for social justice and for using her group skills to develop collaborative programs nationally and internationally. Her work in the US has focused on providing mental health programs for migrants and on being a civil rights activist for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. She has established programs for persons with HIV/AIDS and victims of rape, incest, and other forms of sexual trauma. Her international work has included providing groups for women in Burma, co-editing the International Handbook of Cross Cultural Counseling: Assumptions and Practices Worldwide, and speaking as a representative to an international conference addressing mental health concerns of the world’s poorest people—a conference which was sponsored by the World Health Organization.  Dr. Norsworthy has been recognized by the Society of Counseling Psychology, the Division of International Psychology, the Division of Peace Psychology, the Counselors for Social Justice, and the Association for Specialists in Group Work.  She is clearly committed to group research and practice and her work has consistently focused on the intersection of social justice and group work.

Dr. Norsworthy’s professional contributions in the area of multicultural group counseling and psychotherapy practice, research, service, and training clearly identified her as an ideal candidate to receive the Diversity Award this year.  We are honored to have Dr. Norsworthy represent our profession and greatly value her contributions to promote further understanding and clinical effectiveness in working with diverse populations.  Thank you, Dr. Norsworthy, for your personal and professional contributions to our profession and to our communities!

Other activities at the APA convention this year included focusing on involving the student members of our committee in suite programming.  This activity was related to a 2015-16 goal on increasing student involvement in committee work.  Regarding our goals for 2016-17, we met in Denver to discuss developing a student award in the near future.  We also want to focus on recruitment, with the goal of increasing the number of students and professional members across different disciplines and add international members to our committee.  Finally, we want to focus on providing accessible resources for culturally sensitive and multiculturally competent group practice to our community of mental health providers.

As always, the members of the diversity committee invite you to notice those colleagues around you who are working to engage others, who are writing, mentoring, teaching and researching multicultural issues in group work and making contributions to group psychology practice, with a focus on promoting understanding and respect for diversity.  We want to recognize these outstanding individuals—individuals such as Dr. Norsworthy—and we invite you to nominate such individuals for the 2017-18 diversity award by contacting us.  In addition, as the outgoing chair of the Diversity Committee, I want to encourage you all to contact the diversity committee regarding a few other issues in particular.  First, let us know what topics you would like Dr. Miles to cover in the diversity columns over the next several years.  Secondly, if you would like to suggest a guest columnist, please do so.  We have been discussing the idea of asking past Diversity Award recipients to write a column or two.  Lastly, we encourage Division 49 members to become active in the diversity committee this year.  Any interested members please contact us.  Our activities and goals keep in mind our original focus of promoting the inclusion and visibility of underrepresented populations in our communities across the globe through group psychology and psychotherapy practices.

The contact information for Joe Miles is: joemiles@utk.edu.  I have enjoyed very much reaching out to all of the members of our Division and others who have read the Group Psychologist over the years.

Categories
Committee Reports

Diversity Committee Report

Division 49 Diversity Committee

Chairs:  Joe Miles, Ph.D. and Eric Chen Ph.D.

Person Submitting Report:  Jeanne Steffen

Members of Committee:

Eric Chen Lee Gillis
Maria Riva Jennilee Fuertes
Cheri Marmarosh Keri Frantell
Joe Miles Carol Cho


Brief Summary of Activities Undertaken:

Our activities since the August update of the June 2016 report have included:

August

  • This was the year to elect a new chair for the diversity subcommittee. Joe Miles was nominated, however, due to his commitment in other Division 49 activities, we discussed and decided on splitting up the responsibilities of the chair position.  Joe Miles and Eric Chen agreed to split the role and we welcomed them as co-chairs.
  • Eric and Keri arranged suite programming at the APA Convention to invite conversations re: multicultural group therapy. We were hoping to use the opportunity for suite programming to recruit more members to our subcommittee.  Unfortunately, only one guest attended so the program was cancelled and the time was use to explore future goals for the committee.
  • Subcommittee members met at APA to discuss goals for 2016-17, which are: 1) increase numbers and diversity of members (e.g., international members and members across different disciplines); 2) increase communication resources (e.g., message boards, culturally sensitive/multiculturally competent group resources); 3) increase APA programming (e.g., processing current events, welcoming first time attendees, partnering with APAGS/17, utilizing award winners as speakers or writing for the newsletter); 4) developing a product (e.g., books, videos).
  • We also discussed the diversity award and: 1) the idea of emailing the runners up so they know that they were nominated, even if they didn’t win; 2) adding a student diversity award; 3) asking the executive board to submit nominees

Items Needing to be Discussed: 

Discuss action items/objectives to complete each quarter to further goals as described above.

Items Needing Action:

Establishing action items.

Recommendations, if any:

Jeanne to send Joe information re: responsibilities and an outline of annual deadlines for chair position

Categories
Committee Reports

Diversity Committee Report

Jeanne Steffen, Ph.D.
Jeanne Steffen, Ph.D.

June 2016 Diversity Committee Report

Chair: Jeanne Steffen, Ph.D.

Person Submitting Report: Jeanne Steffen

Members of Committee:

Eric Chen Lee Gillis
Maria Riva Jennilee Fuertes
Cheri Marmarosh Keri Frantell
Joe Miles Carol Cho

Brief Summary of Activities Undertaken:

Our activities since the Spring 2016 report have included:

April

  • We divided into small groups to address goals 2-4 of our 2016 goals, which are: 1) recruit new members to our division, with a focus on student and early career psychologists; 2) create a student diversity award; 3) provide opportunities for multicultural competency development through suite programming at APA in Denver; 4) seek nominations and select a Diversity Award recipient for 2016.
  • We all discussed creating a student diversity award and Joe and Keri volunteered to work on a request to create a student diversity award. We decided we would put this into action for 2017.
  • Eric and Carol completed a proposal for Division 49 suite programming to draw in new student members to our division and address goals related to education/building multicultural competency in our members/APA.
  • Maria was instrumental in gathering materials and putting forth nominations of recommended candidates from the committee. The committee members voted and we selected a candidate and forwarded our recommendation to Craig. Our recommendation this year was Dr. Kathryn Norsworthy.

Items Needing to be Discussed:

Agenda for August meeting; selection of new chair.

Items Needing Action:

  • Follow up on Suite Programming.
  • Follow up to confirm Dr. Norsworthy was accepted for the 2016 Diversity Award and notified.
  • Collaborate with committee for August agenda

All additional action items will be discussed by the end of June.

Recommendations, if any:

None currently.

Categories
Columns

Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy Diversity Column

Jeanne Steffen, Ph.D.
Jeanne Steffen, Ph.D.

Group Psychologists as Social Justice Advocates

Our society is more connected than ever. This means that we have more access to news and resources than at any other point in history. We are also being exposed to multiple perspectives now more than ever as any person with a video enabled cell phone and internet access can become a one-time or part time journalist and post, blog, or twitter their daily experiences. Perhaps this is one reason that news of attacks against marginalized, non-dominant groups in our country appears to have increased so significantly. As I write this article, the most recent example occurred June 12th: the horrific murder of at least 49 people during a Latin night celebration at Pulse, an Orlando, Florida gay nightclub. According to the New York Times, this incident was the deadliest mass shooting in national history and maybe one of the most complex, as news reported that both perpetrator and victims had aspects of their identities that were both marginalized and privileged. Despite and maybe because of the complexity of the dynamics, it is hard to ignore the call to action that this incident and those like it draw. When we don’t speak up we become part of a silent majority—those of us that support social justice in theory; however have a difficult time engaging in actively speaking up or showing up for social justice for one reason or another. As my time as chair comes to a close, I thought I would highlight an area that is particularly challenging to many, including myself: increasing social justice advocacy.

In 1992 Sue, Arredondo, and McDavis formally initiated a call for counselor multicultural competency by publishing an article organizing multicultural competency into three domains, which included: a) counselor self-awareness of cultural values and biases, b) counselor awareness of client worldview, and c) culturally appropriate intervention strategies. Under each of these domains were organized three multicultural and culture-specific developmental dimensions related to counseling interactions: attitudes and beliefs, knowledge, and skills. The dimensional sequence was arranged in this way to support the theory that internal self-awareness and knowledge is the first step to understanding the worldview of others. This understanding of the self in relation to others would then extend to gaining knowledge of group differences and the ways that culture, power, privilege, and oppression affect the counseling relationship and larger group dynamics. As the process unfolded the stage was set for collaborating with clients to choose treatment interventions that were culturally aligned and appropriate for each client operating within their unique cultural context.

In 1996, Arredondo and colleagues worked to operationalize the competencies to improve specificity. They defined the Personal Dimensions of Identity model and added explanatory statements under each dimension and domain. For example, under the domain of Culturally Appropriate Intervention Strategies, explanatory statements for the skills dimension included seven sections with specific examples, such as: “can describe concrete examples of situations in which it is appropriate and possibly necessary for a counselor to exercise institutional intervention skills on behalf of a client” (p.71) andare familiar with resources that provide services in languages appropriate to clients” (p.72). They also included strategies to achieve competencies and objectives in the appendices. Operationalizing the competencies shifted the focus on a fourth dimension, action, and some scholars indeed added this dimension to the original attitudes and beliefs, knowledge, and skills sequence (Ratts, Singh, Nassar-McMillan, Butler, & McCullough, 2016). Arredondo and colleagues also noted that, although the multicultural competency model was directed at counselors to build individual competency so they could effectively work with clients from differing racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds, if the systems in which clients operated and lived did not change (e.g., institutions that influenced policy and legislation), then the the status quo of oppression would continue to exist.

In 2003, Vera and Speight echoed what multicultural scholars before them had voiced, that one-on-one counseling does not change the status quo of power structures that continue to act to marginalize non-dominant groups. In their article, they challenged psychologists to reexamine multicultural competence and expand our roles to function as change agents at the larger group level (communities, organizations, institutions). Further, they presented some models to include roles such as advocate, psychoeducator, and/or collaborator with community leaders. A bit of self-disclosure: as I was researching for this article (motivated to the topic through exposure to seemingly more and more hate crimes this year and the sociopolitical arguments of the presidential candidate debates), I was conflicted. Part of me was motivated and committed and I was thinking such things as, “I can do this” and “social justice advocacy is a group level process—most psychologists who do group work do some of this already and/or are poised for this.” The other part of me was thinking, “I was better at this when I was younger and engaged in academic systems” and “I don’t have time for this (followed by a list of everything I already do and how many hours I already work and how this work is for extroverts and I can barely be considered as such).” In short, I got all judge-y with myself, and the guilt and shame did not help my motivation and the urge to act. I share my reaction because it gives a bit of insight into the process of complacency (rationalization as a response to guilt and shame) that results in inaction. My motivation was bolstered when Janet Helms introduced “A Pragmatic View of Social Justice” (2003).

Helms, as a response to Vera and Speight, discussed some dynamics that make social justice work a challenge, such as systemic and economic issues. For example, psychology education traditionally focuses on individuals or small groups as the site of intervention with little attention to strategies to intervene at a large group or systems level. Thus, we weren’t specifically taught how to be effective social justice advocates. She suggested emphasizing strategies from consulting and organizational psychologists, who have historically worked in macro level group environments. Helms referenced Shullman’s 2002 competencies, which included a focus on (a) workgroups and intergroup problem solving, (b) identity groups and intergroup relations, and (c) alignment of groups with organizational objectives.  At the systemic level, recommendations included a focus on (a) organizational theory and design, (b) organizational assessment and diagnosis, (c) organizational change and development, and (d) consulting ethics. I appreciated the more concrete examples Helms described regarding developing group counseling skills in order to improve relational interactions between and among marginalized community groups. For instance, “facilitating negotiations among gangs or warring factions within a single community” and “building coalitions across groups to lobby politicians for common goals such as policy changes to benefit all of the marginalized communities.” She also gave the example of promoting identity groups and intergroup relations to “shift the focus of interventions from improving the status of individual members of sociodemographic groups…toward the redistribution of authority and power among identity groups within and across societal strata” (p. 309). Emphasis on these examples brings to mind some of the advocacy work group counselors already do and perhaps provides hope that adding a social justice component is doable, particularly in a group context.

Certainly, the focus on social justice advocacy in the past decade or so has called for a conscious expansion of normal group practice in psychology. However, I think there are ways group psychologists can speak up and show up for social advocacy that we don’t necessarily consider as “counting” when we are evaluating our influence in social systems. For example, showing up, speaking up, and stepping up were actually highlighted on the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students psychology blog #WeAreOrlando. These new generation of psychology leaders offered specific suggestions regarding how we can make a difference and advocate for social justice. For more information please follow the link: http://www.gradpsychblog.org/weareorlando

As my time as chair draws to a close, I look forward to welcoming new leadership to our Division 49 Diversity Committee at the 2016 convention of the American Psychological Association—I hope you make it to Denver in August!

As always, I welcome questions, concerns and ideas for future columns. Please email me at: jsteffen2013@gmail.com

References:

American Psychological Association. (2002). Multicultural guidelines on education and training, research, practice and organizational development. Washington, DC.

Arredondo, P., Toporek, R., Brown, S. P., Jones, J., Locke, D., Sanchez, J., & Stadler, H. (1996). Operationalization of the multicultural counseling competencies. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 24, 42-78.

Helms, J.E. (2003). A pragmatic view of social justice. The Counseling Psychologist, 31, 305-313.

Ratts, M.J., Singh, A.A., Nassar-McMillan, S., Butler, S.K., & McCullough, J.R. (2016). Multicultural and social justice counseling competencies: Guidelines for the counseling profession. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 44, 28-48.

Sue, D.W., Arredondo, P., & McDavis, R.                 J. (1992). Multicultural counseling competencies and standards: A call to the profession.          Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 20, 64–88

Vera, E. M., & Speight, S. L. (2003). Multicultural competence, social justice, and counseling psychology: Expanding our roles. The Counseling Psychologist, 31, 253-272.

Categories
Committee Reports

Diversity Committee Report

Jeanne Steffen, Ph.D.
Jeanne Steffen, Ph.D.

Chair: Jeanne Steffen, Ph.D.

Person Submitting Report: Jeanne Steffen

Members of Committee:

Eric Chen Lee Gillis
Maria Riva Jennilee Fuertes
Cheri Marmarosh Keri Frantell
Joe Miles Carol Cho

Brief Summary of Activities Undertaken:

Our activities since the October 2015 report have included:

January

  • Re-established diversity committee members and recruited new members to the committee. Returning members are: Eric Chen, Maria Riva, Cheri Marmarosh, Joe Miles, Lee Gillis, Jennilee Fuertes, and Jeanne Steffen. New members are Keri Frantell and Carol Cho.
  • Reviewed goals discussed at APA in August, identified related objectives, and created action items. Current goals are: 1) to recruit new members to our division, with a focus on student and early career psychologists; 2) create a student diversity award; 3) provide opportunities for multicultural competency development through suite programming at APA in Denver; 4) seek nominations and select a Diversity Award recipient for 2016.

Items Needing to be Discussed:

None currently

Items Needing Action:

  • Call for Diversity Award nominations: Jeanne and Lee forwarded nomination requests to be posted to APAEMACNETWORK and Division websites. Nominations are due Feb. 20.
  • Committee Diversity Award nominations: Maria is working on two nominations from the committee. Due Feb 20.
  • Suite Programming: Eric and Carol are working on putting together Division 49 suite programming to draw in new student members to our division and address goals related to education/building multicultural competency in our members/APA.
  • Student Diversity award: Joe and Keri are working on a request to create a student diversity award.

We plan to review diversity award nominations the last week of February. All additional action items will be reviewed by March 15.

Recommendations, if any:

None currently.

Categories
Columns

Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy Diversity Column

Jeanne Steffen, Ph.D.
Jeanne Steffen, Ph.D.

Multicultural Competence: An Outcome or a Process?

My reflections on the question of whether competence, in this case multicultural competence, is an outcome or a process helps ground me and normalizes the struggles that are so apparent within our society. We have only to read the headlines, watch the academy awards or the post-super bowl news coverage, follow the presidential primary debates, or speak candidly with our colleagues to learn that, in particular, racism, sexism, and religism are alive and well, and suppressing the health of our communities. This is frustrating/incensing, scary/dangerous, and sad/downright depressing. It’s also incredibly draining to those who advocate for human rights and can seriously corrode feelings of hope for a society that embraces and celebrates diversity. Although intuitively, we have the sense that competence building is a process, I think it’s often implied that one can achieve some sort of cultural competence within the span of, let’s say, a five year graduate program. Even the word “competence” implies some sort of endpoint. The truth is, however, that competence is indeed a process that develops over a long period of time. Two areas of research that stress the process of competence development is the research on the Integrated Developmental Model of Supervision (IDM) by Cal Stoltenberg and Brian McNeill (2010) and Malcom’s Gladwell’s research review related to building expertise, which he describes in his book, Outliers (2008).

If the research is consulted on the matter, it is apparent that every mental health professional goes through periods of struggle in which they question their competence. As someone who is interested in professional development and finds a meaningful and rewarding calling supervising and scaffolding students in the fields of counseling and psychology, I want to first describe the research pertaining to the IDM. This model includes eight domains of competence. The two domains most pertinent to this article are the domains of Individual Differences and Intervention Skills, particularly because they relate most closely to developing multicultural competency in group psychotherapy. The IDM is organized by three over-riding structures, which identify areas in which individuals tend to struggle and grow. These areas are self-other awareness (which starts low and then gradually increases as one is exposed to a greater number of diversity and group psychotherapy experiences), motivation (which starts high, fluctuates as one realizes the overwhelming amount of information they have yet to learn or experience, and then increases again as one gains a level of expertise), and autonomy (which starts low and then increases as one requires less supervision over time). The process of this struggle is divided into three levels based on professional competence, ingeniously named Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3. Basically, a professional begins their career as a Level 1 practitioner and then, as expertise increases, so too does ones’ level. The highest level that can be achieved according to the model is Level 3i, which indicates a Level 3 therapist who is integrated across all domains.

My misunderstanding of the IDM in the early days, and I find that most of my supervisees also have this misunderstanding, was that one might reach Level 3 development in their third year of practice. Actually, the third year of practice is when one tends to get a whiff, catch a glimpse, or grasp an idea of how much they actually don’t know. It’s a humbling experience that messes with one’s motivation and thus, based on the information supplied by the IDM, solidly places the practitioner at a Level 2. To add complexity to the situation, this placement of practitioner skill is occurring throughout various areas within each domain. For instance, most practitioners remain at Level 1 in the domain of Intervention Skills for group psychotherapy for a good number of years because, since much of the early emphasis in training for this domain is in the realm of individual therapy, they have much less opportunity for practicing group psychotherapy. Regarding the question of how long it takes to reach competence in an area within a domain, for instance facilitating a support group for a particular special population (e.g., undocumented immigrants, international students from Iran, Lesbian parents), we turn to Malcolm Gladwell.

In his book, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell explores the question of whether it is true that anyone can succeed. What he found is that one of the primary characteristics of people who achieve success—other than being in the right place at the right time—is a significant amount of hard work and practice. In fact, he argues that there is a formula for expertise that amounts to 10,000 hours of focused practice and he calls this the “10,000 Hour-Rule” based on a study by Anders Ericsson. This means that a Level 3 or competent therapist will have spent around 20 hours a week for 10 years learning and practicing a particular focus area within a particular domain (e.g., a support group for undocumented immigrants, or a support group for Iranian international students, or a support group for Lesbian parents). You get the idea. This information is not meant to be discouraging, rather to normalize the struggles that are apparent in our society and highlight the important work we do to educate ourselves and facilitate the development of cultural competence within ourselves and within our colleagues, supervisees, and clients. I think it also validates that the work we do requires time and that process is important—something all group psychotherapists know. Process is important.

So there you have it. Cultural competence in group psychotherapy is not something one generally achieves, rather developing cultural competence is a domain within many domains and is a long process that spans years and years and 10,000 hours of focused practice. Perhaps rather than feel hopeless that our world is in the state it is in, this information will provide a sense of grounding and patience for those Level 1 individuals out there, because we have all been there, and no one is really an expert in all aspects of cultural diversity. This article seeks to explore the implication that multicultural competence is an outcome and explicitly reframe multicultural competence as a process that continues, with mindful intention, throughout the span of our professional development.

As always, I welcome questions, concerns and ideas for future columns. Please email me at: jsteffen2013@gmail.com

References

Gladwell, M. (2008). Outliers: The story of success. New York, NY: Hachette Book Group, Inc.

Stoltenberg, C. D. and McNeill, B.W. (2010). IDM Supervision: An integrated developmental model for supervising counselor and therapists, third edition. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis Group.

Categories
Awards

Diversity Award

Jeanne Steffen, Ph.D.
Jeanne Steffen, Ph.D.

This year we recognized Dr. Chun-Chung Choi as our Diversity Award recipient. Dr. Choi was nominated by his colleagues for making significant contributions to both scholarship and practice, resulting in the advancement of diversity issues, particularly in the realm of group counseling and advocacy for international students. Some of his many contributions in this area include: creating innovative group programming for International Students at the University of Florida, which evolved into a specialty training program for Counseling and Wellness Center psychology interns; creating two groups that run each semester and that address limited campus resources related to supporting Mandarin speaking International Students; and providing supervision, training, and mentorship to interns in order to assist them in increasing their multicultural competency related to working with diverse populations in group therapy. Dr. Chung has also taught group counseling courses and has published five peer reviewed articles, two book chapters, and a film production aimed at empathy training for ethnic and cultural awareness. In addition he has presented over 49 refereed national publications (including two Division 49 sponsored symposiums at APA in 2014 related to multiculturalism in groups), one international, nine regional, and numerous local presentations. Dr. Choi’s professional contributions in the area of multicultural group counseling and psychotherapy practice, research, service, and training clearly add to our profession and promote further understanding and clinical effectiveness in working with diverse populations. Thank you, Dr. Choi, for your contributions to our profession and to our communities!

Chun-Chung Choi, Ph.D.
Chun-Chung Choi, Ph.D.
Categories
Brief Articles

Diversity Committee Report

Jeanne Steffen, Ph.D.
Jeanne Steffen, Ph.D.

Activities since the July 2015 report have included:

Dr. Chun-Chung Choi received the 2014-15 Diversity Award.

The Diversity Committee encouraged student involvement in a symposium at APA. Our program, entitled Multicultural Skill Development in Group Psychotherapy, was selected by the program committee. Three students co-presented along with Eric Chen, Jeanne Steffen, and Joe Miles.

Joe Miles, Eric Chen, Jeanne Steffen and Robert Gleave were present for a committee meeting and discussed goals related to increasing student involvement for 2016.

Items Needing to be Discussed:

Recruiting new members to the committee for 2016; prioritizing goals for 2016

Items Needing Action:

Jeanne will contact members of the committee in October to establish new members, summarize suggestions for goals from our last meeting, and ask for votes regarding which goals to priorotize for 2016.

Recommendations, if any:

None currently.

Members of Committee:

Eric Chen

Maria Riva

Cheri Marmarosh

Joe Miles

Lee Gillis

Brittany White

Joel Miller

Jennilee Fuertes

Categories
Columns

Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy Diversity Column

Jeanne Steffen, Ph.D.
Jeanne Steffen, Ph.D.

The first column after the annual American Psychological Association convention each year typically focuses on the Diversity Committee’s activities at APA, as well as goals for the upcoming year. Our activities and goals keep in mind our original focus: promoting the inclusion and visibility of underrepresented populations in our communities across the globe. One of the major activities we are involved in to further this goal includes the presentation of the Diversity Award to formally honor individuals who have made significant contributions to group psychology practice, research, service, and/or mentoring, with a focus on promoting understanding and respect for diversity.

Chun-Chung Choi, Ph.D.
Chun-Chung Choi, Ph.D.

This year we recognized Dr. Chun-Chung Choi as our Diversity Award recipient. Dr. Choi was nominated by his colleagues for making significant contributions to both scholarship and practice, resulting in the advancement of diversity issues, particularly in the realm of group counseling and advocacy for international students. Some of his many contributions in this area include: creating innovative group programming for International Students at the University of Florida, which evolved into a specialty training program for Counseling and Wellness Center psychology interns; creating two groups that run each semester and that address limited campus resources related to supporting Mandarin speaking International Students; and providing supervision, training, and mentorship to interns in order to assist them in increasing their multicultural competency related to working with diverse populations in group therapy. Dr. Chung has also taught group counseling courses and has published five peer reviewed articles, two book chapters, and a film production aimed at empathy training for ethnic and cultural awareness. In addition he has presented over 49 refereed national publications (including two Division 49 sponsored symposiums at APA in 2014 related to multiculturalism in groups), one international, nine regional, and numerous local presentations. Dr. Choi’s professional contributions in the area of multicultural group counseling and psychotherapy practice, research, service, and training clearly add to our profession and promote further understanding and clinical effectiveness in working with diverse populations. Thank you, Dr. Choi, for your contributions to our profession and to our communities!

At the APA convention this year, the Diversity Committee focused on involving the student members of our committee in submitting a symposium entitled Multicultural Skill Development in Group Psychotherapy. The goal of the symposium was to provide multiple perspectives on increasing multicultural competence, particularly in the area of skill development in group psychotherapy. The contributors of the symposium presented on two topics: (a) “Intergroup Dialogue as a Mechanism for the Development of Multicultural Group Leadership” presented by Brittany A. White and co-authored by Joseph R. Miles, and (b) “Facilitating Group therapy Trainees’ Multicultural Competencies Development through Clinical Supervision” presented by Elena E. Kim and co-authored by Kali Rowe and Eric C. Chen. We had several other Division 49 programs related to diversity and good turn out to our programs. We also met as a committee to discuss goals for 2016. Our focus for next year involves increasing student interaction and interest in our Division and subcommittee. Several ideas were put forth as incentives for students to get more involved, including specific programming targeting student issues, a student focused diversity award, and the creation of a student work symposium. Prioritizing and further developing our goals, as well as adding new members to our committee and seeking Diversity Award nominations will be a focus of our committee this fall.

As the chair of the Diversity Committee, I have a special opportunity to reach out the Division 49 members and spark interest in diversity related topics through this column. In the past year I have heard from a few members who have made comments or suggestions for columns and I’m always glad to hear from you. As always, I invite you to contact me and let me know about the topics that are important to you or that you want to hear about. If you have exciting research and want me to highlight it, please also let me know. As 2014 fades out and we greet 2015, our committee returns once again to recruiting activities. I ask those who are interested in joining us to please contact me. In addition, I ask you to please notice those colleagues around you who are working to engage others, who are writing, mentoring, teaching and researching multicultural issues in group work and making contributions to group psychology practice, with a focus on promoting understanding and respect for diversity. Their work honors us and we would like to honor them. Please contact me to put forth their names so we can acknowledge them in 2016.

My contact information is new this year: jeanne.steffen@wsu.edu.

Categories
Committee Reports

Diversity Committee Report

Division 49 Diversity Committee

Chair: Jeanne Steffen, Ph.D.

Person Submitting Report: Jeanne Steffen

Jeanne Steffen, Ph.D.
Jeanne Steffen, Ph.D.

Members of Committee:

Eric Chen

Maria Riva

Cheri Marmarosh

Joe Miles

Lee Gillis

Brittany White

Joel Miller

Jennilee Fuertes

 

Brief Summary of Activities Undertaken:

Our activities since the January 2015 report have included:

The Diversity committee reviewed candidates for the 2015 Diversity Award and selected Dr. Chun-Chung Choi for this year’s award. Dr. Choi is receiving the award from the division at the 2015 APA conference in Toronto.

We also focused on getting our student members more involved in diversity programming and worked together to put together a proposal for the 2015 APA Conference in Toronto. Our program, entitled Multicultural Skill Development in Group Psychotherapy, was selected by the program committee. Three students are co-presenting along with Eric Chen, Jeanne Steffen, and Joe Miles.

Items Needing to be Discussed:

Recruiting new members to the committee for 2016; identifying goals for 2016

Items Needing Action:

None currently.

Recommendations, if any:

None currently.