President-Elect’s Column

Martyn Whittingham, Ph.D.
Martyn Whittingham, Ph.D.

Call to Action on Awards

As the incoming President-elect of the Society, it is my privilege to seek out nominations for Society awards. Awards are important because they give recognition and encouragement to people and programs that have poured their heart and soul into making groups work. They can provide an important boost to the mission of promoting group therapy by attracting the attention of stakeholders such as university Presidents, CEO’s and local or regional partners.  However, awards do require submissions of names and a rationale, which becomes difficult for several reasons. First, we are often too consumed with the day-to-day tasks in front of us to find the time to put together a packet that recognizes someone else.  Much though we might want to, we get busy and then later feel guilty for not having done so! Second, we are often loathe to self-nominate because it seems too self-aggrandizing. Humility is a quality that many of the best therapists possess, but in this case, it can get in the way of sometimes overdue recognition. Third, it is sometimes difficult to evaluate whether the award is something you, a colleague or program are worthy of? We are seldom aware of the efforts of others, so it is difficult to benchmark against others’ accomplishments.  These and other factors often result in people and practices not submitting very worthwhile potential awardees for consideration.

However, without nominations and the public recognition that awards bring, effective group therapy programs, teaching efforts, research or skilled group psychologists become a success story that are under-recognized.  Awards not only validate hard work and accomplishment but also elevate the awardee and their efforts within their agency, community and region.  They also serve to inspire others to greater feats or show that seemingly impossible tasks can be accomplished. That can give a lot of hope and inspiration. So, this is the call to action. Put aside your reservations about self or other-nomination and do this for the field. Take a minute as you finish this article and write a name down for each award and then rally some help from others to put together a submission. Group needs to celebrate its worth and its success stories.  Not only does it provide validation to the people nominated, but it also promotes the field and allows a light to be shone on what talented and dedicated people can accomplish with and through group therapy.

Please also note, that many of these awards also come with a financial prize as well as the award itself.  More information can be found on our web page at: The awards are:


  • The Arthur Teicher Group Psychologist of the Year Award
  • Award for Outstanding Professional Contribution to Diversity in Group Psychology or Group Psychotherapy
  • Excellence in Teaching of Group Dynamics
  • Excellence in Group Practice
  • Division 49 research grant
  • APF/Division 49 grants


  • The Student award for outstanding contribution to diversity in group psychology or group psychotherapy
  • Student travel awards for the APA Convention
  • Student Poster Awards for the APA Convention

Send your nominations to:

Nomination Process:

To submit a nomination, the following is required:

  • A letter from the nominee that describes and illustrates the individual/agency/organization’s commitment to group intervention (e.g., nature of the nominee’s commitment, commitment to supervision and training, use of research or best practices to enhance group services, etc.). The letter should be no more than three pages long.
  • Three letters of support from individuals familiar with the nominee’s group psychotherapy practices (these letters can be from current or past employees, a collaborating partner or agency, or members of a Board of Directors, etc.).
  • Copy of current CV.
  • All materials should be submitted via a zipped/compressed folder in one email with the following subject line: [Candidate’s First and Last Name] – Application for Group Dynamics Teaching Award. For example, DIANA PRINCE – APPLICATION FOR PRACTICE

All submissions must be received by May 1, 2018 to be considered.

Thanks for taking the time to do this!  It means a lot to our field to recognize and celebrate the hard work and dedication that these awards highlight.