Committee Reports

Psychology and Group Psychotherapy Diversity Column

Jeanne Steffen, Ph.D.
Jeanne Steffen, Ph.D.

Diversity Committee Activities in 2014
Jeanne Bulgin Steffen, Ph.D.

Awarding of the 2014 Diversity Award, summary of the diversity committee symposium at APA, and recruiting new members

The Diversity Committee, founded as a subcommittee under the Society of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy in 2007, was created with the overarching goal of promoting the inclusion and visibility of underrepresented populations in the Division. In this column, I would like to focus on summarizing our major activities for 2014. I would also like to focus on some of our goals for next year, including recruiting new members and asking for nominations for the 2015 Diversity Award.

One of the major activities of our committee is to formally honor those individuals who have made significant contributions to group psychology practice, research, service, and/or mentoring, with a focus on promoting understanding and respect for diversity. Each year we encourage nominations from the Division for the Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy Diversity Award, which is presented at the Annual APA Convention. Dr. Janice Delucia-Waack was recognized as the 2014 recipient of this award at the business meeting of Division 49 in Washington D.C. in August. Dr. Delucia-Waack has shown an impressive commitment to both group work and issues related to diversity and multiculturalism. For instance, she has published The practice of multicultural group work: Visions and perspectives from the field (2004), and has recently co-authored a chapter on diversity in group work in the Oxford Handbook of Group Counseling (2011). She has also written the introduction to the section on multicultural group work in the Handbook of Group Counseling and Psychotherapy (2004, 2014), as well as authored and co-authored book chapters on “cultural biographies” (2009) and multicultural competencies in group work (1996). Dr. Delucia-Waack has published numerous articles on issues related to diversity, both in group work, and in other clinical and educational settings. Topics covered in such articles have included research with Latino adolescents and articles on gender and gender role identity, homophobia, and social justice. Dr. Delucia-Waak is a Fellow of Division 49 (and ASGW and ACA), and has served on the editorial board of Group Dynamics and many other important journals in the fields of education and counseling. She has also served as editor of the Journal for Specialists in Group Work for six years (1995-2001). Taken together, Dr. Delucia-Waak’s professional accomplishments in the area of multicultural group work make her clearly deserving of recognition from the Division 49 Diversity Committee. Congratulations, Dr. Delucia-Waack, and thank you for your contributions to the field!

At the APA convention this year, the Diversity Committee engaged in providing an educational program to increase diversity related conversations among our colleagues. This program was a symposium chaired by Dr. Eric Chen entitled Evidence-Based Practice and Multicultural Competencies in Group Therapy: Multiple Perspectives. The goal of the symposium was to highlight the complex intersection between evidence-based practice and multicultural competence perspectives within the group therapy context from the perspectives of researcher, educator, trainee, and practitioner. The contributors of the symposium presented papers covering four topics, which included: (a) “Bridging the Gap between Evidence-Based Practice and Multicultural Competencies Research” presented by Elena E. Kim, co-contributors/co-authors Leia A. Ting and Eric C. Chen; (b) “Teaching Group Therapy: The Intersection of EBP and Multicultural Competencies” presented by Joseph R. Miles, co-contributor/co-author Jill D. Paquin; (c) “Trainees’ Perspective on Becoming Local Clinical Scientists in Group Therapy” presented by Andrea S. Pratt, co-contributors/co-authors Aaron Lauber and Eric C. Chen; and (d) “Evidence-Based Practice and Multicultural Competencies: Group Therapists’ Perspectives” presented by Jennifer Alonso. We had a very positive turn out as the number of people attending the symposium presentation more than doubled at APA this year, with over 60 individuals in attendance.

As the chair of the Diversity Committee, I have a special opportunity to reach out the Division 49 members and spark interest in diversity related topics through this column. In this issue, I am also hoping to spark interest regarding recruiting new members to the committee and regarding inviting members to nominate deserving colleagues for the 2015 Division for the Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy Diversity Award. The first order of business for the committee each year is recruiting new members. Last March, we welcomed three new student members to the group, including Brittany White, Joel Miller, and Jennilee Fuertes. As the new year approaches yet again, we return to recruiting activities and I ask those who are interested in joining us to please contact me. In addition, I ask you to please notice those colleagues around you who are working to engage others, who are writing, mentoring, teaching and researching multicultural issues in group work and making contributions to group psychology practice, with a focus on promoting understanding and respect for diversity. Their work honors us and we would like to honor them. Please contact me to put forth their names so we can acknowledge them in 2015.

Along with new members and diversity award nominations, I welcome comments, concerns and requests for topics for future columns. My contact information is: