Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy Diversity Column

Jeanne Steffen, Ph.D.

Jeanne Steffen, Ph.D.

The first column after the annual American Psychological Association convention each year typically focuses on the Diversity Committee’s activities at APA, as well as goals for the upcoming year. Our activities and goals keep in mind our original focus: promoting the inclusion and visibility of underrepresented populations in our communities across the globe. One of the major activities we are involved in to further this goal includes the presentation of the Diversity Award to formally honor 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.

Chun-Chung Choi, Ph.D.

Chun-Chung Choi, Ph.D.

This year we recognized Dr. Chun-Chung Choi as our Diversity Award recipient. Dr. Choi was nominated by his colleagues for making significant contributions to both scholarship and practice, resulting in the advancement of diversity issues, particularly in the realm of group counseling and advocacy for international students. Some of his many contributions in this area include: creating innovative group programming for International Students at the University of Florida, which evolved into a specialty training program for Counseling and Wellness Center psychology interns; creating two groups that run each semester and that address limited campus resources related to supporting Mandarin speaking International Students; and providing supervision, training, and mentorship to interns in order to assist them in increasing their multicultural competency related to working with diverse populations in group therapy. Dr. Chung has also taught group counseling courses and 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 publications (including two Division 49 sponsored symposiums at APA in 2014 related to multiculturalism in groups), one international, nine regional, and numerous local presentations. Dr. Choi’s professional contributions in the area of multicultural group counseling and psychotherapy practice, research, service, and training clearly add to our profession and promote further understanding and clinical effectiveness in working with diverse populations. Thank you, Dr. Choi, for your contributions to our profession and to our communities!

At the APA convention this year, the Diversity Committee focused on involving the student members of our committee in submitting a symposium entitled Multicultural Skill Development in Group Psychotherapy. The goal of the symposium was to provide multiple perspectives on increasing multicultural competence, particularly in the area of skill development in group psychotherapy. The contributors of the symposium presented on two topics: (a) “Intergroup Dialogue as a Mechanism for the Development of Multicultural Group Leadership” presented by Brittany A. White and co-authored by Joseph R. Miles, and (b) “Facilitating Group therapy Trainees’ Multicultural Competencies Development through Clinical Supervision” presented by Elena E. Kim and co-authored by Kali Rowe and Eric C. Chen. We had several other Division 49 programs related to diversity and good turn out to our programs. We also met as a committee to discuss goals for 2016. Our focus for next year involves increasing student interaction and interest in our Division and subcommittee. Several ideas were put forth as incentives for students to get more involved, including specific programming targeting student issues, a student focused diversity award, and the creation of a student work symposium. Prioritizing and further developing our goals, as well as adding new members to our committee and seeking Diversity Award nominations will be a focus of our committee this fall.

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 the past year I have heard from a few members who have made comments or suggestions for columns and I’m always glad to hear from you. As always, I invite you to contact me and let me know about the topics that are important to you or that you want to hear about. If you have exciting research and want me to highlight it, please also let me know. As 2014 fades out and we greet 2015, our committee returns once again to recruiting activities. 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 2016.

My contact information is new this year: jeanne.steffen@wsu.edu.



Categories: Columns

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