“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.
Group Dynamics issues an open call for authors to submit an Evidence-Based Case Study for possible publication. Developing such a series of Evidence-Based Case Studies will be extremely useful in advancing the evidence for group psychology and group psychotherapy. Group practice for this call is defined broadly to include therapy groups, teams, organizations, and other group contexts.
The goal of these Evidenced-Based Case Studies is to integrate verbatim case material from the group with standardized empirical measures of process and outcome evaluated at different times during the life of the group, team or organization. That is, authors should describe vignettes highlighting key interventions, processes, and mechanisms regarding their specific approach in the context of empirical scales.
Such an investigation will provide much needed information to bridge the gap between research and practice. Evidence-based case studies will also provide an important model of how to integrate basic research into applied work in therapy, team, and organizational contexts. This will open an avenue for publication to those in full time private practice, those who work primarily as consultants, or organizations and teams that integrate research measures into their applied work. Finally, this approach to studying group phenomena may provide a list of systematic case studies from various forms of treatment and interventions that meet the American Psychological Association’s criteria for Evidence-Based Practice (APA, 2006) as well as the Clinical Utility dimension in the Criteria for Evaluating Treatment Guidelines (APA, 2002).
Authors who are interested in preparing an Evidence-Based Case Study must follow these guidelines:
The report must include the assessment (from the individual group member or independent rater perspective at the group level, but not only the therapist/leader) of at least two standardized empirical outcome measures related to team, organization, or group objective. Optimally, such a report would include several outcome measures assessing a wide array of functioning such as: global functioning, team or organizational objectives, target symptoms, subjective well-being, interpersonal functioning, social/occupational functioning, and measures of personality,
The report must also include at least one empirical process measure (e.g., therapeutic alliance, session depth, emotional experiencing, team functioning, organizational cohesion) evaluated on at least three separate occasions.
At minimum, specific outcome data should be presented using standardized mean difference (i.e. effect size) and clinical significance methodology (i.e. unchanged, reliable change, movement into functional distribution, clinically significant change, and deterioration [see Jacobson et al. 1999]). Group Dynamics encourages submission of both successful and unsuccessful cases. In addition, it might be instructive to compare and contrast the technical interventions that occurred during a positive change case with that of an unchanged or deteriorated case from the same approach.
The Evidence-Based Case Study section is not necessarily for advanced statistical time series analyses of process or outcome data, although such articles would be welcomed. Simple analyses of standardized outcome measures by way of clinical significance and effect size methods are sufficient.
Verbatim vignettes with several group participant and therapist/leader turns highlighting key interventions, processes, and mechanisms of change must be provided. Discussion of any therapeutic or group-level interventions should not be presented only from a global or abstract perspective.
Manuscripts must be within the journal word limit as indicated on the journal web site.
Appropriate informed consent must be obtained from participants, and the study must be approved by an internal review board. The author must indicate that vignettes were sufficiently de-identified to protect confidentiality and privacy.
The following provide examples of what an Evidence-Based Case Study article might look like:
Granasen, M. & Andersson, D. (2016). Measuring team effectiveness in cyber-defense exercises: A cross-disciplinary case study, Cognition, Technology & Work, 18, 121–143.
This study reported on simulated exercises to assess team functioning and effectiveness in repelling cyber attacks. Team performance (outcome), team cognition (processes within teams) were assessed and reported. The authors provided recommendations to enhance team performance. However, missing from this case study were vignettes to illustrate the concepts.
Maxwell, K., Callahan, J. L., Holtz, P., Janis, B. M., Gerber, M. M., & Connor, D. R. (2016). Comparative study of group treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder. Psychotherapy, 53, 433-445.
The authors assessed a new potential group treatment for PTSD compared to cognitive processing therapy (CPT) as a pre-cursor to a randomized controlled trial. Two groups from each treatment type were compared. The authors measured outcomes but did not provide process measures. Several clinical vignettes illustrate the treatments.
Tasca, G. A., Foot, M., Leite, C., Maxwell, H., Balfour, L., & Bissada, H. (2011). Interpersonal processes in psychodynamic-interpersonal and cognitive behavioral group therapy: A systematic case study of two groups. Psychotherapy, 48, 260-273.
Outcomes were measured outcomes pre- and post-treatment (effect sizes and reliable change indices) comparing two group therapists who were highly adherent to their specific treatment approach. The authors measured interpersonal processes at three time points from observer ratings of video recordings. Outcomes were measured using standardized scales. Clinical vignettes illustrated the differing interpersonal styles between the two group therapists.
Authors who have conducted an effectiveness or efficacy trial on a particular type of intervention in which they collected standardized process and outcome measures in addition to the use of audio/videotape of sessions should consider submitting an Evidence-Based Case Study. Likewise, a clinician in private practice, or a team or organizational consultant who would like to add these elements at the start of a new or existing group or team should also consider submitting an Evidence-Based Case Study.
Group Dynamics will begin accepting submissions for Evidence-Based Case Studies starting January 2019. Anyone who may have an interest in submitting an Evidence-Based Case Study is encouraged to contact the editor.
American Psychological Association, (2002). Criteria for evaluating treatment guidelines. American Psychologist, 57, 1052–1059.
American Psychological Association, (2006). Evidence-based practice in psychology. American Psychologist, 61, 271–285.
Jacobson, N., Roberts, L., Berns, S., & McGlinchey, J. (1999). Methods for defining and determining the clinical significance of treatment effects: Description, application, and alternatives. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 67, 300–307.
Advertising and how to sign up for this Zoom Webinar Series will be coming out on the Division 49 membership listserv and website in late August/early September
The Art of the Sell: Marketing GroupsScott A. Kaplan September 26 noon EST
Dr. Scott Kaplan will focus on how to use marketing and networking to build a thriving group program in educational environments and other clinical settings. He will identify the goal of marketing, the effectiveness of group counseling, how to create a positive group culture, information about diversity and cultural issues relevant to marketing efforts, how to “sell” group to clients, marketing and networking strategies and techniques, and different types of advertising. Come join in the presentation and discussion.
Racial and Social Justice Implications on the Practice of Group PsychotherapyMichele Ribeiro and Marcée Turner October 17 noon EST
Drs. Michele Ribeiro and Marcée Turner will highlight larger system level issues, such as events of a socio-political and socio-cultural nature, and their implications on various levels of the group including the organizations we work in, the staff we work with and the therapy groups we facilitate. They will invite discussion on how to subsume a social justice advocacy role in minimizing bias and oppression and creating structural changes that affect multiple systems and therapy groups in more positive and equitable ways. Come join in the presentation and discussion.
Group Co-Facilitation: Creating a Collaborative PartnershipWendy Freedman and Leann T. DiederichDecember 12 noon EST
Drs. Wendy Freedman and Leann Diederich will focus on co-facilitating groups in college counseling centers and other clinical settings. They will examine the benefits of co-facilitation and variables that contribute to co-leader satisfaction and efficacy. To maximize the likelihood that groups will run successfully, the presenters will highlight the importance of pre-group and ongoing co-facilitator meetings and provide specific recommendations how to coordinate facilitation approaches and plan the nuts and bolts of the group. They will lead a discussion on identifying methods to create collaborative, effective, and trusting co-leader working relationships.
Insights on Training & Education
By: Michele Ribeiro, Ed.D., C.G.P.,
Member-at-Large for Training and Education
One of my top 5 strengths identified when I completed a StrengthsQuestTM assessment was being a Life Long Learner. Being in psychology, we are so fortunate to have the opportunity to not only be constantly stimulated on new concepts that can be incorporated into our jobs but also into our personal lives as well. Most of us in this field are hungry for learning new ideas, sharing our ideas, and mentoring others on what we have learned. We seek to always be improving our skills on how to be more effective with our clients and help ourselves and those in our personal lives to live happier, more fulfilling lives. As a result, I am pleased to offer this new column each quarter as a way for therapists at all levels of their career to share experiences within the area of group psychotherapy or psychology. Division 49 is our professional home that we hope to share with those new to the field and those who are seasoned and want to stay connected with like-minded professionals. I am interested to hear about your experiences within the areas of Training and Education to showcase in future newsletters. Please contact me at Michele.Ribeiro@oregonstate.edu if you would like to share your experiences with our community.
We are fortunate to have two contributors, who are doctoral students completing their internship this summer at college counseling centers, share some reflections on groups during their internship year. Each was asked to write about their experiences in facilitating a group during their internship year at a college counseling center. Both raise universal issues of feeling unsure of their group therapy skills, examining aspects of themselves and specific social identities, and the confidence and competence they embraced as a result of their experiential learning, reflection, and ongoing risk taking in co-facilitating groups and communicating openly with their co-facilitators. It is in interacting with therapists like Chelsea & Shirley that enhance my excitement to mentor and train the next generation of group psychotherapists. Thank you Chelsea and Shirley for sharing your reflections.
Chelsea Twiss, MS
New Mexico State University, current PhD candidate
Doctoral Intern at Oregon State University (2017 – 2018)
My experience in co-facilitating an interpersonal process group at CAPS has been an evolving process. I am currently in my third term of co-facilitating the same interpersonal process group at CAPS. I have quite a bit of previous experience in facilitating groups in community mental health settings as well as university counseling centers, yet this was my first experience co-facilitating a group with someone who is in an evaluative role for me at the center and identifies as male (I identify as female). Initially, I noticed that I felt more anxiety about how my skills as a group facilitator would be perceived in group than I have before when co-facilitating with peers or female senior staff members.
I began the term feeling uncertain of myself and how my skills as a facilitator would be evaluated by my co-facilitator in the group. This uncertainty was enhanced by the experience of being a trainee in a new environment where I was still in the process of familiarizing myself. As time went on and I became more relaxed in my role, while still sensitive to the power dynamic in the room, and the group members seemed to notice this shift in me as well. Some of the members remarked noticing that I was participating more which seemed to be well-received particularly by female group members.
There were a few instances throughout the year where my co-facilitator and I disagreed on how something should be done in group, but initially I withheld my opinions and would usually defer to his preferences. I used supervision with my female individual supervisor to gain support on how to address this in our co-facilitator dynamic. Ultimately, I became increasingly comfortable asserting my opinions about how group should be run even if they were different from his. I also realized that when I did assert myself in our relationship, it was generally appreciated by my co-facilitator. We began to speak more openly about gender dynamics in our relationship during group supervision as well.
I would describe myself as someone who is generally comfortable and confident in my skills as a trainee and eager to learn from mistakes. So upon reflection, I am still surprised at how noticeable my initial hesitation in my role as a group co-facilitator was. In many ways it felt as though when embarking on internship I was starting fresh and would often forget the pre-existing clinical skills and experience I could bring to the table.
The most impactful things I learned from this experience around group co-facilitation at CAPS would be the extent to which power dynamics between co-facilitators and identities of co-facilitators play out in group dynamics. I recognized a great deal about myself and how I interact differently with male staff members in positions of power than I do with female staff members in positions of power. This also gave me pause to think about the impact of multiple intersecting identities and power hierarchies within institutions and how these impact experiences for those who are both newcomers to the system as well as those on the low end of the power hierarchy within a system – which interns usually are.
Finally, the hesitation and difficulty with assertion due to socialization and messaging around gender were aspects of my identity I thought I had mostly confronted and worked through when starting internship; particularly as someone who has done a fair amount of research and teaching in the area of feminism. It turns out these relational dynamics are ongoing and fluid negotiations that are complicated by so many factors and it never seems to be a “done deal.” This is a realization I hope to carry with me and continue to reflect on as I begin my career as a Counseling Psychologist.
Shirley Ley, MEd
Adler University (Vancouver Campus), current PsyD student
Doctoral Intern at Western Washington University (2017 – 2018)
If there is one important lesson I learned from my individual work with clients is the importance of meaning making, particularly after personally transformative experiences. As I approach the final few months of predoctoral internship, I’m finding the need to make sense of my call to adventure to be a co-facilitator for group therapy. I still remember my first pre-group meeting, including my nervous laughter and unusual giddiness. These reactions were an expression of my inner child who finds excitement in hands-on, experientially-oriented learning opportunities. I was not going to turn down any chance to observe, model, and learn from my highly skilled co-facilitator who carries herself with great compassion, grace, and competence.
During the first academic quarter, I approached group work from a stance that I knew best, that is from an individual therapy perspective. I saw group as therapy with 7 people, all at the same time. Needless to say, this task overwhelmed me, causing my heart to race, palms to sweat, and throat to constrict every time group rolled around. Fearful that I might appear incompetent or inadvertently harm group members, I co-facilitated the group from a distanced and detached perspective. This experience left me feeling conflicted as it countered my humanistic and relationally-oriented approach to individual work. Thankfully, my co-facilitator guided me in understanding and appreciating the power of group dynamics and therapeutic properties found within the here-and-now group process. While this insight moved me, I struggled to translate my new learning in a way that was congruent with my therapy approach.
By the time the second academic quarter approached, I coped with my learning impasse by mimicking and parroting my experienced co-facilitator’s therapeutic style. For obvious reasons, this approach left me feeling disingenuous and stifled my creativity. Seeing that I was frustrated over my lack of learning progress, my co-facilitator invited conversations concerning my multiple identities and how these inform my relational style in everyday life. Growing up as a woman of color, I was socialized to navigate the world through the eyes of others by anticipating their thoughts, feelings, and needs and acting accordingly. Although I now understand that these are normal responses to oppressive experiences, I became empowered knowing that I could use such relational abilities within the group setting.
Now in the third academic quarter of the year, I am experimenting with my sensitivity toward unexpressed and underlying relational needs. I offer assistance in fostering the safety and unconditional positive regard that is needed for vulnerable disclosure to take place. I support group members in learning to attune and listen to each other for information relating to the need to be valued, affirmed, and cared for. I offer guidance in helping group members integrate the pain and suffering of others and convey how they have been impacted and moved. I continue to learn from my co-facilitator about how and when to identify larger group processes such as pregnant silences, anguished facial reactions or body language, there-and-then conversations that detract from present moment emotional and relational contact, or superficial conversations about daily life and unsolicited advice giving that fail to connect people on a deep, meaningful manner.
I know that my road to becoming a competent and skilled group clinician will be lengthy and the challenges that I have already faced is only a glimmer of what is to come. Since my first group experience, my inner child has settled into a more thoughtful and curious presence. As I am currently in the process of securing employment opportunities beyond graduation, my future involvement with group therapy remains uncertain and my learning trajectory will largely depend on opportunities for self-study and close involvement with a group mentor and/or facilitator. At this moment in time, what does seem certain to me is my need to remain self-compassionate, as this is the only key to unlocking my openness, creativity, and flexibility, all of which are essential ingredients to effective group work.
Open Call for Evidence-Based Case Studies and Practice Reviews for Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice By: George Tasca, Ph.D.,
Incoming Editor, Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice
Group Dynamics, the Journal of the Society for Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy, announces two new article types, to begin publishing in 2019: Evidence-Based Case Studies and Practice Reviews. Group practice for these calls is defined broadly to include therapy groups, teams, organizations, and other group contexts. The editor has issued an open call for submissions for both article types.
The goal of the Evidenced-Based Case Studies will be to integrate verbatim case material with standardized empirical measures of process and outcome evaluated at different times during the life of the group, team or organization. That is, authors should describe vignettes highlighting key interventions, processes, and mechanisms regarding their specific approach in the context of empirical scales.
Meanwhile, the aim of the Practice Review is to clarify, as much as the current state of knowledge permits, what empirically-derived findings in a given area imply for practice. In this type of review article, the reviewer begins the process with the intent of deriving implications for practice from the research and theory. The key question of a Practice Review is: “What is the most likely relationship between these variables, and what does that relationship imply for the group practitioner?”
Examples and detailed guidelines for both article types can be found on the journal webpage, www.apa.org/pubs/journals/gdn. Authors who are interested in submitting either article type are encouraged to contact the editor.
“Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder” — Arnold Toynbee, Historian
The summer has started with the tragic deaths by suicide of two prominent celebrities – fashion designer Kate Spade and Chef Anthony Bourdain. While tragic, I didn’t have much of a personal reaction to the death of Kate Spade. As anyone who has seen me in person can attest, I don’t know much about the world of fashion; it has just never been an area of interest for me. However, having spent the last decade and a half in collegiate mental health, I am acutely aware of how prevalent thoughts of suicide are for many people; especially those who feel that their livelihood is dependent on crafting a carefully sanitized public image. While Ms. Spade’s death was sad and tragic, the personal impact on me was initially minimal.
While Ms. Spade’s death was sad and tragic, the personal impact on me was initially minimal.
The loss of Anthony Bourdain was different. I had the chance to meet him a few years ago when he spoke on the campus where I was working at the time. While our conversation was brief and overall insignificant, it has always been a cherished memory. For years, I have admired and respected Mr. Bourdain for who he was – a cantankerous, but insightful, man who did not apologize for the many years of self-destructive behavior in his youth and who passionately believed in equality and social justice. In many ways, Mr. Bourdain represented who I wanted to be – a person who could utilize their self-defeating and self-sabotaging behaviors of the past to advocate and shape a better existence in both the present and the future; a man who recognized his own flaws, but did not let that silence him from trying to make the world a better place.
Anthony Bourdain’s death hit me hard. My mind flashed back to that fleeting conversation I had with him; not the content of the conversation (which has long ago been lost to memory), but rather to the vibrancy and enthusiasm of the person I admired. I thought, with great sadness, about the people who were closest to Mr. Bourdain and the profound sense of loss they were experiencing. I thought of the multiple times, both personally and professionally, when I have been confronted with the immediate aftermath of a completed suicide. There is a profound sense of shock and incongruence of those scenes – the dichotomy that one life has suddenly, and violently, ended while thousands of others continue uninterrupted and unaware of the tragedy that has occurred next to them.
I also thought about the work that we do as mental health professionals; where our “Prime Directive” is to keep people alive and safe. It’s a world that is actively avoided by many people. Our jobs requires a certain type of empathy for pain and struggle that many find too overwhelming. We often work with clients who are teetering on the line between life and death. It’s a scary place for one to find themselves; both for the client and the clinician. Yet, as mental health professionals, we have a sacred obligation to help shepherd even the most hopeless and despondent of souls towards finding their meaning and purpose once again. For many clinicians, this is both the most stressful and anxiety-inducing part of our jobs, but also the most rewarding. There is no greater honor than being able to assist someone in finding their way out of the darkest place of their life. There is no amount of monetary compensation or praise from others that can beat the feeling of knowing that we were in the right place, at the right time, and with the right set of skills to prevent an unneeded death.
At the risk of being biased, the work we do as mental health professionals is some of the noblest in the world. We engage in our trade to try and prevent tragedy whenever there is a risk. We are on the front lines of the fight many people have between life and death. High-profile suicides tend to remind us of the true stakes of our work. From one colleague to another, I offer my deepest and sincerest THANK YOU for all that you do to help those in despair. What we do is meaningful and profound, even though it is rarely glorious. Sometimes it is important to hear that sentiment out loud.
Jill Paquin Appointed Editor of International Journal of Group Psychotherapy
By: Rebecca MacNair-Semands, Ph.D.
It is fitting that our first female editor appointed to International Journal of Group Psychotherapy (IJGP) has contributed widely to group psychotherapy teaching, training, research, and professional practice. We first came to know Dr. Jill Paquin’s work as a APA division 49 board member. In 2014, while serving on the current Science to Service Task Force of the American Group Psychotherapy Association (AGPA), we invited her to join this work group. Dr. Paquin began her service on the Science to Service Task Force when we were creating new content for the website related to evidence-based practices in groups. She was clearly skilled and passionate around how to translate research findings to the larger practice community, who use the information and implications to better serve group members. She volunteered readily for several projects, always met deadlines, and quickly jumped into the work with vigor. One example of this is that she offered to write the introduction to the entire website series. Also, together with the past AGPA President, Dr. Les Greene, she co-authored the section on group therapy for trauma and PTSD. She then volunteered to work with another author to review and provide editorial feedback on the upcoming AGPA Principles of Group Psychotherapy curriculum.
Dr. Paquin began gaining editorial experience early in her professional career, reviewing for the Journal of Group Dynamics and the Journal of Counseling Psychology, both for over four years prior to an invited to the editorial boards of these journals. Known for their rigor and high impact, this is quite an accomplishment for a young professional. She served as ad-hoc reviewer for both Psychotherapy and The Counseling Psychologist during this time, and also joined the editorial board of the Counselling Psychology Quarterly (CPQ), an international journal. She clearly values rigorous research, emphasizing qualitative and quantitative research with sound methodology. She also has experience with the Consensual Qualitative Research and Grounded Theory qualitative methods.
I value Jill’s ability as a group dynamics scholar, a skilled group psychologist, and a full-time assistant professor. She has done all this work while also raising a family in the midst of numerous duties. In her role at Chatham University she has focused on small group dynamics, the intersection of multicultural competence and evidence-based practice, career experiences of women working in STEM fields, and small group interactions entitled “Intergroup Dialogues.” Her scholarship and training has focused on helping develop the “clinician-researcher” identity as one way to bridge the gap between research and practice (particularly with the special issue she guest-edited for CPQ). She often examines therapeutic factors as well as leader behaviors that affect connections within groups. She was the first person to both study absences and their impact on the therapy group and to examine person-group fit from the I/O lit in group psychotherapy.
Dr. Paquin’s scholarship and expertise in the area of group psychology has been recognized both nationally and internationally. As an invited presenter, she often taught diversity and inclusion symposiums that made an impact on others learning how to effectively teach multicultural material to students in an effective and efficient manner. Integrating multicultural competence/social justice perspectives with therapy practice, including group work, is another strength. Having seen her in action, these programs were not only well received, but also experiential and practical in nature during crucial developmental years in our field. She has been active at the American Psychological Association annual conference, often having multiple presentations since the beginning of her involvement almost 11 years ago. As you can see, Dr. Paquin’s contributions are wide-ranging in her research, teaching/training, editorial, and clinical practice sectors of the group literature.