Over the summer, the Early Career Psychologist Task Force of the Society hosted a Virtual Learning Hour (VLH) where participants came together to share resources and discuss the topic of training in group psychotherapy.
Participants discussed their beliefs that process groups are an important part of professional training in learning about group dynamics. There may be some institutional resistance to process groups as things get “stirred up”, however, when done well they are very valuable to the learner. This led to a discussion on how to address power dynamics in staff trainings such as: level of experience, status, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and coming from different degree disciplines. For instance, how does a trainee remain safe, be vulnerable and appear competent in a process group? Another interesting topic was the use of private programs for training, as this can provide less vulnerability and one’s own place to grow and learn. It was strongly supported in the conversation that diversity education be a crucial component of any training program and its effects on both leadership and membership is paramount.
Important topics that might be considered in the future discussions about training in group psychotherapy include: What are the legal obligations or risks in process groups for trainees, staff and patients? What are APA or AGPA ethical and moral guidelines? How is scapegoating and subgrouping managed and how do participants learn to give and receive feedback in process groups?
The meeting concluded with sharing resources that were brought up in the VLH to enhance group training:
1. Video: The Color of Fear Diversity Training Films: Documentaries by Director, Lee Mun Wah of Stirfry Seminars & Consulting
Wah collected over four hundred questions that people of color and Euro Americans have always wanted to ask each other. This product is a tool for educators who want to start a conversation about diversity, but don’t know where to begin. It is a 3-part series. The director has several other educational videos. Students explore how race, ethnicity, gender etc. play out in real life and challenges them to acknowledge and address their biases.
5. Apprentice models – Short-term groups of 22 to 46 weeks versus a 2-year cycle for a didactic and process group. AK Rice Model (http://akriceinstitute.org) provides participants the opportunity to study their own behavior as it happens in real time without the distractions of everyday social niceties and workplace pressures and protocols
We are pleased to introduce TGP readers to a new column, Notes from the North, in which we’ll be hearing from our colleagues in Canada. In this first column you’ll find an introduction and general background on the CGPA from their President, Dr. Kasra Khorsani. We hope that this column can provide a “virtual pen-pal” relationship with our colleagues up north. So, if you have questions for them, please pass them along, firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll feature your question and the response from CGPA in upcoming issues of TGP.
Hello from Canada!
We are CGPA: Group Therapy, Group Training, Group Facilitation. We are a vibrant multidisciplinary association of group psychotherapists who work together to foster and provide education and training for mental health professionals in group psychotherapy across Canada. Furthermore, CGPA aims to encourage research in group psychotherapy; to set national standards for quality in training, practice and research; and to gather together group therapists from various disciplines in a spirit of professional development and mutual learning.
Our annual conference took place October 19 to 21 in Toronto, and was accredited by the American Medical Association, the European Union of Medical Specialists, the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. We see this accreditation as important as a way to give value to the people south of border to make a trip to our conferences. We will try to carry this forward for future conferences.
We are excited about our recently launched mentorship program in which our senior members are able to support and be a guiding light to our junior and student members. You might hear more about this in an upcoming Notes from the North column.
Let me close with a bit of a discussion how our process groups at conferences might differ from ones that you might be used to. In our groups in general, we tend to be less confrontational and less passionately engaged. We tend to be more accepting and more gentle with each others’ differences and we value tolerance and forgiveness a little more than our southern members might have experienced elsewhere. This I feel is both our strength and our weakness. 🙂
Greetings from the Early Career Psychologist Task Force!
In the past six months, the ECP Task Force began hosting Community Conversation Hours (CCH) with our own Dr. Barbara Greenspan (a member of the ECP Task Force). She presented on the topic of Women in Leadership. She discussed unique challenges facing all women in leadership positions in the world, as well as group psychotherapy. Sixteen attendees were present and it was a great start to this new initiative. We utilized ZOOM as our new medium and our hope is to provide a space to discuss relevant group topics three times per year. Our next one is scheduled for July 13th 2016 on the topic of supervision and training (see flyer).
ECP Task Force will host the Divisions social hour at the APA Annual Convention 2016 on August 6th at 6:00 p.m. Be sure to join us! There will be wine, cocktails, and catered food. We welcome everyone!
At APA, check out our convention programming which features various skill-building sessions as well as symposiums. Skill-building session on the basics of interpersonal processing and the symposium on evaluating group psychotherapy processes might be especially useful for any ECPs!
Finally, don’t forget to check out our Facebook page!
Greetings from the Early Career Psychologist Task Force!
In the past six months, the ECP Task Force hosted two conference calls, one on co-leadership and one on salary negotiation tips. Both call were well attended, especially the one on salary negotiation which featured Dr. King from the University of North Florida Counseling Center. Starting in 2016, the Task Force is moving away from phone conference calls and is planning to use Zoom as the new medium for conference calls. The first presentation in 2016 will be Women in Leadership and is scheduled to take place on April 15 at 12:00 Eastern Time Zone. Stay tuned for registration details!
Another new change for the past year was for the ECP Task Force to host the social hour at the 2015 Annual Convention. Different kinds of wine, a featured cocktail, and Mediterranean food created a welcoming atmosphere for all of the attendees. Be sure to check out the APA 2016 social hour in Denver.
At the mid-winter Board meeting in February, it was decided that formal ECP representation on the board is critical. The board has decided to create an ECP Member-at-Large position that is specifically focused on the needs of early career psychologists. The elected person will be leading the Early Career Task force for three years. Stay tuned for 2016 elections and be sure to cast your vote!
The Early Career Psychologists from the Society of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy (Division 49 of APA) would like to invite you to join us in a free conference call on The Co-Leadership Relationship in Group Therapy. The call will be on Monday, November 9, 2015 at 12pm (EST). Please email the Society at email@example.com for instructions about how to access the call.
Below are some program highlights that you will not want to miss.
The Division 49 Poster Session will be held in the exhibition halls at 1:00 PM on August 6th.
Group Psychologist of the Year Award winner, Zipora Schechtman, will give a talk entitled, Lessons learned from research on outcomes and processes of children/adolescence group psychotherapy at 2:00 PM on August 6th.
The Division is also starting a new tradition with a Fellows Address, featuring our newest Fellows, at 11:00 AM on August 7th.
Dennis Kivlighan, will give his Presidential Address entitled, Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy: One Country With a Common Language or Two Feudal States? at 2:00 PM on August 7th, followed by the Division Business Meeting.
At 1:00 PM on August 8th, Molyn Leszcz will give an Invited Address entitled, Achieving and Sustaining Group Therapist, followed by a conversation hour in the Division 49 Hospitality Suite.
The Division 49 Early Career Task Force will also be hosting the annual Division Social Hour in the Hospitality Suite from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM on Saturday, August 8th. Join us for free food, drinks and prizes (e.g. Amazon gift cards and Fitbit!)
We have four skill-building workshops and five symposia throughout the Convention that will each offer continuing education credits.
The Division is also co-sponsoring five Collaborative Programs with other APA Divisions.
ECP Task Force Co-Chairs: Leann Diederich, Ph.D. and Tracy Thomas, Psy.D.
The Society of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy Recognized as the Division with the Best ECP Engagement
At the 2014 APA annual convention, our Society entered a poster into a competition hosted by APA’s Committee on Early Career Psychologists (CECP). Criteria included having an array of ECP activities, leadership development, and mentoring opportunities. They also evaluated ECP resources, such as social media, and upcoming plans for ECP engagement. To our delight, we won!
Below are selections of the text from the poster, which is linked in full here. While many of these goals and initiatives may be familiar to readers, we wanted to share them here so they are all in one location.
ECP Members and the “Leadership Pipeline”
As is true with many divisions of APA and the membership as a whole, most members are over 60 years old. Over the past 5 years, the Society has taken a number of steps to address this. Since 2011 the numbers of ECPs has increased (from 19 members in 2011 to 30 members in 2014), both in general membership in the Society and in leadership positions (2 ECPS involved in Board or committees in 2011 to 8 involved in Board or committees in 2014).
The Early Career Psychologist Task Force group was created to help introduce ECPs to the Society governance in a graduated method, with many members then moving onto other leadership positions. For instance, in the past few years members have moved from this committee into positions such as the Society’s Secretary, Program Chair, and Member-at-Large.
A secondary component of this pipeline is to have consistent support from the Executive Board. This includes both a stated commitment to ECP participation in avenues such as Presidential addresses at convention; attention to ECP needs our newsletter, The Group Psychologist (TGP), but also practical support through financial support for ECP events at Convention and nomination of ECPs for Board positions.
Preparation for Leadership
New ECPs involved in the Task Force, are encouraged to publish short articles in The Group Psychologist. This includes articles introducing themselves, talking about their involvement in a committee or liaison to an APA group, or articles stemming from our Conference Calls (see below). Each newsletter has an ECP Column which provides an established forum for these publications. Publishing in the newsletter helps promote name recognition for the ECPs, which is a crucial step towards later election to the Executive Board.
ECP Task Force & Group Dynamics
Our ECP group has been through a number of different identities. We originally were an Ad Hoc committee appointed by the President. However, our by-laws require yearly reappointment for this, which we found cumbersome. We then moved to a sub-committee under the Membership Chair (which was co-chaired by an ECP). However, this did not allow for an optimal group identity. Imagine having to introduce yourself as “a member of the Early Career Psychologist Sub-Committee of the Membership Committee”. That didn’t allow for a high group salience (e.g., the “felt significance of a particular social identity” [Gastil, 2010, p. 205]) within the members, so we brainstormed ways to make additional changes.
Thus, at the mid-winter meeting in 2014, the Board approved our formation of an Early Career Psychologist Task Force. There are several benefits to this identity; it is a group that does not require yearly approval for its continuation, it provides a unique group identity, and provides a recognition and status for the ECPs who volunteer their time for the group.
Focusing on group cohesion is a key role for the co-chairs of the Task Force. Taking the lead from the current literature on cohesion, we focus on developing:
An understanding of the shared tasks of the Task Force through regular meetings to brainstorm and create goals
Creating bonds through personal introductions, social hours with fellow members (e.g., happy hour following the open committee meeting at APA)
Creating channels for feedback to attend to the relationships between members (e.g., one to one conversations with upcoming leaders taking on more
The ECP Task Force has several initiatives to aid with ECP engagement. Our goals with these initiatives are to provide services to members, as well as the public at-large. We choose initiatives that the Task Force members are interested in, do not take a large amount of time each week, and are relevant to students and ECPs.
Social Media Presence
The first initiative is to create content for our Facebook and Google+ pages. We started a new series of Wisdom on Wednesdays (#WOW) posts. These are short, educational, and group focused posts which provide resources for our followers. Each Task Force member also creates 4-5 educational posts, thus providing psychological content for our followers, but that isn’t necessarily tied directly to
Since we started our Facebook page in January 2013, we have gained 450 followers. We are reaching our target audience, as 78% of our followers are ages 18 to 44 years old. Our Society Secretary, Dr. Jennifer Alonso (ECP Task Force member) also works closely with our newly hired Social Media Coordinator, Tanya Dvorak, to have posts that are inspirational and motivating. Our Coordinator uses HootSuite to push content to multiple platforms, to capitalize on the work of our small Task Force, without relying on it to manage the content daily. We also are starting a small Twitter presence which we hope to expand in the future.
A second initiative is to host regular conference calls that are open to the public. This initiative was approved at the 2013 mid-winter Board Meeting.
Topics have included:
Diversity in Group Therapy
Referring and Recruiting for Groups in College Counseling Centers
Teaching Group Therapy Course
Groups in Private Practice
Group Psychotherapy Research (with special guests Drs. Gary Burlingame and Dennis Kivlighan)
These calls are moderated by members of the Task Force, but are geared towards providing a forum for dialogue for participants and to provide resources related to group therapy and group psychology. A summary of the conference call is sent out to all members, as well as interested parties who couldn’t attend. We then use the content from the call to create an article for The Group Psychologist, so that all Society members can benefit from the ideas discussed.
Member of the Month
A new initiative we are starting in August 2014 is to randomly select one of the Society’s Member’s to feature in a Member of the Month (#MOM) posting on our webpage and pushed to our social media outlets. We hope to feature a member monthly, as a way to bring attention to the great work that our members do in the field of group psychology and group psychotherapy.
We are proposing a new initiative of a group based Mentee/ Mentor program at the Executive Meeting during this year’s APA Convention. Due to the small size of our Society, we wanted to take advantage of our Mid-Career Psychologist’s expertise, without overburdening them with a 1:1 ratio. We also wanted to utilize their knowledge in group dynamics to model some of the exact principles they’d be talking about (e.g., creating cohesion in groups) with their mentees.
We hope that this program will take advantage of Google Hangouts by hosting monthly or bi-monthly group meetings between the mentees and the Mid-Career Psychologist. Depending on the interest in the program, we hope to match ECPs with career trajectories that are similar to their Mid-Career Psychologist Mentor.
How to Get Involved
Getting involved in the Society is quite easy. There are several ways to get in contact with us:
Visit our social at APA to meet many of the key leaders within the Society. It’s a small group at the social (30-40 people) which allows you to socialize and network with psychologists who share similar interests to you.
Speak to one of our volunteers at any of our Society events at Convention. We have a group of students and ECPs who are handing out materials and Society information at each event at the convention.
Email us at Div49group@gmail.com.
Special thanks to the ECP Task Force Members: Joe Miles (Div. 49 Program Co-Chair), Jennifer Alonso (Div. 49 Secretary), Rachelle Rene, Jennifer Smith, Misha Bogomaz, and Sasha Mondragon.
Periodically, the Early Career Psychologist (ECP) Task Force of the Society hosts conference calls on topics that are of interest to group psychologists. The most recent of these conference calls was held on June 16th, and focused on supervision of group psychotherapy. Over 30 people RSVP’d to participate in this conference call, which covered issues related to supervision models at various training sites, multicultural issues in supervision of group work, and issues in co-leader relationships (e.g., building the relationship, sharing power, and dual relationships). The call offered the opportunity for group psychotherapists from a variety of different settings to raise questions, discuss challenges and successes in group supervision, and to share resources with each other. Below are some of the highlights from this phone call.
Supervision Models in Various Settings
Several participants shared that they use developmental approaches to group supervision at their training sites. One such approach involves having practicum students serve as process observers who write process notes for psychotherapy groups that are facilitated by more advanced trainees (e.g., postdoctoral interns and staff). The process observers are then responsible for sharing these notes with the group in the following session. After a semester or two of process observing, these practicum students move on to co-leading a psychotherapy group with a licensed staff member. These licensed staff members serve as both models and the trainees’ supervisors. In addition, some participants mentioned that the group coordinators at their sites also meet with group trainees for one hour per week.
Another model of group psychotherapy supervision discussed was the use of agency-wide group case conferences. These provide an opportunity for the entire staff, not just the trainees, to meet, watch videos from group sessions, discuss particularly difficult situations, and to share group experiences with one another. An advantage of these agency-wide case conferences is that they provide the opportunity for licensed staff members to engage in additional learning about group work, thus providing opportunities for all participants to grow, not just trainees. These different models highlight the many levels on which group psychotherapy supervision may be offered.
In discussing different models for group psychotherapy supervision, the question was raised as to how different individuals have gotten “buy in” from other staff members about the importance of group work and group training. Several participants from a large counseling center at a major, public state university talked with pride about their group program. They stated that, in the face of ever-increasing demand for services, their center has put a lot of effort into strengthening their group program. Specifically, they said that group treatment is discussed as a viable treatment with all clients at intake, and clients are encouraged to consider group over individual treatment. In addition, this center holds a “Fall Group Kick-Off” at the beginning of the year, in order to reenergize staff about groups and to provide some group training. For example, they provide staff with client scenarios and then have the staff members discuss which groups offered at the center might be possible treatment option for the client. They also do periodic “Group Spotlights” at staff meetings about groups still accepting new member. These efforts to strengthen their group program have paid off, and have led to a “culture shift” in their center over the past few years, such that group is now seen as just as good of an option for clients as individual treatment.
Co-Leader Relationships and Group Supervision
The participants discussed the importance of talking about cultural issues among co-leader pairs, and Leann Diederich shared a handout that she, Eri Bentley (Utah State University) and Joeleen Cooper-Bhatia (Auburn University) developed on establishing effective co-leader relationships (see attached “Discussion Guide for Building Effective Co-Leadership Relationships”, along with the a handout called “The One-Minute Co-Therapist”). An important part of this handout is the discussion of “Personal Background Information,” which should include cultural information. This handout provides guidelines for sharing cultural influences with supervisees. Others shared that they find it important to openly discuss any potential biases that one might have. Participants noted that it is important to be aware of and talk about power differentials, however, when engaging in conversations about multicultural issues with supervisees, and to realize that this should be an ongoing process.
The conversation turned to some of the difficulties in managing conflict in the co-leader relationship, particularly when one co-leader is a trainee and the other is a staff member with an evaluative/supervisory role. One participant shared a resource that she has found particularly helpful: an article by Miriam Berger called Envy and Generosity between Co-Therapists (citation below). This article may be helpful for naming and talking through some of the challenges that we might expect in any co-leader relationship.
Several participants noted that, when one co-leader is a trainee and the other a senior staff member/supervisor, the supervisor might intentionally “miss” a group session, in order to provide the trainee to lead the group on her own, and to work on developing her own voice. This can also be helpful in creating a greater sense of equality in the co-leader relationship. Others mentioned that, as a senior staff member or supervisor, they often ask their trainee co-leaders to take on the role of opening and closing the group, in order to share ownership of the group, and to help the group members see the co-leaders on the same level.
Participants discussed a shared challenge of balancing between allowing a trainee co-leader to feel empowered to intervene as they deem fit in the group, with the desire to intervene themselves when they think there is a different or “better” intervention to be made that the trainee has not made. One participant said that in his own struggles with this challenge, he has learned discipline in allowing trainees to find their own voice and providing a place for them to speak, even if he sees an opportunity for a slightly different intervention. Another participant talked about setting very specific goals with supervisees, such as making sure that they are responding at least twice every half hour in the group. Another suggested that it is helpful to talk to supervisees about their different experience co-leading with different co-leaders, and to periodically have meetings where the entire staff discusses group work.
Other Issues in the Supervision of Group Psychotherapy
Participants shared a variety of different structures for supervision of group psychotherapy. For example, several suggested that it is especially helpful to set aside a half hour immediately following the group to debrief, when possible. Another participant discussed meeting in the 10 or 15 minutes directly before the group starts. He said that, in his experience, this has helped him to solidify his relationships with co-leaders, and to allow them the opportunity to discuss what they, as leaders, are bringing to the group.
A group therapist in private practice described another model of supervision, a consultation group. He described a model that he developed for facilitating consultation groups for group psychotherapists. In these 80 minute consultation groups, participants begin by talking about dilemmas that they are facing in their group work. Following this aspect of the group supervision, the second part of his consultation groups become process groups, in which group members have the opportunity to experience being group members. He ends the groups by talking about what went on for him as the leader of the process group portion, what he felt was happening in the group, and how he tried to determine the best interventions. Another participant asked about obtaining informed consent, and it was noted that there is definitely a need to attend to dual relationships in this work.
Finally, several participants discussed balancing supervision with more didactic methods. Several participants discussed having seminars in the summer, or early on in the semester, before trainees’ caseloads fill up. Another participant mentioned seminars that included both trainees and all staff members who are leading groups. This may even include discussing articles on group counseling. A few resources that were shared are listed below. Please look for information on upcoming ECP Task Force conference calls in the near future!
Berger, M. (2002). Envy and generosity between co-therapists. Group, 26(1), 107-121.
Davis, F. B. & Lohr, N. E. (1971). Special problems with the use of cotherapists in group
psychotherapy. International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, 21, 143158.
Dick, B., Lessler, K. & Whiteside, J. (1980) A Developmental Framework for Cotherapy. International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, 30(3), 6476.
Fernando, D. M., & Herlihy, B. R. (2010). Supervision of group work: Infusing the spirit of social justice. The Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 35, 281-289.
Gallagher, R. E., (1994). Stages of group psychotherapy supervision: a model for supervisiong
beginning trainees of dynamic group therapy. International Journal of Group Psychotherapy,44(2),169183
Heilfron, M. (1969). Cotherapy: The relationship between therapists. International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, 19(3), 366381.
Hoffman, S. et. al (1995) Cotherapy with Individuals, Families and Groups,Jason Aronson McGee, T.F., & Schuman, B. N. (1970). The nature of the cotherapy relationship. Presented at American Group Psychotherapy Convention, New Orleans, Louisiana.
Paulson, I, Burroughs, J., Gelb, C., (1976) Cotherapy: What is the Crux of the Relationship? International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, 26(2), 213224.
Roller, W., & Nelson, V. (1991). The Art of Co-Therapy. New York, NY: Guildford Press.
Rutan, J. S., Stone, W. N., & Shay, J. J. (2007). Chapter 11: Special Leadership Issues. In Psychodynamic Group Psychotherapy (4th ed.). (pp. 212-225). New York, NY: Guildford Press.
See also handouts available from ECP Task Force (firstname.lastname@example.org): “The One-Minute Co-Therapist,” and “Discussion Guide for Building Effective Co-Leader Relationships.”