It is so great to be part of a good group. That describes our Society – a functioning group. This year’s convention demonstrated how well we function from the work of Drs Jill Paquin and Joe Miles in crafting an excellent program that attracted multiple APA attendees to hear papers, experience skill sessions and observe well crafted posters. We ended the convention with one of our signature institution, our annual social event hosted by Kathy and John Ritter. We are so thankful for their service to the Society and hosting all these years.
Your Board has been a functioning group too. We have not been afraid to debate issues important to members – to gather data – to make recommendations and to explore ways to invest our resources in ways that will benefit the Society in the long run.
Below I have highlighted the initiatives of my presidential year with an update on progress. None of these initiatives could have been accomplished without the involvement of your Board members as well as committee chairs and their respective members.
|Theme||Connecting to the group experience|
|Initiatives for 2014||November 14 Update|
|Face of society||
In my Presidential address I discussed how APA Undergraduate Guidelines offer learning objectives that focus on teamwork. I issued a call for all of us to help those who teach undergraduates understand the need for helping groups establish norms and boundaries of acceptable behavior. We are the experts here and have much to offer our colleagues who might not understand the power of a small group experience. We know that power can be very positive in a well functioning group and destructive when a group falls into negative behaviors. Too often I hear from my student’s horror stories of group experiences run amuck. Many of these bad experiences could have been avoided had the professors set up some basic guidelines for operating in a group. Help your colleagues understand how effective groups can be.
In the discussion following the address, many shared how other majors and programs outside of psychology were seeking group classes for their students. We heard examples of pharmacy students, information technology students, engineering students, and medical students all in need of learning what many of us teach – good group skills. Look for opportunities in your circles of influence to offer group skills where needed.
Graduate training in group psychology and psychotherapy seems to be waning and this is a sad state of affairs. Many of us know that group is not mentioned in APA’s Guidelines And Principles For Accreditation Of Programs In Professional Psychology. We know what is not required is often not taught. I urge members to work towards including group as an area of training for all professional psychologists. We hear too often that doctoral students graduate with very little group training but are expected to conduct group sessions in their post-doctoral employment. From the survey of Directors of Training, we know that group training is not emphasized to the same extent as individual.
We must rally our voices and support group training. To that end, I want to applaud Dr. Nina Brown for her work on having Group recognized as a specialty. We encourage and support Dr. Brown and the cross association team she has engaged to carry on with this important work.
Finally to the wonderful Board and supporting cast that I have had the pleasure of working with – I am truly grateful. Drs Maria Riva, Dennis Kivlighan, Rebecca MacNair-Semands, Jennifer Alonso, Leanne Diederich, Rex Stockton, Joe Powers, and John Dagley – Thank you! To Tom Treadwell, David Marcus, Cheri Marmaroush, Eric Chen, Jeanne Steffen, Jill Paquin, and Joe Miles – the Society could not have done this without you.
Thank you for a year I will not forget. I pass the gavel in confidence to Dennis Kivlighan who has some grand plans.