Group Dynamics, Theory, Research, and Practice publishes state of the art research on group psychology and group psychotherapy. The study of people nested in small groups represents unique challenges to the researcher. Group members interact with each other, they share common experiences within their group that may be different across groups, and each group may be affected by different compositions and histories. These factors make groups and group research interesting, but they also complicate the analyses of grouped data. Group Dynamics invites authors to submit papers that address salient issues related to the design and analyses of grouped data. The focus will be on conceptual issues that are addressed by the method, and on its practical applications. As such, each paper should be structured to include the following: (1) a conceptual introduction of the issues being addressed and their importance to group research, (2) a concrete running example of real or simulated data and their analyses to make the concepts and data analytic approach come to life, (3) instructions or suggestions on which relevant findings to report and how (e.g., parameters, variance components, model fit statistics, effect sizes, etc.), (4) practical suggestions on how and under what circumstances to apply the method, (5) common pitfalls or problems in applying the method and/or interpreting findings, (6) a short annotated bibliography of software, web sites, and key articles or chapters, and (7) if appropriate, online supplementary material with syntax, computer codes, or macros. Equations or figures should be fully described and all parameters should be clearly and concretely defined using the running example. Emphasis should be place on interpreting the statistical findings in the context of the running example (data in the running example does not need to be new as it is primarily being used as illustration). The manuscript should be: aimed at the level of a new researcher or a graduate student who will use the paper to guide them in their own data analyses; or aimed at readers who may use the paper to help them understand and evaluate group research. Authors might assume for example that the reader has only basic knowledge of statistical concepts (i.e., regression equations) and of group psychology and psychotherapy. Papers should be no more than 30 pages in length, not including online supplementary material. All submissions will be peer reviewed. This special issue of Group Dynamics on statistical methods will bring together in one volume papers that will serve as a reference for authors, reviewers, and students who wish to conduct and evaluate state of the art group psychology and group psychotherapy research.
Deadline for submissions is September 15, 2015. Submissions can be made through the journal submission portal on the American Psychological Association web site. Authors should indicate in the cover letter that the manuscript is intended for the special issue on statistical methods in group psychology and group psychotherapy. Authors are encouraged to contact Giorgio A. Tasca (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss the suitability of a potential topic for submission.
Evidence-Based Case Study
Parallel in purpose to the Practice Review articles, I would like to issue an open invitation for authors to submit an Evidence-Based Case Study for possible publication in Psychotherapy. I believe developing such a series of Evidence-Based Case Studies will be extremely useful in several ways. First, such investigation will provide much needed information to bridge the gap between research and practice. Second, such studies will provide important templates of how to integrate basic research into applied work at the individual case level. In addition, I hope to open an avenue for publication to those in full time private practice who are interested in integrating research measures into their clinical work. Finally, I wish to provide a readily identifiable aggregate of systematic case studies from various forms of treatment 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).
The goal of these Evidenced-Based Case Studies will be to integrate verbatim clinical case material with standardized measures of process and outcome evaluated at different times across treatment. That is, authors should describe clinical vignettes highlighting key interventions and mechanisms of change regarding their specific approach to treatment in the context of empirical scales. With this goal in mind I offer the following guidelines for those who are interested in preparing an Evidence-Based Case Study:
At minimum the report should include the assessment (from patient or independent rater perspective, not therapist) of at least two standardized outcome measures, global functioning and target symptom (i.e. depression, anxiety, etc), as well as one process measure (i.e. therapeutic alliance, session depth, emotional experiencing, etc) evaluated on at least three separate occasions. Optimally, such a report would include several outcome measures assessing a wide array of functioning such as global functioning, target symptoms (i.e. depression, anxiety, etc), subjective well-being, interpersonal functioning, social/occupational functioning and measures of personality, as well as relevant process measures evaluated at multiple times across treatment.
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). Submission of both successful and unsuccessful treatment cases are encouraged. In addition, it might be quite instructive to compare and contrast the technical interventions that occurred during a positive change case with that of a clinically unchanged or deteriorated case from the same approach to treatment.
Verbatim clinical vignettes with several patient and therapist turns highlighting key interventions and mechanisms of change regarding the specific approach to treatment should be provided. Discussion of therapeutic interventions should not be presented from a global or abstract perspective.
Appropriate informed consent must be obtained. It is suggested that interested authors review several Evidence-Based Case Studies that have been published since 2011 as templates for their work (Escudero, Boogmans, Loots, & Friedlander, 2012; Grasso, Joselow, Marquez & Webb, 2011; Satir et al., 2011; Tasca et al., 2011). In addition, Hill and colleagues (2008) as well as Mayotte-Blum and colleagues (2012) provide a good template of this Evidence-Based Case Study format. Finally, Strupp and colleagues (1992) provide extensive verbatim clinical vignettes from a failed treatment that are quite instructive regarding possible indicators of treatment termination, with initial scores on several assessment measures. Simple analyses of standardized outcome measures by way of clinical significance and effect size methods are sufficient, all of which can be readily tabulated by hand or with a calculator. Any authors who have conducted an effectiveness or efficacy trial on a particular type of treatment that have collected standardized process and outcome measures across treatment in addition to the use of audio/videotape of sessions should consider submitting an Evidence-Based Case Study. Likewise, any clinician in private practice who would like to add these elements at the initiation of a new case should also consider submitting to this special series. Anyone who may have an interest in submitting an Evidence-Based Case Study is invited to contact me if they have any questions about this process at: Psychotherapy@adelphi.edu.
American Psychological Assciation, (2002). Criteria for evaluating treatment guidelines. American Psychologist, 57, 1052–1059.
American Psychological Assciation, (2006). Evidence-based practice in psychology. American Psychologist, 61, 271–285.
Escudero, V., Boogmans, E., Loots, G., & Friedlander, M. (2012). Alliance Rupture and Repair in Conjoint Family Therapy: An Exploratory Study. Psychotherapy, 49, 26–37.
Grasso, D., Joselow, B., Marquez, Y., & Webb, C. (2011). Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy of a Child with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Psychotherapy, 48, 188–197.
Hill, C., Sim, W., Spangler, P., Stahl, J., Sullivan, C., & Teyber, E. (2008). Therapist immediacy in brief psychotherapy: Case study II. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 45, 298–315.
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.
Mayotte-Blum, J., Slavin-Mulford, J., Lehmann, M., Pesale, F., Becker-Matero, N., & Hilsenroth, M. (2012). Therapeutic Immediacy Across Long-Term Psychodynamic Psychotherapy: An Evidence-Based Case Study. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 59, 27–40.
Satir, D., Goodman, D., Shingleton, R., Porcerelli, J., Gorman, B., Pratt, E., Barlow, D., & Thompson-Brenner, H. (2011). Alliance-Focused Therapy for Anorexia Nervosa: Integrative Relational and Behavioral Change Treatments in a Single-Case Experimental Design. Psychotherapy, 48, 401–420.
Strupp, Schacht, Henry, & Binder (1992). Jack M.: A case of premature termination. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 29, 191–205.
Tasca, G., Foot, M., Leite, C., Maxwell, H., Balfour, L., & Bissada, H. (2011). Interpersonal Process in Psychodynamic-Interpersonal and Cognitive-Behavioral Group Therapy: A Systematic Case Study of Two Groups. Psychotherapy, 48, 260–273.
We are very pleased to present Dr. Chun-Chung Choi the 2015 Diversity Award! Dr. Choi has clearly made contributions to both scholarship and practice in advancing diversity issues, particularly in the area of group counseling and advocacy for international students. Some of his many contributions in this area include: creating innovative group programming for International Student Services, which has become a specialty training program for University of Florida’s Counseling and Wellness Center psychology interns; creating two groups that run each semester to address limited campus resources related to supporting Mandarin speaking International students; and providing supervision and training for interns related to working with diverse populations in group therapy. Dr. Chung has also taught group therapy in the Counseling Department at UF as an adjunct professor. Regarding research and scholarship, he has published five peer reviewed articles, two book chapters, and a film production aimed at empathy training for ethnic and cultural awareness. In addition, he has presented over 49 refereed national presentations (including two Division 49 sponsored symposiums at APA in 2014 related to multiculturalism in groups), one international, nine regional, and numerous local presentations. Several recent presentations relate to his work with international students in group therapy, including a manuscript he is completing related to a qualitative study he completed with students in his Mandarin group.
After 50 years of running a wide variety of groups I am tentatively ready to make some general statements about the field. These thoughts are the result of a lengthy process of my learning and they represent, as clear as I can make them, a part of my current conceptual framework.
I use, as fundamental building blocks, the sequence of:
1. A focus upon internal- personal learning
2. A focus upon intra-personal learning
3. A focus upon transpersonal learning
Another way of saying the same thing is looking inward, looking outward, and looking upward, always remembering that Jungian archetypes are the DNA of the unconscious.
These concepts are fundamentally based upon the four beats on the kettle drum as follows:
Adjourning (A necessary addition which cannot be ignored)
As an additional complicating factor, as if the topic were not complicated enough, the group, from a psychodynamic point of view, operates on two levels simultaneously. Level one consists of the content of the group’s membership with one another and can be thought of as content in the here and now.
The second level, operating simultaneously with the first, consists of the powerful family of origin dynamics which are inextricably merged with level one. The group functions on both levels simultaneously and every action on the part of group members can be looked at through the twisting tube of that kaleidoscope. A group member, for example, can act toward other group members with contempt but he/she is accurately mirroring how he/she was treated when growing up.
A fair pictorial analogy would depict a group therapist juggling tomatoes while blindfolded. Another ingredient in the Stone Soup is, for me, comfortably within this theoretical framework, is whether or not the individual group member presents himself/herself as either a victim or a victimizer. The “Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner” by Coleridge is particularly appropriate here as is the most famous short story in English literature by Herman Melville called “Bartelby , The Scrivener “ which is, to me, the Victim’s National Anthem.
Still another compelling image from my symbolic toolbox: My clients who define themselves as victims try to pay for my services by using counterfeit gold coins. I carefully bite the coins, learn that they are counterfeit and let my client know that I know. Then I take out a purse of true gold coins and I offer one of them to the client has a temporary loan until he/she can mint one of her own and repay the loan. As to reader will have determined a long time ago, my clients are very high functioning human beings and they have no trouble following me at the symbolic level.
It is my earnest hope that I have succeeded in thoroughly confusing the gentle reader of this paper. That has been my hope from the start. I hope that I have succeeded.
Your Friendly Shape Shifter Who Promises to Continue,
As your Associate Editor for The Group Psychologist, I want to thank those of you who participated in our satisfaction survey from the fall. We received 41 responses and appreciated the feedback. We wanted to take the time to summarize some of the highlights from the quantitative and qualitative results. For more details on the results, please email me directly (Leann.Diederich@gmail.com).
Here’s a quick snapshot of some of the results:
90% of the respondents ranged from being satisfied to very satisfied with the overall newsletter.
The top sections that respondents found to be the most important to them were the news (#1), brief articles (#2), and the various columns (#3).
The sections with the highest levels of satisfaction were the President’s column, President-elect column, and the Editor’s column (all tied for first).
With regards to the TGP contributing to the respondent’s practice, research, or teaching, 57% thought it contributed, 30% didn’t think it contributed, and 13% were undecided.
Most respondents read 4 or fewer articles each newsletter, with only 18% reading 5 or more.
Several themes emerged from the qualitative results. Multiple respondents wanted a better balance of theory and research, in addition to the practice and clinical materials that are currently focused on. However, others wanted more clinical material! Overall, it seems the TGP could reflect other types of groups, not just psychotherapy groups. As your editors, we are always open to suggestions for authors to contact to help us bring this type of focus to the TGP. Others praised the TGP, giving feedback like: “The articles are very relevant and helpful. Enjoy keeping up with latest developments in our division”.
The respondents to the survey mirrored our typical member (e.g., late-career psychologist) with 59% of participants identifying as a late-career psychologist. Mid-career and early-career psychologists made up 20% of respondents.
While not all of the feedback can be reflected in this article, we will use all of it to help us tailor future editions of the newsletter. If you didn’t get a chance to participate, and want to send us feedback, please feel email us! I
Violence seems to be a problem plaguing many practitioners as evidenced by the number of letters that we have received recently asking for help. The letter chosen for today highlights a problem facing families, schools, parenting prevention groups, and those training prevention group practitioners.
Editorial Question Posed:
Dear Prevention Corner:
I have a second-grade student who lives in a violent household. The parents are not married but live together. There are five children living at home. My student is the middle child. My student “worships” his father. The father has just returned to the household from prison. Drugs are also part of the family scene.
Upon the father’s return from prison, my student has turned violent in the classroom. He was so excited to have his father return but now he is angry and acting out violently toward others. He has been to the school counselor, but it has not helped. What can I do to help this student? I have heard that a prevention group might be helpful. Do you think this would help? If so, what kind of group should I look for?
Wanting to Help
Dear Wanting to Help:
Thank you for sending in your question. Unfortunately your student is not alone, as millions of American children live in homes with exposure to drugs and violence. Additionally, it is common in those situations for children to act out in their other environments, such as in school. As an educator, it can be particularly distressing to watch this happen to one of your students.
Even though you suspect that the problem behavior does not originate within this individual child, and is a result of distressing changes within the family system, it can be difficult to make referrals based on what the child alone has to say about his family. Therefore, you need to find a way to corroborate what is happening and to what extent the child is exposed to violence or is in danger. If you suspect that the child is being abused, you should call the local protective services department and report it. Another way to get some help for the child and the family would be to ask for an evaluation of the child by a school or clinical psychologist. This evaluation should include separate interviews with the parents where questions are asked about conflict tactics used in the home. Hopefully, there will be a recommendation for individual child treatment with parent guidance. This would bring attention and support to the child and his family. Community clinics with sliding fee scales may be an option here. Another option is for the evaluator to call the local domestic violence shelter to inquire whether support or intervention groups are available to those living in the community but not residing in the shelter. These kinds of support groups have been found to be effective in reducing child aggression and in providing support and education to the mother and thus would be ideal for both the child and the mother in this family.
Ultimately, children living in homes with violence are under great stress. Your support and continued interest in this child’s well-being will do a good deal towards helping him and, hopefully, his whole family.
Maria Galano, M.S. and Sandra A. Graham-Bermann Ph.D.
Special Issue co-edited by Laura Miller and Kathryn Howell
Psychology of Violence invites manuscripts for a special issue on interventions for violence to be compiled by guest editors Laura Miller and Kathryn Howell. The special issue will appear in 2016.
This special issue will attempt to reflect state-of-the-art intervention science that focuses on the theoretical underpinnings, critical mechanisms, cultural adaptations and systemic implications of intervention related to violence exposure, victimization and perpetration. We conceptualize violence broadly to include child maltreatment, psychological aggression, sexual violence and coercive control, intimate partner violence, teen dating violence, bullying, community violence, and political violence.
To date, intervention science has primarily assessed singular types of violence exposure (e.g., child maltreatment) and disorder-specific outcomes (e.g., PTSD). It is essential that intervention science gain greater depth in its understanding of the mechanisms of treatment to move the field toward the development of more refined approaches that are effective across types of violence and impact a range of mental health challenges. Theory-based resilience interventions that reflect basic science are also needed.
Important, too, is the recognition that violence exposure is associated with multiple risk factors across the social ecology. For this reason, intervention science that considers novel approaches, which are inclusive of broader systemic influences on successful intervention programs, are critical to advance the implementation of successful treatment paradigms in high-risk contexts.
Finally, we also recognize that cultural, sociopolitical, and socioeconomic contexts may significantly affect the appropriateness and feasibility of individual, Western-centric approaches to intervention. We believe the promulgation of scientifically rigorous trials of adapted treatment programming are critical to better understand the generalizable and unique aspects of evidence-based interventions across settings.
Topics may include but are not limited to:
Randomized controlled trials of intervention programs
Review of effective treatment mechanisms through meta-analysis or narrative review
Treatment studies with poly-victims
Scientific analysis of environmental and contextual influences on treatment success
Successful cultural adaptations of empirically supported treatments
Theoretical and conceptual papers that present models of intervention for violence
“Lessons learned” and other reflections on efforts to develop and evaluate interventions.
Manuscripts can be submitted through the journal’s submission portal. Please note in your cover letter that you are submitting for the special issue. Deadline for submitting manuscripts is March 31, 2015. Inquiries regarding topic or scope for the special issue or for other manuscripts can be sent to Laura Miller (email@example.com) and Kathryn Howell (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Coordinator of master’s counseling program at West Virginia University
Fellow in ASGW
Robert Conyne’s edited book, The Oxford Handbook of Group Counseling, truly lives up to the title. The chapters are written by some of the leading group educators. Each chapter is comprehensive and filled with rich information about the literature regarding the chapter’s focus on some specific aspect of group counseling. In the introductory chapter, Robert Conyne gives an excellent overview of what’s to come and also briefly discusses important concepts related to group counseling. In Part II, the various authors do a first-rate job giving the history and definition of groups along with describing the role of social justice and diversity in regards to group work. Lynn Rapin’s chapter on ethics is thorough and thought provoking. Janice Delucia-Waack provides an excellent discussion regarding diversity in groups.
Conyne gives Part III the title of Key Change Processes and has different authors write about therapeutic forces, cohesion, group climate, and group development. Each of these chapters gives the reader an in-depth look at the literature and development of these constructs as they relate to group counseling. This book is excellent for the reader who wants to delve into the research on aspects of group counseling. The chapter on group development is the most thorough discussion I have ever read on the various models of stages of groups. Part IV is titled Research but actually the whole book is filled with research. In this section, there are chapters on evidenced based practice, general research models, assessing groups, and qualitative research approaches to group counseling.
In Part V (Leadership), Conye includes six chapters. Two chapters are about the personhood of the leader and the style and function of the leader. Both of these chapters go deep into the literature regarding various aspects of the leader as a person. Also in this section is a chapter titled “Group Techniques” which more appropriately should be titled “Group Exercises.” In his chapter, Sam Gladding urges leaders to be more creative. Gladding also offers some specific ways to use creativity in group sessions. The chapter on teaching and training group leaders gives an excellent account of the different ways educators approach the task of training students to be group leaders. Nina Brown discusses many of the pros and cons of the different forms of experiential learning when it comes to teaching.
Part VI covers many aspects of the applications of groups in different settings and different formats. Groups in the military, schools, across the life span, sexual minorities and international groups are presented. One of the drawbacks of the book is that it is somewhat dated since the copyright is 2010. With that said, the reader will still find every chapter valuable in regards to the literature on the given subject of the chapter through 2009.The chapter on group work internationally is well done and gives an overview of group work in numerous countries. The Online Groups chapter is filled with excellent resources regarding the history and development of online groups; however, anyone researching this subject would need to review the literature from 2010 to the present since so much has occurred with socials media since 2010.
Conyne’s finishes this book with a very interesting chapter that he titles; Group Counseling: 50 Basic Premises and the Need for Mainstreaming. The chapter causes the reader to reflect on all the main issues pertaining to group work based on the writings found in the book. Overall I think anyone interested in the study of group counseling will find this book to be a valuable book to read.
While not an exhaustive list the following may help authors get a better idea of what types of group therapy papers would be most welcome at Group Dynamics (and which papers might not be appropriate).
1. Treatment outcome studies
Studies that compare two (or more) different treatment approaches, compare a treatment to a waitlist or placebo control, or compare group to individual therapy would all be welcome at Group Dynamics. Additive or dismantling studies (adding or removing a treatment component in some groups) would also be great. Of course, one challenge is that outcome studies should include multiple groups not just a single group in the treatment condition. If the treatment is being compared to a control group, there should be random assignment and the control should be reasonable (e.g., I recently desk rejected a paper where the treatment group was compared to a control of people who refused treatment).
Admittedly, most of the group treatment outcome studies that are done well are being published in higher impact journals, so we have to be somewhat flexible about design issues. For example, a very well done pre-post design study might be considered if there is a compelling rationale for the treatment being examined, the condition being treated is chronic if untreated, multiple groups were included in the analyses etc. A paper describing an innovative and theoretically well-grounded new group treatment with some supporting pilot data might also be considered.
2. Predictors of treatment outcome (including “process” studies)
Studies examining what characteristics of clients, therapists, or groups predict outcome are probably more feasible than rigorous outcome studies. These predictor variables could be at either the individual or group level (or both). Studies that look at treatment by individual characteristics interactions (i.e., aptitude by treatment interactions) would be especially welcome (e.g., studies that examine personality traits that predict who benefits more from group therapy versus individual therapy).
3. Assessment/Psychometric papers
Papers that present new measurement instruments for studying groups or group members (with some preliminary psychometric data) or psychometric studies of existing group measures would be very welcome.
4. Meta-analyses or systematic reviews
While we are unlikely to publish purely theoretical papers, papers that synthesize an existing empirical literature (either quantitatively using meta-analysis, or qualitatively using a traditional literature review) and help clarify important questions in group therapy would be great.
5. Methods/statistics papers
One the challenges facing group therapy researchers is that design and analysis issues are often much more complicated than when studying individual therapy. Papers that present new ways of addressing these challenges or more instructional/how-to papers that help walk researchers through established methods for setting up these studies and doing these analyses would be welcome.
6. Evidence-Based Case Studies
These case studies would require quality data to support the case description, but could be a good way to bridge research and practice.
A proposal for a second journal for Division 49, Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy, was presented at the Board’s August meeting in Washington, D.C. Based on survey results conducted earlier in the year among Division 49 members and the discussion at the Board meeting, there was strong support for a second journal. Discussion highlighted the preeminence of “Group Dynamics” as the esteemed journal of Division 49 yet a second journal, focused more upon group work practice, would address an important need in our field. The proposal was presented to the Board in January 2015 and approved. The immediate task now is contacting APA to meet with representatives to discuss our proposal. Due diligence requires processing several important details to ensure a successful outcome. We welcome questions and suggestions, so please contact the proposal committee chair or committee members.