Committee Reports

Council of Representatives Report

Sally Barlow, Ph.D.

The Council of Representatives met in Washington DC February 24-25th, 2017. A lot of business was conducted, some of which I cannot report on because it occurred in Executive Session. Sorry about that. Wish I could. But we have been harshly warned by our legal counsel not to divulge anything. Perhaps I will be able to do this later.

Of interest was a vote on apportionment—long history of this squabbling that has gone back and forth. You can refer to pdf below for status. A very nice thing that happened from the floor of Council was that we all agreed to make sure all the geographic locations (e.g. Virgin Islands) weren’t stripped of their votes. I have also attached the minutes from the meeting if you are interested. Most of you are no doubt up to your eyeballs in work: serving the public, teaching the next generation of group clinicians, running groups etc. The happiest thing I must report is that the CRSPPP petition for specialty status just ended its comment period. The petition itself can be read at  along with the almost 50 pages of comments, which are primarily quite supportive. We have Nina Brown to thank for this tremendous effort: THANK YOU NINA!!

Although group is recognized by the American Board of Professional Psychology as a specialty it has yet to be recognized by CRSPPP—the committee on recognition of specialties and proficiencies in professional psychology. In related action, the PTSD guidelines were voted upon.  It was an almost 2-hour debate. APA staff in charge of the PTSD guidelines apparently have been working on this document for 4 1/2 years to compete with psychiatry guidelines. The committee (staff and psychologists) were given the charge to follow the guidelines from the Institute of Medicine (IOM).  I believe that is what set the agenda here–so that only PTSD research under-girded by RCTs was the norm. It is no wonder CBT and its offshoots along with medication won this horse race. Comments from the floor ranged from defensive (the APA staff essentially said, “If we want to be a player here with psychiatry we need to get these guidelines out now”; representatives from division 39, psychoanalysis, claimed unfair treatment of psychoanalysis and psychodynamic TX,) to accurate (the president of the Women’s division strongly suggested that decontextualizing PTSD was dangerous to those who suffered from it,) to the idiotic (sorry about casting aspersions here–but I am always fascinated when psychologists in love with RCTs and meta-analyses as the only viable evidence base stand at the mic and spout effect sizes etc.–overlooking the important contributions from qualitative research, and misunderstanding how RCTs are based on drug trials that simply do not translate to humans. Here is what I said at the mic (you can only talk 2 minutes):

“I am Sally Barlow from Division 49 Group Psychology and Group psychotherapy. I am against these PTSD guidelines in their current form, extensive as they are.  Because the freeway was closed from Park City to SLC due to an oil tanker fire, I spent an extra 8 hours at the airport re-reading the 2,000-page document and accompanying 1,000 no and yes comments–the no’s outweighing the yes’s by 30-1. The document never mentions treatment delivery modalities, only treatment types such as CBT. In particular, I am persuaded by Dr. Moench’s comments on page 1649 who suggests this document goes against expert international guidelines for PTSD. Further, Les Greene and associates from science to service task force of American Group psychotherapy Association on page 1678 suggest the guidelines fail to sufficiently delineate differential and unique effects of different treatment modalities such as individual vs. group treatment. In clearly growing data bases for group investigations, group treatment is often superior to, certainly equivalent to treatment as usual and wait list controls. Finally, clinical expertise appears to be obviated by the report’s overly strong and narrow recommendation of CBT treatments and medication.”

I wrote it down to read because it is truly nerve-wracking to stand at the mic.

Several council members followed suit. However, there was strong support from the floor not to send this back to the drawing board as it would take another 5 years, and we would “lose” to psychiatry. Before we voted on the motion, the Practice Directorate promised to put out an accompanying document on professional psychology guidelines highlighting clinical expertise, in order to encourage psychologists treating patients with PTSD,  to 1) take cultural/diversity context into account, 2) properly contextualize PTSD interventions so that individual patients issues were attended to, 3) report some of the growing body of research from EMDR, Psychodynamics and emotion focused therapies, and 4) pay more attention to treatment delivery such and individual and group therapy. (Because I had carefully read the entire document I did note that there was a nod to “brief psychodynamic therapy” in the treatment of PTSD already, but there is nothing about group vs individual.) I look forward to these accompanying comments. The vote to accept the PTSD guidelines, along with this forthcoming document from the practice directorate, passed at almost 80%. (I have the 2,000 page document if you would like to read it—just email me at I voted against it as I think it needs to be re-written but I was clearly in the minority. I am also uncomfortable with the notion that these narrow guidelines were passed in what appears to be a turf war; but maybe I am unrealistic.

Here is what I think we should do next: Write a succinct document highlighting the efficacious and efficient use of groups as a delivery model for PTSD intervention and send this to Kathryn C. Nordal, email: She strikes me as a smart, very competent person who will listen to us. Recently at the American Group Psychotherapy Association annual meeting in NYC I attended the Science-to-Service-Taskforce where we discussed this. Gary Burlingame agreed to send this information to Dr. Nordal at the APA Practice Directorate.  This is all good news for all of us in this division who understand the power of small group dynamics.

Other business of interest was a presentation on diversity on implicit attitudes (check out for interesting details about this North Star project presented by Glenda Russel and Andrea Iglesias.) Budget items were reviewed—sadly too many of our colleagues have dropped out of APA because of the bad publicity we have gotten from the Hoffman fallout. A proposed policy and procedures document on implementing transparency was discussed. Item 12, removal of barriers to admission to doctoral programs in psychology using the GRE was passed. Trial delegation of authority to the board of directors was discussed; this is all part of the Good Governance Project designed to make APA nimbler. Let’s hope it works. Until next time. Thanks for allowing me to represent you from Division 49. Sally H. Barlow

Committee Reports

Group Specialty Council

The petition to have Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy recognized as a specialty was submitted in December 2016, and the public comment period ended on March 10, 2017.  There were more than 140 comments submitted and all were positive.  While the majority of the comments were from individuals, several were from other groups such as the AGPA Science to Service Task Force, the American Board of Group Psychology, The Group Foundation for Advancing Mental Health, the Northeastern Society for Group Psychotherapy, the International Board for the Certification of Group Psychotherapists, AGPA, APA Division 49, APA Committee on Aging, APA Committee on Children, Youth, and Families, the Hawaiian Islands Group Psychotherapy Society, and Samaritan Health & Living Center.  We extend our thanks to all the individuals and groups that provided comments as this shows the level of interest the petition holds. CRSPPP will hold its meeting on        , and their response is expected 30 days after the meeting.  Members of The Society and Council will be notified immediately after the decision is communicated to us.

The Council was contacted by CoS in response to a request from CoA to develop specialty competencies for residents in post-doctoral psychology programs.  There are 16 areas where 2 – 3 advanced competencies are needed.  The Council is in the process of developing competencies and welcomes any ideas to facilitate that process.  Following are the 16 competency domains based upon ABPP competencies and inclusive of APA- CoA competencies:

Integration of science and practice ( note: an APA-CoA required competency)

  1. Ethical and Legal Standards/Policy
  2. Individual and Cultural Diversity
  3. Professionalism (professional values attitudes and behavior)
  4. Reflective practice/self-assessment, self-care
  5. Scientific knowledge and methods
  6. Interdisciplinary Systems
  7. Relationships
  8. Evidence-based Practice
  9. Assessment
  10. Intervention
  11. Consultation
  12. Research/Evaluation
  13. Supervision
  14. Teaching
  15. Management/ Administration
  16. Advocacy

The competency domains Integration of Science and Practice, Ethical and Legal Standards, and Individual and Cultural Diversity are required for all postdoctoral residencies regardless of specialty.

Nina Brown, Ed.D., LPC, NCC, FAGPA








Eleanor F. Counselman, Ed.D., ABPP, CGP, LFAGPA









Committee Reports

Finance Report

Amy Nitza, PhD
Amy Nitza, Ph.D.

Division 49 continues to be in good financial condition.  We ended 2015 with $45,312 in revenue, which included $40,911 in royalties from the journal, and $3,864 in membership dues.   Expenses were slightly over revenue at $48,388; this net loss was planned in order to pay off our contributions to the Foundation in full.  Our overall assets remain strong; we ended the year with net assets of $87,766 (cash balance and investments).

With our commitment to the Foundation paid off in 2015, there was room in the 2016 budget to use some of our revenue in new ways. In doing so, the board prioritized two related goals: reinvesting our revenue into division membership, and encouraging the involvement of student members.  With these goals in mind, the board voted to dedicate funds to establish Student Travel Awards and Research Grants.  Additionally, the board voted to provide stipends for the Group Psychologist of the Year, Diversity, and Practice awards.  The breakdown of these funds for 2016 is as follows:

Group Psychologist of Year                          $1,000
Diversity                            $1,000
Practice Award                            $1,000
Student Travel Awards                            $4,000
Research Grant                            $4,000

 Other highlights of the 2016 budget include joining with other organizations to hire a professional writer for the CRISP application, supporting the activities of the ECP task force, and promoting suite programming and social time at upcoming conventions. We have also begun investing in the recording of Fellows talks at conventions as well.

If I can answer any questions related to Division 49 finances, please feel free to contact me at

Committee Reports

Diversity Committee Report

Division 49 Diversity Committee

Chairs:  Joe Miles, Ph.D. and Eric Chen Ph.D.

Person Submitting Report:  Jeanne Steffen

Members of Committee:

Eric Chen Lee Gillis
Maria Riva Jennilee Fuertes
Cheri Marmarosh Keri Frantell
Joe Miles Carol Cho

Brief Summary of Activities Undertaken:

Our activities since the August update of the June 2016 report have included:


  • This was the year to elect a new chair for the diversity subcommittee. Joe Miles was nominated, however, due to his commitment in other Division 49 activities, we discussed and decided on splitting up the responsibilities of the chair position.  Joe Miles and Eric Chen agreed to split the role and we welcomed them as co-chairs.
  • Eric and Keri arranged suite programming at the APA Convention to invite conversations re: multicultural group therapy. We were hoping to use the opportunity for suite programming to recruit more members to our subcommittee.  Unfortunately, only one guest attended so the program was cancelled and the time was use to explore future goals for the committee.
  • Subcommittee members met at APA to discuss goals for 2016-17, which are: 1) increase numbers and diversity of members (e.g., international members and members across different disciplines); 2) increase communication resources (e.g., message boards, culturally sensitive/multiculturally competent group resources); 3) increase APA programming (e.g., processing current events, welcoming first time attendees, partnering with APAGS/17, utilizing award winners as speakers or writing for the newsletter); 4) developing a product (e.g., books, videos).
  • We also discussed the diversity award and: 1) the idea of emailing the runners up so they know that they were nominated, even if they didn’t win; 2) adding a student diversity award; 3) asking the executive board to submit nominees

Items Needing to be Discussed: 

Discuss action items/objectives to complete each quarter to further goals as described above.

Items Needing Action:

Establishing action items.

Recommendations, if any:

Jeanne to send Joe information re: responsibilities and an outline of annual deadlines for chair position

Committee Reports

Liaison Report CAPP

Leann Diederich, Ph.D.
Leann Diederich, Ph.D.

I attended a two day CAPP board meeting in early September as a liaison from our Society. The CAPP board members and fellow liaisons are a group of talented individuals who are invested in coming together as a group to advance the needs of practicing psychologists. The focus of the board, and by extension, the American Psychological Association Practice Organization (APAPO) can be seen by examining the “four Ps”: payment, prestige, practice protection, and products.  Highlights from the September meeting, as organized by these four areas, can be found below:


  • APAPO has been working to help develop a new CPT code which would provide better reimbursement for psychologists who use certain testing practices and assessments.
  • APAPO is going to start working on developing a Qualified Clinical Data Registry (QCDR) which will help psychologists control their own outcome measurements (to aid in reporting relevant outcomes to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services). This QCDR would be a system that psychologists could use for the upcoming requirement of Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), which will replace PQRS (as it expires on December 31st). I hope as they move forward with selecting outcome measures, that group based outcomes will be represented.
  • Legal and Regulatory Affairs (LRA) staff reported success in their fight with the New York Attorney General’s office regarding Cigna’s exclusion of neuropsychological assessment for all psychiatric disorders and autism spectrum disorders.
  • LRA is also continuing their work on advocating for intern reimbursement under Medicaid and report continued progress in several states.


  • The Government Relations staff of APAPO continues to advocate for psychologists inclusion in the Medicare “physician” definition (H.R. 4277/S. 2597).
  • CAPP formed a workgroup to discuss and determine if there are aspects or implications of the APA resolution on psychologists in integrated care settings. This workgroup would also focus on what CPT codes might be appropriate for telehealth within integrated care. This also ties into payment concerns for psychologists engaged in these activities.

Practice Protection:

  • Recently LRA also provided input to the Texas State Board regarding the Serafine decision by the 5th Circuit US Court of Appeals decision invalidating parts of the licensing law.
  • APAPO and LRA consistently tackle issues relating to mental health parity. They recently met with Federal Parity Enforcement officials to review key issues and concerns. They are actively involved in cases regarding parity issues with several insurance companies, including Regence BCBS and Independence Blue Cross in Philadelphia.


  • As was described above, a product in development is the QCDR. However, another product that was strongly supported at the CAPP meeting was for APAPO to update the HIPAA product. This is especially salient in light of upcoming Phase 3 HIPAA audits from HHS.

I am honored to represent Division 49 as a liaison to the Committee for the Advancement of Professional Practice. Due to budget constraints, CAPP will only meet once in person next year, currently scheduled for October 2017. However, if there are significant updates that are provided to liaisons via electronic meetings, those will be included in future issues of TGP.

Committee Reports

Council of Representatives Report

Sally Barlow, Ph.D.
Sally Barlow, Ph.D.

Council of Representative Report

As of June 2016 the only thing to report is that Council continues to wait for an updated report from Hoffman et al (promised weeks ago) regarding the inconsistencies as well as possibly left-out information in the original Hoffman report. This original report, as you will no doubt recall, was leaked to the New York Times last July causing a firestorm. The CoR list serve is currently active with denunciations of the original Hoffman report, not least because the members who have been linked to support for torture have not had any opportunity to reclaim their reputations, and most because clearly inconsistencies do exist. Of late a small minority has also called into question the Good Governance Project (GGP) that has taken Council 5 years to bring to pass. As your Council Representative for The Society of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy, I must admit I cannot imagine trying to undo all this hard work on the GGP, which was instigated in order to make the Council and the BOT more nimble. I do however support the move to obtain more answers from Hoffman. I am including a recent email from Jean Maria Arrigo who continues to be our conscience.

COR Colleagues:

The current Div. 42 Board’s vote of no confidence in the APA Board brings to mind the 2012 Div. 42 Board’s historical support of the PENS process and PENS Report.  Div. 42 members on both boards include Armand Cerbone, June Ching, Gerry Koocher, Michael Schwartz, Lori Thomas, Robert Woody, and Jeffrey Younggren.

The Gerwehr emails and PENS listserv constitute documentary evidence for the manipulation of PENS process and the PENS Report, in addition to documentation provided by the Hoffman Report.  In 2012, in advance of the Hoffman Report, the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology had called for annulment of the PENS Report.

The 2012 Div. 42 Board “vehemently oppose[d]” the Coalition’s call for annulment. In the attached letter (URL:, the Div. 42 Board insisted there was nothing wrong with the PENS process nor with APA’s related policies.  The Div. 42 Board particularly enjoined the Coalition to mind the reputation of the APA:

Therefore, our Board makes the following response to your Coalition;

  1. We request that your Coalition stop using the press to spread all negative information about its dissatisfaction with APA. You are harming our practice of psychology by giving false and biased information and therefore, impacting negatively on the ability of people who need psychological services to receive them from ethical and competent psychologists in independent practice.
  2. By distributing copies of this letter, we will ask APA to maintain a vigorous response to any further complaints publicized by the Coalition in the media that may damage our members’ independent practice of psychology. We believe that by giving only a partial story to the media, the Coalition is damaging the entire field of psychology.
Committee Reports

Diversity Committee Report

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

June 2016 Diversity Committee Report

Chair: Jeanne Steffen, Ph.D.

Person Submitting Report: Jeanne Steffen

Members of Committee:

Eric Chen Lee Gillis
Maria Riva Jennilee Fuertes
Cheri Marmarosh Keri Frantell
Joe Miles Carol Cho

Brief Summary of Activities Undertaken:

Our activities since the Spring 2016 report have included:


  • We divided into small groups to address goals 2-4 of our 2016 goals, which are: 1) recruit new members to our division, with a focus on student and early career psychologists; 2) create a student diversity award; 3) provide opportunities for multicultural competency development through suite programming at APA in Denver; 4) seek nominations and select a Diversity Award recipient for 2016.
  • We all discussed creating a student diversity award and Joe and Keri volunteered to work on a request to create a student diversity award. We decided we would put this into action for 2017.
  • Eric and Carol completed a proposal for Division 49 suite programming to draw in new student members to our division and address goals related to education/building multicultural competency in our members/APA.
  • Maria was instrumental in gathering materials and putting forth nominations of recommended candidates from the committee. The committee members voted and we selected a candidate and forwarded our recommendation to Craig. Our recommendation this year was Dr. Kathryn Norsworthy.

Items Needing to be Discussed:

Agenda for August meeting; selection of new chair.

Items Needing Action:

  • Follow up on Suite Programming.
  • Follow up to confirm Dr. Norsworthy was accepted for the 2016 Diversity Award and notified.
  • Collaborate with committee for August agenda

All additional action items will be discussed by the end of June.

Recommendations, if any:

None currently.

Committee Reports

Summary of CAPP Board Meeting

Leann Diederich, Ph.D.
Leann Diederich, Ph.D.

Summary of CAPP Board Meeting

April 29-May 1, 2016

These are a selected compilation of meeting notes, as they might be relevant to the Division 49 Board of Directors and Members. For full details of the meeting, please request them from Dr. Leann Diederich.

Legal Risk Management (presentation by APA Office of General Counsel Ann Springer, JD)

CAPP members were briefed on the fiduciary duty that Board members have. This includes duty of care, duty of loyalty, and duty of confidentiality. If you represent multiple groups, you have a duty to clarify which group you are speaking on behalf of. For instance, a conflict may exist when a Board member has professional business or a volunteer interest that could predispose the member one way or another regarding an issue. A conflict of interest should be disclosed to the Board and the appropriate steps can be taken (e.g., recusal or abstention on voting). Conflicts of interest are to be expected when professionals are involved and carry multiple roles and aren’t inherently negative or something to be ashamed of.

Updates on Government Relations and Legal and Regulatory Initiatives

Government Relations: CAPP members were briefed by Government Relations staff on legislative efforts that followed the 2016 State Leadership Conference, including the following: (1) the Medicare Mental Health Access Act to include psychologists in the Medicare physician definition (H.R. 4277/S. 2597), and (2) legislation to reform federal mental health funding, specifically the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 2646) and the Mental Health Reform Act (S. 1945). In addition, a new government relations initiative that engages psychology students in advocacy was outlined by staff: the TEAM Project.

Legal and Regulatory: Legal and Regulatory affairs are working on the following: collaborative Summits with state psychological associations to educate members on alternative practice models; advocacy approaches to insurance and parity; and advocacy in coordination with the education directorate to expand opportunities and reimbursement in Medicaid systems for psychologists, including managed Medicaid. One specific example that was highlighted was the fight to get a higher reimbursement rate for the CPT code 90837 (as in Washington state it was being paid at the same level as 90834, despite being a longer therapy session). If you know of instances where there is little to no difference in the rates being paid for these two codes, please contact Legal and Regulatory Affairs.

Committee on Divisions:

Beginning in 2016, CAPP combined its various committees that oversee outreach to the various APA Divisions into one committee, entitled the CAPP Committee on Divisions, which will now oversee and make recommendations related to outreach to the Divisions. Dr. BraVada Garrett-Akinsanya, Chair of the CAPP Committee on Divisions provided an update on the discussions to-date of the Committee, including discussions defining the mission of the Committee, and initiatives that are focused on developing and creating alliances with specific Divisions and creating value-added products for divisions that will encourage membership in APAPO. Also, discussed was the possibility of surveying current members of APAPO in regards to their Division memberships and roles within the Divisions.

Updates on Initiatives Impacting Practitioners:

Council of Specialties Summit: CAPP members received a report on the upcoming Specialties Summit that will focus on the continuum from generalist to specialty training and practice, in addition to, issues related to licensure, scope of practice, competencies, specialty practice and the impact of healthcare reform on practice patterns.

APA Work Group on Test User Qualifications:

Dr. Toni Zeiss, BPA Chair, provided an update on recent discussions, held during the APA Consolidated Meetings in March 2016, by the Board of Professional Affairs (BPA) and the Committee on Psychological Tests and Assessment (CPTA), related to the possible formation of a Joint Working Group on Recommended Competencies for Users of Psychological Tests. Dr. Derek Phillips, from the CAPP Assessment Workgroup will be the CAPP liaison to this group.

Psychologists and Scope of Practice:

During recent CAPP meetings, CAPP has discussed several initiatives related to developing strategies to address developments by new/or other professions advocating for inclusion of language in state legislation, in addition to, recent initiatives that included the development of a focus group of psychologists in managed care, and the development of a collaborative strategy with SPTAs to encourage psychologists involvement in medical staffs. The April-May CAPP meeting provided CAPP members an opportunity to discuss the development of a new computer based examination that will be complementary to the existing knowledge-based Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). The new exam, the EPPP Step 2, which was approved in January 2016 by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) will assess the skills necessary for entry-level licensure. It is anticipated that the exam will begin to be used in 2019.

Update on the Board of Director’s Initiative on the Master’s Degree:

In 2015, the APA/APAPO Board of Directors formed a workgroup related to addressing issues and areas of interest that have arisen in the past related to the Master’s Degree. CAPP has a liaison to this workgroup. Discussions during the CAPP meetings in the past have focused on the need to articulate the value-added aspect of doctoral level training and the need to protect the use of the title of psychologist for those trained at the doctoral level. At the present time, priority issues related to the Independent Report have taken the Board’s time and updates will be provided at future meetings.

Committee Reports

The Reading Orienteering Club for At-Risk Students: Follow-Up Study

Anna Thompson
Anna Thompson, MA

Presented at the 123rd Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association at Toronto, Canada, August 2015, Thursday, August 6, 1:00 P.M.

Address correspondence to:


Overall, reading scores in the United States of America (US) and South Carolina have been below the national average for the past several years. The majority of students, 66% tested, in the US were reading below the appropriate grade level (National Center for Education Statistics, 2013). According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, national reading levels are low for not only elementary school children, but also middle school students. Twenty-two percent of students in middle school scored below their appropriate grade level (National Center for Education Statistics, 2013). The Reading Orienteering Club (ROC) after school program is a group-centered prevention program that focuses on improving reading ability and comprehension in elementary school children of Aiken County. Students participating in ROC have difficulties in reading, spelling, and comprehension. This single-subject design study documented improvement in reading levels of seven children in Aiken County before and during participation in ROC. The children were then placed into two groups, based on the length of intervention: one or two years. Children who completed two years of intervention showed greater improvement than children who completed only one year.

Keywords: university-community program, group-centered prevention, reading, writing, English language arts

The Reading Orienteering Club for At-Risk Students: Follow-Up Study

by Anna Thompson

This study describes the outcomes of the ROC, “a year-long group-centered after-school community-based prevention program that emphasizes phonological awareness, reading and writing, spelling, and intensive hands-on instruction” (Clanton Harpine, 2013, p. ix). The ROC uses strategies such as vowel clustering, the 4-step method, and group-centered prevention interventions in order to improve the literacy scores and behavior of the children- primarily 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders, of Aiken County in South Carolina. The 4-step method involves having the children: (a) capture words they do not know, (b) write the word correctly, (c) look up the words in the dictionary to find the definition, (d) and write sentences using these words (Clanton Harpine, 2013). This allows children to correct themselves, learn a new word, and gain a better comprehension of the word. The main goals of this program are for children to practice “reading, writing, spelling, focusing their attention, comprehension, following step-by-step instruction, learning new words, and practicing a specific vowel cluster for the day” (Clanton Harpine, 2013, xi).

A lack of literacy skills has become a growing issue throughout the US. Overall reading scores of the US have been below grade level for the past several years. Sixty-six percent of children tested in the US were reading below the appropriate grade level for their age (National Center for Education, 2013). In this study, Reading Grade Level describes the reading ability of the participants based on grade level. The data was collected from the Dominie Reading Assessment, given by teachers in the Aiken County School District. According to the NAEP, national reading levels are low for elementary and middle school children (National Center for Education, 2013). For example, twenty-two percent of students in middle school scored below their appropriate grade level (National Center for Education, 2013). Programs like the ROC are important in helping improve literacy rates in elementary and middle school students, especially for those who may not be getting the needed support from home.

Additionally, the ROC program is a group-centered intervention program that focuses on academic performance using self-efficacy, intrinsic motivation, and group cohesion (Clanton Harpine, 2008). These goals are accomplished by allowing participants to complete the exercise stations at their own pace in small groups. Consequently, Brigman and Webb (2007) discovered success in using groups as an intervention tool. They studied ways to help students improve their reading skills and attitudes in order to be successful in a school setting, while utilizing both large and small groups.

This study was in response to a previously completed study based on the Group-Centered After-School Community-Based Prevention Program (Thompson, 2014). Thompson’s study examined the impact of the amount of time spent in the ROC program as well as the impact that occurred based on when the children began the intervention. The information gathered was then compared to the literacy scores of forty-six children. The results revealed that early intervention created positive reading outcomes for participants. However, the study did not provide enough evidence to support the hypothesis stating that staying in the program for a greater length of time, increased test scores (Thompson, 2014). The current study also tested two additional hypotheses. Hypothesis 1 states that children who complete the ROC program will show improvement in reading level. The second alternative hypothesis of this study states that children who complete the ROC program in two years will improve more than children who complete the program in one year. These hypotheses were determined based on positive scores of the participants in the previous study.



The participants of this case study include seven children who received no compensation or coercion in participating. Of this group of participants, three are male and four are female. Participants were enrolled in Byrd Elementary, North Aiken Elementary, Warrenville Elementary, and Aiken Elementary school in Aiken, South Carolina. Two participants completed the intervention during the 1st grade. Three participants completed the intervention during the 2nd grade. Two participants completed the intervention during the 3rd grade. Starting ages ranged from 6-years-old to 8-years-old. All seven participants are African American.

Materials and Design

            In order to correctly evaluate the reading level of each participant, the children all completed the same standardized test. These standardized tests were given by teachers of the Aiken County school system at the completion of the fall, winter, and spring semesters. The test scores included the following: CogAt (measures intelligence), Dominie (measures reading level), and MAP (predicts how scores will be for PASS), PASS (states if student passed or failed the grade). Dominie Text Reading scores which used the core reading benchmark/ bridge level, were used to calculate reading ability based on grade level.

This particular case study uses an AB design, which consists of baseline data as well as data recorded during the intervention. The dependent variable for both hypotheses is the reading grade levels. The independent variable for hypothesis one is successful completion of the ROC program.   The independent variable for hypothesis two is the length of intervention. The two different intervention groups consisted of one year of intervention and two years of intervention. Procedure

The public schools of Aiken County administered multiple standardized tests to students periodically throughout the school year. After all standardized tests are completed all students’ scores are recorded. To obtain the necessary test scores for this study, scores were obtained after the completion of the school year. The tests used by the Aiken County school system includes a standardize test that records scores in reading, language, math, social studies, and science (capitalize subjects). The current study utilized the scores for reading on grade level. After attaining all the information needed, participants’ scores were then compared and analyzed.


The null hypothesis of this study states that the ROC program will have no effect on the reading level of its participants. This study tested two alternative hypotheses: (1) children who complete the ROC program will show improvement in reading level, (2) and children who complete the ROC program in two years will improve more than children who complete the program in one year. Both hypotheses were analyzed using a single-subject AB design.

Overall, the two groups of children included one year of interventions and two years of interventions which revealed improvement in reading levels. The results revealed that with the intervention: two children increased their reading grade level by the end of the first fall season, two children improved their reading grade level by the end of the first winter season, two children improved their reading grade by the end of the first spring, and one child improved their reading grade level after the second fall. At the conclusion of the ROC program intervention, two participants were reading above grade level and five participants were reading at their current grade level. This combined data supports alternative hypothesis one.

After completing the ROC program for either one or two years, children demonstrated improvement. All three participants who completed the ROC program increased their reading grade level by at least one full level. The four participants who completed two years of intervention treatment at the ROC also demonstrated improvement by increasing their reading level two grade levels. Overall, children who completed the program in two years revealed a greater improvement than children who completed the intervention in one year.


The current study was completed as a follow-up study to the research accomplished by Thompson (2014) which recorded that staying in the program for a longer length of time, did not always increase test scores. The previous study had flaws in the design and possible complications with participants. Flaws in the design involved the data and analysis. Since there was no real comparison group, age was reported as a covariate (Thompson, 2014). As a result, that data was compared to an above and beyond natural group. Thompson’s study (2014) stated that the participants who continued for more than one year may have more serious learning problems, which would take more effort and time, than the participants who finished the program in the first year. The current study took the previously completed study’s design and results into consideration.

The current study showed that overall; the 7 participants improved their reading grade level while completing the ROC program. Participants who stayed in the program for 2 years improved their reading grade level more than participants who completed the ROC program in 1 year. According to this study, the ROC program showed success in teaching children to read and helped them increase their reading grade level.


Brigman, G. & Webb, L. (2007). Student success skills: Impacting achievement through large and small group work. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 11, 283-292. doi: 10.1037/1089-2699.11.4.283

Clanton Harpine, E. (2013). After-School Prevention Programs for At-Risk Students: Promoting Engagement and Academic Success. New York: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4614-7416-6

Clanton Harpine, E. (2008).Group Interventions in Schools: Promoting Mental Health for At-Risk Children and Youth. New York: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-0-387-77317-9

National Center for Education Statistics (2013). The Nation’s Report Card: A First Look:            2013 Mathematics and Reading (NCES 2014-451). Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C.

Thompson, A. L. (2014). Group-Centered After-School Community-Based Prevention Program. The Group Psychologist. 24

Committee Reports

Group as a Specialty

Nina Brown, Ed.D.
Nina Brown, Ed.D.

The Group Specialty Council continues to pursue recognition of group as a specialty in psychology training programs. The Council is composed of national organizations who have an interest in the education and training of group therapists/psychotherapists, in promoting the use and visibility of the effectiveness for group treatment, encouraging research on group factors that promote group members’ healing, growth and development, in describing the competencies for group leaders, and in fostering the recognition that specialized training is needed for professional and ethical practice and education by psychologists. The organizations most directly involved in this endeavor are The Society of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy (APA Division 49), The American Group Psychotherapy Association (AGPA), The American Board of Group Psychology (ABGP), and the International Board for Certification of Group Psychotherapists (IBCGP), which is part of AGPA.

When the 2014 submission of a petition for recognition of group as a specialty by the Council for Recognition of Specialists and Proficiencies in Professional Psychology (CRSPPP) was rejected in 2015, the Council reviewed the rationale provided by CRSPPP and decided to reapply in 2016 to be considered by them in 2017. This decision was made in part because that organization proscribes that there must be a year before there is a resubmission unless policy or procedure was not followed. The resubmission process is well underway thanks to the Boards of three members of the Group Specialty Council; The Society, ABPP, and AGPA; and a revised petition will be completed and resubmitted this fall. As part of the resubmission, the revised petition will be posted by CRSPPP for public comment and it is vital that our members take advantage of this opportunity to express their opinions about the viability and need for group as a specialty in psychology doctoral, internship, and post-doctoral training programs. Members will be notified via listserv when the petition is posted.

One of the difficulties in writing such a petition is the necessity that considerable time and effort be expended in gathering the materials and presenting the information to answer each of the 12 criteria. This project is analogous to preparing an accreditation report in the depth and breadth of the information required. Assistance is being provided by the Boards of The Society, AGPA and ABGP to fund a professional writer to expedite the task. The group Specialty Council developed and circulated a RFP, screened applicants and conducted interviews. They received many responses from well qualified people, and after extensive interviews with applicants and Council consultations, a writer was selected, Staci Smith. Among her many achievements we noted that she had comprehensive experience with grants research strategy and writing, experience with accreditation submissions and approval, was well versed on current behavioral and mental health research having developed and implemented numerous evidence-based programs in this area, and was able to document advanced skills with research, analysis, and creative narrative development.   She has begun the process for planning, organizing and writing the revised petition.

Although obtaining the writer was an important step and she will do much to help in the planning, organizing and writing the material, there are other tasks where informed input from group professionals is essential and volunteers are needed to accomplish these tasks. Included in these tasks are the development of Practice Guidelines led by Robert Gleave President-Elect of the Society, a search for the minimum number of model doctoral, internship and post-doctoral programs and obtaining the information needed to answer that criterion on the petition, development of competencies and the evaluation processes for these, developing processes and surveys to document the public’s need for group as a specialty, and developing group specialty education and training guidelines. Please let me know if you are willing to participate in any or all of these tasks.

Members of the Group Specialty council will be assisting the writer with development and review of responses to the petition’s twelve criterions. Specific consultants to the writer are Sally Barlow and Les Greene. Please join us in preparing the resubmission.