Group Speciality Report

Nina Brown, Ed.D.

Nina Brown, Ed.D.

Group Specialty Council

The Group Specialty Council is the committee charged with developing the petition to the Commission for the Recognition of Specialties and Proficiencies in Professional Psychology (CRSPPP) to have group psychology and group psychotherapy designated as a specialty for training programs. The American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) has designated group as a specialty for individuals, but previous petitions to CRSPPP for recognition of group as a specialty or as proficiency were not successful, and the Society’s Board voted in 2012 to continue the process for developing a new specialty petition for CRSPPP. Much has changed since the initial petition including the composition of the supporting group such as the Group Specialty Council, a need for by-laws and documented regular meetings of the Group Specialty Council, and the comprehensiveness of the petition package.

The Group Specialty Council (GSC) was organized to comply with the CRSPPP requirement that the supporting group be composed of organizations interested in having group as a specialty, and who will sponsor representatives to the Council. This is a change from having the group composed of individuals who are so interested. In the initial effort to organize the GSC, invitations were sent to 20 organizations including 11 APA divisions; 8 (Social), 12 (Clinical), 14 (Industrial/Organizational), 16 (School), 17 (Counseling), 19 (Military), 29 (Psychotherapy), 39 (Psychoanalysis), 45 (Ethnic Minority), 50 (Addictions) and 53 (child and Adolescent); and other organizations such as ASGW, the Washington School of Psychiatry, the Adelphi postgraduate training program, AGPA, Northeastern Group Psychotherapy Society, Eastern Group Psychotherapy Society and Northern California Group Psychotherapy Society. Two of the 20 replied and declined, and no response was received from 16. Our present GSC is comprised of 12 members: Eleanor Counselman (AGPA President-elect), Kathy Ulman (CGP and AGPA Past President), Martyn Whittingham (Catholic Health Partners), Joss Gross ( University of Flordia), Andy Eig ( Adelphi Post Graduate Training Program) Sally Barlow (ABPP), Joel Frost (ABPP), Loretta Braxton ( Durham VA), and Cheri Marmarosh (Chair of ERT – The Society), Sam James, Miska Bogomaz, and Nina Brown (The Society’s representative to CoS).

The GSC held a meeting during the APA convention on August 9th and addressed the following items: election of officers (President – Nina Brown, Secretary – Eleanor Counselman), review of proposed By-laws, a review of the history of the petitions presented by Sally Barlow, discussion of the feasibility of submitting a petition for specialty or for proficiency, and a discussion held with Dave Corey (Police and Public Safety Specialty) who agreed to mentor us through the process. He suggested that we could expedite our petition by applying for specialty at the post-licensure level and petition for the other levels at a later time.

I consulted with the director of APA Education Directorate about the suggestion that we apply for post-licensure recognition as a specialty, but it was not clear that we could submit additional petitions for the other levels at a later date. After consultation with GSC members, we decided to create a petition for designation of group as a specialty at the Internship, Post-doc, and Post-licensure levels.

Following is an abbreviated list of the materials that need to be developed in all three petition areas.

“Criterion IV. Distinctiveness; A specialty differs from other recognized specialties in its body of specialized scientific knowledge and professional application”. We have to document how the group specialty differs and overlaps other specialties “for populations, problems, procedures and techniques for assessment, intervention, consultation, supervision, research and inquiry, public interest, continuing professional development and any relevant additional core professional practice domains.”

“Criterion V. Advanced Scientific and Theoretical Preparation” How specialty specific scientific knowledge, skills and attitudes are acquired.

“Criterion VI. Advanced Preparation in the Parameters of Practice” To encompass the parameters of populations; psychological, biological, and/or social problems; and procedures and techniques.

“Criterion VII. Structures and Models of Education and Training in the Specialty”

There is a considerable amount of work that will go into developing the petition, and the GSC needs the help of the members of The Society. I hope that you will volunteer to contribute some of your time and expertise to this project.



Categories: Committee Reports

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