Lee Gillis, PhD
The theme of my presidential year is connecting to the group experience. Connecting as I view it will occur on multiple levels. First, the face of our society will embrace and utilize social networking connections to promote our next publications and our website such that we increase our visibility within APA and beyond.
For membership I would like to see a connection between the people who publish and read our journal and those who present at the convention and write for the newsletter. I would like to see a stronger connection between group psychology and group psychotherapy.
I’m committed to promoting early career psychologists (ECPs) throughout our division. It only takes a brief look at the demographics of our division to see that we need to attract and retain ECPs as well as student members to support the midcareer and later career psychologist who make up the bulk of our membership.
As I listed in my president-elect columns I am committed to helping undergraduates connect to both group psychology and group psychotherapy graduate programs. As mentioned before, I would also like to help those doctoral students seeking internships that emphasize group work to be able to identify them more easily.
Our membership committee, under the leadership of the Dr. Leann Diederich, and assisted in ECP initiatives by Dr. Joe Miles, have provided a number of ways that members can connect on telephone conversations that focus on professional issues related to teaching group and practicing group. I know these will continue under their leadership. I also know that their work on the Facebook group and with Google+ Hangouts will continue. The hangout that we did at the 2013 Convention was quite a hit. We’ve learned much from that experience and hope to continue this method of delivering information to members throughout the year.
I want to encourage interested members to explore the APA communities, a membership-only site where we are storing current and archival information about the division, including our current bylaws, policy manuals, and budgets.
While it might sound a bit wonky, I would like to continue the work that Nina Brown oversaw and ensure that our policy manual is an accurate representation of what we as a board actually do. The previous efforts on the policy manual have been invaluable to me as an officer of this society and I hope with help from board members and membership that the policy manual will be as accurate as possible and serve as a guide for current and future leadership.
We will continue to make connections among like-minded divisions within APA. We identified many divisions that utilize a group format but are perhaps not aware of what our members do and how they might benefit from joining us and learning about what we do. I have made a decision along with the executive committee to appoint liaisons to APA groups and committees where our voices will be heard – or at least listened to.
Finally, I want to give a strong shout out to Drs. Jill Paquin and Joe Miles for their work on our APA convention program. Due to some unforeseeable events, Jill agreed in August to chair the program committee and Joe Miles was willing to assist her this year and chair this position next year. They have put together an excellent program and have collaborated with a number of other divisions within APA. This type of collaboration and connection must continue in all the work we do for us to be able to survive and to thrive.