The Group Specialty Council, with members from Division 49, the American Board of Group Psychology (ABGP), the International Board for Certification of Group Psychotherapists, and the American Group Psychotherapy Association (AGPA) is hard at work preparing a new petition to have group psychology and psychotherapy approved as an APA specialty.
As part of the petition we must show four model programs that demonstrate group specialty training. Finding such programs has been a challenge and has awakened us to the need to have group psychotherapy training better publicized. Group training programs are not well publicized or visible so that prospective students, the general public, and regulating bodies such as CRSPPP, can easily determine that such training programs are available in a doctoral program, or an internship, or a post-doctoral residency.
There are over 200 APA accredited doctoral and internship programs in the United States, all of which are supposed to have education and training program information on their websites, but our review of these websites did not reveal any group psychology and group psychotherapy training programs. The absence of visible programs is a major hindrance for the current petition to gain recognition for group as a specialty in training programs.
It is important and essential that members of The Society who are faculty at university APA accredited doctoral and internship programs in clinical, counseling and school psychology work to get their group education and training programs more visible on the website and other public materials, and to get their programs to formally designate group as an emphasis, or track or concentration and to publicize this. Sometimes this is just a matter of updating an existing website. Or it might mean creating a link to new material.
We are confident that there are numerous educational and training opportunities in group psychology and group psychotherapy. Josh Gross, the director of the Florida State University’ College Counseling Center surveyed College Counseling Training Directors, 42 responded and found ten that had possible group training opportunities and requirements that could be designated as a program, or an emphasis, or a track, or a concentration but had not been designated so or recognized as such in their public materials.
We need your assistance in bringing more visibility to the group psychology and group psychotherapy doctoral and internship training programs, emphases, concentrations, or tracks. We believe there will be increased demand for group therapy in the future, as it is an evidenced-based treatment for many disorders (see the AGPA Practice Resources website) that is efficient and cost effective. However, psychologists who do not have adequate group therapy training are being asked to lead groups, and this is not good for the profession, much less the patients. Specialty status and promotion of training opportunities will help support group therapy and the training sites that offer it.
Now is a great time to be a student member of Division 49. We are ramping up a student committee to focus on the needs of our student members, and we have many great opportunities for students to get involved now!
From promoting the division at APA events (and getting paid for it – ask how!), via Facebook, and on Twitter; to interviewing and being mentored by notable group psychologists; to getting extra support toward publications – there is something for everyone to take advantage of! Beyond that, the student committee is eager to hear how we can better serve our student members – so please send ideas, suggestions, and requests our way. Don’t hesitate to jump right in and get involved in the ways that most interest you, or ask us if we can create those opportunities for you!
Learn more and join the division at http://www.apa.org/about/division/div49.aspx and then e-mail Rosamond Smith, the current student representative – to get started: email@example.com
Exciting new opportunity for U.S. based psychologists!
The APA’s MOU travel grant program is designed to promote collaboration and exchange among U.S. based APA members and members of those national psychology associations with which APA has a formal agreement (Memorandum of Understanding). Travel with colleagues to Colombia or Mexico as part of the 2015 Inaugural APA-MOU Partner Collaboration and Exchange program.
For more information please visit: http://www.apa.org/about/awards/mou-travel-grant.aspx.
The Society of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy have sent a liaison (Dr. Leann Diederich) to the recent two CAPP board meetings in Washington, DC. Below is a summary of highlights that might be relevant to Society members, followed by formal meeting highlights submitted by CAPP from the May 2015 meeting.
Meeting Highlights by Dr. Diederich
Dr. Katherine Nordal recently spoke at the Society of Psychologists in Management Conference. The next meeting is February 24-28, 2016 in Atlanta, GA. If any group psychologists with expertise in group dynamics and management want to present, this might be a good audience to lend our expertise to. (For more information: http://www.spim.org/conference.shtml).
The staff from the Government Relations office of APAPO spoke about their work on behalf of practicing psychologists. This includes advocacy leading to the repeal of the sustainable growth rate (SGR) as well as their continued work to include psychologists listed as physicians in the Medicare definition. Given the anticipated 1.5% decrease in Medicare payments over the next 5 years, they still have a lot of work to do. They continue to work with Representative Tim Murphy (a psychologist) on his Seriously Mentally Ill bill, along with getting his support on changes APAPO advocates for.
Legal and Regulatory Affairs (LRA) continues to do some impressive work on behalf of psychologists. For instance, they challenged the Missouri Medicaid Agency which was trying to impose additional and unprecedented training requirements on psychologists who provide services falling under the Health Behavior and Assessment Intervention Codes (also known as H&B codes), including those for group (code 96153). They also worked with Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) and other BCBS companies on risk adjustments audits, which they expect to increase when they are required in November 2015 (due to the Affordable Care Act).
LRA also asked that if any psychologist learns that clients can’t find a therapist in-network in their area, please let LRA know. They highlighted how provider reimbursement rates drive patient access to care. So if they can point to instances where providers are not available (potentially because of low reimbursement rates) then this helps their advocacy cause.
The State Leadership Conference Workgroup proposed a number of changes. A change that was considered, but was ultimately rejected, was for Presidents from Divisions that have Federal Advocacy Coordinators to not be invited. Fortunately, this was rejected and we will continue to be invited due to the benefits outweighing the costs.
There was continued discussion around the Council’s “Psychologists in Integrated Primary Care and Specialty Health Settings” item. If you are a group psychologist working in integrated primary care settings, please let us know! We’d love to have you offer some tips to other Society members about how to get involved in this growing field. Please email us at Div49group@gmail.com if you’d be willing to write an article in a future TGP or provide us with tips we can post on our Facebook page.
Two other large topics continue to be addressed by the CAPP Board; these include working on the Master’s Degree in Psychology and addressing the scope of practice of psychologists. On the latter of these, a Specialties Summit is being convened between the Council of Specialties, the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP), and the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB). For more details on these topics please read more in the summary provided by CAPP, below.
As usual, COR February 2015 meeting in DC had its fill of thrills and spills; meetings were preceded by a host of Council Pre-Work issues including economic, organizational, technological, doctoral/non-doctoral distinctions, globalization, policy, insurance, educational (internship/training), marketing, practice/science, research, social, and finally torture. Clearly, response to torture allegations was a huge concern: 1) “Role of psychologists at Guantanamo Bay and various ‘black sites’, and the APA’s response to the torture allegations, 2) Reclaiming the moral and ethical nature of psychology, including but not limited to, the unequivocal condemnation of torture.” It is like trying to close the barn door after the horses have fled. I realize this is just my opinion, but the sheer amount of fighting back and forth[i] on the Council listserve is likely a result of fear about what eventually will be revealed regarding APA’s role in promoting torture, regardless of when and how the investigative independent report is released. The fight–which appears to sidestep the central issue of how terrible it will be regardless of when and how it is released– is about whether or not to go by council by-laws process once the independent review is released (Board of Directors reads it, prepares a response, releases to COR and then to the general membership) vs. releases it immediately to everyone. At issue is transparency in order to restore the public trust. During the February meeting a strong, vociferous minority spoke from the floor regarding releasing the findings of the Hoffman investigation independent report to everyone, bypassing normal procedures. Clearly many members believed the old process was part of the problem—no longer nimble or transparent. This particular debate didn’t happen until the very end of COR meetings, preceded by a number of important topics, to be sure, but none as vital as our response to APA’s part in torture allegations. If you are unfamiliar with this debate, check online PENS report—Psychological Ethics and National Security www.apa.org/pubs/info/reports/pens.pdf.
The night before actual council meetings, caucuses gathered to discuss their particular interest-group concerns. New Governance structure is now in effect, and as a result, two caucuses have been “sunsetted”—Very Small SPTA Caucus and the Assembly of Scientist/Practitioner Psychologists.
Friday February 20th agenda: Mega Issue
Reorganization has focused on clearer science-to-policy strategies—1) science/research perspectives, 2) advocacy, and 3) educating the public. We spent the day breaking out into smaller discussion groups to tackle how to better utilize research in practice etc. This was an attempt to deal with important issues in psychology, now labeled “mega issues”. The newly-formed Council of Leaders Team (CLT) is supposed to replace the board of directors as council’s new executive committee and give us guidance on how to proceed regarding such Mega-issues. We tried to tackle integrated health care last year and it remains to be seen how this will unfold.
Friday night: Reception at APA headquarters
If there is a reason for psychologists to give up three days of private work to deliberate on tough topics in psychology it could be seeing the lit up Capitol building from the newly constructed outdoor rooftop reception area at the APA building. It really was beautiful. I felt guilty eating Hors D’oeuvres and feeling part of the “privileged people” until I thought about the hard work all this entails. Who would like to run for Council Rep for Division 49 next? This is clearly one of the perks.
Saturday February 21st agenda:
Remembrance of deceased members
Diversity Training—Implicit Bias (very interesting report)—if you want more info let me know
Finance report—operational budget, building operations, $67 million in assets 2014, investment portfolio 2014= $94 million
In addition to reports, council was asked to vote on following action items as found on APA website:
Resolution to Support Education and Implementation of the International Classification of Diseases.
This resolution serves to promote and encourage a wide range of ICD-relevant APA activities as well as (a) inform APA members and the public about this important public health framework and (b) support the creation of innovative tools and programs to allow psychologists to enhance their knowledge of health promotion, disease prevention and management of chronic disease.
Professional Practice Guidelines: Guidance for Developers and Users
Council was asked to adopt this document as APA policy to replace two earlier APA policy documents.
Resolution on the 2015 White House Conference on Aging
Council was asked to adopt as this document as APA policy.
Amending the APA Association Rules to Change the Name and Mission of the Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns
Council was asked to approve changing the name of this committee to the Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity because the current name no longer effectively reflects the full range of diversity among the populations it represents. It also eliminates the gender parity requirement.
Although council did not have as many action items to discuss as typical because the agenda items are now being divided between the board of directors and council, we still had a number of issues to discuss. Probably one of the most heated discussions involved the language change in the association bylaws and rules involving the governance change motions approved by council over the past few years. The majority of people approved the changes proposed although a substantial group was concerned that the language did not reflect the true nature of the division of responsibilities between the board and council. The final vote approved these action items with a request that the president and CLT chair appoint a work group to address any inaccuracies or inconsistencies in the language for our next council meeting in August.
Council was also asked to vote on the following action items
Association Rule Change: Inclusion of ECPs on APA Boards and Committees
Council was asked to (a) approve amending association rules to require relevant board and committees to have at least one member who is an early career psychologist (ECP); (b) approve that in addition to those boards/committees approved in August 2014 as being excluded from this requirement, the following boards and committees should also be excluded because their membership criteria, based on specific requirements, do not allow for a slate composed solely of ECPs:
American Psychological Association of Graduate Students
Council of Editors and Fellows Committee
And (c) approve the exemption for the Fellows Committee through 2020 and request that the Fellows Committee develop ways to increase the number of ECPs being considered and approved as APA fellows.
Action: Council approved this item with a friendly amendment for the Committee on Psychological Tests and Assessment to have an extended period of time to add ECPs to their slates.
Making APA into a Data-Driven Organization
Council was asked to approve adding a clarification to the APA strategic plan as part of Goal #1: Maximize Organizational Effectiveness. The specific proposal is to include the following objective: “d. Ensure that APA collects, maintains, and manages accessible member and professional data to allow for evidence-based decision-making.” A substitute motion that was accepted directed all future modifications of the APA strategic plan to be based on a process developed by the CEO.
Action: The motion was approved with additional wording that included issues of accountability and transparency to the proposed additional language.
APA Technology Implementation Plan
Council was asked to support the CEO’s technology implementation plan and request that additional methods for member engagement be developed by the new executive director for membership following the establishment of the Office of Member Recruitment and Engagement.
Action: Council approved this item.
Competencies for Psychology Practice in Primary Care
Council was asked to adopt this document as APA policy that articulates competencies for education and training of psychologists who seek to provide psychological services in primary care.
Action: Council approved this item.
Modifying the Composition of the Board of Educational Affairs
Council was asked to approve amending the association rule and forwarding to the membership for a vote a bylaws amendment to modify the composition of the Board of Educational Affairs so that one seat could be held by an APA high school or community college teacher affiliate member.
Action: Council approved this item.
Standards of accreditation in Health Service Psychology
Council was asked to approve the Commission on Accreditation’s proposed document. This will replace the current Guidelines and Principles of Accreditation.
Action: Council approved this item.
Helping International Colleagues with the Declaration on Research Assessment
Council was asked to approve a request that APA join other scientific organizations world-wide to endorse the 2012 San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment.
Action: Council approved this item.
Sunday February 22—presidential citations, other agenda items (mainly fight from the floor about how and when to release the findings of the independent review re torture), president-elect candidate speeches
Other Relevant Issues:
If you are interested in the outcome of the recent lawsuit re APAPO please go to www.practiceassessmentsettlement.org. I attended an optional meeting conducted by APA attorney Nathalie Gilfoyle, a clearly competent, articulate attorney expertly representing our interests, regarding the settlement details of the lawsuit. She expressly forbid us to discuss the findings publicly because of the settlement stipulations.
Thank you allowing me to serve as the Council Representative for Society 49.
[i] “Please do not allow this dialog or the APA to be used as a vehicle for individuals to prove their liberal credentials. We have more important work to do.”
“Thank you for the information you’ve provided. I believe APA’s usual high ethical standards will prevail in this situation.”
“If the review demonstrates that APA was, in fact, supportive of these tortures I will forthwith resign my career long affiliation with the association.”
(These are just a few representative of hundreds of emails that flurried back and forth since our February meeting, some of which are too vile to re-print)
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
The 2015 proposed budget was submitted and approved by the Board in January. Our projected 2015 income was $84,491 with projected expenses of $59,950. This budget maintains the Board’s ongoing objective of holding expenses at 80% or less of income, keeping us in good fiscal condition. As of the end of April, dues income was right on par with 2014 numbers for the same time period. Investment assets totaled over $43,642 as of the end of April as well.
One notable accomplishment for this year so far has been the paying off of the final $24,000 of our commitment to the Foundation. With this contribution paid in full, the Foundation will be able to move forward more quickly with its important work. Congratulations to everyone involved in making this significant commitment a reality!
Additionally, we continue to support Division 49 members to serve as liaisons to other APA committees and joint task forces, and to fund social media and publication efforts that promote the mission of the division both internally and externally. In this and other ways the Board is seeking to ensure that our resources are utilized to advance group psychology and group psychotherapy.
For budget details, please see the website or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With the end of the school year, age old problems and questions re-arise, particularly the question: Why are so many children failing in reading? We have discussed reading prevention programs before, but a question comes to our attention that brings reading failure to the forefront of prevention programming once again. Prevention efforts in reading are relevant to our group prevention focus because the majority of childrens’ prevention programs take place at school. Also, the National Reading Panel (2000) stated that groups are one of the most effective ways to teach reading. Therefore, let’s take another look.
EDITORIAL QUESTION POSED:
Dear Prevention Corner:
I am a school psychologist, and I attended your 2nd Annual School-Based Mental Health Group Interventions Conference where both you and Dr. Keith Herman stated that “children can definitely be taught to read.” We just finished reviewing this year’s scores where 60% of our students are failing in reading. These are students below the fourth-grade level. What can we do? I returned from your conference with exciting ideas, but my school only allows teachers to use the curriculum and methods that they endorse. Obviously, school methods are not working. How do you make the school change?
Desperate for Help
Dear Desperate for Help:
It is wonderful to hear from you again, and I’m glad that you remembered my invitation to keep in touch.
I am sorry to hear that you are still having trouble. It is neither helpful nor comforting to say that you are not alone. According to the Nation’s Report Card (2013), only about 40% of 4th graders are able to read at grade level. Such reading scores are dismal and have not significantly improved over the past 14 years. Reading failure is a nationwide problem that has not been corrected, nor is it showing any signs of significant progress.
I do still stand by my statement that “children can definitely be taught to read.” My work is mostly in community-based settings, and that may be an option that you may want to consider. I just tested a 2nd grade student this year from our after-school Reading Orienteering Club (Clanton Harpine, 2013b) program who started the year in September reading at the pre-primer level (below kindergarten). The student ended the year in May reading at the 4th grade reading level. No, not every student makes that much progress in one year’s time. Each child has distinct needs and learns in a different way. Yet, for the past six years in our after-school program, we have been taking students who are failing in school, teaching them to read, and sending them back to the classroom to be successful. How? Phonemic awareness and phonological decoding are essential if you want children to learn to read (Fleming et al. 2004; Foorman & Torgesen, 2001; Hoeft et al., 2007; Lyon, 1998; Rayner et al., 2001; Shaywitz, 2003).
So, to answer your first question, yes, we know how to teach children to read. Unfortunately, so far as a society, we refuse to accept the research findings and change the way we teach children to read. I have included an extensive list of references so that you may read the research.
To answer your second question on how to make the schools change, I am sorry but I do not have an answer for you. I do plan to pass your letter on to others who work more directly with the schools to see if they can offer suggestions.
The reason that I suggested a community-based organization or setting is that you often have more flexibility in community-based organizations than you do in a public school. The teaching method being used in most public schools is being cited as one of the primary reasons for reading failure (Chessman et al., 2009; Foorman et al., 2003; Keller & Just, 2009; Lyon, 2002; Meyler et al., 2008; Shaywitz and Shaywitz, 2007Torgesen et al., 2001).
Many schools offer an after-school program for at-risk readers, but these use the same teaching strategies under which the child failed to learn to read in the classroom. Some after-school programs are successful. Many programs are not. Children who struggle in school need programs that emphasize step-by-step instructions, intrinsic motivation (no reward or incentive programs), active hands-on learning, structured skill-building, social skills, and group process with emphasis on interaction and cohesion.
So, try something new. Do not simply repeat methods and curriculum that has failed in the classroom. What is needed is an after-school prevention program that uses a totally different approach to learning.
If you decide that you would like to develop a community-based program, help is available. Robert Conyne (2010) offers a detailed account for developing psychoeducational prevention programs. If you want specific help on developing an after-school program, my After-School Prevention Programs for At-Risk Students: Promoting Engagement and Academic Success (Clanton Harpine, 2013a) gives a step-by-step plan for developing a successful after-school program using a group-centered approach.
In the June 2015 Monitor on Psychology, in an article entitled: Grabbing Students– Researchers have identified easy ways to boost student success by increasing their engagement and learning, several ideas are specified for making school programs more successful. The researchers highlighted in the article state that education in the classroom should include: (1) engagement that includes application, importance, and enjoyment (with the students being actively involved—not just sitting and listening to a teacher talk), (2) being intrinsically motivated (being interested and seeing the value or relevance in what is being taught—not working for rewards or prizes), (3) rebuilding self-efficacy (helping the student believe that they can succeed—based on skills learned), (4) art enrichment hands-on activities related to the subject or topic being taught, (5) relationship building activities, (6) reducing the emphasis on testing and striving for mastering a learning task rather than striving for a grade, (7) measuring growth on an individual level rather than comparing to other students, and (8) finding ways to personalize learning– possibly even using forms of technology. The article ends by explaining that researchers and educators must work together, but the article does not give any advice on how to make this happen. Again, they do not offer suggestions for how to change the schools.
Keller and Just (2009) showed conclusively through their neuroimaging studies with at-risk readers that phonological decoding skills and enhanced phonemic awareness can teach a student how to read. Regrettably, these are not the methods being used in most public schools.
Let me know if I can be of further assistance, and watch for our next column when we will turn to some educational policy experts to see if they can offer some suggestions for how to change the schools.
If you would like to join this discussion, let us hear from you. We welcome your participation. We invite psychologists, counselors, prevention programmers, graduate students, teachers, administrators, and other mental health practitioners working with groups to network together, share ideas, problems, and become more involved. Please send comments, questions, and group prevention concerns to Elaine Clanton Harpine at email@example.com
Chessman, E. A., McGuire, J. M., Shankweiler, D., & Coyne, M. (2009). First-year teacher knowledge of phonemic awareness and its instruction. Teacher Education and Special Education: The Journal of the Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children, 32, 270-289. doi: 10.1177/0888406409339685
Clanton Harpine, E. (2013a). After-school prevention programs for at-risk students: Promoting engagement and academic success. New York: Springer.
Clanton Harpine, E. (2013b). Erasing failure in the classroom, vol. 3: The Reading Orienteering Club, using vowel clustering in an after-school program. North Augusta, SC: Group-Centered Learning.
Collier, Lorna, (2015, June). Grabbing students: Researchers have identified easy ways to boost student success by increasing their engagement and learning. Monitor on psychology, 46(6), 58-63.
Conyne, R. K. (2010). Prevention program development and evaluation: An incident reduction, culturally relevant approach. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Fleming, C. B., Harachi, T. W., Cortes, R. C., Abbott, R. D., & Catalano, R. F. (2004). Level and change in reading scores and attention problems during elementary school as predictors of problem behavior in middle school. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 12, 130-144.
Foorman, B. R., Breier, J. I., & Fletcher, J. M. (2003). Interventions aimed at improving reading success: An evidence-based approach. Developmental Neuropsychology, 24, 613-639.
Foorman, B. R., & Torgesen, J. K. (2001). Critical elements of classroom and small-group instruction promote reading success in all children. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 16, 202-211.
Hoeft, F., Ueno, T., Reiss, A. L., Meyler, A., Whitfield-Gabrieli, S., Glover, G. H., Keller, T. A., Kobayashi, N., Mazaika, P., Jo, B., Just, M. A., & Gabrieli, J. D. E. (2007). Prediction of children’s reading skills using behavioral, functional, and structural neuroimaging measures. Behavioral Neuroscience, 121, 602-613. doi: 10.1037/0735-7044.121.3.602
Keller, T., A., & Just, M. A. (2009). Altering cortical connectivity: Remediation-induced changes in the white matter of poor readers. Neuron 64, 624-631. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2009.10.018
Lyon, G. R. (April 28, 1998). Overview of reading and literacy initiatives. Testimony before the Committee on Labor and Human Resources, Senate Dirkson Building. Retrieved November 27, 2006, from http://www.cdl.org/resourcelibrary/pdf/lyon_testimonies.pdf
Lyon, G. R. (2002). Reading development, reading difficulties, and reading instruction educational and public health issues. Journal of School Psychology, 40, 3-6.
Meyler, A., Keller, T. A., Cherkassky, V. L., Gabrieli, J. D., & Just, M. A. (2008). Modifying the brain activation of poor readers during sentence comprehension with extended remedial instruction: A longitudinal study of neuroplasticity. Neuropsychologia, 46, 2580-2592.
National Reading Panel, (2000). Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction (NIH Publication No. 00-4754). Washington, DC: National Institute for Literacy.
Rayner, K., Foorman, B. R., Perfetti, C. A., Pesetsky, D., & Seidenberg, M. S. (2001). How should reading be taught? Scientific American, 286, 84-91.
Shaywitz, S. (2003). Overcoming Dyslexia: A new and complete science-based program for reading problems at any level. New York: Knopf.
Shaywitz, S. , & Shaywitz, B. (2007). Special topic: What neuroscience really tells us about reading instruction: A response to Judy Willis. Educational Leadership: Improving instruction for students with learning needs, 64(5) 74-76.
Torgesen, J. K., Alexander, A. W., Wagner, R. K., Rashotte, C. A., Voeller, K. S., & Conway, T. (2001). Intensive remedial instruction for children with severe reading disabilities: Immediate and long-term outcomes from two instructional approaches. Journal of Learning disabilities, 34, 133-158. doi: 10.1177/002221940103400104